Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan Review

Warning: Adventure spoilers abound, here. In a nutshell I like it well enough. I mean, the art is not all that great (having been cribbed directly from the original), but it is free and has some pretty cool stuff. Based on the level and cultural theme of this adventure, it could work really well as a sequel to Going Ape!.

If you DMed a session of Lost Crown of Neverwinter soon enough, then chances are you got this adventure as an added bonus sometime last week. It is basically the 1980's competition module of the same name, updated for the current edition. Having never played the original, and while I am not sure how close they hit the mark the original authors seem to be pretty happy with it.

The adventure starts out with the characters legging it from a bunch of angry, savage warriors, presumably after trespassing on a sacred burial ground.

Or jacking gold idols. They take that shit seriously.
In an M. Night Shamwowian twist the characters actually end up just stumbling into the ass-end of the dungeon and have to find their way out, dealing with the spirits and undead that inhabit it. To make matters worse there is also a poisonous gas that prevents them from taking an extended rest, while at the same time paring off their healing surges the longer they stick around. Fortunately a lot of the encounters are not well padded, throwing only a couple of monsters at a time at the party, and some do not even need to be fought.

There are a lot of little things in this adventure that I really like: neat dungeon dressing, logical traps and hazards integrated with monsters, monsters willing to actually talk, a deadly game of pelota, will-o-wisps that try and draw you into traps, and more. There are even rooms that just contain traps, and now that anyone can notice and deal with them I am curious how they will be received. I also like a lot of the monster design, such as the vampire in Area 7; he cannot cross running water, can turn into a cloud of bats whenever it wants, and lacks a double-attack mechanic until it can pick up its axe (which is a cursed item), after which it can use it as a minor action.

It is a damned shame that this is not something that anyone can just buy without spending a ridiculous amount of cash on eBay. At the least it would be nice if WotC would post it as a pdf download.


  1. HSoT is actually from 1979. I ran the original this summer at a con using Lamentations of the Flame Princess and some house rules. It was a blast - and brutal. The players didn't manage to complete it in four hours but got near the end.

    Two out of four died.

  2. Ah, I was using the year during which it was released to the general public. It looks brutal, especially if characters just kick in the door and hack at everything they can see.

  3. Hey thats kinda sweet, I had no idea 4e did an update. The original was pretty sweet. I could see it having some pretty cool 4e styled encounters.

  4. The organizer of D&D Encounters at my FLGS decided in late July that he wasn’t going to report the public play stuff any more so even though 5 different people DMed in August none of us are getting this reward. I was so angry when he told us this just last week.

  5. I've had the original on my shelf since shortly after it came out. While I've never run it, I've used it as a source for years. It's packed with great ideas. I haven't really sat down to compare the two in depth since I got my copy last week, but my gut sense is there was a lot more atmosphere in the original (or at least more copy devoted to that.) The original is narrowly-themed in that it is tightly tied to Central-American mythologies, but the ideas could be reskinned for almost any setting. Good stuff!

  6. @ameron, thats a very douchebaggery thing to do


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