More Holmes and the Combat Turn

In my last post I explored Holmes’ Second Example in light of three assumptions. Those assumptions were:

  1. The basic system is that from CHAINMAIL” (U&WA p25), and furthermore let’s assume CHAINMAIL’s Simultaneous Movement System (CM p9), and
  2. Surprise gives the advantage of a free move segment” (U&WA p9) really means a free turn segment, and
  3. Two moves constitute a turn” (U&WA p8), and furthermore let’s assume there are two moves per combat turn (more on this in a later post).

 

In this post I’m going to challenge two of those assumptions by rewriting the Holmes example four times–covering each possible combination of with/without surprise, and one/two moves per turn. So I’ll cover these four scenarios:

  • A. With surprise, and with one move per turn,
  • B. Without surprise, and with one move per turn,
  • C. With surprise, and with two moves per turn,
  • D. Without surprise, and with two move per turn.

At the bottom of all that I’ll compare each of the four scenarios to the most prominent features of Holmes’ original example, which I reckon are:

  1. the players are able to throw a spell first, and
  2. The players have time for one spell before melee contact occurs, and
  3. The players have time for two volleys of missiles before melee contact occurs.

 

About Movement Rates

While movement rate is central to the following discussion of moves per turn, it is important to note that Giant Spiders did not have published statistics until the AD&D Monster Manual (December 1977)–these later appeared in the 2nd print of Holmes (November 1978).

While both CHAINMAIL and the 3LBBS state explicitly that there is a movement bonus when charging into melee, Holmes does not mention this detail explicitly. There is a possibility (albeit a remote one) that Holmes may have assigned his Giant Spiders a base movement rate of 3″, to which he added a 2″ charge bonus in order to achieve the movement rate of 5″ given in the example. Other explanations may be more probable.

For the sake of the following comparison, I will assume that the published 5″ movement rate is inclusive of any charge bonus.

So then, here goes…

 

A. With Surprise; One Move per Turn

A party of adventurers is standing at an intersection of corridors when the Dungeon Master rolls a “wandering monster.” Using the Wandering Monster Table, he determines that the party has encountered six giant spiders with 1 hit die each and they are 100 feet away.

[SURPRISE CHECK] The players ​win a surprise segment​.​

[DECLARATION]​ ​The players use their surprise as a missile/magic segment in which ​”Flubbit” the magic-user throw​s​ a sleep spell, and the fighters ​​fire arrows​.

[SURPRISE SEGMENT] ​The Dungeon Master rules that only the two fighters in the front row and Flubbit have a clear field of fire. The two fighters agree to both shoot at “the one on the left”. They throw a 3 and an 18. The spiders are armor class 3 (plate), and the range is medium for the longbow (100 ft), so the 18 is a hit and is found to do 4 damage points. The spider’s hit die is rolled and comes up a 4—the creature is killed by a lucky arrow hit!

Flubbit’s sleep spell affects another four of them.

[​​​1ST TURN; ​MOVEMENT SEGMENT] The last spider comes at them fast, covering 50ft in its move (assuming a 3″ move + 2″ charge bonus).

[​​​1ST TURN; MISSILE​/MAGIC​ SEGMENT] the Dungeon Master rules that only the two fighters in the front row have a clear field of fire. As stationary longbow men not meleed at the end of the move segment, they get off two arrows apiece when the last spider is 50 feet away.

For their first volley they throw a 3 and an 14. The spider is armor class 3 (plate), and the range is short for the longbow (50 FT), adding one, so 14+1 is a 15, which misses by one pip.​

For their second volley they throw an 8 and a 12 so their shafts bounce off the monster’s armor again.

Flubbit is not meleed at the end of the spiders’ movement segment so could throw another spell, but he decides not to waste his magic on a single spider.

[​1ST TURN; NO MELEE SEGMENT]

[​2ND TURN; ​MOVEMENT SEG.​; FIRST HALF MOVE​] The last spider keeps coming… At the halfway point of its 5″ move the spider will have covered 25ft of the remaining 50ft gap–and will still be 25ft away.

[​2ND TURN; ​MOVEMENT SEG.​; PASS THRU FIRE] The gap between the spider and the fighters is now 25ft, which falls right between two important markers; 1″ and 3″.
* CM explains that man-sized figures control the space within 1″ around them; they can decide to attack other figures within that distance, and so 1″ is considered to be “melee contact”.
* CM and U&WA also refer to 3″ as “melee range” and “the range indicated (sic) for melee”. CM explains this as the distance a figure can cover to join an existing melee.

Technically, there is no preexisting melee in this scenario, so the two archers cannot move across 3″ to join combat. Moreover, their intent was to fire missiles not advance into combat. Therefore, the fighters would instead take the opportunity to give another round (their fourth!) of pass through fire with their longbows.

[​2ND TURN; ​MOVEMENT SEG.​; SECOND HALF MOVE​] The last spider is upon them, biting! The last spider covers the final 25ft to reach the fighters. In fact, it only needed to cover 15ft to achieve melee contact at 1″. The fighters and the spider are now considered to be “meleed”.

