Thursday, August 6, 2015

Dare you Enter The GHOoOOooooST ToWerRRRRR??

Knock knock

Who's there?

Ghost Tower of Inverness

Ghost Tower of Inver--


Oh my god, it really is you, the dread Ghost Tower.

Yes, it is I, Module C2 conceived for the Wintercon VII tournament in Detroit in 1979, copyright 1980!

Fuck me in half.

Know you that in the elder days before the Invoked Devastation and the Rain of Colorless Fire, when the ancient peaks of the Abbor-Alz still thrust skyward sharp at majestic, there existed between the Bright Desert and the mount of the river Selintan a great fortress called Inverness....

That's pretty good actually.

White Dwarf once gave me an 8 out of 10 and Dungeon ranked me 30th best adventure of all time!

Well.........things were very different then.

Fuck you and fuck your Deep Carbon Observatory.

Can I help you?
Come inside me!

Ok, first: Ew.

Pull back my red and Roslof-clad covers. You are in me!

And second the You-are-in-me joke was played out this time last year.

Dare you seek the Soul Gem!?!?!?!????

The mcguffin is called the "Soul Gem" because in the 1970s all mcguffins were called the "Soul Gem"....

It is a gem of inestimable power!

...also all vans.

Dare you enter my upper works?

Maybe, what's there?

Wandering monsters.

Uh, ok?

1 Wight!  


2 Weretiger!

That's it? No "Disguised as a frustrated lady of the Sodden Provinces bearing beechwood wine who beseeches the party for aid in locating her lost children?"

It is ferocity incarnate!

Whatever, Tournament Module

3 Beetle, Bombardier!

That is the stupidest thing

4 Doppleganger !

Much better

5 Giant......Lizard !

"Oh I loved that part it was like a dragon only less"

6 Giant Snake !

Yeah, sure.

7 Brown Bear !


8 Giant ant 

Fuck anyone who uses a giant ant I don't care how many panels you've been on.

9 Stone giant 


10 Horned Devil 

Why are a bear and the devil on the same chart?

Dare ye face the horrors on the second chart?

That depends, is it gonna have a giant badger on it?

Let us skip to the room descriptions....

Yeah ok but not the empty ones.



The room has 20 squares. If you step on six specific ones, one of six monsters will appear.


That's it.

Wait, what?

It is not more complicated than that.

That's not even a puzzle, really. Just, like, some fights that might happen. Or not.

Yes! One of the monsters that might happen is a leucrotta!

Well here it's wasted because the only good thing about a leucrotta is when you first hear it in another room because it is a creepy monster that can do a human voice and so you think it's a baby.

Room 6!

Hold on, wait: 'Fuck you, Room 5'. Ok, continue.

If you step into the room, a given number of inanimate bugbears will animate!

...and, what, hit you with clubs?

With mighty fists! They are unarmed.

In the picture he has a club.

No illustrator is the boss of the Ghoooost Towerrrr

Ok, I'm just saying, like...

And, consider this: if more party members enter, more bugbears will animate!

That's quite a...yeah. Very evocative.

And in the next room...

Super excited.

A manticore that hides.


I knew you were going to ask me that.

So: nothing.


Is there like even ghosts in this tower?

There is a giant ghost ball!

'Ghost ball'?

It runs over you. You're fine but all your friends think you died, because of the power of ill-yoo-zee-unn.

That's kinda cool. Why does that happen?

Crazy wizard.

Just, no reason, like: it happens and then you figure out it happened and then keep going when the guy's like "Hey I'm not dead" and then you notice, illusion over.

Pretty much.

I mean...there could be a wandering monster during that and that'd be fun.

Like a giant badger!


The Crystal Ball!!!!

A lot of balls here.

Unlike Room 5 instead of encounters being triggered patternlessly by walking across the floor, they are triggered patternlessly by saying one of 4 words carved on a pedestal. (Arches ghost eyebrow.)


After four are triggered it's over.

Which four?


Including the same ones twice?


So it's not really a puzzle either?

One of them is an owlbear!

A. Mazing.

In the next umber hulk attacks. 

I am electric eeling with shock over here at the unexpectedness of that shit.

But only if you spend more than one round in the room.

Hey girl are you the Sixth goddamn Sense because I have never seen such a twist.

And now a room, I call...

Do you know what time it is? Anyone?

...The Guess What I'm Thinking To Get Past This Beaded Curtain, Then When You Do You Are Surprised by Ogres Bugbears And Gargoyles Who Will Hit You Room!

So this is basically just hazing at this point, right?

Ok, so it's no Lyonesse, it gets better though...

I'm so hoping.

The Renowned Inverness Chess Room:


You appear on a square on a giant chess board and have to move around like the chess piece you appeared in the starting position of or else get zapped.

That's kinda neat.

Thank you, chess gimmicks were all the rage in Detroit in 1979.

I like that, for once, it not only has thematic resonance but ways to figure out how it works other than by sheer trial and error.

Yes! Also the squares that should be white are grey, blue, green and yellow!

What does that do?



Ghooooooost Towerrrrrrrrr!

I am dubious.

Now, to access the door leading to the Inner Tower, the party must collect four disparate keys!

Total hack trope. Do they have to collect a tough-talking orphan with a heart of gold, too?

It's in Red & Pleasant Land.

Shut up. the Ghooooost Toweerrrrr the keys do not look like keys at all! Only once assembled in the proper arrangement do the keys match the sigil that marks the entrance.

Actually that's pretty good.

Aha! There's that AND the chess puzzle AND the ghost ball--might you mayhap be falling under the spell of the GhoooOOOOoooost TowerrrrrrrRRRrrrrrrr?

Uh....can we finish this tomorrow?

NOW to the Inner Works.....

Seriously. Tomorrow.

Of course, the Ghost Tower can wait...(shrill giggle)


...for eternityyyyyyyyYyYyyyYy hahahahah...



Sure. To be continued, Ghost Tower. You stay right there.


And now, a word from our sponsor....
There are only 102 left.


Adamantyr said...

Love the disassembly of a classic module that, in all honesty, has a far better title than content!

I read through it recently myself and found the puzzles uninspiring and the symmetry of the dungeon dull. The fact that the party has to go through all four entrances and find the four key parts in a different section all of which connect to the room that leads to the tower proper is so uninspired. Just think, all that backtracking is great to make use of that fabulous random encounter table... ugh.

Looking forward to part 2!

akfu23 said...

Shawn Sanford ran this on his Thursday nites game with us using the included tournament characters. Even with a full boat of all the characters it was pretty rough going even just outside the tower itself before we got "inside".

Zak Sabbath said...

Shawn Sanford's games are always kick-ass. He can make any old module sing

Jay Murphy said...

This module sucked. But a wizard's tower is the ultimate DM nut to crack. Such a basic trope, and players are dying to loot a difficult target. It shouldn't miss. I wanted to love this module soooo bad. I hate when a corpreteeeee product leaves standing at the bus stop with incorrect change.

Jay Murphy said...


Unknown said...

The different colors on the chess puzzle made us miss the fact that it was a chess puzzle and we got badly sapped until we all levitated across it or something.

Andy Guest said...

I've been to Inverness, never once saw any of those wandering monsters, is the ghost tower invisible?

Jens L. Larsen said...

Thank you for a very, very entertaining read! Also love your Caves of Chaos on the map itself.

And: "BUGBEARS HIT YOU!!!": Laughed hard at that one!

JDsivraj said...

I recall reworkigt he heck out of this and beefing up the soul gem...becasue: "SOUL GEM"

JDsivraj said...
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