Saturday, June 29, 2013

Dungeon #215: The Last Slave Lord

Just in time, Wizards has released the download for Dungeon #215 which includes a module I've been anxiously waiting to see. No it is not The Rolling Tomb by Will Doyle. Though at a casual glance that high level (21-23) adventure firmly reminds me of The Doomgrinder but set in desert. Take it for what you will.
No, the module I mean is The Last Slave Lord by Robert J. Schwalb. This issue marks the first time the magazine has published an original AD&D adventure since way back in Dungeon #81! The adventure is for characters 6th to 9th level and most importantly is full of World of Greyhawk goodness. By all accounts Mr. Schwalb does a good job in researching the past events and characters of the Against the Slave Lords series from which this tale continues:

"The long nightmare is over. The Slave Lords have finally been defeated. Their wicked city, Suderham, has been reduced to ash, along with the slavers and their monstrous legions. No longer must the good people of the Wild Coast watch the horizon for yellow sails. No longer must they fear being ripped from their homes and carried away to far-flung lands. The victims of the slavers’ depredations have begun the long journey to recovery. A new day has dawned.

Or has it?"
It does help to have a working knowledge of the A-series modules, but the cursory background provided is enough to get started. Here is some other tidbits and spoilers concerning the module:

1. AD&D players will be pleased to see concise stat lines, 1-4 sentences at the most.
2. There are random encounter charts for day and night. Gotta love random monsters.
3. The adventure takes place in Darlene map hex X4-155. Find it on your own. ;)
4. There is about 10 pages of 4th edition conversion notes at the end.
5. The underused Suloise deity Bralm is featured.

Who is the last Slave Lord you ask? Unfortunately you'll have to find that on your own if you have a D&DI subscription, I won't spoil it for everyone. If you're still curious though, just drop me a line. I will comment however that I haven't yet read into how The Last Slave Lord meshes with Greyhawk canon in the 2nd Edition sourcebook Slavers. My hope is that they don't cross over at all. Of course individual campaign tastes will vary. Download this rare Greyhawk module now!

Update 05/21/2021: Link changed to DMsGuild. Your source for all 4e-era D&D material.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Sea Princes: The Mines of Hokar

As promised here is some pertinent details from one of my Sea Princes campaign spin-off, the dungeon-grind Mines of Hokar.

The sole entrance to the mines is tightly controlled by guards and an accountant for the Marquis of Hokar who closely records what "dungeoneers" go down with and what they come back with. Explorers are given these conditions before accessing the mines:

1. Half of all valuables found in the mines goes back to the Marquis (coins, gems, jewelry).
2. Metal items (armor, weapons, etc.) will be bought back by the ruler at half cost. Usually such items belonged to adventurers who never made it back alive.
3. The ruler gives dungeoneers a 10 g.p. bounty for each fresh left claw from a surviving "scaly-race". Troglodytes are a persistent sentient threat below.
4. For each gold Toli Captain coin recovered, the Marquis will pay a reward of 500 g.p.

Needless to say some days venturing down in the mines is profitable, other times the PCs are lucky to come back with their own gear intact.

A unique feature of the Mines of Hokar is the nicknamed rooms. After several years of meat grinding in the dungeon, numerous people have explored the same rooms over and over. In time these chambers have all earned nicknames which are left on signs or scrawled on walls to welcome newcomers to the mines. Such locations usually live up to their name too. A few of my favorites so far are:

The Lobby: The first room all dungeoneers come to, a sort of safe rest area. Two turnkeys watch a set of several numbered doors and let PCs into the dungeon proper. When the dungeoneers want back in the lobby to leave, they must knock the number of times on the door first. The only rule, don't be followed back.

Kill Alley: Written on a shield in dry blood is the words Kill Alley. This part of the former mine lives up to its reputation with many ambushes starting the moment the Lobby door is locked behind the PCs.

Mud Junction: a large cavern with a perpetually muddy floor. The mud should not be and is rumored to be magically created. Dungeoneers find moving through this location difficult, more so when trogs are trying to throw javelins at them.

Clatterhall: This huge cavern was once the center of much of the mines work. Now it is littered with years worth of debris; crumbled rock, wood, glass, bones, chains, pottery, etc. Walking through here without making a noise or hurting oneself is a task.

What the players are on the lookout for are rooms without a nickname, which is a sure sign they've ventured farther than anyone beforehand...

That's all for now. Next time, more on Hokar in my campaign and a bit on the Marquis and his prized coins.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

A Few Greyhawk Things

Welcome Greyfriends. Just checking in quickly to link a few items of note related to Greyhawk that you may have missed or likely already know.

First up is Anna Meyer. She is currently working on the Tilvanot Peninsula, home to a certain group of monks. Follow the link to see her progress on this vastly underused location.

Next up is a special adventure published over at old school fansite Dragonsfoot by author David Prata titled The Tower of Azal'Lan. This module is set in the Adri Forest region of the World of Greyhawk setting. If the name sounds familiar it's for good reason. Mr. Prata writes:

"The lich Azal'Lan ruled his people with an iron fist, that is until his enemies marched against him and he was forced to flee and was never heard of again. An AD&D adventure for 5-9 characters of level 4-6."

Download it HERE

Last up is from Wizards. The reprint of Against the Slave Lords is now released and to celebrate this, amazing comic artist Jason Thompson has put out another of his incredible module walkthrough maps. This time he covers Slave Pits of the Undercity. Check it out.

