Danger lurks in the Lendore Isles. Bands of evil creatures prowl the hills overlooking the town of Restenford, seeking unwary victims. Now you have come to this sleepy little village looking for adventure and excitement. You seek to fathom the unexplored reaches of Bone Hill and unlock the mysteries of Restenford.
This module contains complete information on the town of Restenford and the lands surrounding it. Included herein are encounter tables, background information, and numerous maps of the town, the surrounding areas, a dungeon, and various points of interest. This module may be incorporated into an exisitng campaign or used in conjunction with THE WORLD OF GREYHAWK Fantasy World Setting.
L1: "The Secret of Bone Hill" (1981) is the first adventure in Lenard Lakofka's "Lendore Isle" trilogy. It was published in 1981.
Triple Commission. It's been widely reported (though the source is unclear) that Brian Blume commissioned the design of three adventures from Lakofka directly in 1979, for the total price of $10,500 USD. Lakofka submitted all three adventures together, probably in 1980. They'd eventually become L1, L2, and L3.
A Town & Wilderness. "Bone Hill" is an unusual AD&D adventure for its time in that it contains an extensive description of the town of Restenford and also details the wilderness nearby. (Most modules of the era focused solely on dungeons, to the exclusion of any town or wilderness adventure.) The module's description of the Ruin of Bone Hill - including a basement and a dungeon - is more typical of TSR's other publications, but it takes up just six and a half pages in a 32-page module.
Detailing a town was Lakofka's primary goal when he started work on "Bone Hill," as he felt like published modules didn't include enough detailed towns. To that date, TSR's only similar release was Gary Gygax's T1: "The Village of Hommlet" (1979). One of Lakofka's innovations was to include a few mini-dungeons in the town, making it an adventure locale too. This hadn't been done in Hommlet, but town-based adventures would be seen in later publications like U1: "The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh" (1981) and even more so in N1: "Against the Cult of the Reptile God" (1982).
Lakofka's extensive detailing of a wilderness setting was even more innovative. Though the original D&D (1974) had featured wilderness as one of two major areas for exploration, AD&D adventures had been almost entirely confined to dungeons, caverns, and other monstrous lairs. Of course Expert D&D (1981) was also expanding into the wilderness around the same time.
Overall, L1: "Bone Hill" creates a large sandbox of a sort that was almost unheard of at the time it was created, a setting much more suited for adventure than an actual keyed adventure module. This has earned it some criticism over the years, as by 1981 GMs were increasingly expecting fully developed scenarios, not starting places for their own creativity.
Considerable Editing. In early 1981, it was almost unknown for TSR to be publishing a module by someone outside the company. Thus it's not a surprise that "Bone Hill" didn't match TSR's general style for adventures and therefore underwent considerable editing and expansion. Developer Kevin Hendryx even wrote up a new adventure locale, where the players could fight against a reptilian cult.
Lakofka - with the full support of Gygax - refused some or all of the edits to his adventure. This caused Hendryx to redevelop his new adventure locale as its own adventure, as is described in the history of N1: "Against the Cult of the Reptile God."
Expanding Greyhawk. The introduction of Lakofka's Lendore Isle to Greyhawk marked one of the first and largest additions to the campaign world by someone other than Gary Gygax. Lendore Isle had previously been set in Lakofka's own campaign world, part of a game that he ran primarily for the Nystul family from approximately 1978-1985. When Gygax was drawing up the maps for the World of Greyhawk Folio (1980), he offered to give Lakofka's island a place in his own setting, and thus the Greyhawk Lendore Isle were born.
The Original Campaign. Lakofka's L-series scenarios were all based on adventures he'd originally run for his local group. After that group explored the Ruin at Bone Hill, they cleared the rubble and hired dwarves and gnomes to build Voxbonder Abbey there. It was run by one of the PCs, Ralyman, a cleric who at that time was 5th or 6th level.
New Monsters. Bone Hill introduces the "spectator," a weird beholder-like beast.
About the Creators. Len Lakofka was a big name in wargaming circles long before the appearance of D&D. He was associated with the International Federation of Wargamers as early as 1968 and was the IFW President by 1971. He also published an early Diplomacy fanzine.
More importantly to the history of roleplaying, Lakofka discussed many of the early D&D rules with Gygax and even got his own Dragon magazine column that ran from The Dragon #30 (October 1979) to Dragon #108 (April 1986). "The Secret of Bone Hill" was Lakofka's first major RPG publication (and in fact the Lendore series as a whole would be his only major RPG work).
About the Product Historian
The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to firstname.lastname@example.org.