I have been playing tabletop RPG's since the mid-1990's. One of the first adventures I ever played the DM got from a magazine. I would really like to figure out what the adventure was called so I can find a copy.

Here is what I remember.

  • This was approx 1995 or 1996 so the adventure would have been from around that time or earlier.
  • At the time we were playing D&D 2nd ed. So this adventure was most likely for that system.
  • It was from a magazine. I'm not positive, but I don't think it was Dungeon magazine.
  • The DM made us roll up characters based on ourselves – I don't know if this was actually part of the adventure or he just thought it was a good idea because there was almost no combat or anything.
  • Almost all of the adventure was solving puzzles.
  • If you died you got resurrected. There was some way to keep track of how many lives you used.
  • There were white feathers given to players. I cannot remember if you got a white feather for dying or for successfully solving a puzzle.

I would appreciate if anyone could point me to this adventure.

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Holy unexpected flashback, Batman! I've played this adventure. I didn't know it was a pre-made one. The feather tokens were given for passing the puzzles. There was a room with swinging spiked pendulums that you had to cross, right? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 23, 2014 at 4:01
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, I'm pretty sure there were swinging pendulums. And an area where with a sign that said something like "peace" and the monster would let you pass if you left your weapons. \$\endgroup\$
    – MichelleJS
    Commented Sep 23, 2014 at 9:17

1 Answer 1


I'm pretty sure that this is Code of the Rats from Shadis Issue #21. It's by Dave Dollar and ran around 30 pages according to the Shadis Index. (Search for 'rats'.) It's also referred to as "From Spuds to Studs" in RPG.net's article index.

(Billed on the cover as "The Only Introductory Fantasy Adventure You'll Ever Need.") It was:

  • Published in 1995.
  • In Shadis Magazine, rather than Dungeon.
  • System agnostic, but easily adaptable to AD&D.
  • Full of different puzzles with either very little or no combat.
  • It used white feathers gained from solving puzzles as 'extra lives'
  • Even if you ran out of feathers, character death wasn't final. (I wish I could recall how or why.)

I didn't have the adventure, but I borrowed it from a friend. I played it myself and ran it as a starting adventure for a new group of AD&D 2nd Edition players in high school. I don't believe that it originally contained characters based on the players, as I think we used regular characters for it.

I tried to find some more information about it online, but didn't come up with any descriptions or reviews of it after a quick googling.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm trying to get a hold of this to confirm but that sounds right. Kenzerco has pdfs of the first 8 issues for sale on their website but nothing later. \$\endgroup\$
    – MichelleJS
    Commented Sep 23, 2014 at 18:21
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ The three magazines our local shop carried when I was run through this adventure were Dragon, Dungeon, and Shadis, so it's very likely. It's also highly unlikely for two such adventures to have been published at that time. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 23, 2014 at 18:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've ordered a copy on amazon but I'm marking this correct in the meantime. Thankyou very much. \$\endgroup\$
    – MichelleJS
    Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 18:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm 99% sure that it's correct. I just wish I could find more info to back it up. Enjoy the adventure! \$\endgroup\$
    – Discord
    Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 20:09

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