A D&D 5th Edition Conversion of the Early Edition Adventure Module. Classic Adventure. M odule Conversion. WG4. The Forgotten. Temple of. Tharizdun. I’m going to start picking apart the Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun, and see if there’s anything that we might glean from a close examination. Over 25 years later, The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun still creeps me out. I’m not entirely sure why, but I suspect, even moreso than its.

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I could never quite put my finger on what weirded me out about WG4, and you did it for me – especially as compared to the rich color palette represented by other module covers around that time period. Also, please check your gmail. Karen Nelson is the mother of Eric Nelson Shook, who was and still is, for that matter a friend of Rob Kuntz and player in the Greyhawk campaign.

They lived in Lake Geneva and she was, from what I gather, something of a local “character. I re-read the module recently and, while I still don’t like all of those elements, there’s enough other good stuff to shift my opinion back towards the positive. One thing I particularly like is that the humanoids aren’t the original inhabitants of the dungeon, and are just as much intruders there and just as ignorant of its origins and deeper mysteries as the PCs.

I also like the “living dungeon” element of how the humanoids react to invasion and how the dungeon will be different if the PCs fight a pitched battle, leave, and return later — this is, IMO, a good example for other DMs to follow; not necessarily to write it all out the way Gary did, but to have it in mind.

The fact that there are essentially two dungeons in one layered atop one another — the “text” of the humanoids, and the creepy subtext of the temple itself — strikes me as brilliant design. An uninquisitive party could conceivably “win” this module by killing off all the humanoids tjarizdun have no clue about the actual purpose or secrets of the temple, and the module is totally okay with that — there’s no railroad except perhaps for the DM thinking it’s cool and wanting to use it forcing the players to explore the whole thing, only their own curiosity and sense that “something’s weird here.

See Kuntz’s “History of Tharizdun” on Canonfire! Also worthy of note is that WG4 was a slap-in-the-face to the TSR production department at the time it was produced, since they took months to get modules ready for publication. All within a month. I still get shivers when I hear the name of the module — or see its cover. Never played it through, though. The first thing I think of with WG4 is the Undertemple that is almost entirely impossible to find.

No clues, no riddly poem to lead you there. There’s something meta-disturbing that someone wrote a big portion of a module intending it to be sort-of thrown away. On a structural level, I find tyarizdun really creepy in a 4th-wall kind of way. That left me with a highly negative view of rharizdun whole thing which was not boosted by anything else inside it.

It seemed overly dependant on blind luck. There seemed no really good reason why a party would be there or ask the right questions to find the temple.

I’d have to read it again, but those were my feelings and after we ran it I think the whole party felt that it was a bit of a waste of time, even though they finished it pretty comprehensively. Norkers even make an appearance in one of the new 4E modules – H2: I had a total blast playing this module.


Tgarizdun connected it is to S4 and what one does with the surrounding gnomes are totally campaign-dependent calls, I’d say, as are most intro-type text sections in TSR modules. The storming of the humanoids can be an epic, hours-long masterwork of a set piece. Gygax did a great, strategy-gamer-quality job in setting up the waves of monsters and their possible reactions. My players ended up in a bug tempe for the survivors, which is where all the extra creepiness began to set in.

Though in our dorgotten, they had been sent there both to recruit the gnomes and to find some items of power you know the ones to help in the wars against the giants, as they played this between G2 and G3. I think the module is a bit less than it could be for various reasons – there is an odd disjointedness in it that does not quite work for me – but there is also something that is missing from a lot of modules: In gaming, there is a tendency to portray evil in a straightforward and naturalistic way, and Tharizdun is not like that.

The temple is less a repository of horrific things thharizdun more of a place that tells you, through several small cues, “You don’t belong here. I also have a lot of good things to say about the artwork. This is what fantasy art should strive to be – mysterious, tantalizing, and elusive. And all this in an age when TSR was slowly working its way towards the visual desert of the Elmore and Easley era. I find it interesting and significant, that this book, while it was still produced early enough to have the foreword written by EGG, and was supposed to showcase TSR’s artistic talent, doesn’t include a single piece of art from Dave Trampier, Dave Sutherland, Erol Otus or Jeff Dee.

Thanks to Trent and Allan for their insights here. This is great information that I’d genuinely never read before. You may well be correct.

