Princes of the Apocalypse (D&D Accessory)
Wizards of the Coast has announced some details about the new Dungeons & Dragons storyline that will carry us through the summer. Tyranny of Dragons ends in March, and Elemental Evil begins.
- The adventure is called Princes of the Apocalypse and it takes characters from levels 1-15.
- The book also includes new elemental spells and a new PC race: Genasi.
- There will be a free download that includes the player content in the book as well as new races.
- The adventure is in one book.
- It will be set in the Forgotten Realms city of Mulmaster.
- The storyline runs from March to mid-summer. This is a detail I didn't notice until just now. Mid-summer would be July. That means that this runs for only 4 months, and then we will have a new storyline (Chris Perkins has hinted that the next storyline is related to Alice in Wonderland. Gary Gygax had published a pair of "Dungeonland" adventures that were demiplanes connected to... Castle Greyhawk).
- There is a list of Elemental Evil Expeditions adventures.
Traditionally, "Elemental Evil" has to do with the evil deity Tharizdun, sometimes known as "The Elder Elemental God". It's all been made famous by the legendary Gary Gygax adventure "The Temple of Elemental Evil".
A good portion of this article is framed by the content in a great Skip Williams overview article in Dragon Magazine #425. I have organized the information by relevance rather than chronology.
The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun
This is a classic adventure by Gary Gygax known for it's deadly beginning where all of the monster in the dungeon might come at your heroes at once.
There's a nice background in the beginning. It says:
- Tharizdun, "He of Eternal Darkness", was imprisoned by the gods.
- His servants discovered a "Black Cyst" beneath his temple. A huge form could be seen in the Cyst.
- Every day they tried to awaken him, but nothing happened.
- The cultists eventually died or left. Now the place is over-run with monsters.
Just before this room is an insanely nasty tree trap.
Dragon Magazine #425 - History Check: The Temple of Elemental Evil
His followers infected other religions and then tried to convert the clerics. Two organizations were infiltrated:
- Some drow worship him as "The Elder Elemental Eye", not knowing it was Tharizdun they truly worshiped.
- A cult dedicated to slimes, fungi, and the demon lord Zuggtmoy was similarly infected. It split into four branches, one for each element: fire, water, earth and air.
Iuz, an evil Greyhawk deity, helped Zuggtmoy out. Together they made little elemental nodes, small demi-universes 5 miles across. In the nodes, the deities could magically summon evil elemental creatures. Lolth also got involved.
Zuggtmoy and Iuz created the Orb of Golden Death, which was a magic item that made it easy to access the nodes.
The Temple of Elemental Evil
The temple itself is known for the four factions that squabble inside, the temples of earth, air, fire and water. I ran this a few years ago, and there was some fun stuff in it:
- The telepathic pool that needs your help.
- The temple of fire and it's many weird little dangers.
- The wand of "a" wonder - a variant wand of wonder.
- Zuggtmoy's room with some really insane, deadly stuff.
The official version of what happened, suggested by Skip Williams: Adventurers busted in, accidentally freed Zuggtmoy, and then destroyed the Orb of Golden Death. Doing so caused the lower levels of the dungeon to collapse, cutting off access to the Elemental Nodes. Zuggtmoy was wrenched from the world into the Abyss.
Shannon Appelcline of RPG.net has a fantastic actual play thread of his group's run through the temple. Each session report is short and fun to read.
The Temple of Elemental Evil Novel
There was a Temple of Elemental Evil novel released years ago. I have it and tried to read it, but I couldn't get into it.
The reviews seem to agree the book is pretty dull with weak characters, but the descriptions of the temple are a lot of fun.
Dungeon Magazine #221 - The Battle of Emridy Meadows
This adventure is written by Chris Perkins and Jon Leitheusser, and it uses the D&D 5e playtest rules! This adventure depicts the battle that took place just prior to when Zuggtmoy was sealed in the temple of elemental evil. The struggle is underway, and our heroes fight alongside "The Righteous Host" and go on missions to help take down the enemy army. Their missions:
- Assassinating the gnoll leader.
- Ambushing a lich.
- Tracking down an escaped spy who stole a ritual book.
With those missions complete, it is now time for the actual battle. The adventurers now get to choose the role they will play in the conflict:
- Help a team of dwarves deliver alchemist's fire
- Defend a field hospital
- Sneak behind enemy lines and topple a signal tower
This adventure looks absolutely fantastic and I hope I am able to fit it in to some campaign, someday. It deserves to be run.
The Battle of Emridy Meadows is actually depicted in the intro to the computer game.
Dragon Magazine #423 - The Inn of the Welcome Wench
|This is actually the hostel in Nulb, I just like the picture|
- Ostler Gundigoot: The owner. Militia man and trusted elder.
