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N1 Against the Cult of the Reptile God (1e)
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N1 Against the Cult of the Reptile God (1e)

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Terror by night! The village of Orlane is dying. Once a small and thriving community, Orlane has become a maze of locked doors and frightened faces. Strangers are shunned, trade has withered. Rumors flourish, growing wilder with each retelling. Terrified peasants flee their homes, abandoning their farms with no explanation. Others simply disappear. . .

No one seems to know the cause of the decay -- why are there no clues? Who skulks through the twisted shadows of the night? Who or what is behind the doom that has overtaken the village? It will take a brave and skillful band of adventurers to solve the dark riddle of Orlane!

This adventure is designed for 4 to 7 characters of 1st through 3rd levels. It includes a map of the village and a description of its buildings and occupants, an overland journey to a challenging underground adventure for especially brave (or foolhardy. . .) characters, and a list of pre-rolled 1st-level characters.

Product History

N1: "Against The Cult of the Reptile God" (1982), by Douglas Niles, is the first adventure in a novice-level series for AD&D. It was written in February 1982, so it was probably published in the first half of the year.

A Quick Creation. Niles was handed an old brief and told to write an adventure from it. He completed the task in just four weeks. Later he said that he wasn't sure if TSR had published the module because it was good or because he was able to write it so quickly.

Recurring Tropes. At first glance this adventure looks like it's built around the trope of a town home base with adventures nearby, as had previously been seen in T1: "The Village of Hommlet" (1979), in L1: "The Secret of Bone Hill" (1981), and (sort of) in U1: "The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh" (1981). However, Niles takes a step beyond those simpler adventures and introduces cultists into the town, making the community itself (for the first time) into a true place for adventure as well. He also adds a few cultist-related events that will occur over time, which was quite unique in 1982; in the 70s, adventures had been almost entirely location-based.

Zeb Cook would take the next step with these trends with B6: "The Veiled Society" (1984).

The Previous Cult. Niles' brief came about as the result of a previous version of the adventure that was designed by Kevin Hendryx. This earlier version originated as a new encounter area for L1: "The Secret of Bone Hill" (1981), which Hendryx was then editing. Hendryx's additions were later removed from "Bone Hill" at Len Lakofka's request, so Hendryx decided to expand the encounter area into its own adventure, which became "Against the Cult of the Reptile God." Plans got far enough along that cover artwork was actually prepared by Bill Willingham, but then Hendryx became a victim of TSR's Great Purge of 1981. He decided to take his adventure with him to his next publisher, Metagaming Concepts.

The title and core concept of an evil cleric and lizard men minions remained, and that's the brief with which Niles started his work - and which also explains, at least partly, why TSR returned to the "town + adventure" trope that had been used in "Bone Hill" and "Saltmarsh" just the previous year.

Expanding Greyhawk. The town of Orlane and the adventure that surrounds it are very carefully (and meaningfully) set in Greyhawk. Not only does the module present an entire village near the Gran Marches, but it also carefully tracks the players' movement across the beautiful map of Greyhawk. By this point, the Greyhawk setting was increasingly becoming a campaign world belonging to TSR as a whole, not just Gary Gygax, and thus Niles' expansion of the world was less unusual than it would have been just a year earlier.

Future History. Dungeon #183 (October 2010) revisits the final battle from N1 as an encounter for 4e.

About the Creators. Douglas Niles began work at TSR in January 1982 after leaving his teaching job. After a few weeks spent reviewing and critiquing external submissions, Niles convinced his boss to give him a design assignment. "Against the Cult of the Reptile God" was the result.

About the Product Historian

This history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, 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

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Reviews (11)
Discussions (10)
Customer avatar
Joel G August 11, 2019 7:21 pm UTC
POD option please.
Customer avatar
Daniel P March 31, 2019 6:28 pm UTC
I was thinking of doing digital hi-res maps for this module, is there any interest in such a thing?

for examples of my work visit this site:
Customer avatar
Brandon C February 18, 2019 9:50 am UTC
We just finished this module with a group of friends. It was wildly different from all the 5e adventures I've run or played. It was more difficult, less forgiving, and ultimately more rewarding. All 5 of is died once, both from the DM's great rolls and over ambition. Success was very rewarding, and gained with difficulty.
Customer avatar
Martin P January 06, 2019 5:15 pm UTC
Would this ever be made available on Print on Demand?
Customer avatar
yves R August 02, 2018 12:36 pm UTC
Hi there can you clarify how would players found about the last dungeon beside Ramne knowledge ? What am i missing ? thx
Customer avatar
Ben F April 04, 2018 3:21 am UTC
Is something broken? The PDF appears to be missing all the dungeon maps.
Customer avatar
Preston H June 22, 2017 9:52 pm UTC
There's one thing I forgot to mention in my review of the module, and it's something I like about it: if you're someone who doesn't like throwing goblins at the low level players because they're too cliche, then you'll love this adventure's use of troglodytes instead of goblins (well, goblins do appear once, but that's all).
Customer avatar
James F May 02, 2017 11:02 am UTC
5e Conversion for this module
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James K April 18, 2017 5:52 pm UTC
Does this module come with all of the original maps?
Customer avatar
Gary T December 24, 2018 1:07 pm UTC
I just downloaded it and mine came exactly as I remember it from years ago. Front cover to back cover, everything is included.
Customer avatar
Bruce L September 12, 2013 4:29 pm UTC
I have run this module for four different groups of players, over a period of many years... This adventure is a classic, and it demonstrates to every DM, newbie or veteran, what can be done: the players start out doing detective work, trying to learn who to trust, and what is going on within the Village. That part can take quite a bit of time, and role-playing, for both the DM, and the players. It can also be somewhat difficult, and challenging, as people are disappearing, over time, and if the players take too long in their investigation, things could change for the worse for everyone.

After the PC's determine what is happening within the village, they have a short wilderness trek to find a dungeon adventure. Once there, they have the classic dungeon crawl, which can be quite challenging. Then there is the question of what happens after the 'god' is defeated, and the villagers regain their senses -- the fallout of what they did to each other during their compromised state. There is much that...See more
Customer avatar
Adam G November 30, 2017 5:22 pm UTC
What a helpful review. Thanks!
Customer avatar
Dillon B June 24, 2019 5:25 am UTC
I was on the fence as I never DM'ed this as a kid, but I am currently planning to run a 1e campaign with my friends and I think I'll use this to get started. :-)
Customer avatar
Bruce L July 02, 2019 6:45 pm UTC
Excellent choice! All of you will have a blast with it! The only questionable part of this module, is the implication of the Priest's sordid plans for a 14-year-old, village girl he has captured. Remember, though, that in a medieval society, and per the 1e/2e AD&D rules, this 14-year-old girl is old enough to adventure herself (in a medieval society, a 14-year-old girl was of prime marrying age -- but not in our modern societies, of course)! See the Starting Ages for PC's in the PHB and DMG. Aside from that, it is absolutely superb, and fun! Cheers!
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Platinum seller
Publisher Stock #
TSR 9063
File Size:
8.45 MB
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File Last Updated:
November 02, 2013
This title was added to our catalog on January 22, 2013.