Cover to module WG4 "The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun" (1982) by Gary Gygax. Illustration by Karen Nelson.*
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 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)
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*see "The Dark God: Historical Content, Developer Commentary, and an Ode to the Dark God" by Robert J. Kuntz (El Raja Key's Magical Emporium #4, 2003), republished in "Dark Druids" by Robert J.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)
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:
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)
*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).
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).