D&D General Dungeon Magazine's Top 30 Adventures: Do they hold up?

Stormonu

Legend
Huh? Ned's the best part, and very much suits the spying/scheming/can't-trust-anyone tone of the whole adventure.
No, he is not. He is the typical Gygaxian "screw you" that undermines the adventure whose purpose is to undermine the party ever trusting a NPC in the future. From level 1.
 

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Hex08

Adventurer
Some I've run in the fairly recent past (spoiler - they all hold up). As a side note; all were campaigns I ran that were converted to Castels & Crusades in case that matters to anyone.

GDQ1-7 Queen of the Spiders - I've run this twice, the first time was only the Against the Giants portion and the second was the entire campaign. It holds up well but Against the Giants is the best part by far.

T1-4 The Temple of Elemental Evil - An all time classic, the first adventure I ran when I bought C&C. It was my first time running it as a DM but I had gone thought it twice as a player back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth (both 2E and converted to 3.5).

U1 The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh - I started this adventure but due to real life issues the group only finished the "haunted" house part and the game fell apart before they made it to the ship. Still, tons of fun.

About half of my regular group has been playing with me since 2E and the rest joined since I started running 3.x/Pathfinder. Whether they had experience with old school AD&D or not it took all of them a few sessions to adjust to the difference in gaming styles required by an old school adventure but once they did they all enjoyed it.

I really want to run S1 Tomb of Horrors, B2 The Keep on the Borderlands and C2 The Ghost Tower of Inverness, all of which I ran a long time ago and remember enjoying but I can't say if they hold up or not. The only one I have mixed feelings about is S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks. I both got to be a player and DM for it in my 1E days and loved it because it was so different but as I have grown older and more crotchety I have learned that I hate sci-fi (and firearms) in my D&D games.

I was a player for Return to the Temple of Elemental when it first came out and didn't care for it.

The ones that work have a lot of great ideas but usually need some work on the part of the DM but I generally find that to be the case with any premade adventure I have run, including more modern ones from any game. It's always a good idea to customize an adventure to balance between it's original intent, the expectations of the DM and the expectations of the players.
 
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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I have either ran or played all of these. Some were better than others, as I rate Ghost Tower higher and Slave Lords lower, but feel that all deserve to be on the list.
Ghost Tower is quite good in its own way. It's certainly different (which is nice) and somewhat nasty (which is fine).
I've not run or played these, and honestly some I've not even heard of. I've had intentions of running Return to the Tomb of Horror, The Forge of Fury, and The Assassins Knot, but never had a good opportunity. Either the setting was wrong, the campaign setup was bad for it, or the group just wouldn't like it (particularly Return to the Tomb of Horrors).
Of those you've not run I highly endorse Forge of Fury (who'd have known the peak of 3e adventure design would be reached in just the second adventure released for the system?) and Dark Tower. I don't know much about most of the rest.

An original Dark Tower might cost you a few body parts to obtain these days, but I gather there's a 5e-compatible rewrite coming - I just hope that said rewrite doesn't sterilize it too much, as it's the wacko stuff in that module that makes it what it is.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Ghost Tower is quite good in its own way. It's certainly different (which is nice) and somewhat nasty (which is fine).

Of those you've not run I highly endorse Forge of Fury (who'd have known the peak of 3e adventure design would be reached in just the second adventure released for the system?) and Dark Tower. I don't know much about most of the rest.

An original Dark Tower might cost you a few body parts to obtain these days, but I gather there's a 5e-compatible rewrite coming - I just hope that said rewrite doesn't sterilize it too much, as it's the wacko stuff in that module that makes it what it is.

Forge of Fury is more of an average adventure.

3E adventure design peaked latter with Dungeon magazin somewhere between Age or Wrymsvsnd the first half of Savge Tide APs.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
No, he is not. He is the typical Gygaxian "screw you" that undermines the adventure whose purpose is to undermine the party ever trusting a NPC in the future. From level 1.
Exactly! That's what makes him essential - he sets a fine tone for an intrigue-based and-or morally-gray campaign in which you never know who to trust; you have to do your diligence and figure people out rather than just taking them at face value all the time.

Oddly enough, when I ran this module recently Ned was one of only two survivors at one point; everyone else fell victim to the
yellow mold
about two rooms after they first met him, but in order to not blow his cover - and because it fulfilled his mission of getting the party away from the scene - he helped the other survivor haul the dead back to town.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Forge of Fury is more of an average adventure.

3E adventure design peaked latter with Dungeon magazin somewhere between Age or Wrymsvsnd the first half of Savge Tide APs.
I never followed Dungeon magazine closely and gave up on it completely once 3e came out.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
An original Dark Tower might cost you a few body parts to obtain these days, but I gather there's a 5e-compatible rewrite coming - I just hope that said rewrite doesn't sterilize it too much, as it's the wacko stuff in that module that makes it what it is.
Well, the Goodman Games product will include a complete reproduction of the original, and the exte ded material is from the original author.
 



delericho

Legend
Problem is there's not much good from 2E adventures except Night Below, remakes of 1E adventures and Dungeon magazines.

True. Unfortunately 2nd Ed went through a long phase of "narrative" (railroad) adventures, which doesn't make for many classics.

3E is in a similar boat.

3e has "The Sunless Citadel", "Forge of Fury" (though that wouldn't be my choice) and "Red Hand of Doom". But it doesn't have a lot of adventures in general, excluding Dungeon and third-party works.

