Road to Urik (1992)

Dark Sun’s initial adventure modules (one in the campaign box, seven more individual releases in two separate story arcs) had a novel design innovation. Instead of the familiar booklet for the DM only, these are housed in a foldout box-sleeve, consisting of a short story and two flipbooks – one for the DM containing the info needed to run the game, one for the players full of illustrations of the action. They’ve got a super cool feel to them.

This is the second retail adventure, Road to Urik. Freedom, which I sadly no longer own, is the first and is set during the slave revolt of Tyr detailed in the first Dark Sun novel, The Verdant Passage. Road to Urik picks up directly where the previous module left off, with an army from the city-state of Urik threatening to seize Tyr after its sorcerer-king’s death. It lines up with the second Dark Sun novel, The Crimson Legion.

These flip-book modules seem like the must have been expensive to produce, but they are only two bucks more than your basic softcover sourcebook (though you get a heck of a lot more material with one of those). They’re certainly a novel approach to running a game, especially for novice DMs and remind me a bit of the earlier One-on-One Adventure Gamebooks TSR from 1985-1987, and have their roots in the S-series modules, which also included art handouts for players.

You sure get a lot of art, which is central TSR’s goals for the setting. On the other hand, they were mostly on rails thanks to the metastory and feel more single-use than you average adventure module (which sounds silly, I know). I know I played this, but I don’t have any strong memories of it. And since TSR abandoned the form after only a handful of publication, I suspect the market was as ambivalent to them as I was.

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