X (Expert) Series
XL / XSOLO / XS modules
The Isle of Dread (X1)
The 1st print of the blue-covered X1 has a slightly different title masthead on the cover, and a misprinted product code on the title page of the booklet ("9034" - should be 9043, as correctly printed on the cover). Later prints correct this error.
The 1983 (orange cover) edition is completely re-typeset from the 1981 edition. It also has a 3-panel cover, the 3rd panel detachable, with a color player's map of the island's outline on one side, and the letter that draws them into the adventure on the other side.
There's a snippet from one of our games over at our blog
"The Isle of Dread is the first in a series of adventure modules for use with the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS Expert Rules. As the first D&D wilderness adventure published by TSR Hobbies, the Isle of Dread is designed as an instructional module to help novice Dungeon Masters design their own wilderness adventures.
This module contains maps and background material for the Isle, fifteen new monsters, and suggestions for further adventures. In addition, The Isle of Dread contains a map and background information for a large continent, and eleven smaller maps for encounters on the island itself. In this module, players will push their way through dark jungles and treacherous swamps to discover the lost plateau, and the final secrets of - the Isle of Dread!"
1981 ... David Cook & Tom Moldvay ... TSR 9043 ... ISBN 093569630X
1983 ... David Cook & Tom Moldvay ... TSR 9043 ... ISBN 0880380535
Castle Amber (Château d' Amberville) (X2)
"Trapped in the mysterious Castle Amber. you find yourselves cut off from the world you know. The castle is fraught with peril. Members of the strange Amber family, some insane, some merely deadly, lurk around every corner. Somewhere in the castle is the key to your escape, but can you survive long enough to find it?"
"Castle Amber (Chateau D'Amberville) is made up of 9 parts — some provide wilderness adventures and some provide dungeonlike adventures.
Part One (this section) outlines the scope of the adventure and describes the family of Amber (D'Amberville).
Part Two details the West Wing of the Amber family mansion (dungeon adventure).
Part Three describes the Indoor Forest in the central part of the mansion, which is built like a greenhouse (wilderness adventure).
Part Four is a description of the family Chapel (dungeon adventure).
Part Five describes the plan of the East Wing (dungeon adventure).
Part Six details the dungeon under the mansion (dungeon adventure).
Part Seven is a description of Averoigne, based on a fantasy world created by the author Clark Ashton Smith (wilderness adventure).
Part Eight describes the Tomb of Stephen Amber (La Tombe Étienne D'Amberville) — (dungeon adventure).
Part Nine gives details on the new monsters introduced in this module." ...from the Introduction
1981 ... Tom Moldvay ... 28 pages ... TSR 9051 ... ISBN 0935696512
Curse of Xanathon (X3)
"Something is rotten in Rhoona...
When the grotesque god, Cretia, casts his ugly shadow over the town, strange things start happening. First, Duke Stephen vanishes. Then bizarre proclamations begin coming out of the Ducal Palace... dwarves are outlawed... taxes must be paid in beer,,, horses must be ridden backwards. Soon the entire town is in an uproar and a dwarven army is marching on Rhoona. This is the situation when you and your party of valiant adventurers arrive in the suffering town.
There you find...
* A ragged beggar who prowls the streets offering cryptic advice.
* A mysterious black-garbed cleric planning treachery.
* A trusted soldier plotting his master's overthrow.
* A sinister jewel casting its evil emanations over the town.
You and your party are Rhoona's only hope. Only YOU can unravel the dark mystery that plagues the town and save Rhoona from...the Curse of Xanathon."
1982 ... Douglas Niles ... 32 pages ... TSR 9056 ... ISBN 0935696563
Master of the Desert Nomads (X4)
"To arms! To arms! The battle lines are drawn as desert men and inhuman tribes wait poised to strike on the fertile and rich lands of the east. The call has gone out through the civilized lands. The armies have been raised to match the invading foes from the west. Nobles and peasants have joined swords to greet the foes.
But Fate or Chance has decreed another role for a small few. No glorious banners will wave on their march. No squadrons of knights will charge at their word. Instead, they will fight the war with stealth, secrecy, and cunning. The risks they will take are great, but the fates of both armies lie with them.
It begins one night for your party far from the fighting. Suddenly you are entrusted with the most dangerous mission of the war.
Can you cross the Sind Desert, occupied now by enemy armies, to find the Great Pass?
Can you find the one known only as The Master?
What will you do if you find him?
