Friday, 12 June 2015

Boozers in the B Series - Part 2

TSR 9044 B3 - Palace of the Silver Princess

No named tavern

This is a shame, as this picture sells the pub to me. Look at the space between the tables. Look at the head on that pint. What's that bloke at the back doing with his arms? Who's that sleazy looking geezer on the right?

TSR 9049 B4 - The Lost City

No tavern present

TSR 9078 B5 - Horror on the Hill

Meeting at Guido’s Fort
Aha - a pub!
Well, that one's in Dornie where their marketing team have identified a great way to get you to notice their product.

They meet to prepare at the Lion’s Den.

The inn has a large common room filled with many benches and tables, a bar, and a large fireplace, The common room is a smoky, dimly-lit place, and tends to be rather quiet. The inn also has sleeping quarters for rent. One sp per person buys a night’s lodging on a straw pallet in the back room. The quarters are so dirty that characters who sleep here have a 75% chance of becoming flea-infested during the night! (Fleas won’t affect a character’s play; they’re just a temporary nuisance.)
75% chance of becoming flea-infested - super!
At any given time of day or night, 2-12 (2d6) persons can be found in the Lion’s Den. Player characters can learn two of the rumors on the table below from any of these patrons or the innkeeper. For your own information only, the table shows whether the rumors are true or false. To see which two rumors the characters learn, roll 2d8, repeating if necessary until the second roll is different from the first. Note that the players must state they are seeking information before they can begin to hear the rumors.

If the characters express an interest in learning more about The Hill, they are referred to the “Old Timer.” For each cold beer the party buys him, he will divulge another rumor, until they have heard all eight. Note that the Old Timer goes through the rumors randomly (roll a ld8), and although he will not repeat a single rumor twice, he will probably repeat the two rumors that the party has heard elsewhere.
Yes, the Old Timer. An' oil bet he speak in a West Country axxent, haa-haarrr.
Well, the Lion's Den might be a den of iniquity, but at least it's open.
Talking of West Country accents, what about a sea-shanty...

TSR 9086 B6 - The Veiled Society

The Blue Water Mead Hall

The Mead Hall is a bright, clean building. Inside, several sailors in the center of the room strike up a rousing but badly off-key
chorus of a sea chanty. One plays a simple bagpipe at a furious pace. Near them, several men link arms and begin a noisy stepdance.
Their stomps punctuate the ribald wolds of the song. There is much clatter of mugs and talk. The tavern keeper and several potboys whisk through the crowd, slamming down drinks and catching thrown coins.
Near the back are two curtained doorways. A red-haired man sits near the back of the room. If the characters have a description of
Akarios, they recognize him. If it is near evening, the man leaves the room, and goes through one of the curtained doorways. If the
characters approach the man, he springs to his feet and runs for the curtained doorway.
He holds his right arm close to his side.....
Wow! Didn't even have time to get a round in before the action kicked off.

TSR 9115 B7 - Rahasia

No tavern present

TSR 9106 B8 - Journey To The Rock

Has the "friendly town" image that the D&D_Land Tourist Board would be happy with in this "forsaken wilderness"
For weeks, you’ve been looking for adventure in this forsaken wilderness, with nothing much to show for it. It’s autumn now, with winter fast-approaching, and you’ll be in real trouble if you don’t earn some treasure soon.
As you’re finishing breakfast at a cheap inn, a traveler walks into the common room. In a loud voice he says,
Peace be upon you all! I, Hakeem the merchant, seek Hargath Stonehand and his worthy friends!”
If anyone decides to talk to Hakeem, he says,
As I passed through Sylvanhome forest on the way here, I stopped at The Manor, a fine palace owned by the wizard Lirdrium Arkayz. His servant Jenlar Temlin paid me to look for you and deliver his message to you. The wizard needs adventurers to undertake a quest, and he is willing to pay well anyone who answers his call. The letter of his servant explains all. Good day, my friends.”
He lays a scroll on your table, then turns to leave.
Tell the player characters that they have heard local people talking about Jenlar Temlin-he has a reputation as a brave, honorable, and trustworthy fighter. Then give them Jenlar Temlin’s letter and Jenlar Temlin’s map. If the characters follow Hakeem out of the inn, they will see him preparing to ride away on a mule.
If they question him further, he says that he believes Jenlar Temlin and Lirdrium Arkayz to be trustworthy, but he knows nothing else about them.
If player characters ask others (such as tavern patrons or innkeepers) about Jenlar Temlin or Lirdrium Arkayz, they will be told that both are highly respected. Arkayz is a philosopher, sage, and advisor. The characters can get directions to The Manor from anyone they ask.
Helpful kinda people.

