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X6/I1 Quagmire/Dwellers of the Forbidden City mash-up

Posted: Wed Oct 26, 2016 5:29 am
by paleologos

Lately, I've been taking a closer look at a lot of the classic AD&D 1e modules. Those published between 1978-1983 contain some real gems. TSR was still a growing company at the time, so many of the designers worked on both D&D and AD&D lines. David Cook became instrumental in defining the B/X version of D&D, co-authoring the Expert Rulebook and writing X1 (with Tom Moldvay), X4, X5, AC2, and B6.

Module I1, published in 1981, could easily have been one of the X-series. All of the atmosphere present in X1 is present here, in spades. In fact, "Dwellers of the Forbidden City" would make for a great sequel to "The Isle of Dread". Fortunately, there's a way to seamlessly integrate it into module X6 "Quagmire!", which adds immeasurably to the latter.

For starters, like many of the other AD&D modules of this era, I1 was not written with the World of Greyhawk in mind, but rather as a tournament adventure. Officially, it's practically off the southern edge of the map of Greyhawk (in a small group of unexplored (and unmapped) mountains, deep in a tropical jungle, south of the Pelisso Swamp in Hepmonaland). Here's the background:
David Cook wrote:For several months, possibly even years, there have been reports of banditry in the jungles to the south. Merchants carrying precious loads of rare goods from the jungle lands have been waylaid, their goods taken and their men captured or killed. Even then, those who survived these raids had to face headhunters, brain fever, giant leeches, cannibals, and leopards. Few men ever returned. The stories they told were fantastic and addled, surely brought about by disease and the horrors with which they had to deal. Singing snakes, twisted and deformed ape-men, men who were not men, and writhing, horrid flowers filled their tales-surely such things were not to be believed. Nonetheless, something had destroyed the caravans.

Furthermore, none of the goods taken from the caravans has ever appeared in the markets of the north, at least as far as the merchants can tell. Some were certainly identifiable - rare pieces of art, scrolls, books, and other items destined to fetch good prices in the kingdoms of the north. It could only mean that someone or something was hoarding a great treasure in the jungle. Prompted by this information, adventurers set out to find the bandits and gain their treasure. Your party is one of these. The long journey was filled with hardship, but fortunately, peaceful tribes and villages were found to ease the journey.

Last night you arrived at such a village. The chief and the shaman met with your party. In answer to your questions, they told of the yuan ti, or demon-men, and their hateful minions, the tasloi. These come from the forest, raiding and kidnaping. Those taken are never seen again. Only recently the chief’s son was stolen. The chief knows you are experienced and powerful warriors, and he wants to make a deal...
In X6, the city of Quagmire "once a thriving trading port" is on the trade route between Slagovich (at the western end of the Sind Desert Caravan Track) and Pramayama, Ierendi, and Specularum to the east (see map of "The Wild Lands", below).


The Forbidden City can be situated in the central highlands of Thanegia Island, which are pretty sparsely detailed for their size, even in Champions of Mystara. The city is nestled within a rift, and so can easily have escaped the notice of Mystaran cartographers. X6 describes native stilt villages on the Thanegian river banks, likely similar in culture to the natives described in X1, who can supply guides to lead the party to the Forbidden City. The party might therefore be provided with adventure hooks while attempting to rescue and resettle the people of Quagmire to Thanopolis on Thanegia island.

On the other hand, there's no need to mess with the premise of X6 at all. I1 can stand alone as a much more suitable follow-up to X1, in both style and atmosphere. Apart from using the map and encounter keys of X6, module I1 needs nothing else to support it. There's even a list of reasons for adventuring/further adventures provided at the end (again, as with X1). I've included these, below, just to get your creative juices flowing:
David Cook wrote:Backgrounds (Reasons for Adventuring)

1. Revenge
A group of merchants has hired your party to stop the raiding (as explained in the module Background) permanently. Characters must find and enter the city, determine who is responsible for the raids and destroy that person or group. The characters must also ensure that no further raids occur. This could be done by destroying all of the inhabitants, bribery, creating feuds, sealing all the ways in and out of the city, or any other plan the players might invent. The merchants would no doubt like to have the goods they lost to the raids returned, so the DM might wish to create a very well-guarded storehouse of these items.

