Monday, 19 January 2015

New start for the intrepid explorers... Tower of Zelligar nowhere in sight

The boys have attempted another evening of D&Ding after the catastrophes of the previous sessions. This time around, instead of rampaging off into the wilderness they decided to try to get some jobs round town. And what could be better than the suggestions for 'Things to Do in Threshold when you're Lvl 1', found in the Mentzer Expert Set? I should point out here that I'm in the perhaps unusual position of discovering D&D in the period 1981-3, so though I have Moldvay Basic, I have Mentzer Expert. And B1, which is pre-Moldvay. And some AD&D stuff. Yeah, right, nothing quite fits together. Doesn't matter, half of what I used to run was Runequest anyway.

The first thing my eye lighted on at the end of the previous session had been a (literal) bug-hunt scenario where one of the warehouse owners in the northern part of the island near the Old Mill was on the lookout for hardy souls to clear out the cellars of his property. The PCs - two Dwarves and a Fighter - decided that might reasonable enough work and would set about trying to get the contract.

Threshold, from Expert Rulebook (c) TSR /WotC 1984

The evening we decided to play, however, I hadn't been told that the guys were going to turn up. Half an hour before their arrival, I was hurriedly scanning the D&D site for some maps and downloading random lists of human and Dwarvish names and ale-house descriptions from Donjon.

I dug out the sketch-map I had made of the northern part of the island and the quick notes I had on the bugs I'd planned for (I wasn't completely unprepared, but I'm glad they decided to stick to the plan from the previous session) and we were good to go.

Except of course for the unusual problem of Threshold bye-laws, that is. Weapons not allowed in the town, that's what I told them. They were hanging around by the South Gate, chatting with the guards. Two of them decided that they'd hand over their weapons, the other decided to wait it out. The two who were in town went to see the innkeeper who'd told them about the contract in the first place, and then went off looking for Beren, the old fellow who had a bug-problem (I had generated his name at the previous session rolling on the Periodic Table, and I thought Boron was wrong somehow). Having found him (and met up with a few NPCs in the tavern, including - because they'd been on the random tavern print-out - three members of what was conceivably the Guild of Sages and Alchemists), they went back to their comrade.

In the meantime, knowing about the contract but not that his comrades had met Beren, the PC still at the gate requested entrance. The Captain of the Guard was fetched to decide if this disreputable adventurer-type could be allowed in with weapons. While being questioned by the Captain of the Guard, said adventurer made some sarcastic comment. That didn't go down too well with the Guard Captain - who, up until that point, had been rather inclined to let him in. Words were spoken, tempers flared - and when the PC attacked the Guard Captain, once more one of the PCs ended up rapidly dead (if you're Lvl 1, don't attack 5 Lvl 3 fighters armed with crossbows and/or longswords).. By the time his companion had come back with firm details of the contract, his corpse was already nailed to a plank outside the Town Hall with a sign round his neck reading 'Disturber of the Peace'.

Long story short, the surviving PCs were joined by one of the NPCs from the pub (now firmly located at the west end of North Bridge, a little square building on the Threshold map) - a mysterious lady in a large hat who, it turned out, had Thief skills. They made their way to the warehouse and descended into the cellar. But - somewhat weirdly - they took no torches. OK for the Dwarves but what Mistress Thief thought she was doing I don't know... a bit of blundering later and they were attacked by Robber Flies. In the dark. Though the Dwarves managed well enough, Mistress Thief had her face munched off. Not for the first time, I wondered if the lads had really got to grips with how they should be organising themselves... once we start playing again, they've only got a few minutes to do some first aid or she really will be dead.

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