If you were to ask any avid fan of Dungeons and Dragons adventures name the classic adventures the names that come up time again are Tomb of Horrors, Expedition To The Barrier Peaks, The Temple of Elemental Evil, and most likely either Ravenloft or the 5e version Curse of Strahd.
Whist these adventures are indeed classic it this doesn’t actually mean they are the adventure a Dungeon Master should turn for inspiration when they decided they want to create their own campaign within a homebrew world. For that Dungeon Masters are advised to an adventure created by TSR UK Night’s Dark Terror for the expert set which veteran blogger DM David decided was the greatest Dungeons and Dragons adventure since 1985 (a viewpoint with which I agree).
Within its 64 pages this adventure contains an entire world of play including wilderness, sizeable town, factions, characters, challenges, intrigue, mysteries, unique locations setbacks and plenty of opportunities for heroics all within levels 2-4.
It does all this with the bare minimum of fuss. Information is where you need it. Boxed text is no longer or shorter than what you need to set the scene. Rooms and locations are compactly described and there are lots of maps including a very large early location map for miniature play.
There is much within this adventure that has made its way to 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons. The Code Legal in Waterdeep: Dragon Heist looks inspired by the Laws of the Clerical Court of the city of Threshold, the Dellmon Ranch encounter in 5e Princes of the Apocalypse is a simple rift on the Siege of Sukiskyn, and the 5e Winter Wolf is the adventures Ice Wolf.
For Dungeon Masters the adventure highlights how staying compact with your ideas and word count combined with good presentation achieves everything you need. It also subtly demonstrates how to create an adventure has a clear path through it without appearing linear. At all times the players are provided with information that allows them to decided how they should proceed without being forced.
Mastering this style enables two important things to occur at your gaming table: 1) the players do feel like they are having an adventure of their choosing and become immersed in the world and motivated to continue on and 2) the Dungeon Master doesn’t have to worry about creating mountains of material just in case the players will go off-book.
Whether you decided to run this adventure or not it will help any DM who takes the time to read it with a template to success. Nights Dark Terror can be purchased from the DMsGuild.