Impressum Imprint. Very much like its sister Ghost Tower of Inverness this was played at a convention this one at Origins and sold in limited quantities of numbered copies at the convention. TSR would make a tourney dungeon to highlight the company at the tournament and playtest it prior to mass production. Keep in mind TSR was merely a guest at Origins so it was in their best interest to make a good impression to meet expectations.
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But when I passed that judgement, I had never run the adventure. I half expected a slog through a flooded museum filled with gotcha traps. In this post, I revisit my old review and explain what playing the Shrine revealed. In the years to follow, Wizards of the Coast released versions of the shine for 4th and 5th editions—more evidence that the adventure ranked as a classic.
As you may know from my posts lauding tournament modules, I love modules stemming from competitions, especially those complete with scoring information—not that I ever keep score. The best tournament adventures focus on a series of challenges that demand player ingenuity. Also, I love adventures with keyed illustrations for the players. Between the reputation and the scoring sheets, the Shrine seems like a certain classic in my book. In the wake of the accolades, I figured that I my first look at the module must have stopped before I reached the good bits.
Opinions of this adventure seem mixed. Players who probed the Shrine as a traditional dungeon crawl tended to brand the adventure as a slog. So for the best game, you play the Shrine as designed, as a race against time to escape a death trap. Some reviewers of the Shrine paint the dungeon as an deathtrap.
That fit its origin as a tournament adventure intended to grind up characters and reveal a winner. In competition, parties consisted of just 3 characters, so the dungeon must have proved unforgiving. But at my table, the adventure posed a fair challenge to a group of 5, fifth-level characters.
Nobody died. One character will sleep for the next years unless the party pays to lift his curse. I started the adventure with characters trapped at the lowest level, racing to escape the poisonous red fog.
The device worked brilliantly. The adventure seemed to default to the outdated assumption that everything in a dungeon attacks on sight. The Shrine features some unforgettable locations and cunning predicaments. Particularly on the first level, the good moments seem overwhelmed by locations where PCs clear rubble, slog through silt and slime, and spring hidden traps.
I fretted that the Shine might turn into a tiresome slog, but play proved me wrong. Perhaps the chore of digesting all the verbiage fooled me into thinking that playing the adventure would also prove tiresome.
Not every test of ingenuity requires a grand set-piece along the lines of a living chess room or frictionless hall. The Shrine mixes some grand tests with more mundane barriers. My players devised surprising and inventive solutions for obstacles big and small, and I loved watching their plans unfold.
The illustrations transported me into the Shrine more vividly than any text description could. The pictures showed detail that would have required all of those hypothetical words, and the details tantalized me with potential clues to the mysteries of the Shrine. With the Shrine, the designers loosed their imaginations, and it showed in the pictures. The pictures still enrich the adventure. I wish the adventure had included illustrations for areas 42 and I wish I had noticed that the original adventure included maps for areas 42 and They would have helped me.
Authors Harold Johnson and Jeff R. Leason reached beyond Aztec and Mayan culture for inspiration. A dragon boat bearing the copper coffin floats in a river of mercury at the center of a miniature recreation of the empire.
The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan earns its place as classic. Thanks for your re-review of this module! I was wavering between whether or not to include the shrine as a potential detour for my Tomb of Annihilation players. This convinced me that I should definitely include it.
I had Syndra Silvane send a message to my party letting them know that she had unearthed legends of a shrine with artifacts that could help the party between Mbala and Orolunga.
They seemed intrigued! I remember when the Hidden Shrine came out. Yes, that makes me old. I was still relatively new to role-playing but had successfully DMed a few times. After reading the adventure, I prepped it for my group and the fun began. To this day, it remains my favorite classic module to run and to be a player in. I am just looking over the Tomb of Annihilation and was struck not only that Omu is actually a rework of Dwellers of the Forbidden City but that Hidden Shrine fits nicely — Tamoachan could be a sister city to Omu.
And to William Aitken: I have no doubt your players had are having? Does the The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan stand as a classic or an overrated dud? Classic Overrated dud Background. While exotic, these creatures seem more suited to meeting Dora the Explorer than to menacing adventurers. Dora jokes aside, the creatures seemed exotic rather than silly. Share this: Tweet.
Leave a Reply Cancel reply. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. The background leads the adventure to pit the characters against monstrous snails, crayfish, and hermit crabs. The battle with the fire-breathing bat creature on the cover never takes place in the adventure.
Lost Tamoachan (Limited Edition Collector's Edition #72)
It is the first in the C-series of modules, a set of unrelated adventures originally designed for competitive play, with the C representing the first letter in the word competition. Originally printed for the Origins International Game Expo ,  the module was made available to the general public in The player characters explore a stepped pyramid deep in the heart of a tropical jungle—the Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan. It also includes an illustrated booklet with fifteen pictures depicting various parts of the shrine to be shown to the players at the appropriate time. Also included are three pre-made characters for use if the scoring system is used. Surviving examples of this version are quite rare and are highly prized by collectors.
The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan
The original module was run in the Origins '79 tournament and had strict time keeping rules- the party only had between hours HSL:preface to 2 hours HST1 p. This time limit was explained within the game as the length of time the PCs would have before succumbing to the poisonous air in the shrine HSL:p. Later editions reflect this time limit by disallowing long rests and giving damage on short rests HST4, p. This module refers to many real life cultures and languages, including the Olmec , Aztec, Incan and Mayan culture. The version appeared to be set in Earth rather than Oerth, with characters speaking languages such as Latin HSL p.