Thursday, July 25, 2019

Adapting Dungeons of Dread For Old School Sword & Sorcery Campaign Play

"Dungeons of Dread is a collection of four classic, stand-alone Advanced Dungeons & Dragons adventure modules -- S1: Tomb of Horrors, S2: White Plume Mountain, S3: Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, and S4: The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth -- complete with original black-and-white interior art."

Stay in a hobby long enough & you might witness your own play as you go at the table top coming back to haunt you. This is the case with Dungeons of Dread by Gary Gygax & Lawrence Schick. I was challenged today to create a campaign that uses the Astonishing Swordmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea and this cycle of adventures. Yes this has been done before with 
Realms of Horror . But Realms of Horror has some very weird choices in editing & content when it comes to actually running that super module as a campaign. But add to this the idea of running these as a Hyperborean campaign & things get even more interesting. But I've got some ideas for actually running these adventures as an adventure cycle on AS&SH's Hyperborea.

Let's start off here with the idea of S1: Tomb of Horrors (1978) by Gary Gygax  & what the original killar dungeon is doing on Hyperborea. The idea is rather simple really not unlike Clark Ashton Smith's Empire of the Necromancer's story. Our demi lich has deep connnections to the royal bloodlines of Hyperborea especially within the capital & he's now challenging the best of the best adventurers of the land. Why?! Well to eliminate the competition of course. Our Demi lich awakens after the Green Death & goes about testing the best of the land.

If the characters survive their little vacation within S1: Tomb of Horrors (1978) by Gary Gygax then something that they've done within the tomb activates the original fun house of horrors Lawrence Schick's S2: White Plume Mountain (1979).  This little bit of menace has been the product of its returning lunatic wizard whose now testing & killing adventurers by the score not to mention the reappearance of one of the original 'swords of power'. This is a sign that some prophecy of Hyperborea has been fulfilled & now the objects of power are hearkening a dark harbinger from space heading for favorite Sword & Sorcery setting. 

This sets up Gary Gygax's 
S3: Expedition to the Barrier Peaks (1980) which is the original science fantasy crossover module. Here Pre Green Death era space craft has crashed into the Hyperborean mountains & is creating havoc as the monsters ravage the local countryside. 

The entire module doesn't really have to change at all to suit AS&SH's Hyperborea. The space craft is intact but totally insane as factions & monsters fight for dominance over the various inhabitants of the space craft. The robots are still dumping the alien monsters   into the countryside but there's the brave adventurers to take them on. I suggest using this adventure in a temperate zone of hyperborea because of the distribution of the monsters. My suggestion is to locate 
 Gary Gygax's S3: Expedition to the Barrier Peaks at the base of the spiral mountains so to easy the PC's into the thick of things. 

While dealing with S3 the PC's find a lead onto an ancient hoard of Hyperborean treasures beyond compare. The player's PC's must find the  The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth & deal with the blow back from this classic module by Gary Gygax. The spiral mountains make a very tempting target once word gets out about  The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth. S4 The  Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth By Gary Gygax is a classic & this module is easily adaptable to your old school campaigns. 

Adventurers by the score descend upon this location & turn up dead or not at all. The reputation of the caverns grows with each telling and the players are gonna have to deal with rival NPC adventuring parities. They'll also have to deal with the tons of monsters that serve a behind the throne toadies. All in all these are classic modules and highly adaptable to any dungeon master's old school or OSR needs. 

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