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Let's Play Forgotten Realms Unlimited Adventures

Deuce Traveler

I'm moving on from playing SSI's Pool of Radiance and Curse of the Azure Bonds and am now delving back into my love of older DnD modules. I've become pretty good at the SSI Gold Box games, and found a website full of fan-made modules based on the original TSR adventures. Many of these modules are ones I've always wanted to play, but I can't find a group that wants to play old school adventures, and Google + doesn't work well in Qatar. So I've decided that I'm going to play through them using FRUA, but with advice and help from the ENWorld community.

So how did I go about making this happen?
Step 1: I downloaded DosBox, an emulator for Dos games. Links can be found at abandonia.com
Step 2: I downloaded FRUA, also from abandonia: Download Forgotten Realms - Unlimited Adventures | Abandonia
Step 3: I followed the directions on how to run FRUA modules using UAshell.exe as described here at rpgcodex.net: Forgotten Realms: Unlimited Adventures (FRUA) thread | rpg codex > Now with extra t(w)its - https://twitter.com/#!/rpgcodex
Step 4: I downloaded the highly recommended classic modules converted by Ray Dyer and found here: Module Listing - Classic modules for the pc
Step 5: I ran the modules using uashell.exe and had a blast, using Ray Dyer's recommended adventure paths found here: http://therealm.flopsyville.com/Menu.htm

I've only played four or five of the modules so far, and only completed one. For continuity sake, Ray Dyer converted all of these modules into the 2nd edition AD&D ruleset typical for Gold Box games. I thought about doing a play by play based only on my own decisions, but I figure what is the fun in that when I can get ENWorlders involved? I'll give you my own run down on what I've tried so far and my thoughts, but I'm afraid that may sway you on which adventure path we should work on. We have a number of options to choose from, all based on the AD&D 2nd edition ruleset. Which adventure path should we throw our six hapless 2nd edition adventurers? Pick you poison:

The Southlands Adventure Path: (Average Total XP- 510,000)
Game 00, Introduction (Level 1)
Game 35, REF5, "Skeletons" (Level 1)
Game 27, U1, Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh (Levels 1-3)
Game 26, T1-4, The Temple of Elemental Evil (Levels 1-9)
Game 29, X1, The Isle of Dread (Levels 3-7)
Game 24, S2, White Plume Mountain, (Levels 5-7)
Game 20, I2, Tomb of the Lizard King (Levels 5-7)
Game 22, I7, Baltron's Beacon (Levels 5-7)
Game 33, X8, Drums on Fire Mountain (Levels 5-8)
Game 32, X7, The War Rafts of Kron (Levels 9-12)

The Westlands Adventure Path: (Average Total XP- 445,000)
Game 00, Introduction (Level 1)
Game 06, B8, Journey to the Rock (Levels 1-3)
Game 07, B10, Assault on Raven's Ruin (Levels 1-3)
Game R2, Night in Daelwyn's Rest (Levels 3-5)
Game 08, B11-12, King's Festival/Queen's Harvest (Levels 1-3)
Game 03, B3, Palace of the Silver Princess (Levels 3-5)
Game 04, B4, The Lost City (Levels 3-5)
Game 19, GA3, Tales of Enchantment (Levels 5-8)
Game 10, C2, Ghost Tower of Inverness (Levels 5-7)
Game 12, C4, To Find a King (Levels 4-7)
Game 12 Part 2, C5, Bane of Llewellyn (Levels 4-7)
Game 25, WG4, Lost Temple of Tharizadun (Levels 5-10)
Game 25 Part 2, S4, Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth (Levels 6-10)
Game 21, I6, Ravenloft (Levels 5-7)