2. Rescue
Many important people have been disappearing from the courts of nearby lands. The people are being kidnaped by the Black Brotherhood (a secret group the DM must create) and given to the yuan ti for safekeeping. The Brotherhood wants to help the yuan ti by weakening the power of the surrounding kingdoms. First the characters must discover who is doing the kidnapping, and then trace the kidnappers to the yuan ti. A group of the Black Brotherhood would be based in the city. The prisoners would be hard to find, for they are scattered throughout the city. Some might be easy to rescue, while others might be very difficult to rescue.

3. Conquest
A local potentate (or other ruler) has declared that his ancestors were once the masters of the Forbidden City (although there is no proof to his claim). He wants the adventurers to enter the city, scout it, and, if possible, clear it of all foul monsters.

4. Defense
A courier carrying important information was recently attacked and robbed while crossing the jungle. Found before he died, the courier told his rescuers of the theft. Since his papers reveal the weaknesses and strengths of a nearby kingdom, the monarch of that land has offered a reward for the return of the documents. At the same time, the rulers of several other lands have likewise offered rewards if the documents should just happen to reach their hands first, However, once the characters reach the city, they will learn that an evil army is being assembled to attack all the surrounding lands. To save themselves and others from slavery, the adventurers must try to prevent this attack from occurring. The players must defeat or join other parties also after the stolen documents. How they do it is left to the players and the DM.
Merchants from Slagovich, Athenos in Darokin, Ierendi or Minrothad could serve as the hook for #1. The Black Brotherhood could have bases in all four places. The ruler of Slagovich makes sense for #3, given the proximity. The courier in #4 could be from Ierendi, and the rulers of Hule, Slagovich, or Minrothad might send other parties after the stolen documents as well. There's even a chance to involve the slavers from A1-4, based out of the gulf of Hule.
David Cook wrote:Adventures

1. Under the city stretches the ancient primitive sewer system. In it now live monsters and colonies of creatures of all sorts. But, most common are the jungle-ghouls and the last human descendants of the yuan ti ancestors. The ghouls and humans wage a constant war of attacks, sallies, counter-attacks, and sieges through the underground tunnels. More cunning than normal ghouls and led by small demonic leaders, the jungle ghouls attempt to transform the humans into twisted slime beasts with their cancerous touch. The humans are nearly blind from the centuries of underground existence and rely on their other heightened senses to survive. They hate those who bring light, worshiping the kindly god of darkness who drives away the demons of light. It is rumored that somewhere in the tunnels is the fabulous lost temple of Ranet. The temple is there, and is guarded by the giant snake-queen.

2. As part of their plan to regain power, the yuan ti have revived the worship of a vile and loathsome creature from another plane. In one of the larger temple buildings of the city, the yuan ti have succeeded in opening a small gate to the creature’s plane. Many small and horrid beasts have entered through this gate and are being used by the yuan ti for their plans. In entering the temple, the characters must defeat the orchonos - vampiric orchid-like plantmen. As they delve further into the structure, the creature itself begins to take control of the temple. The building becomes more and more alive with pillars, carvings, doors, rooms and other features writhing and attacking the characters. At the same time, the guards of the yuan ti must be dealt with if the party wants to proceed. Finally, after several dangerous encounters, the characters reach the gate in time to see a huge tentacle slithering through it. The creature must be driven back and the gate closed.

3. In order to learn the movements of caravans through the jungle, the inhabitants of the city have established a spy network in the area. The raids will continue so long as the spies exist, but if they are destroyed, the raiding will be greatly hampered. Information on the location and names of the main spies may be found in one of the minor court palaces of the city, but only after battling the guards and other monsters. The agents are wererats, posing as humans in the nearby towns and cities. The characters must track them down and stop their activities. However, before they can find all the agents, the wererats are warned. When the characters arrive in a major city, the wererats cunningly frame one of them for the murder of an innocent shopkeeper. The characters must quickly prove their friend innocent by finding the real murderers.

