Saturday, November 28, 2009

Paladins of the Mace & Paladins of the Sword

The way that I run Paladins in my campaign is as follows here: Human fighting men and human clerics who have a Charisma score of 17 or greater may become Paladins at fourth level IF THEY ARE LAWFUL from the beginning of play for that character. This applies to both male and female characters. They just always do lawful deeds, since any chaotic (or evil) act will revoke the status of paladin hood, and it can never be regained. Fighting Men become Paladins of the Sword and Clerics become Paladins of the Mace.

Paladins have a number of very powerful aids in their continual quest for good and these are a bit different for the two types of paladins.

First all Paladins of the Mace: They can "lay on hands" to heal wounds or cure diseases but only in others, they cannot heal their own wounds this way; however, they are not subject to disease. They heal two points of damage for every level the paladin has attained, once per day at 4th level, twice per day at 6th level and thrice per day at 8th level and so on. They can cure the common minor diseases in groups of people twice per day at 4th level and so on as for healing damage. They can cure one serious disease per level attained twice per day and so on as for healing damage.

To see the tables associated with Paladins go to this link:

As you may note from the table, Paladins of the Mace continue to accrue, albeit more slowly, and use cleric spells as they gain Paladin levels. Paladins of the Mace that are 8th level and above gain the ability (separate from spells) to dispel evil (spells, undead, evil enchanted monsters, and such) by ordering it so, and they detect all chaos, as well as evil, at a range of 6”. They also gain the ability to see in the absence of light.

Second of all we will look at Paladins of the Sword: They can "lay on hands" to heal wounds or cure diseases but only in others, they cannot heal their own wounds this way; however, they are not subject to disease. They heal two points of damage for every level the paladin has attained, once per day at 4th level, twice per day at 8th level and so on. They can cure the common minor diseases in groups of people twice per day at 4th level and so on as for healing damage. They can cure one serious disease per level attained twice per day and so on as for healing damage.

Paladins of the Sword do not get any clerical spells, as do Paladins of the Mace. Paladins of the Sword that are 8th level and above gain the ability (separate from spells) to dispel evil (spells, undead, evil enchanted monsters, and such) by ordering it so, and they detect all chaos, as well as evil, at a range of 6”. They also gain the ability to see in the absence of light.

Paladins with any type of “Holy Sword” or Holy Mace are almost completely immune to all magic. Paladins of the Sword may choose to obtain a horse, which is powerfully gifted, but not more than one per 10 years of game time, so if it is killed it is not automatically replaced. The paladin’s Horse is a Heavy Horse, with Armor Class IV, moves 18” has 8 Hit Dice and is highly intelligent. Paladins of the Mace may choose to obtain a mule, which is powerfully gifted, but not more than one per 10 years of game time, so if it is killed it is not automatically replaced. The paladin’s Mule is a Riding Mule, with Armor Class V, moves 21” has 6 Hit Dice and is highly intelligent. All paladin saving throws for Death Ray/Poison/All Wands including Polymorph or Paralization/Stone/Dragon Breath/Staves & Spells 10% better rounded up than the base class.

Paladins will never be allowed to possess more than two magical items, this does not include armor, shield and up to 4 weapons that normally use. They will give away all treasure that they win, save that which is necessary to maintain themselves, their men, and a modest castle. Paladins may not obtain a castle until they reach 10th level. Gifts must be to the poor or to charitable or religious institutions, i.e. not to some other character played in the game. A paladin's stronghold cannot be above 200,000 gold pieces in total cost, and no more than 200 men can be retained to guard it. Paladins normally prefer to dwell with lawful princes or patriarchs, but circumstances may prevent this. They will form strong alliances only with lawful characters. However, they may be found in parties with Neutral Characters since most adventurers are Neutral, they will, however, not associate at all with Chaotic characters. Paladins are recognized wherever they go as constituting a legitimate authority of Judge, Jury and Executioner. Once they reach 10th level, even Kings are subject to their decisions. Yes, these are powerful, however, I am of the mind that they are balanced with powerful Magic-Users, in addition they are very limited in how much magic and cash they can have. As noted in the tables, the experience requirements for advancing are quite steep compared to the base classes, so that balances out the power somewhat and allows the base classes to advance much faster.

