The Inheritance is one of the stronger Dungeon adventures, featuring an assault on a small keep/manor taken over by humanoids. It’s got a decent sandbox feel to it and, with work, could be a home base for the party, kicking off a campaign.
Both the Cure & the Quest and Nine-tenths of the Law have decent portions. 9/10’s has a good urban vibe going on with characters that make sense while Cure/Quest has a couple of good encounters with some serious issues around them. Both could be salvaged with a lot of work.
Bride for a Fox continues my obsession with OA. Almost every OA adventure that appeared in Dungeon, including this one, is pretty good. If you can deal with the setting. These would also be good rethemed for one of those modern indie storytelling fantasy/folklore rpg’s.
Courier Service has decent encounters but doesn’t really use them very well to make a cohesive adventure.
Visitors from Above had some shitty Spelljammer ship (grounded) explorations but a MUCH better second half with a wizard in a mine. A varied environment, three-dimensional map, lots of potential.
Night of Fear is Yet Another Shitty Shapechanger mission, but it did have a nice table of NPC responses as an organizational highlight.
I like Sleepless because of the social powder keg that could turn in to crazed combat. Lots of factions, lots of good imagery … surrounded by WAY too much description. It’s one of the better Dungeon adventures.
Mightier than the Sword is absurd, in that magical wonderful way that D&D adventures can go. It’s got a village at arms with each other over an absurd premise: the invention of a metal nib for quills. Taken to its logical conclusion, everyone has an opinion and are more than willing to put them forth … with vigor. This adventure does not qualify for my overused “Decent” label, but is actually good.
Wrastle with Bertrum has a nice tavern to steal, but I’m not sure I’d run it as an adventure.
Thiondar’s Legacy is an honest to goodness ADVENTURE. It’s got an epic vibe that many try for and few manage. Wordy, but sticky in your head.
Beyond the Glittering Veil has well developed NPC’s and location, in a city of undead, that also feels real. Not simulationist realism, but rather NOT fucking up the suspension of disbelief. The massively overwritten text is a real problem.
Local Legend had a good idea, with a nice 100 Bushels of Rye thing going on, but lapses in to being contrived.
Elf in the House is a Mansion Murder with potential, but it unrunnable due to the way the thing is formatted.
That Island Charm runs almost like a farce for the first half, and I LUV farce in D&D. A bunch of castaways INSIST that things are a certain way, when its clearly not that way. Wonderful!
The Siege of Kratys Frehold gives the party control of an army and a siege. “Here’s a bunch of resources, here’s the locale and here’s the goal. Make it happen.” Needs prep, but, fuck, it’s Dungeon, everything in it needs prep.
Isle of the Abbey is above average for Dungeon. Again, it’s a location with the party having a goal and the freedom, mostly, to pursue it and reclaim a lighthouse for the guild of mariners.
The Whale shows how good Wolfgang Baur used to be. Great social setup, good consequences, a background that DRIVES action instead of being trivia … it’s a great big mess, in a good way.
Ghost of Mistmoor is a decent haunted house adventure, better than U1. Good imagery and good DM advice.
The adventures in this issues are all at a consistently high level of quality, which was quite rare for Dungeon.
Mud Sorcerer’s Tomb is much loved and does Tomb of Horrors better than Tomb of Horrors did. Great imagery, good setups, less forced than ToH.
Horror’s Harvest was a Ravenloft mostly-social adventure with pod people in a village. If this were rewritten/reformatted you could have a good adventure; it’s VERY disorganized.
Below Vulture Point is a small mountain lair that has a nice three-dimensional environment but needs better descriptions that are more evocative.
Last of the Iron Horse could be mistaken for an adventure from Fight On! A lot of adventure packed in to a small ten room complex with evil little fairy tale-like dwarves.
Fountains of Health is aimed at people with second grade reading skills, but has a lot of classic encounters and a decent OD&D/basic thing going on.
Son of the Fens has a good premise and nice imagery but needs better rewards and is quite tough for first levels.
Lady of the Mists has a slow melancholy feel to it, in spite of its wordiness.
Hot Day in L/Trel takes place over a couple of weeks in a city on fire. The city seems alive and everything is a hook. Great.
Rudwilla’s Stew has a basic D&D vibe going on with that kind of folklore vibe that is one of the things that wins me over. Jersey accents for the bugbears is a turnoff.
Prism Keep is a nice adventure with good imagery and encounters and puzzles and so on. It’s going to take some serious work to get it in to good fighting trim, but it’s got good lines.
Dovedale has an forest folklore thing going for it, with talking animals and old style goblins that don’t exist just to be hacked to death. You suck if you don’t like this one.
Goblin Fever had a nice idea but ruined it.
Iron Orb of the Duergar is a tough nut to crack. Good ideas, allies, craziness, and sticky writing. High level and NOT a shit show is enough to make it notable, if not reccomended.
Both the Assassin WIthin and Fraggart’s Contraption have nice ideas and outlines but serious serious flaws that keep them from being good without a lot of work.
Them Apples, Melody, and Oracle at Sumbar all deserve better than they got from their writing. There are various ways to save all three … but why would you want to?
North of Narborel lacks color but has enough elements that are above average, for Dungeon, to make it worth looking in to for pirate towns, etc.
Vaka’s Curse and Back to the Beach are both small things pretty well done. Vaka could be included in any sea voyage adventure as an additional complication, while Back to the Beach has possibilities for longer term integration in to a campaign.
The Object of Desire has issues but a couple of hours should fix it up and make it fit for play. The final location FEELS wondrous, and getting rid of some of the deus ex shit should be pretty easy.
bryce, what are best urban adventures in the dungeon magazine? could you point me in the direction of the few if it is not too much of a bother?
Why do some designers fall off like that? Wulfgang was great; the White Kingdom in issue 70 is one of the best adventures out there…I have gotten use out of it multiple times. Recent works? not so much.
i like court of the shadow fey and some other midgard adventures. hoard of the dragon queen… not so much.
Hi Bryce! I’m from Argentina. I’m starting a nostalgia sandbox AD&D 2nd Edition campaign using Return to the Keep on the Borderlands as a basis. So, for it to be even more sandbox I wanted to include some possible hooks to good Dungeon modules and that’s where your blog saved my life -and sanity-! This place is amazing! Thank you for your herculean task of reviewing each and every single issue of those magazines. I’ll try to use your advice to salvage good adventures to throw to my players!
Just for the record, Lady of the Mists is in issue #42, not 41.