Thursday, February 2, 2012

Mazes, Minotaurs and Modules: Part II

As you may remember, back in November, I examined the phenomenon of the minotaur's maze as a cliché of dungeon crawling. Again, I reiterate that, in one way or another, all dungeon crawls are essentially labyrinths, but I wanted to add a couple of entries to the list (which previously dealt with only TSR publications between 1980 and 1983.)

(Spoiler alert: As before, I know it's been about 30 years since these adventures were published, but the following descriptions do give away pertinent details of the referenced modules, on the chance that you haven't read/played them yet.)

1979 - The Caverns of Thracia (Judges Guild)
Originally published in 1979, but now available in a d20 adaptation, this module is the "king" of all minotaur modules. No... literally, there's a minotaur king ruling the former slave sub-humans (gnolls, minotaurs, dog brothers) who revolted against their captors and now occupy the Caverns of Thracia (a former "playground" for human Thracian royalty.) It's not until the adventures reach the palace and dungeon (on levels 3 and 4 respectively) that minotaurs start to show up on the wandering monster charts as "minotaur" encounters, but they show up as early as level 1 via the "gnoll patrols" running around, as well as in many of the numbered encounters that begin just after the entry to the caverns on level 1. "Grognardia" James and "Porn Star" Zak have both done fairly comprehensive reviews of this one.

1981 - Escape from the Minotaur's Lair (International Dungeon Designs)
If you haven't ever heard of this module, or this company, don't worry. It's pretty flipping rare and tends to sell on eBay for anywhere from $250 up. I'm hoping to update my entry on this one, and I am waiting on my copy of Lawrence Schick's Heroic Worlds to arrive to (hopefully) do so. If anyone has a print copy of this baby, I'd love to "get a look at it," if you know what I mean (wink, wink, nudge, nudge... PDF-ahem,) unless a reasonably priced procurement could be arranged.

Pictured at top: The Minotaur, George Frederic Watts, oil on canvas, 1885, located at The Tate.

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