This is my take on Paladins which I am near being able to start playtesting once one player advances a bit farther. Note that Paladins of the Mace are better healers and can use Cleric spells, along with being powerful fighters, there is still value in being a straight Cleric since you are not limited in magic such as scrolls and in coin, you advance much faster and are likely to have a Paladin seek you out once you become a Patriarch. Likewise, Paladins of the Sword are powerful fighters but very limited in magic and coin, and straight fighters advance much faster and if Lawful may have a Paladin seek you out once you become a Lord. Although paladins can build small castles they are more likely to forgo that if there is a Lawful Lord or Patriarch they can ally with.

The Ruins of Murkhill Campaign - the Fifth Game

As you see, I have finally picked a name for the campaign - one of my players suggested Murkhill and I took it from there. In the fifth game, my most experienced player and his 9 yr old daughter were not able to make it, but I still ended up with 5 players. My experienced player in this game is my 3E player, he was here for the first time since the first game along with his 10 yr old son.

One thing I forgot in my previous post is that they got their hands on an old ragged map from the giants but they couldn't read it. However, with a PC from this world now in the group, he can read the map however it is difficult for them to communicate so far. The gist of it, is that the map describes the area above the waterfall and so they decided to return upstream and get on top of the plateau alongside the river above the falls. One PC voiced a strong desire to find a way back through the portals to the original world they started from and the two PC's not from that world want to go there too.

They crossed over the river again and took care to avoid the giants as they traveled upriver. As they traveled and the communication became better with the new PC, they tried to pick his brain about this world. The second night they flirted with a TPK when they were attacked by three odd creatures that looked like a cross between giant boar hogs and lions. (hog body and shape, lion feet and legs).

They finally came to the falls and scouted around it but did not find a way up. So they traveled north in the canyon parallel to the falls. They traveled for a couple of days in the canyon until it widened out some and they came to a walled town. (The PC from this world interpreted between the party and the town based on his best guesses as to what they wanted since he doesn't really speak the language yet.) They had to pass the town guard in order to enter but they were so suspicious about the town that only two of them approached the town guard for entry and then lied about their being more in the group and then the rest of the group joined them and then they lied a second time about one of the group being injured who wasn't and that got them in hot water with the city fathers. The upshot of it was, they had to give up their weapons and swear an oath on a sacred oath stone before they were allowed in to replenish their supplies at higher than normal prices and they were not allowed to stay over night but had to leave before nightfall.

They traveled on from there and eventually found a very narrow twisting trail that led up the cliff face to the plateau they wanted to reach. Night fell before they finished the climb and they had some nervous moments in the last half hour of the climb.

They camped at the top where they were and during the night they were attacked by some trolls. It was a moonlight night and the watch spotted the trolls and they put some flaming arrows into the trolls and that was working well up to when they started missing and missing and entered melee with the trolls who started mopping up the field with them. They came within two hit points of a TPK but survived and that was the end of this game for the evening.

Additional notes: Although the 9 year old player was not present her PC has the three cubes that are similar in some ways to Ioun Stones but are completely different in many ways. As they become better able to communicate with the new PC from this world they will learn that the cubes appear to be part of a specific set of nine known as "The Colorful Cubes of Ceruveaux the Good" a Legendary Cleric-Paladin. There are apparently different sets of these cubes and each one is completely unique. They are specific for the race, class, and alignment of the PC. You don't find them, they find you and if you fail to gain all of them they will follow you until they are a united complete set. When they are complete then all of the benefits become apparent, until then only partial or random effect occur. If the PC in the company of these cubes dies both the PC and the cubes disappear instantly. Information on these cubes will keep on coming a bit at a time. As when the group first ran into these cubes, only the one they are meant for will exhibit strong interest in them, all others will ignore them, just as the group did in that initial discovery time.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Participant Breakdown in My OD&D Campaign.

I have previously noted the following in the first game: "So here I was, a middle 50's experienced OD&D ref  two 30-something players - one of which had played the Basic D&D 1980 boxed set, and the other had played some 3rd edition D&D (I think that is right) and the 3rd ed players' 10 year old son who had never played before."

In the three games since then, there has been 4 other people play. We have had the other original players' 9 year old daughter who had also never played before, a middle 50's former military man who had never played before and his 16 year old nephew who had only played some multi-player online games. In addition, we also added the 14 year old son of another friend who had never played before. This gives me a total of 7 different players of which so far the most present at the same time has been 5 of the 7. The mother of the 14 year old also wants to play if she can ever work it out to do so and the mother of the 9 year old might also play at some point.

