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The Tomb of Haggemoth

Crothian

First Post
Adventures are where the creativity is. Okay, creativity in RPGs is in a lot of places but it is in adventures where it all comes together and becomes a product that directly impacts the game. Lately there has been a rebirth of old school adventures and with that arguing on what old school is. One of these days someone is going to have to tell me what the new school is though. I bring up these two terms because they will not been used to describe this module. It is really not old school or new school. It has elements of both but that is not what is important. The important thing is that this is one of the best, most creative, and just module I have read in a while.

The Tomb of Haggemoth is an adventure by Dire Destiny. The module is written by Robert Kendzie. One may know him as well as his partner Mikolaj Ostapiuk from their Dire Destiny web comic. Mikalaj also did the art in the book. The maps are well done. The book has good black and white art and a nice full color cover. The lay out is good and tight. It is not the prettiest RPG book one will ever see but it is easy to read and simple to follow. The PDF version doe not have any book marks. With the module being over eighty pages long book marks would be very helpfully.

This review is not going to be a play test review. I hope to some day get to run the adventure though. It will contain many, many spoilers that players should not read. So, if you might be a player in the module be content to know I gave it five stars and it is going to be a fun time. Best of luck to those players that get to enjoy the module!!

Now that we have gotten rid of those pesky players we can talk about them behind theirs backs. Or onto the review

The module is for players characters of about third or fourth level and they should finish the module at around seventh or eighth. The module should work for most campaign settings and most party compositions. However, I think a predominately good party who enjoy helping people and aiding those in unfortunate situations will really get a lot more out of this module. There are a few places that getting involved in other people’s business and doing the right thing will really pay off for the party.

The module is made to be generic in setting but it lives by the motto “getting there is half the fun”. The player characters will be doing so extensive traveling by boat and to other lands and islands. There is also no single assumed solution to the problems in the module. The module does a great job of presenting obstacles and then allowing the PCs to think of how they wish to deal with them. A group could role play their way through this module and have very few combats. And another group can go through this and kill most everything. The module will play either way and prove to be both successful and fun.

The module starts with each of the PCs getting a letter from the same old friend. Each PC has had dealings with the person in the past and they have never quite worked out the way it was planned. The letter indicates this is a chance for the PCs to get some of the money they were unable to earn before. There is a lot of information the group can find out and this will get them started on finding the lost Tomb of Haggemoth.

Haggemoth is a dwarf wizard who lived a few centuries before. He become very powerful but to become a powerful wizard he had to turn his back on being a dwarf. Near the end of his life he constructed a place on an unknown island and worked to get a balance in his soul between the magical abilities and the dwarven heritage. What Haggemoth was doing is a mystery for most the module and it does not get spelled out in the end. I like that as it allows plenty of chances for astute players to piece it all together but players at the same time can easily get though it all with out realizing the history that lead to the events in the modules.

The group is first sent to see an oracle to gain information about Haggemoth. But the PCs do not just get on a ship and go. The dock area is nicely detailed as the group first needs to find a captain and get passage their. The travel time between the many places the PCs will go is defined. It sets up really fast to show that one there is no right way to go through the module. The PCs will have choices of where to go and hopefully be able to gather all the clues. They are trying to figure out where Haggemoth’s island is.

The Oracle island can be a fun place. There are a few other characters waiting for answers. There is a small side adventure the PCs can stumble onto but it is more of a simple exploration and nothing deadly. The PCs have a coin that allows them to see the oracle except the coin is a actually the property of another person who shows up to see the oracle a little after the PCs. The Oracle encounter can also be very fun as the module does a great job with her. She gives clues on where the PCs need to go and has the alterative motive of sending the PCs places where they can get involved and do some good. I like this as a way for the Oracle to judge the motives and the inner workings of the PCs.

One of the places the PCs might travel is the Ice Plains of Friezurazov. This is a former pirate town that has been taken over and now pays tribute to a group of goblins and a stone giant. This is one of the more combat oriented places but the PCs could get though it with good diplomacy and role playing. There is an important star map the PCs need to find to help learn where the secret island of Haggemoth is.

Another place is a large desert island. The PCs could spend a long time wondering through the desert and not getting anywhere. In the middle is the Pit of Thud. It turns out there is a water controlling artifact here that Haggemoth helped create. It is the reason why the place is a desert and the power and price of the artifact is impressive. There are some creative encounters in there.

The final clue can be found on the Island of Celaenos. I like this place as it has a great sub plot involving blackguards and slaves. It is also one of the more subtle evils they will encounter and the PCs can easily arrive here and accomplish what they want never realizing the evil undercurrent of the place.

Hopefully the group will eventually reach the lost island of Rari Rama. But one of the things I like about the module is it is possible for them to fail. And not just with a total party kill. But just getting to the island is no means a guarantee of total success either. Once the group gets to the island they will find jungle and a river. They can travel through either and there are many things to discover and get eaten by along the way. The group can take wrong turns and back track over harsh places.

Then one first fines the ruins of the Tomb Gatehouse. It is occupied with bugbears and then once in the tomb proper there are traps and monsters to keep unwanted people out. The once great tomb has been damaged over the many years and some of the places are unsafe. It is a surprisingly clever and fun dungeon crawl but the end of the adventure is really something else.

Haggemoth soul hangs in the balance. He made a bad deal with a devil and the devil wants to collect. Haggemoth though found a way to atone for it all but before he was able to complete it. The player characters now have a chance to set things right. But there is temptation for to finish the atonement almost a million and a half gold pieces worth of treasure has to be sacrificed.

This is a very well constructed module. It can easily be played over a few months with all the little side investigations the PCs have to investigate and plenty of encounters that can be had on the roads, ships, and traveling through all the locations. Because a good party is more likely to help the people they encounter on the way and be willing to allow the treasure hoard to be sacrificed for Haggemoth’s atonement I recommend the module for a good group over an evil or even neutral one. But there is a lot of things in here for a clever DM to expand on and really make the adventures get involved in no matter their alignment.

The Tomb of Haggemoth is the first adventure in a while that has truly impressed me this much. It has all the elements in a module I enjoy. It has mystery, exotic locations, plenty of chance for the PCs to think and role play, and in the end it is about saving the soul of a dwarf and not about killing another great evil.
 
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Crothian

First Post
I have no idea where this can be gotten. I got it from the publisher and that was a little while ago. It is for 3.5 D&D but the rules are of lesser importance as the story and theme should work in most fantasy games.
 



Joke names like "the Ice Plains of Friezurazov" ("freeze your ass off") tend to make me leery. Is this intended as a serious adventure?

Johnathan
 


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