- Goodwife Gundigoot: She runs the kitchen and is very insightful
- Vesta Gundigoot: The eldest daughter. Attractive, single, hopes to run the inn one day.
- Emadyne: The mischievous younger daughter. She likes to spy on the inn patrons (how amusing).
- Zert the Fighter: Zert is a mysterious guy and an accomplished swordsman.
- Spugnoir the Wizard: A fledgling, secretive wizard.
- Turuko & Kobort: Dumb, evil fellows looking for a scam to run.
- Furnok the Gambler: A guy who always seems to win his games of chance.
- Elmo the Ranger: An enthusiastic, friendly fighter who is a bit of a drunken yokel.
Very good stuff. The Inn is a perfect place for new players to start playing D&D at.
Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil
This D&D 3rd edition adventure takes place 15 years after the original adventure. It is written by the great Monte Cook.
Followers of Tharizdun (sometimes known as The Doomdreamers) have set up a new base, the Temple of All-Consumption. Their goal was to regain access to the moathouse, which was a holy place that would give them a magic connection to Tharizdun. They also wanted to get into the Temple, to sift through the dungeon ruins and find the elemental nodes, which were not destroyed.
Lareth the Beautiful is now the anointed champion of elemental evil and he might be able to summon the Princes of Elemental Evil to release Tharizdun. Our heroes must stop them.
The cultists can summon evil elementals: "A small, isolated number of the inhabitants of the Elemental Planes are indeed evil and ruled over by the Elemental Princes of Evil...".
The heroes end up going into the fire node and fighting Imix, one of the princes of elemental evil.
The Princes of Elemental Evil
- Imix: Prince of Evil Fire Creatures
- Ogremoch: Lord of Evil Earth Creatures
- Olhydra: Princess of Evil Water Creatures
- Yan-C-Bin: Master of Evil Air Creatures
- Cryonax: Prince of Evil Cold Creatures
Mike Shea of Slyflourish.com.
These monsters are first described in Monster Vault: Threats to the Nentir Vale, but their origins are vague. They are demons that infect you with the abyssal plague. If you catch the disease, you grow red crystals on your body, you get mad and violent, and then you die and are reborn as an abyssal plague demon.
- Tharizdun is imprisoned in the bowels of the Abyss.
- Tharizdun actually created the Abyss by piercing the Elemental Chaos with the Heart of the Abyss (a crystal of pure evil).
- A cult was able to summon an essence of his will, in the form of a sentient red liquid laced with silver and flecked with gold - The Voidharrow.
- The Voidharrow infects those who touch it, filling them with strength and the desire to destroy all creation.
- The plague spread to many major D&D campaign worlds in a sort of "crossover" event. It hit Dark Sun, the Forgotten Realms, Eberron and 4e's own Nentir Vale.
There are also details on high level exarchs. They are knights with red crystal blades jutting out of their limbs.
The Abyssal Plague was an early attempt at the 5e "storyline" approach. It played out through a series of novels, discussed here.
Dungeon Magazine #214 - The Elder Elemental Eye
This is set in the Forgotten Realms, at the crossroads village of Easting.
There's these three dwarf brothers meddling with dark forces:
- Zarnak: The oldest, a seer whose mind was shattered when it came in contact with the Elder Elemental Eye.
- Arzyg: Mastered the elements, devoted to the cause.
- Jakairn: The youngest, fears his brothers.
In this adventure, if you catch the abyssal plague, it kills you and turns you into a chaos demon lasher. The problem mechanically with this was that the disease didn't kill you until the season was over, at best. Plus, everyone made their saves.
|Abyssal plague demons|
"The massive ooze turns solid, like dark ice, and then shatters. It leaves behind an immense blue jewel. The unnatural cold subsides, and the ice blocking the exits and covering a spiral staircase in the dais melts. The stairs lead down into a dark hole that has strange whispers emanating from it."
Now they can get to the secret Temple of the Eye. They battle Black Cyst elementals who are made up of all four elements. They bleed mud slicks and punch with fiery fists.
The adventurers eventually need to drain the Voidharrow basin, which will sever the link to the abyssal plague. They'll also need to defeat Zarnak, the crazy dwarf.
This was a good adventure, though it dragged at points when I ran it.
Lair Assault - Into the Pit of Madness
This was the final d&d 4th edition Lair Assault, and it had really, really awesome maps. This scenario is simple: Kill Tharizdun's priests and stop Tharizadun from coming into the world!
It's one ginormous encounter with a 20-round time limit. There's whispering madness, elemental nodes and a creature known as the Essence of Evil.
I never got to run this one, as it came out during my extended break from running store events. It looks incredibly awesome.
Derek Myers talks all about it here
Thanks for reading.