The Gates of Firestorm Peak is an adventure module published for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition in 1996. It is intended for four to six characters of level 5 to 8.
- Spoiler alert: The following article contains spoilers for a Dungeons & Dragons product.
In the Mountains of Frost at the north of the Shirelands rises Firestorm Peak, so called for its wondrous eruption of flame that occurs every twenty-seven years. The locals of the village of Longbridge celebrate the occurence with a month-long Firefestival.
But the past five years have seen a dark time called the Cursed Season. Stillbirths occur among livestock, murder has become commonplace, and horrid monsters have been sighted in the mountains.
Unknown to the player characters, an ancient and most powerful portal resides within Firestorm Peak, created in ancient times by the Elder Elves, ancestors of the High Elves. It triggers once every 27 years, and can open a portal to any time or place in the multiverse.
This time, the insane alienist Madreus has opened it to the twisted and dangerous Far Realm.
A fiery streak through the sky, called by the locals the Dragon's Tear, seems to ignite the mountaintop of Firestorm Peak. The ancient Outer Gates, crafted into the mountainside from glassy nephelium, open upon this celestial occurence as they always do, remaining open only for 28 days.
The player characters venture forth into the mountain, discovering within a vast settlement of the mad duergar. Within the twisted passageways beyond lie horrid alien creatures unwisely called forth from the Far Realm. They must defeat Madreus and close the portal before it's too late.
The Gates of Firestorm Peak was written by Bruce Cordell, starting one month after he was hired by TSR in 1995. This was Cordell's first major writing job, and would introduce the dimension known as the Far Realm.
The product's name was suggested up-front by Roger Moore. Cordell was tasked with creating an adventure module which would use rules from the Player's Option series of sourcebooks. The module ultimately made Player's Option optional, including sections referencing these rules on the assumption that not all players would possess these books.
Influence and reception
In November 2004, Dungeon Magazine #116 rated The Gates of Firestorm Peak as the 11th greatest D&D adventure of all time. John Rateliff, who edited the module, praised its writing and originality. "This adventure is evidence that fresh talent will always come along and do the familiar with so much verge and so many personal touches that it all seems new again."
Shannon Appelcline credits this adventure with establishing the link between D&D's abberation creature type and the Cthulhu mythos, which previously had only been explained as experimental creations of mad wizards. The module also rejuvenated the use of Lovecraftian horror influences in D&D, something which had been more common in early adventures but none since Gary Gygax's WG5 Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure (1984).
In 2009, blogger Will Mistretta praised the adventure, describing its reputation as improving over time. He described it as challenging and non-linear, with an excellent progression from the mundane world to the otherworldly. However, he believed that most players never made use of the Player's Option features.
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