Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Building upon X3: "Curse of Xanathon" (1982), by Douglas Niles For Old School Campaign Play

As I said changing up some of the political elements in "X3: "Curse of Xanathon" (1982), by Douglas Niles can vary the adventure while fine tuning the adventure for more campaign play. Specifically a royal coup is going to really damage Rhoona down to its political core. The real quest is can the politics of the region be salvaged after the events of the adventure? X3 details the Jarldom of Rhoona in Vestland, part of the Northern reaches of Mystara & here's where the inner core of the turmoil begins for the PC's.

Part of the action of "X3: "Curse of Xanathon" (1982) feels like it takes place off stage with an adventure plot centered around the immortals Cretia and Forsetta we should be seeing more of them & their followers. The should be front & center perhaps with the coup we would. Dungeon mastering this adventure the whole notion of a 'rail road' style campaign isn't going to work. Instead there's five ways of doing this: 
  1. Take the treacherous guard captain, Draco Stormsailer & make him central to the coup.
  2. Deal with the divine elements of the the Duke of Rhoona & move forward. 
  3. The players are tasked with solving a political affair  in order to remove the curse instead of solving the mystery. 
  4. Expand upon & add more depth to the affairs of the immortals involved in Rhoona.
  5. Make this module work better with the   Expert Rules(supporting levels 4–14) so that later on the events have a deeper impact later on in the  Companion Rules (supporting levels 15–25). 
"X3: "Curse of Xanathon" is really heavy on its reliance of clerics & thieves in any number of areas & that delves deeper into the politics of Rhoona. The immortals here are playing in the lives the population. A lot of what we find in the rail road nature of the module needs to be tinkered with to make the adventure have deeper meaning over the long haul of a campaign. The review of "X3: "Curse of Xanathon" by Doug Crowie from Imagine magazine (June 1983). "Game Reviews". Imagine (review). TSR Hobbies (UK), Ltd. (3): 15 gives some deeper insight into how to do exactly this; "Doug Cowie gave the module a positive review in Imagine magazine.[1] He called it a "welcome addition to the list of Expert Set modules",[1] but nevertheless had some problems with it. The detective-style module requires the player characters to proceed in an orderly fashion through five scenarios. Cowie noted that "No party of players that I have known ever does what they are supposed to, in the right order, through five different adventures."[1] The players are railroaded by a non-player character who "pops up whenever the party is going astray"[1] and three of the five adventures are initiated by an appearance of the ducal herald. In spite of this, Cowie thought that "this is a good module to play",[1] and he specifically praised the way the town is presented. He finished his review by calling it "a module rich in character and invention",[1] and "although it is unlikely that any party will follow through the story line [...] without a lot of guidance, if the DM can avoid making the players feel over-manipulated, there will be much enjoyment to be had."
Cut down on the rail road elements & cross cut the three separate adventures by using other NPC's besides the 
 ducal herald. I think that town in "X3: "Curse of Xanathon" could play a greater part by introducing other urban encounters. What the PC's are actually navigating is the threat of the Dwarven Army breathing down their necks. 

The real threat here is 
battling  Xanathon, Draco, and their minions in order to lift the curse upon the Duke of Rhoona. The party is going to have to dive deep on this one because there are factions in play here in "X3: "Curse of Xanathon" that are out to destroy the adventurers at all costs. 
 "X3: "Curse of Xanathon" deep on the politics & Sword & Sorcery elements of Mystara? Yes & that's where this module shines in my opinion. This is a commentary & not a review per say.  If Xanathon the High Priest of Cretia survives the adventure he might become a major enemy of the party.

Xanathon the High Priest of Cretia By Tim Truman
"X3: "Curse of Xanathon" (1982) as an adventure module could be used to advance a major political campaign arch for an Expert Dungeons & Dragons game. The whole cloth of the module could then be used at later levels up to & including  the Immortals Rules (supporting Immortals—characters who had transcended levels) a major faction & set of foes much later on. Personally I don't think that  X3: "Curse of Xanathon" (1982), by Douglas Niles gets the credit it deserves. 

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