A few weeks ago, I went up to Chicago to drop off my
mother-in-law at O’Hare airport. It was time for her to go back to China. We
went up a few days early, so that the drive would not be so tiresome. Other
than passing the time with my mother, going through more of my father’s
work-working tools, there was much to do late at night.
I have been following Tabletop Diversions and Solo Nexus blogs. Both do a lot of solo role-playing games using several
systems. Danjou's Hand (Tabletop Diversions) has his own home made dungeon generator. I decided to give a solo
dungeon crawl a try. So, after my semi-annual pilgrimage to Games Plus in Mt.
Prospect, IL to buy some dice (you can never have enough dice), I had me a
game that night.
For this solo game, I used Basic Fantasy RPG (2nd Edition), and
No Budget No Frills Pencil and Paper Dungeon Generator (version 4.1) from Tabletop Diversions blog. I really
liked the characters I rolled up, especially the magic-user/thief.
Unfortunately, they came to a short end.
At a border village of Turonia, three adventures meet in a
small, dingy tavern:
Zor the Bastard
(Str: 18 Int: 12 Wis: 14 Dex: 13 Con: 13 Crs: 11). The son of a Bruin warrior
and a captured Turonian peasant woman, he was shunned by the Bruin tribe where
he was born. None the less, Zor became a skilled fighter. When he was able to,
he escaped his village. Since then,Zor roamed the northern lands seeking wealth and a way to escape the
legacy of his upbringing. He wears a chain mail shirt (sleeveless, of course),
and uses a long sword and dagger.
Syllabatar, the magic-user thief (Str: 16 Int: 17 Wis: 7
Dex: 16 Con: 15 Crs: 14). Syllabatar came from the cities of the far south. Expelled
from a school of the magical arts because of his carousing and gambling, he
turned to thievery for which he found quite profitable. Over time, however, he
found himself in the northern wastes and nearly penniless. A winning hand in
cards provided him a map to a long abandoned barrow of the dreaded and
mysterious Gaels. Other than a cloak, he has no armor. He carries a short sword
and two daggers.
Brother Murg (Str: 12 Int: 6 Wis: 15 Dex: 9 Con: 5 Crs: 8).
A defrocked priest, Murg has joined with various mercenary bands as their chaplain
and healer. He was expelled by his last mercenary company after having drunken brawl with the son
of a wealthy employer. Down on his luck, he was desperate to find employment.
Murg wears leather armor and has a shield. He uses a mace.
Syllabatar managed to recruit Zor and Murg after a few cheap
drinks and tales of fabulous wealth. The next day they set out to find the
barrow. Murg’s low constitution means he had a bad hangover. It was several
hours of hiking, beyond the borders of the village, but no encounters occurred.
They made camp outside of what looked like a small hill with a stone embankment
on one side. The night passed uneventfully. The next morning they prepared to
enter the barrow. The map had some ruins on it. Syllabatar speaks them and a
door swings open from the face of the embankment. The three light torches and
They find themselves in a small room. The air is damp and
musty. In the middle of it is a 6’ high stele of polished rock. Glowing ruins
are engraved on it. Syllabatar reads them and finds it’s a spell of
orders the others to avert their gaze. They do, and the spell fails to take
hold of them. A single door is on the right side of the room. It is locked and
Syllabatar finds that it is trapped. He fails to remove it, and it goes off! A
flash of light goes off and they are temporarily blinded. In time they recover,
fortunately without any incidents.
This second room longer than the previous
one. There are four skeletons lying on the floor. In the middle of the room is
a small chest. They look over the skeletons. They clearly have been dead for a
long time. Little remains of them but some tattered rags that were their
clothes.Syllabatar inspects the
chest. There are no traps but it is locked. He picks the lock. Inside is a
large green emerald! They take the gem. There are two doors: one directly
across the room another, to the right of them. They choose the door on the
The door opens and leads to a short hallway. There is a
T-intersection, at which they decide to go left. That was their doom! The hall
made a right turn where five Orcs jump them. With a single blow, the largest
Orc takes down Zor before he can even react. Syllabatar is slightly wounded by
the second largest Orc. Only Murg manages to fend off the first blows by the
remaining Orcs. Syllabatar manages to caste a magic missile spell. It knocks out the second largest Orc.
Merg smashes one of the smaller Orcs with his mace and tries to get at Zor to
heal him, but is just not close enough. Syllabatar just manages to draw his
short sword and wounds another Orc. However, his dexterity was not enough to
avoid the large cleaver of a scimitar of the largest Orc. Syllabatar goes down
in a pool of blood. Merge realizes that there is no way get can get to his
companions. He could run and live to fight another day, but decided to fight on
and leave his life in the hands of his god. Despite getting another hit in on
an Orc, he is overwhelmed and goes down. His prayers were the last words he
I had hoped the game would last a little longer, but c’est
la vie. My adventurers died a quick death despite the fact that I threw them two bones at the
beginning. I gave them very generous saving throws on both the magic stele in the
first room and the trap on the door leading to the second room. BTW, I made
these two traps up on the spot. The random dungeon generator just determines if
something you encounter is a monster, trap, something unusual, or empty. I
rolled “something unusual” for the first room and a trap for the door. What
lost it for the boys was the number of Orcs that attacked them and that they
got the first blow. I sort of expected the party to survive the encounter, but
they didn’t. Poor Zor didn’t have a chance!
Basic Fantasy RPG is essentially old Advanced D&D that you can download for free. It
would seem that Labyrinth Lord is also old AD&D, also free. I have not compared these
two systems, but something tells me there isn’t much difference between the
two. One thing I will change for my games is how spells work. I've never liked how they worked in D&D, at least in earlier additions. Years ago, I played a computer game called Diablo, which was a dungeon crawl. I liked how they did magic. Both magic users and clerics had "mana" that acted as a magical energy pool. More powerful spells drained you of more mana than weaker spells.
The No Budget No
Frills Pencil and Paper Dungeon Generator worked well, but I think I will make
some modifications and detail it up, so to speak, especially regarding encounters. For more detail, I referred to one of the sections in Basic Fantasy, but it would be faster if its was all in the Dungeon Generator.