17 October 2018

Kellri's 18 Module Challenge - Day 16: G3 Hall of the Fire Giant King by Gary Gygax

Day 16 - My Favorite Gary Gygax Module: G3 Hall of the Fire Giant King

Whither Day 15?---Blogger ate my post on The Court of Ardor for MERP, and I've not recreated it yet.  Trying to stay as on-track as possible....

G3 Hall of the Fire Giant King (TSR, 1978) is Gary Gygax's final adventure in the initial trilogy of GDQ modules that made him a household name among every generation of D&D players. 

"The Battle for Snurre's Hall," a play account from all three rounds at Origins 1978 was published in The Dragon #19 (October 1978), and it speaks well to the trials and tribulations faced by the players in this scenario.

Why I Love G3 Hall of the Fire Giant King!

It's a meat-grinder, it's a small moon, it's a TPK trivializer!  


G3 is a wonderful capstone to the G1-3 Giants series of modules, while at the same time it acts as the introductory bridge into the even-more-brutal threats to be faced in its sequels, the D1-3 drowic underworld trilogy.  (Perhaps Gary intended the final series of Q adventures to be a Q1-3 trilogy as well?; hmmm....).  G3 pounces upon the PCs who've progressed through G1 and G2, ratchets up the level of challenge, and spits them back out by introducing many new and horrific ways for the players to bemoan the beat-down it delivers:
  • King Snurre Ironbelly (who fights as a storm giant!), his delightful, decapitating wife Queen Frupy, their pet hell hounds, pyrohydra (!!), and huge ancient red dragon (!!!), and other courtly attendants
  • A series of interesting prisoners who may, or may not, aid the PCs in their pursuit of vengeance against the giants, including:
    • An olven noble and her retinue
    • Obmi, the infamous dwarf from Castle Greyhawk and the Gord novels, first sees print here, complete with his now-under-powered gnoll retinue ;)
    • A stupefied titan 
    • A comely human female thief, likely to ally with the PCs in the short-term
    • And various other monsters that are likely to attack and/or betray their rescuers at the first opportunity
  • The Temple of the Eye---a fully-functioning temple to the Elder Elemental God, complete with Lovecraftian tentacles, madness-inducing/wish-granting sacrifices, and more!
  • Ropers, gnolls and trolls en masse as shock troops, wererats, ettins, and of course fire giants and hell hounds by the dozen!
  • As with each of the previous adventures, careful players' PCs will learn more about the fountainhead behind the incursions of the allied giants into Geoff, and are likely to come face to face with pure, unadulterated EVIL (don't touch it!)---of course, the drow!:

The drow are, naturally, one of the highlights of the entire series, but in G3 they offer a first, befuddling taste of what is to come in the characters' insane descent toward Erelhei-Cinlu and beyond:
  • Eclavdra, Evil High Priestess of the Elder Elemental God and House Eilservs (in anagram, "serviles"?)
  • Nedylene, Despana second-in-command, and foe to the Eilservs
  • Mind flayers spying on both, and being ignored by the drow!

Three Runners Up

This selection is more difficult than it should be, since Gygax wrote so many great modules, but I'll go with these as my selections:
More-properly D3 Vault of the Drow, S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, S4 Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth, and WG4 Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun also deserve places on this list, but since there are only three slot, and I've already featured some in other entries....

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

  1. Day 15: The Court of Ardor by Terry K. Amthor (coming soon!)
  2. Day 14:  Starstone by Paul Vernon Lydiate
  3. Day 13:  "The Ruins of Andril" by Ian Melluish
  4. Day 12:  "Treasure of the Dragon Queen" by Rutgers University Gamers
  5. Day 11:  S4 Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth by Gary Gygax
  6. Day 10:  Return of the Eight by Roger E. Moore
  7. Day 9:  Pavis and Big Rubble by Greg Stafford, Steve Perrin, Oliver Dickinson, & Diverse Hands
  8. Day 8:  Angmar, Land of the Witch King by Heike Kubasch
  9. Day 7:  X2 Castle Amber by Tom Moldvay
  10. Day 6: DMG Monastery Dungeon by Gary Gygax
  11. Day 5: S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks by Gary Gygax
  12. Day 4: "Deep Shit" by Jeff Barber
  13. Day 3: A Fabled City of Brass by Anthony Huso
  14. Day 2: Masks of Nyarlathotep by Larry DiTillio
  15. Day 1: Empire of the Ghouls by Wolfgang Baur
  16. Day 0: These are a Few of My Favorite Things...


  1. Nice post - there's a lot of cool stuff in that dungeon! Of coourse when i played it with you as DM we didnt really get past the first hall on account of alerting everyone in the place. Good times! Looking forward to seeing your Ardor discussion - its been something I've loved reading through but have never found any real way to use.

  2. I have not run this series since high school, but I wish I could find a place and time to do so... It's truly insane. The sheer number of giants in these modules is beyond the capabilities of most characters that fall into the "approved" level range and these were the modules that dropped the CONs of characters via back-to-life magickry. I don't know if you saw my 3D build of WG4, but that was such a joy to run...and my players were so shell shocked by the hordes that assailed them that they still comment about it to this day.

  3. G3 is exemplified by the rooms that have e.g. "36 trolls" and then some. Even more so than the first two modules in the series, it is a scenario that gleefully anticipates power-gaming and rolls with it. The odd discoveries also give it a twist that's a strong stylistic contrast to the (relatively) standard giant-killing. I prefer G1 and especially G2, but this one's also impressive.

  4. @lige: Thanks. I had that same experience when I ran this adventure last at GaryCon V (I think---it was caught on film very briefly during Stefan Pokorney's Dwarvenaut film!): the PCs mucked around outside the dungeon quite a bit, never quite getting in. I had planned to twist it around with a King in Yellow reskin at the time, but will save that for some other night now.

    @Anthony: I did indeed see your 3D WG4 posts (for other curious readers, see https://www.thebluebard.com/blog-1/the-way-we-really-play-really, and IIRC there are more on G+ right?). Our regular DM hasn't played or read the G/D modules, so I began prepping them this past summer to fill that gap, sometime.

    @Melan: BITD I never liked G2 very much (not sure why, really!), but in the responses to Kellri's series G2 received a lot of love, so I'm going to dig into it again with hopefully-fresher eyes.



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