Showing posts sorted by relevance for query White Plume Mountain. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query White Plume Mountain. Sort by date Show all posts

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Dragonslayers vs. The Lost Caverns of the Tsojcanth

Today the boys wanted to play some D&D for Father's Day.  Really, how could I say no?

So we wrapped up the last bits of the return from White Plume mountain.  The boys went and visited Crazy Omar to collect their reward.  Omar got Whelm, as he wanted.  They traded Blackrazor for an equally notorious weapon from my world, the crossbow "Bessie Mauler" (yes, yes stolen from the Riftwar Cycle, but to be fair I stole it from my old DM and I had no idea he had stolen from somewhere else).

I also wanted to point out that they now had a crowd following them wherever they went.  After all they were the heroes that freed the Silver Princes and defeated Dragotha.  They are a long way from The Caves of the Stinky Goblin (the first adventure of the Dragonslayers).  I wanted them to feel like heroes.

Of course now they are a day's ride to the Horn of Iggwilv.  Omar has told them that great treasure awaits them in Iggwilv's lair.  They are free to keep the spell books, but Omar has his sight on "Iggwilv's Greatest Treasure" something so precious that she "wrapped in in gold".   Well Omar, or the boys yet, don't know that the rumors of the greatest treasure are referring to Drelzna and she is wrapped in gold.  Gold armor to be exact.

The made it up into the mountains.  They know there is a Gnome kingdom located in the mountains and they have just been abused by a group of Stone Giants tossing boulders at them.

I have had S4 forever and it is great to finally get a chance to run it.  I am using the original AD&D 1st ed version of this, along with the Iggwilv's Legacy update from WotC from 2007 (no longer online) and will include the Lost Temple of Tharizdun IF it seems like a good idea.  This adventure should take us well into Gen Con.

There is a blue dragon in this adventure and one in the next one I am planning, Death's Ride.  I am going to make them the same blue dragon.  It would be good to give them a reoccurring enemy.  And who better for the Dragonslayers than the Huge Blue Dragon Korbundar?

I am not planning on having them run into Iggwilv just yet.  Mostly I am torn on whether or not to make into a witch (one of my versions) or make her into a wizard.  She did study with the Circle of Eight and she does seem to be in every respect a wizard.  The easiest thing to do is cheat and wait till I am running 4e and just make her into a Warlock/Wizard multiclass.  A person of such history would be great to have in my games.  Wilva though is not a do-er, she is a manipulator. She has pawns.  I think this pic sums her up best.


I still have my Big PlanTM in motion for 4e and Iggwilv is a part of that.  So she is manipulating the Dragonslayers now to get them in place for her take over of the Abyss.  Turns out it will be their kids, but she can wait.

I just don't know if I can!  I want to play this all now!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Updated Plans

Not much to this post, I am looking over the Big PlanTM I have for my Kids' D&D games.

I detailed my plan first here and then updated it here.  Since then I have played some of the adventures listed, just not in the order I had them.

Of the plan I have completed:
  • B3 Palace of the Silver Princess
  • X1 The Ilse of Dread
  • S2 White Plume Mountain
Removed from rotation are (and detailed here):
  • C2 The Ghost Tower of Inverness.  I am going to be running this under the Doctor Who RPG as "The Ghost Tower of Inverness, Illinois"  (the castle, the Ghost Tower)
  • B2 Keep on the Borderlands.  Been done a 1000 times.  I want to run it under Army of Darkness rules.
  • I6 Ravenloft. Will run this as Ghosts of Albion: Ravenloft for Ghosts of Albion.
Games I'll run under my Basic Levels plan:
  • T1 Village of Hommlet (and come back to it later using the 4th ed version)
  • B1 In Search of the Unknown (great dungeon crawl)
  • L1 Secret of Bone Hill (been wanting to run this one forever)
Then on to some D&D4 adventures.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sorry, I was OUTSIDE!

Yeah it's springtime in Chicagoland, which means it is just as cold as winter, but we have a few more hours of daylight.   I wanted to do some more White Plume Mountain today, but yardwork calls.

Though while cleaning out gutters today I did think of how first contact happened between the dwarves and human of my world.  Much better than the first contact between dwarves and elves.

Going out to fertilize the lawn now.  Who knows what I'll come up with then.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Revised Plan; Generational Mega Plots

I plan to come back to Cartoon Action Hour here in a bit, but I have something I want to get organized first.

So a while back I posted a plan for the adventures I wanted to run with my family using 4E.

Well since that time, some gaming has happened, some looking over various adventures and some tests on my part has brought me to the conclusion that I can't run some of those old school modules under 4E after all.  Certainly I am still working on my current 3.x adventures with my kids.