The Eastlands Adventure Path: (Average Total XP- 160,000?)
Game 00, Introduction (Level 1)
Game R10, R10 A Series of Mysterious Events (Level 1)
Game 05, B6, The Veiled Society (Levels 1-3)
Game 02, B2, Keep on the Borderlands (Levels 1-3)
Game 11, C3, Lost Tower of Castanamir (Levels 3-5)
Game 34, B5, Horror on the Hill (Levels 3-5)
Game 01, A1-4, Aerie of the Slavelords (Levels 6-8)
Game 09, C1, Hidden Shrine of Tomoachan (Levels 6-8)
Game 28, UK1, Beyond the Crystal Cave (Levels 4-7)
Game 31, X3, Curse of Xanathon (Levels 4-7)
Game 30, X2, Castle Amber (Levels 5-8)
Game R1, R1, Raethor's Prize (Levels 7-9)
Game 18, GA2, Swamplight (Levels 7-9)

There is also a final adventure path, but I don't plan to go down this one quite yet:
Game 16, FRQ2, Dragonspear Castle (Levels 10-12)
Game 36, REF5, The Dread Lair of Alokkair (Levels 11-13)
Game R3, Early Winter, Fires of Spring (Levels 12-14)
Game 37, Dungeon! A Board Game (Levels 12-15)
Game 14, CM8, Endless Stair (Levels 10-14)
Game 13, CM2, Death's Ride (Levels 12-14)
Game 38, H1-3, Bloodstone Wars (Levels 14-16)
Game 15, FA2, Nightmare Keep (Levels 16-18)
Game 17, G1-3, Against the Giants (Levels 18+)
Game 23, S1, Tomb of Horrors (Levels 10-14)

Or should we blaze our own trail and form a different adventure path? Please tell me your thoughts on where I should start.

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Deuce Traveler

As I'm waiting for posters to suggest which adventure path to tackle, I realize that I'm dealing with a threefold problem of antiquity. I am after all proposing that I showcase 30 year old modules (Castle Amber, Temple of Elemental Evil, etc), via a 25 year old RPG system (2nd edition AD&D), using a 20 year old video game (SSI's Forgotten Realms Unlimited Adventures).

So some explanation may be in order for those of you not as ancient as I. FRUA was based on SSI's Gold Box game engine. It was a 1st person RPG, with a top down 2D tactical screen for resolving combat encounters. So travel, dialogue, and campaign choices occurred in the 1st person screen and combat in the 2D tactical screen. The first and most famous of the Gold Box games was the 1988 classic Pool of Radiance.

Although I greatly enjoyed the character interactions and plots of the Infinity engine's Baldur's Gate and Planescape:Torment, the Gold Box games allowed for a more accurate simulation of tabletop play. Also, the FRUA game was more a module builder than a self-contained CRPG, and creating modules from classic TSR adventures is much easier to do in the FRUA Gold Box engine than it was for the Infinity engine.

So now I've given a bit of an explanation on what the system is capable of. While I am waiting for posters to suggest an adventure thread from the list at the top of the thread I will give a demonstration of FRUA awesomeness. But which module should we use? It should be something relatively short, 1st level so I can make characters to demo, and have a classic adventure feel.

Let's see what the FRUA Rose Dragon site has...

T1: The Village of Hommlet by James Rand sounds interesting, but the adventure may be too long for demonstration purposes...

Haunted House by Astradamir promises to be short, but I am not familiar with the author, and I would hate to demo something boring....

The Lich that stole Kringlemas byWalter Von Tagen III... tempting... but it's not based on a classic module and 'tis not the season...

Oh, what's this? Ladies and gentlemen we have a winner! Next up, The Orc and the Pie!


FRUA is full of old-style goodness, but I haven't been able to run it since I bought my WIN7 machine. Rather than try to kludge something together, I'm hoping GOG (Good Old Games) will eventually add the gold box games, including FRUA, to their offerings. If they'll do all the work needed to get the games to run well on my WIN7 PC, I'll jump at the chance.

That said, enjoy your gaming. Gold box is archaic in terms of computer design and graphics, but those games packed in a lot of good gameplay.

