R1: To the Aid of Falx - Reviews?
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  1. #1
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    R1: To the Aid of Falx - Reviews?

    Hello:

    I am interested in picking up R1: To the Aid of Falx from RPGnow and am wondering what people think about this old adventure module and the following modules R3: The Egg of the Phoenix and R4: Doc's Island.

    Unfortunately, it seems that RPGnow does not have a copy of R2: The Investigation of Hydell.

    Any reviews on these old modules? Love 'em? Hate 'em? Worth the $5 each or not?

    Thanks!

    /BC

  2. #2
    try searching at dragonsfoot.org/forums. they have several threads on these modules.

    i had trouble finding the second one too, but i eventually found a copy on the internet.

    edit: also, i'm sure you're aware of the super module (I12) that combines all of these, also called Egg of the Phoenix. it is regarded by some as a bit of a hack job (the hacking was done by Paul Jacquays of Dark Tower/Thracia fame) in combining the individual tourney mods, but i like it. it can be had for less than $20 on ebay or similar sources. many consider these 4 modules to be an exercise in cheesy and over-used fantasy RPG tropes. it may have some cheesy moments, but it is important to keep in mind how old these modules are. the themes and scenarios weren't as hackneyed back then.

    edit^2: in case you're interested, the following is quoted from the acaeum (http://www.acaeum.com/ddindexes/modpages/r2.html) ...

    R5 Great Bugbear Hunt was used at an unknown tournament in 1982. It was later published in Polyhedron #28.

    R6 Bigby's Tomb was used at an unknown tournament in 1984. It was later published in Polyhedron #20 (and retitled The 384th Incarnation of Bigby's Tomb). Incidentally, code R6 was originally assigned to a planned module by Eric Shook, "The Eye of the Bog". This module was used at GenCon South in 1981 or 1982, but never published outside the tournament -- nor were any tournament copies given to players (thanks to Eric Shook for help with this info).

    both of these mags can be found at reasonable prices.
    Last edited by dragonlordofpoondari; Tuesday, 27th March, 2007 at 07:20 PM.

  3. #3
    I never owned the original modules, but I own(ed) Egg of the Phoenix. I like it. It gets a bad rap, but if you can ignore the cheese, there are some sweet encounters and set-pieces in there.

    For example,

    In what I would guess to be the "To the Aid of Falx" part, [spoiler]the PCs must venture into a wererat- and vampire-infested dungeon to recover several potions of dragon control before the bad guys use them to dominate Falx et al. (Falx being a silver dragon.) The dungeon is ho-hum, but the innovative part is that the PCs are on a strict time limit -- down to the round! If they don't complete their mission in time, the vampires wake up, drink the potions, and presumably use the dragons to kick the PCs' asses.[/spoiler]

    There's the part where the PCs must enter [spoiler]the volcanic lair of a family of fire giants. The fire giants are portrayed as a sit-com family, with the clueless dad, shrewish wife, bumbling son, etc. They'll still paste the PCs if they catch them, of course. There's a cool scene in which the PCs can use the youngest fire giant kid's toy boats (the size of a rowboat to the PCs) to sail across a lake of molten lava.[/spoiler]

    My favorite part of the entire supermodule takes place in a "pocket plane" [spoiler]called Sepulchre. The plane consists of a planet only a few miles in diameter, with a graveyard, a tower of bone full of ice devils and undead, and the place where the titual phoenix lairs guarding the Egg (a major artifact). But what pushes the demiplane over the top into that's-so-insane-it's-cool is the sentient, evil moon that orbits the planet and will attack the PCs whenever it can see them. There's the possibility for the PCs to be hiding behind modering gravestones while Hurlothrumbo (the moon) blasts at them with its withering gaze....[/spoiler]

