View Full Version : Favorite Adventure Modules - Any game, any edition

2013-09-20, 03:09 PM
Only limitation is that it's been published in some form and not something the GM made up as the game went along, so people can try to find it when they are intrigued.

On spot 1, I would probably go with Escape From Meenlock Prison (D&D 3rd Ed., Dungeon #146). Since the name gives it all away, there's not so much to spoil here. If you want to run it, it's important that you don't tell the players you're running it.
It's a small remote prison that is infested by Meenlocks from which you have to escape after you get trapped. The prision itsels is actually very small, but meenlocks are nasty little critters which you don't want to share a cramped confined space with. Fear aura, paralysis, wisdom-damage and a horrible mutation ability are not fun at all. It's really a rather simple setup without much fancy embelishments, but when run well it can be amazing.

Probably the most praised adventure from Dungeon is The Styes (D&D 3rd Ed., Dungeon #121), which I havn't been running yet, but I really, really want to. It's probably the most lovecraftian adventure for D&D(though Paizo seems to have taken a liking to them with their Pathfinder adventures), heavily inspired by Shadows over Innsmouth in it's setting, NPCs, and creatures, but a completely different plot.
As written, it's for 9th level characters, but I think by replacing the enemies, it works just as well at pretty much every level even 1st.

While I really dislike the style of most old D&D modules that seem like dumb dungeon crawls, the GDQ Series (AD&D 1st Ed.) is the one exception where I see the pretty bare bones dungeon maps and encounter lists as actual hooks for a really good story to develop. The setup is just as simple as usual in Against The Giants (G series): There's some giants raiding farms, go to their camp and kill them.
However, when exploring the giant strongholds, there's some evidence that increasingly hint at something greater going on, which leads to Descent into the Depths of the Earth (D series). Which, unless I am mistaken, was the first appearance of the Underdark, kuo-toa, and drow so the historical value of this series for the continued history of D&D is off the scale.
Not sure what to make of Queen of the Demonweb Pits (Q1) though. From what I've heard, it's a rather trippy trip into the abyss that isn't nearly as great as the rest of the series. But it should be relatively easy to pick up where D3 ended and then develop the story in a diffent direction for the grand finale.
The main problem with this series is that it starts by raiding a fortress full of hill giants. Which means the PCs have to be already quite powerful for the plot to make any sense. Instead of hill giants, frost giants, and fire giants, you could substitute orcs, ogres, and hill giants to get an earlier start, but that would kind of ruin the elemental theme of G2 and G3. Still, this is one of the very few classic adventures that actually looks like fun to me. Instead of clearing the stronghold of all the giants inside, it's much smarter to get this one done relatively quitely and maybe leave once you've got what you need. That would also be much more interesting and exciting than one massive battle.

2013-09-20, 03:43 PM
I really like DL1 Dragons of Despair because nostalgia!

B4 The Lost City is a great introductory dungeon crawl with huge potential for expansion: it's exactly what a dungeon should be, to me, with unmapped levels and even deeper reaches hinted at.

The rest of the B-series is also full of awesome nostalgia, especially B7 Rahasia. Several of these modules were translated into Finnish, so I got to play and run and read them when I started D&D as a kid. They're wonderfully simple but evocative.

N5 Under Illefarn is awesome, and that plus FR1 Waterdeep and the North and The Ruins of Undermountain are about all I want for a Forgotten Realms game.

2013-09-20, 11:10 PM
Yeah, Against the Giants is meant for 8-12th level characters. The D and Q modules take you all the way to level 14+.
D3 is pretty nice, it is an open ended module that lets the players explore the Drow city. They can get involved in Drow politics, and you can run numerous side adventures there, but it is for very high level.

For lower levels:
B2- Keep on the Borderlands was a very good, open ended introductory module. You get the eponymous Keep with some NPC's and adventure hooks, a wilderness map of the surrounding area with a couple lairs and encounters, and the Caves of Chaos (the inhabitants of which may not make a lot of sense, but you can make up your own reason why all those different monsters are in there).

