Does anyone have recommendations on what are the best DUNGEON Magazine adventures? I am not looking for a blanket dismissal, but for positive experiences running the best of what was published. I'm not considering Paizo/3rd edition era adventures (around year 2000 onward) since I'm not interested in backward conversion. The goal is less work, not more. I didn't initially collect DUNGEON Magazines because I was somewhat "out of D&D" when they started publishing them. 1986 to around 1990 is almost a total blank for me when it comes to TSR. I did buy a few issues here and there starting with #27, #46, and #50. I then bought them on a regular basis from my friend Eric who owns a hobby shop. I got from #60 to #80 in the late 1990's when they first came out, but quit again with the 3e change. I bought them but only skimmed them, and didn't use them at the time because I had a regular campaign I was playing in and when I did DM it was either original material or a classic module (DMed S1 around 1998 as a one shot). But now the entire run of DUNGEON Magazine is available on an online archive and I'm wondering what the best or most usable adventures are.
Issue 1: "Into the Fire" by Grant & David Boucher (with an excellent sequel in issue #18); the Boucher brothers were the Wachowski brothers of the early days of Dungeon: it's well-worth digging up all of their titles
Issue 3: "Falcon's Peak" by David Howery (another excellent writer active in the 1st 35 or so issues of Dungeon; he often sets his adventures explicitly or nominally in Greyhawk); "Book with No End"
Issue 4: "Trouble at Grog's" by the Bouchers: one of my favorite 1st level kickoff adventures, right after T1 and B1; Grog was later homaged by my brother Phil when he created a half-ogre fighter as one of his stable of PCs in our campaign;
Issue 5: "Hirward's Task" by Rich Stump (PCs try to slay an out of control air elemental in the lair of a living wizard---looting strongly discouraged! Excellent art by Richard Bennett too
Issue 6: "Bristnam's Cairn" by John Nephew (PCs explore the lair of a death knight); "Forbidden Mountain" by Larry Church (explore a non-euclidean dungeon)
Issue 7: "The Jingling Mordo Circus" by Vic Broquard (travelling circus mayhem arrives in town...)
Issue 9: "The Plight of Cirra" by the Bouchers (PCs hired by a cloud dragon to rescue its mate from an archmage)
Issue 10: "Threshold of Evil" by Scott Bennie (The village of Tharakil is beset by a strange menace. The villagers suspect that an immortal mage named Azurax Silverhawk may be responsible)
Issue 13: "The Ruins of Nol-Daer" by H.L. McCleskey (PCs explore an ancient castle)
Issue 14: "Wererats of Welfren" by Grant Boucher and William K. Wenz (PCs on an urban extermination mission)
Issue 15: "The Elephants Graveyard" by David Howrey (PCs explore darkest Africa, in Greyhawk )
Issue 17: "Out of the Ashes" by Grant Boucher: excellent sequel to the red dragon adventure in Dungeon #1, setin a crystal castle floating over a sea of lava
Issue 20: "Ancient Blood" by Grant and David Boucher: PCs journey to Mok-Turoknin's ancestral keep and must find some way to undo the evil curse which has brought the frost giant king back from the grave
Issue 37: "The Mud Sorcerer's Tomb" by Mike Shel (Dungeon's version of S1)
Issue 70: "Kingdom of the Ghouls" by Wolfgang Baur (an Underdark adventure set in Greyhawk; Baur wrote a sequel to this as one of his Open Design Projects, Empire of the Ghouls)
Issue 77: "Ex Keraptis Cum Amore" by Jeffrey P. Carpenter (a sequel, of sorts, to S2 White Plume Mountain)
Issue 84: "Dungeon of the Fire Opal" by Jonathan Tweet (his take on the 1e DMG monastery map dungeon)
RJK's Maure Castle issues (which are 3.5 adventures, but retro-convertible)
112 - Maure Castle: includes the three original levels from WG5 Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure plus the new level, "The Statuary"; also in this issue: Erik Mona's "The Whispering Cairn" which kicks off the Age of Worms adventure path/campaign
124 - "Chambers of Antiquities": invading the magical laboratories/vaults of a family of Suel archmages? what could possibly go wrong?
