Saturday, December 25, 2021


"Dragontales" was a collection of short stories, edited by Kim Mohan, assistant editor of Dragon magazine, and published in August, 1980 (Mohan became editor-in-chief of Dragon with issue #49 (May, 1981).

Dragontales (August, 1980).  Wraparound cover illustration by Mike Carroll (credited in Dragon #46, pg. 73)

Dragon magazine's inaugural editor, Tim Kask, made it a point to include short fiction (a decision some readers failed to appreciate).  Although pieces varied in quality, they succeeded in fueling the imagination.

"Dragontales" includes ten short stories, by both male and female writers and artists (some of whom would gain significant acclaim).  The stories range from straight swords & sorcery to humorous or more introspective tales.

The Wizards Are Dying by John L. Jenkins

Illustrations by Jim Holloway

A party of adventurers band together to stop a lich.  AD&D game fiction, with multiple references to AD&D character classes, races, spells, and monsters.

Reviewed by Michael Curtis, here (March 7, 2011).

Dragon's Fosterling by Ruby S.W. Jung

Illustrations by Mary Kay

A young maiden is captured by a dragon, and plots her own escape.  Traditional fantasy tropes, re-interpreted through a feminist lens.

Reviewed by Michael Curtis, here (March 10, 2011).

Out of the Eons by Gardner F. Fox

Illustrations by Kevin Siembieda

A swords & sorcery tale concerning Niall of the Far Travels, whose previous and subsequent exploits were published in Dragon magazine (as reviewed on Grognardia).

See also the Gardner F. Fox completed library, which includes the Niall of the Far Travels anthology.

Reviewed by Michael Curtis, here (March 27, 2011).

Sir George by Carl Parlagreco

Illustrations by Wayne Geehan (I think this is his website)

A darkly humorous take on the story of Sir George and the Dragon.

Parlagreco also wrote:

"Another View of the Nine-Point Alignment Scheme" in The Dragon #26
"Good Hits & Bad Misses" in Dragon #39
"Bowmanship Made More Meaningful" in Dragon #58

Reviewed by Michael Curtis, here (May 3, 2011).

Black Lotus Moon by Tom Moldvay

Illustrations by Peter Laird (of later TMNT fame)

A swords & sorcery tale set in Biazaan (spelling close to "Biazzan" in the Empire of Thyatis on Mystara, as discussed in this thread on the Piazza).

Tom Moldvay was editor of the soon-to-be-released 1981 Basic Set.

Reviewed on Thoul's Paradise, here (November 5, 2015).

Honor Among Thieves by Roger Moore

Illustrations by Greg Holder

A tale involving two thieves.  Another piece of gaming fiction, heavily rooted in AD&D.

Moore's first article for The Dragon was "Meeting Demogorgon: Last great acts of defiance and cowardice" in The Dragon #36 (April, 1980), cowritten with Jeff Spitler.

He also published "Cloud Castles" in Dragon #39 (July, 1980), became a contributing editor with issue #45 (January, 1981), joined the editorial staff with issue #75 (July, 1983), became editor with issue #115 (November, 1986), and was founding editor of Dungeon magazine (1986).

Ice Dream by David F. Nalle

Illustrations by Chris Roth

A short, thought-provoking story, told in the style of a cautionary fable.

Nalle also created the Ysgarth FRPG and wrote "Blood Tribute" in Pegasus #6.

In the Darkness, Hunting by Janrae Frank (this is her website)

Illustrations by Darlene

A tale of a warrior woman who must portray herself as a man.  One of the best stories in the anthology, and years ahead of its time.

"In the Darkness, Hunting" was later included as part of a short story anthology.

Frank also wrote "Amazons of Antiquity" in Sorcerer's Apprentice #16 (1983) and contributed to the "Citybook II" Port 'o Call" (1984) supplement.

Just Call Me Albert by Martin Mundt

Illustrations by William Loebs (now a comics legend)

A humorous tale of a cleric in search of a specific object for his patron.  Another piece of gaming fiction, heavily rooted in AD&D.

Birth of a Wizard by Marie Desjardin

Illustrations by Mike Romesburg

Although one of the shorter entries, "Birth of a Wizard" is exceptionally well-written and another one of the better stories in the anthology.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

IDDC II - Advanced Division

TSR Periodicals' Second International Dungeon Design Competition (IDDC II) was divided into Basic and Advanced Divisions.  (Basic Division entries were covered, yesterday).

List of IDDC II - Advanced Division winners, appearing in Dragon #53 (September, 1981).

The IDDC II - Advanced Division winners were announced in Dragon #53 (September, 1981).  The top three Advanced Division entries were published in "The Dragon".

As might have been expected, the overall quality of the entries took a distinct step up from the previous contest. What was not expected was the great increase in quantity — nearly 200 entries were received for the AD&D™ division of the contest, and every one of them had to be looked over before we could make even the most preliminary selections.

Dragon #53 (September, 1981)

First Place:

Howard de Wied (Boston Mass.) "The Garden of Nefaron"

"The Garden of Nefaron" (16 pages) by Howard de Wied was published in Dragon #53 (September, 1981).  Title page and interior illustrations by Jim Holloway.

"The Garden of Nefaron" is the only AD&D adventure I'm aware of that involves psionics (one of the monsters encountered includes a ki-rin).

A new monster, the "guardian" is described (a magical construct), as well as a new magic item "Merithus' Mist Maker".

Finally, the properties of "psychogems" are described (a powerful NPC is trapped within a psychogem, a form of crystal prison, similar to that in revised module B3).

Second Place:

Michael Malone (San Diego, Calif.) "The Wandering Trees"

"The Wandering Trees" (16 pages) by Michael Malone was published in Dragon #57 (January, 1982).  Title page illustration by Harry Quinn.  Interior illustrations by Quinn and perhaps Jim Holloway.

"The Wandering Trees" is more of a mini-setting, than a dungeon adventure.
It’s a change of pace, in a lot of respects, from what we have come to call a “normal” module. (Which is about as hard to define as a “normal” game player...) And it worked out sort of nice that our special inclusion for the chilly month of January is an adventure through a forest that is alive with greenery (and other things besides!)

From "Cover to Cover" in Dragon #57 (January, 1982)

The adventure was reviewed here, on Dragonsfoot (September 23, 2019).

Michael Malone also wrote module B8 "Journey to the Rock" in which the PCs need to locate one half of a magical talisman.  ("The Wandering Trees" might be a good location for the other half!)

Third Place:

Jennie M. Good (Groton, Conn.) "Quest for the Midas Orb"

"Quest for the Midas Orb" (11 pages) by Jennie Good was published in Dragon #61 (May, 1982).  Title page and interior illustrations by Jim Holloway.

