Interlopers of Ruun-Khazai

A Walk Through the Planes – Part 77: Interlopers of Ruun-Khazai




I’m aware that David Noonan had a big hand in third edition’s planar work, editing everything from the Manual of the Planes to Deities and Demigods to the Planar Handbook, and many books in between. For all I know, he was a great editor with a deep, abiding love for planar material. But regardless of everything else he did, Noonan’s adventure for Dungeon (issue #92, May/June 2002), “Interlopers of Ruun-Khazai,” is just such a goddamn bad piece of work that it makes me glad he was mostly an editor and not a module designer. As much as Lord of the Iron Fortress disappointed me, at least there was a spark of something there, a scaffolding that perhaps an intelligent DM could use to build something better with. “Interlopers” is bland, forgettable, and extremely long. There is no spark, or joy, or really anything here, except for a reminder that third edition githyanki dimension door all over the place obnoxiously. It is, as the kids like to say, not so good.

“Interlopers” is an “empty room adventure,” a term I’d never heard before reading this article, perhaps because it’s a boring/generally bad idea. Basically, the PCs arrive at a nearly-vacant githyanki fortress because… uhh… yeah, they just do, ok, stop asking questions (to quote the adventure’s own reasoning, “By 13th level, many characters have finely honed exploration instincts.” Wow, that’s really the whole explanation here. “If the characters in your ongoing campaign need a more specific reason to visit Ruun-Khazai”—what type of moronic campaign do you usually run where characters don’t do things for a reason? Gah, the laziness here annoys me so much. One of the suggestions for those of us who need a motivation is that a planar accident throws the characters here. Gah, that is just the worst roleplaying story, who wants that? ….Ahem.). And when they’re there, the PCs need to deal with an invading force of githzerai, another of githyanki, and also the sole (with his consort, so I guess not so sole) inhabitant of this fortress and his magically enchanted traps. And that’s it. 

The main redeeming facet of this article is that it meant commissioning Marc Sasso to draw this succubus. I’m a, uhh, fan.

I’m going to quote the capsule review over at because the writer over there does a good job explaining why this is all so boring, and I see no reason not to just repeat that here:


This thing has almost nothing going for it. There’s nothing special about the fortress, and almost all of the rooms are empty, so it’s not really an exploration mission. There’s a timeline for the three factions, so it does have that to help things out, but the factions are all essentially mad dogs, except maybe for the Z’s who will at least talk. Otherwise it’s all “explore empty room and get attacked by a roving band of gith.”

The timeline is in fact pretty nifty in helping a DM to run this adventure (though why they’d want to is beyond me), but even so there’s a ton of work for the DM to do despite there being so little here for players to explore or interact with. It’s difficult enough to run that Noonan advises DM’s that, “If you need to, declare a 5-minute break from time to time. While the players are raiding the refrigerator, take time to review the stat blocks of upcoming foes and figure out what the githyanki, githzerai, and Karluth [the mage] are up to.” That’s right, it’s so difficult to run as an adventure that the designer recommends taking breaks to figure out what the hell is going on, which is I’m sure what we’re all looking for when we decide to play a published adventure </sarcasm>. 

An Astral ship. The physics of how these work is pretty unexplained, but whatever, at least it’s better than requiring mind flayer brains.

The one slightly noteworthy thing about “Interlopers” is that it ties in with the early Dragon adventure “Fedifensor,” involving a powerful sword by the same name. However, here it’s broken, and the adventure just says that if you want to deal with this more you need to figure that out on your own. As a result, even this Easter egg is a disappointing addition.


In summary, this is a dull one-shot planar adventure that is nonetheless a pain in the ass to run and features virtually no story or reason to pick it instead of, say, any other adventure ever written (or just coming up with a couple random battles on the spot). The high point for me was Marc Sasso’s, artwork, including an extremely sexy yet for once not-ridiculous-looking succubus and an image of githyanki on an Astral ship. Cartography is fine, but also largely unnecessary, and it has that early-2000s computer generated look that I don’t really care for. Suffice to say, this is one of the worst adventures we’ve stumbled across, and I absolutely suggest you ignore it completely.

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