A1 – Slave Pits of the Undercity
Sea-faring slavers are ravaging coastal towns and villages. The slavers are using Highport as a base of operations. The adventurers must stop them.
An escaped slave has given information on a ruined temple entrance on the outskirts of the city.
Head of the Snake – Some organization is causing problems for the locals. The players must track the bad guys back to the source and eliminate the threat.
A ruined temple compound and the sewers beneath it.
The predominant monster in this module is the orc. The number of encounters involving dopplegangers borders on the ridiculous; to the point that I was surprised one of the dopplegangers wasn’t actually a doppleganger in disguise.
orc (159), giant ant (38), half-orc (34), aspis (22), ghoul (21), stirge (20), giant rat (20), human (16), zombie (12), skeleton (12), harpy (8), giant weasel (7), doppleganger (6), crocodile (6), ogre (5), basilisk (4), wight (1), sundew (1), green slime (1), gray ooze (1), troll (1)
This is a tournament module so the adventure is pretty straight-forward: Kick in the door; Kill everything or avoid the trap; Repeat. Other than a freed slave that may join your team, there is not much non-player characterization.
• Random encounter tables include the maximum number of a creature. Unless the party leaves the area, the monsters do not replenish their ranks. For example, on the Wall Encounter Table, a roll of 8 indicates 1-4 harpies. Say you encounter 3 harpies in a random encounter and later you encounter the harpies again. There can only be 1 harpy because the maximum is 4.(pg 2-3).
• As noted above, there is a comically high number of dopplegangers.
• The Temple Chamber encounter (pg 10) is interesting. A evil cleric and her half-orc guards stand before a gigantic statue of a one-eyed orc lofting a a sword above its head. A troll “made tiny by a potion of diminution” is hidden inside a poorbox and springs out after battle ensues. I love these sorts of non-sequiturs in an encounter (as long as they aren’t over done.) They usually make a fight memorable. “And then a miniature troll leaps out of the poorbox, grows to full size in mid-air and claws your back!” “Uh! Ooo-kay.”
• The False Drum (pg 14) is a unique dungeon feature designed apparently to waylay the misophonic and obsessive compulsive. A giant overturned cask makes a a repetitive sound resonate through the sewer whenever a water drop strikes it. If the cask is moved, the sounds stops which alerts intelligent creatures that someone is in the area.
• The Slave Lord’s Den (pg 18) paints a very quirky scene. The Slave Lord decided to situate his office right next to a moat of raw sewage. When intruders arrive, he orders his five trained giant weasels to leap over the sewage moat and attack while his ten orc guards pepper you with crossbow bolts. The Slave Lord then runs behind a crate and drinks a potion of invisibility so he can get in position to back stab. The crates of rations and supplies are for a slave caravan… stored next to an open pit of raw sewage. “Hey Thrask! Does this jerky smell funny to you?”
• Giant weasels and floaters aside, the ending is a let down. Among the Slave Lord’s supplies you discover a map of the slave caravan route that leads you to the next adventure, A2: Secret of the Slaver’s Stockade. Alas, your princess is in another castle.
Please add your own comments on the module below. Memorable moment’s from actual games would be great too. Hopefully, these annotations will become a resource for future game designer’s study.