"Quest for the Midas Orb" involves a two-level dungeon and includes a description of the Midas Orb, a powerful magic item.

Fourth Place:

Douglas Selph (El Cerrito, Calif.) "Obeatus Vigilard"

This adventure was never published.

Fifth Place:

Michael H. Reitzel (Sagamore Hills, Ohio) "Catskull"

This adventure was never published.

Saturday, December 18, 2021

IDDC II - Basic Division

TSR Periodicals' Second International Dungeon Design Competition (IDDC II) was divided into Basic (specifically Holmes Basic) and Advanced Divisions.  (Advanced Division entries will be covered, tomorrow). 

Ad for the "Second International Dungeon Design Competition" appearing in The Dragon #38 (June, 1980) - #40 (August, 1980).  Deadline was September 1, 1980.

The IDDC II - Basic Division winners were announced in Dragon #50 (June, 1981).  The top two Basic Division entries were published in Dragon magazine.

First Place:

Mollie Plants (Morgantown, W. Va.) "The Chapel of Silence"

"The Chapel of Silence" (8 pages) by Mollie Plants was published in Dragon #50 (June, 1981).  Title page and interior illustrations by Roger Raupp.

"The Chapel of Silence" is a gem of a little adventure.  I've run it twice, and both times were tremendous fun.  (It's also well suited for convention play, which I plan to capitalize on, some day.)

Author Mollie Plants had previously won first place (along with Ned and Bert Plants) in the "Mini-Dungeon" category of the second Judges Guild dungeon creation contest, for "The Treasure of Barlawn", published in Judges Guild Journal #16 (Aug/Sept 1979).*

*a pair of NPC thieves, "Primo" and "Gundo" appear in both adventures

For more on "The Chapel of Silence" see the review on Dragonsfoot, here, along with my play report, here.

Second Place:

Kevin Knuth (Fond du Lac, Wis.) "The Creature of Rhyl"

"The Creature of Rhyl" (8 pages) by Kevin Knuth was published in Dragon #55 (November, 1981).  Title page and interior illustrations by Harry Quinn.

"The Creature of Rhyl" bears many stylistic similarities to module B1 "In Search of the Unknown" (including the need to more fully stock the adventure, prior to play).

The scenario has been adapted for the Eamon computer-based role-playing game, as well as Neverwinter Nights.

See my review and play report on Dragonsfoot, from back in 2009.  (I ran it again in 2014, with a few upgrades.)

Third Place:

Susan K. Topa (Utica, N.Y.) "Ziggurat of the Adepts"

This adventure was never published, and attempts to contact the author have been unsuccessful.*

Fourth Place:

Paul Haase (Bellevue, Wash.) "Adventures in the Far Isles"

I corresponded briefly with Paul Haase, several years ago.  Although he didn't keep a copy of his adventure, he recalled that it involved "a shipwreck as a small dungeon where the tide alternately exposed and blocked access".

Fifth Place:

T. Scott Kennedy (Tinton Falls, N.J.) "Harrowhouse"

This adventure was never published, and attempts to contact the author have been unsuccessful.*

*for more on attempts to track down the Third, Fourth, and Fifth place entries, see "Holmes - the "lost" adventures", on Dragonsfoot

Saturday, December 11, 2021

The Temple of Poseidon

"The Temple of Poseidon" by Paul Reiche III was published in Dragon #46.  In designing the adventure, Reiche drew upon the works of H.P. Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith to achieve a particular mood.

"The Temple of Poseidon" (16 pages) by Paul Reiche III was published in Dragon #46 (February, 1981).  Illustrations by Susan Collins.

Reiche and artist Erol Otus were high school friends.*  Together with Mathias Genser, the trio published OD&D supplements with illustrations by Otus, such as "Booty and the Beasts" and "The Necromican" (Fantasy Art Enterprises, 1979).

*see Grognardia interview, here; also Papers at the Strong, here

"The Temple of Poseidon"* is a well-designed, inventive, high-stakes adventure that gradually develops its Lovecraftian theme, then spirals downward into horror and madness.

*see my review on Dragonsfoot

There are similarities with module WG4 "The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun".  Both begin as one kind of adventure, and suddenly develop into another, Weird Tales-inspired one:
Years ago this area was found to have incredibly high mana, the power on which all magic feeds.  To take advantage of this natural wonder, my ancestors built this temple on top of the mana source.  How were they to know that they were not the first?  How were they to know that beneath our stone corridors there resides another complex, built by darkly evil inhumans in millenia past?  The earthquakes must have awakened them, and now they rise again in their attempt to conquer the world for their evil lords!

excerpt from the journal of the arch-priest, from "The Temple of Poseidon"

However, whereas the black cyst in the Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun is regarded as anti-climactic by some, the secrets beneath the Temple of Poseidon are more like something out of Chaosium's "Call of Cthulhu" RPG.

In the middle of the chamber stands a shiny, black, four-sided pillar that reaches up into the darkness above you.  All four sides of the pillar are covered with grotesque runes and hieroglyphics.

Paul Reiche III, from "The Temple of Poseidon"

Reiche introduces several new monsters (the stats for which are embedded in the room descriptions, rather than collected together in a separate section at the end):

Cannibal Carnation, Carrion Crawler (Aquatic), Devil Wyrms, Efreet (Pasha), Living Statues, Myconymph, Screamers, Sand Squid aka "Subsilicate Cephalopod" (similar in some respects to the Groundsquid from Dragon #39), Spiders (Giant/Sea)

The climax involves a race against time, as the adventurers attempt to prevent the inhuman Priests of the King Ythog-Nithlei from releasing their alien King Ythog-Nithlei from his ancient captivity.

Other Settings:

Despite having been designed for use with AD&D, there's an undeniable BX* vibe to this adventure (Tom Moldvay was likewise heavily influenced by the Weird Tales triumvirate of Howard, Lovecraft and Smith).

*it would be very easy to run "The Temple of Poseidon" using BX and a copy of the 1e Monster Manual, as necessary details for adjudicating new monsters are provided in the text

"Poseidon" should be replaced with "Protius", based on the mythological sea-god "Proteus" (a better fit for the adventure, given his oracular attributes).  Protius "the Old Man of the Sea" is a Mystaran immortal.

Proposed location for "The Temple of Protius" on an island in the Kingdom of Ierendi in the BX "Known World" setting.

