We were digging through the storage shed to find some papers recently, when I should chance across the dusty stack of old Dungeons & Dragons modules I’ve had with me for… well, for a very long time. For all the GeekDads who have gamed, as I scan and read through these, I’ll post them for your enjoyment and comment, if you remember them.
It’s back to the basics again, faithful readers: B4 – The Lost City. What could spoil the fun of getting lost in the desert and discovering the ruins of a great civilization vanished in the drifting sands of time? How about finding the remnants of that civilization living underground as a perpetually drugged populace divided into four fanatical factions of religious zealots? And hilarity ensues!
Days ago, your group of adventurers joined a desert caravan. Halfway across the desert, a terribly sandstorm struck, separating your party from the rest of the caravan. The second day after your water ran out, you stumbled upon a number of stone blocks sticking out of a sand dune. Investigation showed that the sand covered the remains of a tall stone wall. On the other side of the stone wall was a ruined city. In the center of the city towered a step-pyramid. On the south side of the pyramid, a ramp with stairs led from the ground to the top of the highest tier. A quick search of the ruins revealed no source of food or water, so you decided to climb the pyramid. In the side of the ramp, level with the floor of the top tier, you found a secret door…
So, instead of a dungeon crawl, we get a pyramid crawl. Each level of the pyramid is held by the adherents of one or another of the old gods of the ancient civilization who bicker amongst themselves even as they try to rebuild their civilization with their personal deity as big Kahuna. Plus there are various undead versions of the pyramids’ original honorees still lying in state, ready to party when your, er, party comes through. Interestingly enough with this module, things are clearly detailed to a certain point, and then the rest is left for the DM to “Expand the Adventure,” including a final confrontation with the evil “God” who helped bring down the civilization, and eventual discovery of the remnants of the people living a strange, drug-addled life of mushroom farming beside a subterranean lake. Fun for the whole family!
Things to remember in The Lost City:
- The Brotherhood of Gorm are the Jocks; the Magi of Usamigaras are the Nerds; the Warrior Maidens of Madarua are the Cheerleaders; and the Priests of Zargon are the Goths. Treat this whole module like high school, and you should do just fine.
- There are wererats in this adventure. Wererats. I mean, if you’re going to get bitten by a lycanthrope, pick wolf, or fox, or ferret – anything but rat, right? Pretty pathetic, if you ask me…
- The Cynidiceans – the descendants of the original civilization – are all just like that one buddy in college who discovered LSD and just, kind of, changed. Sometimes he was silly funny, sometimes he was just a little scary, sometimes he would scream about a monster with twelve tentacles and a horn coming out of his head. Unfortunately, that last bit comes true before the end of the module.
- For an evil god of the underworld, Zargon is a bit of a disappointment. AC 0, 12 hit dice? My grandma (the 12th level fighter/cleric, +3 mace of disruption) could take him in her sleep. But considering this was a module for characters level 1-3, okay, that’s bringing some nasty. So, be careful.
In the end, the party has the chance to bring a lost civilization out from under the influence of what is, in effect, a Go’a’uld, and then unite the remaining factions into a healthy, functional nucleus from which to recreate a great civilization. On the other hand, these people are starving for strong leadership. This could be the opportunity for members of your group to look into politics. Or, perhaps, divinity.
More next time, and it turns out “top 10” may make it to “top 13,” so stay tuned! See y’all later!