Publication:White Plume Mountain
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White Plume Mountain is set in the World of Greyhawk, a campaign setting for Dungeons & Dragons. The module is a dungeon crawl, precipitated by the theft of three magical, sentient weapons: a trident named Wave, a war hammer named Whelm, and a sword named Blackrazor (all three were introduced in this adventure). The weapons' former owners each received a copy of a taunting poem, instructing them that the weapons are located in White Plume Mountain. The poem is signed by the wizard Keraptis, who thirteen hundred years ago descended into the volcanic mountain with a company of gnomes and disappeared. The player characters' goal is to follow the same path and retrieve the weapons from Keraptis' lair.
The adventure is divided into 27 encounters across a 16-page module. Encounters are varied and each presents its own challenges. Encounter seven necessitates characters jumping from platform to platform above a sea of hot mud whilst evading erupting geysers; this in turn leads to encounter eight and a room of permanent darkness where a vampire guards Whelm. Encounter 17 occurs in a giant but fragile bubble located above a boiling lake, with the players needing to defeat a giant crab and retrieve Wave without damaging the bubble. Encounter 26 involves negotiating a magical ziggurat populated by various monsters (including sea lions, giant crayfish, giant scorpions, and manticores) before encounter 28, a battle against an ogre mage who possesses Blackrazor. A final challenge on departing is an encounter with two to four efreet if the characters have succeeded in taking two or three of the magical weapons.
The original White Plume Mountain adventure was written by Lawrence Schick, and was published by TSR in 1979. It features interior art by Erol Otus and David C. Sutherland III, calligraphy by Darlene Pekul, and a front cover by Sutherland. The module includes a 12-page booklet and an outer folder which featured a two-color cover in the original printing; the module was expanded to 16 pages and rereleased with a full-color cover by Jeff Dee in 1981. The adventure was included as part of the Realms of Horror abridged compilation produced in 1987. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Dungeons & Dragons game in 1999, a reprinting of the original adventure was made available in the Dungeons & Dragons Silver Anniversary Collector's Edition boxed set, with slight modifications to make it distinguishable from the original (for collecting purposes). Wizards of the Coast also released a sequel to the adventure in 1999, Return to White Plume Mountain, as part of the TSR 25th Anniversary series of publications. The events in the sequel are assumed to take place 20 years following those in the original. It was made into a novel of the same name by Paul Kidd for the Greyhawk Classics series.
Schick wrote the module while applying for a job with TSR. He took what he felt were the best parts from his previously created dungeons and put them together to create White Plume Mountain. After looking at it, TSR hired him and published the module without making any changes. Looking back in an interview, Schick said that he was "a little embarrassed to this day by Blackrazor, inasmuch as it's such a blatant rip-off of Elric's Stormbringer; I would not have put it into the scenario if I ever thought it might be published." Schick later admitted that it was gratifying to have his adventure published as-is, "but also a little embarrassing, since the adventure was really just a sampler of clever ideas that were never fully fleshed out. Its central conceit, a 'funhouse' dungeon full of tricky obstacles designed to challenge adventurers for the amusement of a mad wizard, was already a cliché even at that date."
In 2005, an online version of the adventure was released as a free download, updated to conform with v3.5 rules (Wizards of the Coast periodically alters the rules of Dungeons & Dragons and releases a new version). The revised module is designed for characters of the seventh level of experience. Return to White Plume Mountain has also received a v3.5 update and is likewise available for free download on their website. In both of the revised modules, the classic weapons associated with them (Blackrazor, Whelm and Wave for White Plume Mountain, Frostrazor for Return to White Plume Mountain) have been converted into Legacy Weapons.
All four modules of the S-series were included as part of the Dungeons of Dread hardcover collection, released on March 19, 2013. In the foreword, Schick wrote that "unlike Tomb of Horrors, the challenges in White Plume Mountain were designed to make players think, work together as a party, and ultimately win through and feel successful. Players liked that."
In 2017, Wizards re-released White Plume Mountain updated to 5th Edition rules as part of the Tales from the Yawning Portal collection.