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THE LEGEND OF DRIZZT Board Game

The Legend of Drizzt board game is part of the Adventure System Board Games by Wizards of the Coast. These games are designed as a co-op experience with no DM required! In this game you get to play as Drizzt and his companions.

It contains scenarios set around the city of Neverwinter. You will be getting a lot of Drizzt and his followers throughout your adventures in this board game. ¬†For those of you who don’t already know, Drizzt Do’Urden is the most famous character in the Forgotten Realms world. ¬†Created by R.A. Salvatore and featured in his New York Times Best Selling novels, Drizzt and his companions have become a fantasy staple for fantasy fans and RPG fanatics alike!

This is a great game for families. My wife enjoyed the Neverwinter Nights computer games but has never been very interested in joining my friends and I for tabletop D&D games. My son is 9 years old and although shows much interest in the D&D RPG, still has a tough time with the vast amount of rules required to play a fair and balanced game. The Legend of Drizzt Board Game is a perfect introduction to a family who has not yet played D&D or anyone who has trouble fully grasping the concept of tabletop role-playing games.

My family decided to set up the Legend of Drizzt game on our dining room table at home.  We started a timer to see how long it would take to get all the pieces out, read up on the rules, and start playing.

It took almost an entire hour to get all the dungeon tiles and other icons punched out of the large cardboard sheets and read up on the rules.  Even after reading the rules multiple times we were still all a bit confused despite my 25 year background playing role-playing games.  We decided to just dive right in and figure it out as the game progressed.

My suggestions for first time players:

1.  Make sure you read ALL of the rules by yourself prior to having friends over.  

2.  Punch out, organize, and bag up all the cardboard pieces in advance of your first session.

To start out you choose one of multiple adventures you would like to play. ¬†Next the adventure tells you which cards and items you will need. ¬†After gathering these you mix the specific dungeon tiles up with the generic tiles and place them within a stack of tiles from which you draw each round. ¬†I know, it’s a bit confusing but it’s much easier if you can sit down and look at the pieces. ¬†Then you choose which hero you would like to play and find the required cards for that hero. ¬†Each hero has an attack they can do every round, an attack or stance they can do once per day, and some other one-time use abilities or items. ¬†As the game progresses you find treasure which helps you reset these powers or obtain new powers in the form of magical items.

The game progresses like this:  

  • Hero Phase: This is the phase in which your hero moves through the dungeon and makes attacks against monsters.
  • Exploration Phase: This is the phase in which you add new Cavern tiles, draw Monster cards, and place Monsters.
  • Villain Phase: This is the phase in which you draw and play Encounter Cards as well as activate Villains.

Each player performs all three of these actions each turn, so by the time it is your turn again as many as 3 additional monsters may appear on the map and engage you in combat!  If you would like a detailed play by play (with images) of a session check out this site!

Opinion: ¬†As a¬†veteran RPG Game Master I found the game to be fun, but lacking and repetitive in many areas. ¬†¬†Take in mind that I have over 25 years of role-playing experience under my belt so my opinion is a bit biased. ¬†As an introduction to D&D or a “D&D gateway game”, I think the Drizzt Board Game is excellent. ¬†My family had a lot of fun playing it. ¬†My 9 year old son enjoyed the game immensely and was quite excited each time his turn came up. ¬†He played Drizzt and mangled most enemies he encountered very quickly. ¬†My wife was interested in the game, perhaps a bit more so than traditional tabletop RPGs, but she found many of the rules constraining and suggested we throw out some of the rules and play it our own way.

