Bat in the Attic’s recent post about the Village of Hommlet had me thinking about my own personal favourite module. While I have a soft spot for The Keep on the Borderlands, my true favourite is without a doubt the classic underground fortress of Quasqueton.
The first time I explored Quasqueton as a player, every room was stocked with some monster and treasure, and the trick was finding the treasure as the DM we had enjoyed things like hiding the gold inside the mouldy cheese, or behind the wooden panel with the name of the fortress on it, or in the stomach of the monster that managed to escape from the battle…
For those who don’t have a copy, Quasqueton was similar to the first Top Secret module, in that every location was described but not “keyed” – the placement of monsters and treasure were up to the DM who would key the module before the game. For younger gamers, the temptation was to include something (or two somethings – a monster and a treasure) in every room, and stocking was done pretty randomly with kobolds living next door to orcs and so on.
The benefit for me is of course that I can stock the module as I want to suit the feel of the game I’m running. I’ve pulled out Quasqueton at least a dozen times over the years – it has been a place to explore, a place to escape from, a target for a hit-and-run mission, the home to a small city of gnomes, a goblin fortress, and even the home to the big villain of one of my campaigns – a powerful naga wizard that the party had to destroy to end it’s reign of terror and the campaign around level 10.
For me, In Search of the Unknown has all the old-school reminiscence of the Keep on the Borderlands, but with incredibly flexibility built right into the module. You can change the whole feel of the module without once actually changing a single element of the written material in the booklet.