The Lizard Men, once peaceful, are now raiding the towns, mines, and logging camps. Can the party negotiate a peach treaty?
This module is most similar to portions of the Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun, the portions without the freaky stuff. That means a home base and murderous humanoids to slaughter in an open-ended assault.
This module has a few very good things going for it. First, the players start off in a boom town on the frontier full of miners and loggers. Recent problems with the lizard men have caused an influx of “lizard killers”. These are essentially mercenaries, adventurers, and trophy hunters. The goody two-shoes mayor wants the party to seek out a nearby settlement of lizard men and negotiate a peace treaty. The camp is very loosely described, maybe twelve entries with half as many NPC’s. A goodly number have a strong dislike, or more, for the lizard men. While the module never describes it as such, I got a very ‘Deadwood’ vibe from this section. Temporary structures, guys riding through selling lizard heads, and so on. NONE of that appears in the module however that kind of atmosphere is one that’s seldom encountered in RPG’s and this would be the perfect place to introduce it. Think of all the role-playing opportunities in a Deadwood like RPG village/camp! It could be a perfect little base of operations and much more interesting than the traditional feudal lord settlements that traditionally serve as home bases. All of this comes from the brief section describing the recent boomtown nature of the site and a few brief mentions of the Lizard-Killers. The actual town is full of middle-class morality. Uh … I mean 2nd Edition morality. Mixed races living together in harmony, leaders who want the party to find peaceful solutions, etc. Too much time is spent on the backstory of villain. The camp is much more interesting and could have used a whole lot more description than the two pages that the twelve entries get. This being a module for 7th level characters I guess a home-base town would be wasted. However, the seeds of a very good idea are in that town and if the DM puts forth some effort they would get a much better payoff than most modules. There’s a very brief wandering monster table to get to the Indi^H^H^H ^H Lizard Man village; six daytime and six nighttime entries. It’s full of your typical swamp encounters; undead, ooze, vermin, and a catoblepas. The only thing that really stands out is a swarm of thousands of rats, the rest are pretty mundane.
The lizard man village is full of noble savages who are just misunderstood. A diplomatic party will learn that it’s a new aggressive splinter tribe that’s causing the trouble, and how to get to them. The parties overnight rest will be interrupted by an assassination attempt on the shaman by a lizard-killer. Once again,2E morality raises its head: the assassin isn’t evil but stepping on CE lizard man eggs is. Go Figure. Anyway, all of this is really just a lead in to the second interesting part of the adventure: the assault on the splinter tribes compound.
The splinter tribe is lairing in an old abandoned city complex with water on one side and a mountain tunnel on the other. In the center stands the palace with the Evil High Priest. There are prisoner and slave corrals scattered about. The party can walk in and get an audience with the Lizard Man EHP, which probably ends with a pitched battle with 25 or so evil combatants, most of which are 2HD. This is the way the module leads you. I’m not sure that’s really a challenge for a 7th level party. In any event, there’s really not much of an Order of Battle beyond the palace guard, which is a real miss in my book. A lot more detail on the rest of the compound, the guards, barracks, patrols, etc, could have turned this in a great little sandbox assault on an EHP compound. Prisoners in several places. A possibility for a revolt. Guard patrols and watchtowers. Barrels full of gas, uh, I mean Lamp Oil, to explode. Then stealth becomes a real option, as does a prisoner revolt, as does an assassination, as do so many other hair-brained PC plans. THAT would be cool. Instead we get an EHP+minions battle … Just like the town, with a little work the DM would turn this section in to something really interesting, which is more than most modules can claim. There’s a short little section after this that’s meant to be the climax of the adventure; a solo boss battle with the evil half-dragon/half-croc that’s masterminding everything from a temple a short distance away. It’s not really very interesting, and swapping it the adventure so it comes before the lost city assault would probably make a better adventure.
There’s really not much in the way for treasure to motivate a 7th level gang. A few +1 magic items and a little coin/gems/jewelry. Some of the gems and jewelry are described, which I appreciate; it saves me from generating a description. The most interesting magic item is a broach of shielding that is actually a headdress. I wish more designers would do things like that, the added detail really makes items and the adventure more interesting.
Who’s up for omelets!
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