Friday, April 15, 2016

A to Z of Adventure! M is for Masters Series

M is for Masters Series.

The Masters series of adventures were created for the BECMI version of D&D.  Typically around here I have BECMI as roughly synonymous with B/X D&D or "Basic D&D" well....the M or Master Series is around to remind me that this is not really the case.

So a bit history.
The first Basic Set was authored by John Eric Holmes in 1977.  Gamers often call this "Blue Book Basic".
The next Basic Set was written by Tom Moldvay and was followed by the Cook/Marsh Expert Set. These books are collectively known as B/X.
The next set would be the last "Basic D&D". It was written and edited by +Frank Mentzer and included the Basic, Expert, Companion, Masters and Immortal sets. Also known as BECMI.
Each set detailed more levels of the game; 1-3, 4-14, 15-25, 26-36, and Immortality, respectively.

The Masters set and M series of modules were designed for experienced players and characters of 26th level and higher.

Only five M series modules were made.

Code Title Levels Author(s) Published Notes
M1 Into the Maelstrom 25–30 Bruce Heard, Beatrice Heard 1985
M2 Vengeance of Alphaks 28–32 Skip Williams 1986
M3 Twilight Calling 30–35 Tom Moldvay 1986
M4 Five Coins for a Kingdom 28–32 Allen Varney 1987
M5 Talons of Night 20–25 Jannell Jaquays 1987

Of these I only own M1, M3 and M5.

The simple matter is few characters get to this high of a level and often when they do the DM usually has their own adventures for them.

M1 Into the Maelstrom is a cool adventure with flying ships which became some of a fasination for +Bruce Heard.  If I were to play this one I would naturally have to include material from Bruce's own Calidar, In Stranger Skies setting.  Or set it in Calidar...hmmm this gives me some ideas.

M3 Twilight Calling is from the creative mind of the late Tom Moldvay.  Tom is something of a celebertiy in my home games. Every adventure I have run of his my family likes.  Likes enough to ask who wrote it. After saying Tom Moldvay for the third time (Castle Amber, Isle of Dread, Lost City, Secret of the Slavers Stockade...).   It is my favorite M series module and has the players go on a plane-hopping adventure to finally get to the Plane of Nightmares.  I have often thought it would make for a perfect "Final Adventure" for any party.

M5 Talons of Night by Jannell Jaquays is also fun, and really deadly adventure.  I grabbed it becuase of the dragon on the cover.  If M3 is the finale for my "Come Endless Darkness" game then M5 should be the finale of my "Dragonslayers" game.
Plus, it always reminds me of this song.

I mentioned H4 with it's 18-100 level range, and it is deadly.  But that adventure is just really a scaled up 20th level adventure.  These adventures are qualitatively different.

I am just disappointed that they are not available yet on DriveThruRPG as PDFs, though I am glad I have mine.


Jonathan Linneman said...

Another great post. Your A-Z posts are the way I imagine mine are going to turn out...a nice mix of personal investment in the topic with enough links to provide everyone with an entertaining history. Yours actually turn out that way, though!

Pun Isaac said...

I don't know that I've heard of any of these adventures. I do want to investigate them more.

Unknown said...

Sounds fascinating, although completely beyond me. Great song though.