Lawrence Shick's White Plume Mountain anymore. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing depends greatly, I think, on what one views as the point of adventures in Dungeons & Dragons. Indeed, it might more truly be said that if one expects adventures to have a point, then odds are good you won't think very well of modules like S2. The only "point" this thin 1979 release has is to provide a fun afternoon's diversion, testing your wits against those of its fiendish designer.
White Plume Mountain is what I call a "funhouse" adventure, which is to say an adventure where naturalistic concerns take a backseat to challenging the players, regardless of logic (or lack thereof). Consequently, one shouldn't think too much about the plausibility of, say, kayaking on a river suspended in mid-air by means of magic, because there's little to be gained by doing so. Certainly one's character is no more likely to survive White Plume Mountain's tricks and traps by cogitating on how the evil wizard Keraptis produced such a wonder, let alone why he did so in the first place.
The basic set-up of White Plume Mountain is well-known: the PCs are hired to recover three mighty magical weapons -- the warhammer Whelm, the trident Wave, and the sword Blackrazor -- from the dungeons of the aforementioned Keraptis, said dungeons being carved inside an active volcano. Each of the magical weapons is powerful and intelligent, but so too is Keraptis, who is so sure that no one will defeat the traps and monsters that guard these stolen prizes that he dares them to try -- and in verse, no less!
Looking back on it now, what stands out is how small the dungeon actually is. There are only 27 numbered rooms in the place, but most of them are so formidable, or at least baffling, that one is left with the impression of White Plume Mountain as more grandiose a complex than it actually is. In that respect, it's a bit like The Tomb of Horrors, except that I've never met anyone who, three decades later, is still cursing Lawrence Schick's name the way many do Gary Gygax's. Part of that is that White Plume Mountain, while very difficult, isn't mean. The adventure doesn't feel like it was designed solely as a poke in the eye of boastful players, but rather as a puzzle or brain teaser good-naturedly offered by one friend to another.
That probably explains why I still have such fond memories of White Plume Mountain, even though I am not, as a rule, a big fan of funhouse dungeons. Somehow -- and I'm still not certain how -- Schick managed to present a challenging collection of tricks and traps, many of which will result in the deaths of the unwise and the unwary, and make it fun. I wasn't joking about the fact that I've never met anyone still bitter about a bad run through White Plume Mountain, because I'm not. In fact, I'd wager that we all know someone who has a great story to tell about a character's spectacular death in this module. Heck, we may have one ourselves. That's a rare achievement and one that truly recalls what I liked best about the Old Days, back when one could lose a character (or multiple characters) in the corridors of a well-made dungeon and do so with pleasure. White Plume Mountain reminds me of what it was like when it was fun to die, if the death was "well earned."
Gamers could probably use more well earned deaths these days.