Death in Wretched Swamp

Quest for the lost city of Empyrea in Frank Mentzer's Aquaria Setting.
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Death in Wretched Swamp

Post by Big Mac » Sun Dec 13, 2015 11:35 pm

Death in Wretched Swamp is coming out soon.

Here is what I just saw Frank post about it on Faceborg:
Frank Mentzer on Faceborg wrote:Games -> New Release (RPG setting/adventure)

"Death in Wretched Swamp" will be available via DTRPG by New Year's (or so; receiving final art as we speak).

In 1978, TSR Games published "Tomb of Horrors," a very early roleplaying tournament by my old friend Gary. Thirty years later I decided to work on an outdoor adventure that was as deadly as that dungeon. It's been through 5 years of field testing at conventions. That's a helluva lot of playtesting. ;>

Some have pointed out that this is not my ‘usual’ adventure... more of a Destruction Test. That is indeed the objective, just this once. So DMs,when you stop cackling after the bloodbath, be ready to beat a hasty retreat. Cast the classic exculpatory alteration “you awaken and realize it was just a bad dream!” if you must do so to save yourself from distraught players.

(from the Foreword)
The idea of an external advnture that is as deadly as a dungeon is interesting.

I wonder where this Wretched Swap is going to be located, relative to the rest of Aquaria. :?

What books do people think will be best for converting Death in Wretched Swamp into a D&D adventure? Are there any other good swap adventures that could be used along with the background material in this, to run a followup Wretched Swap adventure?
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Re: Death in Wretched Swamp

Post by Zudrak » Mon Dec 14, 2015 1:08 am

Saw the link to this page on the Piazza FB site. I'll watch this with interest and add it to the many other Eldritch Entertainment items on my wishlist. Thanks, David!

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Re: Death in Wretched Swamp

Post by Big Mac » Tue Dec 15, 2015 12:36 am

Zudrak wrote:Saw the link to this page on the Piazza FB site. I'll watch this with interest and add it to the many other Eldritch Entertainment items on my wishlist. Thanks, David!
You're welcome Zudrak.

Have you got an idea of where you could locate the Wretched Swamp in your own campaign?
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Re: Death in Wretched Swamp

Post by Big Mac » Tue Dec 15, 2015 1:11 am

Someone over on Facebook thinks there is an adventure that would go well with this, but can't remember the name:
Heath Uisge Farnden on the Facebook page for The Piazza wrote:Cannot for the life of me recall the name but there was a module someone ran that featured a manor that had been reclaimed by a swamp. Between the manor subsiding and the swamp incursion, you had to enter the manor via the next floor windows.
Played it in early 2000's.
Does anyone have any idea what this adventure might be?
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Death in Wretched Swamp

Post by ExTSR » Thu Dec 24, 2015 4:04 pm

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Only at The Piazza...
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Re: Death in Wretched Swamp

Post by ExTSR » Thu Dec 24, 2015 4:05 pm

Death in Wretched Swamp:
The Rest of the Story


(No spoilers! Will not affect actual play.)
(c) 2015 J. Franklin Mentzer, All Rights Reserved

The Original adventure of Wretched Swamp was a creation for my own home game and campaign, as are many. Much has been added since then, of course, once the objective (an intensely lethal sandbox) took form.

Of the original players, only one (Mark Greenberg) became an investor in Eldritch, and it was his Ranger/Cleric who went face-to-face with the flying male dragon. After he was turned into a blob of goo (below negative-50 Health), many powerful spells were needed to effect his return. The reconstruction was so successful that he actually gained Charisma in the process.


Brief Cast of Characters

Cronus: Greater Titan, Son of Gaia (Earth) and Uranus (Sky), father of Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Hades, Hestia, Demeter, and Chiron. Overthrew Uranus to rule, was later overthrown by Zeus.
Iapetus: Brother of Cronus, father of (Lesser) Titans Atlas, Prometheus, Epimetheus, and Menoetius.
Zeus: The current Supreme Being
Hades: Brother of Zeus, Lord of the Underworld
Menoetius (Menoitios): Lesser Titan, son of Iapetus
Nae-Zhi: God of all Dragons, Snakes, et al.; from Sanskrit Nāji / Nāgi (female), Nāja / Nāga (male)


The scope is multiversal, and the mythos is Greek.

A long time ago Cronus became the first supreme deity. Later he was overthrown by his son Zeus, who (with other children of Cronus) assumed control of the multiverse. Cronus’ brother Iapetus had a family too, and all were rather surly at being left out of the control game. Atlas and Prometheus were two of his sons (Lesser Titans), their names well-known to this day.

Iapetus’ other son Menoetius is the being trapped under the hill in the center of the swamp, herein called the Eye of God. In this caper, he allied with Hades, and was eventually caught and punished by Zeus for crimes* and insolence.

Menoetius was bound face-up on a large rock, spread-eagled (nude), and cast down by Zeus. The actions rendered the rock magical, a tool of the Supreme Being Himself. The rock struck the planet at this forsaken site, and the impact created the circle of desolation that is now Wretched Swamp. It might have remained a barren, dead zone, but other matters intervened.

Hades did not ignore the slight. He despises inconvenience, and the loss of a Titan (however Lesser) was irritating. He tried removing the stone, but that backfired (it being unexpectedly imbued with Zeus-magic), producing a malignant side effect—the oft-referenced Curse of the swamp. Then, unwilling to devote much time to the matter, Hades recruited Nae-Zhi for assistance. She contributed the swamp dragons, the obsidian wall, and promises of future aid.

