Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Mentzer Basic Set II

Gygaxian Memorial Transcript continued:

DM: “Mapper makes the maps. Here pick out some miniatures from the pile. Arrange them in your Marching Order.”

Fighter: “You should go first Fighter, you have more HP than me.”

Fighter: “Sure.”

Cleric: “What’s a Caller?”

DM: “They are the speaker of the Party. They make all the decisions and tell the DM what the parties doing. Kinda like a leader.”

Cleric: “I don’t remember that at all…”

DM: “Yep, it was eventually dropped so that a “Leader”
wasn’t hard coded into the rules, but I still think it’s a great idea, and it does speed up play. Who has the highest CHR?”

Cleric: “Mines 15.”

Magic-User: “I have a 16”

DM: “Magic-User is the Caller. What is everyone going to do Caller. You guys can talk to each other now.”
Players (aping the old saw): “Hello.”

Magic-User: “I guess we’re going to go into the dungeon.”

DM: “Great, who’s going first.”

Magic-User: Fighter.”

DM: “Cool. You descend the long rope into the dank and musty darkness. It seems to go on for several yards. Where’s everyone else?”

Players: “We’re following him.”

DM: “Everyone down the rope at once? Awesome. Fighter, when your feet finally hit the flagstones of the dungeon floor, you notice that the light above is barely as wide as a buckler.”

Fighter: “I wanna light a torch.”

Cleric: “Me too.”

DM: “Go ahead. As the torch sputters into life, you see that the room is about 20 by 20 feet, Mapper, you getting this?”

Fighter: “Can I get some Graph Paper?”

DM: “Whoops. My bad. Here you go. Where was I? Ah yes. The room is covered in webby strands of…uh..web…some as thick as a man’s arm. There do not appear to be any visible exits.”
Cleric: “Watch out for Spiders.”

Fighter: “I want to search the webs.”

Fighter: “I want to search the room for treasure.”

Cleric: “I’ll search the room too.”

DM: “Alright Searchers. Roll a d6.”

Fighter: “d6 really?”

DM: “Yep. Technically I’m supposed to roll, but I barely have room behind this screen with all these wandering monsters.”

Fighter: “4”

Fighter: “6!”

Cleric: “1”

DM: “Alright Cleric, you find a large double door hidden under some of the webs in the center of the southern wall. You can probably use a torch to remove most of the webs from around the door to get a better look at it.”

Cleric: “I’ll do that. I’m also watching out for Spiders.”

DM: “Good. Because you see some movement in the webs above. Large shadows that probably aren’t just the affects of your wavering torch light.”

Cleric: “Guys! Spiders.”

Fighter: “I want to try and open the door.”

DM: “It seems stuck. It looks like it opens outward.”

Magic-User: “Try pulling it open.”

Fighter: “I try pulling it open.”

DM: “The door still doesn’t budge. It may need to be broken down.”

Cleric: “Guys! Spiders!”

Fighter: “I WILL SMASH THE DOOR! I’m going to run up to it and ram it with my shoulder.”

DM: “Awesome. Roll a d6 and add your STR bonus”

Fighter: “5!”

DM: “The door seems to creak on its hinges and settle a little bit and gives way, covering you with dust. It hangs loosely and looks like it will open now, but you’re to distracted by the Cleric’s warning about Spiders to investigate the door further.”

DM pulls out to Spider Miniatures.

Fighter: “Whoa, those are big spiders.”

DM: “Alright, no one is surprised, but we have to roll initiative.”

Fighter: “d20 plus DEX?”

DM: “Nope. Straight d6.”

Fighter: “Weird.”

DM: “Yep but I’ve always felt it was quicker, a little more realistic.”

Fighter: “I think I tied with Fighter.”

DM: “There are a lot of ties with this system, so we’ll use the highest DEX score to break ties. Alright, Combat begins by going around in initiative order and declaring intentions.”

Players: “What?”

DM: “Just state what you’re character’s going to do, we’ll start with Fighter because he has the best initiative. After we go around once with the intentions, then we’ll resolve them with actual combat rolls or what-have-you, but a lot can change between then and now, so watch out if you have to change your mind at the last minute.”

Fighter: “I guess I’m first. My intentions are to Run up to the closest spider and drive my battle axe deep into his abdomen.”

Fighter: “I’m going to try to hit the other one with my sword.”

Cleric: “I’m going to try and throw my torch at one of them.”

Magic-User: “I’m going to start casting my one spell.”

DM: “Which one did you prepare today?”

Magic-User: “Sleep.”

DM: “Okay, you pull out a pinch of sand from your spell components pouch. And the Spiders are creeping toward you across the cold and dusty dungeon floor. They’re intentions are to attack.”

