Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Review & Commentary Lich Lords Adventure Module By Lynn Sellers of Mayfair Games's Role Aids for Advanced Dungeons and Dragons First Edition & Your Old School Campaigns

"After countless millenia, A DARK POWER AWAKENS.

You have been summoned to appear before your king, who was once a great man, but is now held fast in the icy grip of fear. Trembling, he tells of mighty earthquakes to the north that destroyed villages and unearthed the... FORGOTTEN CITY OF THE LICH LORDS

Enter the catacombs of this buried city and find the way to destroy the evil before it brings the onslaught of eternal night. The fate of the living world is in your hands. Defeat the lords of darkness and great reward is yours. Fail and see a world... CRUSHED BY SKELETAL HANDS.

LICH LORDS is a high level quest for 6 to 8 adventurers of Skill Level 12 to 16. Brave every danger in the quest to rid the world of the most awesome of undead.""

1985 ... Lynn Sellers & Frank Frazetta (cover) ... 32 pages + centerfold cardstock map ... MGI 726 ... ISBN 091277133X"

It takes a certain mind set to run Lynn Sellers Lich Lords, as in this is a rather nasty piece of an old school Mayfair Role Aids adventure. Seems straight forward, the high level party of adventurers is hired by the king to destroy the evil undead lich lords. And that's where everything goes completely South. 

The picture was taken from this Etsy seller whose got the module for 30.00 dollars U.S. 
Lich Lords normally goes for forty five on Ebay.

In actuality the party is hired by the king but finds out that the lich lords despise  one another & the party has to decide how to enemy of my enemy is my friend. The problem is that the lich lords are in a weakened state & you can't fool around. By day fifteen their gonna be at full power & deadlier then ever! The downside to this module is the fact that its not a sandbox but a bit of a rail roadie dungeon setting.
There's a lot to like with Mayfair's Lichlords not only are they nasty high level undead for first edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons but these guys will give any party of adventurers embolisms.  The maps & cartography are easy on the eyes & the lost city of the lich lords has some potential for even further adventuring.

Lynn Sellers is in top form here bringing the '85 undead pain to the party of adventurers & bring it hard. This is a module that works on the PC levels being twelve to fourteen for a reason. And that reason is the pure lethality of the undead royals. The problem is that the dungeon aspect is very linear. But there's so much to love here, the setting material is gold, the NPC's are completely nasty. And the adventure premise is pure eight five metal. My suggestion is to take the module adventure elements & completely ditch the dungeon crawl aspect. I'm not the only reviewer who felt this way either The Funky Grognard tumbler had this to say in his review of Lich Lords;  "Get rid of the dungeon crawl altogether.  Tear it up!  Toss it! Set it on fire!  Use it to line the bottom of your stupid parakeet’s cage! Focus on the political infighting amongst the Lich Lords and how the PCs either capitalize on their position as outsiders to take down these douchebag dickholes or become expendable pawns in their power games.  I would also opt to utilize an open world environment for this game, allowing the players to decide as to how they want the adventure to progress."

In fact I go just a bit further with Lich Lords & flesh out the undead city more. Keep the adventure's dungeon but use it for other undead NPC's possibly lesser undead nobles or the like. The Lich Lords is classic & classic for a reason & that reason is the whole cloth adventure, NPC's & actual solid use of the adventure material.

By using Lich Lords with the original Advanced Dungeons & Dragons  first edition Dungeon Master's Guide its possible to back fill in some of the implied adventure back story & other dungeons that's talked about. Between the random dungeon generator & the random infernal monster generators the whole cloth back story of the 'lost city' could be filled in.

Mayfair games Lich Lords isn't by any means perfect but the quality is very ahead of its time for an Eight five product & it remains an old favorite of mine around the table top.

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