Thursday, September 10, 2020

OSR Commentary - Adapting S4: The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth (1e) By Gary Gygax For A Greyhawk Sector Campaign

In the Yatil Mountains south of Perrenland there is rumored to be a magical hoard of unsurpassed value, a treasure of such fame that scores f adventurers have perished in search of it. Find the perilous Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth and you may gain the hidden wealth of the long-dead arch-mage -- if you live!"

The big problem with getting together with players is that someone comes up with a killer idea & then decides to pull me aside with a beer & to have a word. The word tonight was about two things one was The White Star Galaxy edition rpg  & the second was
S4: The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth By Gary Gygax. Now the suggestion was that the classic dungeon was once upon a time a void knight training facility that has fallen into disrepair. Well sort of.. The facility has become active again as a  rival void knight party has taken up the dark magicks of the place under the watchful eye of the demi lich. 

There's a lot to unpack here as the party have been called in (erm hired by) the respresentives of a Greyhawk nation but personally I make this a part of the Greyhawk sector. The whole cloth weirdness of the dungeon setting can come down to the presence of Iggwilv. Its her influence as a  true creature of the void & her association with her daughter Drelnza, that makes this one Hell of a training facility. 

Drelnza, may have been personally training her own quartet of void knights to serve her own selfish whims. This leads me back into the fact that ;"The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth is a revised and expanded version of The Lost Caverns of Tsojconth, a tournament adventure that Gygax wrote for WinterCon V, a gaming convention sponsored by the Metro Detroit Gamers (MDG) in 1976.[4] It is based in part on one of Rob Kuntz's dungeon levels, as Kuntz helped Gygax revise the tournament version.[5] This original version consisted of eight loose sheets, an outer folder, and a zip-locked bag; only several hundred copies were printed.[4] In the May 1980 issue of Dragon, Gygax said "Rob Kuntz has the reworked Lost Caverns module which must be finalized" and that "We want to get it into print as soon as possible."[6] Lawrence Schick later suggested that "there's evidence that Gary considered Tsojcanth part of a longer Greyhawk campaign, placing the adventure between T1–T4 The Temple of Elemental Evil and WG4 The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun. (By this reckoning, The Village of HommletThe Temple of Elemental Evil, and Tsojcanth are thus the "lost" WG1 through WG3 modules.) So, Tsojcanth was published in the S series because it got completed out of order, but was too good to delay.""  This is why the whole cloth of S4 could be considered a really well thought out training facility & major part of the Greyhawk sector. Now mostly forgotten. Well mostly forgotten. The dark magicks of Tsojcanth keep the monsters in suspension until someone enters their area. 

Many of the traps, tricks, & monsters are used to separate parties of void knights & adventurers. This is to test the steel of the knights in question. This goes towards a long way to help explain the presence of so many monsters living on top each other. 

S4 has at its core some very dark magicks & some adventure elements that can help fill in some gaps in the 'void knight reference & adventure background  material' for the Greyhawk sector. Drelnza is going to be a major bad ass not something to trifle with. 
Old School FRP — Beneath the wondrous lanthorn lies ...

Its once this classic module is solved & cleared then things get very interesting! Once 
WG4: The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun (1982), by Gary Gygax is pulled out then the true nature of this shrine of the void becomes apparent. Tharizdun would be a true avitar of the 'void' and his release spells the doom of the Greyhawk sector. 

The idea for using this classic module as an add on came from  
Bud's RPG review of this infamous vintage module. The fact that the review looks at it with such gusto makes me want to run these two classic modules as a part of a mini campaign. 

If done the right way in my opinion then using S4: The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth (1e) By Gary Gygax For A Greyhawk Sector Campaign not only makes perfect sense. But could keep a White Star game going for a year or better. It also shows the adaptablility & resilience that these classic modules have across a huge spectrum of old school & OSR table top rpg systems. 

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