OSR Adventure Review: The Lizardmen of Illzathatch

The Lizardmen of Illzathatch is a short adventure by Shane Ward for Labyrinth Lord and other variants of the original D&D. It is written for a party of 4-6 level 3 characters. The main adventure takes up 6 pages, including one for a map. The basic premise is simple: a green dragon, Illzathatch, has been killed by a band of adventurers, but the adventurers then disappeared. This adventure sees the players investigate the lair of Illzathatch – possibly to find out what happened to his slayers, but more likely to gain the unclaimed hoard!

There’s not much more in the way of background. The map is a single-level dungeon of 14 areas (and 4 trapped intersections), which is pleasingly non-linear and contains passages running below other passages and rooms.

It’s worth noting the format Ward uses for the encounters: after a description of the room and any monster stats, DM notes are presented in italics. It’s an interesting inversion of the recent trend of presenting “read aloud” text in italics and DM notes in normal font, and it works well here.

The dungeon is full of monsters, mostly lizardmen and bandits, but with a surprise appearance by a green dragon (Illzathatch’s spawn). There is quite a bit of treasure to be found as well, which is just as well given the difficulty of some of the encounters.

Much of the background is implied rather than directly stated, which, while it can be an effective technique, does lead to a little too much guesswork in this adventure; an introductory section that properly explained the adventure’s background to the DM would greatly improve this adventure.

Despite that, it’s a fun little adventure. It has a few nice surprises for the players and should provide an enjoyable evening’s entertainment.

2 comments

  1. shaneward

    Thank you very much for the review Merric, I appreciate it! I’ve tried to keep my adventures open ended so that GM’s can plunk them into their own campaigns and settings. I do however agree a little more background information would be handy to take away some of the guesswork.

    Like

    • merricb

      Yeah; you don’t want too much background information, but there are times when it’s helpful, especially when the groups in a dungeon are reacting to something that’s happened – a little idea of their motivations goes a long way.

      Liked by 1 person

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