Random OD&D Dungeon Solo Play Report #5 – The Continuing Adventures of Shal the Medium

A place to discuss Smoldering Wizard blog posts
Post Reply
User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 2145
Joined: Sat Jan 30, 2016 2:37 am
Location: Ottawa, Ontario

Random OD&D Dungeon Solo Play Report #5 – The Continuing Adventures of Shal the Medium

Post by merias »

New post up in the solo OD&D series:

https://smolderingwizard.wordpress.com/ ... he-medium/

In our last session, Graf the Warrior’s luck ran out and he succumbed to Crab Spider poison. Shal the Magic-User made it out of the dungeon alive, however, and set about recruiting a party of adventurers. She was joined by a Cleric Pontifus; Lana, a Hobbit Fighter; Sig, also a Fighter, and Rolwin an Elf Fighter/Magic-User. They followed some rumors to an ancient stone stair in the depths of a nearby forest, lit some torches and descended 20 feet to a darkened, empty room.

They could see two doors, one east and one west, and chose the west door. This led to a smaller room, also empty, and from there they decided to open a door to the north. Lana could hear nothing beyond it, and the door was stuck, so it took a bit of effort for Sig to open it. This was a noisy endeavor and by the time the door was opened to another room, the eight Orcs inside the room were ready and seemed unhappy that their dice game had been interrupted. The Orcs rushed the door and two attacked Lana and Sig, who were in the front ranks of the party. The first blows of the Orcish swords were deflected by shields and armor, but the two Orcs then teamed up to attack Lana together and one thrust his sword through a crack in Lana’s plate armor, into the Hobbit’s chest. Lana was slain!

Shal cast a sleep spell, which was more effective than she expected – all eight Orcs fell asleep, along with Sig, Rolwin and Pontifus. Shal quickly woke up her companions and they set about searching the room. There were half a dozen chairs and a table, atop which were some dice and a few small piles of silver coins. In a clay jar in one corner, Rolwin found 200ep. The party gathered the loot and the body of the fallen Hobbit, and headed back to town. Sig killed the sleeping Orcs on the way out, waiting only for Lawful Pontifus to exit the room before he did so.

Referee Notes

For this adventuring party I just generated some new PCs using the 1974 OD&D rules (3LBBs) – none of them were hirelings or retainers. The last four solo OD&D sessions with just one or two PCs were quite deadly, so I wanted to beef up the ranks a bit. The dungeon map I had pre-generated, using The Strategic Review #1 random generator, only noting traps and other special features like one-way or secret doors, leaving the monsters and treasures to be determined during play. In addition to the 3LBBs, I also used some tables from Delving Deeper, along with the original Monster and Treasure Assortment book.


Dungeon Doors

The way I usually handle opening stuck dungeon doors is that I allow a single roll. If it succeeds, the door is opened quickly enough that anyone or anything on the other side of the door might be surprised. If the open door roll fails, however, I still assume the door was opened, just with difficulty and a lot of noise, preventing any surprise by the party. That is what happened with the door into the room with the Orcs. The Orcs won both surprise and the first round of initiative, and poor Lana had three attacks against her before she could react, or before Shal could cast her sleep spell.

Reaction Rolls

I talked a bit about the importance of these rolls in my first solo OD&D session post. Here the Orcs rolled a 5 for their reaction, which I interpreted as hostile. A 7 or higher is either uncertain or friendly, so this really was a worst-case scenario for the party, being surprised by eight angry Orcs.


Sleep is, for good reason, considered the nuke of the low-level MU. It has a stated range of 240′, but Men & Magic does not specify an area of effect, so you have to do what seems reasonable given the situation. Since everyone near or in melee had one hit die (HD), I reasoned that the 2d8=11 roll would get all eight Orcs, along with three party members from the front ranks. In mixed HD groups, I like to roll randomly to see which HD group is affected, which I think makes the spell a bit more dangerous to cast (possibly only affecting party members), but that was not the case here.

Post Reply