Scourge of the Slave Lords

Greyhawk Source
Scourge of the Slavelords
Scourge of the Slavelords01.jpg
Type Supermodule
Code/ Abbreviation A1-4
Edition 1st edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons
Author(s) David Cook, Allen Hammack, Harold Johnson, Tom Moldvay, Lawrence Schick, Edward Carmien
First Published 1986
Series T1-4 A1-4 GDQ1-7
Slavers
Classification Canon

Scourge of the Slave Lords (A1-4) is an adventure module for the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy roleplaying game, published by TSR, Inc. in 1986. It combines the contents of four earlier modules, all set in the World of Greyhawk campaign setting and intended for use with Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first edition rules:

  • A1 - Slave Pits of the Undercity (1980)
  • A2 - Secret of the Slavers Stockade (1981)
  • A3 - Assault on the Aerie of the Slave Lords (1981)
  • A4 - In the Dungeons of the Slave Lords (1981)

The A series of modules was created for tournament use at Gen Con XIII in 1980 and published for play by mid-level characters. The A1-4 compilation (or "supermodule") was slightly revised for play by higher level characters in order for it to be used as a follow-on in an overall campaign beginning with module T1-4 The Temple of Elemental Evil. The overall campaign could then be continued into the GDQ1-7 supermodule Queen of the Spiders.

In 2000, Wizards of the Coast released Slavers, a sequel adventure for second edition AD&D rules. The sequel is also set in Greyhawk and takes place ten years after the conclusion of the events in A1-4.

Scourge of the Slave Lords was ranked the 20th greatest Dungeons & Dragons adventure of all time by Dungeon magazine in 2004, on the 30th anniversary of the Dungeons & Dragons game.

Contents

Framing sequence

The component modules of Scourge of the Slave Lords are linked together by a framing sequence not present in the original modules, involving a Wild Coast noble known as Dame Gold. This sequence also provides a link between The Temple of Elemental Evil and this adventure.

Component modules

Greyhawk Source
Slave Pits of the Undercity
Type Module
Code/ Abbreviation A1
Edition 1st edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons'
Author(s) David Cook
First Published 1980
Series A1, A2, A3, A4, A1-4
Classification Canon

A1 - Slave Pits of the Undercity

Slave Pits of the Undercity is the first adventure in the "A" series of modules, and bears the code "A1". It was published by TSR in 1980 and written by David Cook. The cover artwork by Jeff Dee, features a drawing of two aspis fighting a party of adventurers (including a bearded female dwarf) by Jeff Dee. The interior art was done by Dee, David S. LaForce, Jim Roslof, and Bill Willingham.

As the first module in the series, Slave Pits of the Undercity was the first TSR publication to introduce fans of the Greyhawk setting to the Slave Lords and their operations in the central and southwestern Flanaess.

Synopsis

The events of the adventure are set in 580 CY, following four years of raids by slavers on the costal population along the Sea of Gearnat from Onnwal to the Wild Coast. Local lords, finally tired of the situation, hire a band of adventurers to attack the slavers in their home. The adventure begins at a ruined temple in the Pomarj city of Highport that serves as headquarters to the ruthless slavers. The module takes the group through the temple and into the sewers below where terrible insect creatures make their lair along with the slave lords.

Eventually the group reaches the prisoners and their captors and finds a map showing the route of the caravans. Following this map leads the group to the second module, A2 - Secret of the Slavers Stockade.

A2 - Secret of the Slavers Stockade

Greyhawk Source
Secret of the Slavers Stockade
Type Module
Code/ Abbreviation A2
Edition 1st edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons'
Author(s) Harold Johnson and Tom Moldvay
First Published 1981
Series A1, A2, A3, A4, A1-4
Classification Canon

Secrets of the Slavers Stockade is the second adventure in the "A" series of modules, and bears the code "A2". It was published by TSR in 1981 and written by Harold Johnson and Tom Moldvay. The cover artwork by Jim Roslof features a drawing two hobgoblins, one of which is a sergeant with a boggle on a leash, and a party of adventurers. The interior art was done by Roslof, Dee, Willingham, and Erol Otus.

Synopsis

The previous adventure (A1) ends with the capture of a map to a fortress citadel used by the slavers. The A2 module gives the Dungeon Master the option to run an overland adventure of 110 miles (177 kilometers) through the Drachensgrab Hills to reach the fort shown on the map, or simply start the adventure with the party overlooking fort itself. The object of the module is to enter the fort through stealthy means and slowly eliminate the slavers before a general alarm can be raised.

Eventually the group of adventurers makes their way through the fort, avoiding hobgoblin patrols, and reaches a dungeon area. After exploring the dungeons, the players eventually learn that this fort is not the headquarters of the Slave Lords. In fact, the real stronghold of the Slave Lords is located somewhere in the Drachensgrab Hills. This revelation leads the adventurers to the third installment in the series.

