Gates of Firestorm Peak
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Make sure your rose-tinted glasses are on nice and tight, and prepare for a lovely walk down nostalgia lane.
The Gates of Firestorm Peak is a 1996 adventure module for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2e written by Bruce R. Cordell. Designed for levels 5-8. The cover features a party fighting angry duergar: so as far as the newbie is concerned, that's what the module's about. Heh.
Firestorm Peak, a headwater for the completely nondescript "Quickstep River" in "the Shirelands", is one of those magic mountains that crop up in D&D. Here, with the eponymous firestorms every 27 years, when the Dragon's Tear comet comes nigh; all very Clark Ashton Smith. The town Longbridge has grown up near it, mainly as a tourist-trap. But now the town is plagued by Colour Out Of Space: mutation, madness, you know - the usual.
|This article contains spoilers! You have been warned.|
Long ago "Elder Elves" had got here from the Warhammer setting and figured this mountain as a fine place to knock around for other planes. They eventually found what Cordell's calling "the Far Realm". Guess what happened.
300 years ago, the duergar chased a vein of MacGuffinite - "nephelium" here (niiice) - to this mountain. They made sure not to breach the surface and set up a city here. 81 years ago, one Madreus, Butcher of Havenburg (wherever that is) passwall'ed and dimensiondoor'ed his way past the duergar right to the
EldarElder Elf workshop. Madreus is about to John Carpenter this planet, as he conducts research for his Book of the Gate.
Most recently one Nigel had found out about the "Vast Gate" and that it was here, and assembled a party to destroy it. His party included Quaren a human woman, Derik, and Wellfast a dwarf. They ventured in here and failed to come back out again.
The PCs come to Longbridge looking for Nigel's whereabouts - Cordell recommends he be a party-member's father. Or maybe they're just curious. The Outer Complex is the duergar region, with hooks to the wider Underdark. Wellfast now controls the duergar here. His brain has been invaded by "gibberslugs": think the worms of Kyuss, but Lovecraftian. Madreus, by arresting the gibberslugs' progress, controls Wellfast.
The Twisted Caverns, from there, are full of mutated trolls and alien horrors, as well as enslaved duergar. There's also a Living Wall, easily the most horrific monster in baseline 2e: Cordell does not disappoint, sticking Quaren into this.
The Inner Sanctum contains the Support Complexus. Here the Vast Gate awaits, along with Madreus - and Nigel, whom Madreus now dominates. The party, when done, can further retrieve their Book of the Gate. Always nice to see a Necronomicon in its manuscript edition.
Firestorm Peak brought the Weird into the game as no other adventure had done (so well) before, even Night Below; and, with that, was a crowning achievement of the second-edition.
Its main legacy to this game is the Far Realm, which went on to become the defining source for all Yog-Sothothery in D&D in every edition thereafter.