Fighter: “Attack of Opportunity?”

DM: “Nope.”

Flipping through the monster section, I really miss these small stat blocks. Crab Spider. Sure.

DM: “Okay First Fighter, the AC of these beasties is 7, consult your handy chart and it’ll tell you what you have to roll above to hit it.”

Fighter: “14, hit! Do I roll damage?”

DM: “Sure, I’ll roll the Hit Dice too.”

Fighter: “7.”

DM: “Your battle axe cuts deep into the spider’s abdomen and its greenish blood oozes out in a spray. The spider flips over onto its back and it’s legs twitch frantically and then grow still.”

Fighter: “Sweet.”

Fighter: “I’m attacking the other one. Let me see. 16. Hit!”

DM: “Roll damage. I’ll roll its hit dice.”

Fighter: “5. I don’t have a strength bonus.”

DM: “Your sword slices off two legs with one swing, and the follow up blow finishes off the spider.”

Cleric: “Magic-User, stop your spell!”

Magic-User: “Stopped.”

Fighter: “I’m going to try to look for treasure in the room again.”

Cleric: “Me too.”

Fighter: “Me too.”

DM: “Great. D6s everyone. Remember searching like this takes a full turn, and it means I get to roll for wandering monsters!”

Fighter: “I rolled a 1. Crap.”

DM: “Actually, a 1 is good on this roll. It’s what you want. The demi-humans have better chances to find certain things though. You find a skeleton of a hapless adventurer, wrapped up tightly in webs, its still wearing it’s chainmail, although it is difficult to see covered in webs.”

Cleric: “I’ll use my torch to burn away the webs.”

DM: “Done. The chainmail armor looks very well made, if tarnished a little bit, and covered in strange symbols and decorations.”

Fighter: “Magic-User! What can you tell me about this armor?”

Magic-User: “It’s Armor. It looks well made. It’s covered in strange symbols.”

Fighter: “Can you read them?”

Magic-User: “I dunno. DM?”

DM: “It’s Elven. You studied it during your apprenticeship. It seems like family tree of some sort. Could be magical armor.”

Cleric: “Let’s get the guy out.”

DM: “You’ve seen a few skeletons with the burial practices of your church, and this one looks elven.”

Fighter: “Anything else on the body?”

DM: “There appears to be a rolled scroll of parchment with some more strange writing on it. And a belt pouch with some copper pieces in it.”

Fighter: “Magic-User! Magic-User!”

Magic-User: “Can I read it.”

DM: “Yep, the arcane writings are in Elven. I never did like the Read Magic thing. It’s a scroll of Magic Missile, written by an powerful Elven spellcaster.”

Fighter: “Awesome! Magic Missle rules!”

Magic-User: “I’ll take it.”

Fighter: “Who wants the copper pieces?”

DM: “There’s about 30 of them. Which reminds me: XP.”

Fighter: “XP? During the adventure?”

DM: “Yep. That’s how we’re doing it. You can even level mid-combat. So let’s see, 40 XP for the Spiders, and the 30 copper is worth 3 XP. Split it up however you deem fair.”

Fighter: “I think we should divvy the treasure up later. Who wants to carry it?”

Fighter: “I’ll be the Treasure Master. You carry the armor.”

DM: “Sounds good to me. The Chainmail takes up most of the room in your backpack though.”

Cleric: “Anyone want to search the room one more time?”

DM: “What say you Caller?”

Magic-User: “Sure.”

Rolling of the dice.

Cleric: “ONE!”

DM: Ah, in one corner of the room you find a small wooden chest almost completely obscured by webbing.”

Cleric: “I’m going to burn the webs off with my torch, and use my Mace to carefully scoot it out of the corner.”

DM: “Disturbing a great deal of dust, the chest slides across the flagstones. It’s heavy oak and well weathered. It is bound with cast iron bands and does not appear to have a lock.”

Cleric: “Crap. I hate this part. I’m going to carefully try to open it using my Mace.”

DM: “The chest seems to sigh as you open the lid, rust makes the hinges quite noisy, but the lid does open fully and reveals to tiny vials of liquid. The rest of the contents appear to have long since decayed.”

Cleric: “Magic-User! Magic-User!”

Fighter: “Potions. What can you tell us about the Potions?”

Magic-User: “Um. They’re potions.”

DM: “One is amber colored, and the other reminds you quicksilver with the way that it clings to the side of the bottle. The fact that the liquid is also silver doesn’t hurt either.”

Magic-User: “Do I know anything about Alchemy?”

DM: “You can take a small taste of the potion and try to divine what it does that way.”

