is a high-level (level 7-9) AD&D
module from Judges Guild
. It was first released in 1979. Dark Tower
is one of the few official approved third party AD&D products, created during a brief but glorious time in the late '70s and early '80s before TSR
began circling its wagons and started suing everyone.
was written and illustrated by Paul Jaquays
. Jaquays is most familiar to old time gamers for having produced the red dragon
art work used on TSR's 1981 D&D boxed edition (this is the version they released as a single 8 1/2" x 11" booklet with a blue monochrome cover, it's sometimes referred to as the D&D Basic Set
, Second Edition).
The adventure is set in a sleepy, somewhat spooky
. On the surface everything appears normal. But below the surface, literally, are two ancient, buried towers. One tower was a temple to a good demigod
named Mitra. The other tower was a temple to the evil Egyptian god Set
. Both towers were buried and presumably lost to history when the hamlet became a veritable Armageddon
, the site of what many assumed was a final battle between Mitra and Set.
Nothing is ever final in fantasy role playing
. Ho ho! The module opens with the players stumbling on this sleepy hamlet to discover the locals somewhat unsettled by an emerging mystery. Residents have started to disappear. And what perfect timing: these odd group of adventurers have shown up just as villagers start to go missing. Well, that wraps up the mystery. The new comers did it!
The adventure's kick off reads a lot like the first 10 minutes of every Doctor Who
story ever written.
was originally released as a 72-page booklet
, printed on Judges Guild's standard high grade newsprint stock. It quickly became not only one of Judges Guild's best selling works but a classic old timers still fondly remember.
Part of its popularity was it was one of the first professional products to come out that mixed village, wilderness, and dungeon adventuring. This was a time when most D&D players were creating little more than underground "monster hotels", endless series of 30' x 30' rooms. One checkerboard room
housed a wyvern
, the room next door housed a band of orc
s, a D6
s sleeping in random coffins, and none of the monsters seemed overly concerned by these living conditions. As if wyverns and orcs and bugbear
s and shambling mound
s all just waited around for a group of 3 Player Character
s and 2 NPC
s to come and be their once-a-year feeding.
The module bears a number of thematic similarities to TSR's Village of Hommlet
(T1), which was also released in 1979. The Village of Hommlet
was no slider itself, of course. However the advantage Dark Tower
had over T1 was Dark Tower
was entirely stand alone. T1, like so many of Gary Gygax
's pet projects, started off quite grandly but took years to complete. Gamers were told T1 was merely the opening opus
to a grand series of adventures. But it was hard to convince game masters to run their characters through T1 and then put their campaign into suspended animation
for half a decade until Gygax got around to writing T2.
is once again available with Judges Guild's recent resurrection. Judges Guild itself sells the classic edition. D20 system
gamers can get an adaptation from Necromancer Games
. Unfortunately, Necromancer seems to have hired translation editors unable to use Word's Edit | Find
function. The D20 edition is replete with references to classic AD&D like THAC0
and references to doing a savings throw the old way. Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy.