Remembering the Silver Princess

Here’s a fun bit of gaming history: the story of Palace of the Silver Princess, an old Dungeons and Dragons module that was recalled by the publisher on the very day of its release. (You can download the module in PDF format at the above link.) The module was recalled due to objectionable artwork. As the article above notes, the artwork sounds rather tame by today’s standards, but was considered inappropriate for a children’s game.

The module was revised rather heavily and re-released later in a much-altered form. But interestingly, the recall and revision of Palace of the Silver Princess may have saved the gaming community from more than just questionable artwork. Here’s a glimpse at some of the module’s actual content:

By revising the adventure, Moldvay spared us from some really, really lame monsters getting into the canon. There might be some adventurers who want to fight six-legged duckbill rats (“barics”) or go toe-to-toe with bubbles (they’re . . . bubbles), but the prize for true weirdness has to go to the ubues — three-headed, three-armed, oddly gendered creatures who feel as if they’ve somehow wandered out of Gamma World into D&D. Ironically only the decapus, the source of the illustration that caused all the trouble, survived (perhaps because it was featured on the color cover art!).

Duckbill rats? Bubbles? Maybe there’s a place for “oddly gendered” monsters in a roleplaying game somewhere, but I don’t think that place is in an old-school D&D dungeon-crawl.

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