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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Best "Classic" Old School Module?

Notice I didn't say favorite. Best and favorite often don't align, especially with questions like the one being posed.

See, my favorite module was G1-3, the giants series, but it was far from the best or most useful. My most used module was T1-4, Temple of Elemental Evil.

So, what's the best "classic" module in my opinion?

B2, The Keep on the Borderlands. Sessions of gameplay within. Setting and dungeon all rolled into one. Damn shame I didn't get to appreciate the greatness of B2 until my later years, when everyone and their brother had already spent hours or days exploring it.

So, what's the best "classic" old school module in your opinion?

25 comments:

  1. T1 "Temple of Elemental Evil." Much better setting stuff that encourages role-playing, with conspiracies and evil NPCs to uncover, and a nifty dungeon to boot. Taken alone (without the Temple of Elemental Evil, which is a bloated mess), it's an elegant classic.

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  2. I like B2 a lot, especially as a place to start a campaign. However, I think that B4 The Lost City is an overlooked classic, and an early example of a published megadungeon (with six Dungeon Levels spread across 10 actual floors in the pyramid, plus additional areas). It can be easily expanded into a complete campaign (and the module provides eight possibilities for further adventures in itself). Like T1, it provides possible directions for the players to take that are not combat-heavy and lead to fairly far-reaching goals, or they can approach it as a typical megadungeon for looting.

    I imagine that it's probably the ludicrous Holloway art (fine for some subjects, but used completely out of place in too many TSR products - and, for that matter, in MegaTraveller) that turned people off.

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    1. ^This. All this, including the comments about the Holloway art. My old game group got a lot of play out of this module in multiple campaigns, even playing it with GURPS.

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  3. If you include Judges Guild products, Caverns of Thracia is pretty hard to beat, Dark Tower is also amazing.

    http://castletriskelion.blogspot.com/

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  4. Not a module, but the Irilian city and adventure published across White Dwarfs 41 - 46 has been the starting point for multiple campaigns. Crammed full of plot hooks and pseudo mediaeval detail.

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  5. DMing, I'll take Tomb of Horrors. As a player, I'd say Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth or the "D" series.

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  6. DMing, I'll take Tomb of Horrors. As a player, I'd say Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth or the "D" series.

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  7. Replies
    1. X1 Isle of Dread is also excellent. I guess that I must be a Tom Moldvay fanboy, since X2 Castle Amber (Château d'Amberville) is another one that is very high on my list.

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  8. I'd have to go with B2 with all the reasons you mentioned above. In addition it is vanilla enough to just drop it into a campaign with little to no work.

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  9. So, what criteria are we using for "best"? Most useful for introducing new players? Best foundation for a subsequent campaign? Most effective at reproducing the intended "feel" of Dungeons and Dragons? Most attractive packaging?

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  10. U1 The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh :)

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  11. I would probably pick B5 over B2. For a group of completely new players, I would choose B1. For inspiration in creating my own campaign, I would pick X10 Red Arrow, Black Shield (which falls outside a lot of folks definition of Old School). For a group of experienced players that are starting off new level 1 characters, I would pick UK5 Eye of the Serpent.

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    1. I do love B1. I think it gets overlooked a bit because of the popularity of B2 these days.

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  12. A tie between X2: Castle Amber (played it once, with a party of 12 players! and DMed it twice afterwards in the 80s) and S4: Tsojcanth (longest campaign I ever DMed, we kept on playing even after I moved to another state, via a Java applet I wrote just for it, way way before Google hangout and stuff like that!)

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  13. This is of course heavily influenced by what module introduced you to gaming. For me that is B3: Palace of the Silver Princess. Later when I was a DM and could pick a module to start a campaign it was often U1: Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh.

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  14. Allow me to break the mold here a bit. L1. Period. It's a great place to start and offers a really nifty sandbox.

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  15. White Plume Mountain is about 100 kinds of awesome in 16 pages. I'll say White Plume Mountain.

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  16. Another vote for Caverns of Thracia, for best demonstration of dungeon as connected moving parts with maps and factions. After returning to DnD with 3rd edition, Thracia broke me from the DM planned linear set piece/adventure path mind set back to the sandbox free form magic the game was for me when it started.

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  17. I'm late to the party here... but I'm surprised no one has mentioned T1: Village of Hommlet. I thought that provided all sorts of fun little hooks and was most certainly written in that Gygaxian sandbox style. And it was just icing on the cake when they released Temple of Elemental Evil.

    On par w/ T1, I'd have to nominate Thracia too. That was so well done. Jaquays was way ahead of his time.

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  18. Though I do love B1 In Search of the Unknown and Caverns of Thracia powerfully, I feel B4 The Lost City stands above even these excellent adventures.

    Here's why:

    An eerie, dying civilization, the bulk of its populace spiraling into madness, menaced by a powerful deity-like being's thralls, strange interlopers crawling out of the city's forgotten depths, its only chance of survival seemingly residing in the followers of its three deities, factions who have fallen into mutual distrust and glory seeking. Then the PCs show up to add their particular poison to the noxious brew.... :-)

    All this at Level 1! It's pure Moldvay magic. Unmatched by any other module, ime.

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