Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Retro Review For Module Xs2 Thunderdelve Mountain By William Carlson For Dungeons & Dragons Expert Sets & Your Old School Campaigns

Thunderdelve  Mountain about as metal a Dwarven adventure as you can get, the blurb is like something Wagner meets Tolkien on a mountain someplace and this is their baby. This is supposed to be a solo module but at levels seven to nine its more of a fully realized Dwarven party romp through the lair of a red dragon.  Thunderdelve Mountain is an adventure tailored for solo play and doesn't get talked about at all these days.

I got a copy of  Thunderdelve Mountain for Christmas from a friend and I've got to say its not a bad little adventure at all. For Dwarven D&D players this would be a solid little adventure to take a party through.

"The ancient dwarven kingdom of wonder and fable is no more! Only the tales of it's grandeur remain to entertain the children, or so you thought.

Then you met Nimron. Distraught and desperate, you alone can pass the gates sealed so long ago. Within are the lairs of bandits, cutthroats, and worse. The evil that destroyed the dwarven home - the Halls of Paradise - is awakened again. Into this horror ventured the dwarven princess Grona Marblefist to reclaim her kingdom. She, like so many others, has not returned.

Now, you must face this peril alone.

According to Waynes books you've got to watch out for this bit on used copies of the adventure;"This solo module has a curious feature: Each entry has a corresponding room or hallway section, intended for the solo player to sketch onto the blank map in the back, slowing revealing the entire dungeon.
This also means that many used copies will have the dungeon in back already filled out.

My copy came from a yard sale this past Summer and there isn't any marks or writing in it. Back to the adventure and adapting it to actual party play. There's something very tragic about Thunderdelve Mountain and operatic its almost one part Tolkein and one part sword & sorcery as your party descents into the lair. Your off to restore your honor and be heroic but this is a red dragon's lair. I was reminded at some points of Lamentations of the Flame Princess's Dwarves.
A dying race of warriors pushed to the edge of extinction trying like hell to reclaim some of their former glory.

"Thunderdelve Mountain is a solitaire adventure for the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS Expert game. Players who don't wish to face the fallen Halls of Paradise alone may also use this adventure for group play.", this is precisely what your going to want to do. 
After really reading through this module and thinking about it last night I've got to say that this one is a good choice for a mix party of sword and sorcery adventurers. It really will challenge a a smaller group of players perhaps six or so. Dwarven clerics, warriors, and a human wizard or thief are going to be a must.
So one of the things that I've done with this module and thought about is to place Thunderdelve Mountain in a dark fairy tale Europe and I'm thinking either in the Romanian Mountains or someplace in Russia. The adventure has a dark adventure feel where one misstep and you end up in the bowels of horror. Think classic Disney's Dragon Slayer film and the lair of the dragon, your going to be on its terms and within is realm.
The big complaint that I've seen on line is the map for this adventure, well the Vaults of Pandius website has a solidly done composite map right over here

Could this module be used for the Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea rpg system? Absolutely it could with a bit of modification, Dwarves in the AS&SH games I've played in and DMed fall into two different schools of thought for their creation. One this race is the bastard children of the maggot peoples of Underborea or two they might be a servant race of another Lovcecraftian race of monsters. The on going debate among my friends is which one. Personally I've used them as cannon fodder for the Elder Things and their bloody handed violence fits the pattern personally for them.As for where I'd place the adventure I would say within the central patterns of Hyperborea's Mountains where there is plenty of room for a beast such as a red dragon to cause the mayhem that they do. As for the fact that Red Dragons don't appear within AS&SH, make the monster a one off and be done with it. A relic and horror from the old times which fits with the general over all pulpy tone of the game. 

Is this a perfect module? Not by a long chalk but it is fun and has some really interesting things going for it and there's a bit of online support for it if you dig. Rpgnet even has a walk through of play if your curious about it here

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