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X2 Castle Amber (Basic)
 
$4.99
Average Rating:4.3 / 5
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X2 Castle Amber (Basic)
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X2 Castle Amber (Basic)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Aaron S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/14/2021 17:18:27

A pretty cool module, but I think it's price may be based more on its fame & the cost of a color copy job than anything. Just got D1-2 & S4 also. Better modules with larger page count for similar pricing. As a classic of gonzo modules, though, I'd give the content a 4/5.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
X2 Castle Amber (Basic)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Stephen C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/06/2021 18:02:50

I give this adventure 4 stars instead of 5 because it throws a bunch of whacky and dangerous encounters at you and then sends you out of the castle to flesh out a campaign setting. It felt out of place for what I thought was an adventure module to basically show you a bunch of cool stuff and then sending you packing like that. The bones of the campaign setting they ask you to complete are really interesting, but I didn't buy this to do more work on a setting basically unrelated to the castle I showed up to storm.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
X2 Castle Amber (Basic)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/02/2021 13:27:44

UPDATED

What can I possibly say about Castle Amber? This adventure had always been something of a Holy Grail quest for me. I was a huge fan of Tom Moldvay, I had heard this adventure took place in Glantri and it was full of horror elements. As time went on and I still never found a copy I began to hear more; that it was a crazy dungeon full of crazier NPCs. That it is was more of a thinking module and not a hack and slash one and finally, it was heavily influenced by Clark Ashton Smith, whom I always felt was superior to Lovecraft in many respects.

I did finally get a copy from my FLGS, paid a lot for it, and I also got a copy from DriveThruRPG. The module lives up to the hype. It is not a particularly easy module to run and you better spend a lot of time with it. But for me at that time (the mid-90s when I finally got a copy) it became a great addition to my growing Ravenloft collection. It was not officially part of Ravenloft mind you, but so much of it feels the same that it would have been a crime not to bring them together.

Later I ran it for my family under D&D 5e rules and it quickly became one of their most favorite adventures ever. I started a trend in my family's games; they love anything done by Tom Moldvay.

Castle Amber is an adventure for characters level 3 to 6 for the D&D Expert Set. It was written by Tom Moldvay, who gave us D&D Basic set half of the B/X D&D line. This adventure shows that. While the Expert set was more focused on wilderness adventures, this is a romp through a "haunted house." For many gamers of a certain age this became the template for all sorts of Haunted House dungeons that are still being published today.

Physically the original adventure was a 28 page book with color covers by Erol Otus with the maps of the titular castle in old-school blue on the inside covers. The art inside is black and white and done primarily by Jim Holloway. The art has a duel effect here. Otus was the prime B/X cover artist, so the feel here is 100% his weird fantasy vibe of B/X. Jim Holloway was also at this time the primary artist for the Horror game Chill. Come for the weirdness, stay for the horror.

The adventure is overtly an homage to the tales of Clark Ashton Smith. The area where it all takes place, Averoigne, is used right out of the works of CAS. The Amber family would fit right-in in one of his tales and that is the Colossus of Ylourgne, or rather his D&D counterpart, on the cover. The adventure even includes a reading guide for those that want to read up on the tales of CAS, and I highly recommend doing so.

CAS, and his contemporary H.P. Lovecraft, were no strangers to the D&D world by 1981. Indeed Molday's pulp sensibilities shine throughout in this adventure as much as they did with X1 The Isle of Dread and B4 The Lost City. All three adventures have also been updated by Goodman Games for 5e in their hardcover Original Adventures Reincarnated series, making Moldvay their most reprinted designer. Even more than Gygax himself who as of this writing only has 1, soon to be 2.

There is a lot to love about this adventure too. There are monsters to kill yes, but this is not a kick in the doors and kill the monster sort of deal. There is a mood and atmosphere here. In fact this is the prototype for the horror adventures of later date, in particular Ravenloft (which I will discuss).

On one hand, we have a haunted house filled with the not-quite-dead members of the Amber family. This can be a pulpy nightmare or even a Gothic tale. The room with the Tarot cards and their abilities gives us a sneak peak of some the things we will see in Ravenloft. On the other we have creatures from beyond that are quite Lovecraftian. The Neh-Thalggu, or the Brain Collector, is a creepy ass aberration that can give the Mi-Go a run for their money.

There is travel to other worlds via some strange mists and 16 new monsters. Some of these monsters also appeared in The Isle of Dread, but here they feel a bit different. Plus what other B/X D&D book can you name that has "Demons" and "Pagans" in it.

