Friday, October 13, 2017

OSR Commentary - Strange Lost Worlds of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st Edition's I1 Dwellers of the Forbidden City By Dave Cook

"Somewhere in the heart of the steaming jungle lies the answer to the whispered tales - rumors of a magnificent city and foul, horrid rituals! Here a brave party might find riches and wonders - or death! Is your party brave enough to face the terrors of the unknown and find - the Forbidden City!"
Where do I really begin with I1 Dwellers of the Forbidden City By David Zeb Cook? Its an old favorite module of mine that I've run countless times for large groups of experienced players & it reeks with the hollowness of its pulpy underpinnings. The real heart of the module is the quasi oriental city of the module. With Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea second edition winging its way to the door steps of the Kickstarter backers I'm dusting this classic off from 1981. Today I began to think about 'I1 Dwellers of the Forbidden City' because of its self contained adventure setting & isolated adventure location. I1 is a mini sand box location with its own self contained factions & weirdness that could potentially be used as a Hyperborean fragment adventure location. 

This is a module for PC's from levels 4 - 7 within an isolated ruined cityscape straight out of Robert Howard or even a Doc Savage novel. David Zeb cook thinks I1 might be the reason why he was hired by TSR in the first place.
"The module was written by game designer David "Zeb" Cook, who partly ascribes his hiring by TSR to his work on this module. In the adventure, the characters are hired to find an object taken to a lost oriental-style city, which has been taken over by a cult of snake-worshipers, the yuan-ti, and their servants, the mongrelmen and tasloi." But its the influence & deadliness of the snake cult that interests me tonight. These various factions compete against one another within I1 but many of the monsters of the modules compete against one another but could the mind numbingly dangerous religious cult of the Yuan-ti escape from I1 and back into Hyperborea? Hear me out here. The serpent men of Forgotten Fane of the Coiled Goddess be another faction competing against the Yuan-ti? With so many dwelling places within the city ruins of I1 its not hard to imagine.

Everything within I1 is geared for a South East Asian style adventure with its own unique Lovecraftian style twist. Having visited Thailand I can honestly say that the Yuan-ti can easily compete with or be traded in for the Serpent men  of Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea second edition's
'Forgotten Fane of the Coiled Goddess.' Given the map of I1 its easy to see how the hidden ruined city can become another part of the 'Serpent Isles'. By making the adventure module locations separate its easy to run I1 first to get the PC's levels up and then bring them through Forgotten Fane of the Coiled Goddess'. This gives the whole affair an epic mythological quality.

We are not talking a light weight campaign we're talking about a mini campaign of more then a couple of monthsBecause I1 was a competition module originally there is an element of having this become a campaign location where the party of adventurers will have to dip in and out of it in the tradition of an Edgar Rice Burroughs novel. This also means that the link between I1 & The Forgotten Fane of the Coiled Goddess is going to more then fleeting.
"Less than a month ago, your party found itself in Port Zangerios, where you heard of an Esquimaux thief selling a treasure map. Low on wealth but high in courage, you sought him out. The man turned out to be a fearful ex-slave who had “acquired” the map from his Ixian master. The map is incomplete but shews the Isle of the Serpent in far-off Lemuria, where rests a fabulous treasure called the Feathered Crown of Nanasa (or so thought the Ixian). Pooling your money to purchase the unfinished map, you bought passage on an Amazonian trade ship. After passing through tempests and torrential rains that shimmered with auroral light, you have come to the great city of Jhaman Ket. Now you must seek out the location of the Isle of the Serpent."

Within the introduction we're getting the outline to the placement, ideas, and possible hooks for not only the PC's but further adventures within this adventure. I've said before Forgotten Fane is as much source book as it is adventure. This means that the PC's are going to have more then their hands full with it. They're going to be running for their God forsaken lives with some of the monsters from this adventure.
The menace of 
the Yuan-ti make an excellent counter point to the lost world horrors of the monsters of the Forgotten Fane. If the Yuan ti get to the mainland of Hyperborea's jungles then there's going to be Hell to pay for the already beleaguered continent

I've written extensively about using I1 with Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea as a jump off point for domain level games. This style of lost world game is the complete opposite & journey into the heart of darkness of a lost world setting. Something similar to many of the ill conceived adventures of Clark Ashton Smith's
"The Tale of Satampra Zeiros" or Robert Howards Temple of the Toad From 'The Thing on the Roof'

The jungles of Lemuria from 'Forgotten Fane  of the Coiled Goddess' are highly dangerous & incredibly weird settings. The PC's are going to be up against some of the toughest customers that the old school can through at them in a one on one style of balls to the walls adventure mini campaign. Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea second edition has many of the existing monsters from Forgotten Fane and simply catalogs them. Players are not going to expect the Conrad's Heart of Darkness old school style mini campaign.

No comments:

Post a Comment

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