[Review] The Dungeoneer 10 & 11 (OD&D); Duds

Dungeoneer 10 is, all things considered, a trash issue. The first third of the zine is taken up by fiction, an immediate skip, followed by a variant skill system that covers 8 pages, another immediate skip, and a half page on using the Anti-paladin and the Ogre, good stuff then, depressing war stories now. The list of poisons is not bad, particularly by pre-80s standards. Tricks and traps is phoned in. By the time we get to the new monsters, some of which are not bad, I was gnawing my mouse and rending my flesh in frustration. Where is the @#%$@%$^ dungeon???

No kidding

Pyramid of Ra-Dok (1979)
Patrick Westfall (The Dungeoneer)

Lvl ??? (4-9 maybe?)

Not a total waste. A 5 page Pyramid dungeon, minimal keying, encompassing 5 levels that go both up and down. As tomb adventures go its not going to win any prizes for most short, evocative description and you could probably do better if you got some graph paper and 2 hours to kill but you could probably fuck this in a west-marches campaign and it wouldn’t bring shame to your house. Its probably better and more thought out then that Jim Ward thing, even if that one felt like at least Jim Ward was having a good time.

The evil king Ra-Dok ruled Tor with an iron fist, burning all who did not pay fealty to Anubis. After his death and internment in a pyramid, the people turned to the worship of Neptune, who promptly sent floodwaves to drown the city, leaving only the tower intact. Sometime later, the land is renewed, and also adventurers-à the tomb blah blah blah

Sample level…sigh

A simple affair, primitive, with a few tomb-like tricks. That means monsters that appear like gems, or a room with 3 coins one of which is an amulet of demon summoning, secret doors (which maybe an elf would find, as they are placed in random hallways), a holy chamber dedicated to Anubis with treasure that is cursed, interspersed with rooms that are just x amount of undead + treasure, or just emptyness. I keep wondering what Jaquays does in situations like this and its use of verticality, multiple entrances, riddles, intelligent secret door placement, teleportation, and overall higher dopamine levels.

About the most wonderful Pyramid gets is a room with writing in Sphinx (!), “The Way of the Sun and moon will end all troubles for you” and then light that comes through a gem in the ceiling, and if you lay on the dais by day you are fully healed, if you do so by night you are disintegrated, which, granted, is sort of fantastical and feels like a classic bit. Occasional large groups of undead or the odd dragon in the basement maybe vaguely break up the monotony but especially the lower level is very grindy, with minimal keying. No organization or synergy. Traps frequency is light, surprising for a tomb. Monster selection is almost random, rust monsters, displacer beasts, a bit heavy on the mummies but then again it is a tomb. The confrontation with the Mummy of Ra-Dok is underwhelming in terms of both treasure and items when compared to some other encounters, although the artifact crown in his possession doesn’t hurt. On the low end of Mediocre.


Striking cover, boring content

The Dungeoneer #11 has a letter section that is interesting to compare with the myopic wailing of latter era dungeon magazine. Compliments, helpful tips and a call to end the interminable fiction sections (I agree my friend!) abound. What a difference a few years can make. The magazine deigns to offer a few magical helmets, all of them too powerful for my taste, a handful of tricks and traps that exist somewhere between ‘potentially interesting but too gonzo for my tastes’ and ‘just assholish’ and a monster section composed mostly of varieties of giant spider. The acid spitting lama is a standout.

There is a Runequest scenario here but it reads a bit like a guy telling you about his home game over a beer and it is composed of 7 rooms only. Sorry kids! No RuneQuest for prince unless we run out of classic D&D to cover or we have a celebrity issue. Speaking of which…

The Lost Lair (1979)
Paul Jaquays (The Dungeoneer)

TFT (The Fantasy Trip)
Some Experience

Jaquay’s rare foray into The Fantasy Trip, a hex-based combat-focused fantasy-adventure-game of the late 70s, and the map basically makes me sick and so does this adventure. Jaquays reaching out to the little guy to bring a little variety into the published adventures of the time is all well and good, but I feel like I am looking at a 4e scenario that travelled back in time.


No background, no context. The various traps and ledges recall the heavily grid-based rpgs of the mid 2000s. With one exception, the only interaction is pretty much combat ah la carte, the exception being a wizard that demands a toll or else he will throw powerful lightning spells. Jaquays, as a game designer, squeezes some extra mileage out of the map by utilizing illusionary pits, secret monster closets, concealed monsters and illusionary monsters, but there ain’t no saving this one. You can give me all the classic encounters you want with your giant and bear combo and your gargoyle wizard, at the end of the day, this is straight up combat, no exploration, no interaction, and unless you are D2, that means you are the lesser.

TFT fanatics might baulk but this feels like a step back? Converting this to DnD will give you nothing.


I have a donation backlog to clear but I want to do something real by Jaquays. I am taking a mulligan and reviewing something real.


7 thoughts on “[Review] The Dungeoneer 10 & 11 (OD&D); Duds

      1. Two’s definitely the weakest of the three, so feel free to skip that one, haha. I do really think you’ll enjoy 3, however.


    1. There were some juicy entries in White Dwarf that drew the eye also. I’d feel more confortable if I had run RQ a few times to figure out what makes it tick. Might be worth doing after the B2 game concludes, but so far it appears to be in full swing.


      1. There are some classic Runequest materials such as Griffin Mountain and Pavis and the Big Rubble. But the ducks….


  1. Hmmm, are you starting on a Bryce like journey into the horror of magazines packed with indifferent fiction, uninspired adventures and lots of adverts? One interesting feature is the number of adventures published for different systems.
    The Fantasy Trip started as a tactical combat game with small numbers of combatants, with the expectation that you play it out with counters (or miniatures) on the hex map. There were a mixture of refereed and programmed solo (i.e. limited choices, go to numbered paragraphs) adventures produced, and these were in the main an excuse for a series of combats. But then came the solo adventure Grail Quest, which was a cut above most other solitaire games, as there was a worthy challenge coupled with a decent roleplaying system. The game has had a recent revival with a number of even better solos written by David Pulver, but perhaps of more interest to folks reading this blog the referee adventure Citadel of Ice, a melting dungeon with factions, and worthy of conversion to your favourite system.


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