Monday, February 8, 2016

Retro - Review & Commentary On S2 White Plume Mountain By Lawrence Schick For Advanced Dungeons & Dragons And Your Old School Campaigns

 Well our adventurers have been contacted and contracted to bring back three notoriously dangerous magical artifacts. A trident, a war hammer and a sword, each possessing its own intelligence and incredibly dangerous in their own right. Do you have what it takes to complete the journey to White Plume Mountain?
Welcome back my dear readers, we've survived the latest arctic blast of snow and terrible weather here in Connecticut, an adventure has occupied my thoughts as of late. White Plume Mountain by Lawrence Schick has always been one of those modules and adventures that has both intimidated the hell out of me and has been a blast to run.Tonight I'm going to speak about White Plume Mountain. This module is devious, devilish, and twisted in its old school style for an Advanced Dungeons and Dragons adventure.The adventure centers itself around a exploration of a vast mega dungeon according to Wiki"the adventure is a dungeon crawl where the players' characters are hired to retrieve three "notorious" magical weapons: a trident, a war hammer and a sword, each possessing its own intelligence.The weapons' former owners each received a copy of a taunting poem, instructing them that the weapons are located in White Plume Mountain. The poem is signed by the wizard Keraptis, who thirteen hundred years ago descended into the volcanic mountain with a company of gnomes and disappeared."
 Here's what a minor breakdown of the module looks like once again according to Wiki "The adventure is divided into 27 encounters across a 16-page module. Encounters are varied and each presents its own challenges. Encounter seven necessitates characters jumping from platform to platform above a sea of hot mud whilst evading erupting geysers; this in turn leads to encounter eight and a room of permanent darkness where a vampire guards Whelm. Encounter 17 occurs in a giant but fragile bubble located above a boiling lake, with the players needing to defeat a giant crab and retrieve Wave without damaging the bubble. Encounter 26 involves negotiating a magical ziggurat populated by various monsters (including sea lions, giant crayfish, giant scorpions, and manticores) before encounter 28, a battle against an ogre mage who possesses Blackrazor. A final challenge on departing is an encounter with two to four efreet if the characters have succeeded in taking two or three of the magical weapons."
This review and commentary concerns the original incarnation of the fun house dungeon to end all. This is a very well done module that will challenge even the most die hard AD&D or retroclone gamer. This is a challenging sword and sorcery module with a pretty nice little plot to back up its craziness and old school weirdness.
 One thing about White Plume Mountain it is only very lightly tied into Greyhawk, with a bit of work the environs of S2 could be transplanted over to your own campaign world or setting.But given its weird and strange nature I personally would move it over to Hyperborea in the volcanic regions of of that setting. Because of the nature of Keraptis and his weird obsessions in the module I could see him moving the entire mountain ala the Stormbringer novels across the planes where and when  he wills it. The entire purpose of this module is to keep Keraptis entertained and in that capacity it excels at it.
 There is something incredibly appealing about S2 and the way it handles its NPC and plot is rather brilliant. if you looking for a fun house dungeon. This is the ultimate expression of the dungeon as both s puzzle heavy dungeon and intimating monster encounters;. Make no mistake this is one hell of a deadly old school module with plenty of opportunities for players to make a series of bad rolls that could result in a total party wipe out if the DM isn't careful. Because the adventure is only lightly connect to Greyhawk. There's plenty for DYI AD&D customization on the DM's part. The DM shouldn't worry about the standard AD&D style monsters if he or she wishes to use these with their favorite sword and sorcery retroclone system. Wizards collect unique monsters and often times have very dangerous specimens especially wizard's of this module's level.

This is not so much a module as it is a mini campaign with lots of opportunities for expansion, plenty of sword and sorcery action, and it can easily be dropped right into your own campaigns with little problem. This one is a favorite of mine because the Great Swamp, White Plume Mountain, and Castle Mukos didn't match up with anything else within Greyhawk though the text of the adventure clearly places White Plume Mountain in the Shield Lands, near the Great Rift. It can easily be moved where the DM needs it go. I've even seen a customization or two place White Plume within a fantasy version of Iceland and Greenland for a game of Lamentations of the Flame Princess. I could also see using White Plume as a part of a very gritty and dangerous Dark Albion campaign.

Sometimes classic is classic for a reason and White Plume Mountain By Lawrence Schick  falls within this category. The module is iconic, dangerous, very deadly but gosh darn it if this isn't a fun module

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.