Thanks for the suggestions, Allan. "Falcon's Peak" looks like the sort of adventure I would like to run.
For my own reference, I'm placing my notes here based on my internet searches for the best scenarios from DUNGEON magazine. I'm not interested in 3e or later edition, but may be willing to backwards convert a truly excellent scenario... although there are so many 1e and 2e scenarios out there to play that this seems unlikely and unnecessary.
1. Tears for Twilight Hollow (3e) 2. The Ghost of Mistmoor 3. The Whispering Cairn (3e) 4. Asflag's Unintentional Emporium 5. Slave Vats of the Yuan-Ti 6. Kingdom of the Ghouls 7. The Mud Sorcerer's Tomb
10. Siege of Kratys Freehold 9. The Forgotten Man 8. The Lich-Queen's Beloved (3e) 7. The Lady of the Mists 6. Eye of Myrkul 5. Life's Bazaar (3e) 4. Into the Fire 3. Kingdom of the Ghouls 2. The Harrowing (3e) 1. The Mud Sorcerer's Tomb
✮ appeared in one list. ✮✮ appeared in two lists. ✮✮✮ appeared in three lists.
1: Into the Fire (AD&D) ✮✮ 10: Threshold of Evil (AD&D) ✮ 18: Chadranther’s Bane (AD&D 2E) ✮ 19: House of Cards (AD&D 2E) ✮✮ 24: Thunder Under Needlespire (AD&D 2E) ✮✮ 25: A Rose for Talakara (AD&D 2E) ✮ 29: Ex Libris (AD&D 2E) ✮ 33: Siege of Kratys Freehold (AD&D 2E) ✮ 35: Twilight's Last Gleaming (AD&D 2E) ✮ 37: The Mud Sorcerer’s Tomb (AD&D 2E) ✮✮ 41: Old Man Katan and the (Incredible Marching) Mushroom Band (AD&D 2E) ✮ 42: The Lady of the Mists (AD&D 2E) ✮✮ 55: Umbra (AD&D 2E) ✮ 59: Seeking Bloodsilver (AD&D 2E) ✮ 61: Nightswarm (AD&D 2E) ✮ 62: Dragon's Delve (AD&D 2E) ✮ 63: Hunt for a Hierophant (AD&D 2E) ✮ 64: Last Dance (AD&D 2E) ✮ 65: The Ice Tyrant (AD&D 2E) ✮ 69: Slave Vats of the Yuan Ti (AD&D 2E) ✮ 70: Kingdom of Ghouls (AD&D 2E) ✮✮✮ 73: Eye of Myrkul, Mere of Dead Men part 5 (AD&D 2E) ✮ 74: Preemptive Strike (AD&D 2E) ✮ 75: The Forgotten Man (AD&D 2E) ✮✮ 78: Lear, Giant King (AD&D 2E) ✮
Over four years, Bryce Lynch of tenfootpole.org read every adventure in every printed issue of DUNGEON and posted his reviews on his blog. I like his reviews, because they are often critical in a humorous way (which reminds me of Gene) and his standards are generally similar to mine. An adventure should first and foremost be useful to the DM while at the table running a game, and so concise is better than verbose. The classic modules were concise -- G1 was only 12 pages long. Somehow that principle got lost along the way, and by 2nd edition many adventures became extremely verbose and plot driven. It probably didn't help if writers were getting paid by the word and trying to hook the attention of editors with story rather than do extensive play testing at the table. I don't mind 'story' in a sense but it has to arise organically out of what the players want to do... If it is based on archetypes and they instinctively respond a certain way, that is when story works best. But it has to come from what the players want to do, not what the DM wants them to do. One of my favorite aspects about D&D is how you can play a classic module multiple times and have it turn out differently... That's certainly not just running the same 'story' over and over!
Last Edit: Sept 20, 2020 7:45:34 GMT -5 by GRWelsh