​[2ND TURN; MISSILE/MAGIC SEGMENT] The two fighters are meleed so they cannot fire. But–assuming he is sensibly positioned at least 3″ behind the fighters–Flubbit is not meleed so he could throw a second spell (if he had one available) at risk of affecting his allies who are now meleed.​

[2ND TURN; MELEE SEGMENT] The two fighters drop their bows and draw swords for melee, missing the first round as they change weapons, while the spiders have the benefit of the impetus bonus in the first round.

Summary
* Sleep spell first,
* Two (potentially even three!) opportunities to throw spells,
* Three (potentially even four!) opportunities to fire missiles.

 

B. No Surprise; One Move per Turn

A party of adventurers is standing at an intersection of corridors when the Dungeon Master rolls a “wandering monster.” Using the Wandering Monster Table, he determines that the party has encountered six giant spiders with 1 hit die each and they are 100 feet away.

​[SURPRISE CHECK] T​here is no surprise.

​​[DECLARATION]​ ​”Flubbit” the magic-user decides to throw a sleep spell, and the fighters to fire arrows.​ The ref decides the spiders​ will come at them fast​.​

[​​​1ST TURN; ​MOVEMENT SEGMENT; 1ST HALF MOVE] The spiders come at them fast, covering 25ft in their first half move (assuming a 3″ move + 2″ charge bonus).

[​​​1ST TURN; ​MOVEMENT SEGMENT; PASS THRU FIRE] the Dungeon Master rules that only the two fighters in the front row have a clear field of fire. The two fighters agree to both shoot at “the one on the left” and throw a 3 and an 16. The spiders are armor class 3 (plate), and the range is medium for the longbow (75 ft), so the 16 is a hit and is found to do 4 damage points. The spider’s hit die is rolled and comes up a 4—the creature is killed by a lucky arrow hit!​

[​​​1ST TURN; ​MOVEMENT SEGMENT; 2ND HALF MOVE] The remaining five spiders cover another 25ft, closing the gap to 50ft.

[​​​1ST TURN; MISSILE​/MAGIC​ SEGMENT]As stationary longbow men who are not meleed at the end of the move segment are allowed two shots per turn, the two fighters get off another arrow apiece when the spiders are 50 feet away, this time adjusted by +1 at short range. They throw an 8 and a 12 so their shafts bounce off the monsters’ armor.

Now Flubbit’s sleep spell goes off, but it only affects four of them.

[​1ST TURN; NO MELEE SEGMENT]

​[​2ND TURN; ​MOVEMENT SEG.​; FIRST HALF MOVE​] The last spider keeps coming… At the halfway point of its 5″ move the spider will have covered 25ft of the remaining 50ft gap–and will still be 25ft away.

[​2ND TURN; ​MOVEMENT SEG.​; PASS THOU FIRE] See remarks in case A. above. Technically, the two fighters have an opportunity to give pass through fire again, which would be their third missile volley.

[​2ND TURN; ​MOVEMENT SEG.​; SECOND HALF MOVE​] The last spider is upon them, biting! The last spider covers the final 25ft to reach the fighters. In fact, it only needed to cover 15ft to achieve melee contact at 1″. The fighters and the spider are now considered to be “meleed”.

​[2ND TURN; MISSILE/MAGIC SEGMENT] The two fighters are meleed so they cannot fire. But–assuming he is sensibly positioned at least 3″ behind the fighters–Flubbit is not meleed so he could throw a second spell (if he had one available) at risk of affecting his allies who are now meleed.​

​[2ND TURN; MELEE SEGMENT] The two fighters drop their bows and draw swords for melee,missing the first round as they change from bows to swords, while the spiders have the benefit of the impetus bonus in their first round.

Summary
* Movement first, then missiles, then spell.
* One (and potentially two) opportunities to throw spells,
* Three opportunities to fire missiles.

 

C. With Surprise; Two Moves per Turn

A party of adventurers is standing at an intersection of corridors when the Dungeon Master rolls a “wandering monster.” Using the Wandering Monster Table, he determines that the party has encountered six giant spiders with 1 hit die each and they are 100 feet away.

[SURPRISE CHECK] ​The players ​win a surprise segment​.​

[DECLARATION]​ ​The players use their surprise as a missile/magic segment in which ​”Flubbit” the magic-user throw​s​ a sleep spell, and the fighters ​​fire arrows​.

​[SURPRISE SEGMENT] ​The Dungeon Master rules that only the two fighters in the front row and Flubbit have a clear field of fire.

The two fighters agree to both shoot at “the one on the left”. They throw a 3 and an 18. The spiders are armor class 3 (plate), and the range is medium for the longbow (100 FT), so the 18 is a hit and is found to do 4 damage points. The spider’s hit die is rolled and comes up a 4—the creature is killed by a lucky arrow hit!

Flubbit’s sleep spell affects another four of them.

[MOVEMENT SEGMENT; 1ST MOVE] ​The last spider comes at them fast, covering 50ft (assuming a 3″ move + 2″ charge bonus).

​[MOVEMENT SEGMENT; PASS THRU FIRE] The archers get off one arrow apiece as the spider is 50 feet away; they throw an 8 and a 12 so their shafts bounce off the monster’s armor.