TSR 9143 B9- Castle Caldwell and Beyond

No tavern present

TSR 9149 B10 - Nights Dark Terror

the adventuters are hailed by Sergeant
Arthol when they reach the town.
He recommends the Hook and Hatchet Tavern


Inns are very common in Threshold, most streets having at least one.
Inns usually have 1d4x10 patrons and tend to be bustling with activity. The kind of patrons encountered varies with the inn's location - waterfront inns have a high number of stevedors, those near the town hall have a large number of merchants and town guards, and so on.
Each time thc party enters an inn, make a reaction roll check using thc bonus of the character with the highest charisma, to dtermine how the locals react to the party's presence.
Food and drink are available in all inns, hut the quality varies considerably – roll 1d6 a result of 1 means 'terrible': 3-4 are average; 6 is excellent. Rooms are availablc in most inns for 1d10+10sp per. night, and most can also provide stablingat Id4sp per horse per night. Characters booking rooms are provided with a key by the landlord, although, if you wish, some landlords may be dishonest and attempt to steal from the adventurers. In any case, characters should be encouraged to leave bulky items in their rooms since they cannot reasonably carry all their gear ewry time they venture onto the streets. Alteratively, valuables may be deposited at the town hall

The Hook and Hatchet

This is the inn favoured by Sgt. Arthol and most of the guards (when off-duty!). It is located next to the old town wall. It serves 'above average' food (quality - 5) and can provide both rooms (15sp per night) and stabling (2sp per night).
Handy. And more than that, the place functions in classic D&D cliché mode as a recruitment office....

Hiring Retainers

In each inn there is a 10% chance that there will bc 1-2 1st level fighters looking for employment.
So that's the Dragon-fodder sorted then.
Fogor Isle
Fogor Isle is connected to the rest of Threshold by two stone bridges, and serves as the main port and warehousing section of Threshold. Despite the best efforts of the patriarch, the Thieves' Guild still exercise considerable influence here. During the day, the thieves keep a low profile, but after dark, the Isle. is fully under Guild control and no guard patrols dare enter.
The streets and alleys of the isle are dark and dingy. Numerous inns are found here as wcll as various dens of vicc which cater for all manner of interests.
Small groups of characters walking the streets at night are 50% likely to hc accosted by groups of thugs (see below). Even during the day, members of large groups are likely to have thcir pockets picked by a 6-11th level thief.
The residents of Fogor lsle look after their own, and the town guards, if called during the day, only escort characters out of the area, they do not make arrests anymore. The last group to try, never madr it back over Northbridge...
The Good Guys are led here:
Must be the off-season ....

TSR 9260 B11 - Kings Festival

You have arrived at the town of Stallanford, on the Duke’s Road. The town is bustling and busy, with many visitors and merchants’ wagons seeking hostels and stables for horses. This is no ordinary day, for tomorrow is the first day of the King’s Festival!
Karameikos has no king, but this long-held festival honors a great hero of the distant past, King Halav. Long before Karameikos was a nation, King Halav of the Traldar folk fought with his warriors against evil Beast-Men. In a great battle, Halav and the king of the Beast-Men fell, but the evil ones fled and the safety of the humans was ensured.
You’re rather late in arriving, and many folk are asleep. You sniff the pleasing aroma of cooking meat and warm bread, and you make for the tavern, the Hungry Halfling, for a meal and some rest.
The inn is busy, but you find a table right away. The friendly old halfling who owns the hostelry charges 5 silver pieces for dinner, a bed, and breakfast. It’s good value though-the joint of beef you see on the table will fill your stomach after your long journey!
Well that all sounds lovely, especially compared to the dryness of B12.
I wonder what beer they've got on the handpump

TSR 9261 B12 - Queens Harvest (Kings Fst 2)

No tavern present


Thursday, 11 June 2015

Boozers in the B Series - Fancy a pint?

