Cover For M2 - Vengeance Of Alphaks

M2 - Vengeance Of Alphaks

System: Dungeons & Dragons

Code: #9148

Type: Adventure

Levels: 26-36

Author: Skip Williams

Year: 1986

Publisher: TSR

Format: 32-page book w/tri-fold cover

M2 Vengeance Of Alphaks - General Review

Like Masters Level Adventure Module M1 Into The Maelstrom, M2 Vengeance of Alphaks is set in Norworld. Well heck - like all of the Companion and Master level modules, this adventure is set in Norworld. And once again, hopefully the characters are going through the Norworld campaign. And if not - that is cool too. The DM can always adlib maps to suit his campaign area - but it is so much easier to just set the adventure in Norworld. So the basic premise of M2 is that a rogue lord from Alphatia has put together an expeditionary army, of course inspired by Alphaks, and is attempting to invade the southern part of Norworld. The player characters, either as rulers of their own lands or as high level adventurers, must help King Ericall of Norworld once again, this time in repelling the invasion forces. And depending on the success of this initial invasion, the Thyatians plan to take over the invasion in an attempt to add Norworld to their realms. And if Empirial Alphatia gets involved, then Norwold could be subject to more direct influence from them in the future. Ideally the players will help King Ericall win the war against the invasion without Alphatian involvement, thereby continuing the relative freedom Norworld enjoys from Alphatia. Simple right? Well, no not really. Now let's dig into the module!

M2 Introduction

The introduction gives us the background on the current situtaion in Norworld. It introduces a couple of high level NPCs who are racing to find a particular artifact. This coincides with an attack by giants on a town in the PCs dominion. We also get the true goal of Alphaks - which is basically to cause a massive war between Thyatis and Alphatia, and in the process do serious harm to Norworld and, of course, "destroy the human race by raising tensions in Norworld". That is a prett lofty goal. We also get the goals of both Alphatia and Thyatis, and a brief background on Norworld. Basically, Thyatis wants Norworld for itself, and Alphatia wants more control over Norworld - to decrease Ericall's independence. King Ericall wants to maintain the relative independence of Norworld by thwarting the invasion of the initial force, or the Thyatian force if it comes to that, without Alphatian "help". Now you know!

Chapter 1 - Dawn Of The Giants

This chapter deals with a band of marauding giants in the PCs domain, and how the PCs deal with this raiding troupe. After the giants have been dealt with, one of the artifact seekers presents himself to the PCs and let's the PCs know exactly where the giants have come from. He does have the artifact, but he is not able to teleport, and he does not initially reveal the existence of the artifact to the players. But secretly Alphaks teleports the artifact to the local PCs main castle. When the artifact is discovered to be missing, this NPC fills the characters in on the artifact, and through magic determine the new location of the artifact. The PCs head to retrieve the artifact, along with the other seeker of the artifact, who also happens to be the leader of the giants. The chapter ends with the PC and the giant forces meeting - and several options are given. Parlay, enter into battle, or have the PCs or the opposing forces get the artifact before any confrontation. In the middle of this chapter there are also some prophetic dreams given to the characters by the Crones of Crystakk. The players would do well to heed the warnings and suggestions in these dreams further on in the adventure.

Chapter 2 - Coiger's Lair

This chapter is pretty straight forward - it describes Coiger's lair. Coiger is the leader of the giants and the "other guy" after the artifact. It is just basically a dungeon crawl - albeit for very high level characters. At the end, after demonstrating how purely awesome they are in defeating all the various guards, Coiger is willing to parlay with the characters and offers an army to help out the players with the invasion that has just started. He also happens to have some extra information on what is going on that the PCs may like to have.

Chapter 3 - Night of the Beetles

This chapter outlines several varoius plots to cause chaos in various realms in Norworld, in order to help the invasion forces move unopposed by those realms. Ideally all these plots occur in PC dominions. There is the assasination and body removal of a loyal PC henchman, there is a usurper that poses as the PC and the ruler of his dominion - potentially causing all kinds of problems as he makes all kinds of whacky and sometimes dangerous laws, there are raiders from another dominion emboldened by Alphaks who start raiding in one of the PCs dominions, and there is a beetle manufactured earthquake in one of the dominions. The earthquake angle is a lead in to another high level dungeon crawl complete with puzzles - in order to stop the earthquakes. The chapter ends when the characters successfully turn off the earthquake beetle generating machines put there by Alphaks. And hopefully the characters manage to deal with all these other distractions so that they can get back to the main goal - winning the war for Ericall.

