The First Dungeon Adventure


Movement && SEARCHING
Detection of Unusual Circumstances, Traps, and Hearing Noise
Doors
Concealed Doors
Secret Doors
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Example of Play
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The Campaign
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DMG

<>

Assume that you have assembled a group of players. Each has created a
character, determined his or her race and profession, and spent some time
carefully equipping these neophyte adventurers with everything that the
limited funds available could purchase. Your participants are now eagerly
awaiting instructions from you as to how to find the place they are to seek
their fortunes in. You inform them that there is a rumor in the village that
something strange and terrible lurks in the abandoned monastery not far
from the place. In fact, one of the braver villagers will serve as guide if
they wish to explore the ruins! (This seemingly innocent guide might be
nothing more than he seems, or possibly an agent of some good or evil
power, or a thief in disguise, or just about anything else. In this case,
however, let it be a thief, for reasons you will discover soon.)
The party readily agrees, and so the adventure begins.

You inform them that after about a two mile trek along a seldom-used
road, they come to the edge of a fen. A narrow causeway leads out to a
low mound upon which stand the walls and buildings of the deserted
monastery. One of the players inquires if the mound appears to be
travelled, and you inform the party that only a very faint path is discernible
-- as if any traffic is light and infrequent. Somewhat reassured, another
player asks if anything else is apparent. You describe the general bleakness
of the bog, with little to relieve the view save a few clumps of brush
and tamarack sprouting here and there (probably on bits of higher
ground) and a fairly dense cluster of the same type of growth approximately
a half mile beyond the abandoned place. Thus, the party has
only one place to go along the causeway - if they wish to adventure.
The leading member of the group (whether appointed or self-elected, it
makes no difference) orders that the party should proceed along the
raised pathway to the monastery, and the real adventure begins.

The so-called guide, the Cutpurse (T3), is a 3rd level NPC. You
placed him in the village and gave the reason for his being there as a
desire for a huge fire opal which the abbot of the place is said to have
hidden when the monastery was under siege. The fellow died, according
to legend, before revealing it to anyone, sa somewhere within the ruins
lies a fortune. But this particular thief lacks courage, so he has been living
frugally in the village while seeking some means of obtaining the gem
without undue risk to himself. Now, he has the party to serve as his means.
If they invite him along, then he will go -- with seeming reluctance, of
course. If they do not, he will lurk near the entrance hoping to obtain any
loot they will have gleaned from the adventure when they return, doing so
either by stealth or by force if the party is sufficiently weakened from the
perils they have faced.

Before you are three maps: a large-scale map which shows the village and
the surrounding territory, including the fen and monastery, the secret entrance/
exit from the place, and lairs of any monsters who happen to dwell
in the area; at hand also is a small-scale (1 square to 10 ’ might be in order)
map of the ruined monastery which shows building interiors, insets for
upper levels, and a numbered key for descriptions and encounters; lastly,
you have the small scale map of the storage chambers and crypts beneath
the upper works of the place (refer to the section, THE CAMPAIGN[/A SAMPLE DUNGEON]), <>
likewise keyed by numbers for descriptions and encounters. So no matter
what action the party decides upon, you have the wherewithal to handle
the situation. When they come to the area shown on the second map, the
one depicting the monastery complex, you set aside map one, and begin a
more detailed narrative of what they “see”, possibly referring to the
number key from time to time as they explore the place.

Movement within buildings is actually the same as in an underground
setting. Each square represents an area of 10 ’ per side, and movement is
very slow as observation and map making and SEARCHING takes considerable
time. Base movement rate translates to 1 square per 1 factor in a
turn (10 minute period). In like manner, examination and mapping of a
room or chamber will require about a 10 minute period. Thorough
SEARCHING of contents and examination of walls, floor, and possibly the
ceiling as well is also a lengthy process. How are doors and secret doors
opened? and what about locks and fastenings? It is vital that the DM know
such details thoroughly, so that the mundane processes of dungeon adventuring
can be carried aut rapidly, clearly, and in a fashion which will
be interesting and exciting.