I am in the process of writing up and posting some minimal info about the 2nd, 3rd and 4th game and I hope to have that posted tomorrow. The 5th game is this Saturday 11/14/2009 and I hope to post a detailed write up of that game. Currently it looks as though I will have between 4 to 6 players for that game. I will also be posting some house rules soon. As a teaser, I will note that in my game you can not become a paladin until you reach 4th level. There are two roads to paladinhood, you may start as a lawful fighter or as a lawful cleric.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Second, Third & Fourth Games of Our New Campaign

RL got in the way of my posting notes of our 2nd, 3rd & 4th games here online. Those games were played on 08/22/09, 09/12/09, and 10/17/09. I will make a modest attempt to remedy that.
So to summarize very briefly: In the 2nd game, they escaped from the circular room with 12 doors. I had one player from the first game and three new ones (so three players in the first game and four players in the second), I used a few little tricks to hook them up. This 2nd game was a constantly moving on the run game. At one point our cleric (9 year old girl - and a great asset to the game BTW) found a chest with cubes in it that were about a 2 x 2 x 2 inches in size, black in color and weighing about 2 pounds each. She grabbed three of them and then there was an encounter at the other end of the room and they all had to run for it. (She was investigating the chest and everyone else was looking for hidden or secret doors or was listening at the door in the one corner of the room. It developed as they spent the rest of the game running, hiding and dodging that the cubes shrank to about 1 x 1 x 1 inches in size, changed to a red one, a blue one and a yellow one that were floating the bag that she was carrying them in. More about them later; however, they are definitely not Ioun stones.
Here is a quote from one of the players: "The original adventurers; (I deleted the real names), found our characters in a round room with twelve doors the first game, and this is were we picked up the second game. The room once again stopped spinning and I randomly started choosing doors again to try and find our way out. The first door I picked led to a frosty sub-zero temperature room. The second, a volcanically hot room, and then finally I picked the right door and we returned to a familiar north/south corridor where we met up with our two new adventurers. They had picked up on some of the same rumors that we did which led us here in the first place. I believe the we headed north and then west down a corridor with three doors. If I remember correctly I chose to listen to, and then open the last door on the right of the corridor. There was a table with a couple of skeletons. Some strange force animated one of the skeletons but we smashed it quickly. I can't quite remember what happened next, but I think we heard some orcish voices behind a door and then ended up having to run back east and then south or something. We then went to a stairwell that I remembered and I think we went up a level and then discovered a 20x20 storage closet, and then a room with a strange playing board made for three opponents. I believe that we trekked down more levels and then decided to come back up to the area of the storage closet to rest, and then these hairy guys with big teeth came flying through the door of the "game-room". We killed one I believe and then two ran back into the room."
Then they fled through nearly a mile of rooms and corridors with searchers looking for them all over the place. They finally got away and they passed through a strange opening and ended up out of doors. Again quoting one of the players (an edited quote): "Anyway, we ended up on the outside and planed on constructing a secret base where we could rest and have easy access to the dungeon for our pillaging/adventuring/rescuing." This is where the second game came to a close is when they ended up out of doors.
In the 3rd game, they learned a few things right away about where they were at. They thought at first that they had exited fairly close to where they entered the dungeon. It turned out that they are now in a different world. Three moons instead of two moons, huge 300-500 feet tall trees up here on the mountain side instead of hills with a maximum tree height of 80-100 feet, and down on the forested plains below there are trees that approach a mile in height. This 3rd game had all of the same players as the 2nd game plus one new player for a total of five players. While exploring and trying to figure out how to get back into the dungeon they had come from they entered a new dungeon through an apparent picture on a rock wall on the side of the mountain.
They again ran into many strange things including a weird fountain that they did not investigate much and missed out on some things as a result. Only one person drank any of the water and it turned her temporarily green, so they didn't try anything further. They were pursued by a swamp monster type inspired in part by the Swamp Thing. They purloined some very valuable gems and jewels that were protected by stone creatures that would come to life if you climbed on them. Fought a giant snake from that group of creatures, escaped and then narrowly escaped a stair based trap. With some more encounters and much running, hiding and fleeing, they came to an area they recognized and thought they were close to a way out. This is roughly where this game ended. Also they picked up a new player-character in this world, an elf and he could only communicate with the elf and dwarf already in the party - same language but different elvish dialect. He gradually picked up the common tongue of the human characters.
