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Dungeons of Despair is a 66-page adventure module compilation for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition released in 1999. It collects six adventure modules which originally appeared in Dungeon Magazine, all for a party of characters of levels 2 to 4.

Official synopsis[]

The quest for honor and the search for treasure sometimes leads to death and despair.

Herein are featured six adventures originally presented in Dungeon Adventures magazine:

  • Caermor by Nigel D. Findley: True evil walks among the villagers of Caermor. You must uncover the danger in time to save the village from destruction.
  • The Moor-Tomb Map by Jon Bailey: A mysterious maps lead you into the perilous Willowmoors and, with any luck, the lost tomb of Dalavan Meir.
  • The Cauldron of Plenty by Willie Walsh: The king wants it. The giant has it. Do you have the gall or the guile to take it?
  • King Oleg's Dilemma by Lee Sheppard: An alliance with the dwarves would solve many of King Oleg's problems, but reaching the dwarves is eaiser said than done.
  • Encounter in the Wildwood by Willie Walsh: A trek through the wood pits heroes against a truly monstrous band of brigands.
  • Masqueraider by Randy Maxwell: Journey to a haunted valley to find the elusive marauder that threatens the town of Tyrluk.

Dungeons of Despair is a collection of low-level adventures for the ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS® game. Each adventure stands alone, but any of them can be inserted easily into an ongoing AD&D®campaign. They can also be played as follow-up adventures to those presented in Road to Danger, the first anthology of adventures taken from the pages of DUNGEON® Adventures.


Dungeons of Despair is a collection of six adventure modules originally published in Dungeon Magazine.


Caermor, by Nigel D. Findley, originally appeared in Dungeon #2 (Nov/Dec 1986) for AD&D 1st edition. It is for four to eight characters of levels 2 to 4.

In a distant northern village, a group of cultists have summoned a fiend which has begun terrorizing the town.

The Moor-Tomb Map[]

The Moor-Tomb Map, by Jon Bailey, originally appeared in Dungeon #13 (Sep/Oct 1988) for AD&D 1st edition. It is for four to six characters of levels 2 to 4.

Over 200 years ago, the wizard Dalvan Meir sought immortality by means of a cursed amulet which would allow him to possess the body of some hapless adventurer who should disturb his tomb. Recently, a group of adventurers was killed by bandits who discovered their treasure map leading to the tomb. Now, the bandits terrorize the local area.

The Cauldron of Plenty[]

The Cauldron of Plenty, by Willie Walsh, originally appeared in Dungeon #21 (Jan/Feb 1990). It is for four to six characters of levels 2 to 4.

In the Celtic kingdom of Tiglas, the local king faces unrest due to cattle raids by neighboring kingdoms, which have reduced his social status. To restore his honor, he seeks the cauldron of plenty, a valuable magic item held by a giant called the Bolg Mór. Unable to muster his own men for the task, he hires adventurers to negotiate for it.

King Oleg's Dilemma[]

King Oleg's Dilemma, by Lee Sheppard, originally appeared in Dungeon #43 (Sep/Oct 1993). It is for four to six characters of levels 2 to 4.

A group of gnolls is responsible for attacks against the Kingdom of Borr. The king hires the party to make a treaty of alliance with the dwarves to the north.

Encounter in the Wildwood[]

Encounter in the Wildwood, also by Willie Walsh, first appeared in Dungeon #19 (Sep/Oct 1989). It is for four to seven characters of levels 2 to 4.

Two cylopskin named Chinpot and Tuggut recruit a boggle named Nik-Nik as a pickpocket and woodland trapper. Unfortunately for the party, they happen to have entered these creatures' domain.


Masqueraider, by Randy Maxwell, first appeared in Dungeon #14 (Nov/Dec 1988) for AD&D 1st edition. It is for four to six characters of level 2 to 4.

In Cormyr in Faerûn, a bounty is raised to hunt a creature responsible for stealing livestock.Tyrluk.

The module is followed by a statblock for a creature called the protein polymorph.

Development and release[]


The book was edited by Christopher Perkins, collected from adventure modules by Jon Bailey, Nigel D. Findley, Randy Maxwell, Lee Sheppard, Willie Walsh. Cover art was provided by Fred Fields, interior art by Dennis Cramer, and cartography by Diesel.


Dungeons of Despair was released by Wizards of the Coast in 1999 for $12.95 US or $18.95 Canadian.

On January 1, 2001, it was re-released in digital format. It is currently available on DriveThruRPG and Dungeon Masters Guild for $4.95.

Reception and influence[]

Critical reception[]

As of 2023, Dungeons of Despair reached the rank of Silver seller on DriveThruRPG.

Influence on other works[]

External links[]


Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition
Core rules
Player's HandbookDungeon Master Guide
Monstrous Compendium Volume OneMonstrous Compendium Volume TwoMonstrous Manual
First QuestIntroduction to Advanced Dungeons & Dragons GameThe Complete Starter SetDungeons & Dragons Adventure Game
Optional core rules
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Dungeon Master Option: High-Level CampaignsCampaign Option: Council of Wyrms
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Monstrous Compendium AppendixMonstrous Compendium Annual
Encyclopedia MagicaHistorical ReferenceThe Magic EncyclopediaMonstrous ArcanaPriest's Spell CompendiumWizard's Spell Compendium
Other supplements
Bastion of FaithBook of ArtifactsCastle SitesChronomancerCity SitesCollege of WizardryCountry SitesDen of ThievesDungeon Builder's GuidebookGuide to HellLegends & LoreRogues' GalleryShamanTome of MagicThe Vortex of Madness and Other Planar PerilsWarriors of HeavenWorld Builder's Guidebook
The Apocalypse StoneAxe of the Dwarvish LordsCleric's Challenge (II) • The Dancing Hut of Baba YagaDestiny of KingsDie Vecna Die!Dragon MountainDungeons of DespairFighter's Challenge (II) • The Gates of Firestorm PeakA Hero's TaleLabyrinth of MadnessThe Lost Shrine of BundushaturMoonlight MadnessThe Murky DeepNight Below: An Underdark CampaignA Paladin in HellReturn to the Tomb of HorrorsReverse DungeonRoad to DangerThe Rod of Seven PartsThe Shattered CircleThe Silver KeySwamplightTale of the CometTales of EnchantmentTemple, Tower, & TombThief's Challenge (II) • TSR Jam 1999Wizard's Challenge (II)