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C1 The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan is a 40-page adventure module for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition.

The module was originally written for the D&D tournament at Origins 1979, under the title Lost Tamoachan (1979).[1] It was reprinted beginning in 1980 under the current title.

Official synopsis[]

This module was originally used for the Official ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS™ tournament at Origins '79, and is the first in the another new series of modules from TSR, the COMPETITION SERIES. This module contains a challenging setting as well as an original scoring system and an assortment of pre-rolled characters for adventuring. This module may thus be used for private competition among players, or as a separate, non-scored adventure! Also included herein are background information, a large-scale referee's map, referee's notes, and new monsters and descriptions for an added taste of excitement. This adventure is meant to stand on its own, and includes areas on the map where Dungeon Master's may add their own levels.


This section is incomplete. Please complete this section and remove this {{secstub}} notice.

Development and release[]


See also: Lost Tamoachan#Development

The book was written by Harold Johnson and Jeff R. Leason. Art was provided by Erol Otus, Jeff Dee, Gregory K. Fleming, David S. LaForce and David C. Sutherland III.

Harold Johnson originally applied to TSR as a games editor in 1978, but was not selected. He later successfully applied as a game designer, but before joining the company he was made an editor, and assigned as copy editor on Dungeon Masters Guide (1e) (1979). At the same time, he worked as a writer on Lost Tamoachan. His goal with the module was to prove to TSR that he was capable of writing. Shortly afterward he was promoted to Manager of Production.[2]

Leason was a fellow recently hired editor, and shared an office with Johnson. The pair had the opportunity to write an tournament module after all of the other designers declined the task. The pair filled several notepads with notes, which was then typed into a first draft by Johnson, as he was the faster typist.[3]

TSR was interested in publishing the module after the tournament, as had been done with the G-series. This meant more work for the writers, since this raised the required standard, and the lack of digital tools in those days meant errors required retyping entire pages. To meet the deadline, Johnson ended up typing for 48 hours straight and send them to the printers at 2am to be available the following morning.[3]

Design goals included presenting more detailed encounter descriptions, monsters with more intelligence and use of tactics, actions having consequences, teaching players to be alert to clues, and to encourage the exercise of imagination and teamwork.[3] Tamoachan introduced the concept of complex monster encounters and read-loud boxed text to D&D.

The titular city was originally supposed to be named "Tamoanchan". In the final draft, a typo led to it being misspelled as "Tamoachan".[3]


Tournament play[]

The module was originally run in the D&D tournament at Origins '79, held on June 22-24, 1979, in Widener College, Chester, PA. The event had unexpected demand, and there were insufficient DMs available. The convention module was known as Lost Tamoachan: The Hidden Shrine of Lubaatum.[3]


The module originally had a limited run available at Origins 1979. Only 300 numbered copies were printed. Additionally, TSR produced 50 Dungeon Master copies, 25 unlabeled staff copies, two authors' copies for Johnson and Leason, and an unknown number of Complementary Copies.[4]

It was given a general release in 1980, as C1 The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan, for the price of $[missing data] US. Aside from the rare Lost Tamoachan, five printings were made in all, two with a monochrome brown cover, and three with a dark brown cover with full-color art. It was reprinted until at least 1983.[4]

On January 22, 2013, it was re-released in digital format. It is currently available on DriveThruRPG and Dungeon Masters Guild for $4.99.

Reception and influence[]

Critical reception[]

In The 30 Greatest D&D Adventures of All Time, Dungeon #116 (Nov 2004), The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan was rated #18.

As of 2023, The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan reached the rank of Mithral seller on DriveThruRPG.

Influence on other works[]

The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan introduced the concepts of boxed read-aloud text, detailed encounters, and three-dimensional maps.[5]

Adventure author Mike Shel cited The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan as an inspiration in the introduction to The Mud Sorcerer's Tomb.[6]

Tamoachan appeared in The Sea Wyvern's Wake, Dungeon #141 (Dec 2006).

A D&D 4th edition conversion, Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan, was released as part of Wizards of the Coast's organized play. It was reprinted in Dungeon #209 (Dec 2012).

External links[]


  1. Report On ORIGINS '79, Dragon #29 (Sep 1979), p.46.
  2. Profiles: Harold Johnson, Dragon #104 (Dec 1985), p.62.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan, Dungeon #209 (Dec 2012).
  4. 4.0 4.1 C1 - The Acaeum
  5. A Retrospective of the Best Game in History, Dragon #320 (Jun 2004), p.22.
  6. The Mud Sorcerer's Tomb, Dungeon #37 (Sep/Oct 1992).
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