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"Best Classic D&D Adventure Module (Round 1B)" Topic

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Return to the Best Classic D&D Adventure Module (Round 1B) Poll

Areas of Interest


100 hits since 11 Jan 2019
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

USAFpilot Supporting Member of TMP11 Jan 2019 9:34 a.m. PST

I'll never understand the popularity of the Gygax modules. Don't get me wrong, Gary Gygax was a genius for writing AD&D, but I always thought his modules were rather boring hack-n-slash. There were much better module authors out there.

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP In the TMP Dawghouse11 Jan 2019 10:43 a.m. PST

Paul Jaquays rightly had a reputation for producing great Dungeons for Judges Guild.

I think my least favourite series were (IIRC) the S- series, which were reprints of "competition dungeons" used at Conventions. They often seemed unnecessarily wacky. Was it Plume Mountain that was, to all intents and purposes, a D&D / MA cross-over, with the whole dungeon a crashed space ship ?

Not that TSR were alone in doing stuff like that – I think the Wilderlands of High Fantasy had a treasure table that included a Laser Rifle.

Yeah – that only got rolled once, and it "broke" pretty damn quickly thereafter. And they never found another one…."fool me once, shame on you…."

USAFpilot Supporting Member of TMP11 Jan 2019 11:15 a.m. PST

You are thinking of S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, which is the crashed space ship. My group never played any of the S modules, as our DM viewed them as "character killers". I think we had the most fun with homemade adventures and later with the A series.

USAFpilot Supporting Member of TMP11 Jan 2019 11:31 a.m. PST

S2 White Plume Mountain was good because it had a number of puzzles to solve, not just hack-n-slash.

Phrodon11 Jan 2019 12:34 p.m. PST

I am surprised Keep on the Borderlands is doing so well. Maybe people are just being nostalgic. It is not really role-playing or interesting, more each-room-has-a-new-monster-from-the-monster-manual-just-kill-it. Simple hack n' slash with no sense at all. The Slavers series A1-A4 was really good. Although competition modules from GenCon, it had a mystery, good story, made sense, role-playing and the characters get captured and must escape. One of my favs for sure. S2 was a good diversion. Fun and lots of interesting puzzles.

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP In the TMP Dawghouse11 Jan 2019 12:39 p.m. PST

I think it was boxed with the Basic D&D set – so it might be benefiting from the "my 1st adventure" nostalgia.

Phrodon11 Jan 2019 1:35 p.m. PST

Keep was the very first D&D module I played and the first I DM'd. There are better 1-3 starter modules out there including T1 Hommlet, U1 – Sinister Secret, and N1 – Against the Reptile Gods that are much more interesting. In the end most are cliche. :)

Phrodon11 Jan 2019 1:38 p.m. PST

Now, I feel like rolling up some characters… haha

Mithmee Supporting Member of TMP11 Jan 2019 3:15 p.m. PST

S2 White Plume Mountain

Well I lost my Level 4 Elven Rogue in there.

Let me just say do not roll a "1" when you are moving from disc to disc over a river/lake of lava.

There is no coming back from that when you roll that "1".

Mithmee Supporting Member of TMP11 Jan 2019 3:19 p.m. PST

I am surprised Keep on the Borderlands is doing so well

Well it was one of the first outside adventures for level 1-3 characters.

I had a group that after they left the cave area were camping for the night by the river and in the morning there was a heavy fog rolling in.

Thing is the Fog was actually being cause by the Orc Shaman and the party was about to get ambushed by a group of Orcs.

Mithmee Supporting Member of TMP11 Jan 2019 3:21 p.m. PST

I think it was boxed with the Basic D&D set.

The module that came in the box set was this one.


Which was another great starting adventure.

Mithmee Supporting Member of TMP11 Jan 2019 3:23 p.m. PST

I had to make some hard decisions with this and really want to have more than five choices.

Had to go with just:

B2 – Keep on the Borderlands
S1 – Tomb of Horrors
S2 – White Plume Mountain
T1 – the Village of Hommlet
T1/T4 – The Temple of Elemental Evil

TGerritsen Supporting Member of TMP11 Jan 2019 4:45 p.m. PST

B2 was included in most boxed sets after the first print run. B1 only appeared in a very small number of boxed sets as they didn't print enough at the time. My own set came with B2, and I had to buy B1 when it was reissued separately.

I felt B1 was the superior module of the two, but neither was all that great.

White Plume Mountain is my favorite of all time. I just ran my 5E group through it and they had a blast.

darthfozzywig Supporting Member of TMP13 Jan 2019 6:18 p.m. PST

People who call Keep on the Borderlands "hack and slash" missed the point. Probably also missed the notes about the politics in the Caves. Also almost definitely missed the Reaction Roll table.

Re-read the Reaction rules. Then realize why Charisma is actually the most important stat a player can have.

In pre-2nd edition D&D, monsters weren't all "attack players on sight!" You rolled to see how they reacted, modified by your Charisma. Instead of "open door, kill monster, rinse, repeat" until you died or got bored, you could talk with the denizens and might, say, strike up an alliance with the goblins to fight the kobolds, or turn one orc tribe against another.

darthfozzywig Supporting Member of TMP13 Jan 2019 6:22 p.m. PST

Old school modules weren't linear railroads where players needed to follow breadcrumbs to find "the story". They were more often sandboxes where players have agency and are assumed to be self-motivated and clever enough to come up with their own goals and solutions.

Also note the XP rules for early editions: killing monsters yields little XP. Getting treasure yields lots. Ergo, hack and slash is a way to drain YOUR resources for relatively little gain, while negotiation, stealth, ambushes, and other stratagems can acquire treasure (and thus XP) without the dangerous grind.

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