M4: Five Coins for a Kingdom (1987)

M4: Five Coins for a Kingdom (1987) is an interesting one. For starters, it doesn’t have Alphaks as the main villain (a relief, in my book). Second, it feels ahead of its time because the structure of the module is very narrative/scene focused, anticipating the types of modules that would proliferate in the 90s.

(In fairness, many of the CM- and M-series modules are an early example of an interlinked, if messy, metaplot, making them a bit ahead of their time already )

The story involves a city on another world, ruled by wizards. A conqueror, Durhan, somehow makes the city vanish. The wizards transform themselves into coins (one of each of the standard D&D currencies: copper, silver, gold, electrum and platinum) and whisk themselves away to the prime material to find help, by falling from the sky in the general area of the PCs, whose own city seems to be starting to vanish. The players have to retrieve all the coins (which come with a magical ability and a personality shift for the character who picks it up). The coins give them access to the Wizard’s city, which is currently hurtling toward the sun. Which the wizards can stop, if they are rescued in time. After that, there is some mass combat, because of course there is. Once things are sorted out there, the PC have to go to their own sun to rescue their own city, where it sits in a force field and where they need the help of the great fire elemental at the sun’s core to have it returned. Kind of a wild ride.

All art in the module is by John and Laura Lakey. They’d go on to get more work for D&D in second edition, which I generally enjoy, but their work here, particularly that cover painting, is my favorite of theirs. Big fan of wizards wearing horned helmets. Very Tim the Enchanter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *