Wednesday, May 12, 2010

x1 Isle of Dread

One of the few regrets I have about my early D&D experience, is the total lack of experience with modules; when I had bought my Metzner basic, it didn't come with an introductory module (except for the small sample dungeon in the books). My own experience was using that  small sample as my model of what an adventure should be, and then designing castle and dungeons on my own (with far too many encounters if I remember correctly)
   That's why X1 Isle of Dread is so important to me, it was the first and only module I had ever owned as a youth;  but what a module!  Now back then I had no idea who Moldvay was, or the extent of his design genius; all I knew was that this module rocked. It had it all: sea exploration, dark mysterious islands, pirates, and especially.......dinosaurs, forget the alien kopru....for me the highlight was definately the dinosaurs...well them and the feline warrior society (I remember one of my players took a real liking to owning a pair of the claw weapon they used.

  Unfortunately; in part due to my own young age or inexperience, I never took full advantage of Isle of Dread's possibilities as a module. I did treat it a little too much like an adventure that the player's had to solve; as opposed to a springboard for many adventuring ideas. However even then we were able to create some role play interactions, and side treks...I seem to remember something about the pirates conflicting with the natives on the island.
   I think at the time it disturbed me a little that there was no end goal to the module...I'm not sure if I realized at the time the purpose of, or even had an understanding of, a completly open ended adventure. Still, we loved that module, and played it for days on end.  From the time I had a sea hydra attack their vessel in the ocean, to the moment the PC's defeated the evil Kopru in those hot muddy geysers on the plateau this module proved to be a joy to play.
Isle of Dread stretched both our playing skills, and our understanding of what a great D&D adventure can be. Because of that I have to say that the module TSR actually provided for FREE with its Expert Set still remains,in my mind, one of the best adventures ever written.


  1. Yes, this is a bona-fide stone classic. The first time I DM'd, way back in Junior High, this was the module I ran--and it's the one I'm running at the moment, 27 years later (there were a few in-between).

  2. I'm glad to know its still being used today; a classic is a classic forever. Which makes me wonder why WOTC pulled all the pdf's of the old modules we used to see?

  3. The players I have run through X1 have enjoyed it. However, it has never, NEVER turned into a profitable venture for ANY of the parties that I ran through it (there's an undeniable lack of treasure hordes for mid-level adventurers)...those that avoided being eaten by the mega-fauna, that is.

  4. I made sure to stick the Isle of Dread in my Maritime Campaign. It's too good of a module to pass up. The only down side being that I'll want to save dinosaurs as opponents until (and if) the group ever gets there.

  5. I have the same experience/feeling towards X1. Played it often, and never tapped its full potential. I go into a little more detail in my own musings on the module here;