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The Secret History of the Racy Module That Almost Ruined D&D

Back then, the RPG was on the ascent, becoming the new hip thing on college campuses. So even as the game was on the rise, life at TSR headquarters in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin was plagued with fears that moral outrage could end the good times at any moment. And so, to ensure Dungeon Module B3 never became the spark that started that blaze, it was scrapped. And a backhoe. Kevin Hendryx, TSR game developer and designer, In essence, the philosophy of management [at that time] was that it was better to have anything to sell today than something of higher quality later, because the market was so hot and the demand so great that TSR was losing money by any delays.

Dungeon Module B,?: Palace the Princess

So crank out that product and damn the torpedoes. Lawrence Schick, TSR game developer and designer, Upper management regarded employees as second- or third-class citizens. They were obnoxious to work for.


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They were in another building uptown; we were downtown. Off by ourselves, it was a fun place to work. But management was high-handed, and not much interested in feedback that contradicted what they had in mind. Kevin Hendryx: We had a very us-against-them attitude. As much as we were hot-headed little snots and not always the most professional, management was not the most professional either. Most of them were new to being in positions like that. They tended to treat it like a game, like we were just non-player characters being moved around the board.

They were warned. But management did not take these things seriously until the ["Palace of the Silver Princess"] module had been printed and somebody at the other office actually looked at it and flew into a fury. Why the warnings and strong reaction? Look at what your children are reading and playing! The second problem? Lawrence Schick: They were caricatures of people in development, not management.

There were a lot of in-jokes in there. So it's perilous to do that sort of thing. If you didn't know who the caricatures were of, you might guess, and you might guess wrong. Kevin Hendryx: The illustration alluded to recent terminations and employee unrest. Upper management was very sensitive about mutiny in the ranks at the time and took all these perceived slurs or snoot-cockings as an insult and a challenge. Bill Willingham, TSR artist, I was first to read the damn thing, and I was just shocked at how ridiculous it was.

It was clearly the private fantasies of the author [Jean Wells, who died in ]. The Silver Princess character was also her persona in the Society of Creative Anachronism —a hauntingly lovely woman who destroyed hearts. I called it to the art director's attention, and we went upstairs to editorial and Lawrence Schick. And at some point Lawrence, being the head of creative, called over to the business side and said, "Are you sure we want to do this?

Just publish it. Kevin Hendryx: Some of the people thought it was too suggestive. There was a lot of subliminal, Freudian-level erotica in there. Other stuff I noticed: Charm person is essentually permanent unless you manage to save. Sleep is really powerful.

We never had the situation that wizards announced their intent to cast a spell and enemies then gaining initiative and the ability to silence the spellcaster. As the system was so deadly, Cure Light Wounds was not used a lot. The maps were hilarious. Monster distribution was not totally crazy. As the orange-cover edition was missing room descriptions for two rooms on the entrance level, I looked at the edition reworked by Moldvay and used Troglodytes. Interestingly enough, my players did not mind.

The random encounter list featured some acolytes that were listed as having AC 2. I rolled up four of them, which gave the party awesome plate mail. Soon enough two player characters fell into a 50 ft. That was short.


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Nobody really knows how the castle ended. Nobody really knows why the tinker has a suite of plate armor in his bedroom. Nobody knows where the dragon went. Nobody knows why the two lovers turned into ghosts. I wanted to expand on it for future adventures, I could do that. And none of the Protector magic, none of that happy ending by releasing the lovers from the ruby. It was fun for a one-day adventure. No talk was wasted on move actions, standard actions, full round actions, spell casting time, damage reduction, incorporeal creatures, and so on.

I liked the lack of various buff spells. I liked how abilities were mostly not significant. As we rolled 3d6 in order, character creation was really simple. I was able to resolve all skill use situations by eyeballing it. The surprise rule worked really well. Each side rolles 1d6. Never had a problem. Thieves are practically useless at low levels when it comes detecting traps.

The system is very deadly at first and second level. Sorry old boy, I was checking to see if you were an old friend and poet, who occasionally deigns to post here under various aliases. No harm done and welcome to Age of Dusk. Regarding upper level accessibility: Myriad upper-level windows, two balconies though both are dangerous , and several chimneys allow direct access to the upper level, without having to pass through the Ubue choke-point. Hi Guy!

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I think this is one example where the weird isometric maps of the latter 2e era could have really helped us. Yeah, orange B3 did itself no favors by obfuscating the verticality. It even surrounded the entire upper level map in non-photo blue. Too bad neither version included the exterior castle illustration that ended up in Polyhedron. Something like Tegel Manor seems the more impressive because of all the different paths once can take.

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    Palace of the Silver Princess

    Sing thine song oh Princess. And make us weep for a beauty now lost. Share this: Twitter Facebook. Like this: Like Loading I never heard of this before; I enjoy the things that you described. Her pink what now?

    D&D 1st - Palace of the Silver Princess (OCR) | Dungeons & Dragons | Gary Gygax Games

    Sweet sweet Erol Otus art no homo. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:. Email required Address never made public.