Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: First Quest – The Music (Filmtrax, 1985)

First Quest 1985-4

First Quest 1985-5

First Quest 1985-6

First Quest 1985-7

First Quest 1985-8

First Quest 1985-3

First Quest 1985-10

First Quest 1985-9

One of the most obscure pieces of D&D merchandise from the Gygax era, First Quest: The Music is a soundtrack to, and narration of, an adventure outline printed inside the LP (and cassette). The music is instrumental and electronic, most of it reflecting “the forbidding and grim atmosphere of the plot.” The author of Blogonomicon, where I found most of the images above, uploaded the album to YouTube, and I made a playlist featuring the songs in the order they appear on the LP. Give it a listen here.

I have to admit that I love it all, even the bits that are overdone or amateurish. It’s such a brilliant evocation of the time. If John Carpenter or Tangerine Dream had scored a Dungeons & Dragons film in the ’80s, it might have sounded something like the best parts of First Quest (recorded on better equipment.)

David Miller, who wrote the adventure (“It is not meant to be a cake-walk!”) and a lot of the music, and who appears to be the principle organizer, recalls approaching Gary Gygax about the project in a comment at Blogonomicon.

Greetings – my name is David Miller and I was one of the contributors/organizers of/for/to this album. It was a lot of fun getting it together. As anyone who’s played D&D knows, you can’t really play a loose, free-wheeling game to the constraints of the flow of the tracks but it was a gas, nevertheless. As part of all this I went to Los Angeles and visited E. Gary Gygax to get his blessing and support. He lived (as you might expect) in this weird, large old house that did, in fact, look somewhat spooky. As I knocked on the door I heard the sound of a very large and intimidating dog barking from somewhere inside – that was somewhat unsettling… Eventually Mr. Gygax let me in, listened to the album and he was well into it. He also demonstrated for me a variety of manoeuvers by which one could dispatch a varying quantity of orcs, depending on how they approached you, what armaments they were carrying and what mood they were in […]

[…] There were also First Quest T-Shirts (of which I have a couple, still unwrapped) and other stuff, I’m sure. I was responsible for bringing Valentine Dyall on board, more because I’ve always been a huge Goons fan and he was on those recording from time to time sounding quite menacing even amidst the madness. I’m afraid I wrote his voice-over script, which is, indeed, especially mediocre and I cringe even to this day when I hear it. He deserved much better than that, especially as he passed on soon after…not the most fitting swan song. My belated apologies to him. He hadn’t been getting any work for a long time and I hear he was very grateful for this so I’m glad of that, at least. I would have loved to have met him but was out of town when his recording sessions occurred.

Miller is in a “psychedelic synth pop” band called Expandis, whose first EP, Mystic Man, was released in 1983. Phil Thornton, another contributing artist to First Quest, is also in Expandis. Filmtrax was a small British record label active during the 1980s.

The narrator of the quest is Valentine Dyall (1908-1985), a famous British screen and voice actor well known for his portrayal of the Black Guardian in the Tom Baker-era Doctor Who.

The LP cover art is from Jeff Easley’s Dungeon Masters Guide (1983 printing) cover. The sprawling gatefold art is also by Easley.

6 Responses to “<em>Advanced Dungeons & Dragons</em>: <em>First Quest – The Music</em> (Filmtrax, 1985)”

  1. 1 Fractalbat August 18, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    That is amazingly trippy music.

    And look at the levels for the pre-gens! Go big or go home.

    Level 12 monks called “Bloodguard”? Paging Thomas Covenant!

  2. 2 Don Gates August 20, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    That stuff at the beginning sounds like an 8-bit version of Enya backing tracks, pitched way up. This is an interesting and fun find, though. I’ve said before about how obsessed with old D&D because it was forbidden, so stuff like this is a godsend.

  3. 3 Richard Gaskin April 23, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    Wow… fond memories, the album is long gone… they need to re-release this on CD as a nostalgia trip 🙂

  4. 4 L. Witherspoon April 24, 2017 at 2:40 am

    Awesome, man. What a time that must’ve been.

  1. 1 Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Cool, Cool Candles (NSI, 1983) | 2 Warps to Neptune Trackback on September 16, 2014 at 2:28 pm
  2. 2 “The First Quest” AD&D Double LP – Trackback on April 30, 2020 at 10:39 pm

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