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A Return to The Village of Hommlet (4E Style)

Monday, August 23rd, 2010 | Posted by John ONeill

hommlet4eHow cool is this? Wizards of the Coast has released an updated version of Gary Gygax’s 1979 classic The Village of Hommlet, one of the most celebrated AD&D adventures and the first part of the notoriously difficult Temple of Elemental Evil mega-campaign, revised to run in the 4th Edition of Dungeons and Dragons. The new version was updated by Andy Collins and is suitable for fourth level characters.

Oh, wait. “Released” is too strong a word. The module was actually a free giveaway WotC mailed to RPGA  members as a DM Reward, and is not available for sale (unless you count eBay, where copies are currently selling for around $50.) Curses!

If you’re the creative sort, Familiar Ground is offering a free copy for one lucky winner, selected randomly from all those who leave a comment with a “gaming or RPG related joke or funny incident.” Deadline is Aug 31.

The original module is still played today by die-hard fans.  It’s been converted to a popular computer game, and the back-story behind it all is annually re-enacted as a tabletop miniatures game at Garycon.  Not bad for a module that’s been out of print for over two decades.

I have fond memories of the original.  And when I’m 80, I hope to have fond memories of tracking down this one.  Let the search begin.


  1. I feel like a bad D&D geek in that I have never played the original, or any “updated” version of this. But this does beg the question from me: When will they come up with a 4E version of “Keep on the Borderlands”? That wad D&D basic training in my house.

    Comment by Tom Doolan - August 23, 2010 5:58 pm

  2. Hey Tom! There hasn’t been a 4E edition of KEEP ON THE BORDERLANDS, nor has there been any new editions (that I’m aware of) since the original in 1979. A shame – although there’s nothing wrong with playing the original today, provided you’ve still got your First Edition rulebooks. :)

    Of course, Kenzer & Co released “Little Keep on the Borderlands” two years ago, to a lot of good press, and it’s well worth the read. I playtested it during the design stage years ago in Dave Kenzer’s basement.


    Comment by John ONeill - August 23, 2010 8:00 pm

  3. also pathfinder’s new adventure scenario “Kingmaker” is very similar to keep on the boarderlands. i realize that it doesn’t have the nostalgia factor. Just something to think about

    Comment by Glenn - August 23, 2010 8:37 pm

  4. John,
    As a longtime gamer, do you play 4E? I have to ask because although it’s ‘cool’ of WOTC, I can’t see you really needing this module in your collection.
    However, speaking on Keep on the Borderlands, I did get Wil Wheaton to sign my tattered copy of that classic at GenCon this year! Yes, true awesome geekness!

    Comment by namelessarchon - August 23, 2010 11:20 pm

  5. I DM’d The Village of Hommlet a long, long time ago. Wow. Nostalgia is great, isn’t it?

    Comment by peadarog - August 24, 2010 5:21 am

  6. Hi namelessarchon,

    No, I’ve never tried 4E. Probably should, since I hear good things. I played 3E for a few months when it came out (does that count?) When I sit down to play AD&D with my kids, we use my First Edition rule books.

    Is Wil Wheaton a D&D gamer? I hadn’t realized. Does that make me old? (Don’t answer that).

    – John

    Comment by John ONeill - August 24, 2010 10:42 am

  7. Hey Peadar!

    Yeah, I have great memories of DM’ing the module as well. What made it great was the sinister backstory, the strong impression of powerful forces at work behind the scenes, their motivations only dimly glimpsed by the players (and then only if they were paying attention). That kind of thing was brand new at the time.

    I remember reading Elizabeth Moon’s novel Divided Allegiance, and realizing it was set in THE VILLAGE OF HOMMLET. I was able to pull out my maps and follow the action. It had the Drow and everything (thinly disguised as a “Spider cult,” of course). That was a blast.

    – John

    Comment by John ONeill - August 24, 2010 10:49 am

  8. Is Wil Wheaton a gamer? Gads, John, you are old *wink*. When I handed him the module he got this huge smile and yelled, ‘Awesome’, then went about flipping pages until he found Bill Willingham’s picture of the minotaur from the Caves of Chaos and said, ‘There! That tough bastard has killed me more times than I’d like to count!’

    Oh, and I did take you for a 1st edition purist, and you know, that is a great thing in my opinion, so 4E would do you no favors.

    Comment by namelessarchon - August 24, 2010 11:00 am

  9. […] of the classic — including the novel, computer game, and the 2010 Village of Hommlet DM reward for RPGA players — and even […]

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  10. Raging Swan Press has published Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands for Pathinder. The boss there stated that the moathouse from The Village of Hommlet was the inspiration for the module.

    It’s a pretty neat throwback.

    Comment by Sherlock - December 5, 2012 3:36 pm

  11. NOw THAT sounds interesting. I’ll have to check that out — thanks for the tip, Sherlock!

    Comment by John ONeill - December 5, 2012 3:58 pm

  12. ece units…

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