So every Friday I’ll be presenting a game recap of solo play through the “Classic” D&D adventures.
Now, by “Classic” I don’t necessarily mean The Keep on the Borderlands, Ravenloft, The Tomb of Horrors or The Temple of Elemental Evil. I mean the Classic D&D era game modules/adventures. The ones from the late 70’s and early to mid 80’s, Caverns of Thracia, Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, Beyond the Crystal Cave…everything I’ve heard of but never got my hands on to play. My own experiences are limited to; The Keep on the Borderlands, Isle of Dread, The Secret of Bone Hill, Secret of the Slavers Stockade, The G (Giant) series and Queen of the Demonweb Pits. There are so many more modules/adventures out there… So, that’s where I’m headed.
So, to start off I’m going to play through B1, In Search of the Unknown, which according to what I’ve read has some OD&D ties but also was used with Classic D&D (the Holmes, Moldvay and Mentzer stuff) and maybe even 1st edition.
B1 In Search of the Unknown…
Five adventurers and their equipment bearer set off in search of the unknown. Rogahn the Fearless and Zelligar the Unknown have been missing…
… and word just reaching civilization tells of some great battle in the Barbarian Lands where the legendary Rogahn and Zelligar have meant their demise. This rumored clash must have occurred some years ago, and there are few details – and no substantiation of the story. The only thing certain is that, if all this is true, Rogahn and Zelligar have been gone far too long… if only one had the knowledge and wherewithal to find their hideaway, he or she would have great things to explore!
A mysterious map held by the party’s equipment bearer shows the hideaway of two men at a place called “the Q” and hope abounds that it is the former home of Rogahn and Zelligar.
The party; Norrin the Barbarian a Human, Sho-Rembo the Halfling Fighter, Tassit of St. Cuthbert a Human Cleric, Sporragha the Thief, also a Human, and Presto the Elven Magic-User along with their equipment bearer have set off to the location indicated on the map and they have heard a rumor that the hideaway consists of two levels…
… and once there they found a cave-like opening, somewhat obscured by vegetation, noticeable at the end of a treacherous pathway which leads up to a craggy outcropping of black rock. By sweeping aside some of the vines and branches, the opening becomes easily accessible to human-size explorers. The opening leads straight into the rock formation, with a 10' wide corridor leading the way to a large wooden door. The door opens freely, and close examination reveals that bits of wood have been chipped away from the edge, indicating that it has previously been forced.
Beyond the door the party followed another corridor which ran on into the darkness when two alcoves opened up on their left and right. A brief search turned up nothing unusual and the party moved on. Another 50’ down the corridor were two more alcoves on either side of the corridor. Both Norrin the Barbarian and Presto the Elven Magic-User found secret doors in the alcoves on either side. It was decided that “left is best” and the party entered the secret door in the left alcove.
Just beyond the secret door the party comes to a “T” intersection and turns left (left is best!). They follow this corridor for almost 50’ until it turns left, ends, and a door is found on the right-hand wall.
The party examines the door and after determining it safe they pass through. There is another corridor ahead of them running straight into darkness but in that darkness they see the reflection of gleaming eyes in their torchlight. There are two sets of eyes, low to the ground, and watching…
The party watched and as they did the pair of eyes advanced quickly towards them. There were two rats, giant ones, coming their way…
Round 1 –The party moved forward and met the giant rats halfway. Presto missed with a sling-stone but Sporragha the Thief hit with an arrow and slew a rat. The giant rat left made a poor attack on Norrin the Barbarian (critical fumble) and the Barbarian tried to take advantage of the opening but missed with his sword. Sho-Rembo the Halfing Fighter, who was still behind the door leading outside of the corridor, tried a sling shot but missed. Tassit, Servant of St. Cuthbert, brought her “Hammer of Humility” down on the remaining rat and squished the life out of it.
It was all over in a few seconds. The party congratulated each other on their first victory and took a rest as the torch bearer lit up a fresh torch. Sporragha the Thief moved down the other half of the corridor remaining until it made a right turn and he positioned himself there while the party rested.
A few minutes later the party continued on, down the rest of the corridor to Sporragha and then around the right-hand corner and down another corridor for about 40’. Here the corridor continued on into the darkness but a door was also found on the right-hand wall. The party had a listen at the door but heard nothing on the other side. They decided to continue down the corridor.
The corridor went straight for another 70’ and then turned right. This new corridor ran on for about 90’ and then made a half-circle to their left and then back right again. Then the corridor made another half-circle, this time bending to their right and then back around to the left and then straightened once again. After about 60’ the corridor turned, widened to about 15’, and ran off to the northwest straight into darkness.
