Classic Module Reviews - The B Series

When I don't feel like writing content I sometimes review the hoary artifacts of a childhood spent reading modules in the back of Waldenbooks.  I've been looking at the PDFs of many of the classic 'B' series with the idea of reviewing them.

The B series was one of the two original series along with the G/D series starting in 1978.  Unlike the Giants and Drow series the B modules weren't all part of one campaign arc, but contained a lot of different adventures (retroactively placed in "The Known World") designed for lower level play.  They share this feature as well as an occasional desire to give advice on running a D&d adventure, and unlike the G and D series run from 1978 long into the late 80's, showing the changes in TSRs approach to the game.

What started out as a series of reviews has become a series of 're-skinning notes' because otherwise most of these old module reviews would just be a litany of complaint.

B1 - Search for the Unknown
So there's a dungeon and stuff, you can loot it if you like.  A classic dungeon crawl with great room descriptions and a lack of treasure, goals or meaningful encounters.

B2 - Keep on the Borderlands
A classic for a reason.  Excellent gaming advice and a lovely scenario, but one that shows its age and benefits from a reskinning.

B3 - Palace of the Silver Princess
Absurdity, poor maps and dullness with occasional moments of whimsy and great traps/tricks.

B4 - Lost City
A nice beginning and strong faction focus crumbles when it tries to create something bigger then the space allowed can handle.

B5 - Horror on the Hill
An homage to B2 that has many strong elements but suffers from shortsighted assumptions about player morality, a focus on combat over exploration and some ugly railroad aspects.

B6 - Veiled Society
A terrible mess, with a few good ideas about urban play lost under the weight of a gimmick involving cardboard buildings and tokens.

B7 - Rahasia
Pompous, vainglorious maundering made ugly by an unnecessary railroad conceal a robust dungeon.

B8 - Journey to the Rock 
A few neat ideas and good descriptions that fails to live up to its premise and does a disservice to wilderness adventures by neutering the sandbox.

B9 - Castle Caldwell and Beyond
Four small adventures linked by region and a thin storyline is a great concept, but this product makes it messy, boring and sad.

B10 - Night's Dark Terror
A wilderness and more that is generally top notch, but may require some clarification to link it's disparate sections.

B11 - King's Festival
Simplistic and short, B11 tries hard, but its real crime is a terrible lack of imagination.

B12 - Queen's Harvest


  1. Stumbled upon your overall review page - great to see. But come on, they're not all that bad:)
    B10 in particular is fabulous.

    1. 10 is a good adventure - the review says as much, but still it has elements I dislike or would want to improve if I ran it. Some of the others are also good B2 and B5 for example - with changes of course. Even the bad ones have nice elements, something like B3 has neat things like rose bush monsters and a neat fairytale plot that are great - even if they are scattered among the mess of an adventure.