Saturday, October 1, 2011

A treasure trove of classic gaming

I've been a little quieter lately than normal. There are two reasons for that, neither of which is a slow down of my ideas.

1) As much energy as I have for the kind of writing I've been doing, I'm bad at maintaining that energy after a long and draining day at work. After my last post (which I don't think reflects my best work) I decided I needed to take some time to rest and relax, so I can bring my full energy to this.

2) Is...well:

Click to enlarge and check out the awesome cover art!

I recently began delving into classic D&D modules with the intent of updating the best ones for Pathfinder. My local gaming store, Fantasium, had a ton of them! The updating process will be a pain, but it would be worth it to be able to take groups through these classic adventures. And it's certainly blog-worthy content as well.

For the curious, here are the adventure modules I've got, from top left to bottom right:

Vecna Lives! By David "Zeb" Cook, published in 1990
I've always been a huge fan of Vecna as a villain. He brings depth, and an imposing presence to both cults and to the undead. Unfortunately, since I started playing after the release of 3rd edition, most of the classic Vecna stuff was already out of print. I found a PDF of this online, and have been devouring the printout I made at work. (As it turns out, I've made a few mistakes in The Girl and the Granite Throne...I think most can be explained way though.) This is also the only second edition module I have. All the rest are serious, oldschool, first edition awesomeness.

Vault of the Drow By Gary Gygax, published in 1978
Aside from Vecna Lives!, this is the only one I got in printout. I really prefer to have the actual copy, but these things are damned difficult to find and Vault of the Drow is supposed to be the adventure which made the Drow into one of the most terrifying enemies out least until The Crystal Shard made them into cool loners who doesn't afraid of anything.

Earthshaker! By David "Zeb" Cook, published in 1985
I'm not the biggest fan of juxtaposing classic sword & sorcery with technology. I've nothing against it, I just never see it done in a way which appeals to me. Then again, Final Fantasy IV had a pretty awesome giant robot in it, and this was written by the same badass who wrote Vecna Lives, so I'm more than willing to give it a try. It includes maps detailing the inside of the robot. I imagine there will be fighting in there.

Adventures in Blackmoor By Dave L. Arneson and David J Ritchie, published in 1986
I haven't had much time to look at this one. However, contrary to what I said above, that mechanized horror on the front looks awesome. Less like technology and more like advanced siege weaponry. And with Dave Arneson behind it, I'm sure it's a fantastic adventure.

The Endless Stair By Ed Greenwood, published in 1987
I bought this one a week before I got the rest, so I've had the most time to peruse it. First off, Ed Greenwood, which is awesome. The adventure follows a group of adventurers as they work to unravel the mysteries of a stairway leading up into the sky, while two rival wizards watch and wait for the party to unseal the secrets of their former teacher. I really can't wait to get this one updated and run it for my group. It's a great one-off kind of game.

The Savage Coast By Merle and Jackie Rasmussen, and Anne C. Gray, published in 1985
Haven't had time to read this much at all, but it's got knights riding on horsies on the cover. Plus, "The Savage Coast" sounds crazily awesome, doesn't it?

Five Coins For A Kingdom By Allen Varney, published in 1987
Is it just me, or is "Five Coins for a Kingdom" a fantastic title? It's really high level too. Granted, I don't know much about first edition, but 3rd ed maxes out at level 20, and this adventure is for characters of level 28-32. I don't know much about it, but it comes with five cards, each representing one of the five coins. Each coin grants a special power, and causes a certain shift in personality. I'm assuming that the module calls for five players, and each gets a coin.

The War Rafts of Kron by Bruce Nesmith, published 1984
I haven't even taken this one out of the bag yet. Nautical adventures are not my greatest strength as a GM, but who cares? It looks awesome.

Death's Ride by Garry Spiegle, published 1984
Again, no idea what this is about, but the picture on the front is awesome. I'm pretty sure I've seen it somewhere before, just can't think of where.

Legacy of Blood by Steve Perrin and Katherine Kerr, published in 1987
Also haven't had a chance to open this yet, but I did lul over the stereotypically impractically immodest garb worn by the woman on the cover.

Where Chaos Reigns by Graeme Morris, published in 1985
Two things about this one have struck me. First, there is a British flag in the corner for no reason I can determine. (Perhaps the module isn't compatible with my Region 1 D&D rulebooks.) Secondly, and maybe I'm being silly here, but the pictures of the fellows atop the mammoth seem like racist caricatures of black people.

So yeah, that's what I'm up to.

Expect normal posts to resume in the coming week.


  1. An excellent haul!

    The British flag in the corner of Where Chaos Reigns means that the module was first published by TSR's England branch, then republished in the US. There are three really great modules published in similar fashion you should track down if you can: UK2: The Sentinel, UK3: The Gauntlet, and most especially UK4: When a Star Falls.

  2. @Trollsmyth - I had thought I responded to this already!

    Thank you very much for letting me in on the British flag icon. I still haven't had an opportunity to dig into Where Chaos Reigns, but have enjoyed all the 1st ed modules I have read so far. I'll definitely be on the lookout for any more.


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