Now mind you, this is not a bad thing nor is it reflective of the modules, 4e or "Old School".
But it has forced me to change my plans.

So for the "Dragon Slayers" game I am running I'll add some of those classic modules.  The characters are all right around 13th level now, with one just on the verge of 10th.  The ultimate goal of this game is to defeat Tiamat in the "Graveyard of Dragons". What can I say, my kids like the old D&D cartoon.    The rules are under 3.x edition, which has an odd mix of D&D 3.0, with some 3.5, minor bits from Pathfinder, BESM d20 and Star Wars d20 (the revised one that came out after Attack of the Clones).

Also some of these modules are going to be played by me under Pathfinder in either my "Big Kids Group" or the "Little Kids Group".  Currently the LKG is going through "B2 The Keep on the Borderlands".  I have already used bits of "X1 Ilse of the Dread" and "B4 The Lost City".  I know that in the one of the Pathfinder groups we will go through the GDQ series at some point, most likely the Little Kids Group.  I will be running "C2 Ghost Tower" under the Doctor Who Adventures in Time and Space game.

After that those characters will retire and their descendants will complete a new Quest.  The defeat of Orcus.
I'll run this one under D&D 4E and I do plan on it taking many years.

I am not 100% certain how the adventures will pan out, but I do want to use the D&D4 ones for ease.


Part of this is my desire to have them battle Orcus at the end. Plus I like to overall plot of involving the Raven Queen vs Orcus and Orcus getting a hold of some ancient artifact of Tharizdûn.

Those modules will get them from 1st to 30th level.  But I might want to add a couple here and there.  Not sure yet since I have not read them all in detail.   I also know some people have had issues with these modules, both in terms of how they fit together, plot and playability.  So I want to get things that are out now, and then tweak them as I need.  Afterall, if this is about fighting Orcus who gets an artifact from ancient Tharizdûn then I can lay some ground work in my 3.x game now for that.

So after all that I have some modules left over.

  • B3 Palace of the Silver Princess, levels 1-3 (using bits from both the "Green" and "Orange" versions).
  • L1 The Secret of Bone Hill, levels 2-4
  • X2 Castle Amber, levels 3-6 (place it in the Shadowfell, which is the new Ravenloft anyway)
  • I6 Ravenloft, levels 5-7. That is if I don't use it as a convert Ghosts of Albion adventure. Use some of the Ravenloft campaign/world setting stuff here too.
  • S2 White Plume Mountain, levels 5-10
  • I10 Ravenloft II, House on Gryphon Hill, levels 8-10.
  • S4 The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth (with some of the info from the 3.5 update), levels 6-10
  • WG4 The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun, levels 5-10
  • S1 Tomb of Horrors, levels 10-14 (though I might just wait for the new D&D4 version)
  • S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, levels 8-12
  • CM2 Death's Ride, levels 15-20. 
Then there are these modules:
  • H1 Bloodstone Pass, levels 15+
  • H2 The Mines of Bloodstone, levels 16-18
  • H3 The Bloodstone Wars, levels 17-20
  • H4 The Throne of Bloodstone, levels 18-100

Like the E series for D&D4, these send you to Orcus's layer to defeat him.   Of the lot, H4 would be the best one to use, maybe as a buffer between E2 and E3.   The others seem more suited for the Dragon Slayer's Pathfinder game.    Of course, I could convert the H1-H4 Bloodstone series to feature Tiamat instead of Orcus.   S4 and WG4 are linked and deal with Iggwilv, her Demonomicon and Tharizdûn.  They are good to set up the history of Orcus and Tharizdûn.  They can happen in either game. In the 4th Ed game I'd stick it in between H and P.  CM2 Death's Ride has some cool stuff in it. Good to set up the whole Orcus wants to be a God thing in the 3.x game.  Plus it would give me a good arch-nemesis for the characters to fight throughout.

The Ravenloft ones would be great for the Sunsword (a good weapon against the undead) but there is the Board Game coming out and I want it.  Plus I'd rather run Ravenloft these days under True20.  So I might have to find something similar.  If I use the new Tomb of Horrors then I could place a good aligned sword there.  There is a D&D4

There is a lot to do and figure out here.  But I see this as a good thing. Look at all the time I have.  I can plan out a mult-year arc of adventuring that would take my kids all the way to college.  Wouldn't have died to have done something like that?

Though I do need to figure out a way to get more dragons into the 4th Ed game for my oldest.

Now this is my attempt to bring Old Schoolers and New Schoolers together.

NEW SCHOOLERS:  What things should I be aware of when running the HPE series?

OLD SCHOOLERS: What classic, epic modules are a "must run" for a group of kids that were not even alive when Clinton was in office, let alone Carter.  What memory of "D&D" is a must have?  Barrier Peeks?  Tomb of Horrors?