4. While rescuing several people held prisoner by the yuan ti, the characters pursue a group and their hostage into a long forgotten passage. Threading their way through maze-like tunnels, the characters encounter numerous strange beings, both hostile and friendly. These include otyughs, fungi encrusted intelligent skeletons, and blood-draining snakes. After passing through a misty tunnel, the characters find themselves in the lair of large, intelligent humanoid bats. Unknown to the characters, they have traveled back in time to the days when the city was alive and prosperous. The bat-people are good creatures, attempting to alert the inhabitants of the city to the coming of some great evil. The yuan ti and the hostage the characters were pursuing have managed to slip past the bat people during all this. The characters must find the hostage in an exotic city full of people.

Re: X6/I1 Quagmire/Dwellers of the Forbidden City mash-up

Posted: Wed Oct 26, 2016 3:20 pm
by religon
Excellent ideas. I ran DotFC once before in Mystara… not on Thanegia Island, but I think on the Savage Coast before it was fully developed. A memorable adventure.

Re: X6/I1 Quagmire/Dwellers of the Forbidden City mash-up

Posted: Wed Aug 29, 2018 1:27 pm
by paleologos
Having now read through I1 in some detail, I have another idea regarding a possible location for The Forbidden City on Mystara.

The Yuan-Ti are great villains, and as serpent folk, could be the reason behind the name for The Serpent Peninsula.

In reading the Explorer's Manual from the Champions of Mystara boxed set, I came across the mention of a ruined city:
The Karimari have named many spots in Ulimwengu that they consider beautiful or worth seeing - waterfalls, curious rock formations, stately and ancient trees, and the like - but only one place is likely to hold much interest to outsiders. This is Onyo Maata, the ruins of a Karimari city more ancient than Shani Kijiji. The Karimarl believe evil dwells in Onyo Maata, and take care not to go within five miles of the site. Their oldest tales tell of a great disaster that befell the city and its inhabitants-supposedly as punishment for their straying far from the natural ways of the world. Evil things sometimes venture forth from the ruins to plague Ulimwengu, including trolls, dragons, and undead creatures.

This would be a perfect location to plop in I1. The closer proximity to trade routes in X6 also makes more sense in terms of the caravan raids. I've juxtaposed the map from X6 with the one from Champions of Mystara, both replicas by Thorf:


For those of you who haven't seen this fantastic map of the city, here's a small reproduction, below:


Folks should also check out the city map linked in Dyson's Dodecahedron blog

In reading previous threads on The Piazza, sound like most people don't really find the Karimari that interesting. Substituting module I1 and the Yuan-Ti on The Serpent Peninsula makes for a much grittier feel.

Re: X6/I1 Quagmire/Dwellers of the Forbidden City mash-up

Posted: Mon Oct 01, 2018 3:17 am
by paleologos
Here are BECMI-style stats for



Armor Class: 6 (5)
Hit Dice: 1
Move: 90' (30')
Climbing: 150' (50')
Attacks: 2 or weapon
Damage: 1-3/1-3 or weapon
No. Appearing: 3-30 (10-100)
Save As: Fighter: 1
Morale: 8
Treasure Type: L (x5)
Alignment: Chaotic
XP Value: 10

Living in steamy tropical forests, these creatures are rarely seen by man. Shy and malicious, they prefer to lurk in the tree tops where they may surprise the weak and unwary. Adapted to life above ground, they are slow and clumsy when forced to earth, adopting a semi-erect posture. They are quick and nimble in the arboreal passageways, however. Masters of stealth, tasloi surprise on a 1-4 (d6). They may also hide in shadows 75% of the time.

They have infravision and are suited to dark jungles. Full daylight will cause a -1 on their "to hit" rolls.

Tasloi will eat anything, but they particularly like all kinds of flesh, especially humans and elves. They normally attack from above, trying to capture if possible. If they gain surprise, they will use their nets. If a party is too vigilant or prepared, the tasloi will attempt to wear down the group through short, sudden attacks followed by retreat. If possible, tasloi will attempt to steal the dead of an enemy after an attack.

The tasloi live in loosely-structured bands of several families. For every band of 70 or more, there will be a chief (5 HD). There is a 30% chance that any band will have a shaman. Tasloi shamans may advance up to fifth level. The composition of a band is as follows:

Small shield and javelin (AC 5): 20%
Club and javelin: 40%
Short sword and small shield (AC 5): 10%
Javelin and net: 15%
Short sword and net: 10%
Javelin and lasso: 5%

When using a shield, the armor class of the tasloi becomes 5. Javelins and shields are customarily carried on their backs when traveling through the trees.

