Years ago, when I started really getting into Dungeons & Dragons, I scoured the Internet for related material to inspire the adventures I was running for my friends. I downloaded lots of different maps, adventure modules, and custom character and monster material. I read a lot about the historical time period the game is supposed to represent, and the myths and legends that inspired the material.

I read lots of short fiction, game records, dialogue and speculation about the nature of the game and how different people play. I’m a member of the Brilliant Gameologist forum partly because I like to check in on other people who are still engaged in pretty much the same thing: speculating on the nature of the game, debating the reasons for differing playstyles. It’s fascinating stuff, and I never cease to be amazed.

One of the adventure modules I have from years back was a Third Edition adaptation of an even earlier adventure module, probably from the First or Second Edition days. It doesn’t really have a name, it’s just called “dungeon delve.” It’s an incredibly simple approach to the whole concept of dungeon crawling, basically amounting to a tabletop version of NetHack. (Itself drawing heavy inspiration from Dungeons & Dragons.)

I’ve studied this module for years. It isn’t really that the adventure itself is special … I mean, my interest in it may well stem from the fact that it’s an almost completely unremarkable dungeon grind from the top to the bottom. It’s intended to challenge one to six players in a nearly featureless dungeon environment that epitomizes static encounters and randomly-generated dungeon elements. Still, I’m compelled.

Recently (let’s be honest and say this morning) I thought of updating the module to Fourth Edition, for kicks. I have never run this adventure before in my life, I don’t even really talk about it. It’s like that one experiment you keep locked away behind your secret experiments, because it’s the one you not only never completed, but its purpose completely eluded you. Eluded you. A mad scientist. I mean, come on!

I might actually have cause to run this adventure. We’ll see. I have to update it first, because it’s really dusty. You know, mechanically speaking. I have to preserve all of the numbers and stuff, you know — probabilities. All it needs is to be dusted off.