Expedition to the Barrier Peaks

Expedition to the Barrier Peaks

DnDmodule| module_title = Expedition to the Barrier Peaks

module_code = S3
module_rules = 1st Ed AD&D
module_character_levels = 8-12
module_campaign = Greyhawk
module_authors = Gary Gygax
module_first_published = 1980
series = S1 S2 S3 S4

"Expedition to the Barrier Peaks" is a 1980 adventure module for the "Dungeons & Dragons" roleplaying game. Its associated code is S3. It is possibly the most elaborately illustrated of all early "Dungeons & Dragons" ("D&D") modules, having a separate booklet of drawings for many rooms, devices and encounters.

"Expedition to the Barrier Peaks" is also the name of a song in the "World of Greyhawk" campaign setting, presumably about the events of the module.


This module is the favorite of many "D&D" fans.cite journal |last=Mona| first=Erik|authorlink=Erik Mona|coauthors=James Jacobs|title=The 30 Greatest D&D Adventures of All Time|journal=Dungeon |volume=116 |year=2004] . While "D&D" is a largely a fantasy roleplaying game, S3 tweaks that a bit by introducing science fiction elements, specifically from the Gamma World role-playing game [Lawrence Schick. "Heroic Worlds" (Prometheus Books, 1991).] .

The adventure takes place on a crashed spaceship in the Barrier Peaks of the "World of Greyhawk" campaign setting.

The official description from the module:

It is the adventurers' job to find the source of these monsters and, if possible, put a stop to them.

Many monsters made their first appearances in "Expedition to the Barrier Peaks," including the aurumvorax, froghemoth, and vegepygmy. Additionally, this module features robots and mighty powered weapons such as blaster rifles and laser pistols. This module also contains a fabulous suit of powered armor that allows characters to achieve incredible feats (characters have an 18(00) strength while wearing it). Many a Dungeon Master was dismayed to find players with characters wielding these genre-crossing arms, with some of the more conservative DMs (in terms of gameplay) banning them outright outside the confines of the module. Because of these special entities, the module is liberally illustrated to help aid players in understanding their mysterious encounters.

The players will discover that this "dungeon" consists of part of a downed spacecraft, supposedly its inhabitants having succumbed to some sort of disease and died off. Many of the ship's robots are still functioning, however, and the players must either avoid or defeat them (a few are benign, however, and may be ignored). Wandering police robots and an overzealous weightlifting instructor are just two of the automatons that must be dealt with. One of the module's most curious encounters is a medical robot trying in vain to find a cure for the disease which has already killed off the ship's crew.


Most of the artwork for this module, including the cover, was produced by Erol Otus. Several of his contributions were included in full color, highly unusual for modules of this era. His distinctive style permeates the module. Jeff Dee, Greg K. Fleming, David S. LaForce, Jim Roslof and David C. Sutherland III provided additional illustrations for the module.


Reviewer Marcus L. Rowland, in "White Dwarf" #26, said he found the module "highly enjoyable, with ideas and creatures eminently suitable for wider use," but complained that some of the maps were printed on the both sides of the same sheet. He recommended at least a week's study before attempting to play it. [cite journal | last = Rowland| first = Marcus| authorlink = | coauthors = | title =Open Box | format = review | journal =White Dwarf | volume = | issue =Issue 26 | pages =11 | publisher =Games Workshop | year = 1981 | month = Aug/Sept | url = | issn = | accessdate = ]

"Expedition to the Barrier Peaks" was ranked the 5th greatest "Dungeons & Dragons" adventure of all time by "Dungeon" magazine in 2004, on the 30th anniversary of the "Dungeons & Dragons" game.


*Gygax, Gary. "Expedition to the Barrier Peaks" (TSR, 1980).
*Erik Mona, James Jacobs, et al. "The 30 Greatest D&D Adventures of All Time." "Dungeon" #116 (Paizo Publishing, 2004).
*Miller, Steve. "The Doomgrinder" (TSR, 1998).

External links

* [http://home.flash.net/~brenfrow/dd1/s3-alt.htm TSR Archive entry on S3]
* [http://www.pen-paper.net/rpgdb.php?op=showbook&bookid=2763 The Pen-Paper.net entry on S3]
* [http://www.acaeum.com/ddindexes/modpages/s.html The Acaeum's entry on the "S" modules]
* [http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/d20m/20060505a Return Expedition to the Barrier Peaks] notes on playing the module with D&D v3 and d20 Modern Future Tech.

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