So begins your adventure in The Master of the Desert Nomads, the first module of a two-part adventure that can be concluded in the exciting Temple of Death or played entirely on its own. Can your party do what must be done?"
1983 ... David Cook ... 32 pages ... TSR 9068 ... ISBN 0880380160
Temple of Death (X5)
Module X10: Red Arrow, Black Shield (along with modules X4 & X5) completes the Desert Nomads series as a trilogy.
"Sent on a desperate mission into an unknown land, you must seek out one called "the Master" and his Temple of Death. There is little time to waste, as you must act before the Master's armies destroy your homelands. But to complete your task, you must battle fearsome guardians, travel through a hostile kingdom, and discover the secret of the Master. Can you survive his defenses and win?
This module contains referee's notes, background, maps and detailed keys. It is the second adventure in the two-part Desert Nomads series begun in X4, Master of the Desert Nomads, but it can stand on its own as a seperate adventure. Wheter you play Temple of Death by itself or as part of a series, the adventure will offer you hours of excitement and fun!"
1983 ... David Cook & Timothy Truman (art) ... 32 pages ... TSR 9069 ... ISBN 0880380179
"Swamp creatures! They surround you now as you move slowly through the gurgling muck. How will you reach Quagmire now? Each day, the hungry sea swallows more of the ancient port city. A fierce fever ravages its people, and now - these foul monsters! Their beady eyes glimmer from deep within the tangled vines. Are these the creatures that have blockaded the city, turning away ships that are the city's lifeline? Are these the scum that are starving the people of Quagmire, threatening an entire race with extinction? These creeps?
Let's clean this jungle out!
Quagmire includes a large-scale map that expands the D&D world and introduces new areas to explore. The adventure also includes new magic items and a special, expanded monsters section.
Hurry! Hoist your colors, or saddle your horse - go before the city by the sea becomes the city beneath the sea!"
"Quagmire is a combined wilderness and dungeon adventure designed to provide players with a wide variety of new settings in which their characters may explore. Throughout out the course of the adventure, characters travel across strange seas, swampy peninsulas, and burning deserts. Each terrain holds new challenges for the characters, some that pertain to the characters' goals, and some that simply provide excitement. The adventure also allows for characters to explore three separate cities.
The adventure is also designed to provide you, the Dungeon Master, with a wide range of encounters set in various types of terrain. How you run these encounters directly affects how well the characters perform their duties, and how excited the players get while taking part in the game. When characters are exploring swamps, give the encounters in those areas an especially menacing and mysterious feel. As characters move through the desert or across the sea, describe their encounters as sunny and monotonous. When characters explore mudflats and estuaries, describe these areas as sticky, dangerous, and filled with thousands of strange life forms." ... from the Introduction
1984 ... Merle M. Rasmussen ... 32 pages + 3-panel cover ... TSR 9081 ... ISBN 0394540069 / 0880381124
The War Rafts of Kron (X7)
The War Rafts of Kron is an ocean and undersea wilderness adventure. There are three areas of adventure: the coral city of Suthus, the raft city of Kron, and the sunken city of Colhador. Each area has its own encounter descriptions, wandering monster tables, and maps.
"The Ierendi princess, Corinna, has disappeared.
She set sail aboard a ship of the Minrothad Guilds - the guild's ships which have been pirated and plundered for many weeks. Trade is horribly disrupted as many ships leave, never to be seen again.
The guild masters now call for adventurers of great skill and renown. They offer small fortunes to any who can help them discover who is pirating their ships. But most importantly, to any who can rescue the princess.
Can you and your party of adventurers defeat the dangers which lurk in the dark depths of a terrifying sea? Or, will you find a watery grave within the cold confines of a murky sea floor?
This game adventure contains special rules for underwater adventuring."
1984 ... Bruce Nesmith ... 32 pages ... TSR 9079 ... ISBN 0880381140
Drums on Fire Mountain (X8)
There are 4 pages of unnumbered pull-outs in the centerfold. -W
"In a dark cell, Rollo Bargamnn, merchant of Thyatis, turns away in disgust from his evil, green-skinned prisoner; capturing this wretch cost a ship and sixty gallant men. Then his heart hardens once more, and he resumes the interrogation. Here, perhaps, he may find an answer to the question that haunts him.
What new evil is casting its shadow over the storm-swept eastern reaches of the Sea of Dread?
The trading routes are no longer safe. The attacks of the green-skinned "Orcs-of-the-Sea" and the mysterious "Ship-bane" now go unchecked. Once their raids were random, but the influence of some unseen master has made them into an organized menace.
