Good "Wizard Tower" adventures

The Heretic

Should be playing D&D instead
What would you guys consider to be the best 'wizard tower' adventures in the OSR? I am looking for suggestions.
 

Beoric

8, 8, I forget what is for
I did a quick search at tenfootpole.org. Here is one "The Best" and one "No Regerts":

A Wizard (review) | tenfootpole.org
Tower of the Scarlet Wizard | tenfootpole.org

As an aside, would like to point out that in medieval parlance, "tower" often refers to a keep. So a generic tower need not be a 30'-40' diameter cylinder with one room per level, but could easily be be a 100, x 100' x 100' cube similar to the Tower of London. Which could be a much more interesting environment to explore, the standard "one room per floor" generic wizard tower being linear by design.

If you want to attach one or more tall cylindrical defensive towers to that, for defense, observation or arcane experiments, be my guest. I have seen examples where they could extend another 50' (so 150' high in total). If you have four of these of varying sizes, one of which is very tall in the traditional wizard's tower vein, and at least two of which have staircases; along with at least one great hall that is two stories high with a gallery halfway up, and a dungeon; you start to get a much more interesting environment to explore.

Sorry for ranting, "traditional" wizard tower design is one of my pet peeves.
 
Isn't Tower of the Stargazer considered one of the better ones? I also bumped into this while looking for the link...
I used Tower of the Stargazer to kick off a new campaign just last week. The players were careful and made off with only 4 points of damage taken (by the Fighter, who could endure it) and a level-up's worth of loot.

It has all the things you want from a wizard tower: cunning puzzles, lots of odd things to mess with, and even (gasp!) a wizard!

That being said, you'll notice some more negative takes in the comments to Bryce's review, and I don't necessarily disagree with any of them. The module is a lot of fun, but there are some questionable elements.
 

The Heretic

Should be playing D&D instead
Sorry for ranting, "traditional" wizard tower design is one of my pet peeves.
I agree, which is why I put 'wizard tower' in quotes. It's not going to be a tower, but I wanted some published adventures as inspiration for what to include in the wizard's lair.

Thanks all for your suggestions.
 

bromeliad

A FreshHell to Contend With
My players haven't yet adventured the place, but the Judges Guild's Citadel of Fire looks promising. The statblocks might be excessive in the d20 remake, but in my opinion it is an overall improvement of the original.
 

robertsconley

Should be playing D&D instead
My players haven't yet adventured the place, but the Judges Guild's Citadel of Fire looks promising. The statblocks might be excessive in the d20 remake, but in my opinion it is an overall improvement of the original.
It is Citadel of Fire in name only. The author used the opportunity to publish his own original adventure speaking as somebody who was part of the development team. The 3.5 Dark Tower was a straight conversion of the original, while my effort, Thieves of Fortress Badabaskor was an extrapolation of the original. I only expanded on existing details and didn't add any new ones. In contrast, the author of Citadel made it just a locale in a larger adventure of his own creation.

As for the original, it is best looked at as not a "wizard's tower" but more as a evil underground city that happens to have a wizard's tower above ground. I originally put in for this but didn't get it. Instead assigned to Fortress Badabaskor. The original Badabaskor has a decent foundation so I was able to make it work well.
 

The1True

My my my, we just loooove to hear ourselves don't we?
It is Citadel of Fire in name only. The author used the opportunity to publish his own original adventure speaking as somebody who was part of the development team. The 3.5 Dark Tower was a straight conversion of the original, while my effort, Thieves of Fortress Badabaskor was an extrapolation of the original. I only expanded on existing details and didn't add any new ones. In contrast, the author of Citadel made it just a locale in a larger adventure of his own creation.

As for the original, it is best looked at as not a "wizard's tower" but more as a evil underground city that happens to have a wizard's tower above ground. I originally put in for this but didn't get it. Instead assigned to Fortress Badabaskor. The original Badabaskor has a decent foundation so I was able to make it work well.
Hey @robertsconley , This actually goes to something I've googled a couple of times now, because I picked up all the 3.5 JG conversions back in the day and I'm kind of wondering how faithful the Thracia one was? Anything you could say to that? I can't find any comparisons out there...
 

robertsconley

Should be playing D&D instead
Hey @robertsconley , This actually goes to something I've googled a couple of times now, because I picked up all the 3.5 JG conversions back in the day and I'm kind of wondering how faithful the Thracia one was? Anything you could say to that? I can't find any comparisons out there...
I didn't work on that one so I can't say. Sorry.

