My Favorite of the new old school adventurers

Uh … Hello all you new people, whoever you are. While these are my favs there are a lot of good adventures not mentioned here. Ask away and I can point you at a few specific to your interests.

I’ve been a bit lax in updating my list of favorite modules. I’ve linked to my RPGGEEK entry where you can get all of the my reviews, archived, rated, and ready to sort, but I should do something on the blog also.

So, here’s my list of my favorite adventures from the OSR:


Anomalous Subsurface Environment 1-3 Gonzo City & Dungeon with a bit of Gamma World thrown in.
Stonehell 1-7 One of the few good megadungeons in existence, in the innovative 1–page format.
F3 – Many Gates of the Gann 5-6 A weird dungeoncrawl, like days of old!
Rappan Athuk 1-99 The closest thing to the platonic ideal of a megadungeon.
Demonspore 3-6 A damn fine example of an OD&D feel. Everything seems fresh & new again. Matt Finch is one of maybe three people in the OSR who I trust to consistently turn out good adventures (Bowman, Gabor Lux, Finch.)
Beneath the Ruins 1-3 A great ODD feel in a small package. WMLP has the next two levels.
The Shadowed Keep 1-3 Kramers take on an evil overlord fortress. Kramer is very good.
Ychyrn The Tyrant 1-3 Kobolds in a cave, Kramer style.
Arachnophobia 3-5 Bug infestation under a church, ala Aliens.
The Shattered Skull 2-4 Orcs tribe in a cave. Kramer is good at everything he does.
Shadowbrook Manor 1-3 A haunted house, a bit on on the goofy side.
Tower of the Stargazer 1-3 Slow paced exploration of a wizards tower.
Death Frost Doom. 1-3 A great, if slow, crawl in a cult temple. Then your campaign ends
Barrowmaze 1- Megadungeon features lots and LOTS of undead.
Wheel of Evil 3-5 Fungas men always deliver an OD&D feel.
The Thing in the Valley 3-5 A nice pace and and an evocative environment for a horror like adventure.
Voyage to Plague Island 4-6 A Weird and wonderfully idiosyncratic adventure.
Tomb of the Iron God 1-3 There’s two gods and like 500+ monsters in this FIRST level adventure. Good Stuff!
Gone Fishin’ 3-5 Great folk tale feel and free to boot!
Monastery of the Order of Crimson Monks 5-9 Good expansion of the sample dungeon in the 1E DMG.
The Inn of Lost Heroes 3-5 Very evocative. Very horror. Some of Spahns best
Ironwood Gorge. 2-5 Better than B2, despite what Benoist says.
The Ruined Hamlet/Terror in the Gloaming. 1-3 Interesting situations and evocative detail.
A2 – The Slag Heap 2-4 Three examples of failed villages. A nice look at a borderlands village environment.
AA#12 – The Barrow Mound of Gravemoor5-7Barrow. Atmosphere. Weird.
The Bonegarden12-14Subplots galore, but suffers from major bloat.
Red Tam’s Bones3-5Fey, for a more civilized time.
Challenge of the Frog Idol3-5It’s free. Why haven’t you downloaded it yet?
The Melford Murder.1 A mystery that doesn’t suck and a good adventure to plunder for ideas.
Systema Tartarobasis.3-5An evocative journey through a hellish Orwellian society.
The Maze of Nuroman.1 Classic tropes. Best for n00b players but could use some gonzo or OD&D weirdness. On the cusp on not making by B cutoff.
Tomb of the Bull King.3+ It does Greek Epic right.
Tempus Gelidum3-5A small gonzo lair in which all of the elements work together.
Obelisk of Forgotten Memories1-3ASE1 graveyard with factions.
Garden of the Hag Queen2-5A mini-setting with a outpost of an evil kingdom.
Prison of the Hated Pretender0-1A nice quiet little intro scenario.
The Red Demon of the Vile Fens3-4Gonzo ASE1 adventure in an old giant tank.
Fight On!Magazine. Generally very good.
Nod MagazineGreat Stater hex crawls.
Hex Crawl ClassicsLine. More great Stater hex crawls.
Blood of the Dragon1-3This is Swords & Sorcery done right.
The Spire of Iron & Crystal5-6A classic Finch work.
The Purple Worm Graveyard1-3! Bryce luvs monster guts!
My Design Contest! The Six Thousand Steps, Hive of Giant Bees, To Rob a Witch!
Tomb of the Sea Kings5+ is all about the players.
Valley of the Five Fires4-9 gives you a nice mongol environment and adventure.
Beneath is Windowless Tower5-8And it’s free!
MCMLCXX1-4 … or whatever. I think it’s charming.
