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DA2 The Temple of the Frog (Basic)
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DA2 The Temple of the Frog (Basic)

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Green Death...

That's what old hands call the Great Dismal Swamp. For centuries, this tangled maze of sluggish watercourses, stagnant ponds, and festering marshes has defended Blackmoor's southwestern frontier. Large armies and smaller parties have disappeared altogether inside its vast, dripping, claustrophobic corridors.

Among those who have dropped from sigh in this arboral hell is young Rissa Aleford, one of Blackmoor's most important leaders. Carried off to the sinister City of the Fron, she is now being held by the eccentric Monks of the Swamp. By making the baroness captive, the deranged monks have serioulsy weakened Blackmoor at a time when enemies already threaten it from all sides.

Yet, even as the Froggies gloat, the king of Blackmoor dispatches a small band of bold adventures to the rescue. Deep into the Great Dismal Swamp they must go - far from sunlight and sanity - there to seek and save the swamp, there to find the Temple of the Frog.

Product History

DA2: "Temple of the Frog" (1987), by Dave Arneson and David J. Ritchie, is the second adventure in TSR's short-lived Blackmoor line. It was published in January 1987.

About Blackmoor. The story of DA2: "Temple of the Frog" carries directly on from DA1: "Adventures in Blackmoor" (1986). Like its predecessor, it was part of the second wave of Blackmoor products, and it was set in the historical past of TSR's own Known World.

The First Temple of the Frog. The Temple of the Frog originated in Dave Arneson's original Blackmoor game, run with the Chainmail (1971) rules.

In the summer of 1972, Arneson's players "lost" by failing to defend the Castle of Blackmoor from the Egg of Coot and other attacking forces because they were too busy delving into Blackmoor's dungeons. As a result they were banished to the Loch Gloomen (Lake Gloomey) area of Blackmoor. That fall, following the banishment, Arneson noted that three of his players had gone "off to the town held by the Monks of the Swamp".

Though we don't have confirmation that this was the first appearance of the Temple, it seems likely, as the Temple of the Frog is indeed in the Loch Gloomen area of Blackmoor and is controlled by the "Brothers of the Swamp".

Because of its (probable) creation before D&D itself even existed, the Temple of the Frog today represents one of the oldest adventures in the roleplaying hobby.

The Second Temple of the Frog. The first published version of "The Temple of the Frog" appeared in Supplement II: Blackmoor (1975) as a 20-page dungeon. It was not only TSR's first published adventure - three years before the company started publishing standalone modules - but also one of the first printed adventures in the industry, and surely the first with any widespread distribution.

The Third Temple of the Frog. DA2: "Temple of the Frog" thus represents the second published version of the Temple. The above-ground temple is remarkably similar to that seen in the Blackmoor supplement a decade before. The dungeons in the "DA" verison of the adventure are, however, expanded and much more polished (where they'd been very crudely mapped in the original).

About the Science Fantasy. The Temple of the Frog contains computers, power plants, and numerous other alien devices taken off of a space ship. This type of science fantasy was quite common in the early days of the hobby, but Dave Arneson says that the "DA" adventures imply that Blackmoor had more technology than it really did. The initial adventures he choose to prepare for TSR just happened to be the ones with lots of tech in them.

Future History. Zeitgeist Games released a new version of "Temple of the Frog" (2008) for d20 while Wizards published a 20-years-later "Return to the Temple of the Frog" (2007) around the same time as a free download.

About the Creators. "Temple of the Frog" was the second of three adventures that Arneson co-authored for TSR from 1986-1987. Arneson's collaborator, David Ritchie, had recently returned to TSR after a few years working for Coleco.

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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George F October 21, 2015 7:39 pm UTC
Will we see the other three titles in the 'DA' series as pdfs?
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TSR 9175
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File Last Updated:
September 27, 2013
This title was added to our catalog on February 12, 2013.