09 October 2018

Kellri's 18 Module Challenge - Day 11: S4 Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth by Gary Gygax

Day 11 - A Module You Never Tire Of:  S4 Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth by Gary Gygax

The S4 Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth adventures began life as one of the bottom-most levels of Rob Kuntz's Castle El Raja Key dungeons, before Gary imported the level into the 1976 MDG Wintercon tournament adventure, Lost Caverns of Tsojconth (where it became the Greater Caverns):

Lost Caverns of Tsojconth - 1976 tourney version, front cover

That tourney was later expanded and published in the more-commonly-known 1982 edition:

Why I Love S4 Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth

My love for and abiding interest in the Lesser, Greater Caverns, and Other Named and Unnamed Caverns of Tsojcanth is well-documented, so I won't dwell too much on that here (although my page does need some updating in light of Kuntz's manuscript sales over the years since I first published the page, and in particular the El Raja Key Archive contents). 

I love S4 on so many fronts:
  • Its design practically forces me to explore it closely as a DM, and to expand it further to detail the various levels named and/or mentioned in passing and/or implied and/or hinted at obliquely:

  • I love the Greyhawk lore introduced in both versions of the adventure, in particular about Iggwilv, the various new demons, lords, and princes introduced in the module, (as well as, of course, how to summon and bind them!---my entire Demonomicon series on Canonfire! only exists due to S4!), and, lastly, Drelnza herself, too:

  • I love the gates-focused nature of the Lost Caverns, and the implications that Iggwilv's lair is itself separated across many hundreds leagues and only stitched together via gates---a World of Tiers-meets-Moorcock's multiverse-meets-The-Lion-Game
  • I love that the old campaign map of the Great Kingdom from Domesday Book #9 allows the understanding the Tsojconth background locations/details in the proper context, from before the 1980 Greyhawk Folio was published:

Three Runners Up

  • A1 Slave Pits of the Undercity (TSR, 1980) by Dave Cook:  the first module I bought on my own, and the launching point for the Slavers series; like S4, it demands that Highport be built, that the DM breathe life into the nameless slave lords in the scenario
  • The DMG Monastery Dungeon (TSR, 1979) by Gary Gygax:  this can be expanded in scope and designed so many different ways, it's a pleasure to reinvent it over the years via new variations across different campaigns
  • WG5 Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure (TSR, 1985) and Maure Castle (Paizo and Pied Piper Publishing 2004-2007), both by Rob Kuntz:  Kuntz's classic and updated dungeon designs, that continually lure me back to Garden of the Plantmaster, The Lost City of the Elders, Tharizdun, Castle El Raja Key, and the World Kalibruhn

My other posts in Kellri's 18 Day Module Challenge:

  1. Day 10 - A Module I Have Big Problems With:  Return of the Eight by Roger E. Moore
  2. Day 9: Pavis and Big Rubble by Greg Stafford, Steve Perrin, Oliver Dickinson, & Diverse Hands 
  3. Day 8 - Angmar, Land of the Witch King by Heike Kubasch 
  4. Day 7: X2 Castle Amber by Tom Moldvay 
  5. Day 6: DMG Monastery Dungeon by Gary Gygax
  6. Day 5: S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks by Gary Gygax
  7. Day 4: "Deep Shit" by Jeff Barber
  8. Day 3: A Fabled City of Brass by Anthony Huso
  9. Day 2: Masks of Nyarlathotep by Larry DiTillio
  10. Day 1: Empire of the Ghouls by Wolfgang Baur
  11. Day 0: These are a Few of My Favorite Things...


1 comment:

  1. Can you elaborate on that last point? How does the old map shed light on the context of the background?


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