I kind of shrugged off the whole AD&D reprints thing when it happened because (a) I already have the old books and (b) I really have little love for the actual AD&D1e rules set because my most recent experiences with the game just served to remind me how much I prefer the simpler rules of B/X D&D instead.
But the adventures… There are more than a few adventures from the AD&D product line that carry heavy (and awesome) old-school memories for me. So a couple of weeks ago I was going through my modules and looking at my very beat up copy of Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth and realized that I could get a copy of the reprints cheaper than replacing the original. So I went for it.
Overall, the reprint is slightly less useful than the originals since everything is jammed into one book instead of multiple booklets and removable maps… but wow, the extra care that went into actually redoing the typesetting? It looks sharp and crisp and lovely on the clean white glossy paper stock. Really really lovely and crisp. Way sharper than the originals.
Almost makes me want to buy the rest of the reprints. Heck, thanks to Dave LeCompte I’ve got the reprint of the Slavers series of modules on it’s way as I type this!
Reading it reminded me of my favourite time running Expedition to the Barrier Peaks (one of my all-time favourite adventures as a teen). I’ve run it a few times, but the most memorable involved someone with 100% magic resistance seeking a cure for radiation sickness (another DM got sick of his character’s 100% MR and struck him with horrible rad sickness that would kill him within the month).
I told him I had an adventure with a cure. His character went in alone initially “I’ve got 100% MR, I can handle this!” and nearly got killed by security. He went in with a small team… they nearly got killed by security. He went in again with every PC we could recruit… and they got to the central command console where they pressed buttons for a while, got attacked by security AGAIN, and this time someone triggered a Cube of Force which severed the control console calling a huge batch of security and maintenance robots. And of course Mr 100% MR was outside the cube and was killed.
And couldn’t be resurrected. Because he had 100% MR.
Oh, and the utility part regarding the player handouts is easily handled by going to the Wizards website and downloading the PDFs they’ve provided of the player handouts for each of the four adventures. A very classy touch. Unfortunately, just like in the reprint, the colour plates from Expedition to the Barrier Peaks are in black and white, which really doesn’t do them justice.
Player handouts PDFs. (link provided because I find it hellish navigating the new wizards site and finding articles that got moved into the archives like this one)
Angry Monk said:
Thanks, Dyson, for the review. Now I’m interested.
Joshua Rodman said:
Re: their website. Sadly modern company websites are designed not for use, but for the whims of Marketing. Reorganizing them to kill all utility to users is of no consequence. A new ad campaign or branding means removing essential content.
Dyson Logos said:
But the common thread of marketing is to engage consumers. I think perhaps you are misusing the term “marketing” above.
Joshua Rodman said:
I’m referring to marketing departments, and the kinds of decision making that comes out of them, in my experience. It’s all image and brand; real engagement and utility are foreign or unimportant.
I should really get a copy. I only picked up the 1e DMG, PH & MM. It’s funny, I’ve never been fond of mixing sci-fi and fantasy, so S3 was a huge disappointment to me. Maybe that’s why I didn’t enjoy running it. I love S1&2 (classics!), though, and S4 ended up being one of my group’s greatest adventures (a friend DM’ed and I played).
Joshua Rodman said:
Personally I’ve found sci fi artifacts to be fun for fantasy players when they role play it to the hilt. Their characters intentionally do things that the players would certainly not do. Of course this only works as the occasional break from the usual.
I loved the old adventures and still go back to mine them for inspirational art by Otus and Trampier, but I just can’t run them any more without a lot of work adding to them — their plots were just way too simple. Modern adventures are generally even simpler — they seem designed for 9 year olds (and probably are), so again, I’m left mining their art for ideas. Sounds like we loved the same adventures. Barrier Peaks was my fav too. I took Jeff Dee’s illustration of the mind flayer and ran with it, even back then. https://lostdelights.wordpress.com/2012/05/09/jeff-dee-too-cool/