T1- The Village of Homlet is usually considered a good one, too. It gives you the background on the Village itself and various NPCs and factions in the surrounding area, political motives, a map of the surrounding area and a small dungeon.

X1- Isle of Dread is for levels 3-7, I believe. It's mainly an open sandbox module, there's a wilderness map of the island, various lairs, villages, and strongholds scattered throughout. You make up your own plot or motivations for the PC's going there, and let them explore.

These type of modules are great for me, B2 is how I started D&D. They could really be anywhere, so you can insert them into your setting or build a setting around them. B2 and X1 are especially so, they describe a region and its inhabitants, and some lairs full of monsters and treasure for your dungeon crawling. Insert the players and their motives, and let them explore. T1 is more about detailing a location for social interactions to draw the players into future adventures. It fleshes out NPC's and their motivations and politics more than B2, which basically gives you a list of inhabitants of the Keep and some of the rumours the players might hear if they talk to people.

Black Jester
2013-09-21, 09:19 AM
It doesn't get any better than The Dead of Winter, an old HârnMaster adventure module. (HârnMaster is somewhat special, as the system has not produced any truly bad adventures at all, but the Dead is the best one even among these many very good ones.

The plot is actually super simple by default: The PCs arrive at a monastery (very medieval) in the depth of winter,and the bad weather makes it difficult to leave. In addition to the usual inhabitants of the monastery, there is also a conspirative meeting of some local lords that takes place at the same time and that will probably decide about the outcome of the nigh inevitable next war. Then, the first murder occurs. And the characters are suddenly trapped between the nobles (who naturally wnat to keep their meeting or at least its purpose secret), the monks (who are not too happy about outsiders running around in their home and who have their own petty rivalries and problems going on and the player characters (who probably jut want to leave but unfortunately can easily become suspects for the murders themselves). Then, things get worse when one of the monks start to have "divine visions" that put the whole series of murders in the context of some old apocalyptic prophesy. Oh, and down in the abbey's crypt, there is a walking ghoulish red herring.

The plot is rather simple, actually. But: The location is interesting, the NPCs are great and the different layers to the story add to it rather well. The best about the adventure however is its structure: The plot is only outlined, then you have the location (in all its glory; it may only be one set, but they use it expertly), and then you have a description of the various NPCs, their motivations and agendas. There is no fixed series of events, no fixed outcome, no prescriptive course of action for the players. The actual story is practically woven by playing it through the interaction between the players and their environment and especially the NPCs.

2013-09-23, 02:47 AM
Rod of Seven Parts
Age of Worms
Red Hand of Doom
The Perfect Warrior (Street Fighter StG)

2013-09-23, 07:35 AM
I had a lot of fun running the 3.5 update of Expedition to Castle Ravenloft. I used music and sound effects to really bring out the dark feel of a haunted castle belonging to a high level vampire. If I could, I'd like to try a modern version of the module someday.

2013-09-23, 07:51 AM
I had a lot of fun running the 3.5 update of Expedition to Castle Ravenloft. I used music and sound effects to really bring out the dark feel of a haunted castle belonging to a high level vampire. If I could, I'd like to try a modern version of the module someday.

I was planning on running that after my current campaign. Any comments or thoughts on it and how to get the most out of it?

2013-09-23, 09:01 AM
The Dark Eye - Thunder and Storm.

There are a ton of really good adventures for the dark eye but I picked this one because its different from most other adventures.

Its basically about an epic chariot race that happens every 25 years across half the continent.

Black Jester
2013-09-23, 12:59 PM
There are many, many good Geram n adventures - both for the Dark Eye, and even more so for Midgard. It would just be a bit obnoxious to praise them in a mostly anglophone forum, because none (as far as i know) of the truly good ones were ever translated or are likely to ever receive a translation.

And seriously Donner und Sturm as the best TDE adventure? I mean, it's not bad, but the ending is pure deus ex machina, and the plot has this inconvenient tendency to become a railroady sightseeing tour...