Deuce Traveler

Well, even if GOG did update FRUA to run on its own, you would still have to download the fan modules you wanted to try, move them to the FRUA directory, change the folder name to have a '.dsn' extension and run UAShell to get it started, so most of the hands on work would still be on you. Which is why GOG probably doesn't have FRUA high on its list of priorities.

That said, I agree with you that the program is archaic, but the old school modules are imaginative. And we here are nothing but imaginative. I mean, just check out how TarionzCousin imagines his roleplaying group:

The Orc and the Pie is still up next, but I am on my way to work first.

Deuce Traveler

The Orc and the Pie

I'm on an early lunch break and have decided to stop teasing you and show off the game. This is the information on the Orc and the Pie according to Monte Cook:

The World's Shortest (Yet Technically Complete) Adventure
The World's Shortest (Yet Technically Complete) Adventure
"The Orc and the Pie: A Parody"
Adventure Background: An orc has a pie.
Adventure Synopsis: The PCs kill the orc and take his pie.
Adventure Hook: The PCs are hungry for pie.
Room 1: The Orc's Pie Room
You see an orc with a pie.
The room is 10 feet by 10 feet.
Creature: An orc.
Treasure: A pie.
Concluding the Adventure: Pie tastes good.
Further Adventures: Somewhere, there is a bakery making these good pies. Perhaps it's guarded by more orcs.

So since I am assuming there is only one orc to fight, I am only going to create two player characters. Let's make Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser from the Fritz Leiber books. Here we have the character creation page:

Notice that we are lacking some choices, such as barbarian and assassin from 1st edition, and the monk and druid from original DnD. <grumbles about 2nd Edition>

We'll make Fafhrd a level 1 chaotic good fighter. Another window comes up generating his stats. I hit reroll until we have these: Str 18 (71), Int 14, Wis 13, Dex 17, Con 13 and Cha 15 and Hit Points a lousy 6. Yes, the Gold Box rolls incredibly high for your PCs. I could also cheat and adjust the stats manually, but I like random rolls too much. Next, I pick an appropriate icon for him and save.

The next character is the Gray Mouser. I make him a chaotic good thief and roll these stats: Str 14, Int 17, Wis 13, Dex 18, Con 12, Cha 11 and 6 hit points. His Charisma should be higher for the book character, but so should Fafhrd's Constitution and hit points. But let's just press. I name him, pick an icon and save.

Now I have some new options highlighted on the game screen. I can add characters, which I do, which then allows me to click on Begin Adventuring. Notice that the game equipped my characters for this module, giving Fafhrd a shield, longsword and armor making his AC 0. The Gray Mouser was given a sword and leather armor, making his AC 4.

Ok, enough talk. Let's begin. The opening screen starts and shows the start of our dungeon on the top left screen, our party on the top right, a compass in the center, and the text description on the bottom: The Orc and The Pie, By Monte Cook, An Adventuring Classic. The text was normally shown in this bottom window in the Gold Box games. Because the text length was so limited, the textual side of game play was limited in comparison to the later Baldur's Gate and Planescape games.

Notice as I moved forward that the screen changed to show a picture of an orc on the top right where the 1st person perspective of the dungeon used to be. We just ran into our orc, guarding a tasty pie. It's fight time!

The poor orc doesn't even get a turn. First I moved the Gray Mouser behind him to put a sword in his back. I didn't go for the backstab, so he only did 2 hit points of damage, but made the orc turn to face him. By doing so, he put his back to Fafhrd, who received a bonus from attacking from the back. Fafhrd did 9 hit points of damage, killing the orc and liberating the pie from eeevil!

I get told that we received 7 XP for the kill, but the orc did not have any treasure. Poor guy wasn't armed or armored. The next screen says, "With the orc defeated, you eat the pie." Then "Pie tastes good!" Yay for the forces of good!

We still need to pick our adventure path and then create six characters. Any suggestions?


First Post
The Westlands path would be good to start with as there are some modules few people have playe din there. Then, the Eastlands path would be cool, and I will be playing several of the adventures in the Eastlands path later as well.