The "Temple of Protius" could be situated within the sea-cliffs of a large island close to Karameikos.  A suitable hook for the adventure might be that the PCs have been hired to determine the whereabouts of a Thyatian noble or Minrothad merchant.*

*Karmeikan/Thyatian nobles (room B), Minrothad merchants (rooms C/D)

The sea routes from Specularum to the islands to the south are indicated on this map from the 1983 Expert Set.  (The island in question was named Safari Island, sort of a Jurassic Park, in GAZ 4 "The Kingdom of Ierendi").

Saturday, December 4, 2021

The International Dungeon Design Competition

TSR Periodicals' International Dungeon Design Competition (IDDC) was advertised as "A Contest for Advanced D&D Dungeon Designers and Masters of Writing, Designing and Imaginative Skills".  The top three entries were published in "The Dragon".

Ad for "The International Dungeon Design Competition" appearing in The Dragon #21 (December, 1978) - #23 (March, 1979).  Deadline was extended to May 1, 1979 in The Dragon #24 (April, 1979).

While the 1e Monster Manual (1977) and 1e Players Handbook (1978) were available, the 1e Dungeon Masters Guide wouldn't be released until August, 1979 (although a 9-page "Sneak Preview" was published in The Dragon #22.)

The winners of the IDDC were announced in The Dragon #32:

The easiest decision, surprisingly enough, was on the winner, which we are proud to present in this issue. Judging an endeavor such as this requires a great deal of subjective evaluation, and we felt the the more judges we had, the less important that aspect would become. As it turned out, all of us were in complete agreement as to the winner. All of the finalists were strong entries in more than one area. The winner, though, had the best combination of imagery, imagination, design, deviousness, and originality in one package.

The Dragon #32 (December, 1979)

The judges were Tim Kask and Jake Jaquet (editor and assistant editor of "The Dragon", respectively) with input from the design department at TSR.  Decisions regarding second and third place were more difficult, possibly accounting for the multiple honorable mentions.

First Place:

Karl Merris (San Diego, CA) "The Fell Pass"

"The Fell Pass" (16 pages) by Karl Merris was published in The Dragon #32 (December, 1979).  Title page illustration also by Karl Merris.

Legend and Introduction:

Along the caravan routes that tie the Cities of the West to the Kingdoms of the East, many tales are told of the mountains called the Towers of the Sun. One of these legends concerns a dark road said to be hidden among the twisty trails that spiderweb the mountains. Into the earth the road leads, into and through a series of vast caverns filled with treacherous traps and cunning monsters.

"The Fell Pass" from The Dragon #32

The Fell Pass may be situated within any mountain chain in a DMs campaign world.  It is divided into three major sections (the West End, the Lower Caverns, and the East End).  Room descriptions are interspersed with tips for the DM and entertaining commentary by the author.

Although clearly written using the AD&D Monster Manual (one encounter involves jackalweres) and AD&D Players Handbook (a 10th level NPC cleric has AD&D spell progression, including "flame strike"), "The Fell Pass" has an undeniable, freewheeling, OD&D aesthetic.

Author Karl Merris recounts its gaming origins, in a post on Facebook:

The original Fell Pass from my campaign was a much larger and more empty location than what you find in the module. Given the constraints of the contest, I had to cram my favorite bits close together, so as published it seems overly crowded. Please imagine long galleries of shadow connecting each of the encounters.

Some of my favorite bits: "Poisonous" snakes whose bite acts like a potion (inspired by a comment by WC Fields: “I always carry a small snake.”). Casrac the Mountain-Splitter, a willful weapon that deliberately seeks strong but stupid wielders. The "Geyser Djinn." The Treadmill.

Karl Merris (July 10, 2014)

The adventure was reviewed here, on Dragonsfoot (June 17, 2018), and appears to be best suited for character levels 5-8, based on comments in the thread.

(Module X5 "The Temple of Death" (1983) by David Cook includes a section called "The Great Pass", which is similar in certain respects to this adventure.)

Second Place:

Stephen Sullivan (Sharon, MA) “The Pit of the Oracle”

"The Pit of the Oracle" (16 pages) by Stephen Sullivan was published in The Dragon #37 (May, 1980).  Illustration by Jeff Dee.

"The Pit of the Oracle" describes the town of Narrion and surrounding lands, a mini-sandbox, similar in style and presentation to the wilderness area described in the original version of module B3 "Palace of the Silver Princess" (1981) by Jean Wells.*

*Sullivan was hired by TSR in September, 1980 and is credited, along with Edward G. Sollers, with editing and production for the original version of module B3.  He reminisces about assisting Wells on the module in this post on Facebook

The implied setting* for the adventure is the same as in the D&D comic ads (for which Sullivan wrote most of the scripts):

I was really writing the D&D comics as if they were set in my game world of ILLION, though not in any specific place, and Narrion and the rest of that adventure as well.  Heck, I wrote Pit of the Oracle while I was in college, before I went to work at TSR, so clearly it was/is more my world than anything from TSR.  (Though the editorial change of my white box Balrogs into far more powerful demons probably completely unbalanced the setting!

Steven Sullivan, from a thread on the Piazza (August 1, 2021)

*also the setting for Sullivan's "Twilight Empire: Robinson’s War" comic, illustrated by John Hebert, and published in Dragon starting with issue #156 (1990-1994).  The strips were collected and released in graphic novel format in 2011

Sullivan makes excellent use of the "Featured Creature" from The Dragon #7 (June, 1977), a monster which didn't make it into the 1e Monster Manual, as well as "the Jarkung" from Creature Feature Contest #1, published in The Dragon #14 (May, 1978).

A rudimentary map of the town of Narrion is included, as well as a table of rumors and legends, an imaginative two-level dungeon, table for wandering monsters, and new monsters (elemental demons/gremlins, and a unique monster, "the stalker").

The adventure was reviewed here, on Dragonsfoot (December 19, 2017).

Third Place:

David Luther* (Denver, CO) “The Halls of Beoll-Dur”

*co-authored by Jon Naatz, Dave Niessen, Mark Schultz

"The Halls of Beoll-Dur" (16 pages) by Dave Luther et al. was published in Dragon #41 (September, 1980).  Illustration by Roger Raupp (signature is "Roger" in Tengwar script).

"The Halls of Beoll-Dur" describes a three-level dungeon, the former stronghold of a dwarven clerical order, built into the rim of a volcano.  It is designed for characters of at least 8th level or greater.

The adventure has a Tolkienesque feel, although lacks a specific hook.  (It seems to be intended as an adventure location the party stumbles upon while exploring in the wilderness.)

The characters may encounter a dwarven god, based on Zeus from "Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes" (the relevant passage is reproduced).*

 *"Deities & Demi-Gods" was released around August, 1980.