Magic-User: “What if it’s poisoned?”

DM: “Well that’s always a risk.”

Cleric: “I doubt its poison.”

Fighter: “Who get’s to be the guinea pig.”

Fighter: “I’ll taste one. I've only got 1 hit point. Magic-User, you want to taste the other?”

Magic-User: “Sure, why not. I’ll take a tiny sip of the amber one.”

DM: “The potion is sweet, sickly sweet and smells like almonds…”

Magic-User: “Crap.”

DM: “But as the liquid passes over your tongue it heals the small cut on your tongue from the shock of the giant spiders. You bit it slightly when you saw them.”

Fighter: “Sweet. Healing Potion! I’m gonna take a tiny sip of the silver one.”

DM: “There’s no real immediate affect, other than your heart begins to beat a little faster and your joints seem a little looser, as you look up from the potion you notice that for a fraction of a second, everything around you seems to be going slower.”

Fighter: “Awesome. I bet it’s some kind of Haste Potion.”

Fighter: “Do we get XP for magic stuff?”

DM: “Magic stuff is its own reward.”

Fighter: “Gotcha.”

DM: “Okay Caller. What are we doing now?”

Players converse.

Magic-User: “We’re exploring the rest of the dungeon. We’re gonna go through the double doors to the South.”

DM: “Great. Set up the minis in your marching order. Who’s in front?”

Fighter: “Me, I have the most HP and a shield.”

DM: “The doors open slowly, barely hanging onto their hinges after the brutal shoulder attack by Fighter. You see a wide 20 foot corridor ahead. The corridor extends out of the 30 foot range of the torch light.”

Fighter: “You should take the 10 foot pole from the Magic-User and poke ahead.”

Fighter: “Definitely. I take the pole and start moving forward slowly.”

Cleric: “Poke the ground for traps.”

Fighter: “Good Idea. I’m poking the ground ahead of me with the ten foot pole and advancing slowly down the hallway.”

DM: “After about 30 more feet the flagstones that you tap with the pole make a different, more hollow sound. There is also a door on the left wall. The corridor continues a head.”

Fighter: “I stop moving forward and signal to the party.”

Fighter: “Give me the stick, I have a higher STR and I might be able to break through the hollow part.”

Fighter: “Okay.”

DM: “Roll a d6 and add your STR bonus.”

Fighter: “FIVE!”

DM: “The floor gives away as you put more of your weight onto the pole, it’s a pit, about ten feet deep in the center of the corridor and it’s filled with brackish water.”

Cleric: “Is the whole floor gone? Can we get to the door?”

DM: “There’s about 3 feet on either side of the pit that you could use to get around the pit. You can still get to the door. Everyone let’s remember how to Listen!”

Fighter: “How does that work?”

DM: “Roll a… you guessed it, d6. On a One you might hear something if there’s something to hear. Again, according to the book I should make these rolls, but anything that takes dice out of player’s hands is pretty silly.”

Rolling of Dice.

Fighter: “One!”

Fighter: “One!”

Fighter: “We’re twinkie rollers.”

DM: “Both of you, as trained Fighters, hear tiny barking and yapping coming from the other side of the door.”
Fighter: “Yapping. Kobolds. Awesome.”

Fighter: “I don’t think I was playing when you guys were killing Kobolds.”

Magic-User: “That was a long time ago. I think we ended up setting their lair on fire.”

DM: “Kobolds are a personal favorite of mine. But these are classic Kobolds. None of this dragon descendant stuff. Just little crafty dog-men.”

Cleric: “They’re behind the door. You guys want to go in and kill the crafty dog-men?”

Players: “YEAH!”

Cleric: “I’m using my Shield to provide as much cover for myself and the Magic-User. Fighters, you can take the door.”


DM: “Wow, you’re really getting into the Barbarian spirit. Roll a d6 add STR.”

Cleric: “Can I help him?”

DM: “Sure, you roll too, we’ll take the highest.”

Fighter: “Five!”

DM: “The door flies of its ill-made hinges into the room in true hack and slash fashion. Around a diminutive table are over half a dozen little dog-men, they are…surprised by your outrageous entrance and will not win initiative, but they do look like their drawing their weapons to attack.”

Magic-User: “I take it their intentions are not to talk. We attack them.”

DM: “Great! Now roll initiative everyone.”

Rolls all around.

Cleric: “Looks like we’re basically going counter clockwise starting with me and ending on Magic-User.”

DM: “Intentions, Cleric?”

Cleric: “I’m going to throw my torch into the far side of the room to make sure we have enough light for battle. If I hit a Kobold, that’s fine too.”

Fighter: “How big is this room, what else do we see right now?”

