Do you have any recommendations that have to be played?
Well, I more or less approve of all the modules listed here
, but personally I'd particularly recommend:
- all designs by Ray Dyer (Realms series, Far West series, Realms Olde Adventures series), if you're looking for that oldschool Pen and Paper flair
- all the designs by Ben Sanderfer included in that list (particularly AT1: Dark Alliance and AT2: Dark Wizardry Pt. 1), if you're looking for more Goldbox style adventuring in Phlan and Krynn
- The Sect by Ben Jockisch, if you want a very good epic Goldbox style game with its own setting and humor that spans across a huge range of character levels and takes perhaps 20-40(?) hours to play through; easily the longest of the top quality designs
- everything by Darius Whiteheart (especially Curse of the Fire Dragon and the Ravenloft series)
- everything by hans, if you want good short stories with a few select combats and excellent presentation, these are mostly very short (10-60 minutes) and linear, with pre-defined characters, more about experiencing a good story and not at all about leveling your characters, and often in more exotic settings like Oriental Adventures or Super Hero UA, so quite different from the Goldbox games but still highly recommended, if you're open minded. He also created one EGA design that pays hommage to the Goldbox games though (Kill the Heroes of Phlan!)
- Deepdelvers Demo and Legacy of the Dragon by Kaz-Keith, one of my personal favorites, very creative use of the toolset. The first is all about dungeon crawling and exploration, in the latter you get to play a dragon hatchling.
- Harvest of Sorrow by Dan Crawford, The Bell and the Staff by Tom Bumgardner, The Quest for Arkana by Merlin (the last one being the first hacked design for UA I played back in the days, so my vision may be tinted by nostalgia goggles, but back then I loved it)
And there are lots of other good design authors; Nol Drek does a lot of oldschool P&P conversions; Harry Polsa was known for his fantasy spoof and lesbian noir sci-fi story designs (also recommended his more serious fantasy design, When Solitude Remains, about a sorceress and her familiar IIRC); Steve Gustafson had his own serious spoof series, too; then there is a serial mod project in which each author did one installment, ending with a cliffhanger, and the next author would continue from there (sadly it stopped after episode 5, due to some unfortunate incidents, but I still hope someone will continue it one day); etc etc