The adventure was reviewed here, by Fractalbat (February 18, 2014).

(Solo module XS2 "Thunderdelve Mountain" (1985) by William Carlson is a similar adventure.)

Honorable Mention:

Richard Cambra (Aurora, CO) “Death Keep”

David Craig (Tacoma, WA) “The Demon Orb”

John Hopper (Chester Springs, PA) “The Pyramid of the Jaguar”

Gay Peyre-Ferry (Media, PA) “Heimdallson’s Hall”

Kenneth Ritchart (Boulder, CO) “The Castle of the Thusinsu”

Grant Sigsworth (Coronado, CA) “The Logic of Chaos”

Gerald Strathmann (Waukegan, IL) “The Stronghold of the Black Earl”

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Q1: Queen of the Demonweb Pits

Module Q1 "Queen of the Demonweb Pits" by David C. Sutherland was released in October, 1980.  The long-awaited conclusion to the G-series and D-series trilogies, it was also intended to be "The first of a new series of other-planar adventures".*

*see "Playing on the Other Planes of Existence" in The Dragon #32 (December, 1979) for plans regarding additional adventures on the Astral, Ethereal, and Elemental planes

Cover to module Q1 "Queen of the Demonweb Pits" (1980) by David C. Sutherland III with Gary Gygax.  Illustration by Jim Roslof.

Lolth, the Demon Queen of Spiders, is worshipped by the Drow, although was not the actual mastermind behind the attacks of the giants.  The adventure is therefore useful as a standalone, but lateral to the metaplot of the preceding modules.

Design Origins:

The development of module Q1 has a long and storied history.  About a year before its release, it was revealed that Gary Gygax would not be writing it:
Question: When will Q1, QUEEN OF THE DEMONWEB PITS, be released?  I am really looking forward to playing in it.

Answer: Q1 is being written by Dave Sutherland, TSR’s Art Director.  Dave has a lot of demands on his time and is working on it as often as he can.  We are very short-handed in the Art Dept. and I cannot say when Q1 will be ready for release.
From The Dragon #31 (November, 1979)

The following month, Gygax provided more details in his column "From the Sorcerer's Scroll":
...I also worked up a number of dungeon modules, including the series which will culminate in an adventure on one of the planes of the Abyss (Q1, QUEEN OF THE DEMONWEB PITS).
It so happened that Dave Sutherland had a splendid inspiration regarding this setting, so my rather sketchy notes were set aside for use in another module, and Dave was given the go-ahead to do the scenario.  (As of this writing, it is nearly complete, and I hope that it will soon find its way into print!)  The information in the module should be sufficient to serve as a guide for development of the entire 666 “layers” of the Abyss.
From The Dragon #32 (December, 1979)

When the adventure was finally published, Gygax explained the following in its Preface:
As this is the last of a series of seven modules, six of which were authored by me, you might well wonder why this one was done by Dave Sutherland.  The explanation is simple.  About two years ago I laid out the outline of the action for this whole series, and over the next six months wrote as many modules.  The last was the crowning piece, of course, and it was left aside until a considerable period of time could be spent addressing it so as to assure that DEMONWEB was, in fact, something special.  In the meantime, I had to get busy finishing the DUNGEON MASTERS GUIDE, already behind schedule because I'd spent time on module design.  As I was reviewing my ideas for DEMONWEB, it suddenly struck me that what I had sketched out was far too similar to another module "rough" I was committed to: the TEMPLE OF ELEMENTAL EVIL, the final part of the VILLAGE OF HOMMLET (AD&D module T1).  Now I was faced with a true dilemma.

Finishing a module from an outline is not a difficult task.  Creating a whole new setting is, and that was exactly what was required for one or the other of the modules I was committed to.  Then one day, as I was talking with Dave, the quandary was resolved.  He showed me an idea he had for a "dungeon" level, and what a level!  What an idea!  This, I told him, was the perfect setting for the DEMONWEB, and straightaway placed the entire project into his capable hands.  Since then, he has been hard at work developing and perfecting the scenario you now have before you.  My only contributions have been some brief notes, a monster, a bit of editing, and this introductory piece.  I am certain that you will find DEMONWEB to be a superior design, and Dave deserves all the credit.  It is a fitting climax of and culmination for the other adventures in the series.  DEMONWEB is remarkably innovative and imaginative.  Take a look now, and see if you don't agree that it is special indeed - guaranteed to give your players unsurpassed challenge.  This module is truly for the expert player, and ability - not character level - will be the telling factor.  Enjoy!
Gary Gygax, from "Queen of the Demonweb Pits" (March, 1980)

Years later, Gygax revealed that he had little actual say in the decision:
As for Q1, Ask Dave Sutherland and Brian Blume about that.  It was taken out of my hands by the latter when Sutherland discovered the "Demonweb" pattern in a hand towel and talked Brian into using it as the main theme for the concluding module.  I had no creative control over it.

I had hoped to get to the Elder Elemental god in a sequal to the ToEE, but...
Gary Gygax, from EN World (February 24, 2003)

When asked about his original intent for "Queen of the Demonweb Pits", he stated:
My concept was that Eclavdra was aiming at dominance of the Drow through using the EEG to replace Lolth.  she, as the chief priestess of the elemental deity would then be the mistress of all.  The final scenario was to have been one in which the adventurers got involved in the battle between the evil entities and made it so that both lost and were tossed back to their own planes, relatively powerless in the Mundane world for some time to come.
Gary Gygax, from EN World (February 24, 2003)

These comments were reiterated on EN World in August, 2006, (here, here, and here) and have inspired some to develop their own conclusion to the GDQ series, using a plot more in keeping with what Gygax had originally envisioned.


Sutherland was aided in the development of the adventure by David Cook and Tim Jones (whose contributions, particularly Cook's, may have been substantial).  Frank Mentzer did the editing and layout.  (According to Mentzer, the Demonweb was inspired by the design on a placemat, citing Sutherland himself).

Q1 also credits a list of individuals for their "able assistance", including Allen Hammack, Kevin Hendrix, Harold Johnson, Brian Pitzer, Paul Reiche III, Evan Robinson, Lawrence Schick, and Tom Wham.

Playtesters included Mark S. Anderson, David Cook, Helen Cook, Peter Drzewiecki, Lorece Ferm, Bill Hoyer, Kevin Huigens, Harold Johnson, Jon Jones, Dave LaForce, Alan Lepkowski, Mack Mackenzie, Frank Mentzer, Erol Otus, Brian Price, Don St. Ouge, Lawrence Schick, James Tessmer, Susan Tessmer, and Bob Waldbauer.

Spell Alterations:

Since the Demonweb is one of the 666 layers of the Abyss, spell casting works differently than on the Prime Material Plane.  While it's possible to learn how to cast spells correctly, the PCs will be unaware of this, and so a list of spell alterations is given.

Rules are provided for clerical, druidical, magic-user, and illusionist spells.  (A list of alterations for the spell effects of magical items is also given.)

The Demonweb:

The Demonweb has a convoluted, M.C. Escher-like quality, comprised of three interwoven levels, above which floats a separate, fourth level:

High-resolution map of the Demonweb, available for download, here

Each of the first three levels contain four doorways leading to other levels of the Abyss.  The fourth level contains eight gateways leading to alternate worlds, and a final doorway leading to Lolth's palace, on yet another layer of the Abyss.*

*the adventure therefore involves 14 different layers of the Abyss, and includes suggestions for adding three to four doorways to each of the first three layers, increasing to 24 different layers of the Abyss

As an adventure location, the Demonweb is wonderfully imaginative.  It can be restocked with new creatures, and plunked wholesale into any high-level campaign.*  (I feel that it has a B/X rather than AD&D aesthetic, possibly owing to Cook's involvement).

*alternatively, the three levels can be used as the template for a basic-level or expert-level dungeon, restocked with the appropriate creatures

Alternate Worlds:

The gateways leading to other or alternate worlds on the Prime Material Plane leverage the concept of a D&D multiverse:

The Kingdom of Caer Sidi
"An artificial twilight seems to hang over the land and the sun is apparently always behind a bank of clouds."*
*based on the realm of Faerie in Poul Anderson's "Three Hearts and Three Lions"
The Frozen Lands
The gateway leads into a cave within a frozen mountain range.
(I suggest using the animated film "Fire and Ice" (1983) for inspiration, here.
The Great Ocean
"The doorway is set on a white, sandy beach...  The sky is saffron yellow and the sun is a pale bright blue; a pink ocean...washes gently over the sand."
An alien world, home to underwater races and a human society reminiscent of Ursula K. Le Guin's "Earthsea" trilogy (ie. the Raft People in "The Farthest Shore").
The Black Fen
A vast, desolate swamp, "ringed by a wall of mountains."
The Labyrinth of Arachne
A subterranean maze, used as breeding ground for spiders.
"the last kingdom of the mountain dwarves in this world"
The PCs arrive as a major battle is about to commence (it is suggested to determine the outcome using miniatures).
The Nightworld of Vlad Tolenkov
A land of perpetual night, ruled by a vampire lord, in a world with no sun. 
Lolth's Prison
A miniature, disc-shaped world, situated at the edge of the galaxy.

For those wishing to expand the module even further, six additional worlds are suggested:

Cloud World
Airless World

While sketched out in varying degrees of detail, entire adventures can be placed in any of these additional worlds.  (Alternatively, the DM may use one or more as the basis for adventures in their home campaign).

The Spider Ship of Lolth:

Lolth's castle is actually a giant, steam-powered, spider-ship.  While in keeping with the otherworldly theme of the adventure, some regard it as discordant.  (For an alternative, see the free adventure "Skein Of The Death Mother" on Dragonsfoot).

New Monsters:

Drider, Pedipalp (Large/Schizomida, Huge/Amblypigi, Giant/Uropygi), Scorpion (Large, Huge), Solifugid (Large, Huge, Giant), Yochlol (Handmaiden of Lolth)

Statistics are also provided for Lolth herself, the Demon Queen of Spiders.

Sequels and Derivative Works:

The module was included in the supermodule GDQ1-7 "Queen of the Spiders" (1987).

The adventure was novelized by Paul Kidd in 2001

The Demonweb Pits were revisited in "Expedition to the Demonweb Pits" (2007) by Wolfgang Baur and Gwendolyn Kestrel, for 3.5e.

Update (February 9, 2022): see also Q2: Web of Souls, by Joseph Block, which aligns more with Gygax's original intent for the conclusion to the GDQ campaign arc, and may be substituted as a complete replacement for Q1

Saturday, November 20, 2021

WG4: The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun

WG4 "The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun" serves as a companion to module S4 "The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth", expanding the wilderness map into another part of the Southern Yatils, southwest of the Gnome Vale.

Cover to module WG4 "The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun" (1982) by Gary Gygax.  Illustration by Karen Nelson.*

*Nelson also contributed the back cover and interior illustrations.  Her family's relationship with Gygax was discussed by Frank Mentzer on Dragonsfoot:

A local family named Shook were friends of the Gygaxes. The kid, Eric, was badgered into working at TSR for a while, and was tacked onto my RPGA office in '81 or so for a brief time. His mother wheedled Gary into commissioning her for artworks, and hence the oddball watercolor cover for this piece. (Might have done the odd map, too.)

Frank Mentzer, posted on Dragonsfoot (April 27, 2005)

The Forgotten Temple:
The Temple was built in a previous age, a secret place of worship to Tharizdun, He of Eternal Darkness.  It drew the most wicked persons to it, and the cult flourished for generations, sending out its minions from time to time to enact some horrible deed upon the lands around.  However, a great battle eventually took place between Tharizdun and those opposed to his evil.  Unable to destroy him, they were strong enough to overcome his power and imprison him somewhere, by means none have ever been able to discover.  Thus Tharizdun disappeared from the face of the earth, and from all of the other known planes, and has not been seen again since.

from "The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun" (1982)

The PCs are asked by the gnomes to track a band of marauding humanoids to their lair, which turns out to be an ancient, two-stepped, black ziggurat.

The temple consists of an upper and lower level, a dungeon level, and a hidden undertemple (which is difficult to locate, and may go undiscovered).


Gygax thanks Rob Kuntz "for inspiration regarding the subject material of this scenario."  Kuntz had earlier created the dark god "Tharzduun", who served as inspiration for Gygax's Tharizdun.*

*see "The Dark God: Historical Content, Developer Commentary, and an Ode to the Dark God" by Robert J. Kuntz (El Raja Key's Magical Emporium #4, 2003), republished in "Dark Druids" by Robert J. Kuntz (2006, 2015)

Kuntz states that Tharzduun was "conceived from CAS’s Thaisidon"* in this essay (originally published in AFS ("Anti-Fascist Society") zine #2.

*Thasaidon featured in the short story "The Dark Eidolon" by Clark Ashton Smith, (originally published in Weird Tales in January, 1935; available to read online, here)

Illustration by Clark Ashton Smith for "The Dark Eidolon", originally published in Weird Tales (January, 1935).

