Friday, January 3, 2020

Dread & Corruption - I1 Dwellers of the Forbidden City by David 'Zeb' Cook With Additional OSR & Old School Resources - Session Report Eleven

"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! Information is presented here to reconstruct this exciting tournament and even more has been given to expand play. Here characters may adventure several times in a unique and interesting mini-campaign. Included in this module are background and tournament notes, referee's keys, new monsters, pre- generated characters, and eight different maps."
So begins the infamous I1 Dwellers of the Forbidden City: An Adventure for Character Levels 4-7 (Advanced Dungeons & Dragons) by David Cook published in 1981.

Now two modules that I've always used together are 
I1 Dwellers of the Forbidden City & E2 Isle of Dread by Dave Cook & Tom Moldvay. Now surely these two modules couldn't be used with my Cha'alt game could they? Well that's where your wrong! Sometimes talking with a player can stir up memories of the beginning of the campaign. In this case its my Cha'alt/Godbound rpg campaign set in a late Sevenities & Eighties modern day California. The Cha'alt dimensional/planar warp is opening up & gathering all kinds of weirdness to it merging worlds & time.  In this case E2's Isle of Dread & I1 The Dwellers of the Forbidden City have become part of the new frontier for adventurers. 

Right off the Channel Islands on the California coast things have gotten very strange & there are rumors of preshistoric monsters but what are the Channel Islands ; "
The Channel Islands (Spanishislas del Canal, ArchipiĆ©lago del Norte) form an eight-island archipelago along the Santa Barbara Channel in the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of Southern California. Five of the islands are part of Channel Islands National Park, and the waters surrounding these islands make up Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. The islands were first colonized as early as 13,000 years ago. Human remains from that period have been discovered."  in the Pacific ocean the Isle of Dread & I1 have positioned themselves. Scavengers & scum from Cha'alt have already infiltrated the islands. There's been clashes with the US military but there's been rumors of strange serpent men & even worse on the islands. Right now they are off limits to civilans but many Californians feel compelled to visit the islands. 

 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. So there's no real reason to change this leg of the module. But strange seemingly unknown South Eastern Asian people have been seen cycling through the population of Californians in the area. Because  Mr.Cook pulls a great deal of his monsters from the Fiend Folio this makes using I1 Dwellers of the Forbidden City for this campaign an ideal choice for this campaign.

Another idea that I'm thinking of using is to put 
 the Hidden Shrine of Taomochan onto the island to give the gods of Cha'alt a run for their money. Now this is nothing new at all. I've written about using some of the resources of the old Dragon's foot forums before;
"I put the Hidden Shrine of Taomochan into the city" this makes perfect sense and there's some really great resources in the Expanding I1 The Dwellers In The Forbidden City Thread on Dragon's foot's forums. 
Another great set of suggestions is by Ulan Dhor:
"Imade some changes to the module detailed here:


My campaign journal for our run through the module is detailed here:


Have fun with it, I found it to be one of my favorite runs through a published module, lots of open ended potential.


Ulan Dhor' 

This is gonna really put the 'cat among the pigeons' with our party's portal mage. . There are many weird Lovecraftian touches in I1 that could lead to even more adventure hooks and possibilities amid the ruins. One of my favorite monsters from the Fiend Folio is the Yellow Musk Creeper & Zombie. The Clark Ashton Smith story The Seed from the Sepulchre has some awesome suggestions about using such a Lovecraftian or is it Smithian monster. The sandbox nature of ' Dwellers of the Forbidden City' is in  a similar vein to  CAS 's The Demon of the Flower which can be used as an inspiration to unleash all kinds of Hell upon a party and might be grown by the Yu erm serpent men.

I might also locate a Cha'alt drug factory producing Zoth on Santa Rosa island. They've been blending into the local background while strong arming their way with the locals. But what they don't know about is the unholy presence that's taken up residence under the  Santa Cruz national park.

Dyson Logos  generously pointed out that he's done a number of maps for various locations throughout I1 Dwellers In The Forbidden City. "I've done some maps to detail some parts of the city when we last played through it."

" And for those planning on running it, here's a cleaned up scan of the main map with all DM notations removed - particularly handy if the party enters via the giant tree access point which gives them a good overview of the city"

All of this can be used to pretty much establish the Y erm serpent men empire right within the heart of California. The gods & immortals of Cha'alt are not gonna sit down for this however. 

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