The 4th game picked up where the previous one left off. This game had all of the players from the 3rd game less one who was sick, so 4 players were present. They soon had a choice of fleeing into corridors they had not covered yet, going back toward their pursuers or entering a portal that was glowing in front of them. They chose the portal, and stepped through. They came out in the middle of the night in as nearly as they could tell a desert. They kept as warm as they could and set watches.
In the early morning before sunrise, they heard sounds which turned out to be dog size ants converging on them in large numbers. They ran! They passed through a sizable oasis and lost the ants at that point. They hiked for miles across barren desert and then left it by traveling into a canyon as the terrain became hilly and then somewhat mountainous. They eventually came to a mile wide river just downstream from a mile wide waterfall. The waterfall pours over an extremely hard shelf of rock and has been unchanged for centuries since it receded back to this point. The water falls nearly a half a mile and the roar can be heard for many miles. The river below the falls continued in a canyon for many miles until the canyon walls completely disappeared to the north and angled away into the distance to the south. The area on either side of the river at this point is partially wooded and very rocky although over the centuries even the rock has become covered with vegetation.
The group found a 50 ft high mound that seemed to be pretty defensible and camped there. They tried fishing but were unsuccessful the first evening. They ended up being attacked by three monstrous carnivorous apes over 12 feet in height. They barely survived this encounter and that is with one of the PCs having a wand (the number of charges left must be growing quite small by now) and my allowing the -10 HP rule. What I do is if you reach between zero HP and -10 HP I then roll a d12, the result is the number of melee rounds in which the wounded person must receive first aid. If you roll a 1 and first aid is not rendered on the very next melee round then death results. It took them two days to get back to full HPs and only that quickly because they have a cleric.
They moved on from there and did some hunting and fishing to supplement their iron rations. During the next day of travel they came upon a hut, a very large hut in a very large clearing and they decided the cleric would go listen at the door while the others stayed back at extreme bow range. While there was no one visibly around there was smoke coming from the chimney. While listening at the door it opened and out came a giant (odd looking fellow, beardless, shaggy head of hair, very muscular, long bodied with very short legs and very long arms, broad shouldered). He immediately gave chase but cleric proved to be a bit faster than the giant and was pulling away. Meanwhile as soon as there was some separation they started shooting at the giant. The giant stops and starts throwing large rocks at them and turned one of the fighters into a spot on the ground but with some really hot rolling they managed to kill the giant. They made a quick raid of the hut but cut it as short as they could since there were four giant beds in the hut. They did make off with quite a bit of gold, silver, copper and a sword.
They hurried away from the site as quickly as they could, as they entered the forest again they looked back and saw three giants entering the far side of the clearing. At this they hurried downstream and then crossed the river which took quite a bit of time as the water varied from 3-5 feet deep and they had to wade/swim across. About the time they had entered the trees on the other side and were looking back from a hidden vantage point, they saw the giants and several very large dire wolf-dogs come out of the trees and track them to the riverbank. The giants seemed to be having trouble getting the animals to cross the river. The party crossed over a couple of hills and came upon a stream running somewhat parallel to the main river. They entered the stream and continued downstream as fast as they could for a couple of miles till it intersected the main river where they crossed over most of the way then went way downstream before coming out on the riverbank they started from. I ruled that at this point they had gotten away.
They camped for the night and then made a push downriver the next day. Hearing sounds of a chase they hid and seeing a man pursued by several orcs they decided to intervene and killed the orcs.The new player-character joined the party at that point communicating by sign language and the few words that they did have in common.(replacing the player-character killed earlier). This is pretty much where game four ended.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What Rules are being used in the new OD&D campaign?

Just briefly, I thought I would mention the Rules that we are using in the new OD&D Campaign. We are using the original three booklets Men & Magic, Monsters & Treasure and the Underworld & Wilderness Adventures. That's it, nothing else except the house rules that I add as we go. So all weapons do 1d6 and the ref rolls up the characters for the players.

