A First Adventure

OK, so shortly after Christmas 2014, I got together with some friends, and I had them generate characters (only allowing the basic characters of fighter, cleric, magic-user, and thief for their 1st ever D&D characters). I was using 1st Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons rules, and had prepared handouts for each player to help them with player creation. As a Dungeon Master (DM), I have players generate characters by rolling three 6-sided dice (3d6) six times, recording all six numbers (which are all between 3 and 18 inclusive), then they can apply the numbers to whichever characteristic they want to help create the type of character they want to play. If after rolling the six basic numbers they don’t seem strong enough for a character, I allow the player to re-roll all six numbers.

Finally, when the player is satisfied with the rolls and has distributed them into strength, intelligence, wisdom, dexterity, constitution, and charisma, I have them roll for their starting hit points. Then after that, they roll for their starting money according to their character class. After all that, I allow each character one “Mulligan” where they can re-roll any of the characteristics, or their starting hit points, or their starting money. If the Mulligan roll is higher than the roll it is replacing, the player uses the new number. If the Mulligan roll is equal to or lower than the original number, they keep the original number.

Sounds simple, right? Of course, the first time players generate characters, having never played D&D or any sort of other Fantasy Role-Playing Game (FRPG), they are not really sure what the numbers will be used for.

Next, players use their money to outfit their character with arms, armor, and accessories (such as wineskins, backpacks, etc.). Then after all of that, it’s off to a dungeon for adventure! So, here is how things went for their first adventure. I used a dungeon I created back around 1980 or so named “Losnoth.” Although that dungeon had been depleted by characters I DM’ed for way back around 1980, it was suddenly re-stocked for this new group of adventurers.

Day #2-1 (Airday, 1st Thawmist, 4333 BCCC): Note that this adventure begins on the 1st day of a new year, the year being 4333 BCCC, which stands for Balozkinar’s Corrected Commoners Calendar. The month is Thawmist, and the 1st day of the year is also the 1st day of the week, the day being Airday. Roughly translated to “real life,” the day would be the equivalent of the vernal equinox, i.e., the first day of spring, roughly on or about March 20. This is all taken from the Judges Guild Wilderlands D&D supplements.

Vandin Lakesplitter (male dwarf fighter, chainmail, small shield, hammer), Opalent (female elf magic-user, no armor, dagger), Lightstep (male halfling cleric, ringmail, small shield, hammer), and Falafela (female halfling thief, leather armor, dagger) had journeyed to the destroyed castle of Losnoth. The rubble of the former castle sat upon a hill that is about 60 feet high, with a steep slope up any side of about 30 degrees. Atop the rubble, after a short search the party found a staircase leading down to the underground area, but at the bottom of the stairs they found a 10-foot deep pit, with sharp spikes at the bottom of the pit and with two human-sized skeletons lying in the bottom of the pit. Since all members of the party had infravision, they were glad they had lighted a torch instead of relying on their infravision as they would have tumbled into the pit as it was the same temperature as the rest of its surroundings. The party quickly used their 10-foot pole and rope to rig a sort of bridge connecting the two existing spikes on either side of the pit that had been driven into seams in the rock wall at some time previous to the party’s arrival. The party was then able to cross the pit without incident or injury.

After crossing the pit, the party found themselves in an hourglass shaped banquet hall or dining room. The room was about 80 feet from left to right, and most of the room was about 50 feet across, except the party came into the middle of the room from one side where the “waist” of the room was only about 30 feet across. In the left lobe of the room were four formerly fine mahogany tables, each measuring about 6 feet wide by 12 feet long. There were also eight chairs of similar construction around each table. But all of the tables and chairs had much graffiti carved into them, so they wouldn’t have any salvage value. There were also racks around the walls in the left side of the room that contained various eating utensils, mostly earthen plates, bowls, and cups along with crudely fashioned metal knives, forks, and spoons of low value. All together, there were about 20 place settings on the racks. In the right side of the room were a pair of large padded sofas that were covered with a formerly rich, red fabric that was now deeply soiled and tattered. There were two low coffee-style tables in front of the sofas, but those tables were also deeply carved with graffiti.

