HAs anybody ever run this? I've owned it since it first came out, and never had a party in the level range. It looks brutal. I haven't run many of the higher level adventures, at least not in what I'd consider a serious campaign.
I've never run it, as I was holding out for Greyhawk Castle to place it in. Looks like I won't have to wait much longer... Indeed, it does seem very brutal. I can picture Gary's original crew grinding their teeth on this one, and that's not even including the ending which was altered somewhat to incorporate MM2 critters of a most powerful sort!
Yup, I ran it in '86 when I was pretty green as a DM and it was clearly too tough a task for me. The experienced players, using the pre-generated characters in WG6, were able to stand their ground well enough. The first fight against the natives was a really tough one, grindhouse material! The endless encounters with more or less similar dinosaurs was quickly becoming tedious and only the spectacular fight with Kong, er... you know, brightened the day. My players quickly saw through the ruse at the end and won the day with a cartload of treasures!
I would like to run it again as a more experienced DM
I've read a couple of times recently, the latest when digging through Oerth Journal #7, that Isle of the Ape introduces Terik (or Teric), Terry Kuntz's first character. Yet my copy lists no such person in the pregens.
Are there earlier editions that do list Terik, or is he the fighter I have listed as "Franz, Baron Torkeep", or is there another explanation?
Anybody ever notice that there seems to be missing stats for giant carnivorous apes? The natives train them. They're a big part of their ambush force. They're listed on the random encounter table as a seperate listing from carnivorous apes, and they're definitely not the gargantuan apes. How would you stat them?
Yeah, that seems to be an omission. It seems clear that they aren't supposed to be standard apes and it seems a bit overwhelming should they be gargantuan apes. I think I decided to use double-strength carnivorous apes as a baseline.
They're not the gargantuan apes; there are only five of them besides Oonga, and their locations are listed. I don't think they were meant to be carnivorous apes, since carnivorous apes and giant carnivorous apes are both listed on the encounter charts. Double strength seems kind of tough, but doable for the level range of the module. My first thought was to make them 8 HD critters.
Post by geneweigel on Aug 15, 2012 11:32:52 GMT -5
I saw this yesterday (and I was reluctant to come out of "retirement" but what the hell)
The combined monster statistics chart (inside folded cover) had them listed with the same stats as the gargantuan ones from the Oonga description of "Others". I thought something similar when I was going to run it ages ago (1987?).
Good to see you Gene. Yeah, I'm sure it's come up before. This long after the fact, there isn't going to be much that hasn't been disected many times already. Proboards search feature still sucks. It might have been here, or one of the many other boards I've haunted over the years.
Post by geneweigel on Aug 15, 2012 16:56:39 GMT -5
Its probably on a thread about the Gygax-less years of TSR/WOTC getting the notion that the Circle of Eight were a group of magic-users from this module and the ARTIFACT OF EVIL novel!
You know that kind of says that whoever constructed (Sargent/Zeb) and upheld (Moore/Mona) that notion of an all wizards group didn't read ISLE OF THE APE all the way through as the pre-gens are all familiar with the Circle and the illusion of "Erak and his Paladins being the real rulers of the Circle" should be at the very least somewhat plausible to them reflecting the many classed organization of the prior WG adventure.
This module gets a ton of hate, but I was recently looking at it again and I really like most of it. Yeah, the 2-page-long boxed text intro is a little much (though, I would note, pretty standard for the times - I played in plenty of RPGA tournaments that were every bit as egregious) and the canned final fight where it's mostly good guy monsters vs bad guy monsters is cheesy, but everything in between - the island itself - is great. It's like a cool, un-boring version of The Isle of Dread. I love all the detailed rules for catching diseases and gear rotting, and how even super-tough well-prepared characters are likely to get ground down. I recently read the book "The Lost City of Z" and this module reminds me of the accounts of various exploratory expeditions into the Amazon described in that book.
I think it would be more fun to strip out the "framing device" beginning and end and return it to its original form - no "mission" involved, it's just a location that draws high-ish level characters (level 10-12 or so) and they try to explore and conquer it but will almost invariably give up in the end because the environment's just too unforgiving.
Also, I think I've mentioned before that when I first got the module I hadn't seen "King Kong" and didn't actually get the connection until, maybe, 10 years later, at which point I was very embarrassed, and felt sort of like I'd been taken for a fool, which is one of the reasons I had a negative opinion of the adventure for a long time after that. I realize there were copyright reasons why Gary couldn't be as open about what was going on here as he was in EX1&2, and he probably assumed everyone would immediately pick up on it anyway, but I can attest that at least one 11 year old didn't, and resented it later on. Luckily, I got over it
I have it placed in my Castle Greyhawk. One of these days I hope to run it, either as part of the story line as written, or for a party that stumbles onto it from the dungeons. I don't think I would read aloud the intro. I'd make copies or e-mail it to the players, "read this if you want". If I run the plot, I would use the results to influence the outcome of the war.
I think I'm at the point of a year past Jackson's KONG with Jackson's THE HOBBIT so I have faith that my interest in Tolkien will return. Although it'll never be the same.
I've said it before but when I mentioned that I had worked with monkeys for a long time, Gary had said he always was fascinated with KING KONG hence ISLE OF THE APE. We had talked about apes so much that looking back I think what a waste of time to be talking to Gary Gygax about!