Tuesday, September 6, 2011
The Tomb of Abysthor, Death's Wish
The module is set in the same world as Bard's Gate which is one of the better d20 city offerings I have seen excluding the newer version of the CSIO and Ptolus. I might actually go as far as to say I like Bard's Gate better than one of those but I won't say which. You do not need Bard's Gate though to run the module but if you don't then you will have to do a little tweaking.
After the beginning location the module includes a wilderness adventure that is designed to get the party to the meat of the module. This part of the adventure can be skipped but I would suggest keeping it there. It will give the party a chance to come to the grips that they can die in this adventure. The module is not written with kid gloves and there are parts of the adventure throughout that aren't in scale with everything else around it.
The main portion of the module is a nine level dungeon crawl. There are seven main levels and two sub levels. The dungeon itself scales in that the deeper you go the tougher it gets. The dungeon though is not only linear though. There are ways to bypass levels and end up in an area that they might have not wanted to get to just yet. The party will need to be cautious or they will be rolling new characters.
The dungeon is very well thought out as far as inhabitants as well as the design itself. There are some option where a smart party can play factions off against each other and let some of the inhabitants do some of the work for them. The dungeon portion also features just enough encounters where problem solving matters more than equipment or dice rolls to keep the party on its toes. Each of the levels also has a reason for being there and yet each is distinct enough in feel that the party will be able to understand if something has changed.
All being said this may be the best of the early d20 offerings out there. The fact that there were so many different products released for it makes that a hard call as it would be hard for one person to actually have used all of them. There are few bad comments on this module though. The one drawback is that it is not easy and parties die if they are not well played and exhibit a bit of caution. It is designed for four to six characters of levels two to eight. I would suggest even with good players to go with the higher end on both of those.
From the website:
"Enter the catacombs near the desecrated Temple of Muir, Goddess of Paladins, and search for the lost Tomb of Abysthor. Can your heroes survive long enough to discover the secret of Abysthor's Tomb? Details the wilderness surrounding the desecrated shrines and the nearby nine level dungeon, including new monsters, new monster races, new magic items and new spells. For 4 to 6 characters level 2 to 8 and higher!"
Ares of Effect: One Creature
Casting Time: One Turn
Saving Throw: None
This spell allows the magic user to summon forth the spirit or soul of someone long dead. The purpose of the summoning will be to obtain information or a service from the spirit of the deceased. The being summoned will be compelled to give the information or perform the service, limited to what they can do as the dead, but they are going to be able to ask for a wish in return.
The creature will provide the service or give the information asked for. They will have to do this honestly and to the best of their knowledge and ability. The DM will need to account for what they might have knowledge of and how things might have changed since they died. The requested action must be something that can be accomplished within a few hours and is limited to the areas nearby the location of the dead.
This spell will allow communication with the dead. The reaction of the summoned being to the caster will depend on race and alignment. It will also depend on where the dead are summoned from. If the dead were properly buried they will be much less inclined to be happy about the summoning. If they died alone in the depth of a dungeon they might be happy to be summoned. The DM should take this into account when they ask for their weregild.
Once the dead has accomplished the action asked of them they will be able to ask the living to perform an action. This will come as the effect of a self imposed geas on the caster. The task could be as simple as bringing their remains out of the dungeon or locating a loved one and letting them know what happened to the level of exacting revenge on whoever caused their death to anything the DM can think of.
Once asked to perform the action they must begin the task within one day per their level. Once the clock starts ticking they must begin the task and stay on it until completed. Any day they deviate from the task they will suffer a wasting sickness (lose one point of constitution). This will continue until they are back on task. Once the task is completed the constitution lose is restored. If their constitution were to drop below three they will die and can only be brought back by use of a wish.
The material component for this spell is some portion or item belonging to the being the caster is going to ask a service of and perform one for.
Disclaimer: The spells that you will see, for how ever long the write ups last, were all written up or conceived of back in the 80's so the terminology may not appropriate for anything other than 1e and depending on how well I did back then it may be slightly off for that as well. If there is any duplication of spells that exist now it is most likely I wrote mine first :) Please feel free to comment on them but try not to be too hard on me. If anyone wishes to use these in anything they print please let me know in advance and all I ask is proper credit.
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