Thursday, August 11, 2011

My Attempt at Running a "Normal" Basic/Expert D&D Game...

So I volunteered to run 3 sessions for Red Box Vancouver this month, and as a change of pace from my regular DM style attempted to make a "normal" dungeon for the adventures.

First I whipped up some maps in my awesome graph paper Moleskine notebook during some lulls in a Mutant Future Game (during which Kronh the Slayer got to get down with a four-boobed mutant queen!), and roughly blocked out some areas with the awesome Tekumel underworld chart PDF (I've got to get my hands on a copy of the Pettigrew Selections ASAP!). Came up with a couple wacky things with the results, but they were well within the precedents of early TSR OD&D/AD&D output.

Next I worked on the monster lists for stocking the dungeon; somewhat unsurprisingly my attempts at normalcy went pretty much went out the window at this point and things took a pre-Wessex Rientsian turn... (I was planning on using the spiffy S&W Tome of Horrors Complete for this, but between the monsters I wanted to use and my preference for the Fiend Folio version of some monsters nope; maybe if they included Hoard Class and Morale Scores... ;) As an aside every post Fiend Folio version of the awesome Crabmen ignores two awesome things about the Fiend Folio version: A) They're nuts about silver & B) They carry off women.)

Regardless I soldiered on in my attempt to make a normal B/X D&D dungeon and stocked it using a combination of the B/X D&D dungeon stocking tables; the Appendices of the AD&D DMG; and the Awesome Tricks. Empty Rooms, & Basic Trap Design PDF by Courtney C. Campbell of the Hack & Slash blog. (I'm planning on giving the regions unexplored after tonight another go-over with the also-Awesome Old School Encounter Reference by Kellri; the Judges Guild Ready Refs' Sheets; and sundry dungeon tables by Zak S.)

I did the stocking in a two-hour period before rushing to meet the super-cool Red Box Vancouver crew at a far too crowded and loud coffee shop in a cool neighborhood (as opposed to the tumbleweed infested coffee shop we used to use...). Graham proceeded to generate a halfling hobbit with 18s in Dexterity and Constitution, and a Strength of 13-15(?) right in front of me and I swore that that sheet would end up on my DM Trophy Triumph Death Wall...

The session was pretty awesome; I failed in my quest to gut the Red Box Vancouver stable of badass PCs (for this week...) but I managed to:

A) Totally beat the living shit out of badass dwarf Gamgar with the first dungeon encounter, on the stairs leading down into the dungeon, with a very muppet-like, hunched and piteously whimpering, mother-freaking Stair Stalker! Which also totally freaked the fuck out of the players, who were also incensed and skeptical when they took the same monster's remains to a wizard to have it identified and were told that it was a monster called a Stair Stalker that rarely spontaneously generate on underworld staircases.

B) Kill one of the party's sociopathic thug retainers, Rhino Toronto of the Toronto brothers, between expeditions via random roll, when he cracked his head slipping in bloody cobblestones while bashing a farm boy's head into an alleyway curb.

C) Nailed Gamgar with a pit trap, and was a hair away from tossing him down another one a mere minute later before another player thought to check the floors.

D) Kill Merrigold Serpenthelm's two batshit-vicious rottweiler sized "war dog" pitbulls (that were always pissing everywhere and eating dungeon-dressing bones) via shambling "Blind Dead" ghouls that also spent several rounds attempting to lap up Columbo the double-18 stat hobbit's blood with their withered jerky tounges but were unable to claw through the paralyzed hobbit's plate mail. Fortunately the stupid blind dead all shambled through the magic circle hologram gate to Carcosa that the party was cowering behind.

E) Got Dino Toronto of the Toronto brothers cut in half by a dark Jedi's lighsaber when the party broke into Darth Vader's tomb.

F) Got the DM-infuriating statistically gifted hobbit Columbo's eye taken out by the same dark Jedi's lightsabre. It was awesome when Merrigold Serpenthelm tried to invisibly sneak up on the dark Jedi who was force choking a hobbit and knocking arrows out of the air, and of course the Sith dude just used the force to know where he was.

Other hijinks included:

- An inexplicably Italian accented cowardly hobbit, who had a key to the service entrance to an abandoned wizard's manor handed down to him by his great-great-great grandfather who was a cook for the aforementioned wizard.

- Dino Toronto being apprenticed to Merrigold Serpenthelm by an elderly half-deaf, senile, drunken guardsman in a powdered wig as court-appointed punishment for inflicting random ultraviolence upon farm boys instead of him being tortured by virtue of the party intervening and feeding booze and gold to the "judge".

- Merrigold being able to identify by smell a pool of dog urine in the dungeon by virtue of his batshit massive pit bulls pissing everywhere for the past week.

- The party looting Darth Vader's suit of plate mail from his sarcophagus.

- The party killing a four armed white ape and than finding magic hologram gates to Barsoon and Carcosa.

- Retainers consistantly cowering from monsters and danger.

I can't wait for next Wednesday's return to The Manor of Kalapron!


  1. Sounds like you are channeling a 13 year old DM from 1980...good job!

  2. Haha, I remember the Stair Stalker!