Eternal Optimist
I love Ray Dyer's work. I spent a lot of time playing through his conversions of the classics. :)


Deuce Traveler

[MENTION=3586]MerricB[/MENTION] : It would be great to get your inputs and your own memories as we go through these adventures. I have also tried a superhero module based on the X-Men Dark Pheonix Saga that I will showcase later, and B2: Keep on the Borderlands, where my characters died a horrible death lost in wooded swamps.

I very much approve of Mr_Spicoli’s advice, and so we are heading down the Westlands Adventure Path. I started on this path last week, before creating this thread, and the first adventure I completed in FRUA was B8: Journey to the Rock (the 2nd that I completed was yesterday’s “The Orc and the Pie”). I made a number of mistakes in that adventure, some of which I will repeat in order to show the consequences. Other mistakes I will avoid in play, but will talk about in detail when we reach that point (like when I had a magic-user attempt to cast sleep on animated objects.

The Westlands Adventure Path will also allow us to breeze through several smaller adventures before grinding in a larger one. Journey to the Rock, Assault on Raven’s Ruin, Night in Daelwyn’s Rest, and King’s Festival/Queen’s Harvest are all short pieces. B3: Palace of the Silver Princess is the first large scale dungeon in which mapping will be a must, as we may have to explore around 100 rooms, if memory serves (I own the book but haven’t flipped through it in awhile).

In the ‘Journey to the Rock’, the heroes are hired by a man who wants them to travel to untamed lands, explore a structure called ‘the Rock’, and bring back its secrets. So I need character creation ideas for a party of six to travel to the Rock, preferably without the names ‘Connery’ or ‘Cage’.

The typical party normally consists of humans and half-elves, since level limits are such a punch in the gut when it comes to 2nd Edition. Elves and dwarves are also acceptable as their level limits are not as stifling, but rarely are gnomes and halflings given appreciation because of more restricted level limits. In Ray Dyer’s modules, however, there are often special events that only turn up if certain races or certain classes are in the party so we may want a diverse party.

When it comes to classes, the standard configuration is normally a magic-user, a thief, a cleric, and three fighter types to act as meat shields. But sod that. The thief class is important, but we should go with a demi-human who has a second class in thief. A thief/magic-user would make some sense, since it would allow the magic-user to wear light armor and fire a bow, but he would advance too slowly and we want crowd control spells like fireball as soon as we can get them. An elven or dwarven fighter/thief may be better, but we would still struggle with slow advancement. A cleric/thief would advance faster than a thief/magic-user or fighter/thief, but would slow spell advancement for our primary healer.

In the Pool of Radiance, paladins and rangers did not exist. Also there were plenty of experience points to be had, but a low roof when it came to game mandated level caps for all player characters. So I abused the system and played with a dwarven fighter/thief, elven fighter/magic-user/cleric, elven magic-user/cleric, and three elven fighter/magic-users. It took some work to reach the level cap before the end dungeon, but it was worthwhile. It was pure joy to watch my heavily armored magic-users create a shield wall before letting loose with five fireballs each round, while my dwarf backstabbed the leftovers.

But abusing the system in such away will get us killed in the early parts of these modules, and later when we hit the demi-human level caps. I tried to take on the Keep of the Borderlands with the same type of party configuration I used in the Pool of Radiance. Things went fine at first, but I wasn’t leveling up as I went further into dangerous terrain and traveled further from the safety of the keep. I finally reached an area I was too low level to survive, and since I didn’t map as I went, my characters got lost to the point I couldn’t survive the random encounters long enough to escape during any of my reloads. If I had played single class characters I probably would have had more hit points to survive. So except for a multi-class thief character, we are going to play single character classes. Besides, it should make the LP more interesting as we struggle to keep the vulnerable unarmored magic-users alive.

Also, if you would like to be immortalized in this LP, just let me know I can use your ENWorld name as a character and let me know what race and class you would like your PC to be. I would love to have our six heroes be picked and named after our own crowd.