When found in their lair, in addition to the males, there will be 70% more females and 50% young. Females will fight as normal tasloi and the young will not fight at all. The lair will consist of a series of 1-6 large trees with 4 to 24 platforms 50 to 100 feet from the ground. All the trees will be connected by vines and ropes. There is a 60% chance of the tasloi having 1-6 trained giant spiders and a 20% chance of their having 2-8 trained giant wasps. It is said the tasloi are able to ride wasps great distances.

Tasloi speak their own tongue and can also speak the languages of monkeys and apes. About 5% of their kind have also learned a pidgin Common that they use when trading.

Tasloi are long-legged, flat-headed humanoids. They walk with a crouching posture, touching their knuckles to the ground from time to time. Their skins are a lustrous green and are thinly covered with coarse black hair. Their eyes are similar to a cat's and are gold in color. Their feet are long and prehensile. Often they can be heard at night, speaking in their high and whispery voices.


Re: X6/I1 Quagmire/Dwellers of the Forbidden City mash-up

Posted: Fri Oct 12, 2018 4:32 am
by paleologos
Next up, BECMI-style stats for



Armor Class: 6 (5)
Hit Dice: 1
Move: 30' (10')
Swimming: 150' (50')
Attacks: 3 or weapon
Damage: 1-2/1-2/2-5 or weapon
No. Appearing: 1-8/2-16 (10-80)
Save As: Fighter: 1
Morale: 7 (8)
Treasure Type: P, Q, S, L (x5) & C (magic only) in lair
Alignment: Chaotic
XP Value: 10

The bullywugs are a batrachian race of bipedal monsters which inhabit wet places - rainy forests, marshes, damp caves or virtually any other place which is shady or dark and has water nearby, for bullywugs need to dampen their skins from time to time.

Some types of these creatures are more intelligent than others. The intelligent groups tend to dwell in caves or deserted human habitations, and they will usually have shields and spears. The less advanced bullywugs hate their more intelligent fellows and war upon them.

Unless encumbered by armor and shield, a bullywug is able to swim rapidly. Even with such encumbrance, a bullywug can swim at 90' speed. Likewise, with or without adornment, a bullywug can hop forward 30' or upwards 15'. In doing so, the creature adds +1 to its "to hit" die roll or rolls. If it is using an impaling weapon, the bullywug delivers double damage as a result of a successful hopping attack.

The hopping attack with a weapon is their normal means of melee. However bullywugs without access to weapons, or those which have been disarmed, will still hop to attack in which case they use two claws (1-2 hit points of damage each) and a bite (2-5 hit points of damage).

Bullywugs have a chameleon-like power; their skin coloration can be grey, green or brown in light or dark shades. Thus, if motionless and in an area which allows use of camouflage power, a bullywug is 75% unlikely to be notice (this applies to infravision as well, as the color alteration also alters body heat). When attacking unnoticed from camouflage conditions, the bullywug has a 3 in 6 chance of surprising its victim (5 in 6 if hopping to the attack).

The major weakness of these creatures is that unless they are employing long weapons, their attacks always take place after those of their opponents, due to slow speed of movement or exposure while hopping. Note that a weapon can be set against a hop just as against a charge (which, in effect, a hop is).

Bullywugs form organized bands and are always led by a large individual with a full 8 hit points. If 30 or more of these creatures are encountered, there will be at least 5 large individuals and a leader of 10-13 hit points (effectively a 2-dice monster) doing +1 damage on all attacks. Those using armor etc. will also have a 10% chance per ten creatures in the group of having a tribal shaman of 11-14 hit points. Groups of 60 or more will have a great chief of 16-19 hit points which does +2 damage on all attacks.

These creatures will readily serve chaotic masters, human or otherwise. It is rumored that bullywug-human crossbreeds are viable and that certain degenerate humans dwell in mixed communities with these monsters, serving unnamed things from caverns deep beneath the earth.

The bullywugs have their own, rather primitive language and the more intelligent ones can converse haltingly in the common tongue, though their vocabulary is rather limited. They are held in disdain by shark-kin, who will occasionally raid a bullywug lair for sport and out of sheer malice, eating any captive alive. Lizard men will rarely associate with bullywugs, though there is no open hostility towards them.

