Decades ago, Sturnheim was a thriving trade town on a major caravan route. But then, disaster struck when a gold-laden caravan disappeared without a trace. Financially ruined, the town slipped into decline, and now lies almost forgotten on a route that is seldom traveled anymore.
You can unravel a 40-year-old mystery and restore the honor of Sturnheim - if you have the guts!
"Fighter's Challenge" is a new type of ADVANCEC DUNGEONS & DRAGONS adventure. It is designed especially for a Dungeon Master and one player - perfect for very small playing groups, for those times when the whole group can't get together, or for the player who wants his character to earn some extra experience. This adventure will provide hours of excitement for the DM and for any warrior or multi-class fighter character or levels 2 to 4.
HHQ1: "Fighter's Challenge" (1992), by John Terra, was the first in a series of "Head-to-Head Quests" for AD&D. It was published in February 1992.
The New One-on-One Adventures. TSR published a few one-on-one adventures (each supporting one GM and just one player) in the 80s, but they never put much internal focus on them. O1: "The Gem and the Staff" (1983) was an adventure written by an external designer, which was pretty rare for the period; it was derived from a 1978 Wintercon tournament. O2: "Blade of Vengeance" (1984) and UK5: "Eye of the Serpent" (1984), both produced by TSR UK.
The HHQ series thus represented not just a revamp of the old one-on-one idea, but also the first time that TSR US really pushed on the topic - and they really pushed, publishing a total of eight carefully organized adventures from 1992-1995.
These newer one-on-one adventures were also a bit different from their older cousins. The "O" series had been built around pre-generated characters, while the HHQ series instead gave players the opportunity to level up their own fighters, wizards, thieves, and clerics. To further this goal, the HHQ adventures were all set in generic fantasy realms, allowing characters from any world to participate.
Adapting for Fighter Play. In the HHQ series, TSR adapted the adventures to fit the character classes in question … except "Fighter's Challenge" reads pretty much like a standard adventure, suggesting that "fighting" was the standard mode for AD&D 2e play (which is probably correct).
Using the PHBRs. "Fighter's Challenge" is carefully linked to PHBR1: The Complete Fighter's Handbook. It utilizes rules for pugilism, armoring, jousting, sapping, swashbuckling, and wrestling, all taken from that book (which is enough to suggest a very intentional effort). Though "Fighter's Challenge" says that all of this is optional, it was probably a rare AD&D gaming group that didn't have at least the Fighter's Handbook in the 90s.
Adventure Elements for the 90s. "Fighter's Challenge" combines many of the adventure elements that were innovative in the 80s and had become standard by the 90s. Chapter 1 opens up with Sturnhelm, a town that can be used as a home base. It also pushes heavily on a plot that underlies the adventure, although at least once it comes across a bit heavy-handed, such as when the adventure reads, "Poot is dying, and no healing will help him." Because it's not like the fighter could have a potion of healing or anything.
Chapter 2 touches upon an encounter-based episodic wilderness journey, but there's really just one encounter before the player gets to the tower at the heart of the adventure. From there, the ruined tower also sits atop some lairs and underground areas that are more typical of the dungeons of the 70s and early 80s.
Chapter 6 offers up something pretty innovative, even for the D&D of the 90s: a whole set of subplots (really mini-adventures) that can be run in the same locale - much as TSR did way back in B4: "The Lost City" (1982), here they offer up lots more to do in the same area as the main adventure. But here, those ideas are expanded and polished.
As well, from chapters 1 to 6, this supplement contains not just a short adventure, but also a well-detailed adventure locale, which is perhaps surprising for a one-on-one module.
About the Creators. When Terra was writing "Fighter's Challenge," he was doing his most extensive work for West End's Torg line. Nonetheless, he did at least yearly work for TSR for a full decade, from 1988-1997, much of it for Dragonlance until that line's demise.
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.