Friday, August 14, 2009

1st Level Player Characters and Dungeons

Brave, foolhardy, gutsy or greedy, which pair of these words describe the three players (five player characters in The First Game of Our New Campaign - Part 1 as they explored the dungeons. Perhaps a case can be made for all four words describing them. First of all I don't ever remember seeing 1st level player character penetrate so deeply into a dungeon on their first outing. Part of that may be due to my not playing the dungeon and the encounter tough enough. In my defense, I submit that I haven't reffed in a very long time and they did have a 10 year old player in the game which may have affected my judgement. I promise to do better in the next game. On the other hand, every0ne had fun so I don't want to make it too tough. Yes, folks the ref does walk a tightrope from time to time.

On the other hand, I have also never seen a group of players so single-minded in pursuing treasure with no apparent consideration of the hazards involved. I don't mean to insult any of my players, I am just amazed, that is all. Again maybe it is the long time since I reffed and the generation gap. I grew up on all kinds of fantasy fiction, fairy tales and folklore so perhaps I am by nature more cautious.

What these players did was to start on the 1st level of the dungeon, and then end up on the 3rd level, 6th level and 5th level of the dungeon. In the process they got involved with an odd artifact of the dungeon which is manifested in different ways in different parts of the dungeon and it moves around from time to time. In addition, I now have to create a fair amount of dungeon to keep from creating any obvious dimensional contradictions.

The players should bear in mind that they have not found all of the secret or hidden doors in all of the areas that they have been in, not everything is exactly as it may seem. In addition, they might want to reconsider getting too far into the dungeon without knowing more about the first level of the dungeon. Hopefully in the second game coming up we will have more players and that will give them more options and viewpoints.

I was encouraged when I found out that the 10 year old player was describing the fight with the giant snake to his mother and she kept asking "where did they take you that you saw a snake that big?" and he kept saying, "No mom, it was imaginary and going on with the story." I was also encouraged when I found out she is going to let him play again. :)

And in case it needs saying, I was very pleased -even though I was surprised with some of their decisions-with these players and with the game. I hope they all had as much fun as I did. More thoughts on this at a later time. Yes, I will keep editing these posts as I think of/remember things and as I get time.

OD&D and Alignment - My House Rules

Unlike some, I both like and use Alignment in my game and it plays an important part. I try not to make it too complicated though. Lawful does not mean Good, but Lawful tends more toward good than not. Neutral is someone that is consistently in the middle and always avoids the extremes. Chaotic does not mean Evil, but Chaotic tends toward evil more than not. I also start players as Neutral unless they have declared themselves to be one thing or another.

As the players play, I keep mental tabs on their alignment and over time if they are consistenly one thing more than another, then I will let them know that their alignment has changed based on their in game actions. Why is this important? Well there are several reasons.

All major weapons in the game, such as swords, battle axes, bows etc. that are magic have an alignment. As such they can only be used by someone of like alignment. These weapons are Intelligent, but that may or may not be evident to the player character. Not all magic weapons have bonuses to hit or to damage, but they may have almost any thing as a power attached to the weapon. If someone of the wrong alignment or in some cases wrong alignment and wrong race (human, elf, dwarf, or hobbit) touches it they will get a mild shock. If they persist and try to use it they will receive 1d6 damage the first melee round, 2d6 the second melee round, 3d6 the third melee round ... you get the picture. Not only will they receive damage but they will in no case be able to use it against anyone or anything else. This also explains why monsters may or may not be using the magic weapons that they have in their possessions. If they are able to use it they usually will be using it. Players may lose magic weapons or other magic items, if their alignment changes.

Other magic items in the game may also in some cases have an alignment. More on that and magic weapons at a later time.

In addition, alignment may affect how certain spells effect a player character. The effect may be reduced or enhanced. Again more on that at a later time. I don't want to give too much away to my players, just hints.

Alignment will affect how different groups react to a player characters charisma when the player character is trying to achieve a certain goal in an interaction.

At a future date this post will be expanded and that will continue to be done from time to time. Original date of this post is 08/14/2009.

As an example in: The First Game of Our New Campaign - Part 1 the killing of the sleeping orcs is an evil act and is Chaotic in nature. Continued behavior of this time will move out little party from the default of Neutral to Chaotic and definitely rule out any of them being considered Lawful. It will affect many things, such as the usuability of the magic that they find. In addition, as they explore the dungeon, the intelligent monsters will learn to not expect quarter and as a consequence will not offer or grant quarter either. In my campaign, there are a lot of reasons not to kill if it is not immediately necessary. On the other hand, there are consequences pro and con, to not killing. The players will have to decide which set of pros and cons they prefer.