Before I was entranced by the D&D world of escapism, socialising and imagination, I noticed a picture on my next door neighbour's wall.
This was a bad photocopy of ....
Emrikol the Chaotic

You want some?
Emrikol looked hard. He looked like a man who knew what he was doing.
But more than that, he looked a spellcaster riding a horse while simultaneously kicking arse.
You didn't see too many spellcasters riding horses in Edinburgh in those days.
And you certainly didn't see many spellcasters riding a horse while simultaneously kicking arse. Anywhere. (Even in D&D, where it's still next to impossible)
So that was me.
Before I knew it, I'd rolled up a Dwarf Cleric. And I was in.
But what was that pub in the picture? The Green Griffon. What went on in there? By this stage, I'd been in a pub or two. And I'd seen a few movies to know what Hollywood thought a pub was like. Especially in Ye Olde Dayes. Errol Flynn didn't drink Pinot Grigio down the wine bar.
 I still don't know what the Green Griffon looks like inside, but I've now seen my share of carefully mapped fantasy boozers meticulously keyed into booklets. And, quite frankly, there's not many of them I'd like to call my local.
On the whole, real world pubs in the UK have grown more like the D&D pubs than the other way. Pubs in the last 40 years have systematically been dismantled to an unreal pastiche of fantasy pub - the real old-wood pubs have had their wood ripped out and new pseudo old-wood has been put in. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. The Gastropub looks prettier than the old spit-n-sawdust dives of yesteryear. The food's a lot better, the beer's a lot better (on the whole) and one is less likely to be hospitalised after a night out.
Anyway, this is what the gang at TSR thought of the "Tavern" back in the 70s.
Here's the Boys From the B Series as a starter.

TSR 9023 - B1- In Search of the Unknown

Mike Carr, the author, doesn't do a pub.
"Your group, after purchasing supplies and getting organized, left their
town and went cross country till a deserted pathway was found which led into the hills, and finally to a craggy outcropping of rock . . ."
Alright, Mike, fair nuff. But I think  that's an opportunity missed.

TSR 9034 B2 Keep on the Borderlands

by Gary Gygax himself (by this stage the World Authority on Polearms) was different.
Although at the arse-end of no-place, the remotest part of The Land, on the Borderlands, The Keep had a thriving drinking establishment.
TRAVELERS INN: This long, low structure has five small private rooms and a large common sleeping room for a full dozen. (Servants and the like always sleep in the stables, 4., of course.) Private rooms cost 1 gp. Per night, but sleeping in the common room is only 1 silver piece per night. The innkeeper and his family live in a small loft above the inn. They are obviously normal persons of no fighting ability. This building is some 18’ high.
TAVERN: This place is the favorite of visitors and inhabitants of the KEEP alike. The food is excellent, the drinks generous and good. The place is always active, with 4-16 (4d4) patrons at any time of day or night. The bill of fare reads:
1 e.p.
1 s.p.
1 s.p.
1 e.p.
1 e.p.
1 g.p.
1 g.p.
2 g.p.
1 s.p.