4E has one potential candidate.

5E has 2-3 contenders most of the adventures are average.

Indeed. It's actually fairly shocking just how little good adventure material we have to show for the past three decades - what's that, half a dozen candidates since the start of the 90s?

There's a few Pathfinder ones I would consider as well.

I found that those got really repetitive after a while. Pathfinder AP#1 ("Burnt Offerings") was probably the absolute best issue in their entire run (pre-2e, at which point I stopped).

Well, since Curse of Strahd contains I6 in it's entirety (Chapter 3 or 4, I think), I say Curse of Strahd bumps off I6. Apparently Hickman started using Curse of Strahd instead of I6 for his own Halloween games.
Except that one of the virtues of I6 is its brevity, which CoS sacrifices - this means that things like the card reading now pay off months later rather than hours, which isn't an improvement, IMO.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
True. Unfortunately 2nd Ed went through a long phase of "narrative" (railroad) adventures, which doesn't make for many classics.



3e has "The Sunless Citadel", "Forge of Fury" (though that wouldn't be my choice) and "Red Hand of Doom". But it doesn't have a lot of adventures in general, excluding Dungeon and third-party works.



Indeed. It's actually fairly shocking just how little good adventure material we have to show for the past three decades - what's that, half a dozen candidates since the start of the 90s?



I found that those got really repetitive after a while. Pathfinder AP#1 ("Burnt Offerings") was probably the absolute best issue in their entire run (pre-2e, at which point I stopped).


Except that one of the virtues of I6 is its brevity, which CoS sacrifices - this means that things like the card reading now pay off months later rather than hours, which isn't an improvement, IMO.

Early Pathfinder was better than later Pathfinder.

Stolen Lands is another contender with Burnt Offerings imho. Kingmaker overall not to bad but 1 and 2 are brilliant and you can ignore the building parts.

BECMI had a fairly high number of hits as well. Not just the obvious ones such as B2 (B10 is better for example).

Not familiar with Red Hand of Doom but there's enough buzz.

SunlesCitadell/Forge of Fury aren't bad but top 30 hmmm.
 

I would say to an alien visitor " so you want to run some DND?", You couldnt do much better than doing.

N1, then UK2/3, then Castle Amber OAR, then X4/5.

Enjoy.
PS what are you doing with that probe.
 

delericho

Legend
SunlesCitadell/Forge of Fury aren't bad but top 30 hmmm.
I would put Sunless Citadel above Forge of Fury (that being one of my biggest beefs with the list as-is). Back in 2004 I would probably have argued for it to be in the top 30. Now, it's place is probably taken by "Lost Mine of Phandelver" - they're both intro adventures, and the newer one just does the job much better.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
I would put Sunless Citadel above Forge of Fury (that being one of my biggest beefs with the list as-is). Back in 2004 I would probably have argued for it to be in the top 30. Now, it's place is probably taken by "Lost Mine of Phandelver" - they're both intro adventures, and the newer one just does the job much better.

I could probably come up with 30 better Dungeon Magazine adventures;)

Neither one is bad though and are above average maybe even good ymmv in all things.

Top 30 not so much. LMoP belongs on that discussion.

I think shorter adventures are just easier to write and finish.
 

delericho

Legend
I could probably come up with 30 better Dungeon Magazine adventures;)
As noted, they deliberately excluded Dungeon adventures from contention. Otherwise, it shouldn't be too hard - with 150 issues and 3-6ish adventures each time, there's a lot of material to pick from. Bound to be some classics in there. :)
 


Riley

Hero
An original Dark Tower might cost you a few body parts to obtain these days, but I gather there's a 5e-compatible rewrite coming - I just hope that said rewrite doesn't sterilize it too much, as it's the wacko stuff in that module that makes it what it is.

Goodman Games has a cleaned-up reprint of the original AD&D Dark Tower available now in their store! I picked it up recently. It looks good: it’s on better paper and has sharper print than any original Judges Guild product I’ve looked at.

(I haven’t read it yet. I wanted to check out the fabled adventure, and I just can’t see adding that 3-volume 5e behemoth to my already-crowded home unless it’s the most amazing thing around.)

 

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Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
As I recall Bryce Lynch culled the entirety of Dungeon's print run to ten adventures he genuinely liked.


Zardnaar started a project of combing through the run of the magazine looking for hidden gems a couple of years ago, but the thread I'm finding only has thoughts on a few issues, and they're not as in-depth as Bryce gets.

 
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Stormonu

Legend
Goodman Games has a cleaned-up reprint of the original AD&D Dark Tower available now in their store! I picked it up recently. It looks good, and it’s on better paper and has sharper print than any original Judges Guild product I’ve looked at.

(I haven’t read it yet. I wanted to check out the fabled adventure, and I just can’t see adding that 3-volume 5e behemoth to my already-crowded home unless it’s the most amazing thing around.)

Strangely, prior to 3E, I never bothered to look at non-official D&D adventures. I'd like to see a list of pre-3E 3rd party adventures that are worth looking at. The only one I have is Tegel Manor (picked up in late 3E of all things), and I wasn't really impressed looking over it (Zocchi tricked me into buying the adventure with an extended sales pitch about events that aren't even in the module).
 

For todays 5th ed level of play, probably not.

If you play it old school the amount of death and having to "think around corners" might be a tad much for modern players.

If you play them converted to 5th ed the players would probably stomp their way through with barely a hindrance.
 

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