Dwellers of the Forbidden City, by Dave "Zeb" Cook, started out as an Advanced Dungeons & Dragons tournament module at the 1980 Origins VI game convention at Widener College in Chester, PA1. In 1981, it was published in an expanded form as "Dungeon Module I1", with TSR stock number 9046. In the context of Greyhawk, the dominant AD&D setting at that time, the Forbidden City is located in Hepmonaland, a tropical area far southeast of the Greyhawk city-state.

The tournament portion of the module only fills six pages, and covers the characters' fight through a cave passage from the wilderness to the Forbidden City. Another twelve pages lend detail to specific locations within the ruins, but only a handful are really connected to the plot; there's plenty of room for customization. Cook himself suggests a number of hooks and plots to extend the setting to a mini-campaign. The suggested mix and numbers of inhabitants, from the monstrous yuan-ti to the sympathetic mongrelmen, also recommends elements of stealth and diplomacy, rather than an "exterminate big monster nest" style of play. The introduction suggests a party of 6 to 8 characters of levels 4 to 7.

The module introduced a number of new creatures to AD&D: the yuan-ti, with their wacky random snake limbs; mongrelmen and tasloi; and the abominable aboleth, with its magical and psionic powers. The yuan-ti alone, here in their ancient ancestral demon-worshipping homeland, provide lots of opportunities for gamemaster creativity. The presence of the aboleth, a monster normally found only deep in subterranean realms, suggests some route to the domains of dark elves and such.

1. "Greyhawk's Tournament History", http://www.rpg.net/ehp/imrryr/gh_tourneys.html

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