The characters in my Black City campaign recently took a break from unleashing cosmic evils to visit Iomnogoron, one of the last surviving Old Hyperboreans. The rumour is that he dwells in the Spire of Iron & Crystal, located north of the Great Glacier. This, of course, was all an excuse for me to use Matt Finch’s module of the same name.
For centuries, out in the wilderness beyond civilization’s reach, there has stood an enigmatic tower known as the Spire of Iron and Crystal. It is a bizarre and ancient structure; four massive, egg-shaped crystals are mounted into a twisting, ornate structure of rounded metal girders, one crystal at the top and the other three mounted lower down. Moving lights seen inside the huge crystals suggest that they are hollow and even inhabited…
You can read some (positive) reviews from Grongardia, Dreams in the Lich House, and tenfootpole. I made some modifications for my game, so this post is less of a “product review” and more “adaptation notes/session summary”.
The first change is that the Spire was relocated from some “distant wilderness” to the Black City. I placed it north of the Great Glacier – hidden behind the ice – to explain why the PCs hadn’t seen it before.
I also allowed the “invisible bridge” to be permanent (actually, it’s only present when the sun is shining – but that’s 24 hours a day in the arctic summer). Luckily, one of the Runemarks has the Second Sight proficiency, which allowed him to spot the invisible bridge.
I usually like custom monsters in an adventure, but some of the ones in this module didn’t do it for me:
- The Slitherats were swapped out for Ethereal Marauders and the Luhuloi (room #46) were replaced with Ethereal Filchers. I also substituted some oozes here and there with different flavours.
- Given my campaign, I reskinned the “Korog” as mutant Hyperboreans – Mutantboreans – who had been engineered and vat-grown by Iomnogoron to be good technicians (and immune to Khepri infestation).
- The Oozeanderthals I left as-is because they’re awesome. Before the adventure I let the PCs knew that Iomnogoron had Neanderthal servants – centuries ago they were part of a “breeding program” arrangement with SWMBO’s tribe.
- I also placed a Mi-Go scouting party in the Spire to tie this adventure in with current events in the Black City. With the return of the Khepri, the Mi-Go are “checking in” on Iomnogoron to see if he’s somehow responsible. Of course, misunderstandings ensued and the entire place went on “Lockdown” mode with both the Spire’s inhabitants and the Mi-Go now on hair trigger alert.
I kept most of the treasure the same – replacing standard coins with Hyperborean electrum and platinum pieces – but changed all the potions. I’ve been wanting to use some of the Azoth rules from ACKS Dwimmermount for a while, so I replaced the standard potions with refined Azoth, panchrest, and alkahest. My rationale is that the Spire actually collects and refines Azoth, similar to Dwimmermount. Thus, the Machine Room (#53) was tweaked to distill Azoth-related potions. (Unfortunately they never tried to drink the alkahest – the “universal acid”!)
I misread one room during play, but actually prefer the way I ran it. I thought the “crane” in Room #40/41 was more of a magical “skyhook” that could even reach into other eggs. (This is how Iomnogoron moves heavy objects around his Spire.) I think this is cooler than a “regular” crane and am happy with the way things worked out. The PCs figured out the mechanism, allowing them access to the entire structure.
The adventure (and my whole campaign) ended differently than expected. I think the Players viewed the Spire of Iron & Crystal as kind of a “fetch” mission – they needed to find a blue crystal key to access the Central Command facility. When SWMBO informed them that Iomnogoron had one in the Spire, they went to get it.
I figured that they would find the key, use it in Central Command to deactivate the Khepri’s base (the Tower of Thaumaturgy), then have an epic showdown with the insectoid aliens to wrap things up. Probably another three sessions or so.
Instead, they allied with Iomnogoron (after ridding his Spire of a Mi-Go recon team) and learned that SWMBO’s Eternal Flame was actually a device for “mutually assured destruction” – a powerful nuclear bomb that could wipe out the entire Black City in the event of a Khepri takeover!
Then they decided to assist Iomnogoron in overcoming SWMBO to activate this device! After some shenanigans in SWMBO’s temple, they reached the Eternal Flame and blew the whole damn thing up!