Among the multiple-path books to come across my hex-dice-filled hands in the days of mental adventuring, TSR’s Endless Quest books were like finding platinum pieces in a bag of silver.
The pure essence of module realms could be entered on my own. And since I was a lone DM looking for a solo excursion among my human buddy PCs and the conjured NPCs that haunted me in my dreams, this was heaven.
Unlike the later Peter Jackson books which required a pen, paper and dice for battle, all that was needed was your wits and choice of actions to follow up on the exciting promise of adventure-seeking success over dungeon death.
Dungeon Of Dread takes a good dozen pages to set the mood before setting your character – Caric, a brave knight – on your choosy way. You meet Laurus, a forlorn but brave halfling who accompanies you on your explorations of a dungeon where you seek to defeat the evil wizard Kalman and bring peace to the region.
It was a blast to get the solo D&D experience over the course of the few books of this series, and this one was no exception. Facing off against kobolds, bugbears, ogres and more, it was very satisfying to find a clever way to defeat your foes using knowledge of their weaknesses.
It also prepped you for some ‘live-action’ settings with other players once all the sheets, dice and eager anticipation were laid out in front of your DM screens, as you patted the Monster Manual knowingly and smiled maliciously, thinking of what lay ahead for your unprepared assembly.
But I digress.
Dungeons Of Dread also had some surprises.
Good thing? Bad thing?
Finding out was only a page flip away.
In fact, this image of a depressed simian touched my warrior’s heart, and the resulting page flips are pretty sad, but enriches the story.
Just a part of what made these books worthy of the TSR emblem.
Finding these great books was a quest as rewarding as any D&D journey, with just me and my pop in the party.
I first glimpsed them at this great hobby store in a huge, zombieless two-story mall in the middle of nowhere, about an hour’s drive from our house.
On the way to the Big City where I grew up (and had moved away), a few miles further ahead, we’d stop at the mall’s food court for some corn-dogs and go pick some books at WSmith. Often, I’d have time to plunk some quarters in some new arrivals at their arcade.
Loved that hobby shoppe with its wood-paneled facade. They were called Games & Hobbies (Jeux et passe-temps). Their ever-increasing appreciation of Dungeons and Dragons – as revealed by their growing shelves of modules, manuals and sheets – matched my own.
Rummaging through stacks of old Dragon magazines for two dollars each (how much is that in gold pieces today?), I’d be thrilled to find additional combat rules, character skills and greatly imaginative articles by fellow DMs.
Man, I bought so much stuff there. The Endless Quest books were great for costing only 3 dollars, while the rest of a DM’s gear could add up quickly, drying up funds and requiring additional visits.
Spotting these book covers amidst my Pocket Mads instantly lit a torch on those darkened retro dungeon memories, and mapped out the aforementioned recollections.
There were 36 Endless Quest Series One books printed between 1982 and 1987.
Mirrorstone began republishing the series with new artwork in 2008.
The originals are out of print, but can be dug up on eBay searches.