So last night Loric the Bard, Kelgar the Dwarf and the two junior magic-users Orlen and Bob visited the Dungeon of the Unknown (i.e. the dungeon I have located at the Cave of the Unknown on the wilderness map for the Keep on the Borderlands). They pondered some minotaur poop, visited the halfling political agitators for the Chaos Party (who foisted some lapel buttons and pamphlets upon them) and fought a quick pair of battles with an ogre and a ghoul.
They then entered a 50' by 40' room pretty much identical to the lairs of the chaos halflings, ogre and ghoul but strewn with wrecked furniture and filth. So of course they start sifting through this stuff. Some day I really ought to put a dumpster full of garbage in a dungeon, just to see whether anybody would look for treasure in it. Anyway, they find on the north wall, opposite where they came in, a tiny door. It looks just like the other doors they've seen so far in this dungeon, but it's only 6 inches high or so and a couple inches wide, with a teeny-tiny door knob. One PC inquires if there are any cakes or vials labeled 'drink me' laying about and I reply in the negative.
Orlen the Magic-User (played by Nick, who just joined this session) tries to open the door, figuring even though his wizard is a Str 8 wimp, he ought to be able to open the world's tiniest secret door. Here's the breakdown of the die rolls I force upon Nick:
1-5 Door opens. Of course it opens. It's like a friggin' dollhouse door, for cryin' out loud.
6 Roll again, you putz, and see below
1-3 Door opens despite blowing the previous roll
4-6 Door is still stuck and you totally suck
So Nick rolls a 6 then a 5, utterly humiliating Orlen in front of his new adventuring buddies. Kelgar is sickened by this display of weakness and frustrated by the time Orlen has wasted attempting to open the damn thing, so he waltzes over to the door and kicks it in. Immediately the southern door (where the party came in) smashes open, with the titanic toe of a titanic boot thrusting through the opening. Kelgar spins around to battle a hugeass giant then realizes a second later that was his toe he saw smashing through the southern door. Bob's player completely freaks out at the non-Euclidean geometry of the situation.
Let me take you into the mind of the DM for just a moment. When I built this little trap I had great hopes of poking out the eye of one of the PCs. They open the tiny door and peer in the mousehole. I then tell one of the other PCs that the south door has opened and a giant eye monster is glaring balefully at them. The second PC overreacts and pokes the first guy's eye out. And a good time was had by all. The end. Instead, I manage to doom two PCs with this little magic door.
Though I suppose you could blame Carl instead of me. It was his PC who wanted to see what would happen if he casually flicked a gold piece into the opening of the tiny door. Of course the result was that a giant gold coin, the size of wagon wheel, came flying out of the southern door, careening about the room wildly. Saving throws are rolled and before the titanic shiny disc comes to a rest it pulps Loric and Orlen. I honestly hadn't seen that one coming.
Kelgar immediately strips Loric of all his cool gear and then tries to figure out how to get the world's largest GP out of the dungeon. Given the size and weight involved, I am utterly unconvinced he can move it at all. Eventually the two survivors settle on carving off the biggest hunk of gold they can each carry and putting it in their backpacks. Of course when they exit the room the shavings from the coin shrink back down to normal size, adding sprinkles of utter futility to the sundae made out two scoops of PC death.
Carl and Nick are good sports are start whipping up some new PCs. At this point I discover much to my dismay that sometime since last session I have misplaced the Deck O' Stuff, so I can't give them random custom goodies like I normally do. But I do find index cards with the stats for a white ape and a grizzly bear written on them, so the replacement PCs each get a pet for no apparent reason. Carl names his gorilla buddy Edgar and later gets him equipped with a kickass magic sword and some oversized chainmail stolen from the corpse of a larger-than-usual orc.
Appendix B: Chris Holmes Manuscript Artwork
1 hour ago