Clarifications on Games being Played
- "Dragon Slayers" is a 3.x game that I play with my two sons and sometimes my wife joins us. The goal of this game is to defeat Tiamat.
- "Big Kids Game/Group" is a Pathfinder game where I play a Paladin.  In this group are my kids and the DM's kids (6 players, 1 DM)
- "Little Kids Game/Group" is a Pathfinder game where I play a Witch (same witch as I do in Dragon Slayers).  This is the group with the Problem Player.
Both Pathfinder games have the same DM.
- "Untitled 4th Ed Game" is a 4e game where the players are the same as Dragon Slayers, but the characters are their children or descendants. The goal of this game is to defeat Orcus.

Monday, January 4, 2010

I Have a Plan…

It's not a great plan, or even a well thought out one, but it is a plan. I am going to be taking my two sons (and now it seems, my wife) on a massive 4th Edition D&D campaign. Yes I know this will take years, but that is fine, I have those years. I am going to place it in my "Mystoerth" world.

Given my penchant for all things horror, I am going to set up the campaign to focus on the ascent of Orcus to godhood. Orcus is a great enemy to have. He is unrepentant evil, his minions are undead and he is full of rage, horror and violence and everything a good upstanding hero would want to stop.

I'd use some of the "new" mythology of Orcus and Raven Queen, plus a bit of my own. But not all would be railroaded plot-driven arcs. My oldest son loves to fight dragons so that would also be there. Plus I want to make this very, very relaxed. The unfolding meta-plot is my extra enjoyment, but I want to do it in such a way that we all have fun.

I am going to place it in my world's version of Glantri. Glantri is from Mystara and in that world was a Principality, now I have at as Theocratic Monarchy where the King is also the head of the Church of State. So basically, Fairy Tale England, or more to the point Fairy Tale Western Europe, since I also have influences of France and Italy here. The Princes are gone, defeated in a coup, but their lands remain ruled by nine dukes under the King. The Dukes are mostly the old family of the Princes, looking for a chance to reclaim power. So I have political intrigue if I want it, but I am going to be keeping my good and evil mostly easy to spot, at least in the beginning. The Dukes allow me to use older Glantri material, I just swap out the terms. Under the Dukes are various landed nobles, typically retired adventures, known as Barons and Counts. My thinking here is to give my boys all the full D&D experiences; so there are knights and dames, courts of intrigue and chivalry, and the way for brave adventurers to return home as heroes. Sure it is not "grim-dark" or even "points of light", but it can be part of the "oncoming darkness".

My world has a Blackmoor, a Desert, a Hyborea, not mention Greyhawk, Glantri and Kara-Tur all in one world. So, more than enough to keep me and my family busy for years to come really. Though there are only four of us, I might have to bring in some others, maybe some of their friends as well. This is one of the main reasons I am going with 4th Edition as opposed to say an older version (the D&D Rules Cyclopedia would be so awesome for this) or another game (like Ghosts of Albion). I am more likely to find others that play 4E than some other game AND it just makes the most sense really given all the tools for 4E out now.

Here is the "Hero Tier" to borrow a phrase. These will be local and be the Mystara flavor of the epic.
  • T1 The Village of Hommlet, levels 1-2. I do have the 4th Edition update for this.
  • B1 In Search of the Unknown, levels 1-3 (can run this one in my sleep)
  • B2 The Keep on the Borderlands, levels 1-3
  • B3 Palace of the Silver Princess, levels 1-3 (using bits from both the "Green" and "Orange" versions).
  • L1 The Secret of Bone Hill, levels 2-4
  • X1 The Ilse of Dread, levels 3-7
  • X2 Castle Amber, levels 3-6 (place it in the Shadowfell, which is the new Ravenloft anyway)
  • C2 The Ghost Tower of Inverness, levels 5-7. Though I won't run it as a tournament module and that is if I don't use it as a converted Doctor Who adventure.
  • I6 Ravenloft, levels 5-7. That is if I don't use it as a convert Ghosts of Albion adventure. Use some of the Ravenloft campaign/world setting stuff here too.
  • S2 White Plume Mountain, levels 5-10
  • I10 Ravenloft II, House on Gryphon Hill, levels 8-10 (maybe. They might be burned out on undead by this time.)
Now begins the "Paragon Tier" and I will start with the Gygaxian canon.
  • S4 The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth (with some of the info from the 3.5 update), levels 6-10
  • WG4 The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun, levels 5-10
  • S1 Tomb of Horrors, levels 10-14 (though some of the instant kill traps changed, more skill challenges)
  • S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, levels 8-12
  • G123, Against the Giants, levels 8-12
  • D12 Descent into the Depths of the Earth, levels 9-14
  • D3 Vault of the Drow, levels 10-14
  • Q1 Queen of the Demonweb Pits, levels 10-14
  • CM2 Death's Ride, levels 15-20. This sets up the next tier, or I could even make this the start of the next tier and keep the Epic levels nothing but Gygaxian Greyhawk. I like that idea.
I can also fit Gary's "Dungeon Land" and "The Land Beyond the Magic Mirror" adventures here as well to complete the Gygaxian saga. But I need to re-read those to be sure.

