Sunday, November 24, 2013

Tomb of Abysthor (Necromancer Games 2002)

This 2002 module from Necromancer Games was brought to my attention recently. Apparently, Necromancer Games' President at the time Clark Peterson, had inserted references to Dave Arneson's most famous modules:

"Anyone catch the homage to Arneson's Temple of the Frog, which just happens to be the first published adventure for D&D (I say first published adventure because it was published in the original Blackmoor supplement. The first actual module--meaning all the product contained was an adventure--was Palace of the Vampire Queen by Wee Warriors)."-Clark

Writing under the pseudonym Orcus, Peterson goes on to express his satisfaction with the module, and also reveals his high opinion of the Temple of the Frog:

" has a cool homage to several really cool modules in it (Lost caverns of Tsojcanth and Temple of the Frog), it has links to Rappan Athuk for those who want them, it links to Crucible in that Tavik is there (if he survived), the new monsters are cool as are the new magic items.Can you tell I am proud of this one?"

Yes Clark, we agree with you on this at least. Temple of the Frog is a really cool module! I don't have a copy of Tomb of Abysthor, but looking at some of the preview from DrivethruRPG, I came across the following excerpt from page 2 of the module, which may be the reference Peterson was talking about:

"The physical ruin of the shrines and burial halls in the Valley of the Shrines is by far the least of the corruption ofthe once-holy sanctuaries. In the great caves beneath the burial halls, the tsathar, inhuman priests of the foul god Tsathogga, long ago raised a temple to their hideous demon-frog god. The tsathar as a race are detailed in the Monster Appendix. More vile still, a contingent of priests of Orcus—the evil demon-god of the undead—recently came some ten years ago from the legendary dungeon of Rappan Athuk to corrupt the burial halls and exploit the location as a base of operations for further expansion of their evil cult. The followers of the two evil gods have reached an uneasy truce. Both, however, seek a power even darker still—the power of a legendary Black Monolithrumored to be hidden somewhere in these caverns, sealed away long ago by an ancient power"
So the Tomb of Abysthor was built by the followers of the Frog and the followers of Orcus. This would make the module ideal to place somewhere in the world of Dave Arneson's Blackmoor, right?

If any of my readers owns this module and have additional information from within the pages of the book, please let me know!

More discussion of this topic here.

Update: More on this in my latest blog update

Image Sources:
Clark Peterson Photo



  1. You can get it for PF or S&W at

  2. I had a great deal of fun running this module a few years back. Not quite as lethal as Rappan Attuk, although it does have some tricky bits. However, they only got to the third level, so I have not extensively researched the politics of the inner temple. As indicated above it has been re-released at part of the Stoneheart Valley module.

  3. Falconer: thanks! I see that the version you link to combine "The Wizard's Amulet", "The Crucible of Freya", and "The Tomb of Abysthor" into one module. Were these modules really connected in a series in the first place?

  4. imredave: Thanks for the comments! Would you say the module is worth getting then? Is there more material in it that would make it suitable for use with a Blackmoor Campaign?

  5. Havard, all three modules were supposed to be used together to take characters from level 1 to 8 or higher.

  6. R.J. Thompson: Thanks! :) Is there any storyline connection between the three as well then?

  7. Havard, as someone who owns the Stoneheart Valley and the original modules, I can answer some of your questions. The modules were originally sold separately and not integrated. They are well designed but generic enough that they can be used in any campaign, including a Blackmoor one. Of the three, Tomb of Abysthor would probably have the most relevance to the Blackmoor setting (especially one dungeon level in particular). In Stoneheart Valley, while they are "linked", the links are light enough that you can dispense with them and use the pieces separately if you want to. If you are looking for something tightly integrated, SV is probably not it. But with some dm work it could be made to suit your purposes.

  8. Hi Bax,
    thanks for commenting! So that connection was added in SV then. That is interesting. I like what I am hearing about this book. I might get around to buying it afterall :)