Expedition to Castle Fil / D. Bolton With the recent upsurge of Fantasy War gaming, I have become involved in a few Dungeons and Dragons expeditions myself, so far with a 100% failure rate, if at first you don't succeed.. l have read in a few magazines of small expeditions, but I find them a bit on the short side. So here, for your possible interest is a brief history of one such expedition. The party consisted of 8 humans, 4 dwarves, 1 hobbit thief and an Elve Magic user, most of the Humans and Dwarves were fighters and as such were well armed and armoured the rest were Clerics (a kind of Priest), Thieves or Magic users. At this point I feel I should explain a couple of details for those who have not played before; all creatures, expeditioners included, are graded in levels, a beginner starts off at level one, and as he gains experience points for killing monsters and such like, he will rise a level for every couple of thousand points. It can take a couple of expeditions to get enough points to rise a level, but as will be seen later its not always so. Also a character has, what is called an alignment; he can be either Lawful, Neutral or Chaotic. Lawfuls must help others of their own type, if they are in trouble, while Chaotics can slip a knife in your back, if it's to their advantage, but can count on no help if in trouble, and team work is a pretty important facet of the game. Neutrals lie half way between, with some of the good and some of the bad characteristics of the other two. Generally speaking, Lawfuls are best, well aren't they...? We started off by going to a very powerful Magic user, and by promising him 10% of anything obtained, were equipped with horses and transported many miles to a cross roads (1) which lay somewhere within five miles of a castle.
A quick survey of the countryside revealed, a small Dwarve villaqe (2) to the North west, a dark gloomy looking forest to the North east, a desert to the South east with a building in it about two miles away, and to the South west, there was a cemetary stretching as far as the eye could see. The village looked deserted, but no sooner had we left the road, than fifty Dwarves armed with crossbows appeared, they didn't look to friendly, but as we retreated back to the road they disappeared. We moved back to the cross roads and decided to pay the desert building a visit. Some bloke suggested that we go over to the cemetary and dig up a grave, you know what these Hobbits are like..... We soon reached the building but as it looked a bit sinister we sent out best fighter to have a recce. Inside there were two altars, one at each end of the building and guarding them six skeletons, armed with swords, standing at the opposite wall. As they did not look to be friendly the fighter loosed a quarrel from crossbow and felled a skeleton, by the time he had reloaded they were almost on him so he jumped outside, slammed the door behind him and reported back to us. A couple of minutes later we had a fighting party organised and we flung the door wide open. The skeletons, bar one were back at the far wall, the other one lay on the floor a heap of bones. This time, the six of us were easily able to defeat the skeletons (3) without injury, gaining about 20 experience points each. On each of the altars there was a book and a phial of some clear fluid, one of the fighters, of neutral alignment, opened a book, started reading and fell screaming to the floor, quickly turning unconscious, a Cleric picked up the other book, started reading, soon after, it disintegrated, and he became a 2nd level Cleric. This was a case when alignment was important. After fastening the unconscious fighter on his horse, and giving the building a thorough search (nothing else found) we set off along the East road, and stopped where a river joined the road. One of the fighters stuck his sword in the river and was immediately rewarded with a dart in the shoulder, from some Merman (4). They turned out quite friendly though, and with the help of some Gold coins told us the route to the castle. We followed the road eastwards until we reached a bridge, whereat a Troll appeared and demanded ten gold pieces from each of us, if we were to cross. As most of us didn't have two copper coins to rub together, we decided to kill him. Trolls can only be permanently killed by using fire or Sulphuric acid, and having none of the latter, we threw a burning oilflask at him. By the time he had burnt down, so had the bridge! (5) A gold coin in the river brought another Merman and a couple more got us directions to a stone bridge, and also information about an Orc gold train. By this time the unconscious fighter had recovered, with no ill effects. Twenty minutes later we reached the Stone bridge (6) and this time two Trolls appeared, not wanting to waste any time or oilflasks, we ran them down getting across the bridge and far away, before they recovered. A mile down the road, we reached some bushes which seemed an ideal position to spring an ambush. A few minutes later, an Orc gold train approached our position and we got the Elve Magic user to cast a sleep spell on the Orcs. All were put to sleep, bar one, who ran off. The leader turned out to be an eighth level Orc and gave the Magic user 650 experience points fcr killing him, once asleep. On the train we found 900 gold coins which were shared out equally. At this stage, the Lawfuls in our party decided to return, not wanting to take any more risks. They got back, after some experiences (with a few Zombies and a Mindflail: a fearful creature) poorer than when they started off. At this point, there were eight of us left to go on; four fighters, two thieves (1 Hobbit) and two Magic users (1 Elve). The castle was only about a mile down the road, but by the time we had gone three quarters of a mile, we were stopped by three White Knights on horseback, who refused to let us pass, without first jousting and defeating them. Eventually, we managed to beat one of them and they let us pass by giving them the book that had sent the Neutral screaming; evidently, the book was Lawful and of no use to us Chaotics. We shortly reached the castle and managed to get in to the Courtyard through a small door. On the right there was a row of buildings all with Hobbit writings on them. To the left and back there were more buildings and in the foreground, there was a horse trough, well and a pile of rubbish. We got our Hobbit to translate the writings on the buildings and they read from near to far - Captain's Quarters,Records, Stores and Armoury. The Captain's Rooms sounded promising and our hopes were realised because we found some gold pieces, a magic Crossbow with six quarrels (on each of which was Hobbit writing). The first quarrel read 'Vampire', the second '....oll', the third '....taur', the fourth ' n-e-d', the other two were undecipherable. Also found in the room was a wall mounted Dragon's Head with two jewelled eyes which defied all efforts to prise them out, but which came in useful later.