Next Up: Building Our Party and the Introduction!


Well, even if GOG did update FRUA to run on its own, you would still have to download the fan modules you wanted to try, move them to the FRUA directory, change the folder name to have a '.dsn' extension and run UAShell to get it started, so most of the hands on work would still be on you. Which is why GOG probably doesn't have FRUA high on its list of priorities.
My experience with GOG is that they set everything up for the main game to run. I just click the icon on my desktop and it runs - no messing with DOSShell, DOSBox, etc. I've spent hours trying to setup various old DOS games and have decided it's just not worth the effort, at least for me.

I agree that I'd need to manually add the modules, but I don't expect that would be difficult. I did that all the time back when I used to run FRUA, running on a WIN XP machine.

Deuce Traveler

It's time to create our party of six. We are going with a paladin, ranger, two magic-users and a cleric. I decided that the sixth character should be a fighter/thief in order to make the fighter less boring. I decided not to go with demi-humans though some events in these modules can only be activated by certain races. Instead I will go with a group of humans and a dwarf because of the problem with level caps, and I want this party to attempt the entire adventure path. I've also based each character on people from ENWorld.

First up, our lawful good human paladin. I'm naming him for our own [MENTION=2820]Fenris[/MENTION], who prefers noble characters. I roll until I get an 18 Strength. His stats are: Str 18/76, Int 13, Wis 13, Dex 16, Con 16 and Cha 17. But only 4 hit points...

Next, our lawful neutral dwarven fighter/thief. This one will be named after our social butterfly, [MENTION=49929]Scott DeWar[/MENTION]. I roll very high (even for Gold Box) for him. Str 18/56, Int 14, Wis 17, Dex 17, Con 17 and Cha 15. He starts with 7 hit points.

We need a neutral good human magic-user. I considered a halfling with a bonus to Dexterity, which should have been able to dodge attacks better, and therefore give the magic-user a better chance of survival. But halflings could not be magic-users, and elves level cap at 11. So human she will be. We shall name our first magic-user after [MENTION=8058]Queenie[/MENTION], who prefers to play such characters. Her stats are Str 16, Int 18, Wis 10, Dex 18, Con 15 and Cha 14. I like the flame animation she has when striking, which I hope to show off in combat. She has 4 hit points.

Next up is our chaotic good human ranger. I am calling this character [MENTION=40413]GlassEye[/MENTION], and a high Dexterity should be a great help with bow attacks. He has Str 14, Int 16, Wis 14, Dex 18, Con 18 and Cha 13. His hit points are 8.

We'll go with a true neutral human cleric in order to try to bring in a healer/turner of undead. This one will be named [MENTION=27780](un)reason[/MENTION] for that chap who is taking on the Herculean task of reviewing the entire run of Dragon magazine. His stats will be Str 17, Int 14, Wis 18, Dex 14, Con 13 and Cha 14. 6 hit points.

Last we need our second magic-user, who will be also be human. It seems fitting to name this character [MENTION=796]Col_Pladoh[/MENTION]. Maybe when he reaches the height of his power he will be known as Zagyg. Str 14, Int 18, Wis 17, Dex 17, Con 14, Cha 16 with 3 hit points.

Now it is time to add the heroes to the party. I click them in this order: paladin, fighter/thief, magic-user, magic-user, ranger, cleric. When combat starts, enemies will often attack from two sides, so it's a good idea to have some folks that can handle melee attacks from the back. This keeps your magic-users safe in the middle. If the enemy only comes from one side, this also frees your ranger to fire off his arrows while the cleric can switch from support or bolster the melee line as needed. You can also change the party order when camped.

This is what our party currently looks like:

We have no equipment, so let's journey on into the introduction.

A bunny?

