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S1-4: Dungeons of Dread (1e)
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S1-4: Dungeons of Dread (1e)

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Dungeons of Dread is a collection of four classic, stand-alone Advanced Dungeons & Dragons adventure modules -- S1: Tomb of Horrors, S2: White Plume Mountain, S3: Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, and S4: The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth -- complete with original black-and-white interior art.

S1: Tomb of Horrors: In the far reaches of the world, under a lost and lonely hill, lies the sinister Tomb of Horrors. This labyrinthine crypt is filled with terrible traps, strange and ferocious monsters, rich and magical treasures, and somewhere within rest the evil Demi-Lich.

S2: White Plume Mountain: It has always been a subject of superstitious awe to the neighboring villagers. People still travel many miles to gaze upon this natural wonder, though few will approach it closely, as it is reputed to be the haunt of various demons and devils. The occasional disappearance of those who stray too close to the Plume reinforces this belief. Now, the former owners of Wave, Whelm and Blackrazor are outfitting a group of intrepid heroes to take up the challenge of recovering these magical weapons from White Plume Mountain.

S3: Expedition to the Barrier Peaks: From the preface by Gary Gygax: "This module was begun early in 1976 when TSR was contemplating publication of a science fantasy role playing game. Jim Ward had already shown us some rough notes on Metamorphosis Alpha I thought it would be a splendid idea to introduce Jim’s game at Origins II, and introduce the concept to D&DO players by means of the tournament scenario. I laid out the tournament from old “Greyhawk Castle” campaign material involving a spaceship, and Rob Kuntz helped me to populate the ruined vessel."

S4: The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth: In the Yatil Mountains south of Perrenland there is rumored to be a magical hoard of unsurpassed value, a treasure of such fame that scores of adventurers have perished in search of it. Find the perilous Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth and you may gain the hidden wealth of the long-dead arch-mage—if you live!

Product History

S1-4: Dungeons of Dread (2013), by Gary Gygax and Lawrence Schick, is a premium reprint of the S1-4 adventure series for AD&D 1e. It was published in February 2013.

Continuing the Premium Reprints. Following the success of the AD&D 1e core rulebook reprints in July 2012, Wizards of the Coast decided to return to the classic game in early 2013, first with a reprint of the 1.5e rulebook Unearthed Arcana (2013) and then with this collection of four of AD&D's best-loved adventures. Dungeons of Dread is thus different from its predecessors because it's a compilation of multiple products. It contains S1: "Tomb of Horror" (1978), S2: "White Plume Mountain" (1979), S3: "Expedition to the Barrier Peaks" (1980), and the lesser-known S4: "The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth" (1982). All four adventures are bound together (as are their maps and illustrations books, which caused some problems for GMs). Otherwise, it's quite similar to the previous Premium books: the contents have been reset, but otherwise the original text and illustrations have been retained.

A Short History of the Dreadful Dungeons. The four "Special" modules contained in Dungeons of Dread each have a rich history of their own.

S1: Tomb of Horrors (1978) is the original killer dungeon. It was designed by Gary Gygax based on a similar tomb by Californian player Alan Lucien. Gygax originally used it to challenge Rob Kuntz's Robilar and Ernie Gygax's Tenser, but later carried it around in a briefcase to test arrogant players. It was used as a tournament for Origins 1 (1975), then became one of TSR's first adventures.

S2: White Plume Mountain (1979) is the original funhouse dungeon. It was designed by Lawrence Schick as his application for a job at TSR. Schick was hired, then White Plume Mountain was published as the first AD&D adventured by someone other than Gygax.

S3: Expedition to the Barrier Peaks (1980) is the original science fantasy adventure for D&D — unless you count the Temple of the Frog adventure contained in Supplement II: Blackmoor (1975). It was run as a tournament as Origins 2 (1976), where it was used to generate interest in James Ward's Metamorphosis Alpha (1976) game, also released at that convention.

S4: The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth (1982) is one of the first two AD&D modules to have a heavy basis in the world of Greyhawk, with the other being T1: "The Village of Hommlet" (1979). It was a predecessor to the World of Greyhawk Fantasy Game Setting (1983), which indicated that it should have been module "WG3", but it never was actually published with that code. This adventure was based on "The Lost Caverns of Tsojconth" (1976), run as a tournament at WinterCon V (1976) and published by the Metro Detroit Gamers as one of the earliest adventures in the industry, but it was vastly expanded and better linked to Greyhawk.

Dungeons of Dread was actually the second compilation of the four "S" adventures. The first was S1-4: Realms of Horror (1987), which mushed together the four adventures into a campaign, while also cutting out half the ship from "Expedition to Barrier Peaks" and some of the material from "The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth". It was not well received.

Future History. Dungeon #212 (March 2013) contains two adventures related to Dungeons of Dread. "Never Say Die" describes the "Dead Gnoll's Eye Sockets", a location mentioned on the classic map in "White Plume Moutain", while "Court of the Dark Prince" focuses on Graz'zt, introduced in "The Lost Caverns of Tsojocanth". Both adventures were statted up for D&D 4e. The next issue, Dungeon #213 (April 2013), continued the focus on Dungeon of Dread with an adaptation of "Tomb of Horrors" for D&D Next.

About the Creators. Lawrence Schick wrote "White Plume Mountain", while the other three adventures are all classic Gary Gygax modules — with inspiration from Alan Lucien for "Tomb of Horrors", James Ward for "Expedition to the Barrier Peaks", and Rob Kuntz for "The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth".

About the Product Historian

The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and 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 shannon.appelcline@gmail.com.

 
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Reviews (3)
Discussions (2)
Customer avatar
GeoCentric D July 04, 2016 4:16 am UTC
PURCHASER
S4 The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth and the original compilation S1-4 Realms of Horror are still waiting.
Customer avatar
Patrick E March 05, 2016 7:45 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I haven't checked everything yet, but the S3 map for level one has a few missing walls and letters. See for instance the lower exit out of the space ship. There a walls and the J(et black) doors missing. Also, I would love it if you included the coloured art plates from S3. The transfer to black and white has made these gorgeous pieces of classic RPG art, grainy and blurry. It's a sad thing.
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File Last Updated:
January 17, 2016
This title was added to our catalog on January 19, 2016.