The Most Dangerous Game leaps from high school anthologies to D&D table

Books RPGs

Teacher creates Dungeons & Dragons adventures from classic literature

A new Dungeons & Dragons-compatible adventure based on a classic, oft-adapted American short story is melding 20th century literature with a popular D&D setting and some of the game’s most recent beginner-friendly trends.

Richard Connell’s short story The Most Dangerous Game has been a staple of middle school and high school English lit readers for years. It had sort of subsided to the back of my mind and intermingled with H.G. Wells’ Island of Dr. Moreau, but when S.J Twining sent me a copy of his Dungeon Master’s Guild-published adventure based on the story of the same name, it all came rushing back to me: the shipwreck, the hunt, the hounds.

The adaptation from Twining’s “Wandering Monsters” label takes inspiration for its format from the recent D&D Essentials Kit, a new kind of introduction for players and DMs that uses a more open-world format than previous Starter Sets.

The Most Dangerous Game is described as “an introductory island-survival adventure for 1st-4th level characters,” taking place over the span of three days:

“After catastrophic shipwreck in Xen’drik’s Thunder Sea, a party of aspiring monster
hunters is marooned on a rugged and isolated jungle island, surrounded by raging
seas, treacherous rocks, and hostile sea devils. Stranded and bereft of even the
simplest of weaponry, the adventurers must survive challenging and unsettling
encounters in perilous wilds and blasted landscapes, teeming with savage creatures—
while fleeing a mad Karnaathi general, a disgraced and bloodthirsty veteran of The
Last War and master of the hunt in, The Most Dangerous Game.”

“With 12 encounter locations and any number of possible permutations, TMDG provides players with autonomy, to a degree — they are captives, after all — within a framework that drives the adventure plot,” Twining told me.

Dungeon Master’s Guild gives creators an official path to self-publish adventures and accessories for D&D’s Fifth Edition.

The Most Dangerous Game module also firmly sets its adaptation in the Eberron campaign world, which has seen a resurgence lately in official D&D products, first online and soon in print as well.

“When Wizards of the Coast made the setting a priority, it was clear that the property would be one that would be fully-supported. And, in particular, the post-war environment of Eberron in the wake of The Last War provides the moral ambiguity and cynicism I was seeking for the dark tale,” Twining said. “Connell’s short story … was written in 1924 — just a few years after the end of The Great War that ravaged the world in the 20th century — and the potential parallels between the two are unmistakable. The Karrnathi general and his warforged enforcer were the ideal surrogates for Zaroff and Ivan, the villains of Connell’s tale (Zarrov and Maximillian in the adventure). And Xen’drik! You can do anything in Xen’drik. It was the perfect location for the remote Ship-Trap Island.”

“I selected Eberron as the setting for The Most Dangerous Game for a number of reasons. Aside from my own affinity for the neo-noir campaign setting, the (relatively) recent additions of Wayfinder’s Guide to Eberron and Morgrave Miscellany, helmed by Keith Baker and Ruty Rutenberg, paved the way for community creators with the officially sanctioned material available on the DMsGuild. A host of extremely patient writers, artists, and cartographers, have produced new material for the five-year-old 5th Edition system including massive projects like the 12-episode Across Eberron adventure path. It was finally possible. With the announcement of the Eberron sourcebook at DnDLive2019, the potential for even deeper exploration into Khorvaire and beyond was on the horizon.”

Twining, once a teacher of literature, said his adaptation of The Most Dangerous Game is just the beginning of a series of Dungeons & Dragons adventures from classic literature he has planned, and gave us a look at what’s coming down the line:

The Most Dangerous Game is the first in a series of adventures drawing on classic literature and the next release, due out after the premiere of the Eberron 5e sourcebook in November, is based on the grisly Edgar Allan Poe tale, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.” Of course, in this case it’s The Murders in the Rue Morgrave, and it’s based in Sharn, the City of Towers.”

You can purchase The Most Dangerous Game for D&D 5th Edition here.

Nerdvana may earn a small share of sales made via links from this article.


Discuss Literary Adventures at the Facebook group 'For the Love of All Things Edgar Rice Burroughs.'


Here and there ...

Tagged , , , , ,
Jayson Peters
Digital, social and print media pro. Nerdvana's founder, curator and editor.