Return of the Eight
|Return of the Eight|
|Edition||AD&D 2nd edition|
|Author(s)||Roger E. Moore|
Return of the Eight is a World of Greyhawk adventure module, published by Wizards of the Coast in 1998 under its recently acquired TSR imprint for second edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.
An enemy of the Circle of Eight, "a group of powerful magicians dedicated to preserving the balance between good and evil", has captured one of the Circle's members, Jallarzi Sallavarian. The player characters become embroiled in the Circle's machinations as they try to rescue her. The characters move from the shantytowns of Greyhawk City, to the fortress-tower of the archmage Tenser, a member of the Circle of Eight who was slain some years ago. The characters will ultimately uncover a conspiracy which threatens the world.
Unlike most Greyhawk books published in 1998, Return of the Eight takes place in 585 CY. Specifically, it takes place between the 9th and 11th days of Goodmonth [as recounted on page 3 of the module].
It begins the night a dragon falls on an off-duty adventurer. Fortunately, it's a small dragon. Unfortunately, it's connected to a big problem. Make that a huge problem: The survival of a well-known wizard belonging to the Circle of Five is at stake, but that's not the worst of it. Evil forces are attempting to infiltrate a secret fortress and unlock vast magical power, but that's not the worst, either.
The bad news? Some old enemies of civilization in the Flanaess have returned, and they've discovered a mutual interest in world domination. They have a plan to bring it about. And their plan is already underway when the little dragon appears.
Worse, on this particular night, there's no one who can stop them-no one but any heroes who start this adventure and survive through its out-of-this-world climax. And they have no choice. If they fail, the City of Greyhawk and all the civilized lands of the Flanaess will get to meet some remarkable legendary figures.
Then Civilization will die. Screaming.
Return of the Eight was the first installment of a series of new material, after TSR restarted the Greyhawk line.
James MacDuff reviewed Return of the Eight in 1998, in Shadis #50. MacDuff was critical of the book's approach, in that the writing assumes that the players are already familiar with the Greyhawk setting, and that it does little to integrate those unfamiliar with the material. He did appreciate the adventure's difficulty, calling it "wickedly dangerous, designed only for high level characters who can think on their feet." MacDuff also noted that the author, Roger Moore - a long-time writer for TSR - took steps to foil the "Monty Haul" tactics of some players. He felt that the adventure can be overwhelming at times: "The dungeons here are truly lethal, and require both power and an old-school tunnel-crawling mentality to succeed. The module lists optimum character levels at 6-12, but I can't imagine any PC lower than 10th level taking it on." MacDuff complained that the book contained little information for fans unfamiliar with the Greyhawk setting, and that Moore "always assumes that his readers are familiar with the characters and situations he describes," and therefore players new to the setting "should look elsewhere to get a proper introduction, and leave Return of the Eight to long-time players already familiar with ..Greyhawk.". MacDuff did find a lot to like about the adventure, however, particularly its epic scope, well developed characters, and challenging dungeons, concluding the review by saying "As a fast and dirty way to ramrod players back into the setting, it's both effective and enjoyable. Just make sure your characters can roll with the punches."
- MacDuff, James. "Greyhawk Line Review". Shadis #50. Alderac Entertainment Group, 1998.
- Roger E. Moore. Return of the Eight. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 1998. 0-78691-247-2
- Return of the Eight at the TSR Archive.
- Return of the Eight at Wikipedia.