Next door in the Records Room were fifteen chests arranged round the wall. The first three had paper documents in them, but on opening the fourth a cloud of chlorine gas was emitted and we retreated back into the Courtyard coughing and gasping. The Stores proved unprofitable and we went over to the well to have a rest. One of the Magic users, just for a laugh, threw a gold coin down the well, at which a voice from the well shouted up 'Jew' and a chain came up and grabbed him by the ankle and started to pull him in. He managed to throw in a few more gold coins and was eventually released. We spent a few more gold coins asking the well if there was any magic armour in the Armoury. It agreed to tell us whether any armour we brought out of the Armoury was magic or not, at a price of ten gold pieces per piece of armour tested, but we managed much more cheaply by getting a Magic user to cast a 'detect magic' spell, and found a suit of plate armour, a dagger and a mace, that were all magic. A Magic Sword was also found, it turned out to be a 'cursed' sword. The rest of the buildings across the Court yard were Barracks and a few Hobbits were found and easily disposed of. Our next most profitable discovery was of a secret gambling room. With our usual ruthlessness, we slaughtered six Hobbits therein, suffering only minor krife wounds ourselves. In the Teller's Office, we broke open the Safe and found several hundred gold coins and two phials of potions, one black, one white - respectively, Satanic and Holy Water. After this, we went up to the battlements. In the first corner tower, we found another Hobbit - this one was clearly insane. With intelligence unusual for our party, we kept him alive and, at the next corner tower, pushed him in first. He fell to the floor an arrow in his chest. We lifted his body, from outside the tower, with a long pole and the body was instantly riddled with thousands of arrows. We spiked the door shut. In the next two towers, we found nothing, so we descended to the Courtyard. The pile of rubbish looked interesting but we found nothing but Giant Rats, luckily they were killed without any injury to our selves. It was now decided that we should explore the Dungeons, the easiest way down was the Stairs in the Captain's room (7). A passage led from the bottom of the stairs, as far as the eye could see. Fifty yards along on the left hand side, an ancilliary corridor was found and thirty yards down this passage brought us to a door on the left. Inside was a square room covered in yellow mould apart from a clearer patch at the other side of the room, in which lay a cabinet. A 'telekinesis' spell brought it over to us. In his eagerness to open it, one of the fighters pricked his finger on a poisoned needle and dropped dead. The cabinet was successfully and safely opened on the next attempt, giving us 200 gold coins. We followed the corridor until it turned right and became a chamber (8) with a door at the top and a door at the bottom of the room. Our Magic user went through the top door and found an identical room; acting on his own initiative, he went through the top door of this room and found an Elf sitting on a tree stump, who announced himself as the Caretaker of the Dungeons and offered to sell us maps to various treasures in the Dungeons, at exorbitant prices. After the Magic user returned, we left through the bottom door and a passage brought us on to the original corridor. We sent a fighter back to the bottom of the stairs and there he buried one out of a pair of 'distance rings'. These change colour the further apart they get; up to 100 feet they are green, from 100 to 250 feet apart they are blue and above 250 feet they are clear.
