Saturday, May 9, 2009

Keep the Spaceship Out of the Dungeon

During the past few weeks I've been pulling random modules out of my stack of old TSR modules and other gaming supplements. I found the G series and remembered how much fun it was fighting all those giants. What made the G series great for me was how they were connected. Then the D series, descending into the depths of the underworld and getting, at least for me, my first sighting of the Drow. Again all these were connected and led to finale with Lolth, Demon Queen of Spiders. She was a lesser goddess in the Deities & Demigods. Sounded like a great finish to the series, but here comes the part that irked me. She was on a spaceship shaped like a spider. Why is there a spaceship in the dungeon? Why is the dungeon a spaceship? I know there are all kinds of great creatures roaming around inside including Lolth, but why a spaceship. I read the module again and still don't understand the reasoning. The best guess I can come up with is the adventure was on another plane of existence.

Then we have the S series. It starts out with a signature module, Tomb of Horrors. Arguably the best module of all time. A module I believe set the standard. Then onto White Plume Mountain. Did the module make sense, not really, but everyone wanted Blackrazor. Then onto Expedition to the Barrier Peaks. As much as I disliked Lolth and her spider spaceship, S3 just plain pissed me off. After this module polluted the stream every character left their bows at home and picking up a laser rifle or blaster pistol. No need to learn Magic Missile or Fireball, just lob a grenade. I enjoy a great game of Traveler and Gamma World back then as much as anyone, but these modules force fed the technology into the fantasy realm. If you're going to introduce technology have it make sense. Not something that unbalances the game.

I don't think it's too much to ask to keep the dungeons made of dirt, stone, wood, or magical barriers. I like my weapons medieval style. Robin Hood needs his Welch longbow not a laser rifle. King Arthur needs Excalibur not a plasma grenade (but I will make exceptions for the holy hand grenade). So please, oh please, keep the spaceship out of the dungeon.


  1. Awe man, genre bashing is cool.

    There's even rules (Gamma World, Boot Hill IIRC) for it in the DMG.

    Blackmoor, Judges Guild, various modules, all the original campaigns mixed sci-fi and fantasy.

    Now, trains and steam engines, they're just stupid ;)

  2. Yeah, I remember all the sci-fi influnces in JG products and in many other products, but I always edited them out if I was going to use them. Since most of the items I am talking about were marketed for AD&D I expected a sword and spell adventure. With the other game systems I wouldn't have a problem at all because that is what the game is, cross genre.