DM: “Oh yeah, Mapper. About 20x20 feet. There’s a door on the opposite side of the room from the one you entered.”

DM: “Next?”

Fighter: “I’m going to try to squeeze into the room around Fighter and get close enough to slash one of the Kobolds with my sword.”

Fighter: “WITH A MIGHTY SWING MY INTENTIONS ARE TO CUT AS MANY IN HALF AS POSSIBLE. I’m swinging low, because their short.”

DM: “Magic-User?”

Magic-User: “Sigh. I’m gonna start casting my one spell.”

DM: “Sleep?”

Magic-User: “Sleep.”

DM: “Okay, the Kobolds will be acting last on any survivors! Let’s start back with Cleric now.”

Cleric: “How does throwing stuff work again?”

DM: “Just roll to hit AC 9. If you roll really well, we can rule that you hit a Kobold.”

Cleric: “13. Hit, but not very well.”

DM: “Your torch skitters across the table with sparks flying, it lands in the corner of the room on the bare stone ground. Fighter, you can squeeze in and make an attack. Kobolds have an AC of…7.”

Fighter: “Hit! D8 damage…5”

DM: “Your sword slices through the kobold’s tattered leather armor and directly into his gullet. Fighter, there are no rules for what you’re trying to do, so let’s just see what happens.”

Fighter: “AC 7, HIT, I do 4 damage with my MIGHTY BATTLE AXE.”

DM: “The second Kobold is severed at the waist. Magic-User?”

Magic-User: “I let loose my Sleep Spell.”

DM: Rolling. “None of the remaining four Kobolds make their saving throws, their tiny bodies collapse limply on the ground.”

Fighter: “Coup de grace!”

DM: “It’s a simple matter to finish off the beasts, but you should probably consider giving the XP for their demise to Magic-User.”

Magic-User: “How much are Kobold’s worth?”

DM: “Only 5 XP apiece, but every little bit helps.”

Then came several minutes of more room searching. NB: Adventurers don’t like to leave a room until every last potential bit of treasure is squeezed out of the surroundings. Among the finds, some Kobold Copper, a moldy bag of platinum pieces, and a strange Wand that appeared to be blessed by the Church of Lawful. Sadly, my rolling must have been off this night, because no matter how long they spent, I just couldn’t get a Wandering Monster to show up. I haven’t used Wandering Monsters in ages, so maybe they’re just mad at me. Finally, greed appeased they approached the other door.

DM: “A five-foot wide corridor heading north is on the other side of the door. Same Marching Order, Caller?”

Magic-User: “Yep.”

DM: “The corridor again extends out of the range of your torch light.”

Fighter: “I’m in the lead again, so I’m going to walk ahead slowly.”

DM: “After about 60 feet, you’re the first to notice some small alcoves carved into the wall, they appear to contain bones.”

Cleric: “Undead! Step Aside!”

DM: “You hear the scraping of brittle bone against stone. The Cleric was right! One..two..FOUR Skeletons shamble toward the torch light, bearing ancient weapons. Initiative time.”

Cleric: “Me, Fighter, Fighter, then Magic-User.”

DM: “Intentions?”
Cleric: “Dropping my torch, I brandish my holy symbol highly and command BE GONE VILE SPAWN OF EVIL.”

Fighter: “With my battle axe ready, I’m going to charge a skeleton and swing at him.”

Fighter: “I’m going to attack with my sword.”

Magic-User: “Crap. I don’t have any spells. I guess I could use the scroll…”

Fighter: “See if we finish them off first!”

DM: “You can wait and see.”

Magic-User: “I’ll do that.”

DM: “The skeletons continue to shamble forward from the darkness ahead, they do not seem to fear your light, and their eyeless skulls stare blankly ahead.”

Cleric: “Turning?”

DM: “Let’s see, you have a 7 for Skeletons. Roll 2d6, you’re trying to get above a 7.”

Cleric: “Ten! How many do I turn?”

DM: “Hmm. Interesting it says the DM rolls for this. Rolls. Two of the skeletons stop in place and begin to turn around fleeing your divine presence and the power of your faith in Lawful.”

Cleric: “That leaves two more for you guys to clean up!”

DM: “AC 5, their armor is rusty but still affords some protection.”

Fighter: “Do skeletons have damage reduction against sharp weapons in this?”

DM: “Oh Hell no.”

Fighter: “Awesome, I charge swinging my axe with both hands and yelling “BY CROM! DIE CURSED CREATURES! And miss.”

Players: Snicker

Fighter: “I swing wide with my sword and hit. 4 points of damage.”

DM: “The brittle bones creak with the well-placed blow, but the skeleton still stands before you.”

