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From 3 to 300

January 3, 2012

Page views per day, that is. If I’d known mentioning Carcosa would have that effect, I’d have done it on day one. I’m still reading the book, so meanwhile here’s something I found just now while looking for something else (that I still haven’t found). This is the map I drew for my first ever AD&D dungeon in December 1983/January 1984.


From Easter 1983 until Christmas that year, our wee group played D&D of the Moldvay Basic/Cook & Marsh Expert variety. It wasn’t exactly campaign play; three of the four of us took it in turns to be DM, and ran a loose mixture of TSR modules and our own dungeons and wilderness hexcrawls, using The Keep on the Borderlands and The Isle of Dread as templates. (We never encountered any of the Judges Guild adventures in those days, more’s the pity.) Our PCs would move freely between each other’s games.

That summer I bought the Monster Manual and began incorporating some of its beasties into my games. In autumn my brother spent some birthday money on the Dungeon Master’s Guide, and at Christmas I got the Players Handbook, and I think maybe the Fiend Folio too. So when 1984 rolled around we were ready to make the switch to AD&D. We considered “upgrading” our PCs, but in the end that didn’t happen because we all wanted to try playing exciting new classes like rangers and assassins, and rolling stats using awesome Method I rather than silly old 3d6 in order. (And also because my thief Harmel, who wielded a two-handed sword in D&D, couldn’t do that in AD&D apparently.) It was immense fun, of course, and we happily hacked our way through Saltmarsh and the Slavers’ Stockade to Tsojcanth and the Barrier Peaks, and got hacked right back by the Tomb of Horrors and by each other’s increasingly labyrinthine and lethal home-brewed dungeons. The unspeakably evil Grimtooth’s Traps and Grimtooth’s Traps Too were the bane of many a beloved character in those heady days. You’ve never really lost a henchman until you’ve seen him get catapulted through a diamond-mesh screen. Good times, good times.

Now, however, I run lightly houseruled B/X D&D. More on that another time.

Anyway, this little map was the start of our big Advanced Dungeons & Dragons adventure. Sadly the text key was lost long ago, and memory fails me. But look at all the pitiful dead things in area #23. (And look at how you get into that room.) I suspect it contains treasure and a dastardly, deadly trap. Possibly one of Grimtooth’s.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. January 3, 2012 10:15 pm

    I like the pit trap blocking access to the altar(?) in room 15.

  2. January 3, 2012 10:21 pm

    That’s a pretty map. Better than many I have seen in published modules.

  3. January 3, 2012 11:24 pm

    @Jeff
    That’s an altar at the top of room #5 (a chapel?) so the black blob in #15 is probably an enticing (trapped? illusory?) treasure chest. I’m pretty sure that’s a gelatinous cube in the zigzag passageway between #20 and #25. (I’ve written “… or …” because I’m a big softy. Grimtooth would have put “… and …”)

  4. January 3, 2012 11:25 pm

    @Brendan
    Thanks. In my teens I would happily spend whole days just drawing and colouring maps. I wish I still had that much spare time. I also wish I hadn’t lost so many of them.

  5. Spawn of Endra permalink
    January 4, 2012 12:38 am

    What do the squares with arrows in the passage between #20 and #25 signify? My memory is failing me.

  6. January 4, 2012 12:42 am

    @Spawn
    See my reply to Jeff (above) for my best guess. Alas, my memory is also not what it once was. Not that I can remember what it once was.

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