Monday, July 6, 2015

Underrated Greyhawk in Dungeon Magazine

I've been going back through some old Dungeon mags from my favorite era, which I affectionately call Paizohawk. Paizo Publishing ran Dungeon from around 2002 to 2007 and in that amazing span of only 5 years they made some incredible strides in adventure design and their Adventure Paths have led directly to their ongoing success with Pathfinder to this day. Greyhawk saw alot of play during this period and APs like Age of Worms, Savage Tide and ongoing mega-dungeon Maure Castle are among the best adventures I've played and I still go to them to mine for stuff in my own campaigns.

Even with all the epic modules they put out there was even more Paizohawk created during this time that maybe didn't get all the attention back then. Here is a look back on some (but certainly not all) lesser known Greyhawk adventures:

Touch of the Abyss was published in Dungeon #117 and had a companion setting article about Istivin the capital of Sterich. The adventure investigates a shadowy evil plaguing the city that eventually leads the heroes into the Underdark. This was actually part of a three part mini arc followed in subsequent issues by Shadows of the Abyss (#118) and Wrath of the Abyss (#119) all by author Greg A. Vaughan.

Dungeon #118 also included a charming adventure by John Simcoe titled Throne of Iuz. The blurb on this one is amusing enough to peruse:

"A complex backstory elevates a simple toad into an intelligent, malign monstrosity in the service of Iuz, who is creating a powerful magic item to subjugate the Vesve."

Lost Temple of Demogorgon in issue #120 followed on the Abyss series. This blurb is worth mentioning too:

"Ogres in demon armor have been spotted in the hills near Irongate. When the PCs investigate they discover a ancient temple, and a death knight facing a dilemma."

They had me at ogres in demon armor. This high-level stand-alone adventure is by veteran author Sean K. Reynolds and is set in the Iron Hills. Is it possible that this mod inspired the Demogorgon angle in Savage Tide a year later?

Seeds of Sehan by array of authors including B. Matthew Conklin III and Tom Ganz is another highly unlikely three-part Greyhawk series that begins in and around the city of Exag in the Yatil Mountains. When I say they were unlikely it's because the adventures ran co-currently with the ongoing major AP Savage Tide also set in Greyhawk. The modules were in issues #145 (Vile Addiction), #146 (Spawn of Sehan) and concluded in #147 (Dread Pagoda of the Inscrutable Ones). Part 1 also included a companion piece that details the mysterious town of Exag.

In the Shadows of Spinecastle is another underrated stand-alone adventure by Gary Holian and Stephen Greer. Set in Bone March, this mid-level module was featured in issue #148 and was important because it was published just in time since Paizo lost their license to the magazines and ended their run just two issues later.

The one thing all of these modules have in common is I never ran them. The length of time devoted to the various APs and Maure Castle made it impossible, but I do mean to say I enjoyed each and every issue mentioned above; and I certainly always looked forward to the next because Paizo was an integral part of the Greyhawk community. Paizohawk was an era that we will probably not see the likes of again.


Stelios V. Perdios said...

I agree, most of those Greyhawk adventures in Dungeon were gold.

"Fiend's Embrace" in issue #121 was also a good adventure. The PCs had to search for demonic cloak somewhere in the Cold Marshes. It was almost sandbox-style adventure, but the PCs has to find the artifact before servants of Iuz did.

I feel that Dungeon really hit its stride under Paizo. I know it saved me hours of prep time as a 3.5e DM.

Mystic Scholar said...

As long as you're still around, I don't think there's very much that's going to get "forgotten," my friend.

Thanks for the reminders. I seriously need to revisit some of these . . . and soon!