Monday, August 12, 2019

Sunday Survey: Best Module Poll

Not a poll by me, but a gentleman named Jon Payton on the Facebook 1E AD&D group. And not just a single poll: Jon ran a whole series of round robin polls throughout May to determine a popular ranking for all of the published 1E modules (95 modules in all!). Here's an excerpt of his Top 10:


Now, in the run-up to the final bracket, I felt that the results were about as I would have guessed, and then right at the end it turned surprising. Namely the winner, S3: The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth is not a module I normally hear as people's favorite (I've never run it, but it's an attractive work in some ways). Likewise, I know everybody loves module S2, but I was a little surprised to see it as high as 2nd place. For me, the G1-3 modules come out on top, always.

Related to this: In the final few rounds Jon was providing short supplementary commentary to each of the modules, that I thought was top-notch, refined, and observant. Right up until the end when he playfully spazzed out on his personal favorite, U1: The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, not taking the top spot; Jon is apparently a big fan of all the UK-sourced modules (for me, the U1 Scooby-Doo plot is nigh-unforgivable). I'd highly recommend taking a look at the full rankings on his Musings from the Moathouse blog, as well his reviews there for other modules. And I wish that all of his Facebook blurbs were made public there, as well!


9 comments:

  1. This is helpful for those of us who don’t normally run the 1e modules.

    We had a blast with A1 and A2 (and will do a3 at some point) but otherwise I have not run any of them.

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    1. That's excellent! Paul & I have mixed feelings about the A-series (he was surprised when I ran A2 this spring). If you enjoyed those, I think you'll like the others in the top brackets of that list, as well. Gygax's stuff tends to be more brutally hack-and-slash; on the other hand, people have always definitely loved the puzzle-packed S2.

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  2. Wow, thanks for the glowing praise! Much appreciated.

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  3. I'm not sure I agree with his tournament-style methodology; I think I would have preferred a straight poll (or series of polls). Still it's a pretty beefy list, and I have to say that reading through it gives me shivers of excitement as I remember running or playing most of these adventures.

    I'd like to see if any 1E modules failed to "make the cut" for the 95 polled...or is that the extent of the published adventures for that edition? Some of these (DL5 and other later DL listings, for example) aren't really adventures, but resource material for AD&D settings, so their presence on the list is puzzling.

    I think it's interesting and worth noting that most of the top ranked modules were intended for high level (AD&D) characters, especially considering how often I hear high level play disparaged.

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    1. Ideally, yes, a single flat survey would be scientifically best. But I'm impressed that I think Jon's round-robin structure was a really clever solution to the problems of (a) having too many choices at once, and (b) having too many choices to support in a Facebook poll.

      I think the claim is that the 95 there are every single 1E module. I know if it were me, I'd probably just scrape the module codes from Arcaeum and not know that some of the DL-lne aren't adventures.

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    2. I actually missed off a few - the earliest Forgotten Realms modules just about appeared before 2E launched... and I removed all the Supermodules unless they added to the originals in a truly significant manner - eg T1-4. The initial Round One qualifying groups were based on blocks of modules from certain year groups to ensure a wide spread, but from then on, everything was done by the modules' rankings from the previous rounds.

      The problem with a mass initial poll is that the love/hate modules would have dominated, and is a module really the 'best' if there are as many who hate it as there are that love it?

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    3. I also ignored the R series, and used the reissue I12 instead there, as R1/2/3/4 were never on general widespread release.

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    4. Jon, thanks for that added information!

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