The pyramid is all that remains intact of the city of Cynidicea, once the capital of a desert kingdom. While building the pyramid, workers uncovered the lair of a hideous monster, Zargon. Unable to kill the monster, the rulers of the city began sending criminals into the pyramid to appease it. Over time a cult arose around the monster, supplanting worship of the city's three traditional gods. The civilization decayed and eventually, when barbarians overran the city, fled underground below the pyramid. There the descendants of those Cynidiceans still live, now adapted to underground life and spending most of their days in a hallucinatory state.
|It's possible for an adventurer to be transformed into a three foot tall|
mini-Zargon. Yay cursed magic items.
Possible antics of the Cynidiceans the adventurers encounter can include trying to warn the adventurers of the invisible snakes on the floor and showing them where to walk to avoid them, 'recognizing' an adventurer as the lost ruler of Cynidicea and smothering him or her with attention, or following the adventurers around carrying boards until something is killed and then building a coffin for it and demanding payment for the service.
Some relatively normal Cynidiceans make up three factions each dedicated to one of the old gods of the city. Each faction is devoted to trying to restore the worship of their patron god and to save their society from its decay. None of the three trusts the others however, so they fight much more than they cooperate, even in the face of Zargon's evil. The adventurers can ally with these factions and try to assist them in their goals.
The adventure as written is a 10 tier dungeon, though only the first 5 tiers are fully detailed. Quite a lot of the encounters in this part of the pyramid are with undead or vermin as you might expect. From tier 6 on the rooms are less detailed and the encounters are more difficult, honestly rising above what's reasonable for even a level 3 party. It's clearly intended that the party have reached the Expert levels (4 and up) and by the last few levels they're encountering creatures such as vampires, a chimera, and a 9 hit die blue dragon. These levels also seem less planned with monsters seemingly chosen at random to populate the various rooms, each with their own individual treasure hoard.
|This dwarf is way too excited about being |
stuck in an ancient pyramid.
Next week we'll keep on going with a look at adventure module B5: Horror on the Hill. Find out just what's so horrific, and why bargaining with kindly old grandmothers can be perilous indeed.