The Hidden Tomb of Sloggoth the NecromancerLow is a nice baseline for “decent adventure.”
Tower of the Scarlet WizardAny is one of the new old things from Jim Ward.
Blood on the Snow8-10 is some kind of Viking mayhem.
SlaughterGrid2?A great example of dynamic encounters.
Deep Carbon ObservatoryMid is a master-class example of a good OSR adventure. This is a fine example of the best of the OSR dwarfing older material.
Maze of the Blue Medusa1-4/5-10 is what classic D&D is meant to be. One of the best dungeons, IMO.
The Gnomes of Levnec & A Thousand Dead Babies1 both provide nice little mini-regions with a TON going on.
Sleeping Place of the Feathered Swine1 is horror-ish and evocative without being grim.
Lapis Observatory? kicks so much ass!
Broodmother Skyfortres? is a great tutorial on how to be a DM.
Stealer of Children1 is another great Peter Spahn adventure.
No Salvation for Witches? is a great little LotFP-oriented thing.
Towers Two4-6 channels GWAR, in both a good and bad way
The Marionette1-4 is that rarest of things: A decent Adventurers League adventure.
The Globe4-5 is a nice little self-contained thing inside of a snow globe.
Curse of the Shrine Goddess1-3 (Content Partner) is a great little adventure with nice imagery and a player focus.
An Overwhelming Sense of Loss1-3 is a great little dungeon.
Mines, Claws, and Princesses2-4 cements Oswald as a master of the dungeon design craft.
Echoes from Fomalhaut #12-4 has a great 2-level cave from a master.
The Red Prophet Rises3-5 engages in some serious Conan-warrior cult fun.
Kidnap the ArchpriestLow (content partner service) is a great city/caper sandbox.
Operation Unfathomable1 is a underground system that is one of the most imaginative ever written.
Hyqueous Vaults3 proves that the old ‘standard’ adventure styles are great when done well, and it does it very VERY well.
Grave of the Heartless, Dragons Heart1-4 are good mini-campaign things.
Statues1-4 (content partner service) is a great urban caper/mad mad mad mad world adventure.
Dungeon Full of Monsters1- is a decent dungeon in spite of some hipsterism rando stuff.
Fever Swamp? comes from the always great Melsonian’s … and is set in a swamp.
The Submerged Spire of Sarpedon the Shaper4 does a great bringing brining the OD&D vibe of an underwater/alien environment.
Tower of the Weretoads1 is just … well … ooky!
Wyrd Ways of Walstock1-3 is about a cult taking over a town.
Fall of Whitecliff1- (content partner service) is a great collection of one-pagers that link to form a campaign.
The Ruinous Palace of the Metegorgos1-3 is … well … mythic? It FEELS Like a place of legend, forgotten.
Sacrebleu!1-3Goblins with world war one gear.
The Beholder Contracts3A formatting nightmare with good Stick
To Bring Down the Sky4Everything for a night of adventure!
The Vanilla Adventure1Vanilla don’t mean generic.
The Dark of Hot Springs Island?Mega adventure on a weirdo island.
The Barbarian King4-6More fun from Melan!
Writing with Style … advice for RPG WritersThe only design guide approved by Bryce.
(5) Saving Saxham3-5Social aspects in an adventure?!?! GASP!
The Dragons Secret1-7Jennell reenters the fray with a new adventure!
(5e) Rats of Waterdeep1Madcap detectives!
Kellerin’s Rumble3-5You inherited a warehouse!
The Sunken Fort1-4Funhouse!
(5e) A Night in Seyvoth Manor6
Through Ultans Door #1?I thought opium was illegal in the US?
The Castle that Fell from the Sky3-5Funhouse!
DAMN Magazine Spring/Summer 2018LowDCC weirdness with a 3e flavor!
Pollute the Elfen Memory Waters4Sandy in a fucked up city.
Dead PlanetJust what are you willing to do in order to break orbit in this spaceman adventure?
Welcome to Mortiston. Modern zombies, not OSR, but a perfect example of how to set up a social environment in which adventures can take place.
Fever Dreaming Marlinko & Slumbering Ursine Dunes  & Misty Isles of the EldAll great places to use to add to your own devices. You need a city, or a region? Use one of these!
The Fungus that Came to Blackeswell3Why is the village abandoned?
The Harvester from outer Space4Abducted to another world!
Dreams of the Lurid SacA truly alien environment.
