by Alphonso Warden
Brave Halfling Publishing
Several millennia back, the peoples of the mighty Kingdom of Merritt entered into all-out war with their long-time nemesis, the People of the Pit, a nefarious race of slug-like creatures hailing from a vast subterranean city lying on their northern border. Though the battle was hard fought, with both sides initially incurring heavy losses, the Merrittians in due course gained the upper hand, almost wholly exterminating their foe. Even the very god of the People of Pit was banished to the lower planes by a cabal of Merrittian magic-users and clerics, or so they thought. Recently, the evil within the city of the People of the Pit has surged yet again, and it is up to you to see that it doesn’t spill out into the surrounding lands.
This is more of a setting than an adventure and it falls wholly in the the Weird Fantasy category. A crazed old man stumbles in to a bar and relates a story to the party of strange creatures and fabulous treasures in a ruined city underground that is nearby. The party finds a huge cavern full of weird alien buildings. During the day it’s full of vermin and slave warriors while at night the strange slug-like People of the Pit materialize in and perform their weird rituals. That’s about the extent of the adventure. The party is expected to raid the city, I guess, killing and looting. I’m not really complaining about the whole ethics of the situation but rather the motivation for it. As the DM you’re going to have to put in some not so small amount of work to motivate the players to explore the city and more to add detail to otherwise generic weird fantasy locations. It reminds me quite a bit of the open and somewhat generic portion of the Vault of Drow.
The cavern is roughly circular with a 3600 foot diameter. About 1/5’s if full of a lake with a temple on it. The rest of the cavern has several small ponds in it, some strange forests and maybe 50 or so other structures. The other structures are either homes, armories, warehouses, or libraries. Within the type of building each building will have the same floorplan and the same description. There is a slight amount of localization in the residences depending on it being occupied by slaves of Pit People and the class of the occupants. For example, IF there is a chest, and the resident is a wizard, it will be wizard locked and fireballed. Otherwise if it mechanically locked and Glyphed. The contents come off of several 10-entry or 20-entry tables at the end. Most of it is 1000gp treasure or some minor magical item, like a _2 mace or scroll of cure light, although the occasional Ring of Regen or Necklace of Missiles shows up. The Armories are much the same, except you might (50%) find a +2 weapon instead of a +1. The random lakes are ALL full of giant crayfish and water weirds. The forests are all full of Pit Tree monsters. It is this kind of repetitive description/encounters that waters down the settings more bizarre and imaginative elements. What’s left is random scenic tidbits of bizarre and weird fantasy surrounded by repetitive generic elements.
An additional map is provided for the High Temple of the Pit. It has 21 room on two levels and has a long corridor with other dead-end corridors and rooms branching off of. The temple has a lot of save or die traps, and worse. There are five in the first five rooms, including the old ‘doorway is actually a sphere of annihilation’ trap. Each room appears to have some kind of major trap or another, with a couple having some major magic items also, like a staff of the magic or mace of disruption. There’s A LOT of magic in this adventure and A LOT of high level items in the temple. One or two rooms have something interesting, like the rooms that rains normals slugs on the party, but for the most part the encounters are a bit uninspiring. Everything is presented is of such a dry mechanical nature that its hard to wade through it all.
I spite of this place being a strange and bizarre land, all of the magic items are mundane. +1 swords. Scrolls of cure light, staff of striking, etc. Everything comes out of the book. A real opportunity was lost in not providing more unique items. You’ve got slug-like creatures from the damn of time and … + 1 swords. Almost every creature the party meets will be 7th level or so and many come in groups and thus I find it hard to believe that the level 5-7 range is accurate. The entire adventure seems to have a mis-placed sense of trying to create horror. It thinks horror is death trap or a group of 16HD monsters who attack your party immediately. That’s not horror, that’s just bad design. Inn of Lost Heroes is horror. s written this module will kill parties that are close to twice its recommended level. Sending long-running characters on a death mission like this make you the worse kind of DM possible.
A 10-th level party playing a one-shot might find some fun in this, especially if the DM puts in a lot of work to help augment the excellent atmosphere with encounters that match. It could also be mined for the atmosphere and the few encounters which are actually interesting, such as the slug rain.
This is available on DriveThru.