Dungeon Magazine is comprised of many facets taken from multiple game worlds, side treks, special characters and solo adventures, etc…
If you plan on Dungeon Mastering/using any of the material in the magazines, please proofread the content so you can easily describe events to your players.
Unfortunately, there was never a published article that allowed Dungeon Masters to find what they needed rapidly. I have arranged the information (taken from each Dungeon Magazine) and tried to collect the information found in each magazine and present it in a way that is easily searchable.
The following methods are used to arrange data:
- Data captured only covers 1st and 2nd Edition Rules
- Data captured stops at issue 81 of Dungeon Magazine which was the last issue with content related to 2nd Edition Rules
- Data is sorted in various methods
- By Worlds (All the Dragonlance, Ravenloft, Spelljammer, etc…)
- By Issue #
- By Author
- By Published Date/Time
- By Participating Character Level
- By Participating Character #s
- By Total Page Count
Thus, I created a spreadsheet which has multiple facets that will help Dungeon Master’s to find what they need quickly. They can spend less time customizing pre-generated content and finding exactly what they need.
The following methods were used to arrange content and an explanation is provided of what was done.
There are occasions where I estimated to provide information within the content where none was known. However, I have always tried to provide a middle of the road approach with any information shown.
- Magazines are listed by their Issue number. If you are looking for a particular issue and can’t find it ‘electronically’, you might be able to purchase the magazine on Ebay, find a friend with the same issue, etc…
- Magazines are listed by their Rule Set. If you are interested in playing AD&D 1st edition, look for early Dungeon magazines (issues 1 through 20).
- Magazines are listed by the month(s) they were produced and by the year. This allows you to hunt for the same information as if you were looking by Issue number.
- Pages – what pages are used by the module in the magazine.
- Total Pages – how many pages were used by the module. This can give the Dungeon Master an idea of the complexity and time needed to Dungeon Master the content. So when examining the page count, if Total Pages = 3 versus Total Pages = 24, the module that is Total Pages = 3 should be a much shorter dungeon…probably one session.
- Module Name – self-explanatory
- Module Levels – the lowest level to highest level that will work for play (if this was not noted in the module/magazine, I have tried to guesstimate an answer for module levels)
- Recommended Player Amount – the total number of ‘players’ that are needed to complete the module
- Recommended Minimum Total Levels – many of the modules listed in Dungeon Magazine had a recommendation made to the Dungeon Master to let the DM know how challenging the content would be. Accordingly, they printed a number which was added into the spreadsheet. Any numbers listed in Green text with a green box is my ‘best guess’.
- Recommended Maximum Total Levels – this is merely a calculation of Maximum Player Amount by the Maximum Module Level.
- Recommended Alignments/Shunned Alignments – Whatever is defined by the Author is listed in both
- Recommended Classes/Shunned Classes – Whatever is defined by the Author is listed in both
- Recommended Races – Not used very often, however if a particular Race is needed, it is listed here
- Needed Proficiencies (or Secondary Skills) – Sometimes these are racial proficiencies like Infravision, sometimes these are standard proficiencies like Swimming.
- Needed Items – There are rare modules that require specific items. Look closely at this if it shows up on the list.
- Needed Stats – It may be required to complete some type of event in a module. For example, if the player character is required to get out jail, she might be told to make a Bend Bars roll. Bend Bars is found under Strength. The module may require an exceptional ability and it is usually mentioned here.
- Adventure Populace – This is a good way of prepping for events that require an area where characters must interact with NPCs. It defines what the module will require for a scope. This gives the DM a chance to create their own Metropolis, Town, Village, Wilderness, Caverns, etc…
- Staged World – This is an area where the module is centered. For example, the Adventure Populace might be a Castle. However, the Staged World might be a field outside of the castle. Adventure Populace should always be used in conjunction with Staged World. Both help to define what the scenery, temperatures, weather patterns, and other information is told to players.
- Temperature and Humidity – Some modules define these specifics. Even if humidity is not given, temperature is almost a necessity.
- Author(s) – Who took the time to craft the module
- Recommended Supplements – Often the modules listed in Dungeon Magazine will use specific information to expound on the ideas related to the module. Additional content is recommended for the adventure if anything is filled in.
- Recommended Supplements 2 – Even more ideas to increase the Dungeon Master’s repertoire.
- Recommended Supplements 3 – See 22!
- Recommended Articles – Sometimes this will refer to Dragon Magazine articles or other magazines with content associated.
- Hyperlinks to Find Adventure/Module – This is a Hyperlink that will take you to a PDF of the original Dungeon Magazine. This is the fastest way to use a computer to Dungeon Master from versus owning the original magazine. Personally, I like using the magazine but don’t enjoy damaging them. Thus, it is nice to have a backup.
