The Official Acaeum Top 30 adventures of all time
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Post Posted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:03 pm 
 

A little thread necromancy here:

I just finished reading Tegel Manor.  I was able to get it for cheap (the distribution edition) when Goodman Games had its 40% off sale.   I was pleased with the quality of the booklet and the two large maps (11x17) provided.  The large maps and the interior maps were well done overall, but there wasn't any interior art.  There was a wondering monster chart and an area map with a nearby city where players could recover or explore.  There were some nice touches I liked.  There were some tombstone inscriptions listed which made me laugh.  There were also brief descriptions for nearly 100 paintings within the manor, many of which had magical and/or malevolent effects.  The room descriptions are sparse and the map detail is intense, requiring a good Dungeon Master to make for a good player experience.

I've been hearing about this adventure for years, but never read it.  I assumed it might actually be a pretty good adventure given all the positive press.  My expectations were tempered by my experience reading Palace of the Vampire Queen, as I was somewhat disappointed in how simplistic it was.  These old adventures were great mostly because they were some of the first large-scale adventures available for purchase.  They inspired additional authors to publish their adventures.  And for those who adventured through them, they rekindle fond nostalgia.

Tegel Manor
(spoiler alert) is a huge haunted mansion.  There are creepy sounds, monsters, and sights in dozens of rooms.  There is little attention to any theme other than it's haunted.  There is little attention given to mission or goal other than, clear the thing out and collect all the treasure you can.  I should add that the particular edition I purchased also included an additional adventure entitled, "The Temple of Tsathoggus," which did not suffer from these aforementioned flaws.  There's a nice little back story explaining its origin, and there is an organizing deity, boss, and theme for the map and encounters.

Anyway, I am pleased I purchased this adventure.  It's fascinating seeing some of the earliest D&D dungeons and how it set the stage, and outline, for so many great, and greater, adventures to follow.   8)


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Post Posted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 8:05 am 
 

benjoshua wrote in The Official Acaeum Top 30 adventures of all time:A little thread necromancy here:

I just finished reading Tegel Manor.  I was able to get it for cheap (the distribution edition) when Goodman Games had its 40% off sale.   I was pleased with the quality of the booklet and the two large maps (11x17) provided.  The large maps and the interior maps were well done overall, but there wasn't any interior art.  There was a wondering monster chart and an area map with a nearby city where players could recover or explore.  There were some nice touches I liked.  There were some tombstone inscriptions listed which made me laugh.  There were also brief descriptions for nearly 100 paintings within the manor, many of which had magical and/or malevolent effects.  The room descriptions are sparse and the map detail is intense, requiring a good Dungeon Master to make for a good player experience.

I've been hearing about this adventure for years, but never read it.  I assumed it might actually be a pretty good adventure given all the positive press.  My expectations were tempered by my experience reading Palace of the Vampire Queen, as I was somewhat disappointed in how simplistic it was.  These old adventures were great mostly because they were some of the first large-scale adventures available for purchase.  They inspired additional authors to publish their adventures.  And for those who adventured through them, they rekindle fond nostalgia.

Tegel Manor
(spoiler alert) is a huge haunted mansion.  There are creepy sounds, monsters, and sights in dozens of rooms.  There is little attention to any theme other than it's haunted.  There is little attention given to mission or goal other than, clear the thing out and collect all the treasure you can.  I should add that the particular edition I purchased also included an additional adventure entitled, "The Temple of Tsathoggus," which did not suffer from these aforementioned flaws.  There's a nice little back story explaining its origin, and there is an organizing deity, boss, and theme for the map and encounters.

Anyway, I am pleased I purchased this adventure.  It's fascinating seeing some of the earliest D&D dungeons and how it set the stage, and outline, for so many great, and greater, adventures to follow.   8)



Beware of the "Killer Shrew".  Ask Badmike!!!   But be gentle he still shivers and shakes at the mere mention of the "Killer Shrew".

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Post Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 3:34 pm 
 

Prufrock wrote in The Official Acaeum Top 30 adventures of all time:
benjoshua wrote in The Official Acaeum Top 30 adventures of all time:A little thread necromancy here:

I just finished reading Tegel Manor.  I was able to get it for cheap (the distribution edition) when Goodman Games had its 40% off sale.   I was pleased with the quality of the booklet and the two large maps (11x17) provided.  The large maps and the interior maps were well done overall, but there wasn't any interior art.  There was a wondering monster chart and an area map with a nearby city where players could recover or explore.  There were some nice touches I liked.  There were some tombstone inscriptions listed which made me laugh.  There were also brief descriptions for nearly 100 paintings within the manor, many of which had magical and/or malevolent effects.  The room descriptions are sparse and the map detail is intense, requiring a good Dungeon Master to make for a good player experience.