​​[MOVEMENT SEGMENT; 2ND MOVE] The spider covers the remaining 50ft to make melee contact (with 10ft to spare). ​Now the monster is upon them, biting,

[MISSILE/MAGIC SEGMENT] The two fighters are meleed, so they cannot fire. However–assuming he is sensibly positioned at least 3″ behind the fighters–Flubbit is not meleed so he could throw a second spell (if he had one available) at risk of affecting his allies who are now meleed.​

​[MELEE SEGMENT] AS the two fighters drop their bows and draw swords for melee​, ​missing the first round as they change from bows to swords, while the spiders having the benefit of the impetus bonus in their first round.

Summary
* Sleep spell and missiles simultaneously first,
* One (and potentially two) opportunities to throw spells,
* Exactly two opportunities to fire missiles.

 

D. No Surprise; Two Moves per Turn

A party of adventurers is standing at an intersection of corridors when the Dungeon Master rolls a “wandering monster.” Using the Wandering Monster Table, he determines that the party has encountered six giant spiders with 1 hit die each and they are 100 feet away.

​[SURPRISE CHECK] ​there is no surprise.

​[DECLARATION]​ ​”Flubbit” the magic-user decides to throw a sleep spell, and the fighters to fire arrows.​ The ref decides the spiders​ will come at them fast​.​

​[MOVEMENT SEGMENT; 1ST MOVE] The spiders combat at them fast, covering 50ft (assuming a 3″ move + 2″ charge bonus).

[MOVEMENT SEGMENT; PASS THRU FIRE] ​The Dungeon Master rules that only the two fighters in the front row have a clear field of fire, and they get off one arrow apiece ​when​ the spiders are 50 feet away. The two fighters agree to both shoot at “the one on the left”. They throw a 3 and an 15. The spiders are armor class 3 (plate), and the range is short for the longbow (50 FT), so the 15 is a hit and is found to do 4 damage points. The spider’s hit die is rolled and comes up a 4—the creature is killed by a lucky arrow hit!

​[MOVEMENT SEGMENT; 2ND MOVE]​​ Five spiders survive to cover the remaining 50ft to make melee contact (with 10ft to spare). ​Now the monsters are upon them, biting…

[MISSILE/MAGIC SEGMENT] The two fighters are meleed, so they cannot fire. However–assuming he is sensibly positioned at least 3″ behind the fighters–Flubbit is not meleed so his sleep spell goes off. The sleep spell is an area effect, so the referee dices to determine which four among the five spiders and two fighters are affected; luckily Flubbit’s sleep spell affects four spiders and none of his allies.

[MELEE SEGMENT] The two fighters drop their bows and draw swords for melee, ​missing the first round as they change from bows to swords, while the spiders have the benefit of the impetus bonus in their first round.

Summary
* Movement first, then missiles, then spell.
* Exactly one opportunity to fire missiles,
* Exactly one opportunity to throw spells.

 

Final Analysis

Only one of the four combinations explored enables the players to throw a spell first, and to fire exactly two volleys of missiles before melee contact. That combination is: with surprise and with two moves per turn.

While it’s unlikely that Holmes stuck to the simultaneous movement system in the detail explored above (in fact, he discusses movement per round rather than per turn), it seems plausible that we can get the same result as Holmes with the original turn structure–assuming a surprise segment and two moves per turn.

Of course with a more “ad hoc” approach to combat resolution, anything becomes possible 🙂

Holmes and the Combat Turn

 

There are relatively few clues given in the 3LBBs about the structure of original D&D’s combat turn, and what other clues exist are scattered through early D&D artifacts that are mostly pretty hard to come by. However, the “Second Combat Example” appearing in Holmes is one of the more detailed (and readily accessible!) accounts of the original D&D combat turn that we have in print today.

The blue book (a.k.a. “Holmes”) was published in July 1977, some three and a half years after the original D&D boxed set. However, it must have been in development for a good while prior to that. The final Holmes manuscript mentions Gods, Demigods & Heroes by name (published in July 1976), so that manuscript must have been created post July 1976, and prior to July 1977. EGG suggests (albeit indirectly) in commentary printed in Dragon #5 (December 1977) that the Holmes project may have begun as early as December 1975:

Two years ago we determined to revise the whole of D&D in order to clean up the errors and fill in the holes. The project is a long and complicated one, a task not accomplished overnight.
EGG —Dragon #11, December 1977

Regardless of its precise inception date, it is clear that Holmes was devised during original D&D’s hey-day, and that it is a neat representation of an important part of those rules. It is, perhaps, the first original D&D clone in today’s sense of the term—counter edited by EGG to boot.

Holmes Second Example

So let’s take a look at the first paragraph of Holmes’ famous example. The text below is as close as I can make it to the final Holmes manuscript—as presented by Zenopus in his fantastic analysis, here. Differences from the printed version (p21 of the blue book) are highlighted in bold:

SECOND EXAMPLE
A party of adventurers is standing at an intersection of corridors when the Dungeon Master rolls a “wandering monster.” Using the Wandering Monster Table, he determines that the party is being attacked by six giant spiders with 1 hit die each and they are 100 feet away. “Flubbit” the magic-user throws a sleep spell but it only affects four of them, the other two keep coming. The party decides to fire arrows, the Dungeon Master rules that only those in the front row have a clear field of fire. The spiders are 50 feet away and coming fast. Two characters get off arrows from their long bows and they agree to both shoot at “the one on the left.” They roll a 3 (an obvious miss) and a 15. The spiders are armor class: 3 (plate), but the range is medium for the longbow, the 15 is a hit and is found to do 4 damage points. The spider’s hit die is rolled and comes up a 4–the creature is killed by a lucky arrow hit! The second spider keeps coming. The archers get off one more arrow apiece, an 8 and a 12, and the shafts bounce off the beast’s armor. The two fighters drop their bows and draw swords as the monster is upon them, biting!