Fight On!2, 35 and 6Anything by David Bowman, but these from Fight On! stand out.
Peril on the Purple Planet!4DCC-Invade another planet!
People of the Pit1DCC-Invade an ancient pit/cult/monster!
 Blades Against Death4DCC-Invade the afterlife to save a comrade!
The Emerald Enchanter2DCC-Invade the wizards tower!
Well of the Worm1DCC-Invade the well to stop the mother worm!
The One Who Watches From Below1DCC-Invade the gods cave!
Intrigue at the Court of Chaos,1DCC-In Courts of Chaos YOU are invaded!
The Chained Coffin1DCC-A more folklore based adventuring environment!
Bride of the Black Manse3DCC-Save the bride from the demons that carried her away!
Dead PlanetYour spaceship is Stranded! Also, this place is crazy …
The Keep of the Broken Saint9Non-simulationist! Still FEELS real!
Witchburner?Its every witch burning adventure evar
Trollback Keep5Well rounded place to get in to trouble. IE: What every D&D adventure should be.
Winters Daughter2Fey themed solid effort with playful formatting
Book of Terniel1Pathfinder! Easily one of the best for that system
Beneath Dark Elms2A dark forest with T&T charm of old
Eyrie of the Dread Eye78 factions. Emergent play. A REAL expedition adventure
The Magician’s House2Mini-vignettes without reaching set piece territory
Masque of the Worms15e. Evocative. Creepy as fuck.
The Withered Crag2Compact, efficient, effortless in its support os exploration, roleplay and interactivity.
Bone Marshes?Impishness & usability
Highfell1-Megadungeon! On a floating island in the sky
Acid Metal Howl6Great layout and organization
Temple of the Blood Moth4Ripe with unique monsters and treasure and evocative writing and …
Everyone Plows the Graveyard Farm2Sandbox in a small rural community
Hole in the Oak1Well supported dungeon with a fanciful air
Spiral Isles1An adventure for when you die
Saving Throw Fanzine?A bunch of great adventures in this
The Mud King of Stoney Creek6A lair adventure firing on all cylinders
Temple of Old Faith3Dungeon with evocative test, interesting situations, and usability
The Tomb of Black Sand4A GLORIOUS vision of a lich’s lair
The Howling Caverns1Builds tension well in this small dungeon
The Lost Treasure of Atlantis7Finally, something that lives up to a Swords and Sorcery promise!
Castle Xyntillan1-6The best adventure locale ever written. Seriously. An 11 out of 10.
Ragged Hollow Nightmare2PACKED. FUCKING. FULL.
Chalice of Blood5-6Interesting dungeon with … BLOOD!
Shield of the Hidden Lord3I wonder if they will release those undead at the end?
The Ghoul Prince3Interesting experiment in perspective
The High Moors1-9Mini-campaign hexcrawlish
Caverns of SlimeHigh LevelsNot as slime heavy as the name would imply …
The Lair of the Lamb0The giant hairless cow-thing calls out Father when wounded
The Tombs of the Whispering Worms1Solid low level dungeon
The Obsidian Keep1-32Tremble in the presence of Joseph Robert Lewis!
Lorn Song of the Bachelor4Small asian/jungle region to interact with
Tomb of the Frost-WalkerMid LevelsCold themed, as the name would imply
Darkness at Nekemte5-6Solid serpent-man jungle dungeon region
Bonepicker’s Tower2-4It FEELS like someplace you want to explore
Desert Angel Fiasco2PACKED. FUCKING. FULL.
A Shadow Over the Greatwood5-7Like a MERP region, but fun
From Beneath the Glacier5-7Unfreezing glacier means unfrozen horrors released
The Secrets of Skyhorn Lighthouse5Modern D&D dionne right. lol
Xanadu2-3Lots of creep in this one
Kraken Corpse Delve1-3Mythic, but not in an epic way
The Seers Sanctum1-4Chocked full of eyeball monsters!
Colossus Wake3Gotta fetch quest hem all to stop the colossus!
Hideous Daylight2?Great sandbox example
The Pit in the Forest2-3to find THE DEAD ZONE
Shadow of the Beakmen1Harley knows how to write a fucking adventure!
The Palace of Unquiet Repose3-5Oooozing with baroque evil vibes
Star Spire/The Bruja, The Beast and the Barrow1-2Evocative, imagined, interactive in the crystal-verse
The Waking of Willowby Hall3A classic dungeon full of situations
Halls of the Blood King3-5Factions in the interdimensional vampire-kings palace
The Incandescent Grottos1-2A more grounded Operation Unfathomable