Movement && SEARCHING:

You must make some arbitrary decisions
regarding the time expended in activities which are not strictly movement.

Travelling along a corridor and mapping its length takes 1 turn per 90', assuming a base move of 9”.

How long does it take to move along but a short section of passage, open a door, enter the room beyond, and SEARCH it?
Such variables as passage length, condition of the portal (locked, stuck,
or normal), size of the room beyond, and thoroughness of the SEARCH make
an absolute determination of time nearly impossible. There are many
variations of PC activity -- looking far signs of USE of the
corridor, listening for noise, looking for traps, inspection of walls for secret
doors, etc. -- all of which compound the need for an arbitrary handling of
time. If a few fixed references are used, the task becomes a good deal
easier, however. Therefore, the following suggestions are offered:
 
DOOR search for traps: 1 round
DOOR listening for noise: 1 round
ROOM mapping, and casually examining a 20’ x 20’ AREA 1 turn
ROOM thoroughly searching after intial examination*: 1 turn
SECRET DOOR checking for by simple tapping of floor or wall, by 10' X 10' area: 1 round
SECRET DOOR thorough examination for means to open, by 10' x 10' area:  1 turn

This assumes that, in fact, the AREA has items which can be checked for
traps, examined, contents searched, hidden comportments looked for,
and so on. If there are many containers and much furniture in the AREA,
the time might actually be double that shown. If the place has nothing
but some odds and ends, then a casual examination will discover all
there is to know about the place (short of a check for secret doors) and a
thorough SEARCH is contra-indicated.

Detection Of Unusual Circumstances, Traps, And Hearing Noise: Regardless of the means,
it takes effort and concentration to perform any of these activities.
A gnome, for instance, must remain relatively quiet and concentrate for a TURN to detect facts about an underground setting.
Likewise, a dwarf must work at it.
An elf doesn't detect secret doors 162/3% of the time by merely passing them unless he or she is actually concentrating on the act.
A character with a sword must have it out and be thinking about its power in order for the weapon to communicate anything to him or her.
To sum it all up, DON'T GIVE PLAYERS A FREE LUNCH!
Tell them what they "see",
allow them to draw their own conclusions and initiate whatever activity they desire.
You are the source of their input, a time keeper, and the motivator of all not connected with them.
That is sufficient to keep you busy, rest assured.

Assume that your players are continually wasting time (thus making the
so-called adventure drag out into a boring session of dice rolling and
delay) if they are checking endlessly for traps and listening at every door.
If this persists, despite the obvious displeasure you express, the requirement
that helmets be doffed and mail coifs removed to listen at a door,
and then be carefully replaced, the warnings about ear seekers, and
frequent checking for wandering monsters <(q.v.: DMG, FF, MM2)>, then you will have to
take more direct part in things. Mocking their over-cautious behavior as
near cowardice, rolling huge handfuls of dice and then telling them the
results are negative, and statements to the effect that: "You detect
nothing, and nothing has detected YOU so far -- ", might suffice. If the
problem should continue, then rooms full with silent monsters will turn the
tide, but that is the stuff of later adventures.

Doors:

As a rule of thumb, all doors are hard to open and hard to keep <cf. THE CHANGELING EARTH>
closed or open for PCs, while inhabitants of the dungeon find
little difficulty in these regards. Regardless of how a door opens, it is usual
that its weight && condition require that force be used to swiftly operate
it. This is represented by the roll of d6 for each person involved in pushing,
pulling, lifting, sliding, or whatever. A roll of 1 or 2 typically indicates
success, anything above indicates the door still remains unopened.
(Cf. PH, Character Abilities, STR, [Table 2].)
 

  • Very heavy doors might reduce chances by half.
  • Locked doors might only open if two or even three simultaneous 1's are rolled.

