Basic Game Adventure B4
The Lost City


by Tom Moldvay






Tom Moldvay and Jon Pickens





Harold Johnson, Jon Pickens





Jim Holloway, Harry Quinn, Stephen D. Sullivan





Dave Cook, Helen Cook, Clint Johnson, Steve Kaszar, Bill Wilkerson, Jeff Wyndham, and the Kent State University Gamers Guild








So few adventures require careful role-playing, and propose such long-lasting consequences for making mistakes. Arrogant PCs quickly find themselves humbled when they must rely on others for their very survival. Zargon is most impressive, as well--A well conceived horror that is very likely to return and haunt PCs in later campaign play.

Realm Rating: 4.5/5



Dawn and Foy, Around the Realm:

Game04 by Ray Dyer

B4 - The Lost City


Another very long module, Dawn almost gave up on it. Like I have said before, we prefer the shorter varieties of UA games. I know that lots of people like long "epic" adventures, if you are one of them, then check this game out!

You start off hiring on as escorts for a caravan crossing the great desert, right away it sounds like a pretty typical TSR story hook. Of course the party becomes separated from the caravan by a large sandstorm and finally finds refuge in a long abandoned pyramid. The party's attempt to find refuge and possibly a way home is the main gist of the adventure at first, but quickly develops into something much more.

Every time I though I might be getting close to the end there was always something else left to do. When the Oracle told me that my "quest has just begun" I almost started crying! But the ending... well, it made it all worthwhile. And there was no wonder in my mind by the time we got 3/4ths of the way through the adventure that my party could and would make a difference to the poor citizens of Cynidicea. They were helpless before the evil that enveloped them. I guess I'm saying that the plot didn't seem contrived, it was all very convincing, they needed me as much as I needed them.

Things I liked:

* The font, frame colors, title pages, mouse cursor and music were all perfect for the game. There were several tunes that didn't play on my computer, I'm not sure why. There were several points in the game I thought should have music but did not. When I took a peek into the module design I could see that tunes were supposed to play, I just didn't hear anything. I think Foes was the main culprit.

* Perfect combination of rest, training areas and combats. It made for a challenging game without overwhelming me.

* The city seemed very active, descriptions of crazy citizens all about, almost made you feel sorry for them... almost.

* The ending was very good, I felt rushed and desperate all through the volcano region. When the final question came up there was no doubt what I'd do, my own party's well being was nothing compared to freeing the people of Cynidicea!

* The afterward was also good, a final chance to fight the bad guy... I loved it. No need to hold back just the joy of crushing your enemy! The desert reverberated with the explosion of magic that only a pair of 7th & 9th level mages can generate!

Things I disliked:

* REPEATING TEXT! By Crom's Beard Ray! I got so tired of "The high arched ceiling of this room is supported by a double row of pillars..." that I could just throw up! But as you say, at least it only displays on the way in, the problem is you have to pass into that room about 2 dozen times.

* Lack of arrows in the armories was disconcerting. I finally hacked the shops in Cynidicea to include arrows and bolts.

* There were several creatures that could kill party members instantly. Of course, considering the levels my party has gotten to, I suppose they are to be expected. But since the clerics of the city are unable to cast anything higher than Cure Light Wounds it just meant I had to reload and replay. My own clerics finally learned Neutralize Poison but way beyond where it would have been useful and they still don't have Raise Dead yet.

* Black Puddings. Yuck, I hate those things, luckily this one could be gotten around... once I knew where it was.

* I didn't know how to rest in the city. I went a little while without spells but when I just couldn't go on anymore I finally visited the healer and had him cast a few dozen Cure Light's, when I left it asked if I wished to rest... I think the selection list could have said "Healing and Rest", not just "Healing".


A very good module. A little slow at first but the pace picks up faster and faster as the end nears. We also got lots of experience. All of my party members are now at least 7th level, my Cleric is 8th and my Mage is 9th. Two thumbs up. The next module in the Westlands is supposed to be Game19 but it isn't released yet. We haven't quite decided which one to go on with next but I'm thinking... Game01, A1-4, Aerie of the Slave Lords. What would you suggest Ray?





I just finished the Lost City, and I have to say, Wow! This was definitely one of the best Realm games you've done. I'm not sure if it's quite #1 (as I've mentioned before, Tamoachan and Horror on the Hill were both great) but it's definitely near the top! I was hoping this one would be good, having fond memories of the pen-and-paper module, but my expectations were exceeded.

Let's see...I'll probably post a review to the list pretty soon, but I thought I'd give you some comments right away. One thing I really liked about this was the length. A few of the Realm games have been a bit short for my taste (Swamplight in particular) but this one was good and long. Sure, I like psychological character-driven designs as much as the next guy, but sometimes I like a good long hack-and-slash dungeon crawl. I don't remember all of this being in the original module, though. Did you add a lot of stuff at the end or am I just misremembering? It's been probably a decade since I played the Lost City, so I may just have forgotten a lot of it.

