I’ve been away for a while. Most people get apologetic about blog-fade and commit to doing more. I’ve even done that in the past. Not this time. Real world stuff happens ~ and I’ll post more about that later.
I’ve been thinking about role playing and how much I miss it lately. Work, parenting and other things have combined to leave me very little time for it, but I hope to get back to it someday soon. When I started playing it was all about the fun of getting together with friends and firing up our imaginations. I’ve still got my entire collection of stuff. As I look back at them, they are round and worn at the edges. Collectors everywhere are certainly twitching at the idea of a colored in with colored pencils version of the inside cover art. We weren’t collecting, we were playing, having fun, letting our imaginations run wild. We fought off the monsters, we were the heroes in a time when the world seemed against us. So, in a totally unasked for and unexpected response to a friend posting some other person’s favorites list, here’s a list of my Top 10 favorite old school D&D modules.
#1 I can’t really argue with this at the top of the list. It’s a first for many and fun for most. Some very memorable stuff in there.
B2: The Keep on the Borderlands by Gary Gygax (1979)
#2 I liked the story elements in this next one. I actually have used it more than once in various forms in my own campaigns, often adding other little touches to make the story matter to the current set of characters.
B3 Palace of the Silver Princess by Tom Moldvay and Jean Wells (1983)
#3 As always, being the hero on a mission… we just sturggled to get past that muddy patch before we even got to the gate!
A-1 Slave Pits of the Undercity by David Cook (1980)
#4 I loved the problem solving mixed in with the action. I actually think I have 2 copies of this around here someplace.
C-2 The Ghost Tower of Inverness by Allen Hammack (1979)
#5 I was blown away by the art ~ particularly the maps of this module (and the series really). I didn’t like being channeled toward the same story line, but man was this a pretty module.
DL-1 Dragons of Despair by Tracy Hickman (1984)
#6 I was totally delighted when I found so much of this in the book Ready Player One. I’m glad it’s had the unlife it’s had! The quintessential “I’m mad at my players, I’m going to kill them all horribly now” module.
S-1 Tomb of Horrors by Gary Gygax (1978)
#7 This one was a high level quest that had a lot of weird stuff in it. My favorite part was attempting to envision three dimensionally how the web map worked and what happened when you tried to jump from one piece to another.
Q-1 Queen of the Demonweb Pits by Gary Gygax and David Sutherland (1980)
#8 As I went through these as a kid I was usually drawn to the action, but this module had a lot of story based encounters that relied on avoiding violence. It was fresh to me in that way.
UK-1 Beyond The Crystal Cave by Browne, Kirby and Morris (1983)
#9 The unusual treasures and my friends use of said treasures in new and creative ways are really the things that stick out most about this module in my memory… seriously, folding boats?
S-4 The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth by Gary Gygax (1982)
#10 It’s kind of cheating to put this one on the end – because it’s really three in one. I didn’t get the originals on their own, I got this version and loved it.
G1-2-3 Against The Giants by Gary Gygax (1981)
So there they are – my top 10. They live in nostalgia in my mind and still have a place on my shelves here at the house. There were many other modules and after that world settings that I really wanted to dig deeper into. The longer into the late 80s and early 90s I went, the more difficult it became to keep up with everything, let alone play it all. I was always intrigued by the Spelljammer stuff but never got to play it. I loved the look of the Desert of Desolation series, and was really happy to see the Al Quadim setting. I actually won some art from the Al Quadim setting when I was at Gen Con just as it was coming out. The picture below is from that set of art. Sadly I feel a little like the genie as I come to the end of this post. All of these treasures are just there at my fingertips but I’m being pulled back toward all those “real world” things I’m supposed to be taking care of…