Monday, February 11, 2013

100th Post! Free Adventure!

The Genesis of the Jewel River
(Map by Darlene)

d20 Dark Ages has made to its 100th post!

Over on the right, under "Relics from the Dark Ages" you can download your free adventure Death at the Genesis of the Jewel, which I wrote when I was twelve. The first file is the original manuscript, scanned. The second file is a typed up version, with maps included, in case you don't like my handwriting in the original. The third and final document is a work in progress as I update the original to AD&D 2e. It also provides the background history not found in the original manuscript.

The first two are large PDF files (21 MB, and 45 MB), please let me know if you have trouble downloading them.

I didn't write Death at the Genesis of the Jewel in a vacuum. It isn't "module" where you can just plug into your campaign; it was part of an ongoing story with the characters in my Greyhawk Campaign. It built off an alternate history of Greyhawk since I only had the photocopied maps and my brother's adventures for "Greyhawk" material. All together, this formed a Greyhawk "alternate history."

[Or did I have access to another source? Greyhawk Trivia: Why would I call Narwell "Warwell?"]

Typing up the adventure word-for-word, with all of the editing marks included, brought back a lot of memories. Part of me wonders if my 12 year old self was just a hack. I mean, come'on, the "Eye of Traldar" came from the D&D module of the same name. Also, if you might notice  you'll see references to pop culture if you look close enough. Perhaps even more so, I didn't come up with the alternate back story about the Elemental Wars, my brother did for his Greyhawk Campaign a few years before mine.

I also couldn't come up with decent NPC names to save my life: Charley Blodgett, Larth Peacelot, Eben Bobst. I put these names in bold in the typed-up version.

Still, I shouldn't be critical on my 12 year old self. The adventure itself is about 3000 words long. I could have been playing video games. Perhaps I should have been doing homework. But no, I took the time to sit down to hand write an adventure. Most importantly, my players enjoyed going through it.

Even more surprising, I thought for many years that Death at the Genesis of the Jewel was for AD&D Second Edition; it isn't--I wrote it for AD&D!  The weapon damages listed use the AD&D format such as "Broadsword 2-8/2-7" as opposed to 2d4/1d6+1. Also, certain monsters like the ogrillon and the spectator came from the AD&D Fiend Folio and Monster Manual II. If I recall, these didn't appear in the Montrous Compendium at the time (but I could be wrong). I'm not sure where I got the half-ogre--one of my brother's Best of Dragon Magazine issues?

Here's a few more things interesting tidbits: 
--I was really stingy with handing out treasure. If you want to run this adventure, you should probably give out more treasure--especially if you're using treasure as XP.
--Speaking of XP--I think I just made up the XP totals, because I didn't feel like doing the calculations from the back of the AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide.
--I never drew up the two parts of the treasure  map. I think I just told the players, "Yeah, the map just shows you how to get there." And that was that.

Enjoy reading Death at the Genesis of the Jewel. For me, its the first adventure I saved. The two or three before this are gone, either lost or thrown out because I thought they weren't up to snuff. As I've said before, I regret that now.

In a broader sense, Death at the Genesis of the Jewel represents a transition in the hobby, going as far back as 1983. I grew up and played D&D post-Dragonlance and during the rise of Final Fantasy. My brother's adventures featured dungeons, and usually a quest to get there. But my adventures had dungeons, quests, and a whole back story larger than the characters themselves.

Either way, I hope you enjoy it!


  1. Thank you for sharing this. I look forward to reading it. I posted a similar old-timey adventure on my blog. Take a look if you are so inclined. :)

    1. Thanks for sharing your "Temple to Fraz-Urb'luu."

      I just skimmed through it and loved the room with the Pillars of Eyes.

      These old homemade adventures need to be shared and preserved for posterity.


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