I really liked the opening title pics and the music you used. They put me in the right mood for exploring an ancient ruined city. Most of the rest of the art was pretty good too. Some of the scanned pics from the original module were a bit rough but that probably can't be helped. I thought the play balance was pretty good. My characters may have been a bit higher in level than you recommended (I used my Eastland party, all around 8th or 9th level) but after I set the level to Champion it was a good challenge. My only negative comment in terms of balance was that there seemed to be an awful lot of money laying around some of the caverns. I must have left a 100,000 gold pieces behind total. I would rather have had more magic and less money, but that's it. Otherwise, it was lots of fun.

I only found one bug that I remember. I joined the Gorm folks, so when I went into the Magi chamber in the top of the pyramid they attacked. However, after I killed them, I still got a message telling me they wanted to talk to me. That was the only bug of note that I remember. The game seemed good and clean besides that.

Well, anyway, just thought I'd let you know what I thought of the Lost City. Keep up the good work!


Review of "B4: The Lost City" (game04.zip) by Ray Dyer

Rating: 8.0

Another in the continuing "Realm" series of designs by Ray Dyer, "The Lost City" is an adaptation of one of the better B-series modules for the Basic set of Dungeons and Dragons. The plot is simple, a bit contrived perhaps, but it gets the job done. The party, escorting a caravan across the desert, is lost in a sandstorm. They stumble across a ruined city, discover an ancient pyramid, and must enter in in the hopes of finding a way to survive in the desert. The pyramid rests atop a buried city, and the party is quickly involved in the power struggles and politics of the surviving inhabitants.

This is definitely one of the best "Realm" modules, and hence one of the best conversions of a pen-and-paper modules to UA. While my exact recollections of the original module are hazy after nearly a decade, "The Lost City" did an excellent job of capturing the feel of live gaming. There are the usual art hacks we've come to expect in a Realm game: new walls, backdrops, combat icons, etc. There is a bit of a range in quality, from near-photo sharpness to rather fuzzy scanned art (presumably from the original module) but this really doesn't detract from the gameplay. The opening title pics do a nice job of setting the stage for a dungeon crawl in a ruined city.

One thing I quite liked about this module was the contrast between the mostly abandoned upper levels of the pyramid and the bustling city life below. The party becomes accustomed to the empty corridors of the pyramid, with the occasional monster or outpost of civilization, so when the ruined city is reached, it seems even more lively than it is. There is also a definite sense that the ruins are alive, that people are living and dying there outside of the party's immediate ken. Ray has managed to get beyond the common feel in a module that nothing happens except in response to the player's actions.

"The Lost City" is fairly large, which is good. Some of the other Realm games, notably Swamplight, were too short for my taste. This is of course due tothe length of the original pen-and-paper modules, but I like a nice long involved dungeon crawl sometimes. There is nothing truly groundbreaking in this design in terms of plot or hacks, but that's not the point of the Realm as I see it. The point of the Realm is to try and capture some of the feel of a classic D&D gaming session in a UA design, and "The Lost City" does that admirably.

--Chris Markwyn


Review of game04 - The Lost City

This was a good adaptation of the classic module.

One of the strengths of this module is its handling of the rival factions within the city. The city is controlled by the priests of Zargon, but you can join any one of 3 rebel factions loyal to the Old Gods. The rebels will provide you with aid and the way you are treated in several encounters depends on which group you have joined.

As with all of the Realms game I have seen, the art hacks are extensive and add to the atmosphere of the dungeon. Wall sets have been used to create tables, bookcases, piles of bones, and other details which help bring this design to life. The frame set is a bit shocking at first, but I quickly got used to the bright orange colors. Dungeon art is used effectively to simulate combat which takes place in the dark.

The pyramid and the city are rich in detail. The descriptions are vivid and imaginative and you get a sense that the Lost City is a place full of living, breathing people who have been affected in a strange way by the presence of Zargon.

Some of the art didn't look quite right because of the changes to the frame palette. There was a minor bug in the final combat - if you choose to fight your way through the priests instead of making a mad dash for the volcano, then the endgame events never get triggered. There were a few other minor bugs which aren't worth mentioning as they did not affect game play.




I recommend this module for fans of classic modules.


I finished "The Lost City," and just now I finished "Tales of Enchantment." First, I'd like to say that really enjoyed "The Lost City." It's my favorite module so far.


Game04.zip B4, The Lost City Ray & Maureen

This was a wonderful module. You play a band of adventurers lost in the desert. You stumble upon some ruins and then the story gets interesting. I really like the way Ray & Maureen design their modules. The use of "find traps", thin air and map usage. The only complaint I have is the font and background colors were a little tough on the eyes at times.

Plot Matter: 9 Artwork: 9 Hacks: 9 Text: 9

Events: 9 Originality: 9 Errors: 9 Difficulty: 5

Total Rating: 90% Mycroft: 9

-Susan McKinney

All of the preceding modules and game worlds are trademarked property of TSR Inc, which is now the property of Wizards of the Coast, Inc. I take no credit for the stories or ideas presented here, I merely converted them to a playable format for SSI's Unlimited Adventures game.