The Hotness
Star Trek: Alpha Quadrant
The Marvel Universe Roleplaying Game
Tales From the Loop
Isengard and Northern Gondor
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook
Maximum Mayhem Dungeons #2: The Secret Machines of the Star Spawn
Paranoia: Red Clearance Edition
JG08: Camp Death: The Final Chapter
Mythic Game Master Emulator
Mouse Guard Roleplaying Game Box Set
Dungeon Crawl Classics Role Playing Game
Our Last Best Hope
East Texas University
The GameMaster's Apprentice
Ultimate Herbalism
Veins of the Earth
Gateway: The Tabletop Roleplaying Game
Reef of Madness
JG07: Rod and Reproof
Call of Cthulhu (5th Edition)
B2: The Keep on the Borderlands
A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying
Into the Troll Realms
The Great Pendragon Campaign
GURPS Warehouse 23: Things THEY Don't Want You To Have
The Judge Dredd Roleplaying Game
Sweet Agatha
Heart of Ice
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Beginner Box
Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Beginner Game
Fate Core System
The Quiet Year
Old School Adventures Accessory AX2: d30 Sandbox Companion
Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set
Mutant: Year Zero Core Book
Blades in the Dark
Barrowmaze Complete
Volo's Guide to Monsters
Masks: A New Generation
RPG Geek Random Tables
Agros Mortius
Tales from the Yawning Portal
Fifty Quick Human NPCs
Gateway Character Sheet
A Pirate's Life For Me
Ultimate Characters Guide
Monster Manual (AD&D 1e)
 Thumb up
2 Posts

I2: Tomb of the Lizard King» Forums » Reviews

Subject: The next era of AD&D modules begins with a cracker! rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Merric Blackman
flag msg tools
Ramping up my reviewing.
Happily playing games for many, many years.
Looking at I2: Tomb of the Lizard King after having spent quite a bit of time looking at the pre-1982 adventures, I can see a change coming over the AD&D adventure landscape. We’d got a hint of it with U1: The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, but Tomb of the Lizard King is particularly noteworthy. It starts with three event-based encounters where the players meet the king, see him hearing complaints from his merchants, before everything gets disrupted by a servant of the Big Bad attacking the king and his council.

This is new and radical. The big name of the next era of D&D adventures, Tracy Hickman, is about to have his first adventure published, but Mark Acres, who did a lot of RPG design work for Gangbusters and Star Frontiers, was the first to use this event-based technique in a published D&D adventure.

The trade dress for the adventure has also changed, into the form that adventures would keep for the remainder of the AD&D line. Jeff Easley did the cover art for this product, one of his first works for TSR, and Easley would be associated with TSR throughout the rest of the AD&D-era as one of their finest artists; he did the cover art for the reissues of the AD&D rulebooks. Everything points to the times now changing.

Tomb of the Lizard King is also notable as being the first AD&D adventure not set in the World of Greyhawk. Instead, it’s set in the lands of the Count of Eor, a setting only used in this adventure. The Count has a problem: brigands are attacking merchants in the south of his lands and, as the attack on his court proves, his enemy is getting bolder and stronger. The adventure starts in the court of the king, tracks the party south through several encounters where they learn more about their enemy, and eventually has them exploring his underground fortress and tomb.

It also displays some of the worst poetry I’ve seen in an adventure. Even as a teenager, I found it dreadful.

“Sakatha once was the Great Lizard King,
Said to have power stored in a ring.
O’er swamplands and plains lands his dominions they spread;
His very name filled all creatures with dread.”

I wonder what Michael Williams, editor of this adventure, thought of the poetry. In just a few years, he’d become known as the bard of the Dragonlance series, writing many poems and songs for that project. Unfortunately, his editing efforts didn’t extend to making the poetry scan.

Thankfully, the adventure isn’t dependent on the poetry. Instead, it has a very immediate storyline: Stop the Lizard King! There’s a great epic feel to all of this: a once-overthrown evil (by the ancestor of the current Baron) is now rising again. Of course, it’s not quite as simple as it might first appear, as he’s arisen as a vampire (due to a poorly worded wish he used before his death), and that revelation is very likely to take the party by surprise.

This isn’t an adventure for inexperienced players; it contains a number of extremely dangerous encounters. The adventure is designed for 7-9 characters of levels 5-7, although the DM is enjoined to not let any cleric greater than 7th level participate in it, “as this would seriously unbalance the climactic encounter.” More notes make it clear that the module is “extremely hazardous”. With a black dragon, several magical paintings that unleash monsters on the party, and Sakatha himself - a vampiric lizard man with 9th level magic-user abilities along with a trident that can do 5-20 damage (or double that if he rolls well to hit), it’s quite clear that the description is quite accurate.

Atmosphere is effectively built on the journey to the Lizard King’s tomb: a minstrel relates the history of the lizard king, the group is ambushed by minions of the lizard king, and they meet survivors of the brigands. The threat nicely escalates as the adventure progresses, and not everything the party meet can be taken at face value: several survivors have been charmed by Sakatha, and thus act against the party’s best interests.

Once the tomb is reached, the bandits must be defeated before the Lizard King can be reached. This isn’t going be easy, as there are 20 bandits, three leaders, one lieutenant (F7) and a magic-user (7th) to get past - and the bandits are going to try to ambush the party.

The tomb itself includes a level with a lot of illusions (including one of a river and a raft, that actually is a dry, deep ditch filled with acid pools), and finally the lair of the Lizard King himself. This isn’t an adventure with a lot of competing factions; instead, it’s one where the party are pitted against a lot of creatures loyal to the Lizard King.

There’s a lot to like about Tomb of the Lizard King. It pays attention to the NPCs and monster motivations, and it’s a properly challenging adventure that includes some memorable encounters and settings. It’s a great start to the second era of AD&D adventures; it’s a pity that Mark Acres would only write one more official AD&D adventure.
 Thumb up
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tony Rowe
United States
flag msg tools
Thanks for the review. I ran this adventure many times in the past. It comes close to ending in a TPK every time, but is always a lot of fun.
 Thumb up
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.