In a like manner, whether or not the player characters rescue (or try to) the farmer and/or recover his body for burial (or try to) and/or share some of the booty with either the rescued farmer and wife or with the widow, whichever the case may be, (assuming they survive) will also effect their alignment. Again, it is up to the players to make the decision and face the consequences. All decisions have consequences some good and some bad.

However, let us be clear, I will not do bad things to the player characters just because they do something other than what I might have done.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The First Game of Our New Campaign - Part 1

We finally got together on July 11th to play the first game of a new campaign. Originally we had planned for five or six players and ended up with three. I was very happy to have three, believe you me. So here I was, a middle 50's experienced OD&D ref, two 30-something players - one of which had played the Basic D&D 1980 boxed set, and the other had played some 3rd edition D&D (I think that is right) and the 3rd ed players' 10 year old son who had never played before. To further set the stage, this game was being played with only the original 3 little books in the white box (5th printing), no supplements or other materials, just the house rules and extra monsters and magic I am creating just for this campaign.

I gave them a stack of pre-rolled characters which they were happy that I had as it got us into playing quickly. They just had to outfit themselves and then we started. The 10 year old had one character and the two adults had two each to make five characters in the game. The party thus consisted of an elven Fighting-Man/Magic User who chose to be a Fighting-Man for this adventure, a dwarven Fighting-Man, an elven Magic-User, a human Fighting-Man and a human Cleric. What follows now is an attempt at a summary of the events. If the players remember anything different, please bring it to my attention and I will edit where needed.

I told them, you have all met and have decided to throw in together and make a go of it. You have heard a couple of rumors over the last couple of days and are deciding if you want to pursue one of them or do something else. I try to always give the option tell me where you are heading.

Rumor #1 to the northwest off toward the frontier there are isolated homesteads and small farming communities where they are being hit by bandit raids and occasional incursions of monsters. Help is needed in the area and employment is available at 5 gold pieces each to track down and put an end to the bandits.

Rumor #2 to the northeast, further away from the frontier it is reported that a farmer is missing, having fallen down a hole that just opened up in the ground. After a minor investigation by the local Shire Reeve (sheriff) a Hero of some renown, the farmer was declared dead after the Shire Reeve discovered an previously unknown dungeon. He did not investigate further and the farmer was not recovered. The presumed widow is not willing to admit that her husband might be dead and is determined that someone should go into the dungeon after him.

After a brief discussion the party decided to pursue Rumor #2. As no encounters were rolled, a quick three day trip was made to the site. After some discussion with the farmers wife during which they were a bit vague but implied that they would seek the rescue of her husband and after being freshly provisioned by the lady, they descended by rope into the hole, a depth of some 50 feet or so below ground level. At their request the lady untied and dropped the ropes down after them. The lady indicated that the farmer had rope that could be dropped for them to climb out and promised that she would be checking to see if they had returned.

Upon reaching the bottom of the hole, they discovered that the dungeon corridor they had descended into was blocked to the west by the collapse of soil from the hole, but to the east it was unblocked and appeared to be abnormally clean. They lighted their torches and started exploring. After going a short distance they came to a corridor to the south while the main corridor continued to the east where it came to a T. After some discussion they decided to investigate the corridor to the south, it dead-ended with a door on both the east and west walls at the end of the corridor. It required some effort, but they opened both doors and took a quick look into both rooms and then decided to investigate the west room first.

While this room had various old furniture and other items in the room. They did not locate any secret doors or anything else of significance except along the south wall there were 3 large boxes or chests with lids and they were not locked. When they tried to open them, out of each came a roughly man-size floating blob that exhorted them to leave in no uncertain terms, speaking very strongly about being disturbed. The players exited the room hurriedly and shut the door behind them without learning anymore about the creatures/entities or the contents of the boxes/chests. As an exercize for the reader - make a list of what the players do and do not know about these creatures/entities.

**As a brief aside, I should note that in my game alignment plays an important part. Some brief comments follow and a more detailed treastise will be posted at a much later date. Lawful does not mean Good, but Lawful tends more toward good than not. Neutral is someone that is consistently in the middle and always avoids the extremes. Chaotic does not mean Evil, but Chaotic tends toward evil more than not. I also start players as Neutral unless they have declared themselves to be one thing or another. You can decide for yourselves what direction these characters appear to be heading. :)**

They then started searching the east room and found a few things including a bit of coin. The main development in this room was that they discovered a hidden door in the south wall. Opening the door they found a long narrow corridor and after a bit of discussion they all decided to explore it further. Once they had all entered the corridor the hidden door slammed shut behind them of itself. Without investigating this development they proceeded down the corridor.