As the party moved up this wide corridor, a low growling could be heard up ahead in the darkness. The party halted abruptly… Nobody could see anything that far ahead in the darkness, Presto’s Elven infravision ruined by the party’s torch. The party holds their collective breaths and waits, straining to listen or for some shape to appear out of the darkness ahead, but none does.
The growling continues from up ahead in the darkness, new voices add to the low rumble.
Sporragha ordered the torch bearer to get a flask of oil and open it. As the torch bearer produces the flask Sporragha pushes an arrow into the flask and then raises it into the torch bearer’s torch, igniting it. He turns and fires it up the corridor towards the sounds of growling. The arrow doesn’t hit anything living but does travel about 50’ before skittering to the floor and as the flame rises after its flight three or four humanoids can be seen standing with weapons gleaming in the flickering light.
One of the humanoids calls out in a savage growl and charges, the others following.
Round 1 – Presto immediately recognized that the corridor was too wide for Norrin and Tassit to keep a front-line across the corridor so he moved back behind Sho-Rembo the Halfling Fighter and the torch bearer. Sporragha, the Human Thief, fired an arrow at the approaching humanoids but missed. The humanoids closed the gap between the party and themselves to about 10’. Sho-Rembo moved up front to help create a wall across the corridor, protecting those behind, and took a swing with his sword at a humanoid but missed. Tassit, the Cleric, moved up beside Sho-Rembo and swung her “Hammer of Humility” at the same humanoid, also missing. Norrin the Barbarian stepped up beside Tassit, completing the front-line wall, and swung his sword at another humanoid (critical hit) and pushed his blade through the creature until it dropped to the floor.
Round 2 – Presto unleashes a sling stone from the back of the party but misses comically. Sporragha fired off another arrow but also missed his target. Sho-Rembo and Tassit would take swings at the same humanoid and both miss. Norrin though came through again with another successful attack and left another humanoid sliding off the end of his blade.
Round 3 – Presto, again relying on his sling, scores a hit on the last humanoid and Sporragha follows with another arrow that finishes it off.
The party congratulates each other on their second victory. A new torch is lit and guards are set 30’ ahead of and behind the party. The remaining party members search the humanoids, discovering that they are Orcs, and also discovering about 28 copper pieces.
A few minutes later the party is back on its way, again continuing up the wide corridor heading northwest. The party reaches the spot where they first spotted the Orcs and here the corridor also turns northeast. The party begins moving up the northeast corridor when Norrin discovers a secret door (Norrin is the MVPC of this session so far).
The party has a listen at the door and checks it for traps but turns up nothing. They push the door open and have a look. Inside is a storeroom with various items stacked up or leaning against the walls. But more important that that are the three skeletons they see standing silently with longswords in hand.
The party decides to move in cautiously and if the skeletons stir Tassit, Servant of St. Cuthbert, will attempt to turn them.
And as the party moves into the room the skeletons do stir to life and begin, with deathly quietness, to move towards the door.
Round 1 – Presto leads off, per usual, with a sling stone shot that misses. Sporragha the Human Thief, fires an arrow at a skeleton but misses. The skeletons form a line in front of Norrin the Barbarian and Tassit the Cleric who are in the room while the others are still behind them outside the door. The first two skeletons miss but the third hits Norrin hard (critical hit) but Norrin remains on his feet. Sho-Rembo, the Halfling Fighter, moves into the room beside Tassit and swings at a skeleton but misses his mark. Tassit calls upon St. Cuthbert to drive these unholy things away but her prayer goes unheard. Norrin swings his own blade but is unsuccessful.
Round 2 – Presto casts his Magic Missile spell at the skeleton that hit Norrin and scores a decent hit but the skeleton still stands. Sporragha moves to the center of the doorway so he has a clear shot in and fires at the middle skeleton but misses. The three skeletons all takes swings at, Norrin, Tassit, and Sho-Rembo and all miss! Sho-Rembo counters with his sword and takes down a skeleton. Tassit swings her “Hammer of Humility” at a skeleton, missing, but Norrin comes through with another great swing (another crit) and takes a skeleton down.
Round 3 – Presto returns to his sling and fires away, missing. Sporragha fires his bow straight on through the doorway and hits the last skeleton. It falls in a heap of bones and the party moves into the secreted room, closing the door behind them.
That ends this session and all of the party members are still alive! Norrin the Barbarian has to be the MVPC of this session having found 2 secret doors and hit on 3 of his 4 attacks, 2 for criticals and killing 3 opponents. Sporragha, the Human Thief, is a close second hitting 3 of 7 targets but each of his hits brings down an opponent.