Back when all dungeon modules released as separate paperback folios and tabletop RPG groups fancied deadly clever design over all else, Dark Tower surprised and delighted the hobby with its well-considered design. Now, publisher Goodman Games is recreating the module via its Original Adventures Reincarnated series that pairs the original text with their own version and a bevy of expanded material.
The Dark Tower (not *that* one) adventure first released in 1980, a creation of publisher Judges Guild that had to compete in a space fairly dominated by TSR. The studio that would one day become Wizards of the Coast put out what many considered to be the best adventures and RPG supplements around, not leaving much oxygen for smaller outfits to offer a challenge.
But Dark Tower landed with a splash. Its setting depicted two diametrically opposed forces - the worshippers of Mitra who shared the Redmoon Valley with an innocent village, and the evil forces of the god Set, bent on the destruction of their deific foe. One day, Set’s Dark Tower coalesced directly on top of the town, crushing it and unleashing hordes of screaming minions. The sight of that slaughter, including the tower, is long since swallowed by the earth, but that doesn’t stop adventurers from plumbing its cursed depths.
Goodman Games is the creator and publisher of Dungeon Crawl Classics, a tabletop RPG system designed to capture the spirit of pen & paper adventure, circa mid 1970s. There are now several derivatives and dozens of published adventures, Dark Tower being the latest offering. The three-book collection houses the original mega-dungeon in one volume, which extends the length of a small campaign (they specifically cite D&D 5E levels 7-8) and also contains introductory essays from a host of designers and artists.
The second volume can either be a converted copy of Dark Tower compatible with Dungeons & Dragons 5E or DCC, buyer’s choice. The designers state on the crowdfunding page that players will encounter their share of new and expanded content when running this version - some of it necessary addition to support the more modern rules while others, such as pregenerated characters and mini-dungeons are more to help on-board those unfamiliar to the classic content.
The third book in the trio contains the all new Sons of Set, the output of Goodman Games’ own creation in the world of Dark Tower. Several regionally linked scenarios can be used to build another small campaign wherein a party hunts down the gods’ offspring and most powerful adherents as they plot away in the Lostlands surrounding the tower. IT will also expand player options with a host of new spells, equipment, monsters and NPCS.
Dungeon Crawl Classics' Dark Tower is currently crowdfunding through June 14th to produce a digital PDF version of the game alongside the core three-volume set. Backers can purchase a copy for US$50 and $100, respectively. Both rule conversions are available as different tiers, and shipping is expected to begin in June 2023.