Lovely.

Meet: the Simultaneous Movement System

Okay, so now let’s explore the Second Example blow by blow, assuming (yeah, the usual heresy) that:

  1. The basic system is that from CHAINMAIL” (U&WA p25), and furthermore let’s assume CHAINMAIL’s Simultaneous Movement System (CM p9), and
  2. Surprise gives the advantage of a free move segment” (U&WA p9) really means a free turn segment, and
  3. Two moves constitute a turn” (U&WA p8), and furthermore let’s assume there are two moves per combat turn (more on this in a later post).

The beginning is frequently a good place to start, so…

A party of adventurers is standing at an intersection of corridors when the Dungeon Master rolls a “wandering monster.” Using the Wandering Monster Table, he determines that the party is being attacked by six giant spiders with 1 hit die each and they are 100 feet away.

The 100ft encounter distance is notable for two reasons;
Firstly, player light sources typically have a 30ft radius, but since visibility is not otherwise mentioned in the example we might presume the area is lit.
Secondly, unlike OD&D Holmes has random encounters occurring at 20–120ft distance regardless of whether surprise occurs. This is an important nuance, below.

“Flubbit” the magic-user throws a sleep spell but it only affects four of them, the other two keep coming.

It is significant that the player spell is the very first action of the combat turn. For this to be the case, the players must have won a surprise segment and employed it as a missile/magic segment. Without surprise, we would have expected to see the example go immediately to the first movement segment, but we did not.

Note, however, that the unaffected spiders “keep coming”. That they “keep” coming implies they were already on the move as Flubbit threw his spell, which is at odds with the notion of a surprise segment.

Significantly, they didn’t require a morale check after two-thirds of them were magicked (presumably due to their limited intelligence).

The party decides to fire arrows, the Dungeon Master rules that only those in the front row have a clear field of fire. The spiders are 50 feet away and coming fast.

Importantly, the spiders have already closed to 50ft before the players loose their arrows. This must be the result of their first move (of two possible moves) during their movement segment. The movement segment is formally the first segment of each combat turn, so this is presumably demarks the beginning of the first regular combat turn.

It is also curious the spiders cover 50ft. Holmes gives the 1 HD variety of fantastic spiders a movement stat of “60ft per turn”. This most likely implies a 6″ movement rate in OD&D terms, so it may have been better stated as “60ft per move“. None the less, 50ft is within the spiders’ possible movement distance of 60ft.

Two characters get off arrows from their long bows and they agree to both shoot at “the one on the left.” They roll a 3 (an obvious miss) and a 15. The spiders are armor class: 3 (plate), but the range is medium for the longbow, the 15 is a hit and is found to do 4 damage points. The spider’s hit die is rolled and comes up a 4—the creature is killed by a lucky arrow hit! The second spider keeps coming.

Now our two fighters fire their first round of arrows, after the spiders have already covered 50ft of ground.

Note that 50ft range is erroneously said to be medium range for longbows. In fact, the target would have to be at least 70ft away to qualify as medium range for a longbow. This is important because–according to the Holmes attack matrix–a 1st level fighter requires a throw of 16 to hit AC 3 (plate), with short range adjusting the throw by +1. Thus, a throw of 15 would be a miss at medium range, but a hit at short range.

This round of missile fire could possibly represent pass through fire during the spiders’ movement segment, but because the subsequent round of missile fire (see below) must necessarily be pass through fire, this first round of missile fire can only have occurred during the surprise segment, before the spiders’ fist move. It should therefore have occurred at 100ft range–which would have correctly been at medium range, as stated in the example.

The second spider keeps coming.

This must be the spider’s second move (of two possible moves) during its movement segment. This movement results in melee contact (see below) because the spider covers the remaining 50ft of ground to contact the players.

It is worth noting that melee contact occurs at 1″ range (for man-sized figures), so the spider needed to cover only 40ft in its second move to achieve melee contact. Additionally, CM and OD&D allow most man-like figures a 3″ bonus to their movement speed when charging into contact. This detail is ignored in the Holmes example.

The archers get off one more arrow apiece, an 8 and a 12, and the shafts bounce off the beast’s armor.

This second round of missile fire from the players is potentially problematic because the spider’s second move results in melee contact.

According to CM (and hence OD&D) melee contact disallows any further missile fire. Therefore, this second round of missile fire can only legally have occurred as pass through fire during the spiders’ movement segment—between their first and second moves. For this to be the case, the first round of missile fire (above) must have occurred during the surprise segment, before the spiders’ first move.

The two fighters drop their bows and draw swords as the monster is upon them, biting!

Now that melee contact has occurred, and we enter the melee segment. Our front-most pair of fighters now drop their bows to change to melee weapons, losing the opportunity to attack in the first round.

