Saturday, April 2, 2016

A to Z of Adventure! B is for Basic Adventures

B is for Basic Adventures.

The Dungeons and Dragons Basic set is a tried and true introduction to the D&D game.  Since the first Basic set, written by John Eric Holmes, was published there have been included adventures.  
The first was the aptly named, In Search of the Unknown, and had the code B1.  This was and still is my go to adventure for starting out a new campaign of first level characters.  The plot, as much as there can be one, is thin. There is a castle that has been abandoned. Let's go check it out!

The next Basic Set, and really the start of the whole Basic line of D&D was the one from Tom Moldvay.  This set introduced us all to the Caves of Chaos and the titular Keep on the Borderlands.  There are estimates that close to 1.5 Million copies of B2 Keep on the Borderlands were printed.  An entire generation of gamers visited those caves in search of glory, gold and experience points.

The B-series of modules would go one to produce some of the best and most memorable adventures ever printed.   There was the controversial first print (orange cover) of B3 Palace of the Silver Princess which had all copies destroyed and now fetches top dollar on eBay.  This was followed by the sublimely weird B4 The Lost City, which along with B2 made the list of the top 30 D&D adventures of all time.

I ran all these first four for my kids over the last few years and it was a blast.  I never played in or ran the remaining 8 (yes 8!) adventures.  But all are designed for starting level characters, levels 1 to 3 and most importantly starting Dungeon Masters learning their new craft.  I know own them all, and really want to play them sometime.  I am planning on running Rahasia (B7) as part of my "War of the Witch Queens" campaign someday.  I'd also like to run B5 Horror on the Hill and B8 Journey to the Rock as well.


The adventures at the Dungeon Masters' Guild:


Pun Isaac said...

Of these adventures, Keep is the only one I'm really familiar with. I just finished running it in 5E.

Jonathan Linneman said...

Another cool history. Thanks!

The original version of Palace of the Silver Princess was actually available for free on several years ago. Looks like it isn't there anymore...gonna have to see if I can track down my digital copy...!

A Tarkabarka Hölgy said...

Tom Moldvay? That sounds like a Hungarian name...
I am starting to realize that I played a lot of D&D, but I never played any of the "basics"... :D

@TarkabarkaHolgy from
The Multicolored Diary

Dr. Theda said...

Could not afford these "Games" , so wrote my own ... would spend all week writing up games for them to play on that weekend... Cool Post, and a great weekend to you and yours.

Jean Davis said...

I've never played D&D, but my son has. I wonder if he used any of these basic games.

JB said...

@ Tim:

Really looking forward to Monday's post on this theme ('course, I'm making a presumption you'll write something about the C series, an under-appreciated batch o adventures).


Are you familiar with the Toad-Witch series of books by Christiana Miller? And if so, would you recommend them? They've had fairly good reviews, but you're my go-to guy for all things witchy.
; )

Sophie Duncan said...

I'm going to admit this now - I have never played D&D, even though I grew up on sword and sorcery books and movies. Good to learn about the origins of something that was an icon of my formative years :)
Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles | Wittegen Press | FB3X

Nilanjana Bose said...

Congrats on being on top with your posts.
Best wishes

Tasha Duncan-Drake said...

So why were all copies of the first print of B3 destroyed?
Nice to know there are beginner sets ... I always wondered how one got into D&D :)
Tasha's Thinkings (72) | Wittegen Press (74) | FB3X (AC) (75)

Donna L Martin said...

Hi there!

I’m stopping by from the #AtoZChallenge. My son was big into these types of games growing up but never played D & D. I, however, was more a Pokemon player although I spent a couple of years playing Evony and enjoyed it immensely before my writing career took over...;~)

I have two blogs in this challenge…my author blog at THE STORY CATCHER ( and my KICKS Kids Club blog ( . If you get a chance, check them out and good luck with the challenge!

Donna L Martin

Sean Robert Meaney said...

'An entire generation of gamers visited those caves in search of glory, gold and experience points.'

And got their asses handed to them by a bunch of kobolds hiding in (spoiler ommitted) ten minutes in...