Under The Devil’s Thumb Is Here!

It’s Alive!

If you’re a fan of my work, or just awesome stuff in general, you’ll be excited to know that Under the Devil’s Thumb has finally reached the light of day within the pages of Eldritch Lairs. The book is home to many other great adventures written by James Haeck and another by Mike Shea as well, but UtDT was written by yours truly. Should you pick it up with reckless abandon right now? Probably. For those of you who aren’t so quick to jump the gun, allow me a paragraph or two to convince you.

Under the Devil’s Thumb is an adventure for 5th level characters set in the Southlands and centers around intrigue in the plague-stricken city of Highgate. Within its walls are a bevvy of unscrupulous types vying for their place among the ranks of Nakresh, the demon-god of thieves. Are those aforementioned ne’er do wells types somehow connected to the sickness throughout the city? Probably.

Lots to Love

There’s plenty of backstabbing, puzzles, traps, and nasty things awaiting players below the city within the gauntlet of the thieve’s guild. Players will be tasked with finding a way in and once there, obtaining all 5 keys to open the vault and with their lives and hopefully some treasure too. I don’t want to give too much away, but there is a chamber with a 4ft tall obsidian skull that requires magical gems be inserted into its 3rd eye, if that’s your sort of thing. There’s also plenty of plot points to build from and hook into existing campaigns and adventures as well.

You can pick it up for D&D (5e) or Pathfinder and although it’s not required to run the adventure by any means, if the Southlands campaign setting is new to you be sure to check it out. There’s also a a nice cheap little PDF that details creating Southlands heroes for 5e to get you started.

If you’ve played in or ran my adventure Tomb of Tiberesh you’ll see some continuity here as well. It’s worth mentioning again that there are other very fun adventures within this book that aren’t mine, this book contains dozens and dozens of hours of content. I hope you’ll check it out!

Until next time, game excellently with one another!

Enjoy what I do but aren’t into radical Southlands adventures? Consider buying me a coffee!


  1. This adventure has made me very excited to run it. I own a few of Kobold Press’ short adventure collections, and this is my favourite adventure among them.

    Many such adventures seem to begin at the start of a dungeon and provide a few vague hooks to justify being there. Under the Devil’s Thumb, however, offers more in the way of background and setting. I love all the conflicting interests, meaninful choices and roleplay opportunity before you even get to the dungeon.

    I also love that, however the players reach the Guantlet, they will likely feel very out of place, as if they should not be there. They will be putting themselves among foes who clearly outclass them, taking brazen combat off the table. A lot of adventures struggle to fight a subconscious expectation that encounters will be level appropriate or that fleeing will always be an option, and thus fail to create a sense of danger. I definitely see this adventure providing that sense of danger, though.

    There seems to be some issues with proofreading, however, at least in the 5e version I have. For example, in room 2 of the Guantlet, the four pillars are supposedly marked 1-4 on the map, but the map has no such numbering. Also the traps in this room do not make sense as described. It describes what kind of traps each pillar has, but doesn’t say how they are triggered except in the cases of the aging and crushing celing traps. To add to the confusion, the key with the crushing celing trap also has a false trap. When does the false trap trigger?

    • Joe,

      Thanks for your awesome feedback! This seriously made my day. Let me look into the editorial issues for you and get back to you soon, I’ve had troubles like this in the past with KP unfortunately. Things get lost in translation between the editor and the cartographer, and I’m assuming, my own initial descriptions. Let me do some digging and I’ll get you a proper answer (and hopefully a corrected PDF).

    • Map

      It would help if they kept either the compass rose or the column numbers on the map. This should get you squared away.

      • Ah thanks! This doesn’t solve the issue I had with the traps, although I think I might have figured it out now.

        The issue is on page 24. To begin with, some of the traps seem to be missing a description of how they trigger. Secondly, the description for the fourth column says (paraphrasing):

        “4. False Trap
        Character’s hear a deep metallic click … Nothing happens.

        Removing the key from this pillar triggers the crushing ceiling trap.”

        It then gives a description of the crushing ceiling trap under the title “The Pedastal”.

        I’m guessing that the second paragraph under the false trap is meant yo refer to the pedastal, rather than column 4 as it appears. It would also make sense if the entire pedastal trap description came before the column trap descriptions, because then it would totally make sense to assume the same trap mechanism on the columns.

        My guess is that at some point the pedastal trap description and the preceding paragraph got moved from somewhere before the column trap descriptions to after?

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