If there were a second rank of fighters ready, and sufficient room behind them, our front-most missile-men technically could have refused combat and withdrawn behind them. However, that is not the subject of this post.

Analysis

What have we learned?

Despite there being a few question marks around surprise and the precise sequence of missile fire, Holmes’ famous combat example is generally explainable in terms of CM’s Simultaneous Movement System in the context of D&D. Importantly, it is possible for the magic-user to throw his spell first (with surprise), and for the archers to fire two volleys before melee contact occurs.

The obvious questions are then whether the same outcomes can be achieved without requiring surprise, and/or with just one move per turn. That will be the topic of my next post

Delving Deeper V3

The Story So Far:
Delving Deeper V1+V2
Delving Deeper Boxed Set

And then there was…

Version Three

The Prelude to V3

V3 was preceded by John Adam’s pivotal decision on 17th March, 2013 (shortly after the release of V2) to publicly hand over stewardship of the Delving Deeper name and game to myself.

V3 would therefore be Immersive Ink’s first solo endeavor–although in actuality any project of this scope naturally involves numerous people.

The reality of V3

#DelvingDeeper V3 was eventually issued in May 2014 after about ten months in the works (see below for a little more insight into this). As V2 was really an errata release (V1 plus integrated errata = V2),  V3 was in fact #DelvingDeeper’s first significant revision in its then two year (post-relase) history.

V3 retained the classic three digest-sized booklet format, albeit renaming the individual booklets. The so-called #DelvingDeeperReferenceRules were re-issued as three PDFs at no cost, which are still available today.

The #DelvingDeeperReferenceRules V3 now comprised:

  • Volume I: Heroes & Magic
  • Volume II: Delving & Exploration
  • Volume III: Monsters & Treasures
V3 Three Booklets
DD V3 as Three Booklets

The cover art on the booklets (by Mark Allen) remained unchanged since V1+V2, and were now the only illustrations in the set; interior maps associated with the sample dungeon had been excluded.

The title page of each booklet identifies it as “Version 3 May 2014” and bears the publishing mark of Immersive Ink only (that’s me).

V3 Vol 1 Titlepage
DD V3 Vol 1 Titlepage

The interior typeface is changed to 9.5pt CalifornianFB; a more spacious, Goudy-based type. The interior tables were now numbered, and now had lighter weight borders and shading. The overall effect was (in this reader’s opinion) an improved reading experience.

V3 interior tables
V3’s lighter interior tables

V3 contained a number of revisions over V1+V2, including:

  • Rationalised spell lists,
  • Removal of the sample dungeon,
  • Moving the attack matrix into Volume 2,
  • Addition of parrying rule,
  • Addition of jousting rule,
  • Addition of mounted combat rule,
  • Addition of overbearing rule.

Another significant addition was a formal definition of normal, heroic, and superheroic in terms of numbers of Hit Dice. Although not stated in the original game, it was hoped this would enable some players to override normal by replacing exactly one definition, rather than having to search for dozens of instances of “X many HD” throughout the text. (DD allows for a broad definition of normal–fewer than 3 HD–but many folks still prefer EGG’s stricter definition circa 1975–up to 1+1 HD).

The Unpublished Ref Rules Compendium V3

What few people know is that during the ten months leading to DD V3’s release as three booklets, it was also prepared for release as a single volume Compendium via Lulu’s print on demand platform.

I have the single extant copy of the never published V3 Compendium (note the Mark Allen cover art directly from Vol 1).

V3 Compendium alongside the V4 Compendium
The “one of a kind”, unpublished DD V3 Compendium alongside the published V4 Compendium
V3 Compendium Spine
The V3 Compendium’s spine

V3 never went public for two reasons: Partly because licensing the cover art was proving to be difficult, and–in the main part–because I’d botched the credits! V3’s title page was in fact a working draft rather than a finished product, which ultimately meant the V3 Compendium had to be superseded before the POD version could be released.

All this meant V3 itself would be short-lived, soon to make way for the now popular V4.

Delving Deeper V1 Boxed Set

A second post in the short history of DD: this one about the DD V1 Boxed Set.

The Boxed Set

Shortly after #DelvingDeeper appeared in PDF format Brave Halfling Press launched the Delving Deeper boxed set, in December 2012, as the physical manifestation of the #DelvingDeeper project.

I don’t personally own a set, but have gathered the following from public information posted by the producer and fans who own sets.

The Box

The whole product was packaged in an excellent, digest-sized box entitled “Delving Deeper” with the subtitle “Original Edition Roleplaying Game” and featured super impressive cover art by Mark Allen.

Delving Deeper Boxed Set by Brave Halfling Press. Image courtesty of +Bill Lackey.
Delving Deeper Boxed Set by Brave Halfling Press. (Picture courtesy of +Bill Lackey).

Five Booklets

The content of the #DelvingDeeper Boxed Set by Brave Halfling Press comprised five saddle-stapled, digest-sized booklets entitled:

  • Volume I: Forging a Hero, 28pp
  • Volume II: Codex of the Divine and the Arcane, 36pp
  • Volume III: Index of the Fiendish and the Malign, 44pp
  • Volume IV: Vault of Treasures, 24pp
  • Volume V: Delving Deeper and Blazing New Trails, 38pp
Five booklets and the box
The Delving Deeper box and the five booklets it contained. (Picture courtesy of +Bill Lackey).