Overall family score: 3/5

Name: The Legend of Drizzt Board Game
Company: Wizards of the Coast (HASBRO)

Price: $65 US

Type: RPG/Adventure

Number of Players: 1-5
Target Audience: 12+  (9+ will do fine) 

First time set-up: 45m-1hr
Subsequent set-up: 10-15m
Game time: 1-2hrs per adventure 

This game includes the following components:

  • 42 plastic heroes and monsters
  • 13 sheets of interlocking cardstock dungeon tiles
  • 200 encounter cards and treasure cards
  • Rulebook
  • Scenario book
  • 20-sided die

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RPTools: Open Source Tools for Pen & Paper RPGs

RPTools is an open source tool set for PC designed to enhance pen and paper role-playing games. ¬†If you’re a RPG fanatic you are probably already aware of these tools or at least heard of them from your fellow gamers. ¬†After experimenting with the tools in my own Pathfinder and D&D games I decided to dig a little deeper and obtain an interview with the folks who have made these tools openly available to the general public!

NERD TREK interview with Frank Edwards & Keith Athey of RPTools.

 

Jonathan Nerdtrek:  Hello Keith!  Please tell our readers a bit about your RPTools programs and your role within the company.

Keith Athey:  RPTools is a community devoted to producing open source software for the online gamer. By online we mean folks playing together from across the globe or those with projectors or networked laptops who use RPTools to speed game play.  MapTool is by far the most used product but we have others including DiceTool, CharacterTool, InitiativeTool, and TokenTool.   My role within the community is that of Bard.  I do my best to spread the word about RPTools and try to bring even more people into our community of users.

Jonathan Nerdtrek: I have been checking out your RPTools programs and find them very impressive.  Watching this tutorial video for MapTool has blown me away.  Your attention to detail is astounding- love that you can click on an item to see its contents, open and close doors, and obtain a light source for each character on the battlemap.

Frank Edwards: I can’t take credit for most of the code — that belongs to the RPTools founder, Trevor Croft. ¬†However, real life has become much more real for him lately and he has left the product development in the hands of myself and Craig Wisniewski. ¬†We are attempting to carry the banner forward!

Jonathan Nerdtrek:¬†My business partner Todd Gamble (D&D 3.5 Core, Forgotten Realms 3.5, 3x Ennie Award Winner) and I have built a website called Adventureaweek.com. ¬†This website is under beta testing and launches in 2012. ¬†I was curious if you had any ideas of how we could work together to benefit your tools and our game. ¬†We will have a lot of people who would probably like to play online with their friends. ¬†I think it’s quite amazing that you ask for nothing in return for your tools which in itself lends great credibility to your product.

Frank Edwards:¬†You may be familiar with the name Jonathan Roberts of Fantastic Maps? ¬†He and Rite Publishing have produced the first commercial adventure (that I know of) that includes a MapTool campaign file as part of their module. ¬†We worked with Jonathan over the past couple of months to ensure that any tweaks we made to MapTool weren’t going to cause him any headaches for his campaign macros. ¬†If you haven’t seen¬†The Breaking of Forstor Naga¬†then you should check it out. ¬†He has a product entry on Paizo’s web site (the module is generic enough to run in any game system, but the campaign file is primarily for PF) that links to a¬†YouTube video¬†that shows how he has configured MapTool. ¬†I will warn you: ¬†he has set the bar pretty high IMO!

Jonathan Nerdtrek:  Thank you Frank!  I checked out the module you mentioned.  It looks great!  Are the Pathfinder statistics that are worked into that adventure generally available on RPTools programs, or are those custom stats that Jonathan Roberts worked in on his own?

Frank Edwards:¬†Jonathan created his own “framework”, i.e. his own set of macros and game statistics. ¬†There are also user-contributed frameworks (on our forum under¬†User Creations > Campaign Frameworks) that cover various game systems such as D&D3.5/PF, D&D4e, ShadowRun, GURPS, and so forth. ¬†I believe he created his own so that changes in the community version wouldn’t affect the functionality of his project, although he could have included the existing framework as part of his product (there are no royalties or similar issues with frameworks; most are covered by a Creative Commons license). ¬†I suppose you’d need to ask him that question. ¬†If you register on our forum at¬†forums.rptools.net, he goes by the username¬†torstan.

Jonathan Nerdtrek: Can you please tell us more about these tools and what each one does?