Now here would also be a good spot for the DA series Blackmoor adventures for made for the Expert D&D set, but there is a lot of high tech stuff mixed in with those. I might pick and choose things, but I think I am more likely to go with the newer d20 Blackmoor stuff.

The "Epic Tier" is harder, but here some ideas.
Some of the Master level modules (M2, M3 and M5 in particular) look like they would work well. Plus they have the Mystara high fantasy feel that some of the Greyhawk modules don't have.
Of course I would do the Bloodstone series here, just make them harder, maybe even pair them up with the Orcus related adventures for 4e (the new "E" series), though old H4 and new E3 cover a lot of the same ground. I would want to add some other planes adventures here too. So to follow my rule of thumb I should try to find at least 6 more adventures for this tier.
  • H1 Bloodstone Pass, levels 15+
  • H2 The Mines of Bloodstone, levels 16-18
  • H3 The Bloodstone Wars, levels 17-20
  • H4 The Throne of Bloodstone, levels 18-100
I could also do a sub-campaign in my desert area using:
  • B4 The Lost City, levels 1-3 (though I am using this one now in 3.5)
  • I3 Pharaoh, levels 5-7
  • I4 Oasis of the White Palm, levels 6-8
  • I5 Lost Tomb of Martek, levels 7-9
  • X4 Master of the Desert Nomads, levels 6-9
  • X5 Temple of Death, levels 6-10
  • I9 Day of Al'Akbar, level 8-10. Useful for the Cup and Talisman of Al'Akbar.
Now granted these levels are all for AD&D and Basic D&D and might not translate well into 4E. But I have a lot of tools at my disposal to help with that. I have a load of maps, a DDI subscription, monsters and even some third party stuff to make it all work. If I plan everything out correctly I can have them go up a level at the end of every adventure. I like that too. Also I can set up a titanic army of the undead using all the previous "bosses" from these adventures. So Strahd, Drenzula, Korbundar, Acerak, and more I know I am forgetting. Plus some GM PCs I'd love to try out that I know I'll never get to play in a 4th Ed game.

To borrow a Klingon quote, "It will be glorious!"

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Review: Maze of the Blue Medusa

Notice: I am not taking down this post because I feel it is more important to leave it up, but also update everyone on what is happeing now as February 11, 2019. Please see this newer post first. http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2019/02/i-am-going-to-talk-about-zak-today-and.html

Maze of the Blue Medusa is the latest book from +Patrick Stuart (of Deep Carbon Observatory) and +Zak Sabbath ("Red and Pleasant Land" among others) and published by Satyr Press.

All of that is relevant to the review that follows. First, you can see the DNA of both DCO and RaPL in Maze of the Blue Medusa (MoBM hereafter). Not to say this is the child of the other two, unless it is a child the same way a medusa is the child of an arch-devil, but there are fingerprints all over it.

Satyr Press is important too. Not because you have heard of it (I hadn't) but because they are not known for their RPG books. In fact this is their first and only one to date.  You won't find MotBM on DriveThruRPG or RPGNow. I have no idea if my favorite local game store carries it (though they did have RaPL).  So already we should know from all of this we have something different. And we do.

I have had MotBM now for a little while but I have been purposefully holding off on reviewing it till know for a very specific reason.  I want to review it now so you can vote for it at the ENnies.  Yes, I know that calls my bias into question and my intentions.  But there is the Product (which I am reviewing here) and there is the Philosophy (which is why I want you to vote).  I am going to review the Product, but I want to talk about the Philosophy.

