Wednesday, 27 June 1979

PCs from the olden days

My first PC was a fighter, in plate, wielding a 2-handed sword. These things called “kobolds” died a lot when he attacked them, and yielded up a chest full of copper coins. He survived the one delve, including cowering from a carrion crawler, but was never played again. The second character was the only fire-and-forget mage I've run. He died on the way to the dungeon, when a random encounter came up as displacer beasts. They don't Sleep very well…


The first character who went up levels was from my brother's dungeon (early 1977):

Human Female Thief. Str 13 Int 9 Wis 11 Con 16 Dex 16 (12Left) Cha 12 Will 8 Size 12 (5′9″) Psi 0

Cash 36GP, Exp 7586 (4th level) Hits 16 (with the original D4/level HP for a thief), AC7 (leather).

Sling, +1 sword, +1 dagger, pack, ring of regeneration, ring of invisibility, horse (with harness).

The original character sheet (half a coding form from the local computer lab) also contains a hit-list of characters (run by lower VIth formers, and other such vermin) that had sassed her. She had a brother Leon, who was a bard (as per an early Strategic Review), and no discernable character development.


The most significant character (and only one for whom records survive) from the dungeons I ran at the time (again early 1977, with vary variant systems already)

Half-elf Female Mage Str 9 Int 16 Learning 15 Con 15 DexR 18 DexL 10 Cha 21 Will 15 Size 10 Psi 8 Sense 15

Elementalist +12 Generalist +4 Illusionist +0. MU 106248eps (8th), Fighter/blade 3000xp Fighter/Missile 3400 xp107 Spell points.

Attacks values (sword) vs dodge 6; dodge 16 parry 6/slice 3/jab, antiparry 0 Blow strength Stab10/Cut12

Equipment - Sword +1, locater; Flame lance (22 charges) Regeneration ring (1 pt/10 rounds) Invisibility ring, Bracers R10, Illusion Gloves, Personal wand of lightsabre x2 (enchanted item that multiplied spell points flowing through it).

Spells (Red Book precursor system)
Spell Learning bonus Use bonus Notes
Conjure Elemental +1 +1 1/2 8-dice = power 33
Dimension Door +3 +1 1/2
Monster Summoning +1 +1 1/2 Umber hulk 37, small white dragon 31
Wizard Lock E24
Dispel Magic (G)
Read Magic (G)
Cloudkill 4 die = 31
Icestorm +2 1/3 3d10 = 27
Wall of Fog E14
Shield (G)
Detect Magic (G) +2 2/3
Phantasmal Killer (I) +1
Sonic Attack +1 4 die = 28
Demon Summon Vampire = 41
Lightsabre +3 +0 =26, +2 per plus

She was one of a family with similar names that my brother played (I still remember the regrets I felt when the oldest of them, her brother Ulric, fell to a carrion crawler in the Hall of Machines…)


The highest level D&D character I ever ran was almost my last ever spell-caster. From Martyn Wheeler's 78-9 dungeon

Human female elementalist Str 12/12 Int 17 Wis 9 Faith 13 Con 10 Immunity 13 Dex 14/15 Cha 22, Size 8 Build 9 Will 7.

Elementalist +10, Generalist +4, Illusionist -3 Enchanter -7; Level 12 (904,822xp) 140,384 GP 28 HP

Staff of Wizardry (105 charges left), Rings of spell-turning, fire resistance, prot+1, scrolls of Improve Invisibility (x2) Forcewall (x2) Firestorm (x3) fly (x3)


Her familiar

pseudodragon elementalist Str 7 Int 10, Wis 16, Faith 5 Con 15, Imm 12 Dex 24, Cha 20, size 15, Build 14, Will 31

Elementalist +9, Illusionist+9; Level 11 (714,500xp) 48 HP

Ring of invisibility, ring of 7 spell storing (Disintegrate, Teleport and a bunch of Elemental summonings)

Ororo and Cat together

This chaotic good pair chafed rather under the rigid lawful-good senior members of the party (she joined at first when most were at levels 4-5), especially the treasure division system based on xp-hours of delving less value of current items, and the strange ideas about what were or were not fair targets. Having managed to be the one to pick up this staff to try, she adopted a “take it off me if you think you're hard enough” approach, which being at least nine tenths of the law, led to acquiesnces by the lawfuls. Having it, she used it only in extremis (usually to summon elementals as dumb hit-points). She first took damage at about 7th level when a gas spore exploded; and only died once at 12th level, when a ~20th level enchanter lich managed to mass charm much of the party, including the fighter with the vorpal blade. And she rolled an 00 on her system shock roll — but the GM ruled that the number of hit-points her familiar had were enough to mean that she had never really died, and only needed the healing effect of the raise to re-attach her head.

By the end, Ororo's role was combat air patrol (she is the subject of the many of the early memorable experiences catalogued elsewhere), but with the campaign emerging from the dungeon into almost heroquesting, in a cross-planar (from misty moors, to fire, to ice, to the magic garden) expedition to a magical place of power, she finally found something that was a worthy goal. She would perform the quest again herself, to the strange garden of the Crystal Pyramid, and rather than looting the pyramid, perform certain rituals about the sundial that lay between the entrance gates (cast iron, not inter-planar portals) to gather the power to create her own demi-plane, a small island surrounded by the shimmering void. Entered from the plane of ice, it was to be a place of snow covered pine forest, with people of the pines all over. Some 50 miles from the entry, behind a maze of force walls, a valley that was a summer garden, with a little cottage where she could retire.

But the campaign underwent a system conversion to use a different combat system, and the changes in relative character ability that this wrought crashed the campaign. At that point she was the highest level equal (behind the Enchanter, Fortash, who was about to break to 13th).

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