1 e.p.
1 c.p./slice
1 s.p./wedge
1 s.p./bowl
1 s.p.
Now, in 1978, you'ld be lucky to get a pie or a packet of crisps in most pubs in the UK. Pork Scratchings were a revelation and people only ate the peanuts to see the girly with her kit off on the cardboard banner behind the nuts.
Tea looks a bit pricey at the same rate as a pint, mind you. But, in most pubs I knew of in 78, if a man asked for a cup of tea in a pub, he'd be barred for life. " or whisky, pal?"
The barkeep, if talking with a good customer and drinking to his health, will sometimes talk about the lands around the keep (1 drink per story, half of which may be true). He is known to hate small beer and love honey mead. There is a 50% chance that 2-5 of the patrons will be mercenary men-at-arms looking for work. Each will have leather armor & shield, and sword and dagger; all other desired equipment must be purchased by the employer, including missile weapons, and dungeon gear. Wages for duty include all gear purchased, room and board, and 1 s.p. per day of service. If no gear is purchased, the cost rises to 1 g.p. per day. (Note that a mere spear or minor equipment is considered as no gear.) It is always necessary to buy mercenaries a drink before discussing terms of employment. There is a 10% chance that each of the following persons will be in the tavern at any given time:
WANDERER (a 2nd or 3rd level fighter, dwarf, elf, or halfling as the DM decides, with complete equipment for adventuring; such a wanderer is 75% likely to join an expedition if offered 25% of the treasure gained, but 1 in 6 will be of chaotic alignment).
Well, there were plenty unemployed blokes hanging about in the pubs of Scotland in 78, so Gary's got that right. Weapons too. And short blokes.
The taverner is a normal man, as are his son and the pot boy, but in time of need they will don leather armor, carry shields, and bear arms against attackers.
Yeah, that sounds about right.
The place is also served by his wife, daughter, a serving wench, and a scullion*. (The owner and his son each have 2d6 gold pieces in their purses, the wife d6, all others have 2d6 coppers. The cellar is where drink and food are stored and prepared, and where the servants sleep. The family sleeps in the small loft. (Hidden in an old crock under empty flour bags in the back room are 82 copper pieces, 29 silver pieces, 40 electrum pieces, and 17 gold pieces.)
They look a bit light on cash. The Pub Trade was a Gold Mine in the 70s and this place looks heavin'.
Note that by the time we get to the sequel, this pub has changed hands...

TSR11327B99 - GH- Return to the Keep on the Borderlands

The unnamed inn has now become The Green Man. It looks a bit more cosmopolitan and a bit less "squaddie".  These patrons in the picture wearing armour don't look like they've worked up much of a thirst doing a hard day's graft. There's no menace or intrigue about the place. They all look to be posing over a glass of chard after working down at the estate agent.

This "Return" module came out 25 years after the original, I think. So, I suppose things have moved on in D&D land, these past 2000 modules.
Looks like they've still got their womenfolk serving the tables, cooking the food and sweeping up, though.
The tariff looks to have been inflation-proof, in fact, I think prices have gone down.
Judging by the text, it seems that the Wild Borderlands is a bit tamer these days. It's more "on the caravan circuit" than at the end of the line.
Guess those adventures must've cleared up those Caves of Chaos, rooted out the corruption of the evil clerics and moved on that wild hermit bloke, hanging about the woods.


It's a lot a nicer a neighbourhood, these days. People will be moving there for the good schools next.


 And the pub next door ....

The One-eyed Cat?
That sounds like some sort of rude euphemism.
The extract from the Adventure Module sounds like the blurb from a marketing leaflet.
"Touring the Borderlands by caravan this year? Why not pop in an d see us at The One-Eyed Cat where mine-hosts Wilf and Calista will be happy to serve you"
I don't see why they need to have 2 pubs in such a small place. They're obviously doing alright if they've kept both of them open all these years. But any pubs I know of that close to Squaddie Barracks would have been burnt-out in a bar-room brawl by now.
Still, I suppose if you get barred from one of them, there's still the pub next door to go to.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015


TSR's typo (U&WA,V#3,p10) had them make this up as a cross between, troll/hobgoblin/ghoul. But I think that's pants. I'm going to put it down as a Thought Ghoul




INT Leech
The Thoul or Thought Ghoul is an undead non-corporeal spirit, lurks around libraries and the like. It attacks INTeliigence. It will incorporeally/invisibly seek out the most INTelligent nearby PC, manifest itself and engage them in combat.

Thought Ghouls hang about in Libraries, Colleges and Universities waiting for people with INTelligence to spare to show up, as prey.
A hit will leech out a point of INT from the PC unless a save v Death Ray is made. When INT gets to 0, that's a death. But the Thouls will try to avoid draining its prey to zero, as this would leave a clue as to their presence. They don't like that.

This is permanent-ish. It can be cured by a Dispel Magic.

The Thoul is turned as a Wight.
Thouls may be struck with regular weaponry, but because of their formlessness, hits only do half damage.
On defeat & death, the Thoul's soul will disintegrate and grant 1pt of INT to its killer. The killer makes a save v Death Ray save. If he makes the save, he doesn't get the point of INT.

See OD&D LBB, U&WA,V3, p10
May I borrow your phone?

Chapter 4e – Ethical Debate

Chapter 4e – Ethical Debate

They tended their wounds, had a bite to eat and got their map up to date.