Ok brass tacks.  What is Maze of the Blue Medusa?
Extremely simply put MotBM is an adventure.  It is a huge dungeon in the very, very classical sense that for what ever reasons your characters will investigate.  The PDF is 296 pages. This contains a map of the "Maze" (spoiler: it's not really a maze), both Zak's lavishly painted version and a utilitarian numbered one that is also hyperlinked (Philosophy vs. Product right there).  The PDF is massive, hyperlinks everywhere and the art is, as expected, top notch material from Zak.   I can't help compare it to Red and Pleasant Land, and favorably so.  The art is central to the map. OR the map is central to the art. They are one and the same really. So don't come to this product if you want grids or blue borders on your maps.  I love all that stuff, I do, but that is not this product, nor would it ever be.
The maps remind me also of the board game Dungeon! a little bit.  Same sort of color, same sort of "flat yet, multi-dimensional" feel to it.  I will be honest that was what attracted me most from the start.
The Maze is both explicitly and implicitly multidimensional.
The only thing I can relate it too was this multivariate regression course I took back in grad school where we tried to replicate 4, 5 and more dimensional multivariate axes on two-dimensional paper.
For me, at least, not only is the PDF hyper-linked, the Maze itself is hyperlinked.


We are given a brief history and a timeline involving an immortal medusa and three perfect sisters.
There is insanity all around them, thus the Maze.

Or whatever.

I like the background and it pulls me into this world, but it happened (game wise) so long ago how can any of the PCs be sure?  Implicit in the design is that you can do what you like here.  This is evident in the coding of the monster stats in some Ur-D&D. Designed to be flexible and compatible with a wide variety of editions and games.

Which gets me to my first big point on Philosophy.
The Maze has no meaning save what the reader/player puts on it.
I am not trying to discount what Zak and Patrick wrote in the book. Not at all, quite the opposite. They worked very hard to provide a copious amount text and background.  But like the medusa who changes people with her gaze, the Blue Medusa is changed by the gaze of others.   The details are enough to get you going but how it works in your world with your players and your style of gaming (not to mention the ruleset you choose) will change it.  The language used here is less "I am telling you what is happening" to "I am inspiring you to tell what is happening".  The difference is profound.  It made the work Zak and Patrick had to do harder, but more rewarding.  It is not their domain (or dare I say even their right) to tell me why the Medusa or Chronia don't age, it is enough that they don't and the world moves on.  Do you need to know for your game? Maybe, that is up to you.

The monsters, or really NPCs, are unique and tailored to this. Same with the magic items.  Sure there are some liches, but that seems to be expected given the rules of the Maze to be honest.  Hell I might throw in a couple more and have them be former adventures from my gaming groups of the neolithic days of D&D just amuse myself.   But in truth no-one is there without a reason.
One could, based on the surface features, call this a dungeon crawl but that is nowhere close to what it really is.  Yeah you can use it as that, but that is a waste of material.
Plus, unlike the great adventures of yesteryear (which I am still inordinately fond of) there are good reasons why these monsters/npcs/characters are hanging around here.  There is no sphinx guarding the corridors as in White Plume Mountain. There is no monster here because it fit the challenge rating of the rest of the dungeons.  Things are here because they serve a purpose in the Maze itself independent of whether or not the PCs are there.

There are also enough things going on in this dungeon/book that I could not help but be amused by knowing the histories and interactions of the designers.  I nearly spit out my coffee at the Canibal Critics.   I also have to admit I adore the Glyph Witch.

Now personally I am huge fan of the PDF. It is hyperlinked and I can jump all over the Maze in a way that is both utilitarian (Gods...I just called a Zak Sabbath book "utilitarian")  but also aesthetically pleasing.   I want to say though that the pictures of the hardcover are absolutely gorgeous.  It's the type of book you leave out and hope your non-gaming friends find a leaf through.

Sometimes They Get Lost
With so many characters (both senses of the word) wandering the halls of the Maze I can't help but have two thoughts. 1. Is this the authors' idea of what hell is? It has all the features of the Greek Hades or even Dante's Inferno. I am quite certain that all the NPCs represent real people in the lives of the authors. I have not identified them all and I am not likely too, but it is a fun exercise.  Also 2. Is this where all the lost characters go?  Sometimes when you play with a group, players come and go, what happens to their characters?  I am not talking about inbetween major adventures, but in the middle of one.  One session there are there and the next...gone.  Maybe...just maybe some of them end up here. They are lost in the truest sense of the word. Not evil, not good, but lost.  Maybe they have wandered the halls for a thousand years but still think that it was only minutes ago they got here.  Maybe they are all too painfully aware of what is going on but are powerless to do anything about it.

Why Should I Buy Maze of the Blue Medusa?
Buy this if you are the type of gamer that loves a new and unique challenge. Buy this if you are the kind of gamer that is bored of the typical dungeon crawl where you kick in a door, kill the giant rat and collect your 2,000 coppers.  After 36+ years of gaming, precious little seems "new" to me.  This feels new.  The ideas are old, but the presentation and the execution are new.
Buy this for the jaded gamer who thinks they have seen it all.
I am going to pick up the hard cover because I also think this adventure makes for good reading.  There is an implicit story here I would love to tease out for my own world.