Re: X6/I1 Quagmire/Dwellers of the Forbidden City mash-up

Posted: Fri Oct 12, 2018 4:21 pm
by Robin
Would these have a heritage tracing back to the Temple of the Frog in Blackmoor (being genetic creations of the mutineering aliens there), or are they a biological evolution (or immortal creation ) later in time?
The treasure type still seems to be AD&D2 instead I right?
Further great work

Re: X6/I1 Quagmire/Dwellers of the Forbidden City mash-up

Posted: Fri Oct 12, 2018 10:19 pm
by paleologos
Good question about the origin of the bullywugs - perhaps there's a connection! I'm personally loving the idea of filling the Serpent Peninsula with various humanoids "new" to BECMI. I'll probably tackle the yuan-ti, next. All of these were created by David Cook, so have a legitimacy in that regard. Maybe think of it as "Cooking" the Wild Lands...

I switched the treasure types from AD&D to BECMI equivalents for the conversions, above. I didn't have to invent anything except the morale. For that, I based the score of 8 on the observation that most 1 HD creatures in BECMI have a morale of 8. The less intelligent bullywugs would have a lower morale (7), I think.

Re: X6/I1 Quagmire/Dwellers of the Forbidden City mash-up

Posted: Sat Oct 20, 2018 8:55 pm
by Irondrake
These are some great ideas for both X6 and I1. Could get a lot of mileage out of this in my campaign. Thanks for sharing!

Oh, and the BECMI stats for the monsters are much appreciated!

Re: X6/I1 Quagmire/Dwellers of the Forbidden City mash-up

Posted: Mon Oct 22, 2018 4:29 am
by paleologos
Thanks! I'm on a roll -



Armor Class: 4/0
Hit Dice: 6-9
Move: 120' (40')/90' (30')
Attacks: 2
Damage: see below
No. Appearing: 1-4 (1-4)
Save As: Magic-User: 6-9
Morale: 10 (11)
Treasure Type: C
Alignment: Chaotic
XP Value: variable

Living in tropical jungles, the yuan ti are a degenerate and corrupt race of creatures who were once human. All are devout demon worshipers and have a high regard for all kinds of reptiles. Through dark and unknown practices, their blood has become fouled, thus producing monstrosities. There are three types of yuan ti: purebloods, halfbreeds, and abominations.

Purebloods are the weakest of the yuan ti, having only 6 hit dice. They are human in appearance, except for some slight difference - scaly hands, a forked tongue, or a somewhat reptilian look about them. They are able to pass as humans 80% of the time. They normally handle affairs with the outside world, and may travel far and wide doing so.

Halfbreeds are highly distinctive. Some part of their body is that of a snake, while the rest is human. Appearance may be determined by the table below (rolling once or twice), or the DM may select the changes.
  1. Snake head
  2. Torso can bend and move like a snake's
  3. No legs, ends in a snake's tail
  4. Has snakes instead of arms
  5. Body is covered by scales
  6. Snake tail is growing from backside
If any combination seems impossible or unworkable, the result should be ignored. The DM may also create other results involving snakes and humans.

In attacks, a snake-headed halfbreed will bite for 1-10 points of damage, snake-headed arms will bite for 1-6 points, and a tail will constrict for 1-4 points. Otherwise, the yuan ti will be able to handle weapons as a normal person. All snake parts will have an armor class of 0. Halfbreeds have 7-8 hit dice.

Abominations are the strongest of the yuan ti. All have 9 hit dice. In appearance they are often confused with lamaras (see AC 9 Creature Catalogue, pg 72) and other snake creatures. Abominations are either totally snake-like or only have some human feature (such as a head or arms). Their bite (unless human-headed) will do 1-10 points of damage.

All yuan ti with human legs may move 120' per turn. Those with snake bodies move 90' per turn and are able to coil around pillars and the like. Human headed yuan ti are able to cast the following spells once per day:
  • Cause Fear
  • Darkness
  • Snake charm
  • Neutralize poison
  • Sticks to snakes
  • Polymorph others
In addition, human headed yuan ti are able to attempt to hypnotize other creatures once per day. If the creature fails to make its saving throw vs. spells it will carry out a suggestion, immediately or deferred according to the wish of the magic-user. Self-destruction is 99% unlikely, but carefully worded suggestions can, at the referee’s option, alter this probability. Suggestions must be simple and relatively short, i.e. a sentence or two. Duration: 1 game week.