Fighter: “Crap.”

Magic-User: “Magic Missle?”

Cleric: “We can take these guys.”

DM: “Armor Class, Fighter?”

Fighter: “3”

DM: “A Hit! The skeleton’s short sword catches you in the thigh.”

Fighter: “Well, I’m dead.”

DM: “We can house rule that if you can get some healing before the end of the next turn, you might survive. Everyone agree with that?”

Players: Yeah!

DM: “Armor Class, Fighter?”

Fighter: “2”

DM: “The skeleton’s spear glances off your shield. Do you guys want to continue going in this order?”

Players: “Yeah!”

Cleric: “No healing spells yet. My intention this rounds is to bash the skeleton with my Mace?”

Fighter: “Still dead. Magic-User, I could use that Amber Potion”

Fighter: “I’ll try to take out the skeleton that Cleric isn’t attacking.”

Magic-User: “I’m going to try to administer the Amber Potion to Fighter.”

DM: “Great the skeletons seem to be moving toward the Cleric to attack him this round.”

Cleric: “HER!”

DM: “Oh yeah. Sorry.”

Cleric: “So now we resolve my Mace attack? What was the AC of these guys again?”

DM: “Five. Ancient and rusty, but still serviceable armor.”

Cleric: “I need a fourteen. Rolls. HIT! d6 damage? Rolls. 5!”

DM: Rolls HD for Skeleton. “Just enough! Your mace splinters his vertebrae and the skeleton collapses into a pile of moldering bones.”

Fighter: “I’m gonna try for the other one with my sword. 17! I hit the skeleton for 4 points of damage!”

DM: “He’s still standing but just barely, and his lifeless eye-sockets seem intently focused on the Cleric as he shambles toward her.”

Magic-User: “I’m going to move up to Fighter and try to pour the amber potion in his mouth.”

DM: “Done, roll 1d6+1.”

Magic-User: “2”

Fighter: “I’m back at full HP! Whoo! One hit point!”

Cleric: “We still have one skeleton to deal with. Not to mention the two that ran down the corridor.”

DM: “Cleric, what is your Armor Class?”

Cleric: “4.”

DM: Rolls. “The Skeleton’s spear glances off of your chainmail. Intentions?”

Cleric: “Smash Skeleton.”


Cleric: “I think that one already died.”

Fighter: “They all look the same to me.”

Fighter: “Avenge Fighter's Death!”

Magic-User: “Slink back into the shadows, away from combat.”

Cleric: “Shouldn’t someone watch the rear? You know, just in case?”

Magic-User: “I’ll be useless at it, but I can warn you.”

DM: “Skeleton’s bony claws…err…spear still focus’ on the Cleric!”

Cleric: “Crap. I rolled a 3. No hit.”

Fighter: “DIE! 15! D8 for damage: 7. Awesome, total of NINE!”

DM: “You’re battleaxe crushes the skeleton’s skull flinging shards of bone throughout the corridor. The skeleton sways once, and as the evil energy that has animated it leaves it’s body, it topples at the feet of the Cleric.”

Cleric: “I’m going to scatter the bones! Then I’m going to try and make a poultice for Fighter’s wounds.”

Fighter: “Checking for treasure!”

Fighter: “Looking at their Weapons!”
Magic-User: “Sticking close to everyone and helping Cleric scatter the bones so they don’t come back.”

DM: “You hear a deep rumbling coming from somewhere nearby.”

Cleric: “Positions!”

DM: “It’s the Fighter's stomach. Now might be a good time to eat some delicious Standard Rations.”

Fighter: “How many do we have?”

DM: “Anyone who bought rations has enough food for three meals for seven days. So a total of twenty-one rations.”

Fighter: “Cool, let’s munch while we search.”

The rolling of many d6s. No ones.

DM: “You find nothing within the catacombs but old bones and rusty weapons, most of the items used by the skeletons are worthless. However, your searching and supper is interrupted by a sound coming from down the corridor ahead. It’s a rapid, scraping sound. The Magic-User is first to glimpse the beast.

Magic-User: “What do I see?”

DM: “You see a mottled orange insect-like creature, it stands on spindly legs and is moving rapidly past you toward Fighter. It has a long, fin-like tail and two large, feathery antennae that seem to taste the air rapidly. You can barely make out it’s hungry, beady black eyes in the torch light.”

Cleric:“Oh crap.”


DM: “Roll to hit, the Armor Class for this beast is 2, it’s chitinous carapace protects it rather well.

Fighter: “I rolled a 4.”

DM: “As the blade of your axe swings down, the monster’s antennae lash forward and lightly brush the blade. The blade dissolves in a shower of reddish rust on the floor before the beast, who begins lapping up the remains.”

