The Mid-Level Adventures

This was a harder category to define than “low-level.” Low-level was easy: they start at 1 (or in one case, 0). But where does mid-level begin? 4? 6? 11?

In most versions of D&D, it feels to me like mid-level sort of kicks off at 4th level. Even squishy classes like magic-users or wizards can stand up to a house cat or goblin. Fights can still turn deadly, but usually you’re not in danger of dying to one hit. The characters are no longer wet-behind-the-ears neophytes. Of course, in modern editions of D&D, the power level has been upped to where even a first level character is arguably more powerful than a 2nd- or 3rd-level character from Basic D&D or AD&D. Of course, with an increase in character power level comes an increase in (most) monster power levels.

So, for my purposes, I’m considering mid-level to start at level 4 for Basic D&D, AD&D, and D&D 3.X/Pathfinder. For D&D 4E, mid-level starts at the Paragon tier, i.e. level 11. Most of the adventures I own fall into this category, including many of the classic adventure series TSR published in the 80s.

Choose from this list is really challenging as there are so many great adventures here. It’s tempting to choose not just one, but an entire series to run (like the Slavelords series or the Desert of Desolation). I may have to remain flexible and if we choose to go through the first in the series, and the players want to learn how the story ends, just play through the rest of the series before moving on to the next system or tier. As before, I highlighted in bold the adventures at the top of my list.

A1: Slave Pits of the Undercity
(AD&D 1st Edition, 4-7)
R2: Rappan Athuk 2 – The Dungeon of Graves: The Middle Levels
(D&D 3.0, 7th level+)
A2: Secret of the Slavers Stockade
(AD&D 1st Edition, 4-7)
Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil
(D&D 3rd Edition, 4-14)
A3: Assault on the Aerie of the Slave Lords
(AD&D 1st Edition, 4-7)
S2: White Plume Mountain
(AD&D 1st Edition, 5-10)
A4: In the Dungeons of the Slave Lords
(AD&D 1st Edition, 4-7)
S4: The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth
(AD&D 1st Edition, 6-10)
C1: The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan
(AD&D 1st Edition, 5-7)
Temple of the Half-Born
(Pathfinder, 7-8)
C2: The Ghost Tower of Inverness
(AD&D 1st Edition, 5-7)
The Banewarrens
(D&D 3.0, 6-10)
Courts of the Shadow Fey
(D&D 4E, 12-15)
The Night of Dissolution
(D&D 3.5, 4-9)
D4: Hungry are the Dead
(D&D 3.5, 6th level)
UK1: Beyond the Crystal Cave
(AD&D 1st Edition, 4-7)
DCC50: Vault of the Iron Overlord
(D&D 3.5, 7-9)
Voyage of the Golden Dragon
(D&D 3.5, 7th level)
E1: Carnival of Tears
(D&D 3.5, 5th level)
Whispers of the Vampire’s Blade
(D&D 3.5, 4th level)
FRC2: Curse of the Azure Bonds
(AD&D 2nd Editoin, 6-9)
X4: Master of the Desert Nomads
(Basic D&D, 6-9)
Grasp of the Emerald Claw
(D&D 3.5, 6th level)
X5: Temple of Death
(Basic D&D, 6-10)
I1: Dwellers of the Forbidden City
(AD&D 1st Edition, 4-7)
W2: River Into Darkness
(D&D 3.5, 4th level)
I3: Pharaoh
(AD&D 1st Edition, 5-7)
J1: Entombed with the Pharaohs
(D&D 3.5, 6th level)
I4: Oasis of the White Palm
(AD&D 1st Edition, 6-8)
J3: Crucible of Chaos
(D&D 3.5, 8th level)
I5: Lost Tomb of Martek
(AD&D 1st Edition, 7-9)
U1: Gallery of Evil
(D&D 3.5, 8th level)
I6: Ravenloft
(AD&D 1st Edition, 5-7)
D2: Seven Swords of Sin
(D&D 3.5, 7th level)
Lost Coins & Flying Bones
(Pathfinder, 5-6)
W1: Conquest of Bloodsworn Vale
(D&D 3.5, 6th level)
OA5: Mad Monkey vs. the Dragon Claw*
(AD&D 1st Edition, 6-9)
W3: Flight of the Red Raven
(D&D 3.5, 4th level)
D1.5: Revenge of the Kobold King
(D&D 3.5, 5th level)

Are there obvious adventures I’m missing on this list? Classics I don’t have or may not know about? I might be inclined to seek out a few of them, though some are rare enough and expensive enough on the secondary market that it would require donations of cash or the adventure itself to get me to consider purchasing it.

* The title alone would normally make me include it in my Top Choices list, but Oriental Adventures has a different class list and feel than standard D&D. I’ll probably stick to more occidental-style adventures.

Categories: Random Thoughts

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