Beholder King wrote:
I never did see a copy of B1. What PRECEDED Keep on the Borderland?
Ah, this would be B1, In Search Of The Unknown! The party was charged with searching the caves of Quasqueton, to find out what happened to the cave-homes of two semi-admired but sadly deceased adventurers, Roghan and Zelligar. It was a nifty module, to the best of my fairly dim memory, and it featured the "rumors table" like B2 did, but it wasn't quite as stand-out as B2, and was dropped in favor of it.
And then, there was B3, The Palace of the Silver Princess, recalled for having "risque" art and reissued. That story's well documented elsewhere, but suffice it to say, I didn't find it even remotely challenging to social mores back then, when I finally saw the "censored" version.
I must agree about Tomb of Horrors, too. While I loved the module for what it was -- part of the S series, the 'Special' modules, the huge playerkilling nightmare traps, meant to be virtually impossible to get through alive -- I fully admit I found playing through them something of a nightmare. C2, while a brilliant module, was also a serious playerkiller, in my memory.
It was a different time. The idea of characters being killed was much more accepted by D&D players...until, of course, your character was killed. There were articles in Dragon about coping with the death of a beloved character (see Roger E. Moore's editiorial about Harley Davidson Quinn in Dragon #123), and a real sense that adventuring was dangerous, and if the dice said you died, it was only fair to accept that and move on. I notice that, while there's always an element of "play fair and accept bad fortune," the early modules didn't always account for players being terribly attached to their characters, and seemed quite comfortable putting them through amazingly lethal death traps.
It was a different time. Growing out of wargames, there was a time when players didn't
identify personally with their characters quite so much. But again, though I fear I overuse the word, it was a zeitgeist, and we look at characters very differently now, and that degree of wanton undervaluation of character life seems pretty grim to us in a day of actual roleplaying
, versus the more wargame-like "roleplaying" of the early days.
I'm glad that you treat death with so much more dignity in YAFGC, and that you let the passing of beloved characters be marked with time for the audience, as well as the characters, to mourn.