The background of this is rich enough that you want more of it. More on Averoigne and its connection to Glantri, more on the Amber family, and more on the world that this adventure implies. It is no surprise really that much of this adventure and what it all implies found welcome homes in the BECMI version of Glantri.

For me though the best connection is the one to Ravenloft. I have to admit the last time I ran this adventure I made the tie-ins to Ravenloft more specific, but I did not have to do much. I have to admit I was rather gleeful inside at the scene where they have to run from the "Grey Mists" to get into the castle.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
X2 Castle Amber (Basic)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Jeremy C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/01/2020 11:13:15

This is a fun adventure! If you are fan of Moorcock than this the adventure for you! A crazy family, a castle with inter-dimensional pockets. So fun.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
X2 Castle Amber (Basic)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Michael P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/31/2020 03:11:03

As multiple others ones already wrote, the scans are quite bad and lower the rating by at least a star. They are blurry and bit of the map haven't been covered. While it is easy to get them from other places online, it should't be needed to do.

The adventure itself is a nice funhouse dungeon that is followed by a bit sparser wilderness aprt and another short dungeon. Overall well done and worth the price.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
X2 Castle Amber (Basic)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Jay G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/06/2019 19:46:47

The module itself is fantastic and feels like a it mixes some 'funhouse' elements similar to Tegel Manor with almost Ravenloft-esque elements as far as being tied to a pocket dimension. It definitely shows its age as it hints at more background and setting than it actually delivers.

My one major criticism would be the way the map is scanned makes it basically not usable (I bought the print-on-demand version). For me personally I'd go from 3 stars to 4 if this included a copy of the PDF for no additional cost alongside the POD copy so I could print the map without the binding in the middle of it.

The adventure is fun and certainly different than a lot of what was available around the same time. To get best value I would encourage either buying the PDF or the POD & PDF combo, not just the POD like I did.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
X2 Castle Amber (Basic)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Joshua R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/15/2014 02:50:55

Five stars for content, but with a portion of the map missing, it can only score three.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
X2 Castle Amber (Basic)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Darin S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/06/2013 13:40:44

I loved this adventure when it first came out. It ranks high on most surveys on peoples favorites and I agree with those assessments. The eclectic cast of characters is a highpoint for me. Other than the map issue (mentioned in other reviews) the scan is very nicely done. The monster on the cover gave me the shivers back in the day. "OMG! It's using a tree for a club! Run!"



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
X2 Castle Amber (Basic)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Samuel K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/25/2013 23:43:04

Great adventure, reviewed by many, and I don't have much to add about that. However, I'd like to second the criticism the previous reviewers criticism of the scan. The main map (on the inside of the cover) has some missing right down the middle. I would really like WotC to correct this, the way they did for the same problem with B2 - rescan the map as one large landscape page, rather than splitting it up and cropping it too short. Thanks.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
X2 Castle Amber (Basic)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Ron A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/09/2013 22:51:28

This, by far, is the funnest module I ever ran back in the day. This electronic version, unfortunately, was trimmed short on the left edge of the right hand map of the manor. Since I do most of my gaming in the VTT venue these days I find that to be a major flaw preventing me from recommending it to others unless WotC is willing to re-scan the map and release it as an update to the product.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
X2 Castle Amber (Basic)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Dave B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/27/2006 00:00:00

I'd always wanted this module but never picked it up originally so was please to have the chance here and wasn't dissapointed in the slightest. This has to be one of the Classics of D&D, brilliantly written and well thought out. Great quality scans.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
X2 Castle Amber (Basic)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Andrew M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/02/2004 00:00:00

Basic DnD meets Clark Ashton Smith and Roger Zelazny-- what's not to like about this product? One of the first semi-psychadelic DnD adventures (Beyond the Magic Mirror came much later), this is a hoot to read and a blast to run.<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: It feeds my Old Guy nostalgia addiction.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Should be cheaper. Come on Hasbro-- haven't you cashed in enough on the bones of old school DnD?<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
X2 Castle Amber (Basic)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Stephen B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/31/2004 00:00:00

I was delighted with the quality PDF file for this module. It has printed well also - a highly recommended adventure !



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
X2 Castle Amber (Basic)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Matthew U. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/22/2004 00:00:00

A quirky adventure that's hard to find outside this PDF. Repeats some info from Isle of Dread (see Expert Set).



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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