14 October 2018

Kellri's 18 Module Challenge - Day 13: "The Ruins of Andril" by Ian Melluish

Day 13 - A Module I Like from the 1980s:  "The Ruins of Andril" by Ian Melluish 

I'm picking up Kellri's 18-Day Module Challenge again today, a few days after my last entry (Day 12 - A Module From My Youth:  "Treasure of the Dragon Queen" by Rutgers University Gamers).  I got busy with work, and my need for sleep time outweighed my need to write ;)

Dragon Magazine #81 (January 1984) front cover"The Ruins of Andril" cover art by Roger Raupp

"The Ruins of Andril" was written and designed by Ian Melluish, and published in Dragon Magazine #81 (January 1984) as the winner of the Dungeon Design Content (category A-3, a dungeon adventure for 4-8 AD&D PCs of levels 8-11 ) announced in Dragon #65 (September 1982).  

The Egyptian-themed desert adventure is set in the ruined (and cursed!) desert city of Ruatha within the "Sea of Dust" (not Greyhawk's, though), followed by four small dungeon levels with 42 total encounter areas.  The curse was laid upon the city and its peoples by Thoth, Egyptian god of knowledge, and nerfs divination spells cast within the ruins.

Why I Love "The Ruins of Andril"

Despite the nerfing of divinations (a school of magic I'm quite fond of as a player and DM), "The Ruins of Andril" is probably tied with "The Garden of Nefaron" in Dragon #53 (September 1981) and "The Dancing Hut" in Dragon #83 (March 1984) as my favorite adventure published in Dragon during it's heyday.  

I enjoyed running it a few times back-in-the-day, and these aspects still stand out to me as cool today:

  • "The Ruins of Andril" is written for higher-level PCs (8th-11th), and could easily be expanded to include the desert wilderness surrounding the ruined city, as well as the ruins themselves (and the nearby town, for that matter)
  • I like desert settings, and this adventure would combine nicely with I9, X4-5-10, UK6, I3-5, and/or C2 (among others!), if desired
  • The dungeon site rises from the sands only once every two years, and if the PCs don't escape its confines before it sinks, then they're stuck for two more years (a bit of a Brigadoon-like environ...)
  • Three of the levels are connected by shafts rather than stairs
  • Well-illustrated by Roger Raupp---I've not always been a big fan of his artwork, but it fits the scenario, setting, and tone of the module fabulously
  • Gates to the four elemental planes and excellent monsters selections and tactics round out the scenario
The doesn't really sound like it adds up to much, I suppose, but "The Ruins of Andril" does play well!

Three Runners Up

While I enjoy and admire many TSR module designs, I'm going to highlight three non-TSR ones this time around, to help feature a trio of perhaps-less-well-known adventures:
  • Beastmaker Mountain by Bill Fawcett (Mayfair Games, 1982):  a classic delve into the lair of an experimenter wizard who married a demon-conjuring wife!; Fawcett's ]article "Orlow's Inventions Can Liven Up Your Life" from TD#30 (October 1979) is also included for use with the module, and he also wrote a sequel to Beastmaker in 1983, Tower of Magicks
  • CH-2 Seren Ironhand by Tom Moldvay (Challenges Inc., 1986):  the middle of a three part module series, but the only title published (the other two are CH-1 The Morandir Company and CH-3 The Halls of the Mountain Kings), Seren Ironhand lures PCs into a raid on some river pirates, who live in the site of an ancient dwarven mountain kingdom
  • Garden of the Plantmaster by Rob Kuntz (Creations Unlimited, 1987):  a magical garden grown twisted through demonic influence, Kuntz originally created the Garden for Castle Greyhawk, and expanded it in conjunction with the Lost City of the Elders

My other posts in Kellri's 18 Day Module Challenge:

  1. Day 12:  "Treasure of the Dragon Queen" by Rutgers University Gamers
  2. Day 11:  S4 Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth by Gary Gygax
  3. Day 10:  Return of the Eight by Roger E. Moore
  4. Day 9:  Pavis and Big Rubble by Greg Stafford, Steve Perrin, Oliver Dickinson, & Diverse Hands 
  5. Day 8:  Angmar, Land of the Witch King by Heike Kubasch 
  6. Day 7:  X2 Castle Amber by Tom Moldvay
  7. Day 6:  DMG Monastery Dungeon by Gary Gygax
  8. Day 5:  S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks by Gary Gygax
  9. Day 4:  "Deep Shit" by Jeff Barber
  10. Day 3:  A Fabled City of Brass by Anthony Huso
  11. Day 2:  Masks of Nyarlathotep by Larry DiTillio
  12. Day 1:  Empire of the Ghouls by Wolfgang Baur
  13. Day 0:  These are a Few of My Favorite Things...



  1. My first issue of Dragon, purchased off the rack from B. Dalton! It was very exciting to find a removable module in the center. I still have that copy of Ruins of Andril.

  2. It's one of my favorite adventures published in Dragon. An excellent first issue, Zach! :D



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