Replenished, they headed off again.

Looks like a duvet-day to me
North, then west. Into a huge room. A bit of roof-fall had strewn rubble over the floor. This had opened up some rat-tunnels to the northern side. But the rats, numbers depleted, weren't coming out.

What took everyone's eye, however, were the sarcophagi scattered around the north side of the room.

Carefully Sir Baltimore and Thrilly approached the nearest one.

Like the veterans they were, Rockall and Bailey took up guard positions – one at the east side where they'd come in, one covering the unexplored western end of the room The continual light from their swords lit up the room enough to spot danger coming.

There were ten of the sarcophagi in total. Some of them had lids on them, most of them hadn't.

Sir Baltimore tip-toed over to the nearest coffin. Inside, the coffin contained only some mouldering old bones.

He moved behind that one to look in the second one. Thrilly the Dwarf moved with him, envying the human's height on this occasion.

The second coffin held a partially clothed skeleton holding a jewelled dagger in its bony hands folded across its chest.

I hope you're not thinking about defiling these graves” said Pious. He was
Hmmn. Not sure.
sure that these bodies hadn't been buried by his religion, but he still felt a bit morally squeamish about ransacking them.

I'm not sure we should be helping ourselves here” he said.

Well, these chaps aren't really doing anything with their kit these days” said Sir Baltimore. He peered inside the coffin. It looked like an Elfish skeleton. He could move the arms out of the way gently and that dagger would be his...

Yes” said Thrilly “these chaps are quite vulnerable here. We'll be doing them a favour taking their stuff into safe keeping”. He could see the glint of the jewelled dagger in the coffin. It had been a while since he had seen a gemstone and the red sparkle of the dagger-handle captivated him. “I'm surprised no one else has been in here, stuffing their sacks with what they like”

Leggyass chuckled away to herself in the background. She didn't understand their language but she got the gist of the argument.

Pious moved round to the head of the first sarcophagus. The mouldy old skeleton therein looked decrepit. I'll bless it, he thought. He took his Holy Symbol, the Cross of the Four Points, and pressed it firmly to the head of the skeleton. As he breathed in to start his prayer, a cloud of noxious fungal spores rose up in the air from the pressing cross on the mouldy old skull. Pious breathed it all in.

In an instant, Pious slumped to the floor, groaning out his breath. Rockall was closest. He sped over and pulled him from the coffin. “He's unconious” he said “but alive”.

Rockall propped him up, comfy against the wall, next to the door he was guarding.

Well, that finishes the ethical debate” he said.

Sir Baltimore had barely broken his concentration. “Now, if I just move that arm.... and I'll just lift that dagger away”

But as he did so, the dagger flashed away into the air, turned and attacked him. Baltimore reared back in shock, as did Thrilly.

They drew their swords and tried to hit the flying dagger, for want of anything more tangible to aim at. Leggyass minced about at the back, well away from the action.
That one's looted. Next!

Thrilly struck the dagger to the ground and Sir Baltimore threw it into the coffin where it came from. The dagger stopped flailing at them. It had slotted itself back into its masters hands again.

That wasn't so good as it looked” said Thrilly.

Well, no harm done” said Baltimore “Lets press on”. He was in a grave-robbing mood and his impetus was hard to stop.

They peered into the next raised sarcophagus. A skeletal form, probably Elf, was inside. It wore rings and a coronet. They looked to be of considerable worth.

That crown looks tasty” said Thrilly “solid gold by the looks of it”, quite plain but no less impressive for its simplicity”. Dwarfs knew about these things and could appreciate the beauty of a piece of jewellery.

Yes” said Baltimore “If I just ... lift it this ...skull....gently...”. He lifted the coronet away, but the head of the skeleton slumped to one side. “Oops. Here, have a closer look”. He passed over the golden crown for his friend to look at.

Thrilly beckoned to the Elf, Leggyass, to come a bit closer with her light, so that he could get a closer look at it.

But the Elf was having none of it. Pretending not to understand was a prerogative of those without knowledge of the common tongue. She didn't feel the need to get any closer to the tombs.

I'll just lever these rings off” said Baltimore, in the swing of things now. Two of the fingers broke off but he dropped the three rings he'd acquired into a pouch, unconcerned.

