Eighty One was one of the most dangerous years for my PC's because of the release of A3 Assault on the Aerie of the Slave Lords By Allen Hammack. I've lost four PC's over the years to this bastard of a module but your going to need to use A3 because it delves deeply into the back drop & background of the slavers, their organization, operations, & the slaver's ties to Greyhawk. When we start looking into the production & history of the module via Wiki then we start to see the adventure's ties to Greyhawk & a possible in for a Barbarian Warlords of Greyhawk campaign grounding;
"Assault on the Aerie of the Slave Lords was published by TSR in 1981 as a thirty-two page booklet with an outer folder, and was written by Allen Hammack. The cover artwork by Jeff Dee features a drawing of five of the nine Slave Lords. These five are Nerelas the assassin, Mordrammo the priest, Feetla the master buccaneer, Ajakstu the magic-user, and Brother Milerjoi the monk. The interior art was done by Dee, LaForce, Otus, Roslof, and Willingham. This scenario continues the characters' search for the slavers deep under the Drachensgrab Mountains"
Part of the tie in is the Drachensgrab Mountains locations which play a central part in A3 Assault on the Aerie of the Slave Lords. These mountains ties in with various other Greyhawk locations & the deep adventure ties with the back ground of the T1 Temple of Elemental Evil makes A3 Assault on the Aerie of the Slave Lords solidly Greyhawk. A3 Assault on the Aerie of the Slave Lords also has the feel of a mid issue of a Marvel's Sword of Conan comic from this time this also makes the adventure perfect for using with a Barbarian Warlords of Greyhawk campaign.
Erol Otus Piercers from A3 Assault on the Aerie of the Slave Lords
If the PC's have been playing through this series they've already had trusted adventurers & hirelings or reinforces that they've left behind back in the other adventure locations they've previously played through. So speaks the voice of experience who had a DM who occupied various locations with hobgoblins & other forces of Chaos when we played through in '81 & '96 respectively.
I’m using material the playtests version of the Heroic Fantasy & Barbarian Conquerors Collection. A3 Assault on the Aerie of the Slave Lords is one of the most pulpy adventures in the series. The near constant looking over the shoulders of the PC's as they pass from one encounter to another leads through the adventure like a winding Sword & Sorcery paper back from a spinner rack back in '81.
Hack & Slash style of play isn't the order of the day as the PC's navigate & role play their way through situation after situation that lends itself to a brutal journey through the heart of a dangerous labyrinth used to lure the party into a secret tunnel leading to the hidden city of Suderham.
Suderham is a town located in a volcanoic crater & let me tell ya this is a location that a Bond villain would be proud to own. Over the years I've had various groups play through A3 Assault on the Aerie of the Slave Lords & every one of em wanted that town! For a domain level game this a perfect location for a group of adventurers to set up their own little domain level kingdom for conquest of Greyhawk.
The problem? Oh just those pesky slaver lords & their own agenda which seems to consist of enslaving & selling off any & all inhabitants of Greyhawk their operation can get its hands on!
Make no mistake A3 Assault on the Aerie of the Slave Lords is a thinking DM's module & its own brand of twists & turns. This one is meant to challenge players of levels four to seven & they do mean it. For an Adventurer, Conqueror, King game this doesn't at first seem a likely candidate. It actually does work as a 'Barbarian Warlords of Greyhawk Campaign' addition here's why.
- Military launch point & operation of the slavers in play. All the PC's have to do is hold the location of Suderham.
- Perfect Sword & Sorcery tie in location for the forces of T1 The Temple of Elemental Evil.
- The ties in for many other Greyhawk locations makes this a linch pin module giving a ton of other adventure opportunities for the DM.
- Further dungeons means further problems for the player's PC's.
- How far does the corruption of the Slave lords extend? Could there be other slave lords that the PC's know nothing about? Back in '83 we stumbled upon another operation similar to the slave lords inspired by a Conan comicbook that the DM had read. Suddenly we were face to face with another warlord with delusions of grandeur. Don't be afraid to add or edit the slave lords as the campaign or players deem.
- This is a thinking man's tournament module and should be used as such.