The AD&D Experience, Part 3: Module B1, Into the Unknown

The adventurers are exploring the caverns of Quasqueton, and are about halfway through it now. They’ve done a variety of raids into the cavern, heading outside to heal and stash loot fairly regularly and have a few magic items now. They’ve recruited Zeffan the dwarf, an irascible and greedy soul, but loyal and fairly courageous, about as good an NPC as could be expected. For 50 gp., they’ve purchased vault space from Fencig the Fence, a 5th level elven mage and member in good standing of the Blackmoor United Bankers’ Union (BUBU). Fencig is honest in how he gouges the local adventurers, so that was a good investment too. But now the party has dropped through a pit to the second level and is somewhat dismayed. I explained that this was their first true test, to be dropped into the thick of it and fight their way courageously out (hopefully), and their characters would be stronger for it. They were not so sure, especially when it took a divine intervention roll to save them from a wandering orc patrol (not a great intervention roll, but the deity did heal the cleric anyways). I’m sure they’ll agree with me at the end, if they are still alive. My daughter keeps yelling TPK! TPK!

Besides my earlier thoughts on 1st edition AD&D, I’ve had a couple more:

1. The mages are too weak. I like the rule in Pathfinder that allows extra spells per level for mages with high INT. This may actually have come from 2nd or 3rd edition AD&D, but since I never played those, I wouldn’t know. Anyways, having 1 spell at first level stinks.

2. The dungeons are too big. It will take 3-4 play sessions for us to get through this, and that is too long a delay of ego gratification for the players. A series of micro-adventures would definitely work better.

3. The overland encounter tables are deadly! Two encounters with herd animals, and then a Remorhaz attack. Evil! The two donkeys took the brunt of this assault, as the players took to their heels. Back to carrying the treasure for two weeks through the wilderness when they get done.

4. Stirges are fun! I haven’t used them in years, and now I’ll put stirges into my world as well. Or giant mosquitoes?

5. Early dungeon design stank! Too many mapping nightmares, with spirals, dead-ends, and mazes, let alone the various devices to make mapping even harder (teleporters, spinning rooms, etc.)! Then there’s the various levers to pull (“I’m a born lever-puller!” as Ringo said) and the infamous Room of Pools. That always wastes about 3 hours of the party’s time. Yuck! If you want to confuse players, just take a nice cave map and having the party crawl through it. No chance to map there!

Speaking of caves, I added my first two geomorphs to David Millar’s project, Dave’s Mapper. Pretty easy to make, after a false start. I used, which is a great image editing program and is even free! Thanks to Rainer Gustin for pointing me to it!


About lostdelights

An old gamer flying his freak flag, I've been playing table-top role-playing games since 1978. I've been building my own system (Journeyman) since 1981.
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