At the other end of the corridor they found a door, passing through it put them at the top of a circular stair when is tight and steep. Going down the stairs about 40 feet or so of elevation brought them to a landing where there were three doors. They listened at the doors and could just barely hear excited voices through the one to the east, the one to the north turned out to be a storage room and the one to the south was an enormous room with a sandy floor. Entering and closing the a very thick door behind them they soon encountered an enormous snake. Its body was about a foot thick at the largest point and its head reared up to the 10 foot ceiling. It threw its coils around one fighter and bit another. They were very lucky that the ref rolled even worse than they did and they survived the encounter. The cleric healed the most injured person (and that spell was gone) (yes, I allow 1st level cleric one spell).

They then found two chests half embedded in the sand. One character was poisoned and barely survived trying to disarm a trapped lock. The cleric sliced open the poisoned finger and sucked out the poison using a liberal amount of wine on the finger and to "rinse" his mouth. In the chests they picked up a little more coin, three clerical scrolls, two flasks with unknown liquids in them, a very light chainmail suit of armor, but they could not identify the metal - it does not appear to be magical and a sword hilt. While looking at the sword hilt they discovered that neither elves nor dwarves could handle it, it punished their hand to try to hold it. The human fighter discovered that when he brought the sword hilt near some things a blade appeared. Beyond that he does not yet know what properties it has.

They continued walking away from the door and came to the far wall and then went west looking for a way out but did not find any other doors. Then as they went east the door opened and they could see the torch light on the far side. Whoever it was came toward them and quickly found the dead snake and the open chests. (No one had wondered what else might be buried in this room.) Not having any place to go they waited for the advancing party which turned out to be twelve orcs. The magic-user cast the sleep spell (the other spell gone) and rolled a twelve. Unexpectedly their are now twelve sleeping orcs. The party quickly killed the sleeping orcs and looted them. Hurrying on to the east wall they still found no doors. So they decided to get out of the room and headed back to the door.

Back out on the landing they decided to go down the stairway deeper into the dungeon. Yes, that's right deeper into the dungeon. After them had went down the stairway about 20 feet of elevation they heard many feet coming up the stairway and so they went back to the landing and - THEY WENT BACK INTO THE ROOM WHERE THEY KILLED THE SNAKE AND THE ORCS!!!

They went back down their tracks to the far wall and then along to wall to the east wall and waited. The door opened angry loud voices, they found the snake and the open chests and the dead orcs then split into two groups following the tracks both directions along the south wall. At this point the party under cover of darkness started easing directly towards the door they got about halfway there and then were discovered. At this point they run to the door, and closing it behind them hurry -DOWN THE STAIRS OUT OF SIGHT OF THE LANDING- and then remain silent, just as the door above bursts open and the other party races up the stairs. When they are heard to go through the door at the top of the stairs the party hurries down to the next landing to yet another level of the dungeon.

The only door they can open leads to the west for quite a ways then turns north and slopes upward for a long way and then levels out and turns east. This dead-ends on three doors. One to the north they can not open. One to the south opens into a circular room with 12 doors and the east door open into a small alcove. As they check this alcove out a section of wall spins and separates one member of the party from the group. As they check this out four switch places with the one. And then back again. The one then finds a door on the south wall of the hidden space and it opens in the circular room. He goes in, eventually the others follow. Once they have all entered, the door slams behind them. They start checking doors and they all open to the outside with a thousand foot drop below each door like it opens right out into mid-air. As they are pondering what to do next. (At this point we check the time and the game comes to halt for the night.)

This all for now except to note the following: Since this was the first game I had reffed in a very long time, I took note of a few things over the next few days. One I was quite easy on them, probably a bit too easy and I missed some things that I should not have. Two I decided that between now and the next game I am going to make a few posts that may give them a few hints. Three, it looks like a few more people may be able to play the next game, so I will need to work around having them separated for a bit. Four, Five and Six I leave as an exercise for the reader.

Feel free to post comments here and to go to my forum and join to post there.