2013-09-23, 02:42 PM
DCC #39 The Ruins of Castle Churo

I ran this for some players and they got a kick out of it. The random magical effects spread throughout the ruins were really fun. At level one adventurers are actually going to have to deal with most of the effects so it was quite fun. Also came with a half-way decent DM shield. Only real problem is it was way to short.

2013-09-23, 03:31 PM
RED HAND OF DOOM!!!! first campaign Ive ever really felt like keeping a campaign journal of.

Pathfinders's Feast of Ravenmoor is actually really good. It requires some pretty good roleplaying to pull off the mood change properly, but its probably the most fun oneshot Ive DM'd.

2013-09-23, 04:59 PM
Usually, the games I run are so off-beat that off-the-rack modules don't serve my purposes. But there was one exception:

The Weird, Weird West for TSR's Marvel Super Heroes RPG. The basic idea is that a chronovore (a creature who eats time) has eaten various chunks of time, and the PCs have to go around among the various fragments of time and try to save the day.

I had been running a multiverse-crossing multi-genre game, and this module fit the bill almost perfectly. Okay, I changed a lot of the actual details: the chronovore became a cosmovore (a creature that eats universes), and so the PCs were going from a piece of one universe to a piece of another, so they were meeting completely different characters and having completely different challenges, etc. But the module had a solid framework of a story that could work, even if you just want to change huge chunks of material. And that's a pretty rare thing, with most modules being either simple boring dungeon crawls that I hate because they have no plot or something equally linear in plot structure (go here; fight him; go there; fight this other guy; etc).

However, I don't remember any of the details of the actual module, so maybe it's not so great. All I remember is being thrilled to be able to adapt it to the campaign I was running.

2013-09-23, 06:02 PM
Well, Red Hand of Doom is great.

"Carnival of Tears" is super-dark, super scary, and super interesting. You go to a carnival and it's all fun and games until the dark fey show up. Then everyone's hypnotized and it's literally a slaughterhouse. Super body horror creepy stuff. Awesome.

Also, might I recommend the Victor Saint-Demain trilogy as the most underrated series of adventures of all time?

"Chimes at Midnight" was from a Dungeon adventure. It's semi-investigative as you try and scope out a baron's missing daughter and deal with this awesome rogue's gallery of criminals. It comes with a list of 8 super-criminals that you have to fight over the course of the adventure. You feel like Batman.

"Quoth the Raven" has the villain of the adventure in prison, and his protoge is a horrendous murderous super-creepy terribad horribawful serial killer know as "The Raven." He's going after friends and family, and it's up to you to stop him. Cool clues, terrifying handouts

Remember how I said you feel like batman? "Hell's Heart" is the finale in the trilogy and it's literally Batman: Arkham Asylum. The criminals from the first game are back (some of them as undead!) in a massive insane asylum, and you're trapped in it. The villain is going to poison the whole city and frame you.

The first and third are found on PDF, the middle one you'll have to do a pseudolegal file search for a scan.

2013-09-24, 08:35 AM
I was planning on running that after my current campaign. Any comments or thoughts on it and how to get the most out of it?

One issue I thought of:
If the players kill off a bunch of the castle denizins and then leave, you should restock the castle.
How fast you restock is up to you, but if you don't at least add a few encoutners back in, then the players could start this plan of clearing out a few rooms before heading back to the village for rest. Then they return tomorrow to clear out a few more before heading back again...

There's more than enough coffins, secret passages, and surrounding creepy landscape to draw new critters from. At first my players thought that eventually the castle would be empty except for Strahd himself, but I curbed that idea quickly. :smallbiggrin:
Also, due to the very limited resources of the village, the players can't buy/sell much loot at all so they have to work with what they find. This is another good limiting factor to help push them to get through the module at a fair pace. Delaying too much dwindles their resources.

