Module D1 – Descent Into the Depths of the Earth

Cover – UK, Aus

What’s New?

  • First module with tear off hand-out map for the players!
  • First module with 2 versions of a map – one for the DM, a matching partial one for the players
  • First module to have 1 map level go over 2 panels
  • First modules to have Wizard logo, not Lizard logo
  • First mention I can see of the expression “The Game Wizards”
  • First module to have the Underdark! Not that it was called that at this time
  • First TSR module to have a hex map
  • Gygax cautions the DM to read the whole module and the next two to figure out how much help the elves will be to the party, depending on their numbers and level strength


  • DCS III front cover, like G1 and G3
  • Back cover by DCS III – nice for the players to see because it shows the 3 main monster types they encounter – trolls, troglodytes, bugbears
  • DCS III had the lion’s share of the incidental art as well – another 8 pieces, with Trampier only providing 3
  • The giant slug picture is just such classic D&D
Back cover – UK, Aus


  • Interesting that the module cover mentions the forthcoming Q1 which would take years to come out
  • It’s nice to have a bit of art at the start showing the hoists across the river of lava from the end of G3
  • Gygax says this module should not be as difficult as G3 and is more of an introduction to the underworld for the players
  • Besides the main route through the underdark, there are lots of side passages and big encounter areas that are “to be designed by the DM or in a Forthcoming Module”, (which they never were)
  • Seeing as there are a lot of passages and travelling, two and half whole pages are given to random encounter tables and descriptions
  • Lots of caverns, lots of monsters
  • Like… lots of monsters – caverns and caverns of 12 bugbears, 14 bugbears, 10 trolls, 18 trolls, no treasure – as Gygax says at the start “Here are the bones of the adventure. You must breathe life into this framework after you flesh it out.”
  • There also seem to be more monsters with names than in the previous modules, eg bugbear chief Grubblik and his son Bruzblid
  • Somewhat oddly, the new monster described at the end, the Jermlaine, only appear in the random monster table for tertiary passages

Date Information – August 1978

  • See info on G1 page
  • Like the G series being released at Origins 78 after the tournament, a month later these were released after the tournament at GenCon
  • The most confirming bit of evidence for their release at GenCon is oddly enough an ad in the October Dragon mag – it’s a full page ad for the G series with a line at the bottom that states “Plus three new modules to be released at GenCon!”
  • Then next month, there’s a full page ad for the D series in the November Dragon mag #20
  • There’s more info about the release at GenCon in the history at DriveThruRPG
  • Official copyright is 1978-09-26, ie September, but that was registered on 1983-01-27