Thursday, April 16, 2020

Review & Commentary On CC5 Assault on R'lyeh By Frank Mentzer & Robert Kuntz A 'What If' Overview & Review Of A Greyhawk Adventure & Source book & Lovecraftian Campaign Setting Set Up For Advanced Dungeons & Dragons First Edition Or OSRIC

 "Cthulhu still lives, too, I suppose, again in that chasm of stone which has shielded him since the sun was young. His accursed city is sunken once more, for the Vigilant sailed over the spot after the April storm; but his ministers on earth still bellow and prance and slay around idol-capped monoliths in lonely places. He must have been trapped by the sinking whilst within his black abyss, or else the world would by now be screaming with fright and frenzy. Who knows the end? What has risen may sink, and what has sunk may rise. Loathsomeness waits and dreams in the deep, and decay spreads over the tottering cities of men. A time will come—but I must not and can not think! Let me pray that, if I do not survive this manuscript, my executors may put caution before audacity and see that it meets no other eye."
Weird Tales (vol. 11no. 2)  (February 1928)  edited by Farnsworth Wright

The CC5 The Assault on R'leyh is the big one! The one that your players have been waiting for! Well they would be if they came face to face with the alternative universe where  my friend James Panarella's Advanced Dungeons & Dragons source book  titles that we wish were real were being published! 
Frank Mentzer & Robert Kuntz have been working with Gary Gygax & your player's PC's have started with CC1 Against The Cult of Cthulhu, CC2 Maelstrom of Cthulhu, CC3 Fortress of The Cult of Cthulhu, CC4 Arie of the Deep Ones, & the incredible deadly CC5 Assault on R'lyeh. This whole adventure cycle takes the PC's from first to the highest levels of twentieth level.
All of this comes down to the PC raid on the corpse city of R'leyh after going through the grind of CC1 Against The Cult of Cthulhu, CC2 Maelstrom of Cthulhu, CC3 Fortress of The Cult of Cthulhu, & the quest for  the Silver Key of Portals. But the lead ins & keys were made by DM's making in roads into 'The Call of Cthlhu' source book. This book introduced new classes, adventure hooks,  much more & revealed some of the extent of the Elder Gods machinations on Greyhawk. 
Nothing like a Jeff Dee Deep One for that old school Advanced Dungeons & Dragons feel. Everything comes down to the events on Fomalhaut & Greyhawk. Without dealing with the dungeons on Fomalhaut or crossing the Silver Threshold. Nothing in the adventure moves forward. But the key here is the fact that the treasure itself is designed to slow the PC's down. This gives the Mi Go horrors time to take out the PC's especially in the middle of CC4 Arie of the Deep Ones when the PC's find the planar gateway too the heart of Fomalhaut & the final confrontation with the Deep Ones & the Mi Go.

The Mi Go having infiltrated the highest levels of Greyhawk government & royals with their surgically enhanced doppelgangers. The brilliance of James Ward & Gary Gygax was their ability to work together to put the brain power of the '87 dream team of TSR with Roger E.Moore & Ed Greenwood into pulling the ideas that had been spilled into Dragon Magazine. Tim Kask even while teaching still had his hand in the over all arch of the direction of product during this time. We can see that these lines of influence set things in motion to take PC's from first level all of the way up to the heights of twentieth beginning with the 1st through third adventure  CC1 Against The Cult of Cthulhu. The evil humanoids have fallen for the siren song of the cult of Cthulhu. There are viking style raids across Greyhawk are feeding the blood lust of the tribes of orcs, ogres, & especially their giant kind masters! All leading into the lair of dungeon horror in the minor head quarters of the Cult of Cthulhu. Gary Gygax with Frank Mentzer & Robert Kuntz take this to the next level with CC2 Maelstrom of Cthulhu. The PC's face down a the wizard 'Cothl the insane' & his Deep One hybrid minions who are behind stirring up the giants.  The Elder Priests lair is revealed in all of its horror in CC4 Arie of the Deep Ones where the underwater action shifts to cities of the Deep Ones & the PC's come face to face with Shoggoths in the depths!

All of this stirs the pot for the awakening of Cthulhu & it spelling disaster as the dangerous & M.C. Escher  insanity of the megadungeon of  the incredible deadly CC5 Assault on R'lyeh. The PC's must prevent the awakening of Cthulhu by killing off the remaining Elder Priests & their inner council of dark priests. This is no easy task! The PC's must avoid the star spawn of Cthulhu. Dodge cultists who become a ready meal for the star spawn. The literal hundreds of side rooms contain some very dangerous monsters & high level treasures. But the real draw of CC5 Assault on R'lyeh is the satisfying conclusion to years of actual play.  CC5 Assault on R'lyeh hooks back around to the Call of Cthlu source book & contains the forgotten but slightly altered Gary Gygax dungeons & ruins.The unexpected corners of Castle Greyhawk. And the tie ins to T1 The Village of Hommlet & B2 Keep on the Borderlands both of course by Gary Gygax.

Is CC5 Assault on R'lyeh By Frank Mentzer & Robert Kuntz good? Bottom line its an artifact of another time & place indicative of the classic era of TSR. A classic Greyhawk module by itself & a part of a series that we wish was real. 
Ten Ways To Use The Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first Edition CC5 Assault on R'lyeh adventure & source book in Your Home Game
  1. The DM should drop hints early in their games especially using Gary Gygax's T1 The Village of Hommlet for the set up for the CC cycle of modules. An elder priest as a side quest is a perfect way.
  2. The connections from WG4 The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun into CC5 are very strong & these should be used to hint at the further outposts of the Elder priests temples of Lovecraftian Evil.
  3. The effects of the events of CC5 will echo into even the Forgotten Realms & these should be used to enhance the threat of the Elder Gods.
  4. Cults of the Elder Gods will be very much felt among the pirate clans of Greyhawk for generations & these should be exploited.
  5. The DM should take advantage of the horrors unleashed at the end of CC5 Assault on R'lyeh. This will impact a campaign of Greyhawk for years.
  6. PC death is an opportunity to introduce a Mi Go doppelganger but it takes a certain type of player to get into this with cooperation with the DM.
  7. The PC's could become stranded on a distant star during events of CC5 & this is the perfect time to get them involved in an interstellar campaign.
  8. Jeff Grub's AD&D planes book is perfect for a CC5 adventure run through especially any of the classic module's planar lead ins.
  9. Greyhawk is never gonna be the same for players after this series of modules. The outer fringes of Greyhawk are gonna hold some dangerous hold overs from CC5 & the other CC modules take full advantage of this for campaign plug ins
  10. One could use CC5 simply as a 'clock work' mechanism module with events happening by themselves but the PC's are not gonna get the full extent of the module's impact. But it could work

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