Yuan ti speak their own language. They may also speak with any snake or snake-like monster. Those with human heads also speak Chaotic and Common.

Re: X6/I1 Quagmire/Dwellers of the Forbidden City mash-up

Posted: Mon Oct 22, 2018 2:26 pm
by Havard
Great conversions Paleologos!

The Yuan Ti can also be very useful when further developling places like the Jungles of the Katapec or other parts of Davania...


Re: X6/I1 Quagmire/Dwellers of the Forbidden City mash-up

Posted: Tue Oct 30, 2018 1:31 pm
by agathokles
Hi Paleologos,

I agree with Havard, the conversion is neat, and the mashup idea fits really well the tone of the area.
Would you consider submitting this material to Threshold Magazine? It would make an excellent article.


Re: X6/I1 Quagmire/Dwellers of the Forbidden City mash-up

Posted: Wed Oct 31, 2018 2:10 am
by paleologos
Yes, in fact you read my mind!

I thought it would make a nice submission for the upcoming issue on adventures and scenarios.

Count me in...

Re: X6/I1 Quagmire/Dwellers of the Forbidden City mash-up

Posted: Wed Oct 31, 2018 11:40 am
by agathokles

Re: X6/I1 Quagmire/Dwellers of the Forbidden City mash-up

Posted: Tue Dec 11, 2018 7:13 am
by paleologos
One more -



Armor Class: 5
Hit Dice: 1-4
Move: 90' (30')
Attacks: 1
Damage: 1-4, 1-6, 1-8, 1-10 or weapon
No. Appearing: 1-8 (1-100)
Save As: Fighter: 1-4
Morale: 8
Treasure Type: C
Alignment: Neutral
XP Value: variable

Although not a race unto themselves, mongrelmen do not belong clearly to any other race. They are a mixture of many different creatures; each mongrelman possibly having the blood of humans, orcs, gnolls, ogres, dwarves, hobgoblins, bugbears, elves, bullywugs and others flowing through his or her veins. As such, they are seldom welcome in lawful societies and are usually abused or enslaved by chaotic groups. Such treatment has forced mongrelmen to develop special skills for survival.

All mongrelmen have the abilities of camouflage and mimicry. When using the camouflage ability, mongrelmen are able to hide themselves and their items with great skill. Normally, one turn is required for a mongrelman to camouflage himself, another, or an item. The chance of remaining unnoticed is 60% plus 1% for every turn spent preparing the camouflage after the first, up to a maximum of 95%. Thus a mongrelman who spends 8 turns would have a 67% chance of success. When camouflaging buildings and structures, the time required is weeks instead of turns. Successfully camouflaged persons and items will be unnoticed unless the person or item moves or is touched. Camouflaged buildings will be unrecognizable at distances greater than 50 feet (this may be adjusted for the size and type of structure). Mimicry allows the mongrelmen to almost perfectly imitate the sound of any animal or monster, although this does not apply to special attack forms, which they cannot mimic.

To assist them in obtaining items and goods they need, all mongrelmen are accomplished pickpockets. Each has a 70% chance of success.

For every ten mongrelmen, there will be at least one with two hit dice, for every thirty, there will be one with three hit dice, and for every forty, there will be one with four hit dice. In the lair will be a leader (AC 4; HD 5; MV 120' (40'); +1 "to hit" rolls; D 1-12) and five bodyguards (HD 4). In combat, mongrelmen will normally fight with clubs or swords, but 5% of any group will be armed with blowguns and poison or paralyzing darts.

Mongrelmen normally live in areas of large mixed populations. They lair in ruins, deserted buildings, or other places that humans once lived in or built. In appearance they vary greatly, combining the worst features of each race. They speak fragmented Common mixed with various animal cries and nonsense. Their names are almost always the sounds animals make.

Re: X6/I1 Quagmire/Dwellers of the Forbidden City mash-up

Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 6:16 pm
by Cerulean
Great work Paleologos!

Cant' wait to see more in the next Threshold.