"Ahem. Yes, hello. I mean... greetings traveler. Your journeys have led you to the realm, a world of many worlds, a place of infinite possibility and myriad imaginations. Whether you are new to the realm or an old hand, campaigns begin here. All games currently available in the realm series are on the overland maps that come in this design. We at the realm have been very busy updating and preparing this little package. We have also prepared a series of short adventures. Each of these may be found the old fashioned way, by walking about the maps and stumbling upon adventure where adventure lies. Or for those of... less patience, you may cut directly to the adventures as you see fit. A brief description is provided for each vignette. Well, off with you, now. We have work to be done, and landscapes to paint. Work at the realm is never done, you know. Off with you, and Happy Adventuring!"

This brings us to several options, Introduction to the Realm, Explore the Realm, Choose a Mini-Adventure or Exit the Realm.

I choose to Explore the Realm, and when it asks me where fate takes me, I answer the Westlands. I am then placed on the Westlands map, and going south I find this:

"You approach the home of Lirdrium Arkayz. To a wizard, knowledge is power, and Lirdrium wants to know the mysterious secret of The Rock. Many have tried to discover it, but The Rock keeps its secret well. If you are interested in undertaking this mission for Lirdrium Arkayz to the mountain known as The Rock, then Load Game 6, the UA conversion of Dungeon Module B8, Journey to the Rock, for Levels 1-3."

And that's what we'll do next.
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Queen of Everything
Ya know, I don't get a lot of time to read a lot of threads around here but I am honored to get a spot as one of your characters! And of I might add, you sure did peg a lot of us correctly. We're all that obvious, eh? :p

This looks like a lot of fun :)


First Post
Geez, you play three or four similar characters over five or six years and you get type cast :p Sounds Cool DT. I too am honor to have been included by name and will be watching your fun from the sidelines!

Deuce Traveler

Geez, you play three or four similar characters over five or six years and you get type cast :p Sounds Cool DT. I too am honor to have been included by name and will be watching your fun from the sidelines!
I'll do my best to keep your characters alive, but you are all starting at 1st level. ;) I've also been updating the "Last Stand of the Dorinthians" story hour. You asked me to get up and finish it one day, and I decided I would.


First Post
I'll do my best to keep your characters alive, but you are all starting at 1st level. ;) I've also been updating the "Last Stand of the Dorinthians" story hour. You asked me to get up and finish it one day, and I decided I would.
Awesome. I have been thinking about that game actually. Glad you are still working on it. I do miss that game and Dartis.

Squire James

First Post
My FRUA experience (about 20 years ago) was heavily influenced by playing the Buck Rogers gold box games and a game called Martian Dreams (essentially Ultima 6 on Mars) at about the same time I played with FRUA. I was really bummed out about not being able to do a Buck Rogers mod because I COULD NOT EDIT THE DARN WALLS!

I joined an AOL group that was studying the FRUA file formats. One of the other members had worked out the wall formats but lacked programming ability. However, I had Turbo Pascal and was not afraid to use it! I first wrote a program that viewed the wall files and put them in a PCX file similar to the monster templates. Eventually, I wrote a wall editor and released it on a link-only web page (the only web page I ever wrote until about 3 years ago).

After that, I realized that just editing the walls wouldn't be enough. Editors for wilderness tiles, dungeon walls, and character icons followed (and added to the site). Other people in the AOL group developed their own stuff, and it really became a big mess organizing all those editors. One of the group members with screen name Autery organized all those editors (including mine) into the first version of UAShell. I understand most of my stuff eventually got some improvements, so I'm not sure if what you're seeing now in UAShell has any of my stuff left in it or not.

I never did write that Buck Rogers mod (or any other publicly-available mod for that matter), but I feel pretty good about my part in making it possible for others to do so! I did do a "martian wilderness" tile set that probably violated all kinds of art copyright. It probably got eaten 3 or 4 hard drive failures ago, but oh well!


Eternal Optimist
Dan Autery did a lot for that community - his page of links to every UA resource was invaluable to me when I joined it later on.