Fighter: “Classic.”

Cleric: “I tried to warn you, but that would’ve been metagaming.”

Magic-User: “Whoa. Rust Monster.”

Fighter: “These guys suck.”

DM: “This critter was invented by Gygax, and nerfed considerably for the edition we’re playing now. It used to be positively lethal, even rusting Magic Weapons and Armor with ease.”

Fighter: “So what do we do? I’m not going to attack it.”

Cleric: “I have a club. What’s the monster doing?”

DM: “He’s making quick work of the remains of Fighter's battle axe and his beady eyes still look hungry.”

Cleric: “At least if he encountered the skeletons I turned, they won’t have armor and weapons anymore.”

Magic-User: “I’m going to use the scroll of Magic-Missle on the creature.”

DM: “Are you sure?”

Magic-User: “Yep. None of the Fighters can hurt it, and I don’t want the Cleric to risk forfeiting her armor or shield in combat with it.”

DM: “Awesome. As you finish speaking the ancient arcane elven words of power on the scroll, the words disappear from the paper and three glowing arrows of light appear and hover over your shoulders.”

Magic-User: “Do I need to roll to hit with these?”

DM: “Nope. Magic Missles always unerringly hit the target. No saving throw.”

Magic-User: “Wow. Now I know why you don’t hand out Magic Missile often.”

DM: “Yeah, I’m pretty stingy with it. In some editions you had to roll to hit. But I kinda do like the flavor of an automatic, low level magic attack spell. Since there are three missiles here, and they each do 1d6+1, roll 3d6+3 damage on the Rust Monster while I roll it’s hit points.”

Magic-User: “14+3. 17.”

DM: “The first bolt strikes the rust monster and it squeals and tries to skitter away, unfortunately for the rust monster, these arcane bolts never miss their mark, and as the Rust Monster turns tail, the other two strike with the last one burning a smoking hole in the beasts carapace. The beast is on its side and no longer moving.”

Magic-User: “Thank Lawful. I’m going to use my 10 foot pole to move it off to one side.”

Fighter: “IT ATE MY AXE. I HAVE NO WEAPON! I kick the beast with my leather boot.”

Cleric: “You could always use one of the Skeleton’s weapons, but they’re probably pretty crappy.”

Fighter: “I grab one of the Skeleton’s Spears. What does it do?”

DM: “d6 plus STR bonus.”

Fighter: “Does it have reach?”

DM: “Yeah, but reach rarely comes into play in OD&D style combat. You can set it vs. Charge to do double damage though.”

Fighter: “Awesome.”

Magic-User: “Should we continue exploring this corridor, or investigate the other one by the pit?”

Cleric: “I say we do this one. We still have two skeletons on the loose ahead.”

The party continued down the corridor and quickly dispatched the unarmed and still cowering skeletons that were clawing at a dead-end wall. During the battle, Cleric inadvertently activated a secret door that lead to some ominous ascending steps.

Magic-User: “I suggest we try to listen before we ascend the steps, remember guys, I don’t have any more spells today, so until we rest, all I have is a dagger.”

DM: “But it’s a SILVER DAGGER.”

Magic-User: “Exactly, so now I don’t even want to throw it at a monster. How do we listen again?”

DM: “d6, anyone who rolls a one might hear something. Elves and Dwarves and Halflings hear something on a 1 or 2 I believe.”

Dice rolling.

Magic-User: “ONE! Finally, a game that rewards low rollers!”

DM: “Straining your hearing, you can make out a very low and steady growling sound from above, it’s very faint.”

Magic-User: “It’s steady though? It doesn’t pause or change in volume?”

DM: “Nope, but it is still very, very faint, in fact the other party members can’t even hear it.”

Magic-User: “I suggest we proceed with caution, for all we know it could be some sleeping monster.”


Players: “Shhhhhh”

Fighter: “I would like to have my Axe back though.”

Players: Snicker.

Cleric: “Marching Order everyone.”

Magic-User: “Let’s go.”

DM: “As you ascend the roughly hewn steps upward, the low rumbling sound soon becomes audible to all in the party. It grows louder and louder until you reach the top of the steps and a dark, roughly made corridor. “

Fighter: whispering “I don’t like the sound of this.”

Cleric: “I say a silent prayer to Lawful and continue cautiously.”

Fighter: “Trying to be as quiet as possible, I follow Fighter.”

Magic-User: “Staying between Cleric and Fighter, I really wish I had picked a different Class.”

Fighter: “Hey you have more hit points than Cleric and I combined.”

Magic-User: “I know…but at least you guys can still do stuff.”

