|Trial of the Beast|
Note: If you have recently started playing 5th edition D&D and are worried about converting the below to that game, I would argue that most, if not all of these can be readily converted to 5e. The only edition of the game where real conversion problems exist I would say is 4e, which was a radically different game in many ways. However, even here I think a 5e conversion could be attempted. None of the below adventures were written for 4e, which speaks volumes about 4e generally.
A Murder At Flaxton
This adventure appeared in White Dwarf 67 IIRC. It was one of the first D&D adventures I ran that involved more than simply kicking down doors and killing whatever was inside. We had already begun to realise there was more to the D&D game when we played module B6, The Veiled Society, but this one was even better. The adventurers are tasked with looking for missing customs agents along a strip of remote coast line. It is written for low level characters and the opposition is tough but not insurmountable. The scenario provides enough flexibility for the GM that the NPC opposition can react according to what the adventurers themselves can get up to. I ran this again recently using Lamentations of the Flame Princess, for which it is ideally suited, and it went swimmingly again. A Murder At Flaxton should still work well with 5th edition characters. I particularly enjoy the atmosphere of the little village on the coast, reminiscent of 17th century Cornwall or Devon, hence its possible appeal to Lamentations GMs.
Star of Darkness
This adventure was published in issue 68 of White Dwarf in the mid-1980s for AD&D and was partly intended to serve as a stage for the brand new Artificer class for the game. Star of Darkness came at a time when the White Dwarf team were at the top of their game - there was just so much excellent content in the magazine between 1984 and 1988. Star of Darkness was the first proper wilderness adventure I ran after The Isle of Dread. I believe I had a party of 3rd level adventurers at the time, but this one was a cracker, a real challenge for them. There are dungeons, there is a conspiracy, there are numerous personalities, all with their own agendas. Several of my best anecdotes in roleplaying come from Star of Darkness - there is an awesome sting in the tail awaiting characters as well. It should be quite easy to slot this adventure into your own campaign, as it is pretty generic. Watching my players piece together the puzzle and seeing it suddenly dawn on their faces - priceless.
The Keep on the Borderlands
Trial of the Beast (Carrion Crown Adventure Path)
This is actually a Pathfinder scenario and comes as the second part on the 2011 adventure path Carrion Crown. It is designed for 4th level player characters and to make sense probably needs to be played in sequence after Haunting of Harrowstone, although I expect an enterprising GM could adapt it to their own campaign. The scenario is inspired by Frankenstein, but has the characters cast in the role of trying to defend a flesh golem on trial for his 'life' while he seeks revenge himself. It is an interesting story which still includes some more traditional dungeon bashing coupled with investigation and intrigue. One of its best elements is the constant question mark hanging over the monster himself - whose side is he on? Can he be trusted? Frequently evidence emerges to cast new doubts on his innocence. There should be more adventures like this one. As you're probably guessing by now, I'm a fan of adventures with a bit of mystery. This is harder to achieve with D&D at higher levels, however, when characters are de facto superheroes. One downside I think is the presence of Alchemist NPCs, who play an important part in the plot - you'd need some alternative if not playing Pathfinder.
A Strange Storm (Lamentations of the Flame Princess)
This is the starter scenario which appears in the Grindhouse Edition of Lamentations of the Flame Princess I can't speak for later editions, it may be in them too. A Strange Storm should be easily adaptable to most other editions of D&D, although 4th edition might be a challenge. It is very difficult to say much about this adventure without spoiling it. As a scenario, it requires an experienced GM who is both familiar with his rules and can manage the activities of the various protagonists, which will become increasingly complex. The scenario begins with the adventurers travelling towards an inn, through a forest in a storm. I can't really say more than that. But I've played as a character in this and it was very enjoyable as we struggled to get to the bottom of the mystery. I'd heartily recommend it to veteran GMs with a party of low level characters. It is easily playable in a single evening in my view. Higher level (4+) PCs will make short shrift of this in my view, but worth a crack with lower level chaps.
Palace of the Silver Princess
Horror on the Hill
This was the fifth in the Basic D&D series and arguably my favourite of the lot. While it does not include a settlement for the adventurers to base themselves in, it does feature an extensive wilderness area and and awesome dungeon with some excellent twists. It would only really be a challenge for adventurers up to about 4th level in my view, after which some of the key encounters would be too easy. It is probably too tough for 1st level characters; I'd advise a party of at least 2nd level. The wilderness section is very interesting because it covers the wooded slopes of a dormant volcano. Some of the wildlife is pretty unique - e.g. steam weevils - and there are some interesting encounters, like a turbulent family of ogres and some mysterious old women, not to mention a huge hobgoblin camp which adventurers are best advised to steer clear of. Horror is also easily dropped into a conventional campaign setting like the Forgotten Realms. D&D 5e GMs might need to do a bit of work on the stats but this adventure is much easier to drop into a 5e campaign than a 4e one.
The Witchfire Trilogy
This is actually a sequence of adventures written for low level characters and using the world setting of the very popular War Machine miniatures wargame. It takes place in a fantasy steam punk world, hence there is some reference to the more advanced technology, but to be honest, IIRC the party of adventurers I was a part of had the most sophisticated technology on the block when we played this and much of the steampunk took a back seat otherwise. One would almost suspect that the author had written this originally for an earlier edition of D&D, updated that stats for 3e, and then dropped it into the Iron Kingdoms. Since Witchfire, Iron Kingdoms has gone its own way as a stand alone RPG outside D&D, but this series is particularly memorable for its strong NPCs and the sense of mystery and working against tough foes that it engenders. You do get the impression that there is a conspiracy on the march in this campaign, and you are never sure who you can trust completely.
Trouble At Grag's (Dungeon Magazine)
Blizzard Pass was actually a solo adventure for Basic D&D, but it included a multi-player version of the same adventure at the back, which I think is always a good idea. My cousin ran this one for us, back in 1986-87. It is really more of an extended encounter for low level characters, but it is good fun. The weather plays a big role in this, as the player characters are crossing a high pass in some mountains when the blizzard sweeps in and they get ambushed by goblins. There is more to these goblins than meets the eye, of course. This is a good, short adventure which should consume no more than one, maybe two sessions at the most. It is very atmospheric, which is what I liked about it. It was really written for early stage Dungeon Masters and their players, but would be ideal for someone looking to introduce a group of kids to D&D. What I didn't realise was that the adventure was turned into a text-based game for the Spectrum ZX in 1986 - there is a video walk through below. I'm presuming that this must still be available for download.