Deuce Traveler

I use UAShell to transfer the characters from Game 0: Introduction to Game 6: B8, Journey to the Rock. The opening screen shows a dwarf, halfling and woman pointing upwards towards a large, tower-like rock far in the distance. We put our party together and choose to begin our adventure. The default color scheme for this adventure is an ugly mixture of brown and pink.

"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 approaching fast. And you'll be in real trouble if you don't find some treasure soon."

Sounds like real life so far...

"As you're finishing your 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 (un)reason and worthy friends.' Your friend looks to you briefly, then motions for the man to approach. Proudly, Hakeem strides to your table. 'As I passed through Sylvanhome Forest on the way here, I stopped at the manor of 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.

You look across the inn as the door swings shut behind Hakeem. The few patrons pay you as much mind as does the hound lazing by the fire. But what could come from the employ of a wizard?

'I've heard people talking about Jenlar Temlin', says (un)reason. 'He has a reputation as a brave fighter.' Another of your friends nods his head, adding, 'More than that; he is supposedly honorable and trustworthy, as well.' Only half listening, you pull the strings binding the scroll Hakeem gave you. It is a map. Anxiously you read 'In the name of Lirdium Arkayz, I, Jenlar Temlin, offer greetings. I have given this letter to the worthy Hakeem, and I hope that the letter has reached you promptly. In younger days, I sought gold and glory through adventure, but now I manage the affairs of the manor for the wizard Lirdium Arkayz. Lirdium was also once and adventurer like yourselves, but now he devotes himself to philosophy and the discovery of forgotten secrets and ancient magical lore. Sometimes, he hires bold adventurers to obtain lore that he is too busy to get for himself. It is for this reason that we have sought you out. Master Arkayz needs adventurers to perform a certain task. When a man from the village told me you were there, I hired Hakeem to find you. I think that Master Arkayz' offer will be an adventure to your liking.

To the west of the manor, there stands a solitary crag known only as the rock. According to legend, the Rock holds a powerful, ancient secret. No one knows this secret, but Master Arkayz wishes to add it to his knowledge. Master Arkayz believes you have the skill and courage to uncover that secret and bring it back to him. The quest will be difficult and dangerous, but great and lasting treasure will be yours if you succeed. I invite you to come to the manor as the guest of Master Arkayz. When you arrive I will explain in more detail what the quest involves. --- Jenlar Temlin.'

For a moment the silence of the room crowds in on you. A mage has asked personally for your services. You have been sought out to perform service for someone widely reputed to be of fine character... and powerful. After a minute one of your friends mutters, 'I'll prepare my spells for the journey north.' (Un)reason nods and drains a tankard. 'We should leave at first light. I'll talk to the innkeeper about a room for the night.' You check your weapon. Over the past few weeks you've had the opportunity to replenish your stores of equipment for your chosen career adventuring in the realm."

Suddenly there is an image of a merchant on the screen who asks 'May I help you?' I suppose this is the replenishment mentioned in the quote above. I wonder why the script mentioned a map. Anyway, the jarring transition means we can purchase supplies now. And we have meager amounts of money. Only 35 gold coins a character. I shift the main character to Fenris, though I am unsure if his high charisma helps in purchasing items. I find out it doesn't.

I spend 21 gold pieces each on Fenris, Scott Dewar and (un)reason in order to equip them with a 20gp suit of studded leather and a 1gp club. Queenie and Col Pladoh each get a 1gp sling and 1gp dagger. I then pool the gold and have GlassEye take the total, which is 143gp. He purchases a 20gp set of studded leather, 75gp long bow, 40 arrows for 1gp each, and a club for melee. Total funds left over 7gp. I could have purchased some shields, and downgraded GlassEye to a short bow, but I want him to have range, and we'll have some better weapons and some shields soon enough. Right now our melee fighters only have clubs, which do 1d4 points of damage. But we are going to start out fighting goblins who only have 3 hit points, so the lowest damage roll from one of our fighters will still take out a goblin when you consider their damage bonus from strength. Because I plan to get the fighter scimitars soon, they'll deal better damage later. Realizing that our cleric can't use a scimitar, I transfer the 7gp to him, have him sell back his club for 1gp, and purchase a mace for 8gp which will give him a better chance for putting the hurt on opponents.