Cleric: “We need to get a hold of some more of those scrolls of magic missile.”

Magic-User: “Totally”

Fighter: “Shhhhh…”

Cleric: “Oh yeah.”

DM: “You creep closer to the source of the noise and see a very large and round stone slab before you, it appears to be a door of some kind, but there is no handle and it is engraved with many strange symbols and runes.”

Magic-User: “Did I study Dwarven too?”

DM: “What’s your INT again?”

Magic-User: “17.”

DM: “If you want to you can. Your INT gives you two bonus languages, and we’ve already established that you can read and speak Elven.”

Magic-User: “Cool. What does the Portal Say?”

DM: “Behind this stone lies the hoard of the mighty Xygag the IV, Dwarven King of the…um…Brazen-Axe Clan.”

Fighter: “Did someone say Axe?”

Cleric: “Imagine the treasure behind this thing…but how do we open it?”

Fighter: “Let’s spend a turn looking for searching it.”

D6s all around. Still no wandering monsters…

Cleric: “ONE!”

DM: “Studying the intricate Dwarven Runes, you notice that one of them appears to be made of darker granite than the rest, and appears hollow.”

Cleric: “I touch the Rune.”

DM: “The Rune Depresses and the Stone Portal begins to Rotate slightly. The constant roar becomes incredibly loud as the portal shifts, and a bright light almost blinds you.”

Fighter: “What’s inside?”

DM: “As your eyes adjust you discover the source of the low row, for before you is a large natural cavern, approximately fifty feet wide and deep with a sixty foot high ceiling covered in stalactites. The opposite end of the cavern is the brightest, for the sun shines through a massive waterfall.”

Fighter: “Cool. We found the source of the noise.”

DM: “On the floor of the cavern, among the many stalagmites is a large pile of glittering coins, gold, platinum, silver, along with a smattering of gems and intriguing looking items.”

Cleric: “Whoa, this is way too much money for first level characters! Sweet!”

Magic-User: “There has to be a catch…”

DM: “Sleeping atop the pile of coins is a large, scaly green beast, emerald fog curls slowly from its nostrils, he’s about as large as a warhorse, but with large leathery wings.”

Fighter: “Dragon! RUN!”

Magic-User: “We back quickly but quietly through the Dwarf Door.”

Fighter: “No way we’re gonna be able to fight a dragon. Especially with no healing, and low hit points.”

Cleric: “Are we safely back in the corridor?”

DM: “Sure, and despite the less than courageous retreat, the beast still sleeps atop his purloined herd. To think of how all of that coin could help the causes of Lawful hurts your heart.”

Cleric: “If I’m dead, I can’t help the causes of Lawful either. Does the portal close again when I push the hollow rune?”

DM: “It creaks slowly shut, and the corridor grows dark once more.”

Magic-User: “That might be the quickest way out.”

Fighter: “Do you think we could sneak in and just grab a handful of the stuff? I would but my DEX is pretty bad.”

Fighter: “I’LL SNEAK IN!”

Cleric: “No, that sounds like a bad idea. I say we go explore the other corridor, the one by the pit trap.”

Fighter: “Sounds good.”

DM: “Caller?”

Magic-User: “Sure.”

The party makes their way back to the pit trap cautiously, navigates the hazardous ledge to reach the other side of the pit and continues forward until they arrive at a large archway that opens into a room.

DM: “The room is full of the stench of Kobolds. There is one door to the south, directly opposite of where you are entering, and the room is about thirty by thirty feet in size. Tiny cots and beds litter the room. This appears to be where the Kobolds you fought before slept and lived.”


Fighter: “I’m searching the room!”

Cleric: “I’ll help searching too!”

Magic-User: “Looks like we’re gonna be here for a while, do you guys mind if I try to sleep and regain my Spell?”

DM: “Are you going to study Sleep or Floating Disk?”


Cleric: “I’d go with Sleep, you saw how it knocked out all of those Kobolds at once, but I doubt it’d work on a being as powerful as a dragon.”

DM: “Nice.”

Magic-User: “Okay, I’m going to try and get some sleep. Try to keep it down with your searching.”

Dice Rolls.

Dice Rolls.

Dice Rolls.

DM: “You’ve been searching for half an hour, and have nearly ransacked the room completely. All you have to show for it is about eighty silver pieces and a lot of strange parchments that were stored within the bedding of the Kobolds.”

Cleric: “Strange papers? Scrolls?”

DM: “Yep, they have profoundly arcane markings all over them.”

Cleric: “I put them by the sleeping wizard.”

DM: “Magic-User.”

Cleric: “Magic-User.”

DM: “You guys are gonna be in this room for about eight hours while the Magic-User regains her spells. Do you guys want to rest too?”

