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The Smoking Pillar of Lan Yu


On the island of Kai Besil the earth trembles with the threat of a terrible fire to come. The forbidding Pillar of Lan Yu plumes white with new smoke, and the warning flames in the village of Talamau burn red and blue with dire promise. Can heroes be found to restore the volcano’s ancient binding, or are the islanders doomed to perish in fire and choking ash?

The Smoking Pillar of Lan Yu is a playable module for most OSR games, but its real purpose is as a worked example and a resource for other small publishers interested in old-school module page design. The module has been built to echo early 1980-era TSR module layouts, with sections exampling village, wilderness, and dungeon layouts. A "Commentary" layer in the PDF can be turned on and off to explain the particulars of each page's design choices.

The files include the PDF itself, the .IDD InDesign source file for Adobe InDesign CC, and an .IDML InDesign markup file that should be backwards-compatible with many earlier versions of InDesign. An art folder is also included with the art used in the module, all of which was either made by myself or drawn from the free Scarlet Heroes Art Pack available on DTRPG. Any of it can be used freely for your own projects, whether personal or commercial.

All users are encouraged to take the module apart and use its pieces for their own projects. While a perfect replication of TSR trade dress is generally a bad idea in your own work, you can use the objects, paragraph styles, and page layouts for your own products. The commentary layer provides hints as to why the choices were made for each, and you can carry this information into your own creations.

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Reviews (3)
Discussions (3)
Customer avatar
Ed S August 25, 2018 12:13 am UTC
Love the whole retro-feel and the new monster stats.....
Customer avatar
Lyle R August 27, 2015 5:17 am UTC
Can we assume this is set in the Red Tide campaign setting? And if so, where is the island located?
Customer avatar
Brandon G December 31, 2014 12:29 am UTC
Anyway to have the commentary be off natively, as on a tablet it can't be toggled off and on with some pdf software?
Customer avatar
Kevin C December 31, 2014 6:46 am UTC
Actually, it already defaults to being turned off- it sounds like your PDF viewer is just automatically displaying all layers. As a workaround, from Adobe Reader X on your computer, you can select File->Print, and just print it to a new PDF file. That will automatically strip away everything but the visible layer.
Customer avatar
Brandon G December 31, 2014 1:33 pm UTC
ok thanks will give it a shot. Looks great btw.
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Product Information
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File Size:
91.02 MB
Original electronic
Scanned image
These products were created by scanning an original printed edition. Most older books are in scanned image format because original digital layout files never existed or were no longer available from the publisher.

For PDF download editions, each page has been run through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software to attempt to decipher the printed text. The result of this OCR process is placed invisibly behind the picture of each scanned page, to allow for text searching. However, any text in a given book set on a graphical background or in handwritten fonts would most likely not be picked up by the OCR software, and is therefore not searchable. Also, a few larger books may be resampled to fit into the system, and may not have this searchable text background.

For printed books, we have performed high-resolution scans of an original hardcopy of the book. We essentially digitally re-master the book. Unfortunately, the resulting quality of these books is not as high. It's the problem of making a copy of a copy. The text is fine for reading, but illustration work starts to run dark, pixellating and/or losing shades of grey. Moiré patterns may develop in photos. We mark clearly which print titles come from scanned image books so that you can make an informed purchase decision about the quality of what you will receive.
Original electronic format
These ebooks were created from the original electronic layout files, and therefore are fully text searchable. Also, their file size tends to be smaller than scanned image books. Most newer books are in the original electronic format. Both download and print editions of such books should be high quality.
File Last Updated:
December 30, 2014
This title was added to our catalog on December 30, 2014.