Crawlers, Cubes and Critters - and other Old-School Nonsense
I always loved the Steading of the Hill Chief picture. I like the way it depicts party vs. giant combat, plus, what a great name!Much as I like that one though, Tomb of Horrors will always be my favorite, disturbing... If you notice, it's the only one with a wholly different, and awesome, I might add, lettering style.
T1 The Village of Hommlet cover always disappointed me a bit. If it had just shown a single scene instead of the odd out of proportion grouping. C1 is now my favorite, but I've become a big EO fan over the years.
Agreed about T1, there is a lot I like, particularly the large fighter, but the proportion is, as you said, odd. I think I could get over that though if it wasn't for the giant crawfish. Not the most awe inspiring of enemies.
I'm a big fan of DAT, so I really also like the cover to G2. Yeah, the T1 cover is weird. The evil Cleric with the mace and rod is very cool, but yeah - the crawdad...
The first module I ever owned was D2 Shrine of the Kuo-Toa, so that will always have a special place in my heart. Something about a man in somewhat historically-accurate armor fighting fishmen just speaks "D&D" to me. The mushroom forest of B1 In Search of the Unknown is also awesome, however (and was the second module I ever owned).And I'm not even all that fond of DCS in general.
I agree with everything you wrote, in particular the D2 cover and how awesome it is - despite the fact that DCS is not always my favorite.
The late Jim Roslof cover of the combined D1-2 Descent into the Depths of the Earth actually is one of my very favorite module covers ever (though it is from the color cover era), as it combines the best of that DCS cover with some of the stylization and wild fantasy of Erol Otus (and a better sense of action and movement than DCS, though not nearly as dynamic as EO).
As for best module from the monochrome era, by the way, that is clearly D3 Vault of the Drow. velaran is entirely accurate below as to why.After the monochrome era, I have a lot of respect for Zeb Cook's I1 Dwellers of the Forbidden City.
I'll have to take another look at D3 and re-read it. I recall it being wild and fun, but I haven't read it for ages.
I love G2 not only for the more realistic style, but the insane proportion comparison of the Frost Giants to the adventurers. Really gives you an idea of what you are up against, and the extremely poor odds.
Yeah, that's what a Giant should look like! Big and scary.
The G1 illustration is particularly cool. I love that sword in the giant's hand that looks like a shortsword to him but seems like it could cut most of the PCs in two from top to bottom with one chop. The G3 illustration pretty wicked with the players taking some brutal punishment there.
I dunno why, but I always liked the Tomb of Horrors cover.
G2 for me as well. Trampier always captured the true essence of DnD, average folks facing facing off against bemused and deadly monsters and environments.
D1, Descent into the Depths of the Earth, was the first module I ever bought, so I'll always have a sentimental attachment to it. I bought it about the same time as the Holmes Basic boxed set, before I knew anything about D&D - I just thought the title sounded cool. I didn't realize it was for high-level adventurers. Consequently, I never actually used it.These days I have a real fondness for the cover of Village of Hommlet. I love the collage of images.
I like all of the covers and modules! But, if I had to pick... I'd go with D3. Its cover has skulls, a giant spider, a mysterious grimacing monster, and an altar with a Priestess about to sacrifice a victim. It makes you take notice.(and want to play!) Also, I like that 70's purple. :-)The module doesn't disappoint, either. It gives off a Weird Fantasy vibe: spiders, purple worms, vast underground caverns, a race of creatures long hidden away from the surface world, a diverse metropolis including Demons, Mind Flayers, Humanoids, assorted Monsters etc..., all left to their own devices unless they cause a ruckus that annoys the city's rulers. Then you have the strange turn for the lyrical EGG's prose suddenly undergoes when he describes the city of Erelhei Cinlu! And, of course, the Drow were introduced to the pop cultural world in this adventure, and the historical significance of this work adds to my esteem for it.(I'm a history buff generally, and I am especially fascinated by the RPG hobby's past.)All in all, a great adventure with many great roleplaying possibilities not limited to the hack 'n slash premise stated in G1(also potentially subverted in D2, if the PCs are smart.). It vies with Tom Moldvay's B4: The Lost City for my favorite (A)D&D module. I'd say it is Gygax's best adventure for (A)D&D, though Keep on the Borderlands and Tomb of Horrors are by no means poor cousins!
This is a great summary of why D3 is so good. And yes - the High Gygaxian was fun. :) B4 is indeed a very cool module.I've never really been a huge fan of TOH. It seemed like more of a novelty. But its significance to early D&D cannot be denied.
All of the TSR modules set in hidden or ruined cities are awesome. Zeb Cook's I1 Dwellers of the Forbidden City is equally excellent.
Yeah, I1 and S4 are both great!
Of those, my favorite is In Search of the Unknown (though Shrine of the Kuo-Toa is pretty awesome too). That mushroom forest just screams weird adventure. This can't possibly be nostalgia, because I never saw those covers before recently! (Having started with Second Edition and all.)
(Speaking of the covers, not the content.)
Interesting. A viewpoint not colored by the rosy lens of nostalgia. B1 is a pretty awesome module - cover and all.The only bummer with it is that is SUCKS to try to map it as a player. Full of weird twists and turns and zig-zags. Even a teleport room. But that should teach players that not everything can be tidily mapped.
Took us forever to figure out what happened with those teleport rooms. What a pain in the ass. In the best possible way, of course.The room of pools was a kick, though. On the whole, a great funhouse.