Swamp creatures! They surround you now as you move slowly through the gurgling muck. How will you reach Quagmire now? Each day, the hungry sea swallows more of the ancient port city. A fierce fever ravages its people, and now - these foul monsters! Their beady eyes glimmer from deep within the tangled vines.
Are these the creatures that have blockaded the city, turning away the ships that are the city's lifeline? Are these the scum that are starving the people of Quagmire, threatening an entire race with extinction? These creeps? Let's clean this jungle out!
Quagmire includes a large-scale map that expands the D&D world and introduces new areas to explore. The adventure also includes new magic items and a special, expanded monsters section.
Hurry! Hoist your colors, saddle your horse - go, before the city by the sea becomes the city beneath the sea!
For characters level 4-10.
X6: "Quagmire!" (1984), by Merle M. Rasmussen, is the sixth adventure in the Expert series for Basic D&D. It was published in 1984, probably toward the start of the year since it was the first of three "X" adventures that year.
An Original Logo. "Quagmire!" contains a snaky, hand-drawn logo for the adventure on its cover page - a first for the "X" series of adventures. The trend wouldn't last for long, but it was probably a sign of the new "Product Finishing" department doing its best to make TSR's products look great.
A Shady Connection. The pre-rolled characters in the appendix are from AC1: "The Shady Dragon Inn" (1983).
Continuing with the Wilderness. "Quagmire!" continues the trend of Expert-level adventures featuring lots of wilderness exploration. In fact, "Quagmire!" may have the most complex and in-depth wilderness adventuring in the "X" series, with the possible exception of X1: "The Isle of Dread" (1981).
The wilderness of "Quagmire!" includes a pair of large hex maps; 17 location-keyed encounters; an additional 25 encounters that can be placed as desired upon appropriate terrain; multiple wandering monster tables; and even some notes on weather. All told, the wilderness takes up somewhere more than half of the adventure, a fact that's unusual even for Expert-level adventures.
Underwater Adventuring? X6's text states that one of its major locales is 50 feet underwater and constantly describes rooms as "flooded," but it doesn't actually include any rules for underwater adventuring. GMs can either hand-wave the whole problem or else use the rules that appear later... in X7: "The War Rafts of Kron" (1984).
Expanding the Known World. "Quagmire!" offers another major expansion to the Known World. The massive "Wild Lands" of this adventure are located south of "The Wilderness Map of the Great Waste" from X4: "Master of the Desert Nomads" (1983) - although it's a little hard to see how the maps connect up, as was the case for many of the Known World maps in this era.
In detailing the Wild Lands, "Quagmire!" introduces the Serpent Peninsula, Thanegia Island, and the cities of Slagovich, Quagmire, and Thanopolis. Overall, the Wild Lands are pretty empty, without much of a population, which was a common depiction of the Known World in the early "Cook" era for the setting (1981-86). This Serpent Peninsula would become more populated in future revisions of the setting.
In "Quaqmire!", you can really see the Known World starting to gel; the Isle of Dread from X1: "The Isle of Dread", Pramayama from X4: "Master of the Desert Nomads", and Specularum from B6: "The Veiled Society" (1984) all get flagged as good points to start adventuring from.
Monsters of Note. Frank Mentzer decided to drop a lot of aquatic monsters in 1981 when he revised the original D&D Expert Set (1981), so "Quagmire!" had to reprint the giant catfish and giant piranhas that had previously appeared in that rule book.
Beyond that, Rasmussen choose to re-use a lot of Basic D&D monsters. The grab grass and killer trees has previously appeared in X2: "Castle Amber" (1981); the piranha bird had previously appeared in B5: "Horror on the Hill" (1983); and the giant hunting spider and the pocket dragon had previously appeared in M2: "Maze of the Riddling Minotaur" (1984). Ironically, this was the first time that the grab grass and the killer trees appeared in Mystara, since much of "Castle Amber" is set in another dimension.
Future History. Bruce Heard returned to the Wild Lands area in his "The Voyage of the Princess Ark," touching upon the Serpent Peninsula in Dragon #170 (June 1991) and on Slagovich in Dragon #171 (July 1991). He was asked about Thanopolis' increase in size in Dragon #174 (October 1991) and replied, "I didn't think anyone would be particularly fascinated by thousands of miles of swamp, desert, and featureless plains with nobody around! I made these changes in order to liven the place up..."
About the Creators. Rasmussen is best known as the author of Top Secret (1980). In the years that followed that game's publication, he mostly confined his RPG work to occasional Top Secret articles for Dragon, but then in 1984 he very suddenly wrote three solo adventures for D&D and AD&D, along with "Quagmire!"
About the Product Historian
The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and 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.