Even the bravest that are slain
Shall not dissemble their surprise
On waking to find valor reign,
Even as on earth, in paradise;
And where they sought without the sword
Wide fields of asphodel fore'er,
To find that the utmost reward
Of daring should be still to dare.

-- Robert Frost, 1913

The Trial by Existence is a story cycle set in the Dungeons & Dragons universe, consisting of the following stories. Each one is a standalone story, but the later ones rely on character development that occurs in the earlier ones, so I recommend reading them in order.

Important Note on Ratings
The original cartoon was intended for a child audience. These stores are NOT. They are all rated PG-13 for mature themes, including violence and sexuality. Certain stories have two versions -- one rated PG-13 and one rated R for explicit sexual activity that's pretty much on the same level as that found in your typical bodice-ripper romance novel. You have be of legal age in your location to read the R-rated version. If you aren't or just prefer to avoid explicit sex scenes, the non-R-rated versions aren't missing anything plot-wise -- they just have the sex scenes neatly excised -- so you won't be missing all that much.

All of the poems' titles and epigraphs come from poems by Robert Frost. There's a good collection of almost all of his poems at the RedFrog archive.

The Trial By Existence

A map of the region where Trial takes place.

Book I
Road Less Traveled
Miles To Go
Design of Darkness
Design of Darkness - Rated R
The Fire Itself
The Fire Itself - Rated R

Book II
Night of Dark Intent
Acquainted With The Night
Fire and Ice