  • Most doors are about 8' wide, and this allows up to three characters to attempt opening.
    A door of 3' or less width allows but a single character to make an attempt.
    If wooden doors (always metal bound, naturally) are broken down by axes and the like,
    it will take some time -- a full turn is usual --
    and require ot least 3 checks <(1 in 6: OSRIC)> to see if nearby and/or wandering monsters are attracted by the noise.
    Doors can also be blasted away by fireballs and other spells, for example.
    This will not be likely to draw monsters to the vicinity immediately.
    Any such {destruction} will, however, attract the attention of all passing creatures and possibly cause future problems.
    Intelligent dungeon inhabitants will certainly make efforts to repair damage if it is in their interest to do so.
    Finally, metal doors (usually locked) will be very difficult to open, requiring a knock spell or similar means most of the time.
     
     
    Doors Cost in G.P. Defensive Point Value
    <HP.M><finish><check these>
    Door, iron, 4' w., 7' h. 100 10
    Door, secret, 2' w., 4' h. 50 <?>
    Door, trap, 2' w., 3' l. 2 <?>
    Door, wooden, 4' w., 7' h. 10 W1
    Door, wooden, reinforced, 4' w., 7' h. 25 3
    <Doors, double reinforced = Gate> <?> 8-12

    Q: What does a one-way door look
    like when viewed from the wrong
    side?

    A: This is up the DM. In many campaigns,
    the "wrong" side of a one-way door looks
    like a normal door. In other campaigns,
    they can?t be detected at all. In still others,
    they can?t been seen, but they can be
    located by touch or tapping.
    (142.71)

    <BASH>
    <Note: In T1-4, there at least a few examples of a door requiring 50 HP of damage to break down.>
    <T1-4.47: The door breaks only after 50 points of damage are applied. Attackers may make two hits per round; consider the door as Large size. The noise of such an attack draws all the occupants from area 115 in the next round.>
    <T1-4.52: A barred door, sheathed in bronze, takes 200 points to break down.>
    <T1-4.54: BRONZE DOOR: The door is solid, and takes 300 points of damage before breaking open. However, any non-magical weapon used in such an attack may (1 in 6 chance, check per hit) break upon striking it.>
    <compress this>

    Concealed Doors: These are doors which are hidden in some way --
    behind a curtain, covered with plaster, a trap door under a rug, etc. They
    differ from a secret door in that once their concealment is uncovered they
    are obviously doors.

    Q: What's the difference between a secret and a concealed door?

    A: Secret doors are constructed so that their function as a portal is
    not immediately obvious; false backs on fireplaces, revolving
    bookcases, and sliding sections of stonework are examples of
    this. Concealed doors are just doors hidden by an intervening
    object, like a tapestry, a stack of boxes, a door covered over with
    plaster, and so forth.
    (76.64)

    Secret Doors: These are portals which are made to appear to be a normal
    part of the surface they are in. They can possibly be sensed or detected by
    characters who are actively concentrating on such activity,
    or their possible location may be discovered by tapping (though the hollow place could be
    another passage or room beyond which has no portal in the hollow-sounding surface).
    Discovery does not mean that access to the door mechanism has been discovered, however.
    Checking requires a very thorough examination of the possible secret door AREA.
    You may use either of two methods to allow discovery of the mechanism which operates the
    portal:

        1. You may designate probability by a linear curve, typically with a d6.
        Thus, a secret door is discovered 1 in 6 by any non-elf, 2 in 6 by elven or
        half-elven characters, each character being allowed to roll each turn in
        checking a 10' x 10' area. This also allows you to have some secret
        doors more difficult to discover, the linear curve being a d8 or d10.

        2. You may have the discovery of the existence of the secret door enable
        PCs to attempt to operate it by actual manipulation, i.e.
        the players concerned give instructions as to how they will have their
        characters attempt to make it function: "Turn the wall sconce.", "Slide
        it left.", "Press the small protrusion, and see if it pivots.", "Pull the
        chain."

    It is quite acceptable to have a mixture of methods of discovering the
    operation of secret door.

