A blog about tabletop gaming
Thanks for this series. I had the same reaction to similar modules, and came up with close to the same solution (this was before Raggi and Kowalski, though): mine the module for what you can, maps, monsters, characters, magic, etc. Start with the basic plot setup, and mess with it.
There were some neat ideas and one or two modules out of nine that weren't just atrocious... The reason I say Jim and Zzarchov is because a lot of these scenarios are based on things that are supposed to be weird and horrific, and I feel like those two do weird/horrific quite well. There are plenty of modules I'd never put anywhere near them, conceptually. :)
Although Ravenloft the module still had some sandbox left in it (how else to explain the Iron Golems in the basement) Ravenloft the campaign setting has some of the worst railroading of any modules produced. After I picked up the one where the DM was expected to kill all adventurers just to start the module I gave up. Jim Raggi is lots better.