The #DelvingDeeper boxed set booklets were a re-organised presentation of #DelvingDeeperReferenceRules V1 content. The tables generally looked nicer and, unlike the #DelvingDeeperReferenceRules, the Delving Deeper boxed set booklets were fully illustrated by Mark Allen.

The back cover of each booklet states “Special Limited Edition Boxed Set – December 2012”.

Bundled Freebies

Brave Halfling Press bundled various freebies with the Delving Deeper boxed set throughout the course of its pre-ordering and fulfillment, including those pictured below:

BHP_boxed_set_2
The boxed set, booklets, and additional freebies provided by Brave Halfling Press. (Picture courtesy of +Todd Jolly).

Note especially the Blackmarsh booklet (bottom center) and also the Delving Deeper V1 Errata (bottom left).

Thanks to +Andreas Davour for some of the above details about the boxed set.

See also: Delving Deeper V1 + V2

Tarrent and Nogrod

A dungeon level to break in the New Year

Welcome to 2016, and welcome to this first level dungeon.

This was put together with Original Dungeons & Dragons in mind, but should work seamlessly with any of its modern simulacra including of course #DelvingDeeper. Enjoy!

The Map

This dungeon level map is based on of one of Tim Hartin’s Friday Freebies.  Tim’s original can be seen here with the local modifications indicated in red below (more about that in another post).

 

Tarrent and Nogrod map Jan 2016

The Dungeon Key

Note: Players will first enter the dungeon at ROOM #12.

ROOM #1. [Treasure + monster] A foul(!) Cockatrice [AC 6 MV 9/18 HD 5 C] has crept up from the lower levels and petrified several bandits who dared come this way. Spilling from split sacks around the perimeter are 1800sp and 800gp. However, five pieces of jewelry can be prised from the statues–and the monstrous guardian–worth 400gp, 1000gp, 2700gp, 2100gp, and 2000gp, respectively. The stair descends to a lower level.

ROOM #2. [Empty room] The northern door is a one-way turnstile; it can be used to pass from here into room #12, but it does not permit egress from #12 into this room.

ROOM #3. [Empty room] a sparse room with nothing to offer beyond a faint scent of limestone.

ROOM #4. [Empty room] A closed room. There is a secret peep hole through which a (partially obstructed) view of room #1 can be had without any risk of being petrified by the cockatrice.

ROOM #5. [Monster] 2-8 giant leeches [AC 8 MV 3/6 HD 2 N] persist in this damp chamber. They are initially clinging to the ceiling, dropping down onto any who do not look up as they enter.

ROOM #6. [Empty room] A small, dark room with drips falling infrequently from the ceiling and an inch of standing water on the ground.

ROOM #7. [Empty room] A modestly clean and comfortable room. The north door has not been opened in ages.

ROOM #8. [Empty] Mabyagzeurg (see room #9) has laid a host of eggs here, which variously stand or cling to the floor and walls via her webs. The door to #9 is open and so choked with silk as to be a web funnel.

ROOM #9. [Treasure + monster] Mabyagzeurg, a terrible giant spider [AC 5 MV 3/12 HD 4+4 C], lurks here amid a pitch dark tangle of lines and webs of sticky silk. She will wait for the players to make a route through her lair, striking only at the last figure. Her treasure is 1200sp and 1000gp scattered throughout the room. The door to #8 is open and so choked with webs as to be a web funnel.

ROOM #10. [Empty room] A perfectly plain room. The western door is cool to touch.

ROOM #11. [Empty room] A curious room in which the floor is painted yellow.

ROOM #12. [Empty room] The stair here ascends to the upper world. The southern door is a one-way turnstile; it can only be used to enter this room from #2; it does not permit egress into #2.

ROOM #13. [Treasure + monster] 2-12 callous brigands [AC 7 MV 12 HD 1 C] are here despite half the group recently making off with most of the treasure. The brigands are fiercely upset about the mutiny and are plotting a counter move. Their remaining loot is hidden in a secret room #40 behind a tapestry, accessible via a removable wooden panel.

ROOM #14. [Empty room] An echo chamber. Every sound seems nearer and clearer here. A figure standing silently and listening here can–each on a successful listen at doors throw–hear the cockatrice clucking in #1, the rats twittering in #17, the bandits whispering in #17, and the brigands muttering in #13.

ROOM #15. [Monster] 2-12 Bandits [AC 7 MV 12 HD 1 N] have broken away from the main group of brigands (#13) to hole up here. They suspect the brigands (see #13) will move against them soon, so they have hidden their treasure in room #18. They know there is something terrible in room #1.

ROOM #16. [Trick/trap] Two dozen battered old shields and helms, broken pieces of armor, and pots and pans dangle from chains, filling the room with potential alarm bells. Should anyone–or even so much as a decent breeze–move through here, they will make a clatter, forewarning the bandits at #15 and the brigands at #13.

ROOM #17. [Monster] There are several rat-statues here, petrified by the cockatrice (see room #1). 2-12 live giant rats [AC 7 MV 12/6 HD 1/2 N] abide amongst the rubbish, mainly at the eastern end of the room.

