DMs Guild Review – Those That Came Before (Saga of the Worm 2)

Seek out a Netherese lich in his lair in this Tier 3 Adventurers League module.

A review copy of “DDAL00-03 Those That Came Before” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using affiliate links for shopping and pledging via Patreon.

Designed by: Alan Patrick

Those That Came Before is a psuedo-sequel to Window to the Past, continuing the Adventurers League series of higher level parties dealing with Netherese ruins and the trapped worm god Kyuss. This Tier 3 adventure features a dungeon crawl to meet with a Lich, then an epic boss battle versus an undead ancient dragon.

Like the designer’s previous AL adventure, Those That Came Before includes excellent DM notes for running AL modules, and an overview of this particular module, including breaking down important NPCs and locations. The appendices at the end also provide informative notes on the the teased villain, Larloch, as well as some helpful tips for balancing the adventure and role-playing the lich Rhaugilath.

The adventure starts in Candlekeep, as the higher level heroes are summoned to deal with an important package. The package contains an item that transports the heroes to the dungeon, an easy way to drop this dungeon in as a side-quest in your ongoing campaign.

Candlekeep is a neat area but it’s mostly hand-waved here. Understandable; AL adventures can’t spend too long in act one with a meaty dungeon crawl yet ahead.

The PCs are transported to the Warlock’s Crypt dungeon, an ancient Netherese home to Rhaugilath, an equally ancient lich from the days of the floating empire. I liked the overall design of the lich’s lair, with multiple paths, combat encounters, and traps.

The most memorable room contained a series of unlocked chests wrapped in chains, with a statue at the far end. A clue on the door behind the PCs warns them not to jack with the chests, but who could leave six chests un-looted? Opening the chests powers up the Chain Devil that is eventually released from the statue, who gains additional powers or buffs depending on the number of chests that are opened. Nice!

dms guild review

Once they make it to the end they’re accosted by Rhaugilath himself. He’s not interested in a fight, however. He was testing the heroes to make sure they’re strong enough for a mission: destroy the latest plans by the even more ancient and evil lich, Larloch.

Larloch is drawing energy from a Writhing Battery, which encases an Avatar of Kyuss. This is bad news, and it’s up to the PCs to shut it down. I love role-playing liches and the twist of using the end-dungeon lich as a mid-way quest-giving NPC to an even more dire threat.

Oddly Larloch’s laborary uses an entirely different art style for the dungeon. Rhaugilath’s crypt was created by Heroic Maps, but Larloch’s lab uses the black and white, simplified design of Dyson Logos.

Even more egregious, the map of the crypt that’s included in this adventure is purposefully low-resolution and DM-only (featuring number annotations). I was shocked to discover the full player map is a separate purchase, called The Lich’s Lair.

This is complete crap – if your entire product revolves around a dungeon crawl, you can’t leave out the actual map of the dungeon as a separate purchase! It’s a bummer because I really love the art style and look of it. I’m all about supporting artists but some kind of deal needed to be worked out to have the full map included in the purchase of this adventure.

The adventure climaxes with an impressively large-scale boss fight. I’m beginning to sense this designer loves epic boss battles. It was the case with Window to the Past and it’s definitely the case here, as the players have ten rounds to destroy an undead, worm-spewing ancient copper dragon perched atop the Writhing Battery, before Larloch himself shows up and slaughters everyone.

As a Tier 3 dungeon crawl (scalable to Tier 4), Those That Came Before looks challenging for parties while being easy to run for DMs, though I do question how groups are supposed to get through multiple big combat encounters, including the big final battle, in a standard 4-hour AL window.

With a good balance of combat, exploration, and role-playing, Those That Came Before makes for a solid AL session, or a solid drop-in dungeon crawl for higher-level parties.

Pros:

  • Official Adventurers League module.
  • Solid dungeon design with a balanced mix of exploration, role-playing, and combat.
  • Role-playing a Lich!
  • Helpful DM notes and appendices for running the adventure (and DM-ing in general).

Cons:

  • Almost no art.
  • Full size dungeon map is a separate purchase.

The Verdict: “Those That Came Before” provides a solid Tier 3 dungeon crawl, culminating with a quest-giving Lich and a boss battle with an undead, worm-infested dragon.

A review copy of “DDAL00-03 Those That Came Before” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using affiliate links for shopping and pledging via Patreon.

Author: roguewatson

Freelance Writer

One thought on “DMs Guild Review – Those That Came Before (Saga of the Worm 2)”

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