Keith Athey:  MapTool is RPTools primary product. It allows online players to share maps, tokens, and chat across the internet. It allows for customization for whatever game system you use but can be used with almost any game system.  DiceTool is a computer dice roller that allows for complex dice expressions. This code was folded into MapTool proper as time wore on but it still functions as a stand alone product.  TokenTool allows you to rip images from the web or your local machine to quickly create tokens for use in MapTool or other VTTs.  InitiativeTool was created to keep track and roll game initiative. MapTool has absorbed much of this functionality as well.  CharacterTool is used to create custom character sheets for differing game systems.  All the Tools are cross-platform, meaning they run on Windows, Mac, or Linux, and game system agnostic. All the software is free and game system agnostic. You can even download the source code, if you like.

 Jonathan Nerdtrek: Keith and Frank, thank you for talking with NERD TREK.

 

If you are interested in checking out the 100% free and open source RPTools simply visit RPTools.net and click the download link!

 

 

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Everything I need to know I learned from Dungeons & Dragons

“With tongue-in-cheek humor, the creator of the award-winning Confessions of a Part-Time Sorceress takes on the self-help section, proving that the benefits of the Dungeons & Dragons¬ģ game goes far beyond simple entertainment.”

During PAX Prime 2011 NERD TREK met with Wizards of the Coast to discuss their new line of Neverwinter products. ¬†After the interview we spoke briefly with Shelly Mazzanoble, author of “Confessions of a Part Time Sorceress”. ¬†Although her first book was intended for a female audience, I had read it in hopes of passing it on to my wife. ¬†(Everyone wants their wife to play D&D right?) ¬†When I found out she had a new book entitled “Everything I need to know I learned from Dungeons & Dragons” I just had to read it. ¬†After a short interview with Shelly she handed me a copy of the book which I stashed in my bag of holding (seriously, a bag of holding!) and went on my merry way.

Months later I am finally getting around to reading that book and writing this review. ¬†It may be a little on the late side, but someone with Wisdom 18 once said “better late than never”.

I started out planning to read the book from start to finish and immediately ran into many roadblocks. ¬†These roadblocks took the form of the author’s overbearing mother who seems to affect not only her writing, but her very life. ¬†Obviously Shelly takes the incessant nagging her mother throws at her and attempts to wrangle it into something digestible, but fails. ¬†This caused me to start this book and then toss it back into the pile on my nightstand, playing rotation for many months with other literary works.

A few days ago I decided to give Shelly’s book another shot. ¬†I skipped the beginning of the book and hopped around from chapter to chapter. ¬†Ah ha! ¬†I found the secret passage Shelly… although you shouldn’t have made it so difficult to locate. ¬†(I had to roll a nat 20 on Perception.) ¬†The key to this book lies in the varied nature that the author gives each section. ¬†Little quizzes, personal emails, and other people’s intimate experiences with D&D. ¬†That is what makes this book great! ¬†Once I started flipping through and reading bits and pieces I thoroughly enjoyed reading “Everything I need to know I learned from Dungeons & Dragons”.

Shelly Mazzanoble’s writing style sucks you in, I found myself reading more than just the intended blurb when I flipped to any given page. ¬†The little side stories and hilarious anecdotes give Mazzanoble a unique writing style that is very personable. ¬†If you enjoy tabletop RPGs of any kind there is something special hidden for you in this book.

PROS:

  • Unique Concept
  • Fun Layout
  • Subject Matter I love
  • Describes Places I am familiar with (Seattle)

 

CONS:

  • Too much focus on overbearing mother
  • Feeling of treading water in the beginning of the book (hard to keep reading)

 

CONCLUSION:

This book is an excellent read for anyone looking for additional insight into why people play tabletop role-playing games and what they get out of them.

I think Shelly’s next book should be called “This book is NOT about my mother.”