ROOM #18. [Treasure] The bandits (see #15) have buried 1800sp and 600gp in small sacks beneath a couple of loose flagstones in the south-east corner of this room.

ROOM #19. [Monster] 2-12 orcs [AC 7 MV 9 HD 1 C] are stationed here, maintaining an uneasy truce with both the anti-clerics (see #36) and the Wizard’s mercenaries (see #28). The orcs barrack in room #20.

ROOM #20. [Empty room] The orcs stationed in #19 and #22 barrack here.

ROOM #21. [Empty room] The orcs’ larder. Barrels of sour wine, rough ale, and drying fish. Sides of mutton, bins of weevily black bread, wheels of hard cheese, and so on.

ROOM #22. [Treasure + monster] 2-8 giant orcs [AC 6 MV 9 HD 2 C] are stationed here, holding the south passage against any intruders. Guzaag is a minor hero-type figure among them (3 HD, FC hero-1) not leastwise because he carries Jitterhex; an unintelligent enchanted broadsword +1, +2 vs men. The orcs’ treasure comprises 1500sp and is hidden in a locked chest buried below the flagstones (marked S on the map). Guzaag has the key.

ROOM #23. [Treasure + monster] 2-12 greedy dwarfs [AC 4 MV 6 HD 1 N] are here, counting out the silver they have won from Amedeo’s mercenaries (see #28) and scheming on how they will get more silver out of the wizard himself (see #26). Duffr, the eldest and wisest amongst them, is under Amedeo’s charm and councils the dwarfs accordingly. All told the dwarfs have accumulated 2000sp.

ROOM #24. [Treasure] The door to this secret treasury can only be opened by making the statue in room #31 point in a south of south-west direction. The door will snap closed as soon as nobody remains in room #31. If all the players are in this room when this occurs, they will be trapped here. There is a desiccated corpse of a would-be-robber who starved in similar circumstances, and the small chest and three sacks he up-ended and spilled in his frustration. All told there are 800gp and 1600sp scattered about.

ROOM #25. [Monster] Quarters for a gentleman of modest means comprising a four-poster bed with mosquito net, a foot locker containing a change of clothes, a vanity, and a night stand. The whole is illuminated by a broad candelabra and is kept spotlessly tidy. A secret door behind the vanity’s mirror accesses room #26.

Amedeo Rusfusstus [AC 9 MV 12 HD 3 C], a 4th level Magic-User, resides here but chooses to keep this room plain. He carries a Wand of Detecting Magic and wears a Cloak of Shadows (as per a Cloak of Elvenkind but with more sinister lineage). He is attended by an impeccable hobbet butler, Brogo Dramwise [AC 9 MV 9 HD 1 N] (with a loyalty of 11) and has charms upon Guzaag the giant orc (room #22) and Duffr the elder dwarf (room #23). The mercenaries in room #28 are in his employ (with a loyalty of 15). Amedeo carries the key to room #30 on a chain about his neck.

ROOM #26. [Treasure] Amedeo’s study contains a comfortable arm chair and a wall to wall bookshelf which is mostly occupied by obscure samples, glass wear, writing implements, and loose notes and scrolls. Theses are Amedeo’s studies. His books of First- and Second-Level Magic-Users Spells are also present; indistinguishable from a dozen other less important tomes.

ROOM #27. [Empty room] A crude parley table stands in the middle of this bare room. Battered shields and arms decorate the easterly and westerly entrances. The orcs (see rooms #19 and #22) infrequently use this room to negotiate with Amedeo or his servants (see rooms #26 and #28).

ROOM #28. [Monster] 2-8 mercenary fighters [AC 4 MV 9 HD 1+1 N] reside here. They are employed by Amedeo Rusfusstus (see room #26). He pays well so their loyalty rating is very high (15). However, they love to gamble and have recently lost most of their silver (again!) to the despicable dwarfs (see room #23) whom they are convinced must be cheats. They do not know about rooms #26 or #30, nor about the secret peep hole through which Amedeo occasionally spies upon them.

ROOM #29. [Empty room] The mercenaries stationed in room #28 barrack here.

ROOM #30. [Treasure] The door to Amedeo’s treasury is locked (see room #25). Inside is his dangerously depleted hoard which comprises a mere 2500sp in two small chests and several loose sacks. Several empty boxes imply there was more loot here previously. Amedeo has indeed spent much of his money on his research and retainers, and is well aware that he is in need of additional funds. There is a secret peep hole here that looks into room #28.

ROOM #31. [Trick/trap] There are mechanical truths about this room:
a) Only one of the portals can be opened at any time,
b) While anyone is in room #31, the portals cannot be opened from the outside.

From the outside the four portals appear to be diagonally bisected metal plate doors which automatically snap open (Deathstar-esque), and remain open while anyone is within 20ft of the exterior threshold. The portal will automatically snap shut as soon as nobody remains within a 20ft approach of the exterior threshold.

Should the players become separated with some inside and some outside, those outside must not overhear what happens inside the room!

The statue in the center of the room will always be pointing imperiously toward the door the players entered by. Only after the door has shut can the statue’s upper torso be twisted (with great labor) so that it points to _another_ door, which then snaps open and remains so while there is anybody in room #31. A dwarf working the statue may perceive a nick in the mechanism when passing through south of south-west. If the statue is set pointing in this direction, the secret door to room #24 will snap open (obeying the same mechanical truths as the other portals).

