Very few gamers have played through every single 1st Edition module. These early adventures are not only classics that make up the foundation of the hobby, they also document the history of D&D’s early development. Above all, they’re loaded with incredible adventure ideas for today’s DMs to pilfer. Some of them are bloody hard to find, though. What if someone went through the entire lot and provided something like Cliff’s notes for D&D adventures? Wouldn’t that be awesome?
That’s exactly what metaDM over at Meta Gamemastery has set out to do. His “Annotating Every 1st Edition D&D Adventure” project still has a long way to go (and needs a catchier name), but it’s an admirable project all the same. He’s tackling them in letter order, and so far has done up to A3: Assault on the Aerie of the Slave Lords. I really hope he sticks with it, because it would be an amazing resource for modern gamers and a fascinating historical document for fans of D&D and other RPGs.
What does an annotated adventure look like? Well, you could just head over and see for yourself, but basically, metaDM offers a synopsis, plot overview, setting description, specific numbers for all monsters that appear in the adventure, a list of notable NPCs and a set of notes describing certain encounters, quirks of the adventure, easter eggs and other trivia.
He’s also started interjecting amusing commentary, like, “The stable boy in B44 if offered 50gp will whisper, ‘There is a secret passage! It is in the rows of rouge!’ I just gave you more fucking gold pieces than most people make in a year. Do you think you can you be a little more specific?” I suppose from a “gaming historian” perspective that adds clutter, but these early adventures can be really strange and nonsensical, and it’s fun to poke at them a bit.
In any case, consider this a slow clap of admiration to metaDM. Bravo, sir!