Soon the questioning will be over; Rollo will know enough to track the threat to its lair. Then he will need a band of hardy adventurers brave enough to take on the task.
Drums on Fire Mountain is a module for 5 to 8 characters levels 5-8."
1984 ... Graeme Morris & Tom Kirby ... 28+4 pages + 3-panel cover ... TSR 9127 ... ISBN 0880381817
The Savage Coast (X9)
"What sends you adventuring deep into unknown lands, across dark waters, around The Savage Coast? Adventure? The sincere desire to help others? Or greed?
Cartographers Guild members tell of lost cities and hidden treasures. Sailors tell of menacing beasts and cannibals to the west. They tell of savages along the shores who use gold nuggets for fishing weights. They also tell of great mounds of gold that collect at river mouths.
You must decide the greater lure; the safety of Slagovich or the glimmer of gold along The Savage Coast.
This adventure includes a map which expands the D&D game world, and a special expanded monsters section."
1985 ... Merle Rasmussen & Jackie Rasmussen & Anne C. Gray ... 32 pages + 3-panel cover ... TSR 9129 ... ISBN 0880381973
Red Arrow, Black Shield (X10)
RABS can be thought of as Greyhawk Wars for D&D/Mystara. It's a follow-on to the excellent Desert Nomads duo of modules (X4 & X5), and The Master, Hosadus, must be confronted once again. Of particular note is the gorgeous poster map of the Known World of Mystara, in full color with numbered hexes, complete with roads and borders.
"A cloud of dust forms over the horizon as a titanic army of evil threatens the entire civilized world! The Master of the Desert Nomads and his legions are back, and they're deadlier than ever! Riding out of the Sind Desert, they form the greatest threat that you have ever faced. You must persuade powerful rulers to join your cause, stave off threats to the alliance, and lead your armies to victory!
This adventure contains a full-color map of the D&D Expert Set game world, 200 counters, and a special expansion of the War Machine mass combat rules that allows you to fight the entire war as a strategic wargame! Major battles and engagements can be fought using the BATTLESYSTEM Fantasy Combat Supplement for incredible tabletop action. Never-before-published information on all the nations of the Expert Set game world provides background and detail that will enrich your campaign."
1985 ... Michael Dobson ... 48 pages + 200 counters + poster map ... TSR 9160 ... ISBN 0880382457 / 0394548949
Saga of the Shadow Lord (X11)
Pages 29 through 36 are handouts in the centerfold.
"An insidious peril threatens the peaceful kingdom of Wendar. When a traitor stole the realm's greatest treasure, a magical Elvenstar, disease, drought, and famine struck the land. For the first time in decades, hostile armies were poised to invade Wendar.
Yet even greater danger looms. The traitor has delivered the magical gem into the hands of the Shadow Lord, Wendar's greatest foe. This evil being has returned from the dead to seek revenge on Wendar, and the Elvenstar is the key to an even more sinister foe.
You must evade the Shadow Lord's army, penetrate his fortress, recover the Elvenstar, and foil this heinous plan!"
1986 ... Stephen Bourne ... 64 pages + 3-panel cover ... TSR 9165 ... ISBN 0880383119
Skarda's Mirror (X12)
This module uses a glossy, magazine-style paper that I've only seen in AD&D module N4: Treasure Hunt.
"It's a mirror of life trapping, isn't it?
Well, yes and no. People go in, and they don't come out. Nor can you talk with anyone inside. Somehow, that's not quite the way you remember those mirrors work.
This Skarda fellow showed up a few years ago with a band of raiders, and no one in the land has been safe since then. Whole villages have disappeared into this Skarda's mirror. Your band is approached by relatives of one of the victims - an adventurer like yourselves.
You have to get that mirror of whatever-it-is, find this man, and get him out in one piece. The reward is more than adequate. Only problem is, no one out here can tell you what to expect once you get in - or even how to get there."
1987 ... Aaron Allston ... 48 pages + 3-panel cover ... TSR 9188 ... ISBN 0880383852
Crown of Ancient Glory (X13)
Third panel of the cover is a schematic of the longship "Redraven."
Pages 29-39 are charts, maps, and handouts in the centerfold.
"All is not well in the kingdom of Vestland.
Not only is the king dead and the holy Sonora Crown missing, but the heir to the kingdom was lost at birth and no one knows where to find him. As if this wasn't bad enough, the forces of the Ethengar Khanate, never on the best of terms with Vestland, are now massing on the borders, hoping to take advantage of Vestland's plight. To complete the rosy picture, traitors from within also threaten to speed the downfall of the High Kingdom.
