Thursday, May 11, 2017

Notes on Adapting The Village of Hommlet & The Temple of Elemental Evil For Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea or Your Old School Sword & Sorcery Campaigns

"Once far from any important activity, the Village of Hommlet became embroiled in the struggle between gods and demons when the Temple of Elemental Evil arose but a few leagues away. Luckily for its inhabitants, the Temple and its evil hordes were destroyed a decade ago, but Hommlet still suffers from incursions of bandits and strange monsters."

So last night I was thinking about T1: "The Village of Hommlet" (1979) which is one of the town based adventures that has a bit of everything that a party of first level adventurers need to begin. Everything is so well laid out from the home base for the PC's to the dungeon itself, well moat house actually. Its the adventure location that where everyone seems to know your name. Except its one of those disarming modules with some particularly lethal encounters & for low level PC's should not be taken lightly at all.
"T1: The Village of Hommlet is an AD&D (1st edition) adventure module for five to seven characters of first level."  This bit of description is one of the keys to dealing with the village. First of all the village is filled with ordinary people who are the 'salt of the Earth' types mixed in with spies for the elemental evil cult. There's a lot of depth to the history of the village & its that depth that makes it work as a great introductory module for AD&D 1st edition.
One of the things that I happen to love is the adaptability of  T1 & for that matter the Temple of Elemental Evil.

This isn't simply a module that can take player's PC's from levels one through four. It can become a defining lynch pin for the evil in a campaign but it will take some adapting. Here's how I would do it for Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea.  First of all gut the heck out of Hommlet as a well developed campaign starting point for everything AD&D. I don't mean disrespecting the material at all. I mean take all of the marketing baggage & AD&D material that has built up around Temple of Elemental Evil & jettison it.
Make the village of Hommlet your own, I can't stress this enough. All of the ordinary locations of Hommlet including  the village proper, the  inn, a guard tower, the  trading post all help to add to the ordinary colour of the place. Sounds like a horror film doesn't it? Not its more like something out of Weird Tales.

Giant Rats Again (Dave Trampier, AD&D module T1: The Village of Hommlet, by Gary Gygax, TSR, 1979)

the ruins of a moathouse where the true events leading up the adventures conclusion. The  PC's are given the final pay off. That's where the connection to the Clark Ashton Smith's 'The Coming of The White Worm' might be mended into the Temple of Elemental Evil's cult's background. This can be used to tie in The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth & The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun Adventures To Construct An Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea Rpg System Mega Campaign .
 The real reason for all of this might be the coming of the Ashen Worm in AS&SH  might reflect the rise of the cult of Tharizdun itself. In order to do this its going to require a lot of changes to the Temple of Elemental Evil.

  1. The Temple of Elemental Evil will have to be set in one of the empire of the Kimmerians backwaters.
    Hommlet was an important place in the empire's court but its glory has faded and faded again with the coming of the Green Death. 
  2. The rise of the Elemental Evil's cult  might mean that the stars are beginning to be right for Hyperborea & the cycles of the Smith mythos are coming into vogue bringing big trouble for the PC's. 
  3. All of this could tie into events in the back bone of S1 Temple of Elemental Evil or could be kicked off by some of the events of Beneath The Comet
  4. Many of the monsters of the Temple of Elemental Evil are very dangerous & DM's should be aware that there will be lots of PC deaths. 
  5. Sprinkle in some of the lost technology of AS&SH to give PC's a fighting chance. 
  6. Dungeon masters should bone up on their Clark Ashton Smith for a bit more background on this especially the Hyperborea cycle. 
  7. The Isle of the Serpent in far-off Lemuria,from the Forgotten Fane of the Coiled Goddess could be tied into all of this as a side quest to really give the campaign even more gravity. 
  8. The Rise of the cult has taken centuries possibly tying into the eons when the Green Death was active enabling evening more danger to the PC's should they survive the events.
  9. Monsters should not be explained simply they are another part of the Ashen Worm/Elemental Evil's forces. Sometimes the less said the better. 
  10. The PC's should have a stake in this from beginning to end so there is the possibility for domain level play. DM's are advised to take this into consideration because Hommlet could become their new kingdom later on. This gives even more opportunities for all kinds of pulpy deviltry on the DM's part.

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