My daughter and I were alone this weekend and she wanted the opportunity to play D&D again, even though my wife was currently in Florida. So we took out the original two characters, the ones that had gone into the guard tower in the back of the basic red book, and continued where we left off.
In my desire to keep it simple and still true to the same sort of fun adventures I had done when I was first playing, I this time took her to the dungeon below the guard tower - which I used from the AD&D ruined monastery found in the DM's guide.
I did not prompt her on what to do or where to go or how to do it, trusting in her to make critical decisions. She decided to burn the webs overhead. She jumped into the pool of water to get the scroll tube. She recognized that her character was immune to ghoul paralysis. And she came to the conclusion that if the goblins had bags of flour and grain, then someone in the town above was working with them and is a traitor.
I could not have been any more proud. :)
Write up follows:
Lina Inverse, elven warrior-mage and Thimbles Mooserider, Halfling fighter, both went to the general store the next day and geared up on fresh arrows, oil, and other sundry required goods. By 9 AM they had stowed all their gear into their backpacks and headed off to the old keep on the edge of Brevoy in an effort to find and bring the “General”, a shadowy figure controlling the goblins and their latest kidnapping schemes against the townsfolk, to justice.
We had already been to the guard tower of the keep before and it was only a few minutes to verify that nothing new had been set up there since our foray into it yesterday. We worked our way to the back and once more went down the hole in the floor to the basement. To the north were a series of cells that we had already cleared and to the south was a locked door that went to a set of wide steps running down. Thimbles lit a fresh torch and we went down the steps with careful feet.
At the base of the steps was a largish room with a vaulted 20’ ceiling where cobwebs hung in heavy sheets. A dozen or so thick bags were in the south corner and there were three decently wide corridors that allowed exit from the room, one to the east, the south, and the west. Lina looked at the ceiling with a squinted eye, untrusting of the many webs hanging there. She held Thimbles back for a moment and then asked for his torch. Climbing back up two of the steps she reached up to the nearest thick canopy of dusty webbings and ignited them.
The fire crawled with surprising speed across the ceiling, sweeping up with a faint “whoosh” as it moved across the room. Clods of cooling ash filtered down, along with dozens of tiny charred spider bodies. However it was with some surprise that the two friends beheld a huge spider, just about the size of a cat, hit the ground just ahead of the racing flames. It turned towards the two of us and scampered forward eager to bite us.
Thimbles was just a split second faster as he tugged his short sword free and speared the arachnid with a single blow, killing it. Lina looked the spider over and said, “That’s the biggest spider I’ve ever seen! I want to get its fangs!” She then proceeded to spend a few minutes struggling to get the spider’s fangs free using the edge of her sword, rope, even her boot, but it was when Thimbles said that if she slipped she could wind up getting poisoned that she gave up trying. We did pick through some of the crud on the floor, finding a goblin skull that Lina turned over to dislodge a garnet from within. The Halfling shrugged, “I guess he was swallowing the gem when he got his head cut off?”
We then went towards the bags and the elven warrior prodded them; nothing came out to assault us. It was obvious after a short look that the bags were filled with both ground flour and grain, and there were many of them. Lina said that there was no place to grow the grain down here and it was obviously the goblins’…so someone from Brevoy must be working with the goblins and most likely the General. There was a traitor somewhere above.
Filing this information away for now and knowing that once we leave we’ll take care of this problem, we looked over our situation. Lina took one of the torches from the wall and helped her Halfling friend check out the exits from the chamber. Three other ways out, and looking down each of them, the east and south went as far as our torch light while the west ended at a stout oaken door. We decided to check out the door first.
Listening to it we both were able to faintly hear some sort of low moaning beyond. She lowered her torch to the ground, readied her sword, and pulled the door open. A stiff breeze blew in, making the torch dance wildly before guttering out, plunging us into darkness. Lina’s infravision kicked in and she beheld the rough walls of a cavern beyond with a swift flowing stream coming from one hole in the wall, ponding, and then flowing out another hole. There were some barrels of some sort in the middle of the room. Other than that, the room was uniformly cool.
They could not get the torches relit and Thimbles was nervous not being able to see. Lina remembered that she had oil and we had a plan, going back to the entrance room we set a few of the bags of grain and flour on fire and tossed them into the windy cavern, allowing us to see. While the light lasted Thimbles checked over the barrels and Lina looked at the water.
In the middle of the pond was a skeleton of some sort, lying flat, very rough and craggy looking. And in its hand was a scroll or map case. As the light was fading, Lina stripped off her packs and weapons, waded into the water, and dove down for the case. She grabbed it and came up cold and sputtering, the cotton gambeson under her platemail was soaked and freezing. The two friends left the chamber, shut the door, and returned to the entrance room.
Once there Thimbles ignited a few more sacks and made a small fire while Lina took off her armor and cotton under clothes, doing her best to wring them out while she dried herself off. Thimbles looked over the case and broke the seal, unfurling a single piece of paper. It was a map of some sort and after showing it to Lina the two of them recognized the entrance room as well as the stream and cavern chamber. It was a partial map of the dungeon they were in.
The noted that the path south led to something marked ghouls, which Lina informed Thimbles were dead people that attacked you and paralyzed you. She didn’t have to worry about that since she was an elf and could not be paralyzed. Thimbles retorted, “They can still attack and eat you. I won’t go towards any room where the people within can attack, paralyze, and eat Halflings!!” The map did indicate the eastern path had a few turn offs, something referred to as the crypts, and then eventually a goblin sign with two marks underneath it. Thimbles pointed to that and said, “That mark means someone important.”
They decided that that area was where the “general” was and should go there to take care of him. On the way they would pass the crypts and Lina suspected that if they were undisturbed, the two of them might find a little treasure in there. They went east, watching where they were going as they walked along. The passage turned to the left and there was a “T” to the right. The map indicated that to the right was the direction they wanted to go (even though looking further down, they did see two doors at the end of the corridor).
After 20 paces they came to a passage to the right, and 20 more paces to come to another one. Even though the corridor did continue on, it was this right option that led to the area marked as the crypts. Torch held high and sword at the ready, the two friends walked on. A stout door was here on the right, and then 4 more paces another on the left, and the same 4 paces beyond that on the right again. Lina pressed her back against the door, but even her considerable strength wasn’t enough to budge it.
They went to the next door, this one giving way. The crypt beyond was about 10’ square, with a stone sarcophagus on the far wall. Tentatively they approached the box, noting that it seemed undisturbed. Thimbles stepped back, his bow out and an arrow at the ready while Lina shoved the cover off.
A hairy black claw snapped out, just barely missing the elven warrior. A large back and red carapaced spider with two humongous crab claws scrambled out, trying to bite Lina’s arm. She snatched it away barely in time. Thimbles fired, hitting the spider and causing it to skitter sideways. She poked it with her sword and another crab spider came out from the casket.
The two of them were grabbing at Lina, pinching her armor, snapping at her wrists. Thimbles shot again and again, causing the spiders to stagger and weave dangerously as they took damage from his arrows. At one point Lina got a lucky blow and her sword sheared one of the spiders in half, turning the tide of the short desperate fight and in a hail of sword cuts and arrows, the last spider went down with a shudder.
We checked Lina out, finding no real wounds to worry about, and then looked in the sarcophagus, snagging double handful of silver and copper coins. Bagging them up, Thimbles picked up the wavering torch from the floor, took out a new one and lit it, and the two friends turned to go further explore the crypt area of the dungeon.