Cleric: “Yeah, but we should set up a Watch.”

Fighter: “I’ll go first.”

Fighter: “I’ll go after Fighter.”

Cleric: “I’ll go last and wake up the Magic-User so she has time to study and look at the scrolls.”

Fighter: “I’m going to search the room on my shift… ONE!”

DM: “Propping up one of the ramshackle cots in the room is a masterfully crafted battle axe, etched with mystical runes.”

Fighter: “MINE! Magic-User! Magic-User!”

DM: “She’s still sleeping.”

Fighter: “Oh yeah. Well I grab the axe. Does it feel any different in my hands?”

DM: “It seems very well balanced for such a heavy weapon. A few cursory swings reveal that it cuts through the air very swiftly.”


DM: “Okay. I’m going to roll for Wandering Monsters for the entire night at once.”

Grabbing all my d6s in hand I roll them all at once, hoping for at least one that tells me that there’s a Wandering Monster. No dice.

DM: “Man. Okay. The Magic-User wakes up and is able to relearn her Sleep Spell. Only three of the scrolls still bear active magic on them. Two are in the same Elven writing as before, and bear the same spells.”

Fighter: “Ooooh more Magic Missiles!”

DM: “But the third is far more powerful than any magic you have seen before, it appears to deal with electricity.”

Magic-User: “Interesting. I’m taking all the scrolls. Are we ready to check out the Southern Door?”

Fighter: “Yep, does it look locked?”

DM: “No lock, but sturdy, it doesn’t really look like it’s been opened in ages.”

Cleric: “Strange. Okay. Marching Order?”

Fighter: “I’ll open the door.”

DM: “The door swings outward with a creak. This room is roughly the same size as the previous one, but with no apparent exits. On a long pedestal in the center of the room are three colored bowls. White, Gray, and Black. The bowls appear to contain a clear liquid.”

Cleric: “No doors?”

Magic-User: “I’m going to search the room for Secret Openings. ONE!”

DM: “You discover that one of the flagstones is loose and when removed reveals a tiny nook that contains an old weathered book.”

Magic-User: “Is there anything on the front of the book?”

DM: “The letters seem faded, but as you examine them with your arcane sight, they begin to glow softly, you see the sigil of the famous and mighty wizard Mordenkainen gradually come into being.”

Fighter: “Nice.”

Magic-User: “Carefully looking through the book, are there any spells?”

DM: “There are 6 spells in the book that are within your realm of power, but it will take many weeks to decipher Mordenkainen’s personal method of encoding. There is also what appears to be a journal contained within these bindings.”

Magic-User: “Anything about this room?”

DM: “The book contains a drawing of this very room, but with a Glowing Golden Gate on the wall opposite of the entrance.”

Magic-User: “I smell a puzzle.”

Cleric: “I walk over to the white bowl to look at it closer.”

DM: “Beneath the clear liquid, a single Gold piece rests on the bottom of the bowl. On closer examination, there is a Gold Piece in each bowl.”

Cleric: “I take a gold piece out of my pouch and place it in the bowl.”

DM: “The liquid in the bowl turns a bright shade of blue.”

Magic-User: “Great. Tidy Bowl.”


DM: “There is no change to the liquid.”

Cleric: “Hmm. Three bowls. Lawful. Neutral. Chaos. Perhaps if you did something a little less Lawful to the bowl.”

Fighter: “I reach in and grab both of the gold pieces.”

DM: “The liquid within the bowl turns red.”

Fighter: “That just leaves the middle.”

Magic-User: “What’s half a gold piece?”

DM: “Five silver pieces.”

Fighter: “Do we have any silver Treasure Master?”

Fighter: “Yeah. I take out the gold piece and put 5 silver pieces in the gray bowl.”

DM: “There is no change.”

Cleric: “It’s even now, but it needs a little bit of both. I’m going to pour some of the blue water in the middle bowl.”

Fighter: “And I will CAREFULLY pour some red in the gray bowl to match what he puts in.”

DM: “The liquid within the center bowl becomes a bright purple, and the Glowing Golden Gate in Mordenkainen’s journal appears before you!”

Cleric: “Awesome.”

Magic-User: “We need more puzzles like this.”

DM: “On the other side of the gate are stairs that spiral upward into the darkness. Caller, what does the party want to do?”


  1. Nice! I've always loved my Moldvay Basic/Mentzer Expert books, and ran a game with them at least five years ago with some degree of success (and one or two house rules).

  2. Sounds like a fun time. Do we get any more, or does the story end here?

    - Brian

  3. I'm with Brian. If there's more to be told I'd love to read it!




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