Now we are flat broke, but fully equipped with poor weapons and armor.
"Your equipment seems to be in order. Across from the room, next to the fireplace, Fenris is talking to the innkeeper."

The text ends. I suppose that's a hint for me to walk by the fireplace and talk to the innkeeper.

"The innkeeper turns from Fenris to you as you approach the bar. Your friend says, 'It'll cost us two pieces of gold to sleep here.'"

We're broke. No resting for our magic-users, which is bad since they have no spells memorized. We instead talk to the innkeeper, who says, "Lirdrium Arkayz... he's that wizard to the north, right?"

Ok... I got the hint. We leave here and head north from the inn.

"A blast of cold air sends a shudder through your body. Wincing, you set your shoulders against the wind and look to the trail meandering north from the inn."

We head north until we get this message: "With Jenlar Temlin's map to guide you, you head for the manor. Soon you enter the forest, following a narrow trail that leads to the north. The forest is bright with the red and gold colors of autumn. Fallen leaves carpet the forest floor. Sometimes you catch the fleeting glimpse of a rabbit or squirrel that flees at your approach. However, you see nothing, animal or monster, that could threaten you."
We must have failed a spot check, then.

The trail seems peaceful and safe. Fenris bumps your arm to get your attention. Motioning up ahead, your friend says, 'Clearing. That might be the house up ahead.'"
It still seems safe, but now I highlight Scott DeWar, our group's dwarven fighter/thief. He has a better chance than most to see danger.

"The trail opens into a large clearing. A majestic building of white marble stands in the middle of the clearing. The elegant house is not fortified or protected by a defensive wall."
Well... with a quiet forest all around, why would it be?

"An open courtyard decorated with statues of heroic adventurers and fierce monsters surrounds the house. You know at once that this is the manner of Lidrium Arkayz-- the start of your adventure."

I approach a white building in the distance.

"As you approach the door, it opens slowly. Two figures answer the door. They say, 'We have been expecting you. Jenlar Temlin is waiting to see you.' With the guards leading the way, you enter the home of Lidrium Arkayz. They escort you into a lavishly furnished room with a long table in the middle. A middle-aged man in a red robe sits at the head of the table. He rises when you enter. His hair and long drooping mustache are red, and his eyes are green. He has the look of a tough, experienced warrior. He says, 'I trust you had a safe journey. Evil creatures have learned not to bother us here. Welcome to the manor. I am Jenlar Temlin. The terms for hiring you are these: if you go to the rock and bring its secrets back, Master Arkayz will pay four hundred gold pieces to each of you. You will also be able to keep whatever treasure you find on the way. Master Arkayz only wishes to have the secret of the Rock; he has no need for more wealth. You can start here or rest overnight and set out in the morning.'"

From here we can decide to rest before setting out, leave at once, or turn down the offer. We're broke and our magic-users need to study. We're setting out for the only paying job we know of right now, but staying overnight.

When we rest, we load up on spells. The two magic-users can memorize detect magic, read magic, shield, or sleep. Queenie and Col Pladoh memorize sleep for crowd control against lower level groups of monsters. (Un)reason can memorize three of the following: bless, curse, cure light wounds, cause light wounds, detect magic, protection from evil, protection from good and resist cold. I need him to focus on healing magic, so I for him to take cure light wounds three times. I considered using bless, but I may consider that spell towards the end of the adventure when we face harder to hit monsters. It takes the spellcasters 4 hours and 45 minutes or rest to memorize their spells.

The party is now rested and ready. Next we journey to the Rock! And loot some monsters for some shields and scimitars.


Queen of Everything
I can feel the excitement! I admit, I'm not fond of low level adventures - I've played them so often and very often not gotten very far. Hopefully this adventure is different :p

Mythological Figures & Maleficent Monsters