Setting modules A1-4/Slave Lords in the Gulf of Hule

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paleologos
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Setting modules A1-4/Slave Lords in the Gulf of Hule

Post by paleologos » Sat Oct 29, 2016 3:49 am

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Continuing my examination of classic AD&D 1e modules, I had a close look at A1-4 "Aerie of the Slave Lords". I've never run these modules, which are designed for character levels 4-7, but have always wanted to use them. As with most early AD&D 1e modules, the A series began as tournament scenarios, in this case for Gen Con XIII (1980). I'm not sure if the original tournament setting was in Greyhawk, but connections in the modules themselves with the setting are weak.

Again, many of the authors have impressive B/X credentials. 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. Tom Moldvay authored the Basic Rulebook, revised Jean Wells' B3, and wrote B4 and X2. He and Lawrence Schick were co-creators of the original "Known World" setting.

Most folks have run these out of the Black Eagle Barony, since Karameikos already has the Iron Ring. However, the adventures are set in the orc-infested territory of the Pomarj. Highport is a city teeming with humanoids, and so needs changes to be used in place of Fort Doom. In fact, the slaver's operations are of a magnitude far greater than the sneaky Iron Ring.

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Which brings me to the Gulf of Hule. Module X5 "The Temple of Death" described the land of Hule, but provided few geographical details. The wilderness map included areas the DM was expected to describe further, including several unnamed towns. One of these, north of Slagovich (depicted above) is an ideal candidate for Highport.

edit - in preparing my article for an upcoming issue of Threshold, I've switched my preferred location for Highport, further up. Interestingly, this unnamed town appears to be situated astride the escarpment, making the name of "Highport" appropriate!

The population of Hule is described to be a mixture of humans and non-humans, mainly orcs, gnolls, bugbears, kobolds, and ogres. The rulers are chaotic and serve chaotic gods, and most of the human populace are either chaotic or neutral in alignment. The various humanoid tribes consider themselves independent, but are allied with the human rulers.

Of course, much of the land of Hule and neighboring Savage Baronies/City States have been well described for the Mystara setting. All the same, the original version of Hule as presented in X5 is evocative, and perhaps underutilized. Placing Highport north of Slagovich allows PCs adventuring along the Savage Coast to get embroiled with the Slave Lords - whose activities could be encroaching upon the civilized lands to the East, including Darokin, Karameikos, Ierendi, and Minrothad.
Last edited by paleologos on Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Setting modules A1-4/Slave Lords in the Gulf of Hule

Post by religon » Sat Oct 29, 2016 5:49 am

paleologos wrote:...
Most folks have run these out of the Black Eagle Barony, since Karameikos already has the Iron Ring. However, the adventures are set in the orc-infested territory of the Pomarj. Highport is a city teeming with humanoids, and so needs changes to be used in place of Fort Doom. In fact, the slaver's operations are of a magnitude far greater than the sneaky Iron Ring.
I would totally agree that major changes would be needed for Karameikos. I have ran the modules, but not placed in Mystara. I would not try to cram it into any of the countries constituting the original "Known World."

Hule would work well I think. Perhaps a little tweaking of the cities to reflect Hulean (sp?) culture would be all that is needed in addition to a call-out map of the area impacted.

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Re: Setting modules A1-4/Slave Lords in the Gulf of Hule

Post by Robin » Sun Oct 30, 2016 11:21 am

nice...perfect fit, perfect location ;P
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Re: Setting modules A1-4/Slave Lords in the Gulf of Hule

Post by JTrithen » Fri Nov 04, 2016 4:05 am

I like this. I had previously toyed with the idea of trying to place it along the coast around Jaibul (running anywhere from Ierendi all the way west to Slagovich), and even trying to extend the adventure up along Sind, the Great Waste, and up toward the volcano present in northern Sind. (Plus there are 2 more volcanoes in the western Glantri area near there.)
Obviously, I hadn't put much thought into it. But, I like this series (a little nostalgia, as much as the adventures itself) and would like to convert it to Mystara someday.

