Expert Series (X1 - X13, XL1, XSOLO, XS2)            Home Up

Developed for use with Dungeons & Dragons Expert Set.

X1 Isle of Dread by David Cook and Tom Moldvay
X2 Castle Amber
by Tom Moldvay
X3 Curse of Xanathon
by Douglas Niles
X4 Master of the Desert Nomads
by David Cook
X5 Temple of Death
by David Cook
X6 Quagmire!
by Merle Rasmussen
X7 War Rafts of Kron
by Bruce Nesmith
X8 Drums on Fire Mountain
by Graeme Morris and Tom Kirby
X9 Savage Coast
by Merle and Jackie Rasmussen
X10 Red Arrow, Black Shield
by Michael Dobson
X11 Saga of the Shadow Lord
by Stephen Bourne
X12 Skarda's Mirror
by Aaron Allston
X13 Crown of Ancient Glory
by Stephen Bourne
XL1 Quest for the Heartstone
by Michael Gray
XSOLO Lathan's Gold
by Merle Rasmussen
XS2 Thunderdelve Mountain
by William Carlson

Modules X4, X5, and X10 form the "Nomad" subseries.

Module X8 misspells the author's name on the cover (and Graeme remains unamused).  It was first used as a tournament adventure at GamesFair 1981 in the UK (where it was possibly titled "Island of Death").  Thanks to Adam Shultz for this info.

Module X10 is also compatible with the AD&D BattleSystem rule set (as well as its D&D equivalent, WarMachine), and includes cardboard counters.

Modules X10 and X13 are "bridge" modules between the Expert and Companion rule sets.

The working title for X11 was "Blackheart".

Module XL1 was produced to promote a line of action figures.  Interestingly, the map on the inside cover has the compass rose pointed east, instead of north; this can cause quite a bit of confusion when reading the room descriptions (thanks to Neville Ridley-Smith for this info).  The series "XL" is an abbreviation of "eXpert Licensed".

Module XS2 is actually an abbreviated code for "XSOLO2"... it's a solo adventure.


Printing Information Logos

The first three modules in this series (X1, X2, and X3) have distinguishable printings.  X4 and X5 also have two "printings", differing only in the presence of a cardboard header.  X1 is also the only module, aside from the "monochrome" modules, that TSR produced in the U.S. with two separate covers (reason unknown).  The contents in both cases are identical, with a few exceptions as noted below.
 
X1 Isle of Dread Foreign

  • First (1980):  Blue cover, Jeff Dee artwork.  ISBN on back cover bottom left.  "A Wilderness Adventure for Character Levels 3-7" is printed on two lines, top of the front cover.  "All Rights Reserved" is the last line of text on the front cover (repeating itself).  This is the first color-covered module produced by TSR, and was included in the First print of the D&D Expert Set (it was also sold separately, i.e. shrinkwrapped, and is considerably rarer in this condition).  Note:  On all copies we have spotted, the module booklet is copyright 1981, and has a "9034" module code in the lower right (9034 is assigned to B2 Keep on the Borderlands).  The cover, however, shows the correct copyright (1980) and code (9043).  We'd like to hear from anyone who has a booklet that is copyright 1980, and if so, what module code it shows.
     
  • Second (1981):  Blue cover (though a decidedly more purplish-toned cover has been noted as well), Jeff Dee artwork.  ISBN on back cover bottom left.  "A Wilderness Adventure for Character Levels 3-7" is printed on one line, top of the front cover.  The repeated "All Rights Reserved" (see above) has been removed.  This print came bundled with the Second print of the D&D Expert Set, and was also sold separately.  The discrepancy mentioned above ("9034" code, 1981 copyright) is sometimes present with this print as well. (Thanks to Matthew Foster, Curt Gould, Dan Harshman, John Justice, and Luca Lettieri for this info).
     
  • Third:  Blue cover, Jeff Dee artwork.  ISBN and Product Number on back cover bottom left.  "A Wilderness Adventure for Character Levels 3-7" is printed on one line, top of the front cover.  This print came bundled with the Third print of the D&D Expert Set, and was also sold separately.
     