Update 05/21/2021: Anna Meyer site link changed. Jason Thompson's entire collection of walk-thru maps are linked compliments of Rended Press.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Castle Greyhawk: Chapter Two Begins

Welcome home Greyhawk fans! It's been a week since it actually debuted but I've finally got around to promoting the start of our first page of the second chapter of the Castle Greyhawk graphic novel saga. Scott Casper is taking us into new exciting directions this time around so be sure to follow the link to get his intro exposition. Or you can just view the first page HERE, courtesy of Maldin's Greyhawk.

Artist's Commentary: Drawing architecture is always fun and daunting. Trying to convey enough detail to make it look realistic without overdoing it is the key in comic illustration. In some areas I am overjoyed, others I could probably go back to the drawing board. But alas I have no time, and must press on to next page.

I also dig Robilar, he's got a lot going on with his outfit, facial hair and a bow. Shew, this is going to be interesting.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Coming Soon From Dragon

Much like my recent update of Wizards' Dungeon ezine, this month's issue, Dragon #424 is not the focus of this post. This despite some interesting article topics on dragons and the Martek/Desert of Desolation mods. No, I'm here to tell you again that next month's issue will be somewhat Greycentric. There is a couple previews to note...

The Anatomy of Elemental Evil by Thomas Reid

"What is the essence of Elemental Evil? How did something so basic and fundamental as elemental worship become twisted into the insidious cult made famous by its iconic temple? What is the relationship between Zuggtmoy, Iuz, Tharizdun and Lolth? We deftly slice this Gordion knot so anyone can understand the dark, twisted force that is Elemental Evil."

History Check: The Temple of Elemental Evil by Skip Williams

"The Temple of Elemental Evil, a deliciously infamous place, looms large in the memories of thousands of roleplayers. Legions of heroic alter egos began their careers on the dusty streets of Hommlet and persevered until they had plumbed the mysteries of the last accursed elemental node in the temple's forbidden depths. The temple's rise and fall are fully documented here for the first time."

Stay tuned for more on these articles and yes readers, you will need a subscription to read these issues.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Desolation of Smaug Trailer

Aww yeaaaah! This trailer has got me excited for the next episode of the Hobbit series (as silly as that sounds). I could use a lot less peripheral characters however, though they are what fills in the time I guess. I don't care really, just seeing Smaug is going to be worth the price of admission.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

On the Shores of Lake Quag

I've recently been reading a series of posts by Christian over at the blog destination uknown. He has been posting bits of an old campaign "On the Shoes of Lake Quag" since last October and they are worth sharing. He creatively provides well written game content along with pics, stats and so forth. Things like Gaunt Willow and Iuz Carrion Birds should whet your appetite. Go on over and have a see.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Two New Sea Princes Campaigns

Yes, I am out of my mind. So, those who have breezed through Greyhawkery before know that I have a long running high seas campaign set in and around the Hold of the Sea Princes. It was wildly successful with my game group and it generated a lot of enthusiasm by me to create more Greyhawk stuff such as my own hybrid sailing system, character portrait art and my favorite the South Seas Map. So successful was the first run that I've started two "spin-offs" with two different groups on two different nights. Pray to Pelor for me.
Anyway, I have to say straight up to my players that I won't be serializing these spin-offs in detail like I did for my original group. That's a lot of work that I don't have the patience for. What I will do however is try and publicize some of the good ideas and content that comes out of these two Sea Princes campaigns. We'll see how it goes. For a sneak peak I'll give a summary of my Sea Princes spin-offs:

The Mines of Hokar
In the city of Hokar the Hold once minted their own coinage using slave and prison labor to mine for scarce metal deposits. From his dungeon workshop and vaults the Marquis of Hokar crafted a rare set of golden coins called the Toli Captains. Twenty years ago, two slaves, one a cleric of Ralishaz and a dark druid of the Amedio rose up and threw the mines into disarray. Suddenly the Oerth quaked and monsters sprang from exposed tunnels slaying all in their path. Meanwhile the cackling servant of Ralishaz breached the vault and scattered the treasures of Hokar to the Underdark, including the Marquis' prized gold coins. Though the forces of Hokar managed to seal the dungeons, the two slaves were never seen again.
Now it is 577 CY and the Marquis' son seeks to regain his family's fortune. He hires down on their luck "dungeoneers" to plumb the depths of the old mines and slay every creature they can while recovering anything of value that may have belonged to the nobility, especially the lost Toli Captains.

The Hideous Adventures
On the far side of Jeklea Bay is the former Sea Princes colony of Sasserine. Here at the edge of the ominous Amedio Jungle, the crew of the Sea Cudgel is abused and berated by their superiors working for Thunder River Lumber. Almost at a breaking point after a hard day of work, the crew is surprised when several dock-workers draw weapons and force the surrender of the Cudgel's officers. The hijacked vessel is actually the renamed Hideous formerly of the piratical Crimson Fleet and it's true owner is none other than the dreaded Captain Ironclaw McGrath. Ironclaw was captured, escaped prison and fought many leagues to get back. On the deck of his lost ship at last, Captain McGrath gave the mistreated crew a choice and those who wisely sided with the pirates are now part of the Hideous, bound for far-off ports to trade and find adventure.