Your party of stalwart heroes must venture into a lost dwarven mining complex, fighting terrible monsters, bypassing deadly traps, and exploring chambers heavy with the dust of ages. Somewhere deep below the surface lies the heart of darkness - a corrupting evil that must be stopped before its influence can spread!
An adventure for characters levels 3-6.
L3: "Deep Dwarven Delve" (1999) is the third adventure in Len Lakofka's Lendore Isle trilogy. It was also the final official adventure for first edition AD&D, released a decade after the line ended. It was published in August 1999 as part of the Silver Anniversary Collector's Edition Boxed Set.
The Silver Anniversary Collector's Edition Boxed Set. The Silver Anniversary set celebrated the 25th anniversary of Dungeons & Dragons (1974). It was printed in 5000 copies and sold for $59.95 (about $80 in contemporary dollars). Most of the contents were reprints, including the J. Eric Holmes Basic Rulebook (1977); B2: "Keep on the Borderlands" (1979); the three "G-series modules," G1: "Steading of the Hill Giant Chief" (1978); G2: "Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl" (1978); G3: "Hall of the Fire Giant King" (1978); I6: "Ravenloft" (1983); and S2: "White Plume Mountain" (1979).
The boxed set also contained two new books: a history of TSR and a "lost" adventure: "Deep Dwarven Delve."
The Lost Adventure. L3 was originally commissioned by TSR around 1979 as part of a three-adventure trilogy. It was submitted by Lakofka to TSR alongside L1: "The Secret of Bone Hill" (1981) and L2: "The Assassin's Knot" (1983), around 1980. And then it sat around for 19 years.
The problem was reportedly the changing political tides at TSR. Following the 1985 departure of Gary Gygax, Lorraine Williams is said to have purposefully cut out Gygax's friends and supporters. Thus Dave Arneson's Blackmoor adventures came to an end, and the third Lendore Isle adventure was never published by TSR.
The Found Adventure. Though the book itself reports that the adventure had "lain unseen and forgotten in the TSR design vault," in July 1999 Sean K. Reynolds reported a different story. He said that all of TSR's copies of the adventure had been "lost or destroyed" over the years. The adventure (apparently) resurfaced only when Lakofka found a copy around his house and sent it to Roger E. Moore in 1997 - possibly due to the changing political tides at TSR, for Wizards of the Coast was at that time involved in buying out Lorraine Williams. Moore then passed the adventure on to Reynolds in 1998.
Wizards of the Coast decided to publish "Delve," but the editors thought it needed "depth and clarification" to bring it up to modern AD&D standards. Lakofka was happy to oblige and produced a new version of his adventure… which Wizards again lost. Lakofka says that that he didn't hear about the loss until after "Delve" was published, by which time a number of Wizards developers had stepped in to do the required expansion for the adventure.
In the end, Lakofka says that "Delve" is about 80% comprised of material he'd turned in two decades earlier. Though L3 was published as part of the Silver Anniversary Collector's Edition, Wizards had also considered releasing it as a free PDF or publishing it in Dragon magazine.
A More Typical Adventure. The two previous Lendore Isle adventures were both very atypical adventures for early AD&D, with a focus on wilderness and towns and even a murder mystery in L2. Conversely the Moria-like caverns of L3 are a fairly standard dungeon crawl.
The Original Campaign. Like all of the L-series adventures, "Deep Dwarven Delve" was drawn directly from Lakofka's own Lendore Isle campaign. He says he created it when he "decided to go DOWN below the complex of rooms currently occupied by orcs, ogres, and a troll or two." Dwarves - like those who founded the "Delve" as a mithril mine - had long been an important element in Lakofka's home campaign, which had also included a six-month mini-campaign centered on freeing dwarves in another world from thralldom; this in turn led to Dobfur, an 8th level cleric PC, becoming a High Priest of dwarves for the Suel god Fortubo.
Lakofka is also known to have run "Deep Dwarven Delve" at GenCon XII (1979).
About the Creators. Lakofka continued working with TSR until 1986, writing his "Leomund's Tiny Hut" column for Dragon, but afterward disappeared from the industry. In recent years, he's returned to write a pair of huge Lendore Isle supplements (for Dragonsfoot): L4: "Devilspawn" (2010) and L4C: "The Lendore Isle Companion" (2010). He also submitted "L5" to Dragonsfoot in 2010 or earlier, but it has not yet seen publication.
Lakofka has also written articles for The Oerth Journal and more extensively for the Footprints fanzine.
About the Product Historian
The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to firstname.lastname@example.org.