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ALQ2 Assassin Mountain (2e)
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ALQ2 Assassin Mountain (2e)

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The Caliph of Shadows awaits! 

The Assassins of Zakhara strike in silence and from darkness, certain of their faith and the rightness of their cause. The slayers carry out the orders of their Grandfather assassin, never questioning his wisdom or direction.

Assassin Mountain is the DM's guide to the secrets and objectives of the assassins. Captured inside this Sourcebox, you'll find new information about the holy slayers of Zakhara, from their methods, tools, and secret structure to the means used to ensure the silence of their members.

The adventures within pit the player characters against the slayers of the Everlasting, one of the most powerful and influential sects in Zakhara. The web of deceit and terror spun by the Everlasting weaves its way into the city of Liham, entangling the PCs and leading them to the perils of the assassins' stronghold.

Assassin Mountain includes:

  • Two booklets filled with source material on the holy slayers of Zakhara and adventures with the Everlasting
  • Six cardsheets
  • Monstrous Compendium pages detailing new genies and other monsters
  • A poster map of Jabal Sarahin, the fortress of the Everlasting

Recommended for use with the Arabian Adventures rulebook.

Product History

ALQ2: Assassin Mountain (1993) by Wolfgang Baur is the second in the series of "ALQ" supplements for Al-Qadim. It was published in February 1993.

Origins. After a few years of working as a magazine editor for TSR, Baur was eager to write a standalone book for the company. He was eventually handed the job of creating "Assassin Mountain" for the Al-Qadim line. With just the title and topic, he was told to write a sourcebook and connected adventures.

Baur read up on assassins, including Rashid ad-Din Sinan, the Old Man of the Mountain, then gave it all a fantasy spin. When writing Assassin Mountain, Baur also did his best to put in "poetry and sentiment" — because the rich Arabian lore of Al-Qadim could be more magical and musical than the typical D&D setting.

Fantasy Will Set You Free. Baur used his payment from this assignment to help purchase his first-ever new car, which he used to drive the 50 miles from Milwaukee to Lake Geneva every day. As he put it, it was his "magic carpet to the halls of TSR".

Continuing the ALQ Series. Assassin Mountain was part of the "year two" schedule for the Al-Qadim line, which included the core City of Delights (1993) book plus three boxed adventures numbered ALQ2-ALQ4. Like the rest of Al-Qadim's adventures, Assassin Mountain appeared in a shallow box containing two books (and several reference cards) that mixed adventures and source material.

A History of Assassins. Assassins first appeared in D&D in Dave Arneson's Blackmoor (1975). After that, they were revised for the AD&D game (1977-1979), where they became a core part of the game through the '80s. However, in 1989 assassins were abruptly cut from AD&D second edition (1989); some say they were removed due to questions of party unity, others because TSR was afraid of angry mothers.

The assassin was quietly brought back as a thief kit in PHBR2: The Complete Thief's Handbook (1989); they were one of several unsavory classes, also including bandits, bounty hunters, and thugs. However Assassin Mountain was designers' opportunity to reintroduce assassins in a bigger way, all under the cover of the Al-Qadim setting.

Though assassins made a resurgence in Assassin Mountain, and were given the opportunity to play a major role in the Al-Qadim setting, it was as an organization, not a character class.

Love It or Hate It? Baur has more than once said that Assassin Mountain is one of his favorite designs. However, he's also admitted that it has flaws (probably because it was his first major design).

Adventuring Tropes. The event-heavy adventures in this box were typical of D&D in the '90s, but they also have an innovative focus on political intrigue; there's even a murder mystery!

Expanding Al Qadim. The biggest expansion within Assassin Mountain is its description of the Brotherhood of the Everlasting and their eponymous Fortress of Sarahin.

Monsters of Note. Several new and revised monsters are detailed in Assassin Mountain. Most notably, the gibbering mouther and the sandman make their return; both were classic monsters that hadn't previously been seen in the 2e era.

About the Creators. Baur fell in love with the Arabian genre while working on Assassin Mountain. He'd return to write ALQ4: Secrets of the Lamp (1993); years later Six Arabian Nights (2008) would be one of his first publications from Open Design.

About the Product Historian

The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to shannon.appelcline@gmail.com.

 
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Product Information
Author(s)
Pages
133
Edition
1.0
ISBN
1-56076-564-X
Publisher Stock #
TSR 9431
File Size:
56.86 MB
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File Last Updated:
July 21, 2014
This title was added to our catalog on July 22, 2014.