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B9 Castle Caldwell and Beyond (Basic)

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Five exciting short adventures to make your Basic campaign come alive!

The Clearing of Castle Caldwell--A local merchant has recently purchased a small castle... but when he tried to move in, he discovered that the castle was already inhabited!

Dungeons of Terror--A strange trapdoor in the floor of Castle Cadwell leads to a terrifying challenge!

The Abduction of Princess Sylvia--On the eve of her wedding, the beautiful princess has been kidnapped! Can you save her in time?

The Great Escape--Imprisoned in an enemy fortress, without armor or weapons, your situation seems hopeless. Yet there may be a way to freedom . . .

The Sanctuary of Elwyn the Ardent--A mystical chime of great power has been stolen?but by whom? In the wrong hands, the chime can cause untold harm! But can you find and defeat this mysterious and powerful creature?

Adventures for character levels 1-3.

Product History

"Castle Caldwell and Beyond" (1985) by Harry Nuckols was the ninth Basic Set adventure, and it marked the end of the classic sequence of Basic modules that had run for six+ years. It was published around June 1985.

The adventure was named for artist Clyde Caldwell, who also supplied the cover. There was originally a character in the adventure named Clyde Caldwell; TSR Legal didn't like that, but naming the Castle for him was apparently fine.

Mini-Adventures. "Castle Caldwell" stands out from the rest of the Basic adventures (and from the rest of TSR's D&D adventures to date) because it's actually a collection of five mini-adventures. The first two, depicting a castle and some dungeons found beneath it, are somewhat closely connected, but the rest are pretty loose. Why did TSR decide to go in this direction? It's because "Castle Caldwell" came in as an external submission, which was pretty rare at the time, and this is the format the author had used. Still, TSR would have much more success with mini-adventures when they refined the idea to a very simple core in their Books of Lairs (1986-1987, 1992-1993). They'd also start publishing more anthologies like "Caldwell" around 1988.

The End of Basic. In June 1985, when B9 was released, TSR was in grave financial peril. That same month, Unearthed Arcana (1985) was also published; it's the book that's usually credited the most with saving the company (though there were many factors, also notably including Oriental Adventures, the Dragonlance saga, and Marvel Super-Heroes). Afterward, as TSR climbed out of their hole, they started cutting some of their less successful lines. Thus the Conan (1985), Indiana Jones (1984-1985), and Star Frontiers (1982-1985) RPGS all came to an end. And so did regular adventure support for the D&D Basic Set - not necessarily because it was unsuccessful, but instead because there was already a whole lot of it.

The first nine B-series adventures were allowed to go out of print, and then replaced with a compilation of the best bits: B1-9: In Search of Adventure (1987). Adventure support for the Companion (1984-1987) and Master (1985-1987) also lines ended around that time, after which TSR's D&D focus moved to setting books for the Known World (1987-1989)

Three more Basic adventures were published much more sporadically. B10 (1986) originated with TSR UK, while B11 (1989) and B12 (1989) were a pair of new introductory adventures that indicated a brief attempt in the late 80s to revive the Basic line.

About the Creators. There's long been speculation that Harry Nuckols was a pseudonym (it certainly sounds like one!), and a few different possibilities have been offered for the "real" author. However, editor Michael Dobson asserts that "Castle Caldwell" genuinely was an external submission, not something written pseudonymously by TSR staff, and that Harry Nuckols was, as far as he knows, the author's real name. 

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 shannon.appelcline@gmail.com.

 
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March 29th, 2013
A very basic set of generic adventures for use with low-level characters. Easy to adapt to any setting and any game system. I use these to "audition" new players. Probably not something a heavily experienced group of gamers would enjoy, unless they fancie [...]
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Product Information
Electrum seller
Author(s)
Pages
32
Edition
1.0
ISBN
0-88038-200-7
Publisher Stock #
TSR 9143
File Size:
9.32 MB
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File Last Updated:
November 01, 2013
This title was added to our catalog on January 22, 2013.
Publisher Info
Wizards of the Coast
Wizards of the Coast
Publisher Average Rating