Meanwhile, Hades’ wife Persephone was displeased at his error that despoiled the place. She permitted certain of her high priestesses (druids) to intervene gently, producing the Triqueta Arches and the Path, hoping to negate Hades’ evil influence. Among other responses, Nae-Zhi (on a whim, actually) gave the dragons her ‘trademark’ artifact (the Tripartite Bands), though she failed to adequately emphasize their importance.

Thus have matters remained for dozens of years. In conclusion, consider poor Menoetius, a titanic minion now ignored in typical deific family politics. Much of Zeus’ magic rock obviously remains, being the ‘Godseye’. The Titan is still down there, spread-eagled several hundred feet below at the base of the rock, perfectly fine (thanks to immortal regeneration) but unable to move until released. (That act is beyond mere mortal power, and is hence not detailed in this published adventure.)

* amongst the alleged crimes: using banned Magic cards and retired GW figures. (After Menoetius escapes this plight, Zeus will later reconsider, destroying him utterly with lightning.)


And Afterward...

In the Big Picture, considering immortal beings and planes of existence and multiversal events, Wretched Swamp engenders a plot line that can be resolved by another adventure but on an immortal scale.

I would like to write the short sequel some day, if time permits, but we shall see. For those interested in completing the story for themselves, it goes like this:

Zeus and Hades are busy guys. A team of lesser immortals can simplify this mess (working without Zeus’ knowledge but on His behalf) by breaking through the protections and speaking with the repentant Titan, all without attracting Hades’ re-intervention. Ideally they also must separate his evil draconic ally from the equation, a complicated business. This is to be an ‘impossible mission’, disavowed by their Patron if discovered.

The characters can acquire enough information to convince Zeus to pardon (but not forgive) Menoetius.

At the conclusion, the great rock splits and the Titan is released. He will then owe a favor to the characters... if they draw on it before Zeus destroys him (as the Fates will ultimately decree).

At the end of it all, the Curse is withdrawn. The Devils and undead reunite and begin their respective eschatological adventures. The muskegerai die off, and the leech-eels are reduced to small colonies. So the environment improves, and becomes a preserve for the eternally lonely DeadEye beasts, awaiting the beck and call of Zeus (their creator) or his brother Hades.

What could go wrong? :twisted:
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Re: Death in Wretched Swamp

Post by Rhuvein » Thu Dec 31, 2015 2:27 am

Cool Frank.

I went to high school with a Mark Greenberg, but I suppose WI and Il are loaded with them.

Hope all is well!

Best,

Rhu. :-D
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Re: Death in Wretched Swamp

Post by Buttmonkey » Tue Jan 05, 2016 10:36 pm

Rhuvein wrote:I went to high school with a Mark Greenberg
Was it the awesome one? Because that's the one who invested in Eldritch (and got his PC knocked to below -60 hit points in one attack in Wretched Swamp).

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Re: Death in Wretched Swamp

Post by Zudrak » Wed Mar 23, 2016 9:28 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Zudrak wrote:Saw the link to this page on the Piazza FB site. I'll watch this with interest and add it to the many other Eldritch Entertainment items on my wishlist. Thanks, David!
You're welcome Zudrak.

Have you got an idea of where you could locate the Wretched Swamp in your own campaign?
Yikes. Sorry for the long delay, Big Mac! I've been quite busy with two littles ones (almost 3 and almost 1) as well as the 13 year-old's ice hockey season.

If Frank has set this in Aquaria, then that is where I would attempt to put it (on Oerth). If I shoehorned it elsewhere into one of my (3 or 4) Greyhawk campaigns, I might put it on one of the Lendore Isles for my Lendore campaign, in the Vast Swamp for my Idee campaign, or on the western side of the continent of Oerik (as depicted in the WoG box set with Troll Lord Games' Free City of Eskadia and Haunted Highlands setting shoehorned onto that portion of the continent) in my Eskadia campaign. All of these are active but getting the time to play proves difficult right now with so much going on. :o

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Re: Death in Wretched Swamp

Post by Big Mac » Mon Jun 20, 2016 9:28 pm

Thanks for the preview Frank.

I wasn't expecting a Greek theme. (I wonder if that would make it possible to reboot Death in Wretched Swamp to work with the Scarred Lands campaign setting, 2e's Age of Heroes or any other Greek setting.)

It looks like you have been running this at conventions, but I don't see it on DriveThru RPG yet. Are you still making some more improvements to this?
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Re: Death in Wretched Swamp

Post by vestcoat » Fri Jan 20, 2017 7:16 am

Bump. Hi Frank. Any updates on this, Trouble at IronGarde Watch, or other projects for 2017? Is Eldritch Ent going to continue?
Hope all is well!

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Re: Death in Wretched Swamp

Post by Big Mac » Wed Aug 16, 2017 8:41 pm

I just read on the Canonfire forums that a pre-production version of Death in Wretched Swamp went on sale in 2016:
vestcoat at Canonfire forums wrote:5 March 2016
The pre-publication edition of Frank Mentzer's Death in Wretched Swamp sells out in one day at Gary Con. An lone unclaimed copy is auctioned off at the Acaeum. The final release was expected in June, but didn't materialize. Considering all of Frank's other Eldritch Ent publications are set in Aquaria, let's hope this follows suit.
https://www.acaeum.com/forum/viewtopic. ... =15721&c=1
I never even noticed that, at the time, and it looks like the final version of Death in Wretched Swamp has not come out yet.

I hope that Frank can piggy-back this onto his new Empyrea project when it gets to the Kickstarter stage. :)
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Re: Death in Wretched Swamp

Post by ExTSR » Thu Aug 24, 2017 3:21 pm

I do anticipate finishing the art (all that's left) and releasing DiWS next year.
It is already precisely placed in the campaign.

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Re: Death in Wretched Swamp

Post by Big Mac » Sat Sep 02, 2017 5:07 pm

Great! Thanks Frank.
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