The next coffin, nearby, held another Elf. Their jaws dropped as they noticed what lay under the dust at the head end.

This must have been their queen” said Sir Baltimore, a bit awestruck all-of-a-sudden.

I'm sure she'd be happy that her necklace was going to a safe place” said
Work of Art
Thrilly. “Get on with it”

Right. Gently, gently, and he reached round the back of the skeltal neck to unclasp the necklace. A bit of pulling and untangling and the necklace was away. He passed it over to Thrilly.

This looks like a Work of Art”, he said. He gazed at the three colours of gold bars on the necklace.

Ah! The lustre of gold, he thought. Timeless.

The next coffin held the skeleton of a warrior. Sir Baltimore carefully peeled away the hands from a beautiful sword handle. Gradually he lifted up the weapon. As he was drawing it from the scabbard, he could feel the surge of magical power it gave.
"Oooh! That feels nice"

That was it, really.

They levered off the lids of the four unscathed tombs. Eventually, Leggyass felt brave enough to help pry the lids off. She even used both hands at one stage. But there wasn't much excitement in these. Bit of coin.

They examined Pious. He was still groggy. So they slung him on a shoulder, grabbed their booty and left.

Outside on the Monastery Mound they partially revived Pious.

They packed up and an hour or so later, they were back in the village of Poggollo. The wounded were tended to, prayers were said, booty was piled high on the table.

They'd had tougher days.


Chapter 4d – Back to the Monastery Again

Player Character Race Class Notes
Mac Norm Hmn MU Ill with the fever
Jimmy Leggyass Elf MU

Rockall NPC Hmn FM Traders
Bailey NPC Hmn FM Traders

Sid Pious Hmn CC

John Thrilly Dw FM

Marc Sir Baltimore Hmn FM

Once more unto the breech, dear friends” said Sir Baltimore

He didn't know where the words came from, but he felt that the party needed a speech.

They'd had a few days rest, tended to some wounds.

They were local heroes now, having stomped a zombie, quite publicly. This made life more comfortable. Wineskins were proferred in thanks. Beers were bought for them, doors were opened, opportunies arose.

So plenty kudos. But they didn't have much treasure.

Alright then, everyone ready?”

The team set off again for the monastery. They'd done the route a few times before, but even now were nervous about finding the causeway. There was no need to worry, though, as, despite the spookily gloomy mist, they clocked the entrance easily, right down to which blade of grass to stand on.

It was like they'd done this a thousand times.

The new guy, Pious, was impressed.

They opened the double doors at the entrance and proceded down the stairs.

On their first time here, they'd gone straight on at the first crossroads. The next time they went right, to the north.

This time they decided that they'd go to the north again, to see if their buried dead lay undisturbed. It wasnt far.

As they opened the door to the room, they heard a noise from behind them, getting louder, squeeling up the corridor to the back of them.

Giant Rats!” called out Bailey “a pack of them”

He took a high guard, getting the hang of using his new two-handed sword for the first time. He had always used the shorted one-handed sword till now with a shield. He felt vulnerable without the shield.

He swung down with a crunch, accelerating through the neck of the rat. The blade cut through and separated the head from the body. Hmmn, easier than I thought. Maybe I dont need the shield.

Pious standing next to him had similar success and another rat rolled over in writhing death.

But this success masked their lack of attention.

From the other side, from the door they'd just opened a club swung down hard. It crashed into the back of Rockall's head.

Owwee!” he screeched and swung round to face a clutch of skeletons.

Thrilly turned round with him and together they faced down the danger.

Although they were surrounded, their morale held up. The lure of treasure kept their eye fixed firmly on the prize. These monsters were barely small impediments on the road to riches.

Swiftly, the danger was dispatched. Rockall and Thrilly destroyed the three sneaky skeletons in rapid fashion. Bailey split another rat in two, Pious clubbed yet another one. And a Sleep spell from Leggyass took down the last of the rats.

They'd taken a couple of hits, but they were OK.

They wandered in to the room they were going to and picked a path through the rubble to where they'd buried their fallen comrades, last time out. They feared the worst. Dead things didnt necessarily seem to stay dead for long round here. But their graves were still intact.

Pious said a prayer.