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Zjelwyin Fall Release Day

Welp, it's available now in PDF. Just click.

I've ordered a physical proof (and sent one to the cover artist as well). Daniele Valeriani's work is just so beautiful on the cover of this module. And Russ Nicholson provided three pieces for the interior, one of which you can see above.

My own humble drawings flesh out the maps and smaller images.

A physical copy of the book will appear in the Lulu store once I've checked the proof. Because it is full color, cost will be $29. The "dungeon" portion of the module consists of only 7 rooms. But the journey to the Fall will also take some time and is fully detailed. My group spent three full sessions on the adventure (about 14 hours). You can read the first two play sessions here:

Playtest session 1

Playtest session 2

My journey back to AD&D has been life-saving in some ways. It is good medicine for mid-life crises. It has filled the hours left empty when daughters grow up. It reminds me of youth, but not quite in the same way playing an old song does.

That's because we have not dragged out many of the old modules and re-played them. Instead, we have forged new adventures.

I hope no one who buys my modules thinks I have written them for idle reading. I have written them to be played.

These are the adventures my crew has sallied forth against and, to one degree or another, returned from victoriously. I have run these adventures at my table and I hope it shows.

Zjelwyin Fall is slightly out of sync with the current levels in our character stable. That is because I wanted to offer a one-time opportunity to boost low level characters in the stable to back-up character status, or to put it another way, should the main PCs (levels 6-9) perish, I wanted some alternates of at least level 4.

So this is an unusual adventure. It houses a MacGuffin the high level PCs need while disallowing those PCs' direct participation.

Only the meek can enter the Fall, a streaking comet of crimson-indigo that orbits the far-off limits of the Astral Plane.

Mechanically, this means that only characters of 3rd level or lower can strike out, leaving their bodies behind, dreaming their way to the mythical redoubt of a Gringling Lich King while braving the Astral depths. The characters are in over their heads from the beginning, but this does not mean success is impossible.

My players took 7 characters, all of first and second level and I DO recommend a party of goodly size. One of the characters at my table perished when her Astral cord was severed by a silver sword. Another died in Astral battle but woke on the Prime Material, rising from a coma of dreams after returning to her physical form.

She will live.

Of those who survived, some returned with permanent mental scars, INT lost to terrible guardians. But they carried great treasures as well.

None who came back may ever return to the Fall...for they are meek no more.

My players loved this module. They gave it a unanimous thumbs up. Rest assured they are reading this and would call me out if I were inflating the truth.

Zjelwyin Fall offers nearly equal parts thinking and fighting. It is, I think, fairly tactical for low level play. You may think of it as a Tomb of Horrors for early-level characters in that, while the challenge is high, the rewards for success are tremendous. The lich has devised a sanctum whereby interlopers are drawn in and destroyed, their bones and possessions adding to his trove. The rooms are surprising, according to my players, and strange. But the path forward can be discovered through good thinking and luck.

The module includes information for drawing the PCs into the adventure, handling their journey across the Astral Plane and the curious sanctum of the lich itself. It further includes rules for Astral Play, New Spells, New Magic Items and New Monsters. At the back of the book are player handouts and player versions of the maps. The module is published in full color, since I just can't bear to go back to Lulu's terrible black and white format. I have even considered re-doing the Night Wolf Inn in full color so its art might finally pop as intended...but that's another discussion.

Suffice to say, Zjelwyin Fall is ready for play. It will take your players to a place of frightening possibilities where perhaps, only the subconscious inflections of your voice, might steer them from rash decisions. If, however, they manage to win through to the end and pull that golden ring in the ruby floor, well...drinks on the Prime Material are going to be free for a while as avid listeners beg to hear the story one more time.

I offer my sincere thanks for helping me pay the artists for their work.

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