ROOM #32. [Empty room] A disused shrine, perhaps, overlooked by a statue of a forgotten lobster-demon. The southern door is cool to touch.

ROOM #33. [Empty room] This room is unusually cold. Spiders will not enter or pursue through this room.

ROOM #34. [Monster] Two green slimes [AC 9 MV — HD 3 N] are slowly conjoining in this narrow room.

ROOM #35. [Monster] Both doors are locked. Tarrent and Nogrod (see #36) each have a key that fits both doors. Forcing the western door from room #41 will likely result in a tumble down the stair. The room is pitch dark and cool. 2-8 ghouls [AC 7 MV 9 HD 2 C] are kept locked in here, to be subjected to the experiments of the Black Friars; Tarrent and Nogrod (see room #36). They will surge to attack any who enter.

ROOM #36. [Treasure + monster]: Tarrent [AC 7 MV 12 HD 2+1 C] and Nogrod [AC 9 MV 12 HD 2+1 C], two 3rd level Anti-clerics, conduct their blasphemous inquiries in this Frankenstein’s body shop. They are accompanied by 2-8 fanatic cultists [AC 9 MV 12 HD 1+1 C].

The Anti-clerics hope to acquire a ghoul’s power of paralysis (thus the captives in room #35) for their own evil ends. A dissected specimen lies upon a grisly slab. Tarrent carries a magical shield +1, Nogrod wears a helm of alignment change. Additionally, there are a score of small brass pots filled with silver coins; collectively they contain 1900sp. Tarrent’s book of First Level Clerical Spells is here but Nogrod does not yet possess one; he must share that of his evil Brother.

ROOM #37. [Empty room] A blasphemers’ shrine, situated below an arched footbridge. Tarrent, Nogrod, and their cult (see #36) have cots here. Tarrent’s book of First Level Clerical Spells is hidden, face down, under his cot.

ROOM #38. [Empty room] Blasphemous runes and signs are painted on the walls here. A stair descends to room #36, passing below the passageway south-east of room #19.

ROOM #39. [Trick/trap] The door to this room is apparently locked, but it will give way rather easily. Inside is a small room with every indication of a treasury; Reaching into the room from each of the five walls facing the door is a large stone forearm proffering a sparking gem. Below these, the floor is stacked with pots of gold and sacks of silver.

All told the players will estimate 10,000 coins with 3,000-8,000gp and the balance sp. It is all an illusionary trick, of course. The gems and coins are in fact worthless, gray-white pebbles which will only encumber the players. The illusion will reset an hour after being looted.

ROOM #40. [Treasure] A quiet, secret chamber of wood paneled walls. The brigands at #13 have hidden their loot in a small chest in the middle of the room. It contains 800sp and 800gp. Curiously, there is a pile of gray-white pebbles–just as large–adjacent to the chest.

ROOM #41. [Empty room] A strangely bare intersection. The eastern door is always locked. Tarrent and Nogrod (see #36) each have a key. Forcing the door will likely result in a tumble down the stair immediately inside and into room #35.

ROOM #42. [Monster] 2-12 large spiders [AC 8 MV 6/15 HD 1/2 N] are here. Although these are Mabyagzeurg’s (see room #9) most recent batch of offspring, she is absolutely indifferent to them. As far as she is concerned, they are food.

 

Notes

The numbers of monsters appearing assume 4-6 players.
Use one-half as many for 2-3 players.
Use half as many again for 7-10 players.

 

Use of Enchanted Weapons
In room #22 Guzaag carries Jitterhex; a sword +1, +2 vs men. In later iterations of the game this weapon adjusts attack rolls by +1, and damage rolls vs men only by +2.

In an earlier incarnation of the game enchanted weapons performed differently in normal combat. As a 3 HD man-type, Guzaag has the Fighting Capability (FC) of three men in normal combat, and that of a hero–1 in fantastic combat.

In normal combat Guzaag usually throws three dice as a man. Possessing a magic weapon promotes any figure’s FC by one man in normal combat, so Jitterhex enables Guzaag to throw four dice rather than three. Each hit in normal combat deals 1-6 hp damage. To the total damage caused to men in a combat round, Jitterhex adds 2 hp damage.

In fantastic combat Guzaag usually throws one die as a hero–1. Possessing a magic weapon adds its plus to any figure’s die, so Jitterhex’s +1 enchantment will be added to Guzaag’s die. A hit in fantastic combat will usually deal 1-6 hp damage. However, versus men only, Jitterhex adds 2 hp damage for a total of 3-8 hp damage.

 

Use of Enchanted Shields
In room #36 Tarrent carries a shield +1. In later iterations of the game this is simply equivalent to a –1 AC adjustment.

In an earlier incarnation of the game, enchanted shields (and armor) would instead reduce an attacker’s HD by one; effectively reducing their number of attacks by one in normal combat, or adjusting their attack die by –1 in fantastic combat.

The bearer of a +1 shield would not, therefore, be subject to any effective frontal attack from 1 HD types in normal combat. The 2 HD types would have one normal attack, rather than their usual two normal attacks, and so on.

 

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