The Sunken Pyramid: Genesis

Only a few miles from a small seaside village, the mysterious underwater edifice known as the Sunken Pyramid lies hidden beneath the waves. I’m really happy with how The Sunken Pyramid adventure turned out, so I jumped at the chance to talk a little bit about its genesis. So, why a sunken pyramid in the first place and what’s with all the sahuagin?

Sahuagin Warrior by Marc Radle




Well, to answer that, we must go back to 1981 (no, really!) That was the year my absolute favourite original AD&D module (and, in my opinion, one of the best adventures ever produced) came out – U1 The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh. I LOVED that adventure! I ran it for my gaming group, followed by its two sequels U2 Danger at Dunwater and U3 The Final Enemy and we had an absolute blast!

Ah, good times …

Fast forward to 2011. I was brainstorming ideas for a TRIBES installment I would be writing for Raging Swan Press and I thought back to the Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh. I remembered I had been intrigued by the lizardfolk that appeared in those modules. So, I decided, my TRIBES contribution would be a tribe of lizardfolk. Thus was born the Lizardfolk of the Dragon Fang.

What does this all have to do with the Sunken Pyramid? Stay with me!

About a year later, Creighton was nice enough (or foolish enough, depending on your perspective) to ask if I wanted to write a follow up to Lizardfolk of the Dragon Fang. Of course I said yes, and began pondering what race this one would feature. Since my first TRIBE had been about lizardfolk, I decided it might be cool if my second TRIBE was also about an important race from my beloved Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh trilogy…and so, you guessed it – sahuagin!

I dove in (sorry!!) and began researching everything I could find about sahuagin. I compiled copious notes about their earliest appearances in D&D, the origins of their creation, even the probable meaning of the name itself. From this initial research, I then began to concoct an entire sahuagin culture, customs, religion, history … suffice it to say I got VERY into it!

I still needed an interesting lair for my TRIBE, though. Obviously, it needed to be underwater, which was certainly a unique and interesting element to work with. Beyond that, however, nothing really inspired me. Sure, I could do a series of underwater caves or something, but that kind of thing had been done before. Then, one day, a came across an article from National Geographic about strange, pyramid-like rock structures discovered off the coast of Japan. According to the article, scientists and researchers could not agree on whether these were natural formations or something at least partially man-made. I was fascinated. And then suddenly it hit me – what a perfect place for a sahuagin lair!

I immediately began crafting my sahuagin tribe whose lair was a mysterious underwater stone pyramid. In addition to the info I created on the pyramid itself, and all that cultural, historical and religious material I’d previously written on the sahuagin themselves, I also came up with a number of fun and interesting plot hooks designed to get the PCs involved with the sahuagin. In fact, some of them ended up being rather detailed.

When I was happy with the final draft of my sahuagin TRIBE, I sent it off to Creighton. His initial thoughts? He liked it, but felt there was WAY too much for a TRIBES release and would need to be scaled back. Plus, he said, all those extensive plot lines I’d come up with were really a bit outside the scope of the TRIBES line – what I had written felt almost more like the beginnings of a full-blown adventure.

Hmmm, I thought … a full-blown adventure? Now, THAT was an interesting idea…

Download the Free Version

Did you know, Raging Swan Press has a free version of the Sunken Pyramid available so you can check out this marvellous adventure? You can get it here:d20pfsrd, DriveThruRPG, Paizo, RPGNow, Warehouse 23. I hope you enjoy it!


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