Thursday, October 3, 2019

Commentary & Running Arduin's Vault of the Weaver Adventure Collection By Dave Hargrave & co-written with Paul P Mosher

Its been a long time since Vault of the Weaver from Emperors Choice Games and Miniatures Corp  was held in my hands. This collection of adventures is seminial to Dave Hargrave whose work holds such an infamous & yet wonderfully long shadow in old school gaming. So what is Vault of the Weaver?! 

Vault of the Weaver  basically collects the infamous & classic modules of the three Arduin rpg books from The Arduin Grimoire I, The Welcome To Skull Tower II , & Runes of Doom III. All of which have been out of print since the Seventies except through speciality printers such as Dragon Tree Press. When Emperor's Choice was going full time I was able to grab a copy & finding information on line has been sparce there is a review on Goodreads & here is what's actually in the book;
"A compilation of previously published material by David A. Hargrave along with previously unpublished material co-written with Paul P Mosher.

Included are: Caliban, Citadel of Thunder, Howling Tower and Death Heart as well as Hive Home, The Heart of Darkness Campaign and Tomb of D'Haera."
"This is the Classic Arduin Module Collection of previously published Arduin Dungeons and some never before published Dungeons from the mind of David A. Hargrave!

...Harken back to the days of old! Feel the shiver of terror within the shadow of the Howling Tower! Brave the treacherous cliffs of the Thousand Thunder Falls...dare you venture behind the thundrous sheets of water? Sally forth in the name of glory, greed and adventure!

Arduin fans this is it! "Vaults of the Weaver" delivers six modules designed and written by David Hargrave in one book. From the flying dutchman of dungeons, "Caliban," to the depths of the never before published, "Hive Home," come experience the deadly dungeons of Hargravian history."

How does Vault of The Weaver distribute its adventures with regards to PC level? 

  • Arduin Dungeon No. 1: Caliban (mid level adventure levels 8 and up)
  • Arduin Dungeon No. 2: The Howling Tower (low-level adventure characters levels 1-4)
  • Arduin Dungeon No. 3: The Citadel of Thunder (mid level adventure character levels 5/8) 
  • Arduin Dungeon No. 4: Death Heart (high-level wilderness and dungeon adventures)
I was very lucky to get in on the ground floor of Vault of the Weaver & I've seen it crop up on ebay from time to time & here's the skinny from the Death Heart wiki entry;
"Death Heart was originally published by Grimoire Games and went out of print in 1984. In 2002 reprints of Death Heart were made available from Emperor's Choice Games and Miniatures, but were discontinued in August 2006. Since then, the company folded Death Heart and all other Arduin dungeon modules into a single publication called "Vaults of the Weaver""

 Hive Home (the only example of a Phraint hive by David ever published) & its a very interesting look inside the inner workings of the logical Phraint race of Arduin. These are insectoid PC race that can be brought to the table top by your players. They finally get their due in Hive Home. Like many of the Arduin modules this is a dangerous adventure/sourcebook.

These modules are from another time period entirely & they represent a 'kill or be killed instantly ' asthetic that was so common back in the late Seventies during the nader of original Dungeons & Dragons & Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. Now if you really want to get a feel for the Arduin grimoire series Jeff's Game Blog has a cover to cover read through. 

Another really solid blog source on all things Arduin Grimoire is Mr.Lizard's reviews & walkthroughs of the Arduin Grimoire these are seminal for understanding the ins & outs of the Arduin rpg experience. If I was going to run the Arduin setting today I'd use one book above many others & that's The World Book of Khaas, Legendary Lands of Arduin. This is the systemless all on the floor setting book for all things Arduin. Yeah that's right I said completely systemless just wall to wall campaign setting.

And what OSR system would I actually use to run my version of Arduin?! Well that would be Astonishing Sorcerers & Swordsmen of Hyperborea second edition. There are several reasons for this! The over arching PC classes, the techo science fantasy artifacts, the complete Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first edition system 
aesthetic of the game, & much more. 

This has been an interesting thought excercise but its one that I don't know if I'd run it?! Time will tell.. 

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