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D1-2 Descent into the Depths of the Earth (1e)
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D1-2 Descent into the Depths of the Earth (1e)

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The final confrontation with the giant, King Snurre, and the entry of mighty adventurers into the cavers under his stronghold discovered that Dark Elves, the Drow, had instigated the giant alliance and its warfare upon mankind and its allied races.

This material was originally published as two separate adventures, D1: "Descent into the Depths of the Earth" and D2: "Shrine of the Kuo-Toa." Contained herein are referee notes, background information, maps, and exploration keys intended for use with the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons rules. The adventure can be used alone or as part of an extended adventure that begins with G1-3: "Against the Giants" and continues with D3: "The Vault of the Drow" and Q1: "Queen of the Demonweb Pits."

For characters levels 9 to 14.

Product History

D1-2: "Descent into the Depths of the Earth" (1981), by Gary Gygax, is a collection of two previous adventures. The collection appeared in 1981 after the final copies of the original adventures had gone out of print. The intent was to upgrade the older modules to match the new trade dress of Q1: "Queen of the Demonweb Pits" (1980).

The Original Adventures. The two parts of "Descent" were originally published as D1: "Descent into the Depths of the Earth" (1978) and D2: "Shrine of the Kuo-Toa" (1978). They were the fourth and fifth standalone adventures ever published by TSR. Like other early adventures, they were originally published with simple monochromatic covers (orange and green, as it happens).

Like the "Giants" (G-)series (1978) adventures that had preceded them, D1 and D2 were released for use with the AD&D game (1977-1979), even though it wasn't yet complete at that time.

Another Tournament Release. "Shrine of the Kuo-Toa," the second adventure in this collection, was used as part of the D&D tournament at GenCon XI (1978). You got big points in the tournament if you managed to pass the Shrine "unscathed," rather than fighting all the Kuo-Toa. The original D1 adventure was not used in the tournament, but was instead brand-new for the adventure publication. (It's really just a bit of filler between the giants and the more civilized parts of the Underdark.)

The entire series of "Descent" adventures was released at GenCon XI following the tournament.

The Upgraded Adventures. The collected edition was essentially the same as the originals, with improvements to layout and the inclusion of the original tournament characters for "Shrine."

New Settings. As with many of the other adventures in the "GDQ" (Giants, Descent, Queen) series, this one offered up brand new settings for the D&D game, going beyond its traditional dungeons and caves. Most notably, the adventure introduced the Underdark — a civilized land beneath the earth. Note that the name "Underdark" isn't used here yet: that term originates later in the Dungeoneer's Survival Guide (1986). However, the Survival Guide's description of the "strange world of the Underdark, including drow, kuo-toa, svirfneblin, derro, and many more" makes it clear that it's talking about the world of "Descent."

New Monsters. Both the kuo-toa and the sviberfneblin appear for the first time in these adventures. The drow were mentioned previously in the Monster Manual (1977), which says "The 'Black Elves,' or drow, are only legend." They had also appeared previously in G3: "Hall of the Fire Giant King" (1978). Yet it's really only in the "Descent" adventures they're fully realized - and only fully in D3: "Vault of the Drow" (1978).

Future History. TSR rereleased the entire GDQ sequence a few years later in GDQ1-7: Queen of the Spiders (1987), a 128-page supermodule.

About the Creators. The "Descent" adventures were written by Gygax in the middle of his work on AD&D, following his completion of the Player's Handbook (1978). As with the early "Giants" (1978) series, Gygax said that creating the adventures provided a form of relaxation from his work on the complex rule system.

About the Product Historian

This 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

We (Wizards) recognize that some of the legacy content available on this website does not reflect the values of the Dungeons & Dragons franchise today. Some older content may reflect ethnic, racial, and gender prejudice that were commonplace in American society at that time. These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. This content is presented as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed. Dungeons & Dragons teaches that diversity is a strength, and we strive to make our D&D products as welcoming and inclusive as possible. This part of our work will never end.

 Customers Who Bought this Title also Purchased
Reviews (5)
Discussions (11)
Customer avatar
Ernie N September 06, 2021 9:02 pm UTC
I've just uploaded a 5e Conversion of D1-2 Descent into the Depths of the Earth with digital maps. Feel free to take a look.
Customer avatar
Alexander L November 04, 2020 2:38 pm UTC
Print version, please.
Customer avatar
David B May 14, 2020 7:32 am UTC
I would like to know if we are ever going to see GDQ1-7 Queen of the Spiders, and whether or not the monochrome cover 1978 print of D1 Descent Into the Depths of the Earth is going to surface again, along with the monochrome cover 1978 print of D3 Vault of the Drow, like the monochrome cover 1978 print of D2 Shrine of the Kuo-Toa.
Customer avatar
sean W May 06, 2020 1:17 am UTC
Please make this available for POD
Customer avatar
Mauro L April 14, 2020 7:12 pm UTC
Why not POD?
Customer avatar
Andrew C February 19, 2020 1:00 am UTC
POD version please
Customer avatar
Joel G August 11, 2019 7:18 pm UTC
POD option please.
Customer avatar
Shannon Y January 23, 2018 12:03 am UTC
They refunded my money, I've ordered D2 PoD to go with the D1 they sent me. Not exactly what I wanted but the customer service was very good and timely. I will certainly continue as a customer. Accidents happen, that's life.
Customer avatar
Shannon Y January 22, 2018 10:09 pm UTC
Same issue with me...only got D1 not D1-2. I trust they will make this right and send me the combined like I ordered or send me D2 Shrine of the Kuo-toa as well. We'll see if they make it right.
Customer avatar
Stephen P January 09, 2018 8:08 pm UTC
The product listing is incorrect; or at least what I received was not what is listed. What I received with the print on demand softcover option was a copy of D1 Descent into the Depths of the Earth, the 1978 monochrome edition. Not D1-2 Descent into the Depths of the Earth, the 1981 color cover edition. Personally I don't mind this at all, but the listing should be changed to reflect the difference if that is the case.
Customer avatar
Dana G January 17, 2018 3:42 pm UTC
Same issue here. I purchased both PDF and PoD and the PDF was D1-2, but the print book was just D1. Looks like they've removed the PoD version so hopefully they will fix it.
Customer avatar
Adam M January 30, 2018 2:06 am UTC
Same issue here. Heck, didn't even realize that I should have gotten D1-2 until I looked at my order. I don't really mind; I got D1-2 because D1 wasn't available.
Customer avatar
Dana G March 08, 2018 4:13 pm UTC
Just to update this - they fixed the issue and sent me the correct D1-2 module in print. Looks good!
Customer avatar
Ken L April 26, 2017 3:35 am UTC
What was updated on this?
Customer avatar
Zia M April 26, 2017 4:42 pm UTC
It now includes the original D1 as a separate file (the original release containing only Descent into the Depths of the Earth, but not Shrine of the Kuo-Toa before they were compiled together). Originally it only came with D1-2 as advertised.
Customer avatar
Zia M July 31, 2017 8:40 pm UTC
And now with the 7/31/17 update, it only has D1-2 again without the separate D1 scan. Scan appears to be the same as before.
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File Last Updated:
July 31, 2017
This title was added to our catalog on January 22, 2013.