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Notes on FEZ I: Valley of Trees

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FEZ I: Valley of Trees was the first of the FEZ modules published by Mayfair Games in their Role-Aids line of adventure modules -- which were labeled as suitable for use with AD&D. The latter got TSR's lawyers in a twist and caused an eventual lawsuit which, as I recall, TSR effectively lost. This module was published in 1982. The FEZ modules, like many early D&D modules, were convention tournament modules converted to a product for all. Unfortunately tournament modules gave a very strange view of what D&D was all about as they were basically designed to kill characters with some variation on whoever made it furtherest into the dungeon before dying is the winner. Sometimes other goals disguised this, but "go far in limited time without dying" was the major design strategy.

FEZ I: Valley of Trees was written by Len Bland & James Robert and is a classic tournament module. Here's the entire description of the module from the back cover:

The wizard, Fez, has staked his life that you can out-reason deadly puzzles and outwit (or outrun) exotic monsters. A Quest to truly test all your dungeoning skills.

Fez I: Valley of Trees is suitable for use with Dungeons & Dragons™ , Advanced Dungeons & Dragons™, Tunnels and Trolls™ , and other popular fantasy role play systems.


In 1987, this module was redesigned and reissued as FEZ I: Wizard's Vale to better fit with the storyline developed in the later FEZ modules. This first edition, however, is pure tournament module with little concession to the needs of a normal campaign, let alone a story.

The FEZ modules were quite popular and sold well for Mayfair. Unfortunately, they did not do much for me of my groups of players. By the time FEZ I was released we had grown very tired of the "tournament dungeon" style. The style was fine for tournaments, but without a lot of work, they did not do so well as part of a regular campaign.

My copy of FEZ I is complete with the cover folder, 40 page modules, and a light cardstock Mayfair promotional insert. It will be given to one of our high donors in our Firecracker Cancer Fund Drive. Here's a picture:

There are some better pictures of a generic copy over on Boardgamegeek.

The Firecracker Cancer Fund Drive is on (through July 12th). Every $10 donated gives you one chance to win a copy of Wee Warriors Palace of the Vampire Queen (the first D&D module published -- in 1976). Highest donors will also divide a huge list of other RPG items from the 1970s and early 1980s (including more rare publications). You can see the complete list of 10 items and read more about this fund drive in this post: OD&D Wee Warriors Goodies Available (For Cancer Fund Donors). This is in addition to the usual PDF downloads and other benefits of a donation to the RetrpoRoleplaying Cancer Fund. To get help us pay our cancer treatment related bills (and to get access to some special downloads and possibly the above mentioned Firecracker items), send a donation in any amount -- small or large -- to me via Paypal. Thank you!

JB said...
July 2, 2010 at 11:53 PM  

I was always a fan of the cover art of Fez III ("Angry Wizard") but wasn't able to get a copy until just recently. Haven't had a chance to run it yet.

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