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DDA3 Eye of Traldar (Basic)
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DDA3 Eye of Traldar (Basic)

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This entry-level D&D module, perfect for the new player, includes a short adventure with wizards and other monsters.

An exciting beginner-level module designed to get novice game players started in the D&D world.

Product History

DDA3: "Eye of Traldar" (1991), by Carl Sargent, is an adventure for the Basic D&D game. It was published in June 1991.

Origins: A Transitional Adventure. The New Easy To Master Dungeons & Dragons Game (1991), sometimes called the black box or D&D 5th edition, marked a new era for the Basic D&D game. This change would be most obvious in the new lines that followed the publication of the black box, including black boxed supplements such as The Dragon's Den (1992) and the Thunder Rift line, beginning with "Quest for the Silver Sword" (1992). However, those changes began here, with DDA3: "Eye of Traldar" (1991), the first supplement to bear the new logo of the black box, including its bright red ampersand.

This reboot resulted in "Eye of Traldar" being quite different from the previous two adventures that used the "DDA" code, DDA1: "Arena of Thyatis" (1990) and DDA2: "Legions of Thyatis" (1990). They were both more complex adventure that were deeply entrenched in the Known World; they even edged into Expert-level play. In contrast, "Eye of Traldar" is a much simpler and shallower adventure.

With that said, "Eye of Traldar" is also obviously transitional: TSR was still finding its way with the updated Basic D&D line. Though "Eye of Traldar" features the new Basic D&D logo, it doesn't include the new cover iconography that would show up with DDA4: "The Dymrak Dread" (1991), and it's also longer and somewhat more enmeshed in the Known World than later adventures (especially the Thunder Rift line).

Origins (II): What's Next. "Eye of Traldar" promises that it will be followed by "The Dymrak Dread", which will be a "sequel" that begins with the adventures on the road to Luln. This turned out not to be the case. Since author John Nephew probably turned in his first draft of "The Dymrak Dread" on June 1, nine months after signing a contract, this can probably be chalked up as miscommunication with the marketing department. In any case, DDA4: "The Dymrak Dread" (1991) has just a few paragraphs about connecting the adventures.

Adventure Tropes. "Eye of Traldar" is a macguffin hunt for the eponymous Eye of Traldar. The heart of the adventure focuses on a large dungeon crawl, which was the only gameplay really supported by the new black box. Eye of Traldar does expand on that a little bit, via a bit of wilderness travel, but it's tightly constrained as a couple of episodic encounters.

Exploring the Known World. Eye of Traldar returns to Basic D&D's original setting: Karameikos. More specifically, it's set in one of the most evocative areas of Karameikos that had never been detailed: Fort Doom in the Black Eagle Barony — a realm that had previously been a major element in the D&D Companion Rules Set (1984).

With that said, the setting information is almost non-existant. Bruce Heard explained the reasoning in Dragon #174 (October 1991), saying "the new D&D boxed game deals exclusively with dungeons and does not mention anything of the Known World. This is why we could not expand on the subject of the Black Eagle Barony".

Players who wanted to move beyond the dungeons of Fort Doom that are described here can find additional details in Dragon #206 (June 1994), where "Karameikos, Ho!" by Jeff Grubb, provides excellent background on the area.

NPCs of Note. The PCs are trying to steal a gem from none other than Baron Ludwig von Hendriks, the ruler of the Black Eagle Barony.

About the Creators. Sargent did a lot of work on the Basic D&D line in his first years freelancing for TSR, but this was the last of them. Starting with WGS1: "Five Shall Be One" (1991), he'd be much more focused on Greyhawk, eventually leading to his work in the From the Ashes era (1992-1993).

About the Product Historian

The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to shannon.appelcline@gmail.com.

 
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File Last Updated:
September 19, 2016
This title was added to our catalog on September 20, 2016.