Review: Dungeons of Dread
by Ramanan Sivaranjan on March 21, 2013
I picked up a copy of the new limited edition S-series adventure compilation Dungeons of Dread. It’s a nice hardback book that collects 4 modules released by TSR that were meant to separate the wheat from the chaff when it came to D&D players. Those modules are: Tomb of Horrors, White Plume Mountain, Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, and The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth.
This new edition begins with an introduction by Lawrence Schick, author of White Plume Mountain. He briefly explains the history of the series and of each module. Following this is a short table of contents and then each of the modules presented exactly as they appeared however many years ago. If you’ve seen the AD&D reprints the quality is much the same: that is to say quite good. Like the AD&D reprints the illustrations in Dungeons of Dread seem a bit higher contrast than the originals. The art work is reproduced reasonably well, but I suspect some detail has been lost in scanning the originals for their inclusion here.
Unlike the AD&D reprints Dungeons of Dread is much more of a collectible than a gaming aid. Presenting the 4 modules together like this is nice if you just want to read them, but to use them in the game would probably be unwieldily. The illustration booklets you’re supposed to show your players are bound in the book, as are the maps for each adventure. That’s not to say you couldn’t use this book at your table, but it’s a step back in usability compared to the original TSR modules. Really, something like this would have been better presented in a box set, but no one makes box sets anymore.
If you’re a fan of the old modules this collection is well worth a look. As I don’t own the originals, the choice was simple. I picked up my copy for $30 on Amazon, which is less than i’d pay for each module used on eBay.