But the old Necromancer Games forums are still up so you may be able to search the Judges Guild section for a review. As it was still active an a hot spot for Judges Guild talk at the time.
 

The1True

My my my, we just loooove to hear ourselves don't we?
I didn't work on that one so I can't say. Sorry.

But the old Necromancer Games forums are still up so you may be able to search the Judges Guild section for a review. As it was still active an a hot spot for Judges Guild talk at the time.
No help there, lol.
I was wondering since I remember reading the 'Thieves of Fortress Badabaskor' conversion and thinking the cavern with the CR13, CR15, CR23 and CR26 Red Dragons (all with Sorceror levels) was probably a MUCH easier encounter in AD&D (maybe even doable within the 10-15 level range?) which had me wondering to what degree the Judges Guild conversions were straight conversions rather than balanced translations? I guess I'm wondering how much I missed out on when I picked up the 3.5 versions.

Certainly, Dark Tower was still an absolute ton of fun, but every time I read the Caverns of Thracia it leaves me cold with it's confusing sprawl, which makes me wonder if stuff was added on to the original to flesh it out or tie things together? Badabaskor was fun to read but seems wildly unbalanced and I'm wondering if that's on purpose (for that old school feel) or a product of straight rules conversion?...
 

robertsconley

Should be playing D&D instead
I was wondering since I remember reading the 'Thieves of Fortress Badabaskor' conversion and thinking the cavern with the CR13, CR15, CR23 and CR26 Red Dragons (all with Sorceror levels) was probably a MUCH easier encounter in AD&D (maybe even doable within the 10-15 level range?) which had me wondering to what degree the Judges Guild conversions were straight conversions rather than balanced translations? I guess I'm wondering how much I missed out on when I picked up the 3.5 versions.
Apologize for being a bit snarky but yes they would be easier in AD&D as Badabaskor is a OD&D module. Even characters made with OD&D + Supplements would have an easier time of it than 3 LBBs character. However in my experience with running Swords & Wizardry and Majestic Fantasy RPG (which is based on S&W) is that it boils down to the magic items the party managed to acquire. If you played OD&D 3 LBB only that cavern is absolutely as terrifying as how I made it in the 3.5 conversions.

But...
The fact is that I wrote the conversion in the 3.0 to 3.5 transition era when things were in flux a bit. So I relied on my experience with GURPS to make the Dragon as terrifying as they would be in my GURPS campaigns.

The whole experience of dealing with the minuatae soured me on ever writing again for 3.X or Pathfinder. Since I still wanted to write stuff to publish and share and GURPS wasn't avaliable, Swords & Wizardry OSR came along at the right time.


Certainly, Dark Tower was still an absolute ton of fun, but every time I read the Caverns of Thracia it leaves me cold with it's confusing sprawl, which makes me wonder if stuff was added on to the original to flesh it out or tie things together? Badabaskor was fun to read but seems wildly unbalanced and I'm wondering if that's on purpose (for that old school feel) or a product of straight rules conversion?...
Well, I am a proud member of the "fuck balance" school of thought. :)

What I try to do is stick with setting balance and logic. I admit it was a bit tough to do this with Thieves of Badabaskor as it was a conversion and not my original work. My solution was to stick with the original elements but try to make it all make sense as part of a large context. As far as game balance goes that took a back seat to whatever I felt was needed to make the situation as plausible as possible. Well more plausible than how the barebones original had it.

My main criticism of my own efforts and the original Badabaskor that there is too much packed in one locale. The only reason that it hangs together in my mind is that the dragons scare the fuck out of everybody, that they don't really care what the humans do except to leave them alone. As a result the current situation is a bit of stalemate with the thieves basically controlling the upper two levels and the surviving priest the level below the dragons (4th), and the of course the fact there is a tomb (5th) that the whole complex sits on.
 

The1True

My my my, we just loooove to hear ourselves don't we?
Well, I am a proud member of the "fuck balance" school of thought. :)
Nice! This kind of makes me want to run it just to see how it goes. I've been running 3.5 old-school style for a while, but my players still seem to expect balanced encounters...
 
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