A place wherein this Dwarven Cleric can share his love of maps, dice, miniatures, and all things involving gaming and general geekery--not to mention the occasional witty non-gaming observations--whilst escaping from the humdrum existence of his routine Terran existence.

Hail and Well Met, fellow traveler! May my Stronghold provide a place for enlightenment and amusement, and somewhere to keep your dice dry. Enter and rest awhile.

03 February 2014

[D&D 40th Anniversary Bloghop] Day Three

Day Three: First dungeon you explored as a player-character or ran as a DM.

I'm going to take advantage of this one and play a two-fer.

Back in the day, I don't know that we ever actually ran a "module" or a dungeon that had a name. Mostly it was creating characters, painting miniatures badly, and staging battles and skirmishes between the miniatures. So, I'm going to fast forward to the re-birth in 2000. The DM put together the group of players, and gave us all detailed (I'm talking REALLY detailed) backstories that tied us all into some part of the adventure, including story hooks and motivations. Then he put together a modified version of TSR's Dragon Mountain, plopped it down in Faerûn where we could find it and where it tied in with our various backstories. Then we were off and running. That campaign ran for...oh, probably three years. For the climax, the DM dug out of storage and assembled the only Red Dragon of Krynn (vinyl) miniature I've ever seen in the flesh.

(BTW, it's real and it's spectacular.) Wizards of the Coast put out a Colossal Red Dragon. They tried to make it spectacular. And yeah, it's cool. I don't like how they squeezed it all onto one square base. It doesn't have the awe-inspiring pose that the vinyl miniature did. And then, I've seen them side-by-side. No comparison. None at all. If I had a choice, the vinyl miniature from "Screamin'" would definitely be my go-to red dragon of choice. Putting that old girl on the table is a real pee-in-your-pants moment for your players. The picture here really doesn't do it justice.

Back to the story.... That was the first real dungeon I'd played as a PC. For the other part of the question, the first dungeon I ran as a DM was a little side adventure I threw together a couple years ago to give the then-DM a chance to rest for a couple of sessions and unwind by playing a PC for a change. I ran out of time and fell back on a little freebie that Wizards of the Coast published, a little thing called "Start at the End." The idea is that you run into the dragon at the very start of the dungeon, and then various other inhabitants as the PCs work their way through the various caverns. Xorn, bodak, and other various nasties lie in wait for the players; I modified it throwing in some small critters and molds of my own as well. Now that I think about it, this was, in fact, the site of the first PC to die at my hands as a DM. The then-DM was playing an elven rogue and was scouting ahead of the rest of the party. He turned a corner, came face to face with a bodak, and promptly failed his saving throw. BAM! Dead elf. I loved every minute of it. Immediately texted my wife the news that I was no longer a "virgin DM." The group still laughs about that moment.

Unfortunately, it appears that, although WotC still has the base article online about this free adventure, they've actually removed the content (as they have with most of their 3.5 content) from their website, so the link is apparently broken. Fortunately, I think I downloaded the adventure back then and saved it on one of my various drives somewhere. Maybe someday I'll stumble across it and pull it out again.

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