Looking through my old D&D stuff, I came upon this thing called Sabre River, and I’m quite sure I didn’t run that adventure, because the cover says: “For Characters Levels 18-22”, and I never had a party reach those higher levels, in my D&D years.
I don’t even remember buying that module, but I probably bought it out of curiosity: I guess I wanted to see what kind of awesome shit the “Levels 18-22” were up to. (Those mods were plastic wrapped, back in the day, remember?)
Here’s a summary, and some scans.
The PCs have to help rid the country of a dreaded curse: the river water is enchanted and anyone / anything drinking it becomes charmed. This curse was uttered a long time ago by a general who failed to conquer the land and died on the banks of Sabre River: “Let this land remain a savage and uncivilized wilderness for seven times seven centuries!”
Young villager Cutter alone is unaffected by the curse. He follows the party.
The village elders send the PCs to the Isle of the Seer, because the Seer is the only one who really knows about the curse. So the PCs tackle some monsters and get to the Seer, who then redirects them towards the Tower of Terror, a dungeon inside a volcano. There, the characters fight a lot of monsters, and finally obtain the hilt of the ancient general’s sword – which has the power to lift the curse. Here is the Tower of Terror’s isometric map (it was merely a year after Ravenloft, after all).
It’s an incredible monsters galore, almost cartoonish, if you want my sincere opinion. A huge 108 Hit Points red dragon, a 75 HP green dragon, a 70 HP black dragon, a 100 HP hellhound, a 160 HP gargoyle, a 77 HP revenant, two 160 HP giant rocs, a nasty 190 HP beholder, a massive 252 HP fire elemental, and many more lesser creatures: goblins, carrion crawlers, golems... The PCs actually have to fight the beholder three times: first, in a “dream”, then as a “summoned” guardian, and finally for real – when they get to the Heart of the River. The illustration below remains one of the very best beholder pics ever created! It’s terrific.
Once the heroes have the sword hilt, they return to the Isle of the Seer and discover they have to fight the Seer because he’s the physical incarnation of the curse. NPC Cutter merges with the sword hilt and becomes the blade; this weapon is the only thing in the world capable of harming the Seer (who is otherwise immune to all magic and all weapons).
After they kill the Seer, the PCs journey upriver in order to locate the source of the charmed waters. When they get there, they find a ruined summer palace built by some king of old. Inside these halls dwell more powerful monsters, and the Eye Tyrant. The Heart of the River is actually an open gate from which the Elemental Plane of Water ceaselessly bleeds into our good old Prime Material Plane. A black monstrous growth pulses there, and pollutes the entire river. Only the sword can destroy that black growth. Then, the curse is lifted...
Good times indeed... Levels 18-22, you were some lucky bastards!