Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Return to the Palace of Silver Princess

Like a lot of gamers my age I am familiar with the module B3: Palace of the Silver Princess, and like most of those gamers my experience is with the "Green" cover version.  Well I had heard about the infamous "Orange" cover version of course, but never hoped I would see it.  Well Wizards of the Coast had changed that when they released the banned Orange version a few years back along with the story of why it was banned/deemed inappropriate.   An interesting bit of game history, but really I think nearly everyone feels that the edited Green version is the better module.

Reading the Orange version with knowledge of the Green is an interesting experience and one that almost always leaves the Orange one coming up a bit short.  Not that the Green version, with edits by Basic Game guru Tom Moldvay, is a stellar module, it does have it's moments.

B3 holds a special place for me since it is the first module I ever bought specifically to run and not play in.  There was a lot for a neophyte DM like myself in 1981 to like.  The programmed adventure in the beginning was a nice touch to kid just learning how to also program the computers in Jr. High.  Arik of the Hundred Eyes was an awesome sounding bad guy and one I had hoped would make another appearance one day. And it was easy for me to place this all in Glantri from the Expert Set, it seemed to fit well with other things I had going on at the time.

Reading over the Wizard's site this past weekend got me thinking.  I have wanted to use B3 in my kids' game for a while now.  Thanks to the maps (linked below) from the Vaults of Pandius and the update to D&D 3.0 version of the monsters and encounters I could run this is as-is for them now.  Of course I'll want to bump the encounters up a bit to make them more challenging.   Course the maps are for the Green version and 3.0 update is for the Orange version. 

I think I'll take a suggestion from Wizards and run this as "Return to the Palace of the Silver Princess".  The events of the "green" cover happened many years ago, but something went wrong that lead to the events of "orange" cover.  The Eye of Arik wasn't destroyed properly and soon the entire area became cursed.  Ellis the Strong (The Silver Warrior) became the the cause in the minds of the locals.  While the evil energies pouring out of the fragmented eye caused mutations in all living things in the castle.  Plants became vampire roses and archer bushes, the staff became Ubues (gotta explain them somehow), Aliegha, Catharandamus and the dwarves Boron and Xyzom were adventurers that came here previously and are now coming under the affects of the Eye.  Catharandamus is going insane, thinking he can summon Arik, Aliegh is turning into a wolf (or bear or a bear-wolf crossbred-thingy) and the dwarves are slowly becoming orcs.  I do plan on using Candella and Duchess, as randomish NPCs, but they had just gotten there and have not started to mutate yet. I just liked that picture of the two of them being caught by surprise. 

I doubt I will drop any hints here to the upcoming 4e adventures or even the on going Dragonslayer's plot.  So Arik is not really another name for Tharizdun, and I doubt I'll make the Eye of Arik a part of the summoning ritual they need for Tiamat.  Just a little side adventure to amuse me and them while I build them up to the big finale.  Though the Knights of the White Drakes from the Green version allays interested me.  Maybe once the adventure is over I'll have the Knights send them their thanks and offer them a great gift, a Drake (a riding dragon) for them to use in their battle against Tiamat.  My son would LOVE that.  Of course that only works if the the guy on the dragon that everyone thinks is evil is actually good and the characters help clear his name.  I do like that idea.

- Wizard's page for the Orange version, 
- Cool maps from the Mystara uber-site, Vaults of Pandius,

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