    [Example of Play]
    With these basic points in mind, let us return to the action of the first dungeon adventure.
    Assuming that the abandoned monastery is merely a burned-out shell,
    with nothing but rubble and ruin within, the players spend only a few minutes of real time "looking around" before they
    discover a refuse-strewn flight of steep and worn stone stairs leading downword.
    "Ahah!", exclaims the leader of the group, "This must be the
    entrance to the dungeons. We'll find what we are looking for there." The
    other players voice agreement, and so the real adventure begins. What is
    said by the DM will be prefaced by the letters DM, while the
    party of player characters will be prefaced by either LC (for leader), or OC
    (for any of the other player characters speaking).

        DM: "What are you going to do now?"

        LC: "Light our torches, and go down the steps!"

        DM: "Fine, but I'll need the 'marching order' you will be in." (At this point
        the players either write down the names of chorocters with each in its
        respective rank, or place their painted miniature figures in octuol formation.
        As minimum width is about 31/2' per character: a 5' wide
        corridor requires single file, a 10' wide passage means up to 3 may
        be abreast, and up to 6 abreast can move down a 20' wide
        passageway.) "Please note what formation you will take in a 5' wide
        passage, and what your marching order will be in a 20' wide area, also."

        LC: (After a brief discussion with the other players:) "Here is the
        information on this sheet of note paper. We'll change it only if one of
        us is wounded, lost, or killed."

        DM: "Why are the gnome and the halfling in the front rank, the magic-
        user in the middle, and the human fighter and cleric in the rear?"

        LC: "That way all 5 of us can act when we encounter an enemy! The
        magic-user can cost spells over the heads of the short characters in
        front, and the pair in the back rank can do likewise, or fire missiles,
        or whatever is needed, including a quick move to the front!"

         DM: (Nodding agreement) "You remember that the torches will spoil the
        infravisual capabilities of the gnome and the halfling, don't you?"
        "Certainly, but the humans must be able to see! We will go down the
        stairs now, with weapons drawn and ready."

        DM: "You descend southward, possibly 30' laterally, and at the end of the stairway you see an open space."

        LC: "Enter the area and look around."

        DM: "You are in a chamber about 30' across to the south and 30' wide east and west.
        There are 10' wide passages to left and right and ahead, each in the center of the respective walls.
        The stairway you descended likewise enters the chamber in the center of the north wall.

        LC: "What else do we see?"

        DM: ”The floor is damp and rough. There are arches supporting the
        ceiling, starting from a spot about 8' above the floor and meeting
        about 20’ height in the central dome of the place -- it is difficult to
        tell, because the whole ceiling area is covered with webs . . . . Possibly
        old cobwebs. Oh yes. There are some mouldering sacks in the
        southwest corner, and some rubbish iumbled in the center of the
        floor -- which appears to be dirt, old leather, rotting cloth, and
        possibly sticks or bones or something similar.”

        LC: (A confused babble breaks out at this point, with players suggesting
        all sorts of different actions. The leader cautions them and tries for a
        careful, reasoned, methodical approach.) “The gnome and the
        halfling will hand their torches to the fighter (me) and the cleric.
        They will then look down the east and west passages, while I check
        the one straight ahead to the south. The cleric will check the sacks,
        and the magic-user will examine the pile of refuse in the center of
        the chamber. Everyone agree?”

        OC: ”Sure!” says the player with the cleric character, ”I’m moving over to
        the sacks now, sticking close to the lefthand wall.”

        DM: ”What are the rest of you doing? As indicated? Tell me how you are
        doing it, please.” (If miniature figures and a floor plan are being
        used, each player can simply move his or her figurine to show route
        of movement and final position. Otherwise, each player must describe
        actions iust as the cleric character player did above.)

        LC: ”They are now in position, what is seen and what happens?”

        DM: ”Just as the three are about in position to look down the passages,
        and while the cleric is heading for the rotting bags, the magic-user
        cries out, and you see something black and nasty looking upon her
        shoulder!”

        LC: “EVERYBODY, QUICK! SEE WHAT’S ATTACKED HER!” Then turning to
        the referee: “We rush over to help kill whatever has attacked her!
        What do we see?”