    Yeah, the plot of the module is sort of lame, but the sheer imagination and wackiness makes up for it.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua Randall
    My favorite part of the entire supermodule takes place in a "pocket plane" [spoiler]called Sepulchre. The plane consists of a planet only a few miles in diameter, with a graveyard, a tower of bone full of ice devils and undead, and the place where the titual phoenix lairs guarding the Egg (a major artifact). But what pushes the demiplane over the top into that's-so-insane-it's-cool is the sentient, evil moon that orbits the planet and will attack the PCs whenever it can see them. There's the possibility for the PCs to be hiding behind modering gravestones while Hurlothrumbo (the moon) blasts at them with its withering gaze....[/spoiler]
    the problem with that part of the mod is the deus ex machina that solves 2 challenges there[spoiler]if I recall, the PCs gain access to a super Mace of Disruption, so that when they face hordes of vampires, its "one hit one kill". Also, there's an iron golem near the phoenix, and all the PCs need to do is make sure they have the friendly reincarnated rust monster with them and the IG is no challenge. My players thought both those things were cheesy. I did like amusing them with the Skull of McKirken[/spoiler]

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by heirodule
    the problem with that part of the mod is the deus ex machina that solves 2 challenges there[spoiler]if I recall, the PCs gain access to a super Mace of Disruption, so that when they face hordes of vampires, its "one hit one kill". Also, there's an iron golem near the phoenix, and all the PCs need to do is make sure they have the friendly reincarnated rust monster with them and the IG is no challenge.[/spoiler]
    Agreed, those are lame, but [spoiler]you as the DM could drop the mace and the rust monster, forcing the PCs to solve these problems in other ways. For example, the PCs could simply dash up to the Egg and grab it, trying to evade the iron golem. Similarly with the vampires, some PCs could fight a defensive action, buying time for the the others to get the Egg. Once they have it, they should just leave -- no reason to stay, really.[/spoiler]

  6. #6
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    Good tourney modules, well-worth checking out.

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    We played R1 back in the 80s, tournament-style using the pre-gen characters, and had a lot of fun with it. There are lots of things that require player-level quick thinking and problem solving, some tied directly to the capabilities of the pregen characters (i.e. if they use this particular spell/item they win, if not everybody dies), plus it's short enough that it can be played through in 1 or 2 sessions, and there are some memorable set-pieces. I definitely recommend it for this type of use (one-off "1E nostalgia night"), but I'm not sure how well it would work as part of an ongoing campaign, or converted to another edition.

    We also played R2, or at least part of it, but it didn't go so well. I haven't looked at the module in years and don't really remember exactly what it was that went wrong with it, but my impression of the module was definitely tainted. I had R3 and R4 as well, but we never played them and I don't remember a thing about either one.

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    i read a good percentage of Egg of the Phoenix in preparation for writing "The Archomentals Part 1" in Dragon #347.

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    Does anyone know which of the original modules had Hurlothrumbo (great name check, by the way)?

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Garnfellow
    Does anyone know which of the original modules had Hurlothrumbo (great name check, by the way)?
    Hello again, Garnfellow. Thanks again for your GDQ conversion, btw.

    To answer your question, in I12 Hurlothrumbo is the deadly skull-faced moon in the pocket plane of Sepulchre. To the publication's credit, this creepy moon monster only appears in the (I12 The Egg of the Phoenix) super module. The pocket plane of Sepulchre is still the location of the climax in the tournament module (R3 The Egg of the Phoenix) where the actual Egg artifact resides, but there is no mention of any moon whatever. All that is described about the sky is the following blurb ...

    "The sky is a swirling bizarre whirlpool of dark purplish colors. The visible boundaries of the Partial Plane are incomprehensible to characters from the Prime Material Plane. As a result, any character watching it will feel slightly ill. If it is watched for more than 1 round, the character must save vs. Spells or go insane; any insane character will attack the party fearlessly until dead."

    Someone should ask Frank (maybe on the Dragonsfoot boards) if this inspired addition was an invention of his or of Paul's.

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