Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Dungeons & Dragons...geek nostalgia...and White Plume Mountain

In the late 70s and early 80s, some friends and I discovered a way to live the adventures we had read about in Tolkien and a few lesser known writers of the fantasy genre. We stumbled upon the game Dungeons & Dragons at a shop called Tammy's Hobbies. 

It was absolute magic. And yes, I know it went on to define a generation of geeks, and mostly it was just the guys, but on occasion, we had our girlfriends join in. A couple even liked it. But in the early days, nobody even knew what you were talking had not hit mainstream yet.

When the first set of pre-made adventures (or modules) hit the shelf...we saw just how much broader the horizons could be if we put our minds to it. White Plume Mountain was one of the first ever released, and the first that I ever owned. For me, it has some pretty entertaining memories.

Of course I think the grandest of them all were the Giant and Descent series (G & D 1-3 for those in the know). But still, WPM has a special place. When I discovered that there is a book series that delves in to some of those same adventures, I scoured Amazon, but they were mostly out of print..but then I discovered them on! 

It was with just a shade of apprehension that I downloaded the White Plume Mountain story with my monthly credit. While certainly not one of the great stories of the genre, it was still fun. What follows is my review, but before I go, I invite you to share a memory...geeky or otherwise that maybe you haven't thought of in a long while. I bet it makes you smile...and what more could you ask for on a Wednesday?

This was the first module that I ever bought, and I did so right when it came out. TSR was just starting to put them out there and I still remember reading through this dungeon and thinking, "We are doing it all wrong. This is AMAZING!"

When I saw a book based on that adventure, I was almost scared to give it a go. I quit playing years ago and one of my fond memories from childhood were the campaigns using SI & S2 (but not in that order since S1 was for VERY high level parties), as well as the G and D series (How long did we wait for "Queen of the Demonweb Pits"?)

This story was fantastic. I was a little bummed at some of the stuff that did not get mentioned. Chasing a demon through the dungeon sort of ruined a few of the encounters. But I still felt like I was witnessing the game being played. It brought back my own recollections, and there were even a few moments where I slapped my forehead and thought, "Why didn't we think of that?"

As for the two main characters, they gave me enough to care about, but the "hirelings" seemed like cardboard cut outs of stereotypical bad guys (yeah...even a Paladin is a "bad" guy here) and I found that to be just a little lame. I get that the desire was for the Ranger and the Faerie to dominate the scene, but to make everybody else an antagonist got tiring. I will venture forth at least one more time. I am somewhat perplexed by the order of the books in this series as well as disappointed that the D Series mods get the treatment but the G series (my personal favorite) seems to have been left out.


  1. I loved the GDQ series. Eclavdra will always have a special place in my heart.

    1. That was an epic series. I think G3 was actually the toughest of the lot.

  2. I have not played those ones yet, I have only recently started playing and I love it. However I would like to say that people still do not know what you are talking about when you say D&D, or the newer thing Pathfinder. I have wanted to try the Ptolus campaign