This is the blog. Click here to go to the Zenopus Archives website.

Note: Many older posts on this blog are missing images, but can be viewed at the corresponding page in the Internet Archive


The Forgotten Smugglers' Cave: Index of Posts

An index of posts describing the Forgotten Smugglers' Cave, an adventure for Holmes Basic characters levels 2-4.                    ...

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Talk Like a Corsair

"The Corsairs of Tallibar were one of the most feared bands of pirates that ever sailed the Nydar Sea.  Nearly 75 years have passed since any captain has quailed at the sight of that dreaded band at his bow.  Were they defeated in some unknown battle or swallowed up by the sea?"

Ahoy! If ye are in the mood to talk pirates today, let's remember Corsairs of Tallibar, an oft overlooked pirate-themed D&D module written by Mike Wilson and published by Judges Guild in 1982. I have to thank a 2012 review by Gnat the Beggar on the Acaeum for bringing it to my attention. Corsairs, and Trial by Fire from 1981 by the same author, seem to be a belated attempt by JG to produce introductory modules. They may be forgotten because they come late in the history of the original Judges Guild and use the "Universal Fantasy Supplement" system employed by JG after they lost the D&D license. They do have higher production values than earlier JG modules, closer to TSR products of the time.

Mike Wilson may have been influenced by Holmes Basic in creating these introductory level modules. Trial by Fire is for 1st level characters, and "is clearly trying to be the B1 of AD&D" according to a review by Ken on goodreads, who elaborates: "even the map looks somewhat similar. It has the same theme of exploring an abandoned fortress with all kinds of interesting rooms". I also noted a room with a door-opening mechanism similar to that of Room D of the Sample Dungeon.

Corsairs of Tallibar is for the same levels as the Basic Set (1-3), and has pirates, a giant octopus, and a sea cave - sort of as if Room M in the Sample Dungeon were used as the inspiration for an entire adventure. 

Bonus Pirate Content: Lemunda = Tiger Lily?

A pirate-themed post from earlier this year, if you missed it previously.


  1. No! I'd like to eventually, perhaps have the players learn the legend of the Corsairs from the pirates in the Sample Dungeon, or from their treasure. Or maybe Lemunda overhead them talking about it.

    I found a single comment on the internet from earlier this year regarding actual play: "Corsairs of Tallibar is another one that my players and I had a blast playing". So someone has played it!

  2. Better late than never, I suppose. I'm the guy who wrote this. Nice to know that some people actually liked it. Man, that was a long time ago, but I still have my original, hand-typed manuscript.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Mike! I ended up running Corsairs at Tridentcon in the fall of 2016. A shortened version of the dungeon so it would fit in the time limits. I also playtested it for my local group beforehand. If you'd like to say hello, email me at I'd love to hear more about how your modules came about etc.

  3. I just ordered Trial by Fire. Hoping to run it with my 1e group. It would be great if Mike considered running one of his JG modules at Gary Con or NTRPG Con.

  4. Neat idea, Dan, but I'm afraid it has been literally decades since I've run a game. I would like to see one of my modules run by a really good DM, though.