I've been hearing about this adventure for years, but never read it.  I assumed it might actually be a pretty good adventure given all the positive press.  My expectations were tempered by my experience reading Palace of the Vampire Queen, as I was somewhat disappointed in how simplistic it was.  These old adventures were great mostly because they were some of the first large-scale adventures available for purchase.  They inspired additional authors to publish their adventures.  And for those who adventured through them, they rekindle fond nostalgia.

Tegel Manor
(spoiler alert) is a huge haunted mansion.  There are creepy sounds, monsters, and sights in dozens of rooms.  There is little attention to any theme other than it's haunted.  There is little attention given to mission or goal other than, clear the thing out and collect all the treasure you can.  I should add that the particular edition I purchased also included an additional adventure entitled, "The Temple of Tsathoggus," which did not suffer from these aforementioned flaws.  There's a nice little back story explaining its origin, and there is an organizing deity, boss, and theme for the map and encounters.

Anyway, I am pleased I purchased this adventure.  It's fascinating seeing some of the earliest D&D dungeons and how it set the stage, and outline, for so many great, and greater, adventures to follow.   8)



Beware of the "Killer Shrew".  Ask Badmike!!!   But be gentle he still shivers and shakes at the mere mention of the "Killer Shrew".

Martin


Well, your dwarf had his head up MY ass during the Killer Shrew attack (because you grabbed my from behind to hold me while John pulled the shrew off me.....? I cannot remember).  :D

Mike B.


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Post Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 3:57 pm 
 

Badmike wrote in The Official Acaeum Top 30 adventures of all time:Old List:

Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2006 11:00 pm         
1.        T1 Village of Hommlet
2.        B1 In Search of the Unknown
3.        L1 Bone Hill
4.        Ruins of Undermountain
5.        G3 Fire Giants
6.        D1 Descent Into the Depths
7.        S1 Tomb of Horrors
8.        WG4 Tharizdun
9.        I1 Forbidden City
10.        U1 Secret of Saltmarsh
11.        N1 Cult of the Reptile God
12.        B2 Keep on the Borderlands
13.        B10 Night's Dark Terror
14.        WG5 Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure
15.        D3 Vault of the Drow
16.        A4 Dungeons of the Slave Lords
17.        Night Below
18.        WGR6 City of Skulls
19.        G1
20.        G2

Old List: Posted March 4, 2012:

1. B1 In Search of the Unknown
2. Caverns of Thracia
3. T1 Village of Hommlet
4. Ruins of Undermountain
5. L1 Secret of Bone Hill
6. I1 Forbidden City
7. WG4 Tharizdun
8. Dark Tower
9. Bottle City
10. WG5 Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure
11. B2 Keep on the Borderlands
12. B10 Night's Dark Terror
13. G1
14. G2
15. G3
16. D1 Descent Into the Depths
17. U1 Secret of Saltmarsh
18. N1 Cult of the Reptile God
19. D3 Vault of the Drow
20. S1 Tomb of Horrors

The new list reflects the added respect for Judges Guild and the OSR at this point of my gaming experience.  I will readily admit many of the adventures are on the list for nostalgia purposes only at this point as I haven't played or DM'd them in decades.

Mike B.


Newest list, another (almost) six years later:

1. B1 In Search of the Unknown
2. Caverns of Thracia
3. T1 Village of Hommlet
4. Ruins of Undermountain
5. L1 Secret of Bone Hill
6. I1 Dwellers of the Forbidden City
7. WG4 Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun
8. Dark Tower
9. Stonehell Dungeon
10. WG5 Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure
11. B2 Keep on the Borderlands
12. B10 Night's Dark Terror
13. G1
14. G2
15. G3
16. D1 Descent Into the Depths
17. U1 Secret of Saltmarsh
18. N1 Cult of the Reptile God
19. Barrowmaze
20. Spire of Iron and Crystal

Familiarity has bred contempt at this point for stuff like Tomb of Horrors, Giant series, etc...I'd have taken off the G-series at this point if there was anything out there really better. Next time I do this in six years stuff like Rappan Athuk should make the list. it will have been around in one form or another 20+ years by then and is slowly becoming a classic to the younger generation. I have been leaving I6 Ravenloft off this list for so many years but as time goes on it looks better and better and seems to have amassed a huge critical following, as well as becoming "iconic" (everyone and their mother playing in it at least once).

Mike B.


