White Plume Mountain is one of the first and most famous "puzzle dungeons" released by TSR. Written by Lawrence Schick in 1980 as a job application, it was published unchanged in the days before D&D was about killing monsters and was mostly about killing the players. It became a favorite among the sort of bastard DM who ran Tomb of Horrors. Almost every room in White Plume Mountain's titular dungeon is either a trap, a monster asking a riddle, or both. Prepare to experience the adventure module voted the 9th best of all time by Dungeon magazine.
Zack: We didn't really receive any requests for this one and I'm not too familiar with it. Steve, on the other hand, lobbied hard to do White Plume Mountain.Steve: Hell yeah I did. When I was about 9 or 10 my friend Donnie's sister ran this module for me and Donnie. It was one of my first D&D experiences. I barely knew how to play, but she was like this goddess who was 14 or something and she was creating this whole world in our imaginations.
Zack: That sounds like psychotic behavior coming from a 14-year-old girl.
Steve: I don't know dude, maybe she was crazy, but all I know is when I was 10 and playing Battle Man the fighter I totally wanted to be lured to my death by a kelpie.
Zack: This just gets worse.
Steve: If only Donnie hadn't been there man it was hot and heavy. I think she even said the word "boobs" at one point.
Zack: So your entire memory of this adventure was a seaweed lady?
Steve: I remember some other things. Some puzzles and stuff.
Zack: Oh, great, well since you're the expert are you going to run me through this adventure?
Steve: Sure, dude. I don't think it has a sweet picture book like the UFO one, but I can improvise.
Zack: I don't like the sound of that.
Steve: What is your character?
Zack: What levels?
Steve: It says 5-10, so go with like 8.
Zack: My character is Buddy Jones, level 8 dwarf Necromancer, aspiring lord of undeath.
Steve: What do you wield?
Zack: The black magic of the sepulcher.
Steve: No, I mean like a weapon.
Zack: Buddy Jones abhors violence unless it is committed by skeletal proxy.
Steve: Any background?
Zack: I prefer to show, not tell.
TOTAL WRECK - crazy-eyed hound is covered in cobwebs, has a vespiary on back, graffiti on side and savage thirst for boat fuel. Frankly, I'm in over my head. He's in room 115 at Motel 6, yours free. 555-2851
Yes, it's the perfect form for surviving a car crash. But it's also the perfect form for so much more, like surviving the trauma of reading any news headline in 2016.
Zack Parsons, Steve "Malak" Sumner, and friends tackle bizarre role playing game products that make them wonder, "What the fuck!?" From the early days of Gygax to contemporary role playing games, none will be spared.