Before proceeding any further, the party took one of the 12-foot long tables from the banquet hall and used it to bridge the pit at the bottom of the stairs in case they would have to make a hasty retreat. The party also retrieved their rope from the improvised bridge across the pit. The adventurers peeked down the right passageway that led out of the dining room, but instead exited through the passage that was straight across from where they had entered the room. They were in a hallway that went to the left and to the right; they decided to go left. After 30 feet or so, the hall curved gently to the left, like it was following the curved corner wall of the room they had just exited, and they came upon a wooden door at the end of the hall.

The party found the door opened easily, and once they all passed through the door they found they were in an irregularly shaped trophy room. The room was about 40 feet across, with the left side long wall being about 60 feet long, the right side long wall about 30 feet long, then it moved diagonally towards the other wall. There was a row of five support columns made of smooth granite in the left side of the room, and three similar support columns in the right side of the room. There were plaques of coats-of-arms on the columns. There were also 11 animal head trophies on the walls: two bulls; three leopards; two goats; three boars; and a unicorn head. In about the middle of the room, between the rows of columns, was a 10-foot square rug that was surrounded by a wooden frame. While the rest of the party were debating about whether or not the rug was in fact a trap (none of them were willing to test it), Falafela quickly took the unicorn horn from the unicorn head and stashed it in her backpack. She knew it was an excellent antidote to any sort of poison as long as it was in her possession.

The party then crossed the trophy room (while avoiding the rug) to its diagonal far corner, where there were diagonal hallways to the left and right. Before taking either hallway, they found a secret door in the middle of a long wall through the efforts of Opalent. They opened the secret door, with the dwarven fighter Vandin Lakesplitter entering first, and encountered six dwarven fighters of Firmil’s adventuring party (the others were Arwarr, Hucid, Narvet, Persis, and Tureg, and they were armed with four axes, some hammers and a mace, and a couple of swords and a light and a heavy crossbow, all armored with chainmail and shields) within, as those other dwarves had been resting in that room. Vandin and Firmil’s group quickly struck up a friendship and agreed to co-operate in the interest of killing orcs. They also agreed that any treasure they already owned was theirs (Firmil had already claimed a candlestick worth about 10 gold pieces from the room), but that they would split any future treasure amongst the now 10 adventurers equally.

Besides the adventuring dwarves, Vandin, Lightstep, Opalent, and Falafela found a fine bed, table, chair, and nightstand in the room, as well as a wooden wardrobe cabinet. There were some papers on the table, but they all had writing in a strange tongue that nobody could decipher. There were some clothing items in the wardrobe, and Falafela and Opalent each found a pair of high, hard boots that fit them, each pair of boots being worth about 2 gold pieces (GP). Falafela, being only 2’8” tall, would have to get the boots cut down in height before they would be truly useful. And although she was a halfling, she said she preferred to wear boots instead of going barefoot when adventuring in strange dungeons because boots would protect her feet.

The now enlarged party left the bedroom through a regular door in the opposite side of the room from the secret door. Firmil said none of his party had been aware of the secret door until the other party had entered and caught them by surprise. Outside the bedroom was a four-way intersection, with a long hall leading to the left, and apparent dead ends to the right and straight across. Just as the group went down the (40-foot) long hallway, the suddenly encountered 5 patrolling orcs who were coming up the passageway to that four-way intersection. While all 5 orcs were quickly killed in the fight (orc Hit Points (HP): 1, 3, 2, 1, 4), Vandin Lakesplitter was wounded severely; losing 5 of his 6 hit points. Cleric Lightstep had to cast two Cure Light Wounds spells to cure the damage to Vandin, using both of his known spells of that type. Falafela was able to up-arm herself by claiming one of the short swords from one of the dead orcs, as she had only been equipped with a dagger beforehand. The party also dragged the dead orcs into the bedroom rather than leave them lying in the hallway.