        DM: ”A large spider has surprised her. As she went to examine the refuse
        it dropped from its web. It landed on her back and bit her. Before you
        can take any action, she must make a saving throw with +2 on her
        die, of course, and then she and the spider must dice for initiotive
        and fight a round of combat. After that the rest can try to do something.”

        OC: (The magic-user.) “A 16, did I make it?!” (This said as she rolls the
        die to make the required saving throw against the spider’s poison.)

        DM: ”Yes. Easily, so you take only 1 hit point of damage. While you mark
        it down, I’ll roll for the spider’s initiative -- beat a 3.”

        OC: (Again the magic-user.) ”A 5. If that means I can act before the
        spider does, I’ll grab it and throw it on the floor and stamp on it with my boot!”

        DM: ”Roll a d20, and we’ll see if you hit.” The die score indicates that the
        magic-user would hit an opponent of the armor class of the large
        spider, so the DM states: ”You grab the spider, but as you do so, you
        are now allowing the monster to attack you, even though you had
        the initiative, and it bites at your hand as you hurl it to the floor!”
        (Amidst groans of horrified anticipation from the players, the DM
        rolls a d20, but the low number which results indicates a clean miss
        by the arachnid.) “Yug! The nasty thing misses you, and i t is now
        scuttling along the floor where you tossed it!”

        LC: ”Who is nearest to the spider? Whomever it is will smash it with a weapon!”

        DM: “It was hurled down to the southwest, and it is now heading for the
        wall there to climb back into its web overhead. The cleric is nearest to it.”

        OC: (The cleric, of course.) ”1 squash the nasty thing with my mace!” and
        here the player, having already gained savoir faire, rolls a d20 to see
        if his strike is successful. A 20, and a beaming player shouts: ”I got it!”

        DM: ”You‘re right, and you do . . . (with these words the DM rolls a d6 to
        determine the amount of damage) SIX POINTS! That’s heavy --
        heavy enough to kill it, in fact. It is smashed to pieces. What now?”

        LC: ”Everybody will do what we set out to do in the first place. If nothing
        valuable or interesting is in the sacks, the cleric will then help the
        magic-user search the refuse and burn the webs overhead in case
        there are any more spiders hiding up there.”

        DM: “The sacks hold rotten grain, so the cleric will go and help the magic-user
        as ordered. They find the refuse consists of castings, some husks
        of small victims of the spider, hide, bones, a small humanoid skull,
        and 19 silver pieces. Do you now fire the webs overhead?”

        LC: ”Examine the skull first. What kind of humanoid was it? Can we tell?”

        DM: ”Possibly a goblin. When you are looking at i t more closely, you see
        that there is a small gem inside -- a garnet.”

        LC: That’s more like it! Put it safely in your pouch, along with the silver
        pieces, Good Cleric, and light the spiderweb.“

        DM: ”The strands burn quickly, flame running along each and lighting
        others touched. You see several young spiders crisped as the mass of
        webs near the top of the chamber catches fire.”

        LC: “That’s that. What is seen down the three corridors leading out of the place?”

        DM: “The east passage appears to turn north after about 30’ or so, the
        south tunnel runs straight as far as can be seen, and the west corridor
        ends in a door at about 20’.”

        LC: ”Come on, fellow adventurers, let‘s head west and see what lurks
        beyond the door!” The other players concur, so marching order is reestablished,
        and the gnome and halfling lead the way.

        DM: “Okay, you are marching west: 10‘, 20’, and the passage ends in a
        door to the west. It is a great, heavy thing, bound in corroded bronze.
        There is a huge ring in the center.”

        LC: “Magic-user, step forward and listen at the door. Gnome and
        halfling, see which way it opens, and get ready to do so.”

        DM: (Rolling a d6 behind a screen so that the players cannot see the result
        which would normally indicate if noise were detected or not, if
        applicable, when a character listens. In this case the DM knows what
        will be heard, but pretends otherwise.) ”There is a foint moaning
        sound -- you can’t really tell what it is -- which rises and then fades
        away. The door pulls inwards towards you, the hinges on the left.”