I just remember Gary speaking somewhat ill of FF, which suited me fine, since I never much liked it. One of the “little things” about this module that I didn’t see mentioned is its designation code: It is indeed a small detail, and possibly unimportant, but when this thing came out, my friends and I wondered where WG were. This module seemed to just forgotetn out of nowhere, like Tharizdun itself, as something that didn’t belong. I will echo the general sentiment of creepiness engendered by this module.

Could just be that adventuring in the tomb of a dead nightmare god is just unsettling. I agree that the FF monsters help to make this feel like fanfic. I thought I was alone in being unnerved by this adventure. Wednesday, November 19, Retrospective: The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun. Over 25 years later, The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun fkrgotten creeps me out. I’m not entirely sure why, but I suspect, even moreso than its quasi-Lovecraftian theme — a dark, imprisoned god — it’s the artwork that does it for me.

The module is entirely illustrated by an artist otherwise unknown to me, Karen Nelson.

Thoughts on The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun

This level of artistic unity was unusual in TSR modules, which tended to use several artists. Here, though, the consistent look contributes greatly to the feel of the thing.

I find the cover image perfect: I say “unfocused” because, as I said, I can’t quite put my finger on why module Tharizeun makes me feel so temp,e. Simply reading the text itself, there’s really nothing truly disturbing there. There are no images of graphic violence or even of psychological disturbance. Indeed, on many levels, The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun is merely a workmanlike Gygaxian dungeon crawl. But I think it’s probably a mistake to look for any one thing as the source of the module’s strange feel.


I think what sets it apart is that cumulative effect of many little details. I’ve already noted the artwork, which I found to be largely atmospheric. The color of the module itself — a sickly lavender templw is unique among TSR modules of the day. Tharizdun’s colors are black and purple, if I recall, and these hues appear throughout the module itself. Now, black as an “evil” color is somewhat cliched, so much so that it doesn’t really have any effect upon me anymore.

The Forgotten Temple Of Tharizdun

Purple is a royal color and second only after pink in the hearts of little girls. How could purple be “evil? It’s a sickly shade — the color of decay, entropy, and insanity. The module is a quasi-sequel to The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanthanother excellent Gygaxian dungeoncrawl and one with a similar theme: Whereas “ancient” in the case of Tsojcanth means several centuries before the present, WG4 takes it to mean millennia beforehand. There’s a creepiness that comes from thinking about an evil from the time before time.

I think that’s another part of what makes this module work for me: Tharizdun the imprisoned god may seem like a Lovecraftian concept — and it is — but Gygax didn’t share HPL’s worldview.

He was, as I’ve said elsewherea pretty traditional fellow when it came to moral matters and so Tharizdun, while ancient and thus unspeakably evil is nevertheless evil. That is to say, he’s genuinely malevolent; Tharizdun actively wishes to bring ruin upon the entirety of the multiverse. He isn’t beyond good and evil — he is Evil. Then there are the gnomes.

No, I tahrizdun find gnomes disturbing, but I do find the use of the gnomes as the framing device for the module to contribute to WG4’s creepiness. See, Gygaxian gnomes have more in common with garden gnomes than with the corgotten Dragonlance mess we call “gnomes” nowadays. They’re these unassuming woodland guys who hang out with badgers and thaizdun and are renowned for their trickster natures.

Take that image and juxtapose it against an ancient temple dedicated to an avatar of Ultimate Evil and you have to admit that it’s jarring.

A Return to the Temple of Tharizdun – Spriggan’s Den

Equally jarring are all the Fiend Dorgotten monsters that make their appearance here. Gygax is known to have disliked the FF and I don’t blame him; it’s a much more uneven work than his own Monster Manual and even its best monsters can only be called “quirky.

This gives the whole thing an “otherworldly” feel to me, as if it takes place somewhere other than the typical Gygaxian World of Greyhawk. I can’t say, as some forgottwn, that The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun is a good module for its actual content. I don’t dislike it, mind you, but I also don’t think it’s all that remarkable. What is remarkable, though, is the feelings it still conjures up in me after all these years. It’s a very effective mood piece and one I’d love to be able to emulate some day in my own work.

Posted tharizzdun James Maliszewski at 2: Lord Hobie November 19, at 4: Foster November 19, at 5: Jeff Rients November 19, at 6: Delta November 20, at 1: Nagora November 20, at 5: Anonymous November 20, at 5: AnthonyRoberson November 20, at 8: Michael November 20, at Melan November temlpe, at James Maliszewski November 21, at 6:

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