WG4: The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun (1982)

I have often said that I think the world of Greyhawk that exists in the early D&D modules is more mysterious and vibrant than the branded campaign setting. Let’s see how the branded Greyhawk modules fare, yea?

This is WG4: The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun (1982), the first WG module (WG1 was going to be The Village of Hommlet, WG2 the Temple of Elemental Evil and WG3 Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth, so this is WG4, even though all those products wound up with different codes). This is a sorta sequel to S4: Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth and there is a whole mess of continuity issues between that adventure, Elemental Evil and other stuff. Whatever its place there, the adventure itself starts with the party tracking a group of norker raiders (love a good norker!).

That leads to a dungeon with two distinct atmospheres — the upper ruins of the temple inhabited by the norkers and a lower reaches containing the dungeon. Interestingly, there is no clear guarantee a party will actually find the lower dungeon (potentially making it literally forgotten) and, honestly, the ruined temple is probably more than enough for a party to deal with. That region is largely deserted — only a handful of monsters haunt it. Rather, there are a good number of traps and cleverly deceptive spaces to navigate. There is a real sense of revelation the further you go into the complex and the rooms become less terrestrial. Sadly, that doesn’t pay off — the puzzles just reveal a treasure, not a god awakened or any special knowledge. Bit of a missed opportunity there.

The art here, by Karen Nelson, is maybe the strangest I’ve seen in a D&D module? IIRC Lawrence Schick called it the ugliest 1E cover. Its odd, for sure. I quite like the grell on the back and most of the interiors, though.

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