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Dungeons and Dragons – Why I’ll never stop playing

If you’re reading this then you too probably love Role-Playing Games. ¬†I’m not talking about those computer games where you are given 3 different answers to a question but the game still goes down the same path. ¬†I’m talking about table-top role-playing games with paper, pencils, and dice. ¬†(Although some of my younger players now bring laptops to the gaming table!) ¬†Ah, the smell of a fresh boxed set campaign setting split open with fresh polypropylene polyhedron dice rolling about the table while players finish filling out their crisp character sheets. ¬†Soon those sheets will have holes worn in the HP box where the pencil eraser has dug a groove big enough to shove your finger through. ¬†The gear section will be a list of hundreds of items that the character couldn’t possibly be carrying, but that’s what magical bags of holding are for. ¬†Pass the greasy chips and the horribly enamel eating caramel colored carbonated beverages, it’s D&D. ¬†One of the three reasons I’m alive.

Let’s dig right in with a brief history lesson starting with 2nd edition AD&D. ¬†Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 2nd edition, although highly beloved to me- was confusing as hell. ¬†Thac0? ¬†What the heck does that mean? ¬†To-Hit-Armor-Class-Zero. ¬†Try explaining how the combat rules work to new players and they won’t even want to play anymore. ¬†The game sessions we played were amazing (and lasted 20 years!) and the classes cool, but it was lacking in certain areas such as customization of ones character and rules that didn’t make sense regarding skills (non-weapon proficiencies). ¬†2nd edition was also around for a LONG time. ¬†From 1989-2000 2nd edition dominated and TSR reigned. Then came Wizards of the Coast and their card game Magic the Gathering.

Magic the Gathering was such a successful game that Wizards of the Coast not only dominated the entire gaming industry but took the crown from the company that started it all; Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson’s TSR was sold to Wizards of the Coast in 1997 for $25 million. ¬†Wizards revised the rules of D&D while retaining many of the key players from TSR (RIP) and moved them to Renton, WA. ¬†(Luckily I live in Western WA so my friends and I used to dumpster dive at Wizards of the Coast and save artist sketches and prototypes for maps, magic cards, and D&D products.)

In 2000, 3rd edition came out; Followed by 3.5 in 2003 which made some revisions to the rules to make the game smoother.  This game has been played by nerds the world over and caused even us old hardened gamers of yesteryear to fall in love with Dungeons and Dragons all over again.  The best thing about these new rules is that some gamers get so obsessed with the them that they memorize them and can recall various obscure rules at the drop of a hat.  (We have such a player in my gaming group named Alex.) What a pleasure it is to DM a game where when a rule comes into question, Mr. Alex instantly has the correct response for the situation at hand.

I am a strong advocate of “role-playing” rather than “roll-playing” and when the rules don’t make sense or get in the way of the story I am all for throwing them out the window. ¬†What Dungeons and Dragons (or any RPG for that matter) is about is losing yourself in another world and enjoying the creativity, the role-playing, and the fantasy. ¬†It gives one the opportunity to play a character that they might not normally be comfortable portraying in everyday life. ¬†You can be an evil tyrant, a pure priest, or an honorable warrior. ¬†Anything is possible in D&D and anything can be attempted in this game. ¬†There is no end unless your character dies.

People look at me weird when I say I play Dungeons and Dragons. ¬†I think it’s my age, most folk can never believe that an adult would continue to play a “game”. ¬†I truly believe that this game has kept me fresh and alive. ¬†It gives me a creative outlet (outside my band) to act and play the role of many different characters. ¬†I also get pleasure out of seeing players get actively involved in the game at the table. ¬†The best is when my players get up and start jumping around getting completely lost both in the game and their characters. ¬†Many popular actors such as Vin Diesel & Wil Wheaton are D&D players and still play to this day.

I’m not done yet, I’ll continue to both play and blog about D&D until the day I die.

“Here’s to Derris Strongsword, Alin Durqua, Taku Okimiya, and Iendelle Greenbottle!”¬†(Jonathan raises his mug of Dwarven Ale and promptly dumps it all over his non-existent Dwarven beard)

You can Buy Dungeons and Dragons books new or used on Amazon.com

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My first Pathfinder game

Yesterday I was finally able to sit down with some friends and try out the game that seemingly everyone from AD&D 2nd edition to D&D 3.5 has migrated to.¬† I have had a borrowed copy of the Pathfinder book kicking around my house for a couple months but haven’t really had the chance to crack it open for more than a few minutes at a time.¬† When I had the chance I flipped through the pages and was immediately attracted to the colorful illustrations, high quality background and Pathfinder logo at the top of each page.¬† Although aesthetics should not necessarily be considered when weighing the quality of a RPG product, it is still something people look at and could perhaps be the deciding point on if the book makes it to checkout.¬† Thus, I am taking into account the attractiveness of the illustrations, backgrounds, logos, and character illos.

Before I get too deep into my personal review of Pathfinder let me explain a bit about my gaming past.¬† I come from a background of over 20 years DMing AD&D 1st and 2nd edition and the transition to 3.5 was admittedly a little forced.¬† I basically had no choice as everyone in my player lineup now plays the newer systems.¬† I had been a steadfast hardcore 2nd edition gamer owning every single 2e book as well as the entire collection of Forgotten Realms books and boxed sets- thanks Ed Greenwood!¬† One concept I quite enjoyed about 3.5 was the elimination of Thac0 which had served only to confuse new players and those who failed basic math.¬† Also, more strategy was introduced into the combat system along with an extremely set of detailed rules which served to help solve almost any dispute at the table quickly without much room for argument.¬† With this new book of rules also came a few annoyances to me as a DM.¬† Since when did 1st level characters become insanely powerful individuals who could already wield a surprising amount of power?¬† In 1st and 2nd edition it really felt like you would have to earn those abilities through many gaming sessions and although sometimes frustrating and difficult, you appreciated your earned powers that much more.¬† Also there are so many books for customizing your character in 3.5 that you basically can make any kind of character class you can imagine.¬† Although this is great for the players, the DM has a huge headache on his hands trying to figure out how to challenge a group who has a warrior who can psionically recharge and focus his attacks causing massive amounts of damage and slaying almost any enemy you throw at him.¬† Another challenge is overcoming the rule lawyering that comes into play with the advent of all these new and detailed rules.¬† Although useful when solving certain scenarios the rules sometimes get in the way of the story and when they do I try and remind my players that we’re here to have fun, not scrutinize every little detail and rule of the game.¬† That’s just a couple examples of the many challenges I have come across running 3.5 games.¬† I know that as DM I have the final say on these things, but honestly- who has time to keep track of all of this and scrutinize everyone’s character sheets?¬† Perhaps in high school on summer vacation, but I’m older now and I want to fill my precious free time with writing and DMing adventure, not being a rules lawyer over your characters.¬† Would Pathfinder be much different?¬† I had heard that some of the great annoyances of 3.5 had been removed and some new ideas introduced that would simplify a lot of the silliness that went on.

