Stones of the Selt (1981)

Here’s Stones of the Selt (1981), a third party 1E Dungeons & Dragons adventure module published by Dragon Tree Press. It’s got everything I love about early indie RPG stuff: typewritten text, low production values, lots of heart and a so-bizarre-its-great plot.

This was meant to be the first of six modules exploring the islands of Epxae (no clue how to pronounce that) through an interconnected mystery storyline, which was both ambitious and doomed, as the other five parts never came out. That leaves this module in a funny position.

The rest of the story is no less odd. The players are hired to see why no ships have come from a neighboring island in the last few months. Unbeknownst to them, Morticia, the Queen of Vampires, attacked the island with magic dust, “leechdust,” turning every living thing into a pseudovampire. Most of those were destroyed in a rainstorm that washed away all traces of the attack, including the bodies, which dissolved. All that remain are a population of gold mining vampire dwarves who weathered the storm underground and are now currently at war with another invader, an orc prince. The players have to suss out what happened, kill everyone and then, presumably, sail off to the next module to find out more. I should note that a lot of the combat involves flying vampire dwarves dropping boulders and vampire dust on people, which is deliciously ridiculous.

The stones of the title are magic items found during the course of the adventure that give the users super powers (like shooting lasers from your palms or, if using all of them, turning into an 8-foot-tall green super man and flying off to the next module and out of play). Unraveling those powers seems to be the thrust of the series, as they brought Morticia to the island in the first place, but with only one volume, the whole thing winds up being a dangling question mark.

Dragon Tree put out a bunch more generic D&D material, none of which I own, all of which I’d like to. They also published Arduin for a second in the mid-80s. The introduction to the module says that the editors played the entire series – if that is true, I’d love to hear about it or track down the rest of that material!

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