Thursday, August 28, 2008

British D&D

A recent post on EN World about Fiend Folio and its influence on the 4e Monster Manual reminded me how much I love the British AD&D and basic D&D modules from the 1980s. They had a feel to them, a combination of distinctive art, interesting maps, and fun stories that combined the make them stand out from the American offerings of the day.

Here's why I like those modules so much:
  • They had interesting plots and backstories that had an effect on the adventure. When you found the weird artifact, it's backstory provided the framework for the adventure.
  • Cool, interesting, high magic stuff played a fun role in the adventure. The elemental air "subway system" drove home the power and accomplishments of the ancient civilization whose ruins you set out to explore. It also gave you a sense that you were going somewhere distant, and maybe getting back would be hard.
  • The adventures had an epic feel without going over the top. You helped defend castles, spoiled the machinations of the most potent force for evil in the Grand Duchy, and saved an entire order of monks. It was never just a matter of beating up some orcs.
  • The art was evocative. It depicted classic D&D stuff in a recognizable manner, yet still retained its own distinct feel.
  • The maps were clear, easy to read, yet drawn in an evocative way. They looked like maps someone drew, rather than maps printed by the local tourism board.
Speaking of adventures, I'm chomping at the bit to see more on the Raiders Guild, the coolest thing I heard about at GenCon. The framework for the adventures sounds great, and I think it's the most promising third party product I've heard about since the OGL came down the pike.

(BTW, Axe Initiative Games has posted their writing guidelines for those of the would-be or currently-are writing persuasions.)


ChattyDM said...

I do Recall DMing 'all that Glitters...' when I was in my early teens.

It truly was a different type of module.

Robin Laws'Raiders Guild huh? Intersting!

mdonle said...

Which modules are considered British? Is there a specific line of them? I'm asking because I'd like to read up on some of these.

ChattyDM said...

The AD&D 1e with UK# as their Module numbers IIRC.

Mike Mearls said...

Yup, Chatty's right. In addition, the U series, a few B series and X series adventures, and the B/X module were all done by British authors.

Stuart said...

Beyond the Crystal Cave is still one of my top-five modules, ever.

Donny_the_DM said...

Britons & Dragons? Wow, I had no idea. Gotta go back and check that out.