Why Should I Vote For Maze of the Blue Medusa?
Obviously, I think the product is worthy of such consideration. This why I am posting now as opposed to last week or after I get my hardcover.  This is my next big point on Philosophy.  You buy MotBM for the Product, but vote for the Philosophy.  Zak's writing, work and much of his blog is about how games can and should be better.  MotBM is the tangible artifact of that ideal.  Now my "better" and your "better" and his "better" might not all be the same thing, but the effort to do something different needs to be rewarded.  The effort to try out adventure design where one designer paints and the other writes and they go back and forth should be rewarded and acknowledged.  There is also the fact that this is essentially a D&D product. If this were (gods I am going to catch shit for this) FATE adventure or something from the Indie Press Revolution, the style would be heralded and pedalstooled by that faction of gamers. This is the Indie RPG aesthetic applied to DIY D&D.

Maze is up for the following ENnies:
Best Adventure
Best Cartography
Best Electronic Book
Best Writing
and Product of the Year

Personally, I think it is worthy of all of these. Foremost Best Adventure and Best Electronic Book.
Buying sends the message to the authors that you appreciate their work. Voting sends the message to other authors that this is the sort of thing you like and you want to see more.  So please, vote for this.

We need more adventures and supplements like this.

I have no idea where I am going to use this, but I will use it.

Good job +Zak Sabbath and +Patrick Stuart.  Looking forward to seeing what is next.
---
I am up for an Ennie this year for Best Blog!
Please click on the link and vote "1" under "The Other Side".


Thursday, March 12, 2015

The 30 Greatest D&D Adventures of All Time

Been kinda of obsessed with lists lately.  But this one does have a point for me.  A while back (2004 in fact) the Pazio run of Dungeon Magazine listed their top 30 adventures of all time.

I have been going through what I call the "Classical Canon" of D&D.  Not just so I have the experience of running them all, but so my kids can also enjoy these great adventures.  I also am looking for what makes a truly great D&D adventure; something that people still talk about years later.

Anyway here is the list with my thoughts.

30. The Ghost Tower of Inverness, 1980 (C2)
This is great one, but an odd one to run with a party in an ongoing campaign.  So I used it in my Doctor Who Adventures in Time and Space playtest and ran it as "The Ghost Tower of Inverness, Illinois".  I used this as the location of the "Ghost Tower" which is actually a malfunctioning Time Beacon.

29. The Assassin’s Knot, 1983 (L2)
Personally I prefer L1, Secret of Bone Hill, but this is a great sequel and I can see why many people like it more than Bone Hill.  Assassin's Knot works well as a murder mystery, but not great if your players are wanting to go in a bust skulls.

28. The Lost City, 1982 (B4)
I played this one in 8th Grade when it was new and had a blast.  I ran it again for my kids a few years back and still had a blast.  There were so many things in it I had forgotten and I spent most of the module smiling to myself in memory.  It is a Moldvay classic really and really has the feel of early 80s Basic D&D.

27. The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, 1981 (U1)
This was one I played back in the day but I have yet to run.  I have it all ready to go with my 3rd Ed. conversion notes.  Of course at the time I thought this was great because I was deep into my Anglophilia and I thought ANYTHING from England was perfect. Given that it was written (in part) by Don Turnbull then it was bound to be good.  If I remember right I played this one after Lost City.  I loved the tenor and mood of the module. It inspired an adventure I wrote in 88 called "Home by the Sea".  Parts of that adventure were then later used in my Ghosts of Albion adventure Blight, which took place in Ireland.  So it all came full circle.

26. City of Skulls, 1993 (WGR6)
This is an odd one. I never played it, never ran it and never really heard anything about it.  This was near the end of my Ravenloft games and very, very close to the time where I took a huge break from D&D.  I will check it out sometime, but doubt if I'll ever run it.

25. Dragons of Despair, 1984 (DL1)
I never played or ran any of the Dragonlance modules.  I enjoyed the books when they came out and I liked the idea that everyone playing was going through it all at the same time.  Hey, maybe someone should revive this for the next D&D Encounters!  I loved the idea and I loved the new design of the modules, but even then it felt a little railroady to me.  Plus I wanted to use my own characters.

24. City of the Spider Queen, 2002
I am not a good judge of this one. I don't like Drizzt. I don't like R.A. Salvatore. I never really cared for the Forgotten Realms till about 4th Edition.  I don't really know anything about this module. I suspect it was added to the list because there was a dearth of "modern" adventures and most of the others were "Greyhawk" related.

23. The Forgotten Temple of Tharzidun, 1982 (WG4)
Now this adventure...This one I can get behind.  I never played this one, but I have run it twice. It's a death dealer and a peak into what might have been coming as a narrative arc if Gygax had been into such things.  This module is one of out first peeks into the horror that is Tharzidun, a god that is part Cthulhu and part Satan in my game.  I am weaving material from this module into my larger campaign.