Sounds like a job for you. You must find the long-lost heir to the kingdom and recover the Sonora Crown, the mystical device without which a king cannot be crowned. Standing in your way are traitors and spies from within and invaders from without the kingdom of Vestland. Time is running out! Can you save Vestland from disaster?
This adventure is for use with the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS® Basic, Expert, and Companion Rules produced by TSR, Inc. You must have these rule sets to play the adventure."
1987 ... Stephen Bourne ... 64 pages + 3-panel cover ... TSR 9218 ... ISBN 0880384956
Quest for the Heartstone (XL1)
This module is primarily known for featuring characters from the D&D/LJN toy figure series. The full list of characters:
* Strongheart ("Good Paladin") * Ringlerun ("Good Wizard") * Elkhorn ("Good Dwarf Fighter") * Mercion ("Good Cleric Female") * Peralay ("Fighter Mage Elf") * Figgen ("Halfling") * Molliver (female lawful thief) * Hawkler ("Good Ranger") * Deeth ("Good Fighter") * Bowmarc ("Good Crusader") * Valkeer ("Good Norseman") * Grimsword ("Evil Knight") * Zargash ("Evil Cleric") * Kelek ("Evil Sorcerer") * Warduke ("Evil Fighter") * Skylla ("Evil Magic-User") * Zorgar ("Evil Barbarian") * Drex ("Evil Warrior") * Zarak ("Evil Half-Orc Assassin").
"The king is dead!
And the queen is in trouble. She has chosen you to find the fabled heartstone, which is buried somewhere deep in the Mountains of Ice.
Is the gem in the hands of the corrupt Master Thief? Has he harnessed its power for its own vile purposes? Or does it lie unguarded in the frozen ranges to the north, which teem with horrible creatures?
This is your kind of quest!
Quest for the Heartstone is a combined wilderness/dungeon adventure designed to be campatible with the ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS Action Toys from LJN Toys, Ltd. and the ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS Fantasy Adventure Figures from TSR, Inc. The adventure also includes complete maps, new monsters, and players' illustrations.
Will the hearstone be the key to peace in the kingdom? By her majesty's request...it's up to you to find out!"
1984 ... Michael L. Gray ... 32 pages + 3-panel cover ... TSR 9114 ... ISBN 0880381116
Lathan's Gold (XSOLO)
"KIDNAPPED! The cursed Baron von Hendriks has kidnapped your betrothed. Now the madman wants as a ransom your Alandah's weight in unrefined gold! How are you going to pay?
The baron himself has been kind enough to provide you with that answer: streams of raw gold gush from a burning mountain somewhere in the Sea of Dread. All you have to do is find this mysterious mountain.
UNFURL THE SAILS! The open sea awaits you and your crew as you sail from the city harbor. But beware! The Sea of Dread has more than earned its title over the centuries.
Can you survive the perils of the sea? Will your crew mutiny before you reach the Burning Mountain? Or will you have to throw crewmembers overboard just to make room for the gold? It's all up to you in the D&D Solo Adventure.
Lathan's Gold is for one player only, but that one player may choose between several different characters and quests. The adventure includes city, voyage, and island encounters, as well as complete solo combat system."
1984 ... Merle M. Rasmussen ... 32 pages ... TSR 9082 ... ISBN 088038106X
Thunderdelve Mountain (XS2)
This solo module has a curious feature: Each entry has a corresponding room or hallway section, intended for the solo player to sketch onto the blank map in the back, slowing revealing the entire dungeon.
This also means that many used copies will have the dungeon in back already filled out.
"The ancient dwarven kingdom of wonder and fable is no more! Only the tales of it's grandeur remain to entertain the children, or so you thought.
Then you met Nimron. Distraught and desperate, you alone can pass the gates sealed so long ago. Within are the lairs of bandits, cutthroats, and worse. The evil that destroyed the dwarven home - the Halls of Paradise - is awakened again. Into this horror ventured the dwarven princess Grona Marblefist to reclaim her kingdom. She, like so many others, has not returned.
Now, you must face this peril alone.
Thunderdelve Mountain is a solitaire adventure for the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS Expert game. Players who don't wish to face the fallen Halls of Paradise alone may also use this adventure for group play."
1985 ... William Carlson & Larry Elmore (cover) ... 40 pages + 3-panel cover ... TSR 9157 ... ISBN 0880382422