Sunday, May 31, 2009

"Irontooth": 2008 4e D&D villian or 1981 Judges Guild region?

I was just perusing my blog list and saw James Mishler's latest post at his very cool blog Adventures in Gaming. He is selling some Judges Guild stuff that he recently unearthed from his pile of old-school gaming coolness.

I am having a very hard time not buying the lot.! Must...not...cave!

Anyway, just looking through his list, I saw a number of JG items that I had not seen before. This particular item caught my eye - Portals of Irontooth:

Now I know that some of you are pure OD&D-ers and AD&D-ers, and that's cool. But I like to play 1981 game one day and the 2008 one the next. Sure I love no version more than my Moldvay/Cook/Marsh boxsets of B/X D&D, however I've also fallen pretty darn hard for 4e D&D too.

If you happen to be in the 4e camp (either just cracking it or already a vet) then you very likely have run across the name "Irontooth." If not, then you might wanna snag H1 - Keep on the Shadowfell:

You can get it free now in a pdf download they are providing (you know the whole "no more pdfs of our stuff" thing...meh) here.

Anyway, enough of the 4e module thing, and back to the JG stuff. Here's a snippet from the Portals of Irontooth describing a new magic item. Oooooooooooo...:

Iron Dragon's Tooth: Each adult or older Iron Dragon has two teeth which grant special magical abilities to beings who wear them on a chain around their neck next to their skin. Anyone so wearing a tooth gets a +3 to all saving throws versus Dragon's Breath and a -1 to each die of damage from Dragon's Breath. It should be noted that not all the Dragon's teeth have this power, only the two smallest ones.

I do have some Judges Guild modules and supplements, etc, but I would like to get some more. So maybe I'll hit James list again and see if I can talk myself into it. If you dig any of their stuff, you should hit it too. Grab that bag of gp and head on over there!


kelvingreen said...

Even though it's free, that's probably still too high a price for that awful 4e module!

yoyorobbo said...


Whoah, pretty harsh there bro. Funny, tho. However, free is free, and in this economy I'll take that everyday of the week.

So why do you think KotS sucks so much? Just curious. I have not played thru it yet, but I may DM it sometime in the future. So I guess I'm wondering if there are things that could be fixed or avoided in the mod to make it better, or is it just a cluster-F all the way around?

The only XP I have with it is via some podcasts of actual play thru the mod.

My first exposure to it, probably the PennyArcade/PVP/wotc series, was hilarious but that was just thru a portion of the adventure, I guess. And of course they were very funny, making the gameplay much more interesting to listen to.

I guess I could still play thru it as a PC too, as I really only have heard some portions of it. Probably better to DM it tho.

So, are there specific reasons you think it is an awful 4e module? Maybe I can use your take on it to try to make it still useful if I ever do it.

Anonymous said...

It’s mostly a pretty simple railroad of a module. I think it makes a pretty nice intro for new players, and players new to the system, though. You get a couple of different things to explore topside, and the dungeon layout below is such that the PCs can choose which directions to explore in what order, without it being completely linear. There are some organizational and editorial issues with it, especially when it was used a standalone quick start game, before the actual books came out.

yoyorobbo said...


Ah, I see. Yeah, I have heard about and seen (I have the 4e starter box set, cuz, well that's how these things are supposed to be put out...ha!) that some of the powers were missing from the pre-gens (wizard, I think) and maybe the half-elf extra was missing too, something like that. IIRC the Dwarf Fighter was not using a shield (instead he had a 2-hander: Maul) but maybe utilized a sword&board power too...ah well.

But I understand your points on some railroading potential there. I guess you kinda get that with quite a few published modules, though. Sure, you can choose not to go into a certain part of a dungeon, etc, but with certain mods you kinda have to do some of it as expected, for it to actually play out.

Of course, others prefer to go free-form and hate pre-pub mods. I like them quite a lot, actually.

I guess I'll watch out for some of those point on KotS, if/when I DM it, and try not to focus on it if I every play it as a PC. I've somewhat ruined that for myself, listening to some podcasts of actual play with it, but I can play along pretty good if I need to...hehe.

Obviously they (wotc) were going for the B2 type of thing with KotS. In other words trying to lock down a 1e:KotB = 4e:KotS. That's dangerous in itself, but probably decent marketing to some degree.

Anyway, thanks for your take on it. Appreciate it.