When I had the chance to sit down yesterday and dig a little further than skin deep I found basically the same rules for character creation as D&D 3.5, but a lot simpler.¬† We all decided to create characters and although I usually DM I requested the chance to try out this new RPG from the player position.¬† A fellow player agreed to take the DM throne and run a short and simple game, but first came character creation.¬† I rolled my stats a couple times and finally decided on a character with one strong stat, a few average and a couple weak.¬† I like characters that vary a bit and are not powerful across the board.¬† In fact I believe there is a strong advantage in playing a character that has a handicap.¬† It requires you to come up with some interesting ways to overcome that weakness.¬† So, I made a halfling bard with 3 STR named Cardamon Jolst along with a slew of other aliases, his true name being a secret that even he doesn’t remember after all his years traveling from village to village working the locals and extracting information and plundering coin.¬† The first thing I noticed while generating my character was that the character generation information was all laid out for me similar to the way 3.5 was presented.¬† If you’re coming from a 3.5 background Pathfinder should be a welcome change of pace without throwing you out of your realm too much.¬† I followed the directions for my race which were all neatly presented in a little box at the bottom of the page.¬† Once that was in order I moved on to my class of bard and started from the top working my way down.¬† It seems that they spent a lot of time narrowing down just the right balance of lore and game rules.¬† I was able to glean a few ideas for my character while at the same time writing down all my skills and special abilities.¬† When I filled out my skills one of the first things I noticed was that the Search, Spot, and one other ability I cannot recall but obviously do not miss were absent.¬† In their place was a familiar skill called “Perception”, something we had come up with on our own when running 2nd edition games all those years ago.¬† Perception in our games had been obtained by adding up INT, WIS, and CHA, dividing your result by 3 and using that number as a basis for checks involving anything requiring a perception check- the equivalent of spot and search checks in 3.5.¬† Now in Pathfinder they finally eliminated all those unnecessary redundancies and replaced them with the Perception check.¬† Simpler is smarter, I like it.¬† Also when you place a rank in a class skill you automatically get a bonus 3 points in that skill the first time you plug a rank in that slot.¬† This is nice because you can instantly begin using your new abilities without worrying about constantly failing.¬† When starting out a new character this is nice because instead of having a sleight of hand of say 5, you end up with an 8 which is much more likely to actually succeed should you decide to use that skill.¬† You can really concentrate of specific skills and customize your base class character without going bonkers with prestige classes like they did in 3.5.¬† There is definitely something to be said about the core classes and honing their abilities so that each is unique and a required presence within the party.¬† You can’t survive without your fighter, priest, thief, or mage.¬† All four must be present or at least skills distributed equally so that all ground is covered and exploration can take place with each person holding a very specific set of skills or abilities that allow the group to succeed by working together.¬† I love the group dynamic and I think Pathfinder has found a way to work that in quite well.

After our characters were rolled up (which despite my ignorance in the Pathfinder system didn’t take as long as I would have thought) we started a short intro game to get us accustomed to this new system.¬† A couple of the guys had already played and run Pathfinder games in the past and were really excited that the rest of us were willing to give it a shot.¬† Hell, I’ll try anything at least once!¬† What do I have to lose?¬† So, we started our adventure of which I must spare the details as this was a pre-made adventure and I do not wish to spoil it for any of my readers.¬† Throughout the adventure I utilized my skills and special abilities.¬† As a bard it was very interesting realizing that in combat I was mostly ineffective at causing more than a couple points of damage (if that!) per round.¬† In fact, I was mostly a support character singing my silly songs (which I made sure were contextually correct and quite emotionally abusive to the goblins we were combating, as well as rhythmically engaging) and buffing up my fellow adventurers.¬† The Paladin and Monk were tanks while the cleric and I helped keep the party alive and successful in combat.¬† I had a couple spells of 1st level which I decided to save in case there was a more difficult battle on the horizon which never did come in our short gaming session.¬† I did not get the chance to use my abilities for adventuring or exploration purposes on this session, but my first experience playing Pathfinder left me with a good enough taste in my mouth that I decided not to rinse and came home, hopped online, and promptly ordered the core book through Amazon.

If you too have been sitting on the fence in regards to the Pathfinder RPG I suggest hopping down on my side and grabbing a copy of this book.¬† Give it a shot, what have you got to lose?¬† You’ll be out $30 for a used copy that you could pass onto a friend should you not enjoy the game.¬† Although if you like everything that the original TSR and WOTC authors produced, I think you will find Pathfinder a welcome addition to your RPG collection.

If you enjoyed these Pathfinder character images you will love the artwork provided in the Pathfinder Core Rules book as this was gleaned from that source!¬† Well, all of them save one- this last picture is Jenny Poussin, a gorgeous gal who enjoys Pathfinder almost as much as she does modeling!¬† Check her out on Facebook and add her to your friends. You’ll love her cosplay pictures of various RPG and video game characters!¬† While you are on Facebook make sure you “like” NERD TREK which will automatically enter you in all of our future contests and giveaways!¬† Check out our Facebook page or NERDTREK.com homepage to see what kind of Nerd goodies we’re giving away today!


