The Temple of Elemental Evil
| The Temple of|
|Edition||1st edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons|
|Author(s)||Gary Gygax and Frank Mentzer|
|Series||T1-4, Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil|
- This article is about the adventure module. For the Temple itself, see Temple of Elemental Evil. For other uses, see Temple of Elemental Evil (disambiguation).
The Temple of Elemental Evil is an adventure module for the World of Greyhawk campaign setting. The module was published by TSR, Inc. in 1985 for the first edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons rules. It was written by Gary Gygax and Frank Mentzer, and is an expansion of an earlier Gygax module, The Village of Hommlet (TSR, 1979). The Temple of Elemental Evil is also the title of a related 2001 Thomas M. Reid novel and an Atari computer game. The term is also used to refer to the fictional Temple itself.
The Temple of Elemental Evil was ranked the 4th greatest Dungeons & Dragons adventure of all time by Dungeon magazine in 2004, on the 30th anniversary of the Dungeons & Dragons game.
These classic, early D&D adventures helped first popularize the World of Greyhawk campaign setting. The T1 Village of Hommlet module begins in the eponymous village, situated near the site of a past battle against evil forces operating from the Temple. Adventurers traveling through Hommlet are drawn into a web of conspiracy and deception in the T1 adventure.
The T1 standalone module, and thus also the first part of T1-4, culminates at a ruined moathouse where agents secretly plan to re-enter the Temple and free the demoness Zuggtmoy, who is imprisoned therein. In the next section of T1-4, the adventurers move on to the nearby village of Nulb to confront several nefarious opponents, including agents from the Temple. Based on the outcome of these encounters, the player characters can then enter the Temple itself to interact with its many denziens and test their mettle against Zuggtmoy herself.
The Temple of Elemental Evil was originally intended to bear the module code T2 and serve as a true sequel to The Village of Hommlet. Gygax began writing T2 soon after the publication of T1, but often stopped to work on other products, such as The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth (Gygax 1981). The T2 version was never completed, and no module bearing the codes T3 or T4 was ever independently published. Instead, the material for the sequel was combined in 1985 with the original T1 storyline and published as an integrated adventure bearing the module code T1-4.
The original printings of T1 featured monochrome cover art by David A. Trampier, who also contributed interior art along with David C. Sutherland III. The 1981 and subsequent printings of T1 featured a new color cover painting by Jeff Dee surrounded by a lime green border. The expanded T1-4 book from 1985 features cover art by Keith Parkinson and interior art by Jeff Butler, Clyde Caldwell, Jeff Easley, Larry Elmore, Parkinson, and Trampier.
In 2001, Wizards of the Coast published a novel by Thomas M. Reid also bearing the title The Temple of Elemental Evil. This book was a novelization of the original T1-4 adventure, and featured characters based on those that Reid and his friends had developed while playing the module as part of a Greyhawk campaign in college.
The novel received both positive and negative reviews. One common criticism was that the pacing felt rushed and that entire sections of the original module were not present in the novelization. For example, the characters in the novel do not spend time in the village of Nulb, and the elemental "nodes" from the module's climax are entirely missing from the novel. Reid has subsequently stated that these issues were caused by the 90,000 word limitation Wizards of the Coast enforced for the book, leading him to cut out significant sections of his initial draft.
Wizards of the Coast also published a sequel to the T1-4 adventure in 2001, the 3rd Edition module Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil.
In 2003 a computer game, The Temple of Elemental Evil, based on the original T1-4 module was released. It was developed by Troika Games and published by Atari. It remains the only D&D related computer game set in the original Greyhawk setting. At the moment, this game is one of the few games the use the D&D 3.5 system (3rd edition revised). It also follows the pen & paper rules quite strictly, and yet it was a commercial failure, suffering from numerous bugs and relatively linear story. However, it still has a sizable fan base and freely available modifications have been created by third parties.
- Cain, Tim. The Temple of Elemental Evil. New York: Atari, 2003.
- Gygax, E. Gary. "More 'Meat' for Greyhawk." Dragon #55. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1981.
- -----. The Village of Hommlet. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1979.
- Erik Mona, James Jacobs, et al. "The 30 Greatest D&D Adventures of All Time." Dungeon #116. Bellevue, WA: Paizo Publishing, 2004.
- T1 - The Village of Hommlet at The Acaeum.
- Supermodules at The Acaeum (includes information on T1-4, A1-4, and GDQ1-7).