The Isle of Mordol: What is this crap?

  1. The Isle of Mordol
  2. Key

While we played a hodge-podge of OD&D, AD&D, and Moldvay D&D in our first games, this was written using the 1981 Moldvay Basic set and the 1981 Cook Expert set as references. Thus, monsters save as character class levels (or Normal Man) and the alignments are Lawful, Neutral, and Chaotic. In the descriptions of player character alignments, though, I seem to be assuming both Law/Chaos and Evil/Good axes. This probably came from starting with Blue Book D&D and rolling characters with the PH.

Some of the monsters are obviously custom monsters. Hopefully their name describes what’s special about them. I have no entry anywhere describing what a “Jonah Whale” actually is, for example. Presumably it’s a whale that you can live inside after you’ve been eaten.

I have no memory of how I rolled wandering monsters.

I’ve tried to discern the original whenever possible; in college I went through and bowdlerized it by reducing the treasure haul, as well as the bonuses on magical treasure. Fortunately, I only got about a third of the way in before I gave up. It’s an unbowdlerizable text.

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, you don’t have to unroll a five-foot by five-foot map (seven sheets wide by five sheets tall) to get an overview of the island. In the original, I don’t think I ever saw the island as a whole. Each section was a strip of five sheets of 8.5x11 paper taped together vertically. If the player characters went horizontally instead of vertically, I unrolled another sheet.

The maps were drawn with color pencil. This makes it virtually impossible to use Inkscape’s tracing function to get a simple vector-based map. Maybe someday I’ll go through by hand and trace over the maps to get smaller, higher quality ones. Don’t hold your breath.

Each square is fifty feet on a side. That makes each sheet about half a mile by two-thirds of a mile, and the entire map about 3.5 miles by 3.2 miles. Tiny island. Big map.

I have added punctuation, articles, and conjunctions. I wrote the key to these maps in a word processor of my own design on a TRS-80 Model I. With only 64 characters to a line, it looked really ugly if a line had more than about 60 characters (each line was also prepended by a line number). So abbreviations were the name of the game, not that D&D didn’t itself encourage arcane abbreviations. There were also some interesting “features” of that word processor not worth reproducing. Other than that and deciphering a palimpsest of erased treasure, this is the original text. I may, later, attempt to update it for Gods & Monsters, but I doubt it.

I’ve subtitled the ancient folder I keep this in as for “Character Levels 2-5”.

Maybe. If the players are very skilled and very lucky and suck up to the DM.

Remember, as you laugh, that a real person ran this, even if I can’t remember much about him thirty years later. The characters returned to Specularum with newfound wealth and power; by this time they were all evil. One became evil during the adventure due to injudicious use of one of the magic items. One had already been evil; he’d been acting awfully good while adventuring with the other good characters, so the alignment gods sent him a test to see if he would be punished for being too good; he passed the test. So, in Specularum, they were contacted by the minions of Hell and forced* to recover the Gem of Kerouac. After that, memory fades.

  1. The Isle of Mordol
  2. Key