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Undermountain II: Maddgoth's Castle (2e)

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Description:

"Ye want this ol'moneylender's advice on entering Halaster's Hall yet again? My advice is this: Don't. There's precioius few treasures worth the death and agony and fear you'll face. Your problems are twofold: First, ye've walked its halls before, and Halaster pays attention to those who visit him frequently (and he's the one you don't want to have watching you!).

"Second, you're looking for the lair of that lunatic wizard-murderer from Trades Ward. He's a dangerous lot, that Maddgoth, and many others met their ends by underestimating that pasty-faced little scarecrow. If you're looking to lay siege to Maddgoth's Castle, you're on your own - I've not visited it, and I'm not likely to, either. Truth be told, no adventurer I've heard of looked for Maddgoth's lair and returned to tell of it.

"Not that his scares bold heroes such as ye be, right? Well, the path to fame allows fools and champions alike, though fools often listen better than heroes. Until our coins are shared again, good fortune."

-Mirt the Moneylender

This Dungeon Crawl adventure returns once again to the hallowed halls of Undermountain and into an adventure like those AD&D game archetypes of years past. This is a stand-alone module and does not require extra support materials. It can be placed easily into a campaign on any AD&D world, but best fits a Forgotten Realms campaign set in Undermountain or Waterdeep.

*****

Product History

"Undermountain: Maddgoth's Castle" is the second adventure in a series of three focusing on Undermountain Dungeon Crawls. It was published in September 1996.

Origins. When Schend designed "Maddgoth's Castle," one of his goals was to play with shifting perspectives - i.e., to see what happened in a world where the PCs were very, very small. Among other things, it gave him a chance to make a stirge terrifying.

Continuing the Undermountain Trilogy. This was the second adventure in a trilogy of self-contained Dungeon Crawls, to be used within the infamous Undermountain dungeon in the Forgotten Realms. It was preceded by "Undermountain: The Lost Level" (1996) and followed by "Undermountain: Stardock" (1996). 

Though the three Undermountain Dungeon Crawl adventures didn't have any tight connections among them, Schend nonetheless provides a few ways to get from "The Lost Level" to "Maddgoth's Castle" within the pages of this module.

Adventuring Tropes. Like its predecessor, "Maddgoth's Castle" is a classic dungeon crawl of the sort that could have been found in the 70s. It's full of not just monsters, but traps as well. That said, "Maddgoth's Castle" contains a few elements that were less common for that era.

  1. The use of natural caverns before the castle proper is somewhat unusual, particularly for how they organically mix with the rest of Undermountain.
  2. Backstory has been carefully developed for everything - a design trope that was more common in the 90s. Nonetheless, this backstory doesn't interrupt the pure dungeon crawling herein.
  3. The core concept of the adventure, where players are shrunk down to adventure through a toy-sized castle, is very inventive. A few dungeon crawls from the 80s used similar "big" ideas, most notably EX1: "Dungeonland" (1983) and EX2: "The Land Beyond the Magic Mirror" (1983), but it was unusual then and remained unusual in the 90s.

Expanding Undermountain. Unlike either "The Lost Level" or "Stardock," "Maddgoth's Castle" was a totally new addition to Undermountain that hadn't been mentioned in any previous supplement.

About the Creators. Steven Schend was a long-time editor at TSR, whose notable editing work includes the original Ruins of Undermountain box and the D&D Rules Cyclopedia (1991). In 1996, he busily authored the entire Undermountain trilogy, which would lead to work on a full dozen Forgotten Realms supplements during the waning days of AD&D second edition.

About the Product Historian

The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to shannon.appelcline@gmail.com.

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October 10th, 2006
Awesome companion to Undermountain. Waterdeep keeps getting better and the maps were great. Always love a quick adventure that you can drop characters into wherever thay are. LIKED: Easy to use Maps. QUALITY: Excellent [...]
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Product Information
Author(s)
Pages
32
Edition
1.0
ISBN
0-7869-0423-2
Publisher Stock #
TSR 9528
File Size:
14.33 MB
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File Last Updated:
November 03, 2013
This title was added to our catalog on October 22, 2013.
Publisher Info
Wizards of the Coast
Wizards of the Coast
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