Gygax envisioned a connection between Tsojcanth and Tharizdun, and incorporated Tharizdun into his "Gord the Rogue" novels.*

*see also "22 Questions on Tharizdun answered by Gary Gygax" posted on neuronphaser (June 9, 2016)

New Monsters:

WG4 "The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun" uses monsters from the Fiend Folio (1981):

Aarakocra (Bird-Man), Caryatid Column, Coffer Corpse, Giant (Mountain Giant), Grell, Guardian Daemon, Meazel, Norker, Shadow Demon, Stunjelly

In addition, two new monsters were described:

Annis, Boggart

The WG1-4 Campaign:

If you are actually utilizing this module as an adjunct to "The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth", you might consider what was done in the actual campaign from which both were written.  The adventurers discovered Gnome Vale in the course of seeking the 'Caverns.  Later, they returned for rest and recuperation after suffering severe damage exploring the latter place.  Only three or four of the original party actually journeyed to the 'Temple, because, as is usual with any group, some of its number were not on hand when it was time to adventure.  Because only a portion of the group went, the gnomes went along.  After initial contact and a couple of pitched battles, several of the other party members joined the three, and the 'Temple was sacked.  Losses were minimal, because the players were reasonably adept, and hit-and-run tactics were used.

Gary Gygax, from "The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun" (1982)

Gygax ran his group through an early version of "The Village of Hommlet" back in late 1975/early 1976, and again 2-3 years later, likely as a playtest for the module.

They later adventured in a revised/expanded version of the Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth, followed by the Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun.

Gygax acknowledges the original set of players (Luke Gygax, Mike Olson, Sonny Savage, Richard Kuntz, and Mitch Preston) in WG4.*

*playtesters listed in the credits include Jeff Dolphin, Luke Gygax, David Kuntz, Richard Kuntz, Mike Olson, and Sonny Savage

See also "From Hommlet to Tharizdun, by way of Tsojcanth" posted on the Greyhawk Grognard blog (March 22, 2013).

Running WG4:

WG4 "The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun" is designed for up to 12 characters, levels 5-10 (although ideally 4-8 characters, levels 8-10).  By comparison, S4 is for 6-8 characters, levels 6-10).

For a Master Class in running WG4, review the "Cold Text Files" (parts 1-9) accessible through the Wayback Machine, here (strange how online material regarding Tharizdun is often deleted...)

See also "Thoughts on The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun" posted on the Greyhawk Grognard blog (April 12, 2018).

Saturday, November 13, 2021

S4: The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth

S1 "Tomb of Horrors" and S3 "Expedition to the Barrier Peaks" were tournament scenarios (from Origins I and Origins II, respectively), precursors to the C (or "Competition") series, while S2 "White Plume Mountain" was a puzzle dungeon, submitted by Lawrence Schick.

Cover to module S4 "The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth" (1982) by Gary Gygax.  Illustration by Erol Otus.

S4 "The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth" is similar to S1 and S3, having likewise originated as a tournament scenario (for Wintercon V in 1976), but was extensively reworked by Gary Gygax (who restocked the caverns and added a wilderness section).

The result is a heavily revised adventure, explicitly set within the recently published "World of Greyhawk" setting:

If the "World of Greyhawk" fantasy world setting is part of your campaign, the party is sponsored by the Margrave of the March of Bissel.  Perrenland, Ket, Veluna, and Iuz are enemies or rivals of Bissel.

Gary Gygax, from S4 "The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth"

Gygax ran his Village of Hommlet group through "The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth" (playtesters listed in the credits include Jeff Dolphin, Luke Gygax, David Kuntz, Richard Kuntz, Sonny Savage, and James M. Ward).

S4 (and its companion WG4 "The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun") therefore serves as a fitting adjunct to T1-4 "The Temple of Elemental Evil" as part of a broader campaign set within the World of Greyhawk (perhaps concluding with the GDQ series).

The Wilderness:

Gygax states "Each hex is approximately 3.5 miles across. It shows the border areas of Ket and Perrenland, between the Velverdyva River and the town of Krestible, as shown on the map of the WORLD OF GREYHAWK Fantasy World Setting."

Approximate location of the wilderness map from S4 "The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth" (1 hex = 3.5 miles, left) on the World of Greyhawk map (1 hex = 30 miles, right) based on terrain.

Unfortunately (and as discussed elsewhere) there is poor correspondence between the wilderness map* and World of Greyhawk map.  (See "The Southern Yatils" by Denis Tetreault for ways to address this).

*a standard scale of 8 miles/hex works much better

The Caverns:

The lesser and greater caverns represent a challenge for experienced players.  The high density of deadly creatures is problematic for some, but I like to consider this a reflection of the caverns as a nexus between worlds, so that its inhabitants constantly change.

*grodog's "The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth" page is an excellent resource for anyone running the adventure

Booklet 2:

In addition to the 32-page scenario booklet, module S4 "The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth" came with a 32-page supplementary booklet detailing new monsters and magical items:

New Monsters

Bat (Normal, Mobat), Behir, Bodak, Cave Cricket (Giant), Cave Moray, Cooshee,* Crystal Ooze, Dao,* Demi-Lich, Demon (Alu-Demon, Baphomet, Bar-Igura, Chasme, Dretch, Fraz-Urb-Iuu, Graz'zt, Kostchtchle, Rutterkin), Derro, Dracolisk, Elf (Valley),* Formorian, Gorgimera, Marid,* Marlgoyle, Olive Slime, Pech, Pudding (Deadly), Troll (Marine), Slime Creature, Wolfwere, Xag-Ya, Xeg-Yi

*the Dao and Marid were featured in Dragon #66 (Oct 1982), and the Valley Elf and Cooshee in Dragon #67 (Nov 1982), shortly after module S4 was released, perhaps as a form of cross-promotion

Magical Items

Potions (Rainbow Hues, Vitality)
Miscellaneous Magic (Dagger +2/Longtooth, Horn of Fog, Lens of Detection, Prison of Zagig, Slippers of Spider Climbing)


Daoud's Wondrous Lanthorn

The Demonomicon of Iggwilv, illustration by Jeff Easley (with hidden messages in the script)

Demonomicon of Iggwilv:

Clerical Spells

4th Level (Abjure)
7th Level (Exaction, Henley's Digit of Disruption)

Magic-User Spells

5th Level (Dismissal, Dolor)
6th Level (Ensnarement)
7th Level (Banishment, Torment)
8th Level (Binding

Prison of Zagig

Magical Diagrams*

*appeared in earlier form as "Protection circles and the like, plus news of the north central Flanaess" in Dragon #56 (Dec 1981) in which module S4 is mentioned to be in development

Reputed Properties of Gems

Sequels and Derivative Works:

S4 "The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth" was included in the supermodule S1-4 "Realms of Horror", with some modifications.