A3 - Assault on the Aerie of the Slave Lords

Greyhawk Source
Assault on the
Aerie of the Slave Lords
Type Module
Code/ Abbreviation A3
Edition 1st edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons'
Author(s) Alan Hammack
First Published 1981
Series A1, A2, A3, A4, A1-4
Classification Canon

Assault on the Aerie of the Slave Lords is the third adventure in the "A" series of modules, and bears the code "A3". It was published by TSR in 1981 and written by Alan Hammack. The cover artwork by Bill Willingham features a drawing of five of the "The Nine" Slave Lords. These five are Nerelas the assassin, Ajakstu the magic-user, Feetla the master buccaneer, Mordrammo the priest, and Brother Milerjoi the monk. The interior art was done by Dee, LaForce, Otus, Roslof, and Willingham.

Synopsis

The first part of the module is relatively short and meant to finish quickly, within 3 hours, in tournament mode. It is a trap filled, monster heavy section used to lure the group into a secret tunnel leading to the hidden city of Suderham.

In the second part of the adventure, the group enters the city of Suderham. This new setting offers the players an opportunity to test their role-playing skills rather than primarily focusing on combat or stealth.

The module provides a number of non-player characters in the city with whom the players can interact and exchange information. To complete the module, the group must find one of several secret entrances to the catacombs beneath the city where the final part of the adventure plays out.

The third section of the adventure also moves at a rapid pace in tournament mode and each room encountered on this level is filled with dangerous creatures. In the final room of this section, the players are captured as a set-up for In the Dungeons of the Slave Lords. If this section is played outside of a tournament, however, it is possible for the players to defeat the slavers and exit the area victorious.

A4 - In the Dungeons of the Slave Lords

Greyhawk Source
In the Dungeons of
the Slave Lords
Type Module
Code/ Abbreviation A4
Edition 1st edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons'
Author(s) Lawrence Schick
First Published 1981
Series A1, A2, A3, A4, A1-4
Classification Canon

In the Dungeons of the Slave Lords is the fourth and final adventure in the "A" series of modules, and bears the code "A4". It was published by TSR in 1981 and written by Lawrence Schick. The cover artwork by Erol Otus features a drawing of a group of myconids (fungus men) fighting a party of adventurers. The interior art was done Otus, Roslof, Willingham, Steve Sullivan, David C. Sutherland III, and Jean Wells.

Synopsis

The A3 module finishes with the players as captives of the Slave Lords, and they begin module A4 in the same condition. Through a series of incidents they quickly find themselves free but completely bereft of equipment and spells.

The final scenario plays out as a massive earthquake threatens to bring down the tunnels around the group and they must exit the caverns within four hours or perish in the ensuing collapse. The labyrinth is a difficult test for characters without equipment and spells and challenges the players' wits and role-playing ability rather than focusing on traditional combat.

Once the players emerge from the caverns they face a final test in escaping the island itself. This can be accomplished by attacking the surviving Slave Lords, escaping via a different boat, or possibly by swimming.

Pre-generated characters

Because the original modules were run as a tournament event, the compilation includes nine pre-generated characters for use in tournament mode. They are Elwita (dwarf fighter), "Ogre" (human fighter), Freda (human ranger), Karraway (human cleric), Blodgett (halfling thief), Dread Delgath (human magic-user), Phanstern (human illusionist), Eljayess (half-elf cleric/fighter), and Kayan Telva (elf fighter/magic-user). Each of these characters has a standard list of equipment and prepared spells so that tournament players can begin the game with very little preparation.

Scoring

Due to their design for use at Gen Con XIII, each A series module includes a scoring scheme. This scheme essentially takes the number of surviving characters and gives them points for visiting the largest number of areas described in the adventure. Each area contains additional points available for gain or loss based on specific actions by the players.

Reception

  • Scourge of the Slave Lords was ranked the 20th greatest Dungeons & Dragons adventure of all time by Dungeon magazine in 2004, on the 30th anniversary of the Dungeons & Dragons game.
  • According to Lev Lafayette of RPGNet, Slave Pits of the Undercity is a fairly good dungeon crawl. It had problems, such as a too small font, and an underdeveloped storyline. On the other hand, Lafayette felt that its difficulty was appropriate for characters level 4-7, and that the tournament scoring system worked well.
  • Also according to Lafayette, "Secret of the Slavers Stockade is the low point of the four A series modules". Although he liked that it had 40 pages, he also felt the artwork was sparse, and that the module was overly difficult for its intended character levels.

Related publications

  • In 2000, Wizards of the Coast released Slavers, a sequel adventure for second edition AD&D rules. The sequel is also set in Greyhawk and takes place ten years after the conclusion of the events in A1-4.
  • In 2002, Kenzer and Company published a HackMaster module based on Scourge of the Slavelords, named Smackdown the Slavers.

Bibliography

External links

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