A Look Back At S2 – White Plume Mountain

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The new DDO Producer’s Letter is out, and they have announced S2 White Plume Mountain as the next “classic” module coming to DDO. For those that do not know what this module is about.

In 1979 TSR released an adventure for Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. It was written by Lawrence Schick, coded as S2 (“S” stood for “special”), was designed for characters levels 5-10, and originally came in at only 12 pages, but was shortly thereafter expanded to 16. White Plume Mountain is one of the first and most famous “puzzle dungeons” released by TSR. Almost every room in White Plume Mountain’s dungeon is either a trap, a monster asking a riddle, or both. S2 was voted the 9th best of all time by Dungeon magazine.

 

 

Plot summary

The obligatory

 

 

 

 

White Plume Mountain is set in the World of Greyhawk, Thirteen hundred years ago, Keraptis descended into the volcanic mountain with a company of gnomes, and disappeared. The adventure is designed around the theft of three powerful magical weapons: a trident named Wave, a war hammer named Whelm, and a sword named Blackrazor. The weapons’ former owners each received a copy of a taunting poem, each sealed with the symbol of the all-but-forgotten Keraptis. The characters’ goal is to rescue the weapons from Keraptis’ lair, The dungeons being carved inside an active volcano. Each of the magical weapons is powerful and intelligent

The adventure is divided into 27 encounters across a 16-page module. Encounters are varied and each presents its own challenges. Encounter seven necessitates characters jumping from platform to platform above a sea of hot mud whilst evading erupting geysers; this, in turn, leads to encounter eight and a room of permanent darkness where a vampire guards Whelm. Encounter 17 occurs in a giant but fragile bubble located above a boiling lake, with the players needing to defeat a giant crab and retrieve Wave without damaging the bubble. Encounter 26 involves negotiating a magical ziggurat populated by various monsters (including sea lions, giant crayfish, giant scorpions, and manticores) before encounter 28, a battle against an ogre mage who possesses Blackrazor. A final challenge on departing is an encounter with two to four efreet if the characters have succeeded in taking two or three of the magical weapons.

Fun Fact

Lawrence Schick wrote the module while applying for a job with TSR. He took what he felt were the best parts from his previously created dungeons and put them together to create White Plume Mountain. After looking at it, TSR hired him and published the module without making any changes. Looking back in an interview, Schick said that he was

“a little embarrassed to this day by Blackrazor, inasmuch as it’s such a blatant rip-off of Elric’s Stormbringer; I would not have put it into the scenario if I ever thought it might be published.”

Schick later admitted that it was gratifying to have his adventure published as-is,

“but also a little embarrassing, since the adventure was really just a sampler of clever ideas that were never fully fleshed out. Its central conceit, a ‘funhouse’ dungeon full of tricky obstacles designed to challenge adventurers for the amusement of a mad wizard, was already a cliché even at that date.”

Sequel

Wizards of the Coast also released a sequel to the adventure in 1999, Return to White Plume Mountain, as part of the TSR 25th Anniversary series of publications. The events in the sequel are assumed to take place 20 years following those in the original module.

 

Updated To 5E

Wizards Of The Coast updated the module for the 5th Edition rules set as they published as part of the Tales From The Yawning Portal anthology dungeon hardcover book.

 

The “S” Series Of Modules

These modules were designed as stand-alone adventures for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. S1 was the original tournament dungeon used at Origins 1.

  • S1 Tomb of Horrors by Gary Gygax
    S2 White Plume Mountain by Lawrence Schick
    S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks by Gary Gygax
    S4 Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth by Gary Gygax

These four were later combined into supermodule:

  • S1-4 Realms of Horror

 

 

 

If you would like to check the original S2 you can purchase the PDF Via the dmsguild.

The sequel Return to White Plume Mountain can also be purchased via the dmsguild

The 3.5 Updated version is also a PDF option via the dmsguild

Tales From The Yawning Portal can be purchased via your FLGS or Amazon, in case you missed it, we reviewed it as well

 

 

 

 

*The above to purchase links are all AFFILIATE links, DDO Players will receive a small percent of your sale, this is a small way you can help support the site.

 

2 comments

  1. S4 Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth is next in 2019.

    • Other than it makes the most sense, I’m saying no it’s not… there are many others that can do… I don’t see them staying with the S series… besides we all know that S1 Tomb of Horrors was the best of the bunch anyway.. and they probaly won’t do that one.. so time to move on… Keep on the Borderlands.. as it’s being updated to 5E now by Goodman Games.. so now’s a great time to bring into the DDO Fold… plus it would make a great set of quests and amazing new aera..

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