A D&D 5th Edition Conversion of the Early Edition Adventure Module. Classic Adventure. M odule Conversion. WG4. The Forgotten. Temple of. Tharizdun. I’m going to start picking apart the Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun, and see if there’s anything that we might glean from a close examination. Over 25 years later, The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun still creeps me out. I’m not entirely sure why, but I suspect, even moreso than its.
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In terms of physical and narrative structure, the most obvious aspect of the module is the fact that the really cool stuff is completely hidden and almost entirely cut off. The PCs would have to discover one of two secret doors in a very out of the way place to do so, and then more secret doors to get to the really good stuff.
This seems to be a recurring feature in Gygaxian dungeons. Very elaborate encounter areas filled with interesting stuff, but which could easily be ignored or which could go undiscovered entirely.
In modern games, which are much more plot-driven and which demand the PCs move on to the next location to advance the story, thaizdun would indeed be a problem. I think this is an aspect of Golden Age dungeon design that is little recognized, let alone appreciated, today.
The Forgotten Temple Of Tharizdun
There are a few trappings in the Lower Temple area, such as the columns and the carvings in the aisle, but even those are pretty low-key bits of weirdness that only set up what is to come below.
And so it is to the hidden area that I will now turn my attention. Behold this passage from the introduction:. 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 ot 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….
After a time his servants returned again to the Temple, deserted as it was of any manifestation of their deity. Amongst these wicked folk were many powerful magic-users and clerics. All sought with utmost endeavor to discern what had happened to Tharizdun, so that he could be freed and returned to rule over them once again. Was this the physical manifestation of Tharizdun?
Review of the Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun
All we have are intimations and suggestions. In the description of the Black Cyst itself, and the block of needle-rock, no definitive answer is given as to what is within, nor is there any way to determine it. The PCs are able to get to the treasure using means doubtless used by the ancient priests — more on that in a minutebut the hemisphere of needlerock remains an enigma.
That leads us to the biggest enigma about this adventure. Plus a wand of forcea cube of forceand a book worth 33, gp. What this tome is, says, and does is the tharizdn of some later revelation. Was there to be some sort of follow-up to the Lost Temple at some point?
What intrigues me with the whole thing is that it seems designed to force dorgotten PCs into taking on the role of worshipers of Tharizdun. There they will also find balls of incense which are used in the Undertemple and are necessary to reach the Black Cyst.
Once there, the incense is again needed to get the gems and book, and leave. The iron horn called the Wailer for Tharizdun must be blown in order to activate the idols of Tharizdun in the Dungeon Level.
Recalling what is said in the introduction:. As generations passed, various other things necessary to survival in the Black Cyst were formalized into a paeon of lament and forggotten for Tharizdun, and endless services to awaken the being were conducted forgottsn rote. Then, as time continued to pass, even this ritual grew stale and meaningless. The clerics of Tharizdun began to pilfer the hoard of beautiful gems sacrificed to him by earlier servants — gems of utmost value, ranging in worth from 5, to 50, gold pieces each.
Replacing these jewels with stones of much less value, the former servants of this deity slipped away with their great wealth to serve other gods and wreak evil forrgotten. Devoting themselves to Tharizdun in the Shrine, to get the benefit of the water.
Touching the walls in the Aisle might cause one to subconsciously call on Tharizdun in a time of need. On and on and on. The module is designed to turn the PCs into worshipers of the Chained God. It certainly lends a much deeper and more layered aspect of horror to the second half of the adventure than one typically sees in the early Templle modules.
Kuntz’s creation of Tharizdun, and the ties of Tharizdun to his Dark Druids and Garden of the Plantmaster adventures, lend this module significant depth and potential for expansion. I’ll add these links to the my Greyhawk Links page and eventually a WG4 page whenever I get around to creating one for that module.
I wonder why Rob deleted them off the blog? Those really hard to find nooks and crannies also serve as a fantastic treasure in themselves.
Drop a treasure map in a chest in dungeon B that basically says, “Go back to Dungeon A and check under that third rock from the left,” and your players will go haring off to complete the work left undone the first time around. If they already found the secret, then the map will serve as a reminder of how clever they are.
Bloch’s points about “strategic patience” reminded me of something I noticed about these early Gygax modules, namely the possibility for all kinds of interesting story twists forgitten them, and how they can lead to something well beyond what’s just written in the text.
Thoughts on The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun – Greyhawk Grognard
tsmple I had the same question Mr. Bloch did about why the players would want to go into the depths of the Temple and find Dread Tharizdun’s paraphernalia. I asked this over at Canonfire, and several people answered by saying that their players wanted to keep the artifacts out of the wrong hands, or otherwise wanted to ensure the safety of the local population:.
Aside from the corrupting oc that Mr. Bloch mentions in his original post, another possibility is that the Dark Lord’s actual cultists get wind of Dread Tharizdun’s artifacts being found, and proceed to stalk the PCs to try and get the items back.
More generally, though, I find it interesting how Gygax included the possibility of some very drastic changes to the direction of a campaign or even just individual characters.
In the GDQ series, players might end up in the thrall of Blibdoolpoolp, tharizudn they might become stranded in one of the alternate worlds they can investigate in Q1. In the Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth, they might also be trapped in an alternate universe thanks to the dimensional gateway that sends victims to random places. And then there’s everything Mr. Bloch has mentioned in tying the Temple of Elemental Evil with Eclavdra’s machinations….
Nor was Gygax the only one to do this. Didn’t White Plume Mountain allude to the possibility that Keraptis had actually returned in some form, or that someone was trying to take advantage of that, while leaving oc truth ambiguous…? TFToT is one of my all time favorite adventure modules to read. Even the weird art adds a charm and unique flavor to it.
Alas, I never got a chance to play it or run it and none of my other gaming friends were that interested in it. I thought I was the only one with weird taste since this module seems to, like its namesake, a forgotten gem. I admire how you dissect Gygax’s adventures. More Black Moon Chronicles Maps. I asked this over at Canonfire, and several people answered by saying that their players wanted to keep the artifacts out of the wrong hands, or otherwise wanted to ensure the safety of the local population: Bloch has mentioned in tying the Temple of Elemental Evil with Eclavdra’s machinations… Nor was Gygax the only one to do this.
New Gazetteer at Greyhawk Grognard. On the Top 10 Crypts.
Spending some time in Zothique. Out With The New! In With The Old! Complaining Like a Millionaire. The Lost Level of the Lost Dungeon. This module literally forces the PCs to dress up like Tharizdun cultists or take damage.