Now the party was feeling lucky, and they went back to the four-way intersection. After a quick examination of the hallway that was straight across from the entrance to the bedroom, another secret door was found. Vandin then opened that secret door and was quickly attacked by a giant rat! Vandin just as quickly dispatched the rat with a mighty swing from his hammer (giant rat 2 HP) without getting bitten. This room was apparently a storeroom, and had much junk piled in it, including rusty scrap iron, broken barrels, some old linen and assorted other junk. The party then searched through the debris in the room and found a locked iron-reinforced wooden chest that had been hidden by that old linen. After Falafela checked for any traps, she was unable to pick the lock, so Vandin bashed the chest open with his war hammer. They found a large number of electrum pieces (EP) and platinum pieces (PP) in the chest. They wrapped the coins into some of the old linens from that room, then took it back to the bedroom so they could use the table in there for counting and equal division of the coins. The haul amounted to 750 EP and 100 PP. Firmil detailed Persis and Tureg to keep watch in the corridor while the coins were being counted. Then, as a couple of the dwarves from Firmil’s party had taken some damage in the battle with the orcs, and seeing as how the only cleric (Lightstep) in the party had no more Cure Light Wounds spells, the party agreed to leave the dungeon and then return at a following date.

The party then left through the four-way intersection, through the hall in which they had fought the orcs, then turned left, proceeded a short way, then turned right just about where the secret door to the bedroom was, and re-entered the trophy room. Instead of leaving the way they had entered the trophy room, they found another door that opened directly into the dining room. But just when they entered the dining room and were working their way past the three remaining dining tables, a party of 7 orcs entered that room from the opposite entrance to that room. A pitched battle ensued in the middle of the room. Opalent quickly launched her only spell, Magic Missile, which inflicted 4 HP on an orc, although not killing it. While all 7 orcs were eventually slain in the battle, dwarves Arwarr, Firmil, and Hucid were also killed, testifying to the fierceness of the short battle. During the melee, Vandin was gravely wounded and fell unconscious, and Opalent dragged Vandin out of the fray amidst swinging weapons to administer first aid by binding Vandin’s wounds. The thief, Falafela, was able to sneak around the orcs and got in a good backstab on one orc, inflicting 4 HP of damage. Falafela attempted to perform a couple more backstabs, but other dwarves or the cleric Lightstep killed the other orcs before Falafela could strike again.

The party was originally going to take the leather armor and short swords of the orcs they killed in the hallway previously so they could try to sell them in town, but now since they only had six relatively healthy adventurers and three dead dwarves and one unconscious dwarf to take back to civilization with them, they had to leave all of the orcs’ swords and leather armor behind (except, of course, for Falafela’s trophy sword). The surviving dwarves of Firmil’s party also had to leave their extra weapons behind in the interest of saving weight carried, and they also left behind the armor and shields of the deceased dwarves. Now the party used haste to leave before more orcs might appear, as the group was in no shape for another battle. The party was able to cross the table-bridge across the pit at the foot of the stairs, then climbed the stairs and exited the dungeon. They then made the long 10-mile trek back to Elwood the Blue’s castle without further incident, although it was a long march what with carrying the three dead and one unconscious dwarf.

Experience points (XP): Monsters killed: 12 orcs (10 XP each, plus 1 XP per HP) = 12 * 10 + 47 HP = 167 XP; 1 giant rat (7 XP, plus 1 XP per HP) = 7 + 2 HP = 9 XP. Treasure: Unicorn horn worth 500 GP; gold candlestick worth 10 GP; short sword and scabbard worth 8 GP; two pairs of high, hard boots, each pair worth 2 GP (4 GP total) plus 750 EP (375 GP equivalent) and 100 PP (500 GP equivalent).

Total experience points: 167 + 9 + 500 + 10 + 8 + 4 + 375 + 500 = 1573 XP total. This needs to be divided by four regular characters (each gets a full share) and three non-player characters (each gets a half-share). This makes 11 half-shares to be divided, so 1573 / 11 = 143 XP per half-share (Narvet, Persis, and Tureg), or 286 XP per full share (Falafela, Opalent, Vandin Lakesplitter). The cleric Lightfoot gets a 10% XP bonus, so he earned 315 XP.

Treasure division: 750 EP (107 each, 1 remainder), 100 PP (14 each, 2 remainder)

  • Falafela: unicorn horn (500 GP), boots (2 GP), 107 EP, 14 PP
  • Lightstep: 107 EP, 14 PP (must tithe 10% to deity, so must tithe 12.5 GP equivalent, or 25 EP),
  • Opalent: boots (2 GP), 107 EP, 14 PP
  • Vandin Lakesplitter: 107 EP, 14 PP
  • Narvet: candlestick (10 GP), 95 EP, 14 PP
  • Persis: 113 EP, 14 PP
  • Tureg: 113 EP, 14 PP

— The Dungeon Master

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