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Post Posted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 12:38 am 
 

Badmike wrote in The Official Acaeum Top 30 adventures of all time:
Prufrock wrote in The Official Acaeum Top 30 adventures of all time:

Beware of the "Killer Shrew".  Ask Badmike!!!   But be gentle he still shivers and shakes at the mere mention of the "Killer Shrew".

Martin


Well, your dwarf had his head up MY ass during the Killer Shrew attack (because you grabbed my from behind to hold me while John pulled the shrew off me.....? I cannot remember).  :D

Mike B.


That about sums it up.  :lol:


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Post Posted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 12:54 am 
 

Long time, no post.  Not too many changes.

1.)  G3 Hall of the Fire Giant King
2.)  WG4 Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun
3.)  B2 Keep on the Borderlands
4.)  G1 Steading of the Hill Giant Chief
5.)  I6 Ravenloft
6.)  The Rings of Doom (written by Steve Winter for the Secret Fire RPG)
7.)  I1 The Forbidden City
8.)  DCC #72: Beyond the Black Gate
9.)  U1 The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh
10.)  Death Frost Doom (new, expanded printing)
11.)  D1-2 Descent Into the Depths of the Earth
12.)  G2 Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl
13.)  Tomb of Abysthor
14.)  DCC #95: Enter the Dagon
15.)  L1 The Secret of Bone Hill
16.)  N2 The Forest Oracle
17.)  Ghost Ship of the Desert Dunes (for Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea)
18.)  Starstone
19.)  Tegel Manor
20.)  Dark Tower

Way too many "honorable mentions" to list.  :D


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Post Posted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 9:37 am 
 

I'm probably in the minority here, but I think I would put Isle of Dread in that list someplace.  I always liked that one, although I never survived it as a player.  It's a fun mod.

Also, I'd put "Evil Ruins" by Role Aids on my list.  It's really a cool little adventure.  Well written, lots of fun to run and really engaging for players too.


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Post Posted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 10:52 am 
 

As I look at this list, I can't help but wonder what role nostalgia and historical importance played in some of these selections, among many factors.  For example, if G1-3 were released today, would they be viewed as favorably?  Personally, I think historical importance does play some role.  Tegel Manor was phenomenal in that it broke new ground creating a template followed for years to come.  But if it was released today, it wouldn't be nearly as impressive.  The map was great, the room descriptions and theme were poor.   Nostalgia is not nearly as important a factor in my opinion.  Just because you had a great time DM'ing it or playing in it, doesn't mean it was great in and of itself.  And just because you had a lousy DM when playing Ravenloft, doesn't make that adventure any less amazing.  If you were to create a scoring sheet for adventures, what would it look like?  I am guessing there are lots of opinions on this.   :?


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Post Posted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 11:09 am 
 

benjoshua wrote in The Official Acaeum Top 30 adventures of all time:As I look at this list, I can't help but wonder what role nostalgia and historical importance played in some of these selections, among many factors.  For example, if G1-3 were released today, would they be viewed as favorably?  Personally, I think historical importance does play some role.  Tegel Manor was phenomenal in that it broke new ground creating a template followed for years to come.  But if it was released today, it wouldn't be nearly as impressive.  The map was great, the room descriptions and theme were poor.   Nostalgia is not nearly as important a factor in my opinion.  Just because you had a great time DM'ing it or playing in it, doesn't mean it was great in and of itself.  And just because you had a lousy DM when playing Ravenloft, doesn't make that adventure any less amazing.  If you were to create a scoring sheet for adventures, what would it look like?  I am guessing there are lots of opinions on this.   :?


I completely agree with this statement.  We had a lot of fun playing the early adventures; it was new, exciting and our imaginations went wild.  But compare the G series to the new adventures being released by Paizo, Frog God, WOTC etc. The new adventures contain detailed back stories, themes, unique characters, twists and turns and cool ideas.  Most of the older adventures are basically lists of rooms filled with monsters loosely held together with a theme. Don't get me wrong, the early adventures were great but just like everything else they have evolved and have become awesome.


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Post Posted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 11:46 am 
 

Blackmoor wrote in The Official Acaeum Top 30 adventures of all time:
benjoshua wrote in The Official Acaeum Top 30 adventures of all time:As I look at this list, I can't help but wonder what role nostalgia and historical importance played in some of these selections, among many factors.  For example, if G1-3 were released today, would they be viewed as favorably?  Personally, I think historical importance does play some role.  Tegel Manor was phenomenal in that it broke new ground creating a template followed for years to come.  But if it was released today, it wouldn't be nearly as impressive.  The map was great, the room descriptions and theme were poor.   Nostalgia is not nearly as important a factor in my opinion.  Just because you had a great time DM'ing it or playing in it, doesn't mean it was great in and of itself.  And just because you had a lousy DM when playing Ravenloft, doesn't make that adventure any less amazing.  If you were to create a scoring sheet for adventures, what would it look like?  I am guessing there are lots of opinions on this.   :?