Here’s a link to some great prices on new and used copies of Pathfinder on Amazon.¬† When I last checked there was still a brand new copy for $31 with free shipping!¬† Enjoy!

 

ORIGINALLY POSTED MAY 16, 2011

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Retro Role-Playing: The Keep on the Borderlands

The first time I held this module in my hands I was 8 years old. My friend Khidr had been gifted some red basic Dungeons and Dragons books by his Aunt and Uncle. There was the coveted Red Set with the Players Handbook and Dungeon Masters Guide. They seemed intimidating at the time, but now I think back and laugh at how short they were compared to most RPG rulebooks. We also received what I truly believe got us involved in role-playing games to begin with- a set of polyhedron dice. Completely alien to us, these dice were like little treasures that required diligent safeguarding. ¬†Strange shapes and of all different colors, this was what caused us to pull up chairs to what would become our gaming table and dig through these newfound books. ¬†As soon as I found that there was a “Dungeon Master” who controlled the monsters and wrote the storyline I knew that’s what I wanted to be. I have always loved creation, being a creative creature at heart I get excited about writing songs, building model scenery, creating websites- these things give my life purpose and get my gears turning. I grabbed for the purple book which contained information FOR THE DUNGEON MASTER ONLY!

The Keep on the Borderlands was filled with plain black and white pages with a few poorly drawn pictures and descriptions of the interior of a keep and some nearby caverns. The cardboard exterior of the book came completely off from the bound pages and on the inside had a blue and white map of the keep.

It would provide the players with many adventures whether they realized it or not.  I could reuse different sections of this adventure to spawn ideas for future quests that would throw the Player Characters into dangerous situations and exciting sub-plots.  It would be many years later before I realized how influential those first books were to myself and my gaming group.  Now that I am an adult I decided that I would do a little more research on that old module since I find myself a bit more interested in the history of D&D.

The Keep on the Borderlands (B2) was a Dungeons and Dragons module created by the Father of D&D- Gary Gygax.  The module was first printed in 1979- a strangely reoccurring year in gaming products for me.  In the module, players are based at a keep and investigate a series of caves that are filled with a variety of monsters.  Designed to be used with the Dungeons and Dragons Basic Set, it was included in the 1979-1982 editions.  It was designed in mind for those new to the game.

This module went out of print in the early 80’s, but has since been reprinted two time, and a sequel was also made. ¬†The Keep on the Borderlands was ranked as the 7th greatest D&D Adventure of all time by Dungeon Magazine in 2004.

In the adventure, the PC’s arrive at the Keep and can make it their base of operations. ¬†Then they may investigate a group of caves in the nearby hills which are teeming with monsters. ¬†The Caves of Chaos are home to multiple species of hostile humanoids. ¬†Plot twists include a treacherous priest at the Keep, hungry lizardmen in a nearby swamp, and an angry hermit in the surrounding wilderness. ¬†This is a typical “dungeon crawl” D&D adventure with a few outdoor treks.

In September of 2010, the module was re-released for¬†D&D 4th Edition by¬†Wizards of the Coast for use in the weekly¬†D&D Encounters sessions. Like the original, this revised module is designed for use with a boxed set oriented towards the beginning player: “Dungeons & Dragons Fantasy Roleplaying Game”, the starter set for¬†D&D Essentials, also released in September of 2010, which sports the red cover of the 1983 “Basic Rules” revision of the¬†Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set.

Things have finally come full circle.  The Red Classic D&D Basic set is back, as is our beloved Keep on the Borderlands.  Ironically enough, my good friend Khidr who started this D&D journey with me has returned to our gaming group.  So now, Khidr and I continue to explore our medieval  fantasy worlds together, and yes- I am still the Dungeon Master as I once was over two decades ago.

_________________________________

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