Long ago the wisdom of the Prophet, Al-Kalim, came to the village of Dar el-Tamyya, and taught the folk to disregard their idols of old. But they kept one, to remember their ancient past and the wisdom of their ancestors. They also kept it because they believed it to be magical, blessed to protect the village form harm.
Now the idol has been taken. Yesterday a small band of goblins raided Dar el-Tamyya, but strangely enough they killed no people and only took the Jade Hare. This has led Qadi Ibn Ali, the judge who is the recognized leader of Dar el-Tamyya, to conclude that the goblins were working for someone. But who?
The Jade Hare is a Dungeons & Dragons game adventure, designed for a party of 4-6 first level characters. As usual, a variety of character classes will be most useful. Because the adventure's short, you and your players should be able to finish in just one session, even if you must generate player characters in the same evening.
In order to play, all you need is a copy of the boxed Dungeons & Dragons game rules, dice, and some paper and pencils.
"The Jade Hare" (1992), by John Nephew, is a short 8-page adventure for Basic D&D. It was published in September 1992.
About the Cover. The artwork for the cover to "The Jade Hare" was originally used for Dungeon of Dragon (1982), the first Endless Quest book, but it's flipped right to left here.
The funny thing is, most copies of "The Jade Hare" didn't even have that cover! The Acaeum reports that John Rateliff, TSR's librarian in the '80s, believes that only five or so copies were produced with a cardstock cover — though the number that have appeared in the wild over the years suggests that the number might have been slightly higher.
Origins (I): Not Necessarily Thunder Rift. The black boxed New Easy To Master Dungeons & Dragons Game (1991) was the heart of Basic D&D play in the early '90s, and it was supported by two lines: a series of boxed adventure packs and the short 16-page Thunder Rift adventure modules. "The Jade Hare" is neither of these, but it's the most similar to the Thunder Rift adventures, with its simple focus and short content — but it's set in the Known World (probably!) instead of Thunder Rift!
Origins (II): A Mail Order Exclusive. "The Jade Hare" is one of TSR's biggest collectibles from the '90s, often compared to the UK rarity, ST1: "Up the Garden Path" (1986). That's due to its limited form of distribution. It was made available to people who bought from TSR's mail-order retailer, the Mail Order Hobby Shop. It appears that some booklets were given away freely (with purchase) while others were sent in exchange for a coupon included with some printings of The New Easy To Master Dungeons & Dragons Game. A price of $3.95 on the cover indicates that TSR thought about selling it as well, but the rarity of the cover suggests that didn't happen.
Origins (III): A Trademark in Need. So why would TSR produce such a limited edition adventure module? Certainly it could have been intended as a bit of marketing to introduce new fans of the black box to the Mail Order Hobby Shop, creating a relationship between these new players and TSR. Since the black box sold a half-million copies in six years, this would have been very important outreach.
However, those rare covers of "The Jade Hare" include an interesting line of text, not found inside the actual module. The text states: "A DRAGON MASTERtm Game Adventure". At the time, TSR was creating trademarks by adding the word "dragon" to normal words. Thus the black box rules featured "dragon cards", while TSR had also just released a new D&D introduction called Dragon Quest (1992). A very small release of "Jade Hare" modules might have been enough to convince a trademark examiner that "dragon master" had been used in a commercial release.
The next year, when TSR released their next introductory game, Dragon Strike (1993), it called the referee a "dragon master" rather than a "dungeon master", paying out the introduction of the new trademark in "The Jade Hare" (not that it would ever be used again).
Adventure Tropes. "The Jade Hare" is a very simple D&D adventure. It features a macguffin quest that immediately pushes the players into a dungeon crawl through the five-and-a-half-page "Dungeon of the Mad Warlock".
Exploring the Known World. There's very little background in "The Jade Hare", but the Arabic names of the characters and places have led players to assume it's set in Ylaruam in the Known World. If so, the village of Dar el-Tamyya isn't found on any Known World maps.
About the Creators. Freelance author John Nephew was responsible for several Known World adventures in the early '90s including PC1: "Tall Tales of the Wee Folk" (1989), DDA1: "Arena of Thyatis" (1990), and DDA2: "Legions of Thyatis" (1990), HWR1: "Sons of Azca" (1991), and DDA4: "The Dymrak Dread" (1991).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.