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Sword and Shield (Basic)
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Sword and Shield (Basic)

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The Black Knight is a mighty warrior. Even though he acts a lot like a bandit, they say he keeps his word. The Black Knight usually raids local towns, but now he is sending out invitations. He offers a tournament, a contest of honor, to all comers.

But why would the Black Knight hold a contest? Maybe something more is going on. There is only one way to find out!

This module is the first entry-level adventure written especially for a DUNGEON MASTER and a single player. Recommended for one fighter, cleric, dwarf, or elf of levels 1-3 (An option allows for using more characters if you wish).

Product History

"Sword and Shield" (1992), by John Terra, is the third Thunder Rift adventure. It was published in August 1992.

Origins: Simple Adventures. Following the publication of the black boxed The New Easy-to-Master Dungeons & Dragons Game (1991), TSR published introductory adventures for their new, introductory game. "Sword and Shield" was the third of these, and the first to follow the Thunder Rift (1992) sourcebook.

Graphic Tropes. Like the rest of the Thunder Rift series, "Sword and Shield" contains lots of evocative graphical elements, including a pair of maps (one for the GMs and one for player) and a set of cardstock figures for use on the player's battle map.

Adventure Tropes. The other Thunder Rift scenarios were all fairly simple dungeon crawls. "Sword and Shield" is strikingly different. Though it does include a castle to explore, that's offered in the context of a knightly tournament. The player may get to explore a bit, but then he'll be called away to join in the tourney. This sort of event-driven play was otherwise unknown in the Thunder Rift series.

Adventures Tropes: You vs. The World. "Sword and Shield" is also a one-on-one scenario, intended for one GM and one fighter PC. This was a first for the Thunder Rift series, though not a first for TSR, who had begun a similar series of "HHQ" one-on-one challenges (1992-1995) for AD&D earlier in the year.

One-on-one adventures are always be a bit of a challenge for D&D play because of the unique skills available to different classes. "Sword and Shield" accounts for that by giving its singular fighter a ring of regeneration.

Expanding D&D. TSR published jousting rules for Basic D&D back in the Companion Rules (1984) but nothing like that was available in the much simpler black box revision. Thus "Sword and Shield" contains a new set of jousting rules, to support the tournament.

Exploring Thunder Rift. The Keep of the Black Knight was one of the "Rumor" locales in the Thunder Rift sourcebook; it now gets a full description here. This adventure also builds on the conflict between fighters and wizards that was detailed in Thunder Rift.

About the Creators. Ironically, John Terra also wrote HHQ1: Fighter's Challenge (1992) earlier that year; it was another martial one-on-one adventure. He was also doing extensive work for West End's Torg line at the time.

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

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March 13th, 2012
Adventure for the Thunder Rift setting includes a full color battlemap for the whole module, D&D ruleset [...]
February 23rd, 2007
Sword and Shield is designed as a one-player adventure in the Thunder Rift min-setting for basic D&D. It has a single (combative) hero PC of 1st to 3rd level compete in a knightly contest, while trying to fend off evil knights and rescue some kidn [...]
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Product Information
Silver seller
Rule System(s)
Publisher Stock #
TSR 9387
File Size:
10.27 MB
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File Last Updated:
November 07, 2016
This title was added to our catalog on November 08, 2016.