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Merric's Erratically Updated Reviews of old D&D adventures

Morlock

Banned
Banned
I just wanted to say thanks for all the reviews, Merric. They represent a lot of work, and they are very useful and appreciated. And likewise, thanks to anyone who takes the time to write a proper review of a published adventure.
 

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MerricB

Eternal Optimist
Supporter
I just wanted to say thanks for all the reviews, Merric. They represent a lot of work, and they are very useful and appreciated. And likewise, thanks to anyone who takes the time to write a proper review of a published adventure.

Thank you!

I'm sorry there has been such a gap. I started work on a review of Ravenloft a couple of days ago, so that's almost ready for posting. :)

Cheers!
 


Luz

Explorer
And here we go with the conclusion of the Desert Nomads series: X5: Temple of Death

It's got rather a lack of Desert Nomads in it, doesn't it?

Cheers!
Great reviews of these two modules, MerricB, I agreed with just about everything you said. David Cook's wide open approach to his adventures have always had variance (from the excellent Isle of Dread to the disappointing Dwellers of the Forbidden City), but I think the Desert Nomad series is his best stuff. Even if Temple of Death did not live up to the potential set up by X4, it is still a very good module and conclusion to the series.
 

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
Supporter
Thank you, [MENTION=94725]Luz[/MENTION]!

Finally got to the last of the 1983 adventures:
O1: The Gem and the Staff

(I'm ignoring the "R" and "RPGA" adventures mainly because they're not widely available. That is, I don't have them! The important ones got republished, anyway!)

Cheers!
 

Luz

Explorer
Necropolis is Tomb of Horror on crack. ;) Necropolis is actually one of the best Gygax adventures, simply because it manages to combine a plot with some great dungeon crawls and role-playing opportunities. Oh, and curses.
Merric, I just read your comment about Necropolis, which prompted me to read your very favorable review at RPGGeek. What a surprise! I had never even heard of Necropolis until now, it somehow slipped past my radar. I am very intrigued now and will certainly try to track it down. The Egyptian setting reminds me very much of the classic Judges Guild module The Dark Tower by Paul Jacquays. Are you familiar with this title? It was also a large dungeon complex with heavy Egyptian flavor for higher level characters (at least, higher than the reccommended levels of 7 - 12, IMO - its extremely deadly). I wonder if these two modules could be run together? Despite being designed for two seperate editions of the game, I would probably make life easier on myself and convert both to 5th edition rules.Thanks again for your wonderful reviews and for the Necropolis heads-up.
 

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
Supporter
Merric, I just read your comment about Necropolis, which prompted me to read your very favorable review at RPGGeek. What a surprise! I had never even heard of Necropolis until now, it somehow slipped past my radar. I am very intrigued now and will certainly try to track it down. The Egyptian setting reminds me very much of the classic Judges Guild module The Dark Tower by Paul Jacquays. Are you familiar with this title?

I've got the pdf of the original release.

My feeling is that you couldn't really run the two adventures together; Necropolis is very self-contained and basically has an ongoing story that progresses as the party moves from location to location. The Dark Tower, great though it is, would provide a very big dungeon complex in the middle of the story that would sort of stop dead the progression of the game. Thematically, I don't think it quite fits!

(I now own Necropolis both in the original Dangerous Journeys version of the adventure and in the Necromancer games 3E conversion; we played through the entire 3E version and had a great time!)

Cheers!
 

Luz

Explorer
I've got the pdf of the original release.

My feeling is that you couldn't really run the two adventures together; Necropolis is very self-contained and basically has an ongoing story that progresses as the party moves from location to location. The Dark Tower, great though it is, would provide a very big dungeon complex in the middle of the story that would sort of stop dead the progression of the game. Thematically, I don't think it quite fits!

(I now own Necropolis both in the original Dangerous Journeys version of the adventure and in the Necromancer games 3E conversion; we played through the entire 3E version and had a great time!)

Cheers!

I just discovered an updated version of The Dark Tower by Goodman Games. Its designed for character levels 8 - 10, but I have not yet had an opportunity to read it. Nice to see the more obscure classics getting revamped.

I just bought the pdf of Necropolis and look forward to reading it. I loved Gygax's stuff and several reviews give this very high praise indeed. Still trying to track down the hardcover...

Sorry about the threadjack, please resume normal programming.
 


MerricB

Eternal Optimist
Supporter
You may have noticed that my review of DL1: Dragons of Despair got rather prominently featured on EN World today. The link is to the review on my site. :)

Hope you enjoy the review - I'll be reviewing the rest of the series in the near future.

Cheers!
 



TerraDave

5ever, or until 2024
Merry Christmas, everyone!

World of Greyhawk boxed set (1983)

Cheers!

What is the purpose of a campaign setting? What is the purpose of Greyhawk...

If it is to give you all sorts of little details and hooks, then it was so so. A framework for your game, pretty good. A massively comprehensive compendium, no.

But if Greyhawk is really about strange pulpy adventures and the almost nihilist adventurers that go on them, then the box set is a start, but could go much farther. For that Greyhawk, you need to look at the adventures and the original Dragon magazine descriptions of the gods (which I just realized reading this where broken up and lost some art on the way to the box set) and some of the other Dragon articles. And you want a product that probably doesn't fit with what is expected from a conventional setting. Maybe thats the problem, as it was "the" setting.

Oerth Mother? When are you going to run into her? Important NPCs? More important then the PCs? How 'bout Grazz't, or Zagyg or Iuz. Someone nicer? The higher level (former) character of another player. Don't have that? They might be in the classic module you are running, if you look for them.

but I agree, the maps are nice.
 



the Jester

Legend
For those Dragonlance fans out there (and possibly haters as well...)

DL2: Dragons of Flame

Possibly the low point of the series for railroading...

Cheers!

Good review. I remember being quite disgruntled with how closely the module followed the book (or vice-verse, depending on how you look at it). DL2 was when I stopped buying modules without checking out reviews or asking people what they thought of them. Thank God, too- the DL modules came out about the time most modules started to stink IIRC.
 

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
Supporter
Good review. I remember being quite disgruntled with how closely the module followed the book (or vice-verse, depending on how you look at it). DL2 was when I stopped buying modules without checking out reviews or asking people what they thought of them. Thank God, too- the DL modules came out about the time most modules started to stink IIRC.

You're quite right in your recollection. 1983 and before was the Golden Age of adventure modules. Post 1983 is when the decline begins - and it hits pretty hard (e.g. Quagmire). This isn't to say there aren't gems, but there's a lot more bad ones to wade through.

Cheers!
 

For those Dragonlance fans out there (and possibly haters as well...)

DL2: Dragons of Flame

Possibly the low point of the series for railroading...

Cheers!

Great review. Sadly I feel the DL series gives "adventure paths a bad name. There are some great dungeons in there -- we really enjoyed the ones in DL1, DL2, and the floating rock tomb in DL4(?) ... but the rails in the rest of the adventures were far too obvious.
 


pemerton

Legend
Possibly the low point of the series for railroading
I have never read or played this module.

From your review, it sounded like the first half is not an adventure at all but mere narration, by the GM, of events that occur to the PCs? Is that right?

If so, then it sounds maybe less like railroading in the classic sense of negating player agency, and more like a poorly done attempt to frame the PCs into the interesting situation that (per your review) constitutes the second half of the adventure.
 

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