Scourge of the Slave Lords (1986)

Temple is the anchor TSR’s second experiment with what we would now call an “adventure path” (the first being the original Dragonlance modules, which themselves would find themselves collected in similar softcovers in the early ‘90s). Temple brings characters from level 1 to level 7. Zuggtmoy defeated, they move on to the second book, Scourge of the Slave Lords (1986), which reprints modules A1 through A4.

Once again, these aren’t modules I am super fond of. A4 in particular commits the annoying foul of “you’re captured and have none of your cool stuff.” But even generally, I don’t find the arc of the story particularly interesting (understandable considering the module’s origins as tournament modules) nor the villains thrilling (orcs, hobgoblins, gnolls and ogres, primarily, none deployed with gusto). I also think it is weird to follow the conflict of Temple (with its demoness) with slavers (who seem so prosaic).

This book is superior to the original modules, though, as the weird tournament edges have been smoothed over and the sections have been developed further. I still don’t love it, but I dislike it less. Its a shame they didn’t use the old art, though, which I do mostly like. This features a lot by Ron Lindahn and Val Lakey Lindahn, which reminds me a lot of the costume-y look of Ralph Bakshi’s monsters in Lord of the Rings. It’s unusual. I like rather like it, honestly. But I also liked the old stuff.

Oh, speaking of art, I have a devil of a time visually parsing that Jeff Easley cover. I don’t know why, but that orc always looks like some Harryhausen-style centaur to me because of how he is getting tackled. Weird.

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