Saturday, April 25, 2009


100 years ago the sorcerer Zenopus built a tower on the low hills overlooking Portown. The tower was close to the sea cliff west of the town and, approximately, next door to the graveyard.
Rumor has it that the magician made extensive cellars and tunnels underneath the tower. The town is located on the ruins of a much older city of doubtful history and Zenopus was said to excavate in his cellars in search of ancient treasures.
Fifty years ago, on a cold wintry night, the wizard's tower was suddenly engulfed in green flame. Several of his human servants escapted the holocaust, saying their master had been destroyed by some powerful force he had unleased in the depths of the tower. Needless to say the tower stood vacant for a while after this, but then the neighbors and the night watchmen complained that ghostly blue lights appeared in the windows at night, that ghastly screams could be heard emanating from the tower at all hours, and goblin figures could be seen dancing on the tower roof in the moonlight. Finally the authorities had a catapult rolled through the streets of the town and the tower was battered to rubble. This stopped the hauntings but the townfolk continue to shun the ruins. The entrance to the old dungeons can be easily located as a flight of broad stone steps leading down into the darkness, but the few adventurous souls who have descended into crypts below the ruin have either reported only empty stone corridors or have failed to return at all.

This is how my first adventure in Dungeons & Dragons started. It was fall, 1979, and I was sitting with my friends, Steve and Craig, in Steve's attic. Steve was the Dungeon Master, sitting on the other side of a large trunk, facing Craig and I. I don't remember Craig's character, but I was playing Glendor the Fourth, a human fighter.

Glendor, clad in his platemail armor, and carrying a sword and shield, descended those stone steps, along with his companion (whoever Craig's character was), heading into adventure. That day, we fought goblins, and rats. We figured out a puzzle involving a rotating statue, which allowed us to escape a room with locked doors (we had to rotate the statue so that it pointed at the door we wanted to leave the room by). Then we fought an evil wizard and his charmed fighter bodyguard. When we had defeated him, sad as it was, I claimed his +1 magic sword!

Exploring further, we found crypts, and the skeletons inside them rose up to attack us! One crypt even had a magical dagger that came to life and attacks us on its own! We defeated them, and pressed on, discovering another evil wizard, and had to fight him too! We continued on in this seemingly endless dungeon, discovered some sea-caves. Smugglers were using the caves and when they saw us, they attacked! We defeated them, and in the process, rescued Lemunda the Lovely! Yowsa! :)

It was all very exciting, and I was hooked from the start!

I believe this ad says it all...

Look at those stylish overalls. That was one happenin' dude.


  1. I don't remember the name but I think I was a thief, or perhaps a dwarf (I seem to recall that demi-humans didn't have classes back then. You were just... a dwarf or an elf.)

  2. In this particular set, there were four classes... Fighting Men, Thieves, Clerics and Magic Users. Humans could be any of them. Dwarves and Halflings progressed as Fighting Men, but halflings only got a d6 for hit points (instead of a d8). Elves progressed as both Fighting Men and Magic Users.

    However, In Search of the Unknown mixed things up a bit more. Clerics were only human, there were Fighting Men and Thieves of all four races, and Human and Elf Magic Users.

    So, who's to know? Honestly, I'm surprised I remember as much as I do about this stuff. :)