22. The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth, 1982 (S4)
The same is true for this module. I remember buying it as soon as it came out and I begged my DM to run me through it.  I have run it myself twice since, the most recent time with my Dragonslayers group.  This is one of my most favorite modules. It has a vampire, Iggwilv, tons of new demons (many that later became part of the Monster Manual II) and just enough puzzles to keep the players on their toes. Running it this last time was a lot of fun.

21. Dark Tower, 1979 from Judge’s Guild (JG 0088)
While I would argue that this is an obligatory JG entry, this one is actually a lot of fun.  I never played it myself and it is so rare on eBay that it has been cost prohibative.  Thankfully we have PDFs of the Original and of the 3.5 update.

20. Scourge of the Slave Lords, 1986 (A1-4)
Another classic getting the reprint treatment.  I remember playing this one in 8th grade as well.  My DM at the time folded the Lost City into the A series to make a campaign out of them. Also he had a copy of Grimtooth's Traps which made everything deadlier. Or as he said "better".  I still have a thief stuck somewhere in a pit trap.

19. Against the Cult of the Reptile God, 1982 (N1)
I have never played or run this one.   I have though always wanted to use it as a start of a "Second" campaign,  After running the Classical Canon, I would start with a new campaign focusing on reptiles as the enemy.  Work in some modern "Reptoids" and have a go at it.  Maybe someday I will still do this.  But this is a fun adventure to read.

18. The Hidden Shrine of Tamochan, 1980 (C1)
Another great old module I never played, but read many times.  Like N1 I always hoped that I could use this one as part of a second campaign.  Though given some of the elements I would not be amiss using it in my "Come Endless Darkness" campaign.  I already have too many modules/adventures for the 5-7 level range.

17. Ruins of Undermountain, 1991
Ah. This is one that I have always known about but never really bothered with.  It was Forgotten Realms so I never gave it much thought.  Though I always thought this was more of a campaign expansion, ie part of the the whole Underdark deal so I never considered it an adventure.

16. Isle of Dread, 1980 (X1)
Oh the hours I spent pouring over this map.  This was Tom Moldvay's love letter to the pulp era and to such classic horror movies as King Kong. This also included the first full map of the Known World.  I ran it many times as a kid and it was one of the first modules I ran for my son.  He wanted to go an island of monsters, "like in Godzilla".  This did not disappoint him or me.  More so than any other adventure, the Dragonslayers were born here.

15. Castle Amber, 1981 (X2)
Another great. Again Moldvay's pulp horror influences are showing here, in particular his love for the works of Clark Ashton Smith. This time we enter an old house full of crazy characters and plenty of dangers.  This could have come off as a "fun house" dungeon, but something in the presentation is different.  Maybe it is the undertones of horror and dread.   My players in our 5e game are going through this one now. I have dropped the first hints of the "coming darkness" to them here.
This is one of my personal favorites. Certainly part of my top 5.

14. Dead Gods, 1997
Dead Gods is not an adventure I have ever run or been in, but it is one I have used quite a bit.  There are a number of elements in it that I use for my "Rise of Orcus" plot. Especially back in the 4e days and the rise of Orcus adventures.  Honestly there are enough adventures out there that you could build a universe (and edition) spanning mega campaign on nothing more than stopping the machinations of Orcus.  One day I should give that a try.

13. Dwellers of the Forbidden City, 1981 (I1)
This is a great adventure and part of my "Second Campaign" (AGGHHH too many adventures to play!) it is also at the 4th-7th level sweet spot.  This one is a key part of that idea since it introduced the Yuan-ti, a monster I have used repeatedly; often calling them Ophidians.   It has elements that would fit in nicely with my 5th edition group, but I have too many adventures for this level.

12. The Forge of Fury, 2000
So this is our obligatory 3e adventure I think.  I never played it or ran it, thought I have read it.  Personally I think The Sunless Citadel was better and should have been on this list.  It was the first and introduced a generation to Meepo.  Sure he was no Aleena, but you could also say that Aleena was no Meepo!

11. The Gates of Firestorm Peak, 1996
Ugh.  Sorry, but there is a lot about this module I just don't like.  I don't care for the shoehorn plot for starters and I hated the Skills & Powers books. Som much that it threw me off of D&D till 3e came out.  It was "Lovecraftian" and I did like that.  I suspect that is why it is on this list to be honest. Though many of the ideas in this module came into sharper focus during the 3e years.

