Friday, January 24, 2014

Back to the Blue Book: part 2

After years of absence, and months of flirting with the idea, I had six gamers at my house to play Dungeons & Dragons using the rules I started with, the Holmes basic set. 

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!
I had planned on having the players roll up characters right before starting, like we did back in the day, but a few people were anxious to get started and had already generated their PCs.  No big deal, and the others quickly rolled the dice and filled out their character sheets.  They ended up with the following group, all first level:
  • 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)
I gave them the option of either buying their equipment from the list in the book one item at a time or choosing an equipment pack as compiled by Zenopus Archives.  Once they had their gear, they descended into the dungeon.  The open book (with a quill in an inkwell) at the bottom of the steps puzzled them for a few minutes, as they debated whether to sign it.  Several of them did leave their mark, with no obvious ill effects, and they decided to stick to left turns.  The first room they encountered had a skeleton on the floor; when they entered it stood and attacked.  The group easily defeated it, finding an iron key around its neck.

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.


Gonsalvo said...

No Mage in the group? Interesting. Maybe the elf is a dual classed character?

Desert Scribe said...

Yeah, in this ruleset, elves function as fighting-men and magic-users.

Colgar6 said...

Sounds like an interesting session. I wonder what all the elves were doing there?

pancerni said...

As to the lack of detial on level three, you could always post a warning-"Stairs blocked, proceed at own risk." ;-)