        LC: ”We all get ready, I’ll nock an arrow, and the magic-user will ready
        her magic missile spell. As soon as we are set the cleric and the
        gnome will pull the door open, the cleric closest to the hinged side.
        Ready? GO!”

        DM: ”Each of you who are opening the door roll a d6 for me to see if you
        succeed. I see from your character sheets that the gnome has a
        normal strength, so he’ll need a 1 or 2, the cleric has 17 strength, so
        he’ll do it, on a 1, 2, or 3.” (Eager hands roll the dice, and each succeeds
        in rolling a score low enough to indicate success.) Smiling, the
        DM continues: ”The door groans inward, and a blast of cold, damp
        air gusts into the passage where you are, blowing out both torches!”
        <(Here, as about 3 turns have elapsed, the DM rolls a d6 to see if o
        ’wandering monster’ appears; the resulting 5 indicates none.)>

        LC: (Thinking quickly.) “Halfling and gnome, what do you see with your
        infravision!? Should we slam the door?”

         DM: ”It takes a few seconds for their eyes to adjust to the darkness, and
        then they tell you that they can detect no creatures -- everything
        appears to be the same temperature, cold.”

        LC: “Cleric, it i s time to use your light spell, for we’ll never get torches lit
        in this wind. Cast it on your 10 ’ pole.” (There is a delay while the
        cleric complies, and then:) “We are now poking the bright end of the
        pole into the place and looking; tell us what we see.”

        DM: The space behind the door is only rough-hewn and irregular. It
        appears to be a natural cave of some sort which was worked to make
        it larger in places. It is about 25' across and goes 40' south. A small
        stream -- about 15' wide at one place, but only 6' or 7' wide elsewhere
        -- runs south along the far wall. There are 3 buckets ond
        several barrels in the place, but nothing else."

        LC: "Check the ceiling and the floor. No more nasty surprises for us! If
        we note nothing unusual, we will check out the buckets and barrels
        quickly." (Aside to the others:) "This was probably the water supply
        room for the monastery, so I doubt if we'll find anything worthwhile here."

        OC: "Where exactly is the wide spot in the stream? I think that I'll check
        out that pool." (The DM tells the player where it is, so he heads over
        to the place.) "Now, I'm looking into the water with the bright end of
        my staff actually thrust into the liquid, what happens?"

        DM: "First, the others checking the containers find that they held nothing
        but water, or are totally empty, and that the wood is rotten to boot.
        You see a few white, eyeless fish and various stone formations in a
        pool of water about 4' to 6' deep and about 10 ' long. That's all. Do
        you wish to leave the place now?"

        LC: "Yes, let's get out of here and go someplace where we can find something interesting."

        OC: "Wait! If those fish are iust blind cave types, ignore them, but what
        about the stone formations? Are any of them notable? If so, I think
        we should check them out."

        DM: "Okay. The fish are fish, but there is one group of minerals in the
        deepest part of the pool which appears to resemble a skeleton, but it
        simply -- "

        OC: "If the pole will reach, I'll use the end to prod the formotion and see
        if it is actually a skeleton covered with mineral deposits from the
        water! I know the Shakespearean bit about a 'sea change'!"

        DM: "You manage to reach the place and prodding it breaks off a rib-like
        piece. You see bone beneath the minerals. As you prod, however, a
        piece of the formation is caught by the current -- a cylindrical piece
        about a foot long -- and it rolls downstream."

        LC: "Run as fast as I can to get ahead of it, jump in, and grab it! Quick!
        Some of you get ready to pull me out if the water is over my head!"

        DM: "You manage to get ahead of the piece, jump into water about 4'
        deep, and grab at it, but you must roll a d20 'to hit' to see if you can
        manage to grasp the obiect before it is swept past you and goes
        downstream into the pipe-like tunnel which the stream flows out
        through." (The player rolls and scores high enough to have hit armor
        class 4, the value the DM has decided is appropriate to the chance of
        grasping, so the DM continues:) "You are in luck this adventure! You
        have the object, and it seems to be an ivory or bone tube with a
        waterproof cap."

