Thursday, July 16, 2009

Inferno - "Go to hell!"

Written by Geoffry O. Dale and released by Judges Guild in 1980, this was one of my favorite modules I hardly ever used. Described on the back cover as an adventure you can use if a high level wizard tells you to "go to hell" or a cleric put a geas on you to steal a demon lord's magic item, this was an an area that only high level characters should tread.

On it's own, the module is a great read, full of the type of atmosphere that Dante's hell tends to conjure up. Just like in The Divine Comedy, you start out in a dark, lonely forest. Although there are no set encounters here, you are filled with a sense of dread and terror. Wandering down the trail, you will eventually find yourself at the gates of hell, and that is where the fun begins.

There is no great narrative, and the areas and encounters you have can be placed in front of the players in any order you choose. I always thought of it as more a sourcebook than an actual linear adventure. Besides various demon lords, you can meet a host of demon and devil servants, undead, and lost souls. Tiamet, Queen of evil dragons, has a cave lair in hell, and it is chock full of glorious treasures and artifacts. You can sail down the river Styx with the boatman, gazing with horror upon the polluted and foul water of the river, and the atrocities and suffering that goes on along it's putrid banks.

I never really had a place for this in my regular game world, but I did use it for a mini-campaign I was running in the City State of the Invincible Overlord (a rare series of sessions I ran with characters starting at 10th level). But a good indication of how much I loved a module in my teens and in my 20's was how long it stayed in my bathroom magazine rack. It was there for almost a decade!

I Ebayed this book several years ago during one of my game materials purges, and it is one of the game books I wish I had again to give it another read. Sure, like a lot of Judges Guild items any DM with decades of experience should be able to come up with a similar adventure setting off the top of their head that would suffice. Still, who needs to come up with an adventure they will never run? I just want to have another read of it to bring back some great old memories of an old school module I wish I had the chance to get more use from. It was really one of my faves.


  1. Fight On! #3 featured the Fifth Circle of Hell as done by Geoffery O. Dale, the author of the original Inferno.

    Apparently he has all the Circles of Hell completed and is just lacking a publisher. He hopes that someday a complete Inferno book will be available.

  2. @ Mike: Ha! That is awesome!