Swordthrust (1984)

We did a whole episode of the podcast on Swordthrust (1984) last year. That probably tells you something about the adventure’s place in the line. If not, I’ll say it directly: this is probably Role Aids at its weirdest, most experimental and, consequently, at its best.

In short: a titan sleeps atop a high mountain. The party goes in the titan’s ear and explores his brain, looking for a powerful artifact that is calling to them. Inside, there are monsters that have taken up residence, angelic creatures that are manifestations of the titan’s better nature, reptilians that embody his baser impulses, and strange apparitions that are, essentially, his dreams and memories made flesh, making for a very odd variety of environments inside what is supposed to be a complex of ice caves.

All of this is super interesting, especially for the year it was released (compare this to any give Dragonlance module, for instance). It doesn’t go as hard or as bizarre as it could, but that’s OK — it paved the way for plenty of others to get weird (Silent Titans sprints immediately to mind) and leaves plenty of room for the GM to odd it up.

Cover art is another recycled Boris Vallejo, though in this case, the authors incorporated the scene in the adventure—there, this guy is one of the Titan’s dreams who left the brain to live on the mountain and has, essentially, become real. He’s an interesting chap. Interiors are by Robin Wood. She did a lot of Role Aids work and it’s rather variable—I think she was using it as an opportunity to experiment with different styles. These drawings are pretty solid!

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