My ten year old daughter ran her first D&D adventure yesterday using the Moldvay ruleset. She is either a real hard case or an old softy. The jury is still out.
Out three heroes, Father Zeke Brimstone, the mighty warrior Angel Algerbio, and thief Ezio, find themselves on the run. Framed for the crime of stealing gold from the village of Rattenrude, a crime for which Ezio would later confess, the trio heavily pursued by pitchfork and torch wielding villagers through a deep dark forest. Surrounded, and beset at every turn, Angel discovers a normal sized door set into the trunk of a large oak tree.
With no better option the party disappears into the door, to find themselves in a long corridor stretching off into the darkness. Turning to spike the door shut, they find themselves trapped at the business end of a dead end corridor. A lone villager, an old man not part of the mob, lies at their feet.
“Don’t let him get you as he got me,” the old man croaks with his last breath. Ominous and prophetic words.
Ezio wastes no time turning out the old man’s pockets. No luck.
A passage to the right. A large room with a minotaur statue and two heavy chests. A sign above the chests, “CHOOSE ONLY ONE”. No fools, Angel and Zeke search for traps, only to find themselves standing above a series of coin sized holes. Open the chest and spikes rip into your feet. A job for the thief.
Ezio climbs the walls to reach the chests safely and chooses poorly. The chest contains only a pile of desiccated small animal corpses. The other chest? Disappeared in a cloud of smoke. The minotaur statue is made of copper and has dark red eyes. Do we look at them? No! Back to the corridor…
A short ways on, a tile star of the richest blue. We all jump over it, but the warrior who trips on approach and triggers…nothing! (Later it would be revealed by a giggling DM that the star had the power to remove a curse affecting the cleric and thief.)
Another large chamber, this one with two waist-high pedestals and a lever. With no choices, the fighter and cleric strongarm the thief into pulling the lever. Magic darkness descends and when it lifts, the thief stands on the right pedestal and his identical twin stands on the left. But which is the real thief?
(To add to the confusion, our DM pulled the thief’s player into another room. They played rock-paper-scissors to decide who was the real Ezio. Then they returned to the play table.)
Accusations flew. Tempers flared. Fingers were pointed. After literal minutes of confusion, Ezio the player slashes at Ezio the DM and splits the imposter’s head wide open! Which triggers a backlash against the real Ezio – a wicked slash across the forehead. First blood for the party. With the death of the imposter, a secret door in the rear of the room opens.
A short hall which is crossed by a wide perpendicular passage – a thick and flowing sewer. Through the clever use of climbing rope and iron spikes, the disgusting sewage is bypassed.
A small room, two levers, two doors out, and a waist high copper statue of a frog. When rubbed, the statue emits the spirit of the frog and warns the party, “The Master will destroy you as he destroyed me.” When queried about the levers and doors, the frogs-spirit feigns ignorance, but as Zeke moves to the right lever, it smiles in satisfaction as it disappears.
Zeke doesn’t trust the frog-spirit and moves to the left lever, pulls it, and gets sprayed in the chest with acid. No HP damage, but his armor is degraded by two points. The doors open, and the party moves out through the one on the right.
A wide circular chamber with four wide pools, three filled with blood. The back of the chamber dominated by a tall statue of a staff wielding half-man half-snake. It’s the Master!
“My villagers lured you into my trap, and now I will feast on your souls.” He charms the fighter for five turns. A vicious brawl, the cleric and thief hold off their ensorcelled friend and numerous spells from the Master just long enough for Angel to shrug off the effects of the charm spell. With her last act of slavery she slashed Zeke to the ground. That very round, Ezio falls to a flame bolt from the Master.
One on one now, Angel goes berzerk, hammering the Master with her sword. Again and again the blows rain down like…well, like rain. Finally, the evil snake man succumbs to the onslaught, shrinking with each blow until Angel finally cuts the Master in half like a dollar store pinata. He explodes, jewels bursting every which way. Jewels that contain the souls of his most recent victims.
Misty forms slither into the corpses of Ezio and Zeke. It is their spirits – they yet live! And still seek a solution to their unstated curses. The party gathers up the remaining jewels and leaves by way of a doorway in the previous room. (It was time for church, so we didn’t have a chance to investigate the pools in the room.) The party finds themselves back in the forest, a week later with the heat off. They walk to the next village, now 65 gp and 250 xp the richer for their harrowing experience.
|The Master’s Dungeon Trap For Unwary Adventurers
Not bad for a first timer. We had brutal combat. Foreshadowing. A wealth of traps. Even a doppleganger. It was obvious she drew on her own exposure to media, in fine DMing tradition. Overall the dungeon was a bit railroady, but on the whole it’s a great start to her DMing career.