On the other hand, if they brave sleeping at the castle for some crazy reason, I restocked the castle much more slowly and instead played mind games with the players. Seeing and hearing things to keep them on edge is great. :smallbiggrin:

2013-09-24, 09:24 AM
Starting off with old school modules, I'll say that I think C2 - Island of Castanamir is one of the greatest adventures I've played through. It sends you to this alien place, where things work by their own rules.

I've also absolutely loved the A-series, particularly A2 - Secrets of the Slavers Stockade.

The Fort was a mindscrew to get into, and the dungeon contained some awesome things ("I am Markessa. I am Markessa. I am Markessa."), plus that treasure room behind a 6-inch diameter hole was something.

Also because the A-series has a cutpurse named Ayares, and I find that incredibly funny.

Regarding the GDQ series: I've played G1 - Steading of the Hill Giant Chief with a group, then D1 - Descent into the Depths of the Earth and D3 - Vault of the Drow (but not D2, my DM didn't like the Kuo-toas), and then Q1 - Queen of the Demonweb pits. G1 was great because you couldn't just go in and attack everyone: each giant was stronger than us, and there were much more of them then they were of us: we had to develop ambushes, and then some simple strike-and-leave, using Polymorph others to turn enemies into Umber hulks, then getting away while they led to much chaos.

D1 is a huuuuge complex where loads of things happen, and D3 puts you in a city that doesn't want you there and where you more or less have to overthrow the government. And it's a city, filled with Drows. Q1, though, was terrible.

As per recent modules, I really liked Forge of Fury, because of the number of factions there were in there and their perceptions of one another, that added an interesting dimension.

I've also grown to love Pathfinder modules: Curse of the Ebon Destroyer was solid, so were Feast of Ravenmoor, Tower of the Last Baron, and Conquest of Bloodsworn Vale.

Jay R
2013-09-24, 12:23 PM
Really, the best one I've ever played was An Ambassador's Tale, from Fantasy Games Unlimited. It was a set of adventures for Flashing Blades, taking the PCs on a political trip from France to Austria, Venice, Spain, the Netherlands, and England.

2013-09-24, 12:43 PM
2E U1, U2, U3 Salt Marsh series. It was nice to befriend the Lizardmen. Way cool the pseudodragon "adopted" my character.

3E Sunless Citadel. We got rid of the goblins and rescued the "pet". The kobolds made us honorary members of their tribe. Sadly Meepo did not survive the pet rescue.

2013-09-24, 01:44 PM
Harbinger House for AD&D Planescape has a fantastic story.

So, it starts out pretty normal. There's a series of weird, apparently ritualistic murders and the PCs start to investigate. They find a bad guy who has magical powers he shouldn't have and, apparently, the Lady of Pain and her servants are worried about this.

At the same time, there's a new cult worshipping the Lady openly in the streets. And getting killed for it, of course.

The plot goes around a few corners, but the basis is this. The Godsmen, a faction who try to advance mortals to godhood, keep an asylum, Harbinger House, in Sigil. In it, they keep mortals who have almost advanced to godhood, but then cracked under the stress. One of these is Sougad, a serial killer who tried to become a god of murder and fear but was stopped at the last moment years ago. Another, whose name I forgot just now, was a bard who fell in love with the Lady and is on his way to ascend to a god of love.

Someone has murdered his keeper and let him out, even going so far as to give him his ritual tools back. What follows is a chase across Sigil and the Planes, culminating in Harbinger House.

The location itself isn't that easy either, of course. All the rooms of Harbinger House connect to each other only via apparently random portals and half the rooms have some kind of strange magic in them, left behind by one of the Godlins. There's more of those almost-gods, of course, like the artist who makes stone statues come to live or the comatose little girl who makes everyone fall asleep if they enter the same room.

It all ends in a showdown between the players and several other factions, among them an ascending god, his backstabbing priest, a small abyssal army, an insane cult of lovers, a sneaky succubus and the factions themselves.

There's at least one part that needs rewriting, though. The investigation part in the beginning until the players find Sougad is both a bit too long, sometimes illogical and in other parts waaay too blunt with its clues.