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IM3 The Best of Intentions (Basic)
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IM3 The Best of Intentions (Basic)

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Prime Plane immortals are dying like flies: nasty, violent deaths. The Hierarchs suspect Entropy, as usual, especially with all the rumors of demons' involvement. To top it all off, one of the Hierarchs is missing?Mazikeen.

Your mission as novice Temporals, should you choose to accept it, is to find Mazikeen, uncover his kidnaper, and bring him or her to a court of Immortal Justice. This entails much more than a mere detective job?it also means taking part in the Immortal Olympics and going plane-hopping with the best (or worst?) of them.

Should you not accept this mission, the fate of all Prime Plane immortals rests on your heads. (Well, it rests there anyway, but this is meant to make you more than a little guilty about not accepting?after all, you're supposed to be duty-bound and all that kind of thing, and if you don't do this, then who will? Huh? Did you ever think about that, Bucko?)

Adventure for 4-6 immortal-level characters.

Product History

IM3: "The Best of Intentions" (1987), by Ken Rolston, is the third and final Immortals Set adventure for Basic D&D. It was published in August 1987.

Origins (I): More Immortals. TSR published just three adventures for the Immortal Rules (1986), all for low-level Temporals. "The Best of Intentions" is the third and last of them.

Origins (II): From Paranoia with Love. In the mid '80s designer and developer Ken Rolston and artist Jim Holloway were best known for one thing: their work on the satirical, conspiratorial, backstabbing roleplaying game, Paranoia (1984). When they came together to design and illustrate a new adventure for D&D, one could only suspect that it would be influenced by Paranoia … and that indeed seems to be the case.

"The Best of Intentions" mixes together several elements that were used in Paranoia including bureaucratic commands, oblivious NPCs, and more humor than you can throw an immortal at. The adventure's individual illustrations and its individual episodes both could have come straight out of a Paranoia adventure. In fact, one of Mazikeen's planes, "The Warren", actually appears to be Paranoia's world of Alpha Complex.

Adventure Tropes: An Immortal Adventure. TSR got just three tries to demonstrate what an Immortals adventure looked like; "The Best of Intentions" kept with some of the same tropes as the earlier modules, including: delegation of the task from Immortal muckity-mucks; an investigation into a violation of the Immortals' prime directive of not interfering with the Prime Plane; and a magical mystery tour across the planes. However, Rolston offers some variety from this standard formula by raising mortal events like the Olympic games and a courtroom trial to the immortal plane. He even brings things down to Earth with a War Machine battle — something that was much more common in the Companion-level and Master-level adventures.

Having now surveyed the entire corpus of Immortals adventure, we can say that as a whole they look a whole lot like other D&D adventures. They're about parties of adventurers who travel together and who have similar adventures to those of lower-level parties, just at a higher level of existence. Oh, there might be more investigation than in classic adventures, but there's still just as much exploring — usually across the planes, rather than through dungeons. In fact, of all the Immortal/i>-level adventures, "The Best of Intentions" may have been the most like a classic D&D module, perhaps because Immortal Rules creator Frank Mentzer was increasingly disappearing in the rear-view mirror, leaving new designers to make their own decisions about the Immortals world.

In the end, it feels like the Immortal-level adventures may have missed some of the more interesting parts of the Immortal experience, like creation and rulership. But perhaps that would have come along if the Immortal-level adventures had ever ascended to higher levels of play, beyond the Temporals.

Genre Tropes: Humor. Over the years, Basic D&D gained a reputation for being the lighter-hearted version of D&D — the one that was willing to be silly. The lightness was reflected early on in action-figure-related XL1: "Quest for the Heartstone" (1984) and science-fantasy CM4: "Earthshaker!" (1985), while there were puns and jokes in AC4: "The Book of Marvelous Magic" (1985). However, many of the early Known World adventures were actually pretty serious.

"The Best of Intentions" may have been the turning point for the Basic D&D line. It was full of satire (especially the NPCs) and it was full of parody (such as the Olympic games). The cover really says it all: an immortal slips on a banana peel and crushes a temple.

The silliness of "The Best of Intentions" may have been part of a trend toward humorous adventures at TSR, which also saw the publication of WG7: Castle Greyhawk (1988) a few months later.

Exploring the Spheres. As usual, "The Best of Intentions" includes a tour of Basic D&D planes that have never been heard of before and would never be seen again. Mazikeen himself has 24 of them, then the adventure ends in Pharamond's plane, Nous.

"The Best of Intentions" also references the Nightmare Dimension as part of its backstory; these alternate realities were brought to prominence in the Immortal Rules.

Exploring the Known World. The adventure briefly touches down in northwestern Thyatis, revealing a war with trolls.

NPCs of Note. The big bad of this adventure is Pharamond, empyreal of energy, while Mazikeen, celestial of energy, is a notable macguffin.

The five hierarchs also recur: Solarios (Energy), Nyx (Entropy), Terra (Matter), Khoronos (Time), and Noumena (Thought). This is almost the list from IM1: "The Immortal Storm" (1986), except that "Terra" from IM2: "The Wrath of Olympus" (1987) has replaced Djea. Which means that the Immortals adventures had slightly inconsistent lists of hierarchs in every adventure!

Future History. This was the end of the Immortals adventures. The whole idea of immortality in Basic D&D would get a big revamp in Wrath of the Immortals (1992).

About the Creators. Rolston worked throughout the industry in the '80s, with some of his biggest projects being a variety of Chaosium products at the start of the decade, then the development of Paranoia (1984) through the middle years. His first TSR product was C3: "The Lost Island of Castanamir" (1984).

About the Product Historian

The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to shannon.appelcline@gmail.com.

 
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Product Information
Author(s)
Rule System(s)
Pages
48
Edition
1.0
Publisher Stock #
TSR 9207
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File Last Updated:
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This title was added to our catalog on August 30, 2016.