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"Goodbye, Jean-Luc, I'm gonna miss you. You had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end."
- Q, Star Trek: TNG

Game Day: Return of the Revenge of White Plume Mountain

by Ken Newquist / March 27, 2009

In 12 years of adventuring in Greyhawk, our group built up a number of legends, told, but never experienced. The recovery of the soul-devouring sword Blackrazor is one of them.

Brant Bladescream, warrior, adventurer and conman, recovered Blackrazor from the volcanic dungeon known as White Plume Mountain and used its notoriety to found the Blackrazor Guild. The guild would go on to become one of the cornerstones of our Greyhawk campaign, and last year we decided to finally play out the events in which Brant secured the epic blade. We were aided in this quest by Wizards of the Coast, which updated the classic S2 White Plume Mountain to the 3.5 rule set in 2005.

In true Blackrazor Guild style, the adventure ended in chaos and disaster. Bladesceam led a team of entrepreneurial adventurers into the mountain, where they inadvertently flooded its lower levels with boiling hot water. Half the party died, and the other half barely escaped with their lives. They retreated to Yellowreach, where Bladescream licked his wounds and contemplated how he might convince another band of foolhardy adventurers to follow him into the dungeon.

A year has passed. Bladescream has his marks. And we're heading back into the dungeon.

Getting ready for White Plume Mountain reminded me of the things I enjoy about D&D, particularly in its 3.x incarnation. I've always been a bibliophile, and there's something deeply satisfying about being able to browse through two shelves of books looking for the right monster, feat or environmental rule to tuck into the game. Admittedly, it's a little frustrating as well, seeing as how 4E negated all those books, but still it brings a smile to my inner geek.

Watching my players geek out about the game has been a blast. Do you go truly old school and role 3d6 and assign them in attribute order? How about 4d6 and drop the lowest? Do you roll attributes in 1st Edition order (STR, INT, WIS, DEX, CON, CHA) vs 3rd Edition order (STR, DEX, CON, INT, WIS CHR)? And then there were the stats they rolled, from the merely flawed (Str:18, Dex: 11, Con: 6, Int: 14, Wis: 10, Chr: 11) to the profoundly mediocre (Str 11, Dex 10, Con 11, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 9).

This adventure even has me digging through my old D&D 2nd Edition Encyclopedia Magica books. The revised 3.5 module recast White Plume Mountains' three signature weapons (Blackrazor, Wave and Whelm) in "Weapons of Legacy" format. Weapons of Legacy was a 3.5 book that provided-level-by-level enhancements to artifact-style weapons. I found them disappointing; while I suppose they might work in an ongoing campaign in which one of these weapons has a major role, I'd hate to have to wait to 20th level to take full advantage of Blackrazor's abilities. The thing is made of infamy, and if it's not tempting you from day one, what's the point?

If this goes well, I can see following it up with with additional one-shots that follow Bladescream on his adventuring career in the days and years after he acquired Blackrazor. Wizards released an update for S3: The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth known as Iggwilv's Legacy in 2007. It seems like a logical follow-up to White Plume Mountain, and would provide a great way of scratching that Greyhawk itch while we continue our Star Wars campaign.

Comments

Thanks for the linkage. I was just talking to someone about those 3.5 updates the other day. Did they do any others, or was it just the S-series. I feel as though there might have been more, but I think I just didn't realize that Tomb and Plume were both from the same series.

I once ran the 'Slave Lord' series in 3rd edition ( I ran them in 1e and 2e several times) You may wish to consider them. They seem, to me, to hit the 3e 'sweet spot' of 4-7 lvl

Slave Lords would be fun to run through one of these days, though I don't think there are any 3E conversions for it (and I'm unlikely to convert it myself, given the time it would take).I'm not sure if there would be much interest in Slave Lords though; in our campaign, the Slave Lords were put down by the Invincibles Guild, a group of lawful good heroes, and about as far removed from the Blackrazor ethos as you can get. :)