Monday, February 3, 2014
[D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop] Day Three
First dungeon you explored as a player-character or as a DM.
As I wrote on Day One, the first dungeon I technically "explored" was the solo dungeon from the Mentzer Basic Set. I actually explored that a couple times; once, with it being read aloud to me and me making the choices, and the second time a year later, when I had my own copy and went through the dungeon as a tutorial. I remember dutifully copying out the different parts of the map onto graph paper as instructed as I went through the dungeon. And of course I fell in love with Aleena, like thousands of other kids at that time.
As a DM, the issue is a bit more murky. As I wrote about on Day Two, I quickly abandoned the dungeon as a central facet of adventuring once I started running D&D in earnest. It wasn't for lack of trying, though. I had an acquaintance who acquired the Ruins of Undermountain boxed set, and those poster-sized dungeon maps set my imagination on fire, let me tell you. Never did manage to run it successfully, though.
One of my favorite abortive Undermountain "campaigns" kicked off with the party being lowered into the deep well at the Yawning Portal Inn with much fanfare and salutation from the patrons. The PCs had gotten it into their heads to bring along a pack of war hounds, yet it was only after they reached the bottom of the well and the rope had been retracted that they realized they forgot to bring any light sources! As it was an all-human party, this presented a significant oversight on their part. The pack of hounds started barking in the dark, prompting a wandering monster check. The check came up positive, and so it was that the PCs and their hapless pack of hounds were devoured by a passing umber hulk before they had a chance to make it out of the first room.
And that pretty much sums up all my attempts to run any sort of dungeon-centric game. Suffice to say that when I run D&D, I stick to micro-dungeons for the most part.