  • Fourth (1983):  Red cover, Tim Truman artwork.  It was bundled with the Fourth and Fifth prints of the Expert Set.  Front cover layout is completely rearranged, in line with the current TSR module style.  Several monsters have been changed/excised, to conform with what monsters are available in the Basic and Expert sets (for instance, the three sharks in the temple were changed to crocodiles).  Also, as contributor Brett Altschul writes, "there is a glaring error on the maps, specifically the outtake diagram next to the map of the first floor of the temple.  The diagram is a sketch, showing how an arched passage leads under the face set in the middle of the wall of the main chamber.  This printing lacks the sketch (present in the first three printings above).  As a consequence, it appears that the dungeon chambers are completely inaccessible!" (thanks to Brett Altschul for this info).
X2 Castle Amber Foreign
  • First (1981):  ISBN (only) on back cover bottom left.
     
  • Second:  ISBN back cover bottom left, Product Number back cover bottom right.
X3 Curse of Xanathon Foreign
  • First (1982):  TSR Face logo.  Text in top border ("X3  Adventure Module For Characters Levels 5-7") is in light blue ink, which doesn't contrast well with the dark blue border itself.
     
  • Second:  TSR Face logo.  Text in top border is now white.  Otherwise identical to First print (thanks to Michael Dann for this info).
     
  • Third (1982+):  Angled TSR logo.  Text in top border is white.  Booklet cover also has the new Angled TSR logo; unknown if there's any internal differences.
X4 Master of the Desert Nomads Foreign
  • First:  Angled TSR logo.
     
  • Second:  Identical in all respects to the First print, but affixed with a cardboard header on top of the module, with the D&D logo and some other advertising.  Note that without the header, this print would be indistinguishable from the First print (thanks to Michael Deaton for this info).  Further info on header modules is here.
X5 Temple of Death Foreign
  • First:  Angled TSR logo.
     
  • Second:  Identical in all respects to the First print, but affixed with a cardboard header on top of the module, with the D&D logo and some other advertising.  Note that without the header, this print would be indistinguishable from the First print (thanks to Michael Dougherty for this info).  Further info on header modules is here.
X6 Quagmire! Foreign
X7 War Rafts of Kron Foreign
X8 Drums on Fire Mountain Foreign
X9 Savage Coast Foreign
X10 Red Arrow, Black Shield Foreign
X11 Saga of the Shadow Lords Foreign
X12 Skarda's Mirror Foreign
XL1 Quest for the Heartstone Foreign
XSOLO Lathan's Gold Foreign
XS2 Thunderdelve Mountain Foreign

Thanks to Leonard Riotto for the scan of X6, Richard van Tol for the scan of X7, and to Adrian Newman for scans of X4, X5, X9, and X10.
 
Isle of Dread (1st) Isle of Dread (2nd-3rd) Isle of Dread (4th) Castle Amber Curse of Xanathon (1st)
         
Curse of Xanathon (3rd) Master Desert Nomads Temple of Death Quagmire! War Rafts of Kron
         
Drums on Fire Mountain Savage Coast Red Arrow, Black Shield Saga of the Shadow Lord Skarda's Mirror
         
 
Crown of Ancient Glory
 
Quest for the Heartstone
 
Lathan's Gold
 
Thunderdelve Mountain
 
 


Auction Commentary

Though current auction prices do not reflect it, the Fourth (last) printing of X1 Isle of Dread, with the red cover, is substantially more rare than its earlier-print brethren.

Rarity increases with module X6 and later, due to shorter print runs (with the exception of X13 Crown of Ancient Glory, which was apparently over-printed... copies were available from the Wizards of the Coast website well into the new millennium).

X10 Red Arrow, Black Shield fetches perhaps the highest amounts of any of the X modules.  It is a thicker module, and more susceptible to damage than its brethren, as well as being compatible with BattleSystem rules (typically, anything having to do with BattleSystem goes for high prices).

Of all the X-series, X12 Skarda's Mirror is perhaps the most difficult to find.


Current eBay Auctions