Chapter 4 - Chaos Returns

Chapte 4 introduces all the various forces that are involved in this war, along with the various strategies and tactics for Baron Norlan (the invading Alphatian), Thyatis, and Alphatia - along with some of the neutral forces in the region. No strategies are given for Ericall because the Players get to make all the calls for those forces. The strategies give a week by week play book for what the various enemy forces are doing. There is also a brief write-up on how various forces engage and how to approach the battles. Bottom line - defeat Norlan before Thyatis takes over the invasion, or defeat Thyatis before Alphatia shows up to reclaim Norworld. Or submit to a much heavier Alphatian role in deciding what does and doesn't happen in Norworld.

Chapter 5 - The Flying Castle

Chapter 5 descibes the flying castle, which is participating on the side of Baron Norlan in the invasion. Basically, this is a one of a kind hovering fortress with plenty of troops. It travels fast and majorly disrupts the Norworld army supply lines. If there was an assasination and body removal of a PC henchman in chapter 3, the body is on this flying castle. One way or the other, the characters will most likely raid this thing. Although the Alphatian commander, once he realizes that Alphatia has not blessed the raid being led by Baron Norlan, will order the castle back to Alphatia. However, the damage the castle has done to the Norworld defenses by this point will most likely be substantial. Bottom line, another dungeon crawl for the characters to perform. But hey - it is all good. It is also made very clear that this chapter is going on in parallel with Chapter 4, where the war is raging. The castle is defended by suitably high level creatures, so this is no cake walk for the PCs where they are simply fighting first level men-at-arms. There is some stiff competition up here. Same goes for Coiger's Lair in Chapter 2 if I didn't mention it before. Tough stuff...

My Random Notes, Thoughts & Reviews

LIKE - hey I like wars and this is yet another war! Even though at the end of CM1 Test Of The Warlords it was stated that after all that fighting there, there probaby would wouldn't be another war for at least 50 years, I'm OK with it, WAR! It just presents something different to do from the dungeon crawl and the domain management. And I like the empire dynamics between Thyatis and Alphatia.

DON'T LIKE - did you notice the quotes about that I put around the goal of Alphaks in the introduction? I'll repeat it here - "destroy the human race by raising tensions in Norworld". That is a direct quote from the module. Not sure how a war in Norworld, even a major war between Alphatia and Thyatis, would "destroy the human race". But there you are - that is his goal.

LIKE - I like the various disasters in the different domains. Instead of just marching the armies off to war, the characters have to deal with this crap at home first, and make tough decisions about what to do and how to do it. It definitely offers more to do than just a standard war.

DON'T LIKE - I personally don't like the option of teaming up with Coiger. I guess I'm just a purist and want good to triumph over evil with no shades of gray. Depending on an army of chaotic fire giants to help win the war - I don't know. I'd rather just kill those big evil baffooons. Of course I suppose once the invasion is dealt with the characters could make another attempt at taking out Coiger and his lair. Maybe they will cross paths again, and this next time Coiger will not be so willing to help the PCs. Or maybe Coiger decides to side with Baron Norlan and suddenly invades the PCs. After the army has been sent off.

LIKE - a flying castle is just cool. I like it. It definitely adds a new element. I'm not so sure I like the requirement to actually pilot the thing, but perhaps the characters can come up with a novel way to power this thing instead of having to sit in the captain's chair and be energy drained every hour. Or maybe there are a group of high level clerics on board to restore levels as they are drained from piloting. Still - a flying castle = cool in my book. Really cool if the characters could commandeer it.

DON'T LIKE - sorry - I just didn't really like that whole earth-quake causing beetles thing. Ho hum. Let's kill another beetle. But I guess during the heat of the adventure it isn't actually that important what the characters are killing. And there are these cool puzzles to solve for each beetle generator. But still - giant earchquake causing beetles.

In Conclusion

I like module M2 Vengeance of Alphaks. Of course I like just about all the modules from D&D - just call me sentimental or easy or whatever. At the very least they all have potential - you have to admit that - right? And Vengeance Of Alphaks is no different. A DM could introduce more of whatever he wanted in order to extend any part of this module (as always) and use the various NPCs in future campaigns. More armies, more nobles on the side of Ericall, a bigger invasion force with Norlan, a bigger Thyatian invasion force, more calamities in the domains, more strongholds full of evil creatures fighting on the side of the invasion forces to have to destroy. And of course a flying castle and a big battle in Norworld - yea - a definite like.

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