The corridor we were on, after a couple of hundred yards, led us in to a very large chamber, so large that we could not see the other end. We could see though, about 30 feet away, a set of stairs going down some where. Before we got there, we hit a trans porter and ended up in an L shaped room (9) at the bottom of which was a door leading on to a corridor. 15 feet down this corridor to the left, there were three bodies Iying on the ground covered in lice. We burned the lice off with a torch and found a few gold pieces on each body. At this stage, we were so lost that we decided to return to the transporter and take our chances.
Unfortunately, we landed on level two, we knew this because the Magic users had each gained a spell. We were in a small square roorn with a passage leading away from the bottom wall; a secret door was located about 20 feet down this passage. Inside the room were two skeletons which started firing their fingers at us; these were far worse than the six we had found in the church. We moved off down the corridor rather hastily and soon reached an octagonal room, in the middle of which was a pool of water in which the caretaker elf was washing himself.
The distance ring had changed from blue to green, and got brighter towards the bottom right of the room. Facing us were three passages, we decided to take the centre passage and, at a bend in this passage, we found secret door. Inside was a small triangular room, in the middle of which lay a chest and just behind it, a copper dragon. One of the fighters thought to kill the dragon and rushed at it, but his sword just bounced off it and turning round, it breathed an acid breath over the poor chap and left him in a pool of liquid (10). We waited a couple of minutes then looked in again; the dragon was Iying still on the floor. One of the Magic users successfully cast a 'telekinesis' spell on the chest, but just as it reached the door, the dragon turned around, let out a fearsome roar and rushed after the chest. With our usual bravery, we fled back to the octagonal room, closely pursued by the chest and the dragon. The Elve Magic user was the nearest to the dragon and almost certain to be struck down, so as a last desperate measure, he cast his 'kill' spell at the dragon, and by a sheer fluke killed it. At this point the Gamesmaster was struck dumb by a burst of incredulity, almost having a fit, and going a deep red colour of shame, a 12th level copper dragon had been killed by a puny 1st level Magic user, who got 3999 experience points, rising to the absolute maximum for this level). In the chest, there were 3000 platinum pieces, each worth 10 gold pieces. This was wealth beyond imagination, all we had to do was to get out !!!!! We were left with 2 fighters, 2 thieves and 2 Magic users, but no nearer to getting out, than before. The ring had got no brighter down the dragon passage, so we decided to take the right hand passage. On the way, we discovered that one of the fighters was carrying a 'cursed' sword; this is a weapon, that remains attached to the carrier's hand, as if glued on, and if not used once, at least every 20 minutes on somebody, or some monster it will kill the carrier. The dragon's head that we had found in the Captain's quarters had two jewelled eyes, which had broken any weapons trying to prise them out so we tried out the 'cursed' sword on it. The sword broke in two, and fell out of the fighters hand. We had now come to a T junction 70 yards from the octagonal room, and turned left, as the ring was getting brighter. Along this passage on the right, were three doors spaced at about 25' intervals. Not wanting to be surpised by any monsters, we listened at each door in turn. Something was heard at the second door but we did not stay to investigate. After a hundred feet the passage joined another corridor, and we turned right, the ring getting brighter all the time. This corridor led to a room about 20' square with a column about 10' square in the middle of the room, stretching from the roof to floor. A good search revealed a secret door, and at this door the ring shone brightest. The small room was empty, apart from a table at the far wall. On this table however lay a helmet, and near this helmet the ring was the brightest so far seen. Eventually the helmet was lifted and under it lay the other ring. What misfortune has brought it here? Now we were truly lost, yet worse was to come, for the instant the helmet was lifted the lifter was turned to stone by a Cockatrice. Three more were turned to stone before they could get out, the two surviving were both thieves. We ran back to the octagonal room, and took the 1st of the three passages, in our blind haste, we hit a transporter which took us to a square room, which adjoined the octagonal room. The Elf was still sitting in the pool and we asked him to transport us back to the courtyard. This he did, but took all our treasure, weapons, only leaving us our clothes. The courtyard was full of horses and the sound of laughter was coming from the barracks. Further careful investigation revealed that the Giants had been figh ting with the Hobbits, had beaten them and now were owners of this castle. As we were weaponless, we went over to the armoury and rearmed ourselves, then took a couple of horses and moved quietly over to the door, where we had originally entered the castle, a giant however saw us and with a swipe of his club wiped out my companion, but I got out and rode off as fast as possible, not stopping until I reached the stone bridge where as usual appeared a couple of Trolls. I charged at them knocking one down, but the other one got me and that was the end of that expedition.