        LC: "As soon as my fellows help me out of the stream, we'll examine it
        carefully, and if all appears okay, we'll dry it off thoroughly and
        open it very gently."

        DM: "There is nothing difficult involved, so after drying it off on the
        gnome's cape, you break the seal and pull out the stopper. Inside is a
        roll of vellum."

        LC: "Let's get out of here now, shut the door, get some torches going
        again, and then read whatever is on the scroll." (The others agree,
        and in a few moments, the actions have been taken care of.) "Now,
        carefully remove the scroll and see what is on it."

        DM: "The tube must have allowed a bit of water to seep in slowly, for
        there are parts of the scroll that are smudged and obliterated, but
        you can see it is a map of the passages under the monastery. You
        recognize the stairs down and the water supply room. It looks as if
        the eastern portion is smeared beyond recognition, but you see that
        the south passage runs to a blurred area, and beyond that you see a
        large area with coffin-like shapes drawn along the perimeter. That's
        all you can determine."

        LC: "We go back east 20'. which tokes us back to the entry chamber, and
        then we'll head south down the long corridor there. We will look
        carefully at the map we found to see if i t shows any traps or monsters
        along our route."

        DM: "You are at the mouth of the passageway south in the center of the
        south wall of the entry chomber. The map doesn't indicate any traps
        or monsters, so you go south down the passage -- 10', 20', 30', 40',
        50', 60, 70', 80', 90'. The passageway is unremarkable, being of
        stone blocks and natural stone, with an arched ceiling about 15'
        high. At 90' you come into the northern portion of a 50' x 50'
        chamber. It is bare and empty. There are no exits apparent.
        It seems to be a dead end place." (Here the DM makes a check to see if any
        'wandering monsters' come, but the result is a 2 on d6, so there are
        none.) "What are you going to do?"

        LC: "We'll look at our map again. Does this look as if it were the room with the coffin-shapes?"

        DM: "Certainly not. The place seems to be about where the blotched area
        is, but there are no passageways out of it."

        LC: "Let's tap along that south wall, especially in the center 30' to see if i t
        sounds hollow. The cleric, gnome, and halfling will do the tapping,
        while the magic-user and I watch back the way we come."

        DM: (Rolling a few dice behind the screen several times, knowing thot
        tapping won't show anything, as the secret door is 10' above the
        floor:) "The entire wall sounds VERY solid. You spend a full 10
        minutes thoroughly checking, even to the far east and west, and all 3
        are convinced it is not hollow beyond. However, the gnome, who
        you placed in the middle, noted some strange holes in the wall.
        These were square places cut into the natural stone, each about half
        a foot per side and a bit deeper. There were 2 at the 20' and 2 ot the
        30' line, 1 above the other, the lower at about 3', and the higher at
        about 6'. He found some small splinters of wood in one."

        OC: "Does the smudged area give us any clue as to what the holes could
        be for? Let's feel around inside them to see if there are levers or
        catches or something . . ."

        LC: "Yes. look at the map, and carefully check those holes with daggers
        first -- we don't want to lose fingers or hands!" (When all that comes
        to naught:) "Can anyone think of why there would be wood splinters
        in the holes? That must be some sort of a clue!"

        OC: "The only thing I can think of is that the holes are sockets for some
        sort of wooden construction --"

        LC: "Sure! How about a ramp or stairs? How high is the ceiling in this place?"

        DM: "Oh, it must be at least 25' or more."

        LC: "Let's form a human pyramid and see if there's a secret door higher up on the wall --
        right here in the center where the passage seems to go on southwards.
        I'll form the base, and the rest of you help the gnome and the halfling up, and hold them there (use the pole!),
        while they tap. What do they discover?"