10. Return to the Tomb of Horrors, 1998
You have to admit. This is a total cheat.  I have it, I enjoyed it and I like the idea that the Tomb is something that people can keep going back too (whatever the edition).  As a sequel there is a lot to like. As a stand alone and on it's own merits though it might be passable.

9. White Plume Mountain, 1979 (S2)
I am inordinately fond of the S series of modules.  This one is no different.  It of course makes 0 sense, but works great as an epic D&D adventure. Plus it gave us Wave, Whelm and Blackrazor.

8. Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil, 2001
In many ways I like this one better than the original. I like the idea of returning to the Temple I also like the idea of talking in game about adventures that came before.  Gives me a sense of continuity.   This is one of my favorite 3.x era modules to be honest.

7. The Keep on the Borderlands, 1979 (B1)
What can I honestly say about this one?  The Cave of Chaos were as well traveled as a local Mall in the 1980s.   When I think "Classic Canon" this is the first thing that comes to mind.

6. The Desert of Desolation, 1987 (I3-5)
Another total cheat this "super" module is made up of Pharoah (I3), Oasis of the White Palm (I4) and Lost Tomb of Martek (I5).   Though to be totally fair they are linked together. Another really great set of adventures I would LOVE to play or run (read them many times) but not likely to.  Maybe if I do my "Second Campaign".  There is a lot in these I have used elsewhere though.

5. Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, 1980 (S3)
"You know what AD&D needs?  Freaking laser guns! Lasers and killer robots!"  Seriously. Has there ever been a module to encapsulate everything the late 70s and early 80s was all about more than this one?  It even has a karate instructor robot.  I am going to add in a break-dancing robot that moves to a funky Herbie Hancock beat when I run this next.  Which should be soon. I am going totally gonzo with it too. I am grabbing bits of Gamma World and Metamorphosis Alpha too.   In fact since the characters are higher level than the module requires I am doing a sort of "Return to the Barrier Peaks" spin on it. I am going to add some material from The Illithiad as well.

4. The Temple of Elemental Evil, 1985 (T1-4)
Another of the classic canon. If you didn't start your adventure in the keep, then chances are you started it here.  I have always wanted to run this one and never have.  I have used pieces of it before.
I suppose if I do my "second campaign" I will start with this and change the temple a bit.

3. Tomb of Horrors, 1978 (S1)
We just finished this one and it was every bit the meat grinder it was rumored to be.  I had gone through back in the day, but running it was a completely different experience.  Now I might be branded as a heretic here but it is not really that good of an adventure.  Really it isn't. There are lot things in the adventure that don't make sense except in a D&D world.  That being said it is a rite of passage and everyone should try it at least once under their favorite edition or at least once under 1st ed as Gary intended it to be.

2. Ravenloft, 1983 (I6)
Here we go. This is my favorite module on the list. I just love it; warts and all.  Yeah there are some real leaps in logic in this one and there are plenty of reasons NOT to like it, but I don't care. I think it is great. It's a Hammer Horror film in D&D form right down to the small "Hammer Hamlet" village with terrified peasants.  There are vampires, gypsies, werewolves, really strong zombies, gargoyles. Even a huge pipe organ played by the vampire.  You can almost hear Toccata and Fugue in D minor while running it. I have played through this once and I have ran it three or four times.  I would love to try it sometime under the Ghosts of Albion rules.  I am going to take my 5e group through it when they complete Castle Amber.

1. Queen of Spiders, 1986 (G1-3, D1-3, Q1)
The first AD&D campaign arc.  We talk alot about being "plot free" in our adventures but when it get right down to it we love a good story arc and the GDQ was that.  I am not 100% sure that Q1 lived up the promise of the G and D series, but damn was it fun.
This super module was made up of:


Back in the day EVERYONE was going through this. It was the D&D Encounters of it's time.  The only problem was no one was doing it at exactly the same time or way.  So I know dozens of stories about how these turned out. I have dozens of my own.  Plus that Bill Willingham cover of the Giants is one of the most iconic covers of the age I think.

There you are. The 30 greatest adventures as ranked by Dungeon Magazine.
Do you agree or disagree?  What is missing?

Here are my honorable mentions.

In Search of the Unknown, 1978 (B1)
Every adventure starts somewhere. Mine usually start here.  This is my go to module for a quick a easy sandbox style dungeon crawl.  I have run it half a dozen times or more with new groups and it is always a thrill.

Palace of the Silver Princess, 1981 (B3)
Yes it is a rather silly adventure, but I really enjoy it.  Plus the backstory on it makes it a lot more fun.

Palace of the Vampire Queen, 1976 from WeeWarriors (V2)
The first ever published adventure or "DM's Kit" as it was called then.  What it lacks detail it makes up for in style.  I have ran this one twice now under various systems.  It works with everything to be honest; it is that sandboxy.