And, I would agree, that forcing it into the Black Eagle Barony and Iron Ring region and factions doesn't work, i don't think. Having the Black Eagle and the Ring be allies works, and makes the organization (the equivalent of or replacement for the slave lords and their organization from the A- series) large enough, i think. But, the region is pretty small to have this series of modules there.

But, the region of the Gulf of Hule is great. I think that EVEN with the development of the Savage Baronies and the City States, it could probably still work. The southern part of Hule is probably lawless enough; even among the city states, those regions are probably fairly chaotic. And, they don't control the Black Mountains area. That's most likely a good area for the Pomarj (even if it doesn't fit the same number of square miles exactly). And, of course, [SPOILER:] the one of the volcanoes from the region would probably be a good candidate for the one that erupts in the Slaver series.

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Re: Setting modules A1-4/Slave Lords in the Gulf of Hule

Post by paleologos » Sun Nov 06, 2016 7:27 pm

religon wrote:Hule would work well I think. Perhaps a little tweaking of the cities to reflect Hulean (sp?) culture would be all that is needed in addition to a call-out map of the area impacted.
Something like this, perhaps (with Raska or better yet, Ayskudag serving as the location for Highport)?

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The above is an overlay of the continental map from X9 on to Thorfinn's replica of the map of the Great Waste from Champions of Mystara. Ayskudag works best of all in Mystara circa 1000 AC, since Highport in the Pomarj is directly north of the Drachensgrab Hills. There are even some choice volcanoes in the mountains for the City of Suderham...
JTrithen wrote:Having the Black Eagle and the Ring be allies works, and makes the organization (the equivalent of or replacement for the slave lords and their organization from the A- series) large enough, i think. But, the region is pretty small to have this series of modules there.

But, the region of the Gulf of Hule is great. I think that EVEN with the development of the Savage Baronies and the City States, it could probably still work. The southern part of Hule is probably lawless enough; even among the city states, those regions are probably fairly chaotic. And, they don't control the Black Mountains area. That's most likely a good area for the Pomarj (even if it doesn't fit the same number of square miles exactly).
I like the idea of having the Iron Ring be allied with the Slavelords, so that the PCs have to track the latter to their base of operations in the Gulf of Hule. Furthermore, the proximity to Hule itself would probably serve well as a market for slaves from the Known World, given that slavery is likely a foundation of Hulean society.

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Re: Setting modules A1-4/Slave Lords in the Gulf of Hule

Post by paleologos » Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:52 pm

As mentioned above, I've settled on the Hulean port of Ayskudag as the perfect stand-in for Highport.

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I'm planning to run my son's group through the A series in the near future.

Will be sure to post conversion notes for each module, here!

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Re: Setting modules A1-4/Slave Lords in the Gulf of Hule

Post by Dread Delgath » Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:16 pm

I ran the A series way back when, and I ran it in the World of Greyhawk when the only thing published for the World of Greyhawk was the Folio, (1981). Yes, the connections to WoG to ALL the tournament modules were weak, because back then all modules were written like that. Nothing more. It was always up to the DM to fill in the campaign spaces with imagination and make the campaign setting their own, and not conform to the campaign setting as published in every detail.

X5 wasn't published until 1983, so we cannot prove or disprove that Cook had this setting in mind for the A series when it was published in 1980.

Please don't take my post as a negative view of your work in this thread, Paleologos, I don't doubt that you honestly want to find a reasonable fit for the A series in Mystara, (and this is a very good spot in Mystara!) but I just don't want there to be any doubt as to the A series' first official home was indeed meant to be in the World of Greyhawk, even if it wasn't specifically mentioned in their 1980 tournament formats. :cool:
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Re: Setting modules A1-4/Slave Lords in the Gulf of Hule

Post by paleologos » Wed Feb 06, 2019 8:18 pm

I wholeheartedly agree - Greyhawk was no doubt the intended setting for these adventures. I really don't think Zeb Cook was even thinking about the Slavers when he wrote X5.

I'm looking forward to seeing how these work in my proposed Mystara location. I'm anticipating less tweaking than for, say, T1-4, which is hard to think of anywhere but Greyhawk!

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