Most of the information found with Dungeon Magazine points to specific worlds where the adventures take place. The list given does not show every AD&D and D&D world. However, the ones listed will be found within the spreadsheet;
- Advanced Dungeons and Dragons – Any module listed here is usually one of four types. All modules that are ‘special’ will have an additional blurb noting their world type. Please check to make sure you notice any ‘notations’. Notations can refer to any number of situations. Understanding the notes will make choosing the correct adventure easier.
Within the spreadsheet the comments added signify the oddities found within the adventures. Read the information closely and you will be able to decipher what has been posted.
- Standard AD&D modules – the vast majority of modules over 4 pages in length are Standard AD&D modules
- Side Quest modules – the vast majority of modules under 4 pages in length are Side Quest modules
- Birthright modules – almost none of these types of adventures were created within Dungeon Magazine. I think I came across two of them.
- Celtic modules – there are a few modules that are based on Celtic mythology
- Forgotten Realms – probably the most layered world with exclusive settings
- Al Qadim – A setting inspired by the Arabian Nights mythos, with genies, elemental wizards, holy assassins, and a land unified by belief in the power of Fate.
- Kara-Tur – An oriental setting loosely based on mythical and medieval East and Southeast Asia, featuring advanced and mystical civilizations populated by martial warriors, samurais, ninjas, spirit folk and other fantastical creatures.
- Maztica – A continent west of Faerûn (in the Forgotten Realms) that parallels Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. (I have not run across any dungeons for this area)
- Mystara – This was the default campaign world for the non-Advanced editions of D&D throughout the 1980s and 1990s.
- Planescape – A setting that crosses the numerous “planes of existence“.
- Ravenloft – A gothic horror setting. Think of vampires and poltergeists.
- Spelljammer – A setting based in “wildspace”. Wildspace is a version of outer space based on classical notions of the universe in which magic-imbued ships interact with each other and locations in space. IE., space ship combat, planetary objects, etc…
- Dragonlance – A setting based upon “dragon wars”. Dragonlance is a version of fantasy that focused on Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman’s creations.
- Dark-Sun – The campaign is set on the harsh desert world of Athas – once a lush planet teeming with life, it has since been stripped of its fertility by uncontrolled use of defiling magic and is now a desolate and savage place where civilization has retreated to city-states controlled by god-like Sorcerer-Kings.
- Greyhawk – The first published setting for D&D, created by D&D co-author Gary Gygax. Greyhawk is Gygax’s original campaign, one which eventually turned into an official game supplement and was greatly expanded upon with many supplements throughout the 1970s and 1980s.
How to Use The Spreadsheet/Information
- If this is the first time using the information, let’s pretend that you are interested in DMing and providing adventure for your players. Let’s assume you have some experienced players that are interested in playing a Ravenloft adventure. Accordingly, you know that you’d like to find something useful to DM so you can read the adventure before playing it.
- You open the spreadsheet (or look at the website) and examine the Ravenloft adventures.
- You know that the players have characters around level 5. You think the ideal adventure for the group will be a Ravenloft adventure about level 4 through 6.
- You know that the players won’t have enough time to play a very long story ‘through to fruition’ and think that the most play time you can spend is about 3 4-hour sessions.
- After looking at the table of Ravenloft adventures, you find 6 that might ‘fit the bill’;
- The Price of Revenge: Module Level 4 through 6; Page Count 20
- The Sea Wolf: Module Level 4 through 6; Page Count 7
- Jigsaw: Module 4 through 6; Page Count 20
- Laughing Man: Module 5 through 9; Page Count 3
- The Baron’s Eyrie: Module 5 through 7; Page Count 12
- Dark Magic In New Orleans: Module 5 through 7; Page Count 16
- If we analyze all 6 of the adventures only 1 adventure would be useful. The following logic would give you a better idea of what to make for a selection
- The Price of Revenge, Jigsaw and Dark Magic In New Orleans adventures are too long to fit within 3 4-hour game sessions – therefore, they would be eliminated as selections. Page count of 16 is too much content to fit in a 3 day period. All 3 of these adventures would probably be in excess of 5 play sessions.
- Laughing Man is too short – 3 pages’ worth of material is typically 1 day of Dungeon Mastering at most.
- The Baron’s Eyrie is probably too long – keep in mind that the Dungeon Master might need to prep players by reviewing their character sheets, awarding experience points, etc… This will probably make this adventure too long as well. I’d estimate that this adventure would take 4 or 5 game sessions.
- The Sea Wolf is the ideal choice. It meets the level requirements and the length of time needed to Dungeon Master. The page count is 7. If we used the logic that 3 pages equals one 4 hour game session then The Sea Wolf would be completed within 3 playing sessions.
There are many pieces of information to sort through. If you use a spreadsheet to filter the data, make sure you understand filters in Excel. This is the fastest way to narrow the scope and is a fantastic way to find what you are after…