Monday, September 6, 2021

Series Review: D&D Master Rules Modules

  

Some time ago (awkwardly pulls at collar), I wrote reviews for the entire M-series of adventure modules produced by TSR for the Dungeons & Dragons Master Rules. This was the BECMI boxed set for ultimate-level, empire-building, planes-hopping PCs in the 26-36 level range -- written by Frank Mentzer and released in 1985. 

Sounds pretty awesome, right? But the execution was a mixed bag at best -- admittedly it's such a high and wide-ranging concept, it's a very tough design goal to try and satisfy. And in the case of the adventure series, production seemed rushed, quality-control was low, and the results were all over the map (literally). So I think it's an interesting case study in approaching the challenge of adventure design by a bunch of heavyweight D&D writers.

For ease-of-search purposes, here's a collected list of links to those adventure reviews. If you have time to read just one, the standout is the final entry, module M5 by Jennell Jaquays (whom I got to interview about it here). Enjoy!

4 comments:

  1. Interesting reviews, but I noticed that in your M5 review you misgendered Ms. Jaquays a couple of times; might want to fix that.

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    1. Done, original written a long time ago, thank you!

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  2. Honestly I think twilight calling is the most interesting with some intriguing unanswered questions. Five coins is kinda bleh. And while talons of night is good adventure design, I don't like it's treatment of the isle of dawn. It just annoys me that the isle of dawn was split between the two Empires instead of being its own thing. I find most of Bruce heard's work to be over the top and in the philosophy of adnd ruleswise.

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    1. Good thoughts! I certainly went in to Twilight Calling enthusiastic from the cover art & initial setup, I'll say that.

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