The loosely connected module S5 "The Dancing Hut of Baba Yaga" for 2e, by Lisa Smedman, contains additional information on Iggwilv.

The adventure was updated to 3.5e in "Iggwilv's Legacy: The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth" (Dungeon #151, Oct 2007) by Edward Albert, Ari Marmell, and C.A. Suleiman.*

*downloadable here

See also Jason B. Thompson's walkthrough map.

Saturday, November 6, 2021

Greyhawk: The Shape of a World

I don't profess to be an expert in matters involving "The World of Greyhawk" (there are far more wizened sages on the subject).  I've only run a single campaign on Oerth (T1-4 "The Temple of Elemental Evil") and that was decades ago.

Advertisement for "The World of Greyhawk" appearing in The Dragon #39 (July, 1980) depicting the City of Greyhawk on the shores of the Nyr Dyv.

It's fascinating to read Gary Gygax's column "From the Sorcerer's Scroll" in The Dragon #37 titled "Greyhawk: The Shape of a World" discussing the soon-to-be-released "World of Greyhawk" folio, a product foretold in many of the modules preceding it.

The map of the Greyhawk Campaign came first, many years ago. The information came from a few original notes, many ideas, and the activity of the players. Just as the map was drawn from many earlier campaign maps I’d done for one game or another, so too were the states and features of the “World” drawn from many an earlier creation. When all of these odds and ends were put into play, considerable reshaping and change took place. When they were ordered and readied for formal publication, far greater mutation occurred.

Gary Gygax, from The Dragon #37 (May, 1980)

Gygax is referring to the map of The Great Kingdom, repurposed as the map of The OD&D Game World, the setting for the original Blackmoor, Greyhawk, and El Raja Key campaigns.  The beautiful map by Darlene for the World of Greyhawk folio was a new iteration.

The figure line could eventually number in the hundreds of sets, with possibly a thousand different figures. The initial release will be in the 50-set range, according to Steve. Of course, I’ll be contributing to the miniatures rules, and I’m helping to select figure types. The rules and figures will be significant contributions towards developing the “World,” but more is needed.

Gary Gygax, from The Dragon #37 (May, 1980)

It's clear that Gygax envisioned the World of Greyhawk at least partly as a setting for battles to be fought using miniatures rules.  (He even provides orders of battle for two of the original Circle of Eight (Bigby, Mordenkainen), as well as Robilar, Tenser, and Erac's Cousin).

Much of the original activity in the Greyhawk Campaign came in the huge City of Greyhawk. My initial map was only an 8½” x 11” sheet of graph paper, but this was soon enlarged to a four-times size. Even that was too small, so extra, large-scale sections were done up to supplement the main map. I have now gone to what amounts to about four-game-maps size to show the whole of the place in fair detail. The mapping isn’t complete, and only a few of the most outstanding places are noted, as there is yet many months of work left before the design will be in shape to submit to TSR’s Product Development Department. Sometime in 1981 or 1982, though, you should see a giant map and gazetteer for the City of Greyhawk being offered for sale.
Gary Gygax, from The Dragon #37 (May, 1980)

It's amazing to think that a City of Greyhawk product was actually being planned at one time (perhaps in response to Judges Guild's "City State of the Invincible Overlord" (1976).  While never published, many details were included in the Gord the Rogue novels.

While that project is yet a ways off, modules of the World of Greyhawk are currently in the works. Skip Williams is working on my original outline for Shadowland, and from what I’ve seen so far, we should be able to have a final product out this year. The module will be an adventure on the Plane of Shadow—perhaps that should be Quasi-plane of Shadow. Other such modules are also in the hopper.
Gary Gygax, from The Dragon #37 (May, 1980)

"Shadowland" never came to be, although briefly surfaced in the Summer 1986 Mail Order Hobby Shop catalog as WG7 "Shadowlords" according to The Acaeum.*  The Plane of Shadow was first described in "Deities & Demigods" (1980) as a new, inner plane.

*module code WG7 was ultimately assigned to the post-Gygax "Castle Greyhawk" (1988) compilation

As I’d mentioned in a previous column, Steve Marsh sent me a wealth of material on various planes, just as I was getting my own creative processes going. At first I envisioned a long-distance exchange with manuscripts eventually going back and forth between us. Now Steve will be coming to work for TSR this summer for a couple of months or so, and I have hope that he and I can work up general outlines and hammer out details, so that only one exchange of materials will be needed for each piece.

Because of this, there might be as many as ten World of Greyhawk modules based on the planes by the end of 1981 or mid-82.
Gary Gygax, from The Dragon #37 (May, 1980)

Gygax and Marsh did apparently collaborate on a Manual of the Planes, the manuscript for which is considered lost.  It's hard to imagine ten modules based on the planes.  (Marsh also spent much of that summer working on the D&D Expert Set Rules with David Cook.)

One whole piece of the “World” remains to be covered, and from what input I receive, it is perhaps the most important sector. It is the dungeons under Greyhawk Castle. It might seem that that would be the easiest of all to put into production. Not so!

Both Rob and I liked to “wing it” as much as possible, so as to have flexibility and to tie in past events. Think of over four dozen level maps with partial matrices, skimpy notes, cryptic symbols and areas erased or penciled over due to destructive actions! The whole 50 levels or thereabouts form a cohesive dungeon, of course, so that means to undertake the project, I must sit down and handle it all together, with as few breaks as possible, in order to reflect the general oneness. This will eventually be done, yes indeed! But I don’t dare begin at this time. . . .
Gary Gygax, from The Dragon #37 (May, 1980)

Preparing the whole of Greyhawk Castle: Expanded Version into publishable format would have been particularly daunting for Gygax, given that he would have been working from Kuntz's notes for much of it.  Perhaps the 13-level, original Greyhawk Castle would have been more realistic.*

*interestingly, Gygax and Kuntz turned to the original El Raja Key as the source for WG5 "Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure"

Before the dungeons of Castle Greyhawk are dusted off and construction begins anew, the rough manuscript for T2, Temple of Elemental Evil, must be finalized. With the very good words I’ve heard about the Village of Hommlet offering, I’m under considerable pressure to get T2 out—but in a form comparable to T1, so there will be much agonizing and rewriting. Then, Rob Kuntz has the reworked Lost Caverns module which must be finalized also. It was used for a MDG tournament a few years ago at WinterCon, and the scenario is very good. We want to get it into print as soon as possible.
Gary Gygax, from The Dragon #37 (May, 1980)

Here, Gygax is referring to what would have been considered WG2 "The Temple of Elemental Evil" and WG3 "The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth" (ultimately assigned the module code S4).  WG4 "The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun" would soon follow.