I completely agree with this statement.  We had a lot of fun playing the early adventures; it was new, exciting and our imaginations went wild.  But compare the G series to the new adventures being released by Paizo, Frog God, WOTC etc. The new adventures contain detailed back stories, themes, unique characters, twists and turns and cool ideas.  Most of the older adventures are basically lists of rooms filled with monsters loosely held together with a theme. Don't get me wrong, the early adventures were great but just like everything else they have evolved and have become awesome.


I agree with this sentiment as well, absolutely.  But on the other hand, I'd concede that when RPG geeks like us get together to talk about mods we liked,  nostalgia is baked into the cake.  

RPG experiences are highly subjective.  As mentioned above, a truly well written and engaging mod could be despised by some players because, for them, it was run by a bad DM.  And vice versa.

All of that being the case, if a few mods end up on the list due more to nostalgia rather then actual merit, that's to be expected and I'm okay with it.


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Post Posted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 10:23 pm 
 

1        B2        Keep on the Borderlands
2        D1        Descent Into the Depths of the Earth
3        D3        Vault of the Drow
4        D2        Shrine of the Kuo-Toa
5        S1        Tomb of Horrors
6        G3        Hall of the Fire Giant King
7        G2        Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl
8        G1        Steading of the Hill Giant Chief
9        WG4        Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun
10        B1        In Search of the Unknown
11        I1        Dwellers of the Forbidden City
12        A4        In the Dungeons of the Slave Lords
13        Q1        Queen of the Demonweb Pits
14        X2        Castle Amber
15        EX1        Dungeonland
16        X1        Isle of Dread
17        T1        Village of Hommlet
18        C2        Ghost Tower of Inverness
19        C1        Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan
20        U1        Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh

Honorable mentions:
Caves of Pain
Quinitar's Castle

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Post Posted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:49 pm 
 

brute wrote in The Official Acaeum Top 30 adventures of all time:Honorable mentions:
Caves of Pain
Quinitar's Castle

Intriguing... what are these two? I don't think I've ever heard of them.
Thanks,
--Ron--



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Post Posted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 12:54 am 
 

Those two were my favorite dungeons that I wrote and dm'd! I had a blast making those. Each was long and extensive enough to be a module.

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Post Posted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 6:06 am 
 

I had about 60 browser pages open while downloading pretty much everything that the demigod Dyson made, and somehow this page made its way in there. Probably my 8 year old. Anyways, it got me to thinking about my list again. 2-30 would take some time, but if I had to pick a #1 I would say Tomb of Horrors.

1. Everyone here remembers when they went through it.

2. Properly DMed, no other module can convey the sense of actually BEING there quite as well.

3. The module was one of the few where it was entirely possible to miss the money shot ending and still be called a "successful" run.

4. I know many 3rd Edition+ gamers who could not name any of the ones we'd pick, but they ALL know the Tomb.

5. Aside from some attempts at the Steading, I have never seen someone take the time to recreate the entire setting in miniature terrain.

My first serious module was B2; I actually related to Grodog some of the experience a few days ago. But here's why I can't count it as #1.

1. It was a personal experience. That does not make something tops. Except that girl in Tijuana.............

2. Some of us started with B1, others B2, others a different module.

3. Again, the excitement of a first-played module is in the newness. ToH is in a class all by itself.


Most compelling reason:

My 8 year old reads three D&D books regularly. The Player's Handbook, The Monster Manual (3E, he likes the pics), and Tomb of Horrors. I'm still not sure where he saw the name, but I cried a little when he asked for it. He now has a plastic skull with ruby eyes and diamond teeth on his computer desk. Need I say more?


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Post Posted: Wed Jan 22, 2020 4:11 pm 
 

1. S1 Tomb of Horrors
2. B2 Keep on the Borderlands
3. G1 Steading of the Hill Giant Chief
4. G2 Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl
5. G3 Hall of the Fire Giant King
6. Iron Gods: The Choking Tower
7. Kingmaker: Stolen Land
8. Rise of the Runelords: Spires of Xin-Shalast
9. A4 Dungeons of the Slave Lords
10. T1 Village of Homlet
11. Iron Gods: The Divinity Drive
12. Kingmaker: War of the River Kings
13. WG4 Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun
14. WGA4 Vecna Lives
15. Iron Gods: Lords of Rust
16. UK1 Beyond the Crystal Cave
17. S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks


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