        DM: "The halfling at the top of the stack has a 1 in 6 chance of slipping
        and bringing you all down." (A roll of 4 follows, so:) "But it doesn't
        happen, and both the gnome and the halfling manage a few taps,
        and even that feeble work seems to indicate some sort of space
        beyond."

        LC: "Let's change the plan a bit. The cleric and I will hoist the gnome up
        and hold his legs firmly while he checks around for some way to
        open the secret door. Meanwhile, the halfling and the magic-user
        will guard the entrance so that we won't be attacked by surprise by
        some monster while thus engoged."

        DM: "You accomplish the shuffle, and let's see if anything comes -- " (A
        d6 roll for wandering monsters again gives a negative result.) "The
        guards see nothing, and what is the gnome doing now?"

        OC: (The gnome:) "I'll scan the stone first to see if there are marks or some operating device evident."

        DM: "Some stone projections seem rather smooth, as if worn by use. That's all you are able to note."

        OC: "Then I'll see if I can move any of the stone knobs and see if they
        operate a secret door! I'll push, pull, twist, turn, slide, or otherwise
        attempt to trigger the thing if possible."

        DM: "The fist-sized projection moves inwards and there is a grinding
        sound, and a 10' x 10' section of the wall, 10' above the floor in the
        center part, swings inwards to the right."

        OC: (The gnome:) "I'l pull myself up into the passage revealed, and
        then I'll see if I can drive in a spike and secure my rope to it, so I can
        throw the free end down to the others."

        DM: "You get up all right, and there is a crack where you can pound in a
        spike. As you're doing it, you might be in for a nasty surprise, so I'll
        let you roll a six-sider for me to see your status -- make the roll!
        (Groans as a 1 comes up indicating surprise. The DM then rolls 3
        attacks for the ghoul that grabbed at the busy gnome, and one claw
        attack does 2 hit points of damage and paralyzes the hapless character,
        whereupon the DM judges that the other 3 would rend him to bits.
        However, the DM does NOT tell the players what has happened,
        despite impassioned pleas and urgent demands. He simply relates:)
        "You see a sickly gray arm strike the gnome as he's working on the
        spike, the gnome utters a muffled cry, and then a shadowy form
        drags him out of sight. What are you others going to do?"

        OC: "Ready weapons and missiles, the magic-user her magic-missile
        spell, and watch the opening."

        DM: "You hear some nasty rending noises and gobbling sounds, but they
        end quickly. Now you see a group of gray-colored human-like creatures
        with long, dirt- and blood-encrusted nails, and teeth bloodied
        and bared, coming to the opening. As they come to the edge you
        detect a charnel smell coming from them -- 4 of them, in fact."

    What will the party do? Will the cleric realize that they are ghouls and
    attempt to turn them? Will he succeed? If not, there may well be no survivors.
    If so, what treasure lies beyond? Possibly the great gem . . . but the
    thief still awaits the party's return. Well, that is the stuff from which adventures
    are spun, and now you know how to spin your own.


    chrisspiller wrote:
    Heh, and this was imported into the DMG example of play for everyone else's benefit, too 

    Pax,

    Chris


    Just so!

    I felt is was beneficial to share as much of that sort of knowledge, that gained from experience, as possible with those of my fellows who were running D&D game campaigns.

    Happy New Year,
    Gary
     

    LAWRENCE SCHICK


    James M: 3. Gary Gygax thanks you by name for your contributions to the AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide. Do you recall what you contributed to this book?

    Lawrence Schick: When I started work at TSR in January of 1979 Gygax handed me this huge, sprawling, unorganized manuscript and said, “Here’s the Dungeon Masters Guide – edit this.” So I did. There were a few things he wanted to include that he didn’t particularly want to write; for those parts he told me what he wanted, and I wrote them. Unfortunately I don’t have a copy of the original DMG at hand – I lost all my D&D stuff in my recent divorce – but I recall writing the Example of Play, some of the advice for Dungeon Masters, and a number of other bits here and there. But it was all under Gary’s direction, and he certainly deserves all the credit.

    - Grognardia (Interview: Lawrence Schick)