What are they and why did I buy them?
I was a sucker for low-level adventures. I don’t know why. But the latter years of AD&D Second Edition, I couldn’t get enough of them. My players sometimes heard me brag that I could start a campaign anytime, anywhere, because of the number of adventures for character levels 1-4 I owned.
These three products didn’t escape my grasp.
The years 1997-2000 leading up to D&D Third Edition was time of transition. Wizards of the Coast was phasing out TSR after its acquisition, and they reached into TSR’s vault and republished some classic adventures in products like Road to Danger and Dungeons of Despair. Destiny of Kings was an updated version of an AD&D First Edition module.
Wizards of the Coast even published their own creation, The Shattered Circle, which in retrospect, should have been one of those classic adventures everybody talks about. Bruce Cordell wrote it. And it had dungeon beneath a stonehenge with puzzles and mysteries to solve. It was dungeon crawl which, as I recall the artwork, ended with a gigantic ball of webs with lots of spiders. It introduced a new spider-like race, the Chitine. Spider-people have been before (see Ettercap) but these were weirder than usual.
Road Danger highlighted six or seven adventures from Dungeon Magazine. These were also updated for AD&D Second Edition.
So what Wizards did was pretty significant. They published new and old content to attract newbies and perhaps get veterans to come back to the hobby.
Why did they end up on the Used Book Store Pile?
I still have Dungeons of Despair. That’s going anywhere. I used three adventures out of it over the years, converting two of them to D&D Third Edition.
As for the other three, well, they had to go. They may have been, and still are, good products but by the time I’d considered using them they’d been overshadowed by D&D Third Edition.
If were to repurchase of these, it’d be The Shattered Circle. Bruce Cordell put out some quality stuff during his time with TSR/Wizards of the Coast. As I said, The Shattered Circle should have been one of those classic modules everybody talks about. It was, however, published during a time of transition and would be overshadowed by one of the Bruce Cordell’s other adventures, The Sunless Citadel, the first official module published for D&D Third Edition.