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Gen Con XIII: Against the Slavers

Gen Con XIII was held in August, 1980 on the Parkside Campus of the University of Wisconsin.  The AD&D open tournament was "Against the Slavers", a collaborative effort by David “Zeb” Cook, Harold Johnson, Tom Moldvay, Allen Hammack, and Lawrence Schick.

Gen Con XIII as advertised in The Dragon #40 (August, 1980).

According to Jake Jaquet's article "Conventions 1980" published in The Dragon #43, the tournament started with over 800 players (a sizeable proportion of the 4500 in attendance).  In a separate article, Dave Cook describes how such a large number of players was handled:

Five first rounds were required to narrow the contestants down to a mere 135 semi-finalists which in turn became only 45 finalists. To do all this required 5 different first-round scenarios, a semi-final round, and a final-round design.

Dave Cook, "Survival tips for the Slave Pits" The Dragon #43

The tournament was later published as the 4-module "Aerie of Slave Lords" series, intended for character levels 4-7.

A1 "Slave Pits of the Undercity"* combines two of the first-round scenarios (the temple and the sewers), A2 "Secret of the Slavers' Stockade" combines another two of the first-round scenarios, and the first part of A3 "Aerie of the Slave Lords" represents the fifth first-round scenario.

*in its rush to print, the map for A1 "Slave Pits of the Undercity" contained two errors:

There are two corrections to be made on the map of A1, both of which should be obvious to those DMs who have already read the module. The first is in the upper section (temple) at area 16. This should be lettered 16A, 16B, and 16C; not 16, 16A, 16B. The other is on the key to the module — a circle indicates a trap door in the floor, not a trap door in the front.

Dave Cook, "Survival tips for the Slave Pits" The Dragon #43

The second part of A3 represented the semifinal, while A4 "In the Dungeons of the Slave Lords" comprised the final round.*

*see also "The Slave Pits revisited: Suggestions for 'saving' the AD&D™ Open" by Philip Meyers, and "Mentzer’s reply: It isn’t that easy" by Frank Mentzer, in The Dragon #49

Winners of the AD&D open tournament at Gen Con XIII in August, 1980 as announced in The Dragon #43.

The A Series

The A series is notable for being set within the region of the Pomarj, the first tournament adventure designed specifically for the World of Greyhawk.

A1 "Slave Pits of the Undercity" by David Cook

Cook discusses the development of the AD&D open tournament, and A1 "Slave Pits of the Undercity" in this interview on Grogtalk (June 10, 2020) from 45:28 to 52:04

*see also Jason B. Thompson's D&D walkthrough map for A1 "Slave Pits of the Undercity"

The Temple from A1 "Slave Pits of the Undercity", original art by Jason B. Thompson

A2 "Secret of the Slavers' Stockade" by Harold Johnson and Tom Moldvay

Johnson discusses the development of the AD&D open tournament, his collaboration with Tom Moldvay on A2 "Secret of the Slavers' Stockade", and villainess Markessa in this interview on Grogtalk (January 17, 2021) from 01:12:40 to 01:24:25

A3 "Aerie of the Slave Lords" by Allen Hammack

Hammack discusses the development of the AD&D open tournament, and the final encounter in A3 "Aerie of the Slave Lords" in this interview on Grogtalk (March 2, 2020) from 59:12 to 01:03:50

A4 "In the Dungeons of the Slave Lords" by Lawrence Schick

Schick discusses A4 "In the Dungeons of the Slave Lords", and the Earth Dragon in this interview on Roll for Initiative (January 28, 2013) from 07:45 to 12:51

Sequels and Derivative Works:

The supermodule A1-4 "Scourge of the Slave Lords" (1986) was revised for character levels 7-11, to serve as a bridge between T1-4 "The Temple of Elemental Evil" and GDQ1-7 "Queen of the Spiders".

A sequel for 2e "Slavers" (2000) by Sean K. Reynolds and Chris Pramas takes place a decade after the events in A1-4 and is designed for character levels 4-5.

Hackmaster released "Smackdown the Slavers" (2002) by Brian Jelke, Steve Johansson, David S. Kenzer, Jamie LaFountain, Don Morgan, Mark Plemmons.

The 1e versions were re-released as "Against the Slave Lords"* (2013) together with A0 "Danger at Darkshelf Quarry" by Skip Williams, for character levels 1-3

*in conjunction with Dungeons & Dragons Collector's Series "The Scourge of Suderham" miniatures by Giorgio Bassani

(Left to right): Nerelas the Assassin, Mordramma the Priest, Feetla the Master Buccaneer, Ajaktsu the Magic-User and Brother Milerjoi the Monk

Also for 1e "The Last Slave Lord" in Dungeon #215 (June, 2013) serves as "A5".

Another 1e adventure "Lowdown in Highport" in Dungeon #221 (December, 2013) takes place in between A0 and A1.

Other Settings:

As a fan of the Mystara setting, I posted my thoughts on Setting modules A1-4/Slave Lords in the Gulf of Hule over at the Piazza, a while back.

Map of Hule from module X5 "The Temple of Death" with recommended location for the city of Highport from A1 "Slave Pits of the Undercity" (left) and the Gulf of Hule (right) from "Adapting classic AD&D modules to a Mystara campaign" in Threshold: the Mystara Magazine #22

Module X5 "The Temple of Death" described the land of Hule. The wilderness map included areas the DM was expected to detail further, including several unnamed towns. One of these, in southern Hule (see map) is an ideal candidate for Highport.

The population of Hule was described to be a mixture of humans and non-humans, mainly orcs, gnolls, bugbears, kobolds, and ogres. The rulers are chaotic and serve chaotic gods, and most of the human populace are either chaotic or neutral in alignment.

Placing Highport in the Gulf of Hule allows PCs adventuring in the Wild Lands to get embroiled with the Slave Lords, whose activities could be encroaching upon the civilized lands to the East, including Darokin, Karameikos, Ierendi, and Minrothad.

The proximity to Hule itself would serve well as a market for slaves from the Known World, given that slavery is likely a foundation of Hulean society. In fact, the Iron Ring in Karameikos could be allied with the Slave Lords.

Ayskudag works best in Mystara circa 1000 AC, since Highport in the Pomarj is directly north of the Drachensgrab Hills. There are even some choice nearby volcanoes for the City of Suderham.