Thursday, February 22, 2007

Fragments from Palace of the Vampire Queen

Palace of the Vampire Queen was the first adventure module ever published. You don't hear much about it outside collector's circles because it wasn't done by TSR or any of the big 3rd party outfits like Judges Guild. Nowadays a copy generally commands crazy stupid money from those completist collector types. When one of these babies appears on eBay the seller sometimes posts an image of a page or two. I've swiped a couple of those images, and got a few more from a link at Dragonsfoot, the official home of old school D&D awesome. Click on the small version to see these pages in their full glory. Enjoy.

The product is called ' Dungeon Master Kit - Number One'. The term module wasn't in use yet.

"The kit itself is only a basic outline - you can make it a dramatic adventure." A motto to DM by.

This intro is fabulous. If you can read that and not be ready for a kickass adventure, then you're in the wrong hobby, bub.Part of the leve 1 adventure key. I am totally swiping the Madman and his horde of cats and putting them in another dungeon. Coming soon to Jeff's Gameblog: my 3.5 stats for a Housecat Swarm.

The map itself may be crude but the marginal decoration is absolutely charming.


  1. This adventure looks incredibly articulate and accomplished compared to some of the other early published modules. Someone crawled into the caves near Lake Geneva and painted a Van Gogh and then whoever followed doodled bison and men's hands all over it without any apprehension at all.

    Still, this is awesome: "Neither the King or his people have hope left that a Hero or group of Heroes will come to rid them of the Vampire Queen." As long as we are not hoping for rescue by some solitary heroic vampire slayer we might as well not hope to be rescued by a small army of reeking-of-garlic, stake-toting mercenaries for hire.

    It's good to know that the roots of the hobby are entwined with the vampire myth, probably the strongest monster myth in the twentieth century.

  2. Anonymous3:21 PM

    Too awesome, Jeff. I'm posting the map at my site because that shit is awesome. That's old school goodness.

  3. Anonymous6:26 PM

    I think "First Standalone Module" might be fairer than "first module," since it's important to remember that TSR did provide the template for all such stuff when they published a module and included it as part of Blackmoor.

    Not to diss these excellent pages (are they legal? No, don't tell me; I don't want to know!) - I just think it's fair to credit TSR where it's due for providing the foundation for module-y goodness.

  4. Cool man Thanks for the neat plot ideas

  5. This is too fucking cool, Jeff. Thanks for posting it. My g/f was absolutely charmed by the beauty of the map.

  6. I think "First Standalone Module" might be fairer than "first module," since it's important to remember that TSR did provide the template for all such stuff when they published a module and included it as part of Blackmoor.

    That's a good distinction to make, as the Temple of the Frog is no doubt much more influential in the development of the form.

  7. Anonymous9:30 AM

    Plus, any adventure where you can beat up an alien "High Priest" to steal his interstellar radio and anti-gravity first-aid chamber simply deserves to be immortal.

  8. I like how that map appears to have been drawn freehand, with the square grid superimposed over it later!

  9. Check out this link for tons of info on this module, I mean, dungeon kit, including scans of alternate covers from different printings (the first printing is a cool red on black design). There's also info on other early D&D supplements published by the same company, Wee Warriors.

  10. Anonymous3:17 PM

    Jeff- I think we're going to run a contest at Animalball to see who can come up with the best module based only on that map. We REALLY love the map.

  11. That's fabulous!

    I think whoever tackled stocking that dungeon would need to think long and hard about room 51. It's a straight shot from the front door to that room.

  12. Anonymous4:02 PM

    Agreed. I think we really are going to run the contest (I'll shoot you a post when we make a decision), and I'm thinking of giving away a pretty sweet prize for first place-- maybe even my first twenty issues of Transmetropolitan.

  13. Anonymous6:38 PM

    Palace of the Vampire queen 1977 edition is available on ebay right now!