Hey, do you have impossibly high standards that make your life a living hell? No? Then maybe you’d also be interested in the ‘C’ rated-adventures! I have always felt a twinge of regret in these. They are good, but just not THE GREATEST THING EVER. So, here’s the list:

Bryce’s List of No Regerts adventures …

77 Responses to My Favorite of the new old school adventurers

  1. Rollinhand says:

    Cheers for theses recommendations…..just celebrated my birthday and got ASE1, stonehell and demonspore and am not disapointed.
    Bryce you are a godsend and have saved me from parting with my hard earned dosh (well the wifes actually) on the everyday inane crap that passes as an OSR adventure.
    Keep up the good work.

  2. Thanks for this great list.

    Is there a place where we could easily find other Bowman modules?

  3. 98mph says:

    Why can’t Jaquay publish something else?

  4. kim says:

    you need to add dcc harley stroh adventures here :p

  5. flexi says:

    You have been away for far too long Bryce. I miss your blunt and honest criticism, and the occasional sweaty rant! Come back soon! 🙂

  6. flexi says:

    Damn it , I meant sweary! Bloody auto-correct!

  7. Alan Skinner says:

    Sweaty rants are good too

  8. No Scourge of the Demon Wolf?

  9. Where’s The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence?

  10. Kyle says:

    You might check out The Field Guide to Hot Springs Island and The Dark of Hot Springs Island; it’s a hexcrawl sandbox that I blind-bought them at GenCon 2017 because I was so taken with the idea of a player’s guide written in-universe and containing a mix of true and false supposition about the adventuring area. Based on your tastes above, I really think these might be up your alley.

  11. Lazy Litch says:

    this is a great list

  12. Philippe says:

    Hi Bryce!

    Any advice on what to run during an upcoming 3 weeks Holiday (probably playing every other evening)? I was thinking of Many Gates of the Gann or Barrowmaze I.


  13. Bryce Lynch says:

    10 sessions? Maybe Gann and something else mid-sized also, or maybe DCO.

  14. Hunter Fox says:

    Being that you have so much experience, do you ever edit adventures before they are published?

  15. Jordan says:

    “He’s almost certainly the best living adventure writer who has a chance of publishing something else (which eliminates Jaquay.)”

    Not anymore! Will you review this, Bryce?

  16. Bryce Lynch says:

    Hey, public debate time. Anyone want to tell me I’m a POS for including affiliate links to The Best and No Regerts adventures? I’m thinking about something like that because I see occasional forum threads about “whats good on Lulu?” and so on.

    • Anonymous says:

      Anything that helps support your work. You have guided me through many great game nights based on your recommendations… whatever helps pay the bills.

    • The Official RPG Reviewer Review Body, Certified Comment says:

      I mean I could if you really want me to. I wouldn’t think to on my own though. Just don’t start selling herbal Viagra, weight loss tonics and pyramid schemes for colloidal silver vitamins.

  17. 71sullivan says:

    As long as you’ve identified the links where you have affiliate connections, it’s good by me.

    • Bryce Lynch says:

      Hey, I’m placed some in the Best Of list. It’s pretty obvious; the end of the URL is “affiliate=xxx” and I don’t obfuscate the URL’s. _I_ think they are identified, how’s that sit with you?

