There was Mark (the Painted Thumb), whom I know from Lone Star Historical Miniatures; John, also from LSHM; his friend Abe; Chris, the DM and author of the Hill Cantons; Coach K, who's run some great movie-based games at GuadaComaCon; and Rickey, who played HotT for the first time at Millenniumcon and placed third in the tournament.
In going old-school, I decided I wanted to use my own design, not something that had already been published for the game. I decided to go with the tried-and-true "dungeons beneath a wizard's tower" approach. I came up with a name (the tower of the sorcerer Nossira Kam), but ended up not telling the players, since it didn't really matter. The important thing was that there was a dungeon filled with loot!
Over the course of a few weeks, I mapped out the first three levels of the dungeon, and while I had monsters picked for each map, I had only detailed the first level (which took longer than I thought it would). The second level had the monsters placed, but no treasures, dungeon dressing or other details. The third didn't even have the monsters located. I hoped my players wouldn't find any stairs going down!
- Arconus, a cleric (John)
- Crescentius, a fighter (Mark)
- Fred, a fighter (Coach K)
- Colnis, a fighter (Rickey)
- Jane, a thief (Abe)
- Evaro IV, an elf (Chris)
Exploration continued--another skeleton (with a brass key), a warning scrawled on a wall ("Beware of the Witch!") near a normal-looking frog, stirges, miscellaneous junk--until Chris's elf found a secret door. They opened it and traced a wire leading from the hidden portal to a conventional door. As they entered the second room, they encountered a group of four elves, who asked the adventurers their business (I rolled on the reaction table and the result was "uncertain"). As the group responded, another quartet of elves came in from a different door to back up the first set. Rolling again got a hostile response (but not an attack), so the eight elves told the characters to leave. The players wisely decided to retreat.