Expedition to the Barrier Peaks

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Expedition to the

Barrier Peaks

Expedition to the Barrier Peaks01.jpg
Type Adventure module
Code/ Abbreviation S3
Edition 1st edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons
Author(s) Gary Gygax
First Published 1980
Series S1, S2, S3, S4
Classification Canon

Expedition to the Barrier Peaks is a 1980 module for the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game, written by Gary Gygax and published by TSR, Inc.


This module is the favorite of many D&D fans. While D&D is a largely a fantasy roleplaying game, S3 tweaks that a bit by introducing science fiction elements.

The adventure takes place on a crashed spaceship in the Barrier Peaks of the World of Greyhawk campaign setting.

The official description from the module:

The Grand Duchy of Geoff has recently been plagued by a rash of unusually weird and terrible monsters of an unknown sort. This western area, particularly the mountain fastness which separates the Grand Duchy from the Dry Steppes, has long been renowned for the generation of the most fearsome beasts, and it has been shunned accordingly—save a handful of hardy souls with exceptional abilities. Within the last few months, however, a walled town not far distant from the area, and four small fortresses as well, have been destroyed by mysterious attacks!

It is the adventurers' job to find the source of these monsters and, if possible, put a stop to them.

Many monsters made their first appearances in Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, including the aurumvorax, froghemoth, and vegepygmy. Additionally, this module features robots and mighty powered weapons such as blaster rifles and laser pistols. This module also contains a fabulous suit of powered armor that allows characters to achieve almost god-like feats (characters have an 18(00) strength while wearing it). Many a Dungeon Master was dismayed to find players with characters wielding these genre-crossing arms, with some of the more conservative DMs (in terms of gameplay) banning them outright outside the confines of the module. Because of these special entities, the module is liberally illustrated to help aid players in understanding their mysterious encounters.

The players will discover that this "dungeon" consists of part of a downed spacecraft, supposedly its inhabitants having succumbed to some sort of disease and died off. Many of the ship's robots are still functioning, however, and the players must either avoid or defeat them (a few are benign, however, and may be ignored). Wandering police robots and an overzealous weightlifting instructor are just two of the automatons that must be dealt with. One of the module's most curious encounters is a medical robot trying in vain to find a cure for the disease which has already killed off the ship's crew.


Most of the artwork for this module, including the cover, was produced by Erol Otus. Several of his contributions were included in full color, highly unusual for modules of this era. His distinctive style permeates the module. Jeff Dee, Greg K. Fleming, David S. LaForce, Jim Roslof, and David C. Sutherland III provided additional illustrations for the module.


Early reviews found the module interesting but often too complex for starting DMs and Players alike.

Expedition to the Barrier Peaks was ranked the 5th greatest Dungeons & Dragons adventure of all time by Dungeon magazine in 2004, on the 30th anniversary of the Dungeons & Dragons game.


  • Gygax, Gary. Expedition to the Barrier Peaks. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1980.
  • Ratecliff, John D., and Bruce R. Cordell. Reverse Dungeon. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2000.
  • Rowland, Marcus. "Open Box." White Dwarf #26. Nottingham, UK: Games Workshop, 1981.

External links