Friday, July 16, 2010

X1 Isle of Dread by David Cook and Tom Moldvay

From the Back cover:

"Hundreds of miles from the mainland, surrounded by dangerous waters, lies an island known only as the Isle of Dread.

Dark jungles and treacherous swamps await those who are brave enough to travel inland in search of the lost plateau, where the ruins of a once mighty civilization hold many treasures - and many secrets!"

I've always been a fan of jungle adventures, I think it all started with Tarzan. This particular module has Edgar Rice Burroughs written all over it! Although more in a Pellucidar kind of way (think "Land That Time Forgot").
Originally written to introduce wilderness adventures into your campaign, this loose, open-ended adventure can be placed inside anybody's campaign world.

I love the feel of this adventure, and in my opinion, this is one of the greats as far as "Old School" open-ended rules. This excerpt is from the introduction page:

"The Isle of Dread is a wilderness adventure designed to help you plan your own wilderness settings and adventures. While the D&D Expert rule book contains most of the information you will need to design this type of adventure, this module is another tool. It is a graphic example of what a wilderness adventure may be.

Before Beginning play, you should read the entire module carefully and become completely familiar with it. Much of the information given in the encounter descriptions is for your use only, and should be revealed to the players at your discretion. Use your imagination when described in encounters to the players. If an area description is not given in an encounter, make up your own, based on what you know about the area on what you see on the maps provided."

Breathe in the Old School!

Set in the world of Mystara (one of the earliest official settings for D&D), the adventure is designed for character levels 3-7 and preferably for about 6-10 players. That's pretty huge for most gaming groups today!

Without trying to give out any spoilers, I'm just going to say that there are plenty of over water/ over land adventures complete with plenty of monster encounters, encounters with the local tribes, and some tomb raiding! There are some great ideas about nature and it's surroundings, specifically about rough/dangerous terrain that I really liked. And there are plenty of prehistoric beasties to keep you busy!

I could see this adventure becoming a great campaign lasting several sessions! So if you run any wilderness encounters, this is a great place to start!

Check out this blog, The Isle of Dread Project, unfortunately it looks like it hasn't been updated since 2008. But it's a great idea!

Keep on Rockin' and Role Playing!


  1. I am inspired to try to run a Lost World exploration campaign set in my own homebrew gaming world. I have a nice 16th century-themed nation (minus gunpowder) that may need to go treasure hunting.

  2. That sounds cool! I love the Pellucidar books. There was a remake of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Lost World about eight years ago that was pretty good. I think it was made for T.V. and it had Bob Hoskins in it.