      • Sully says:

        Honestly, I can see some people not looking at the URLs. And I can see some people not knowing what an affiliate link is.

        You might consider having some boilerplate language at the bottom of every review: “The link to the product in this review is an affiliate link. If you follow the link and buy the product, I make some money. Just thought you should know.”

        For what it’s worth, I am at the point now where I check your site for a review before I buy any module, even the ones on sale at DriveThru. So it may be worth your time, at some point, to add affiliate links to non-best-seller modules, too. Or at least the ones that show up on the Deal of the Day.

        • Bryce Lynch says:

          Good point about my own echo chamber. Let me see if I can script up something to add that to the footer and/or update the url’s.

          • Is the worry that people might think you are just pushing products so that they will click the link so you make a little money? Is the worry that people that visit here may start to think you are biased? Honestly, I wouldn’t worry about it. I think people know you are a hard ass…and that’s why people come to your site to see the reviews. If you start getting soft (i.e. trying to push links), people are going to notice by buying the product, hating it…then after awhile may think your reviews are BS.

            You got the ‘thankless’ job of being the guinea pig and buying all the random stuff…..which saves us all money. And that’s just it–you are buying the product to review it….I can’t picture you saying nice stuff about a product if you feel ripped off. So may as well try to make a little back so you can continue to get more things to review.

  18. David Baker says:

    Bryce, I seem to recall an adventure or encounter, I think it was in a magazine, that featured some sort of sleeping/meditating monk, that if disturbed, produced some sort of field that slowly brought about the end of the world, unless the PCs found someone to take his place. It sounds like something Raggi would do but I don’t think it was in any of the LotFP modules.

    Does this sound familiar? I thought you had recommended it, but I couldn’t find it in No Regrets or The Best.

  19. nerdwerds says:

    Do you ever review campaign sourcebooks?
    And, do you have a favorite campaign setting?

  20. squeen says:

    Ooh! I like the new formatting. Seriously.

  21. Yolande d’Bar says:

    Hey, Bryce, you know what would be a great addition to this page? A top-five or top-ten list of your favorite adventures purely in terms of LAYOUT/FORMATTING. And maybe another top-five in terms of descriptive language. That would be a real resource for aspiring authors. I’d be real curious to see who’s gotten closest to the Brycean user-friendly ideal.

  22. Mimir says:

    I can no longer find Gone Fishin’ anywhere. Even your review is gone! Can you give any insight to what happened to it?

    I’m glad I managed to download it – even run it once – while it still was available…

  23. Anonymous says:

    My personal favorites, in no particular order:

    AA1 Pod Caverns of the Sinister Shroom (OSRIC)
    ASE1 Anomalous Subsurface Environment
    Barrowmaze Complete (LL)
    The Lost City of Barakus (S&W)
    The Northlands Saga Complete (S&W)
    The Black Monastery (S&W)
    The Anthropophagi of Xambaala (AS&SH)

  24. Bryce Lynch says:

    Jesus, I’m two years behind in updating this list? Seriously? Why do you people put up with me?

    • Robert, OSR Heretic says:

      Because you listen to Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

      • Bryce Lynch says:

        It’s not loud enough. I can still hear my soul.

        • Robert, OSR Heretic says:

          I suppose you could always try death metal then. Or maybe shoegaze? I’d go for shoegaze. Me? I tend to listen to proto-goth/post-punk like Joy Division or the Cure. I don’t think that would help. I can think of a few Joy Division songs that would remind you that you have a soul, and it’s been argumentative with you.

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  26. Anomalous DM says:

    Great list just like your list of the best Dungeon magazine modules! Do you think you could whittle it down to a best 20 that you have run? Also, which modules do you think have the most 1) player agency, 2) best hexcrawl, or 3) innovative structure?

  27. Landon says:

    I’m running a Gamma World campaign and have been searching for some great modules with themes that are easily converted to the weird super-science filled setting. Operation Unfathomable is perfect for this and I have been making my way through reading reviews looking for other ones with a similar wacky superscience vibe. We just finished the old school Expedition to the Barrier Peaks.

