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Internet Archive (Second printing)
The Endless Quest Collectors Set #1 (Collection)
L'antro del terrore (Italian)
A caverna do terror (Portuguese)
Las cavernas del terror (Spanish)
Le Donjon de l'effroi (French)
Die Höhle des Ungeheuers (German)
Makyuu no tatakai [魔宮のたたかい] (Japanese)
Tumnitsata na uzhasa [Тъмницата на ужаса] (Bulgarian)
Holloway, James (Jim) (interior)
June, 1982 (First printing)
July, 1982 (Second printing)
March, 1983 (Fifth printing)
0935696865 / 9780935696868
Pictured copy is not a confirmed fifth printing; this should be double-checked.
128 pages (plus illustrations on unnumbered pages) |
|Number of Endings:||
|User Summary:||You are Caric, a fighter. An annoying halfling thief leads you to a dungeon containing "all the treasure in the world." In this dungeon, you battle various nasties in an attempt to get rich quick.|
The Endless Quest series married the world of D&D to the concept of Choose Your Own Adventure. Dungeon of Dread is the first book in said series. It should be noted that the target demographic for Endless Quest was children, specifically children in the age range of 9-12 years old. So adjust your expectations accordingly. This particular adventure sees the player taking the part of a human fighter, who working with a halfing, attempts to infiltrate an evil wizard's mountainside dungeon. Why? To get treasure of course! Within said dungeon lurk monsters from the D&D lexicon, but no dice rolls here. There's a handful of different endings to achieve, and overall one does get the sense they've been on a lite-weight dungeon crawl.
Dungeon of Dread is a quick read, and certainly won't bedazzle a seasoned fantasy gamer. But there's a palpable sense of charm present, and this book begins the Endless Quest series with a decent first try. A little more depth and pathos would have been appreciated, but then this wouldn't have been a book for children I suppose. Why TSR felt they needed to attract children to D&D, rather than entertain their actual older existing D&D demographic, I'm not entirely sure.
A good start to an excellent series. If you ever want to know what it was like to play Dungeons & Dragons as a 12 year-old in the early 1980's, this book is a good representation of that experience. It's a standard dungeon-crawl through an evil wizard's mountainous lair. Your character is a standard fighter with a halfing companion facing the typical rogue's gallery of basic D&D monsters. Rose Estes is a good writer that manages to make the characters and plot interesting, and it is possible to solve the quest with a best ending. Larry Elmore's cover art is fantastic and the interior art is good as well.
4 out of 5 stars
Not a bad start for the series, though the "size doesn't matter" messages get annoying fast.
In 1982 a book came out with a premise that was revolutionary for many young readers. This book made the reader the protagonist in the story. The reader would play a fighter who enters a dungeon and, after facing a variety of fierce monsters, engages a powerful sorcerer in deadly combat. At the end of the day, the reward for the protagonist would be a huge treasure hoard. This book sold millions of copies worldwide. I'm not talking about The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, but rather about Dungeon of Dread.
Not only are the plot similarities between the two books striking; both books served to introduce millions of young readers to fantasy roleplaying. Dungeon of Dread is a very formulaic dungeon crawl, with the author taking very few liberties with the D&D milieu. This, coupled with the lack of a combat system, means that the book will not impress readers already hardened on Fighting Fantasy or Lone Wolf. The halfling companion which appears in the story can also be quite annoying.
In spite of all these shortcomings, the book provides a good interactive experience. The writing is fast-paced and entertaining, and while reaching a successful ending is way too easy, exploring the dungeon over and over is a great deal of fun. The book is certainly much more readable than many later entries in the series. Overall, I recommend it if you want to introduce someone to roleplaying, or if you just need a good fix of dungeon crawling without having to bother with rules and randomization.
Ms. Estes apparently originated the series as she wrote the first several books. This one serves as a kind of introduction to the books. In it you play a colourless fighter named Caric who is accompanied by a cowardly halfling on a quest to kill an evil wizard for his treasure.
As it is the intro, the book is fairly bland, never one of my favourites. It is mostly a series of random dungeon encounters asking you if you want to fight, flee or use trickery. Or turn left or right with no real info on the choice, making it feel random. It's annoying when you choose to go left and reach an ending just because your random choice was wrong.
No real semblance of a plot. But just for this reason, I'm sure it was popular as it has a great variety of D&D monsters.
The main encounter is with the water weird, pictured on the cover, which is more interesting than others. The artwork is very good.
This is the kind of general adventure that this type of series must have first. Disappointing, but the series gets much better.
Dungeon of Dread is a classic, with decent characterization of both You (the fighter), as well as your reluctant Halfling companion, and the Wizard of the Dungeon of Dread. There is no dice rolling, number picking, or any mechanics to speak of, and you are thrown into the story.
Most choices simply center around going left or right, with many options leading you out of the dungeon, sans treasure. I didn't find any mistakes, and it seems rather easy to achieve the objective of the adventure skirting most foes. It's a simple matter of choosing the right path. I would have preferred more meaningful choices in the book, as well as a greater degree of interaction with the world and its inhabitants.
A very straightforward adventure with a great "flavor" to it. Reads more like a short story at times. Nice beginning to the series. Basic, unencumbered, and simplistic. Writing is slightly above average.
Rating 1-10: 6.5
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Blame it on Rio
Demian - 5th printing in exceptionally good condition
exaquint - 2nd, 6th
kinderstef - x2 ( first and 2nd cover)
Known EditionsFirst printing