Cover For M3 - Twilight Calling

M3 - Twilight Calling

System: Dungeons & Dragons

Code: #9174

Type: Adventure

Levels: 26-36

Author: Tom Moldvay

Year: 1986

Publisher: TSR

Format: 32-page book w/cover

M3 Twilight Calling - General Review

Like all the companion and master level modules in OD&D, Twilight Calling starts off in Norworld. However, early on the adventurers are required to leave their dominions in an attempt to thwart an ancient evil from invading the prime material plane. And of course in the background is Alphaks working for the utter destruction of mankind. You know - the same ole same ole.

M3 Introduction

We start with an evil race that was, indirectly banished to another dimension milennia ago by immortals who feared this race, the Carnifex, kin to reptiles & dinosaurs, would soon challenge them. There are 7 special relics that are each hidden in a separate pocket universe, which will open the portal to the dimension where the Carnifex are planning their invasion. The adventurers are pulled into the adventure by a dying man with a kings treasury worth of gemstones. However, it is revealed to the DM that it is Alphaks that has sent this dying man, in order to drive the characters into opening said portal and releasing the Carnifex. And with this the adventure begins! The characters can go do research in the great library in Glantri and obtain several clues that will help them during their quest.

M3 Part I

Part I of Twilight Calling deals with the location of the portals to the pocket universes, and also outlines each of the 7 pocket dimensions that each hold a relic which, when all gathered from each pocket universe and put in their proper place, will open the portal to the Carnifex. We are notified tha the location of these portals is in the Broken Lands north of Corunglain in the Republic of Darokin. We are given at outline of the Mesa and the Septahenge. The DM is encouraged to make this into an overland adventure - but no details are given. If the gazeteer The Orcs of Thar is owned then that is definitely a great idea! Or whatever you as DM would like to do is fine.

M3 - The Realms

Now the module goes into detailing the realms. I understand due to lack of space that each individual realm couldn't be some epic adventure. However, the realms are pretty basic and to me just lack any kind of character. However, I'll briefly go over them. Keep in mind that each realm has a "ruler", and this ruler generally has the relic the characters are after. And each ruler can be pretty random in how they react to and deal with the characters.

  • The Rainbow Realm - answer riddles from a sphinx to cross a giant rainbow and have a role playing experience with the ruler of this realm - relatively easy to get the relic
  • The Green Realm - in a forested area inside a giant carved out tree fight elves sooner or later - tough battle to get the relic from the ruler of the realm with other elves serving as potential allies or enemies
  • The Red Realm - a hot landscape - fight a human guardian, a watchdog, and then go to a neverending battlefield to fight to submission (or to death) with the ruler of the realm and obtain the relic
  • The Black Realm - a swamp forest with a gargantuan basilisk, black dragons, a giant python, and a tough ruler of the realm - just a bloodbath here - no chance to avoid fighting
  • The Blue Realm - a very peaceful realm with heavy role playing, interact nicely with everyone then answer a riddle and the relic is handed over
  • The White Realm - a realm based on the qualities of the moon and moonlight - ride some seahorses, maybe fight some white dragons, then survive the test of the ruler of this realm - and the players get the relic
  • The Yellow Realm - this is a desert realm with an oasis, and obtaining the relic from the ruler here is no problem - just some role-playing

Part II - Carnifex Castle


Now that the characters have all 7 relics, they put each in their place and create a portal to Carnifex Castle. Carnifex Castle is not very large, and the carnifex are all pretty powerful mages so they can teleport around. After the characters manage to survive a maze of death, they enter the area where the carnifex dwell. There is a pretty tough battle right before the characters discover the portal that the carnifex have been working on from their magically constructed castle. And then hopefully the players survive and make it back to the prime plane!

My Random Notes, Thoughts & Reviews

LIKED - I liked the idea of having to go through the Great Library of Glantri to find ancient clues in ancient tomes to help the characters decide what they wanted to do in various situations. It was something that could certainly be used in other adventures and campaigns.

DIDN'T Like - well - I didn't much care for this module in general. It is just kind of lacking in my mind. However, there is plenty of room for improvement. As it stands, each of these realms is has a handful of encounters. But an ambitious DM could certainly create mini-campaigns in each realm instead of just a couple of encounters. Here are very sketchy suggestions:

  • The Broken Lands - make just getting to the site of the Meas a huge battle or war in the Broken Lands where orcs and other evil creatures are coming out of every nook and cranny. Involve Glantri and Alfheim and Darokin. Just getting to the site could be an entire campaign. Use the Gazeteers to flesh this out!
  • The Rainbow Realm - I'm thinking some kind of bizarre Alice In Wonderland adventure here. Remember EX1 & EX2? Maybe run something like that. Maybe the Queen of Hearts has the relic.
  • The Green Realm - there are 2 huge warring factions of elves here. Help the good elves defeat the evil elves and the relic belongs to the characters. Maybe the characters have to go on several missions to obtain help for the good elves - obtaining powerful magic items to help defeat the ruler of the realm.
  • The Red Realm - take this war to the extreme. The characters must engage in a prolonged war effort - either with or against the ruler of the realm. They take the lead of several armies and clash in grand fashion.
  • The Black Realm -
  • The Blue Realm - this realm is too peaceful. There is evil temple where the relic is housed. The players must figure out how to defeat the ancient evil which dwells within.
  • The White Realm - werewolves live in the swamp with a kingdom just on the other side of the swamp which is being overrun by the werewolves. Unfortunately once converted to werewolves the people become bloodthirsty animals. The players must attempt to stop the spread of this vile form of lycanthropy.
  • The Yellow Realm - the desert setting makes me think of the original stargate movie. Maybe enslaved humans are serving evil nonhuman masters while the ruler of the realm simply takes no action. Free the humans and win the relic.
  • The Carifex - man build this castle out! Let's really fight this guys - not just a handful! The players establish their own base of operations for hit and run tactics. Wipe them from the map!
Anyway, you get the idea. Make this thing truly epic!

DIDN'T LIKE - there was no betrayal on the part of Alphaks. The carnifex really were preparing to enter the prime material plane and start wiping out civilization. Why send the characters in the first place? It doesn't make sense to me that he would "trick" the players into going to deal with this threat. It is a real threat and without his manipulations the plan of the carnifex may actually work.

LIKED - the pocket universe and portal travel in general. I just found it pretty cool to be able to travel to other dimensions and worlds - that is what the master level of play is all about!

DIDN'T LIKE - the rules of time and movement in the various realms. I didn't like the weird rules and didn't use them. Characters don't age - fine - they don't age. The realm remains in the current state of day or night. Fine - it does that. Or not - whatever. I personally just didn't like this twist so much.

In Conclusion

I like the idea behind M3 Twilight Calling. I don't like the execution. This is an epic master's level module. But it seems more like a series of very brief dungeon crawls. I want epic! So by perhaps integrating some of the ideas listed above, or creating your own, this module truly can be epic and worthy of the master's designation. As is though, not so much in my humble opinion.

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