    Any adventures that come to mind that you could steer me in the direction of?

  28. Rudy says:

    Any suggestions for a Christmas themed adventure? Just ran Seyvoth Manor for Halloween and it was solid and the 5e kids had a great time. Thanks Bryce!

  29. Anonymous says:

    Any of these adventures you would bump off the best in hindsight Bryce?

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  31. Steven Zhao says:

    The short description for each modules quickly descend into… YOLO

  32. Matt says:

    People are still reading this in 2022. I’d add The Lost City of Barakus.

    • Graf says:

      I think this is an excellent suggestion! But maybe it’s on purpose.

      I feel like Larin Karr and Barakus are referenced without actual reviews. Maybe they’re like the “you must be this high” sign of this community. You should just have run and played them once before you can participate.

      Everyone is just too cool to talk about them? It’s just assumed you’re in the know.

      I have a pet theory that Phandelver is just a rewrite (homage I guess) of Larin Karr.

      (Or maybe I’m just and idiot and I missed the reviews somewhere)

  33. Knutz Deep says:

    I think Barakus was suggested many moons ago but Bryce never did it.

  34. Anonymous says:

    I know categorization is so boring arnold k became infrequent but i do turn to this list for the pretty short descriptions

    I like them and luke you

  35. Tom says:

    Are any of these one shots?

    • Bailey says:

      Death Frost Doom, in a couple of senses.

      Any of the shorter ones could be, so that’s Tempus Gelidum, Prison of the Hated Pretender, The Hole in the Oak, and Red Demon in the Vile Fens just out of the ones I know, I’m sure there are others.

      Anything that says DCC might be, that line has a lot of adventure funnels. But I don’t know it well enough to make recommendations, so I’ll leave you to go through them.

      Kidnap the Archpriest if your players are proactive and you’re willing to prep for it, but I wouldn’t run it cold out of the book for brand new players and count on finishing in one session. Try The Boswitch Bathhouse for an alternate D&D heist that’s a little simpler (doesn’t make The Best, but still pretty good).

  36. susan says:

    I’m a brand new GM who has never ran a game before. I’m looking for an adventure to run for brand new players. Which of these would be best for us?

    • Kyle C says:

      Try skerples’s Tomb of the Serpent Kings, Hydra Cooperative’s Prison of the Hated Pretender, or Gavin Norman’s Winter’s Daughter. If ypur players would be into something a little more horror-flavored, maybe Arnold Kemp’s Lair of thr Lamb.

    • Anonymous says:

      T1 Village of Homlett

      • Dave says:

        Iconic, but if it were released today it would be correctly judged as middle of the pack. Neither Worst Evar nor The Best.

        Out of Kyle’s list I like Prison of the Hated Pretender the best, but any of those work. If you’re looking for a multi-session dungeon I’d also consider Tomb of the Iron God.

        • Gnarley Bones says:

          I dunno about that; that’s the same mindset that forgets just how good it is. Same with G1. Re-read if you’re not familiar with it. A challenging high-level strategy-rewarding adventure with factions, The Weird, multiple levels, excellent writing and it clocks in at 8 damn pages. T1 is only slightly less perfect than G1. Give it another look.

      • Tarquin says:

        T1 is far superior to PotHP, to say nothing of Tomb of the Serpent Kings (mediocre with video game trappings) and Winter’s Daughter (great atmosphere but very standard).

        • Publicola says:

          It’s fine to like apples more then oranges, but it doesn’t help giving someone advice about apples. These adventures all do different things.

          T1 is an intro to a larger adventure, a teaser with excessively detailed village. It is not a one-shot. Prison is a tiny location designed to teach new players and referees about OSR encounters. Winter’s Daughter is a small intro adventure to a setting. ToSK has bland keying but it’s a full dungeon.

          Only Winter’s Daughter and Prison are potential one-shots.

          • Tarquin says:

            The demand was for starter adventures, not one shots my boy. Apples to apples indeed.

  37. Anonymous says:

    Time to update this list Bryce, it’s getting close to 2 years out-of-date

  38. Anonymous says:

    Bryce I think you would really like this.

  39. Tarquin says:

    Doctor Lynch,

    I implore you to cease this slumming into the sewers of and review something worth running.

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