Monday, March 16, 2015

Palace of the Silver Princess

Palace of the Silver Princess was originally the project of Jean Wells, and later rewritten by Tom Moldvay. The module was, and continues to be embroiled in controversy for a number of reasons. I do not know the truth of the matter, and can only present some the information that I have been able to find on the interwebz along with some of my own commentary.

  • An article from the Acaeum that details the events surrounding the creation of the module, and the editorial complaints against the original version.
  • Podcast interview of Jean Wells at Save or Die!
  • Part deux of an interview with Jean Wells at Grognardia, which describes some of the events surrounding the development of B3 from the view of the author.
  • Some information about Duchess and Candella, two of the NPCs found in the module.
  • A post from Old School FRP on some of the differences between the orange and green cover modules.
  • A short paper by Chris Danielson at that proposes some theories about why things turned out the way they did for Jean Wells.

It has been claimed that Palace of the Silver Princess was known internally as Phallus of the Silver Princess, but it is not clear how widespread this name was used, or why it was selected.

Was it because "palace" rhymes with "phallus" (to this day, I know gamers who make up silly names like this to make sport of other players), or was it because of the artwork in the module?

Adventurer offering a bear cub his "meat"?

Statue of t-girl replaced with statue of dragon?

The issues with the artwork seem more like people seeing things that are not actually there because of their own hang-ups, but to this day I read comments claiming how the author (Wells) had some sort of weird [sexual] obsessions - most likely from people who did not even read the original module or see the "offensive" pieces of art (many of which were not even drawn by Wells).

Finally, the various puritanical comments quoted in Danielson's paper by various TSR staffers seem rather ridiculous, since a year after the publication of the sanitized B3, TSR went on to approve production of a children's toy that looked like this:

Is that a dagger in your belt or are you just glad to see me?

If someone was offended by the Roslof or Wells illustrations,
what would they make of these?


  1. Here's an article from Wired that gives some more commentary on the background of the module.

    I'm not sure what to make of Willingham's comments, but I get the feeling he was not particularly fond of Wells. This article on his comments from GenCon 2015s Writing Women Friendly Comics panel presents another possibility.