Posts Tagged ‘Mentzer Basic D&D Rules’

Halleck’s Second Adventure

A story in three parts

Part 1: “Let’s go Shopping!”

So Halleck has taken a few days off to rest up and prepare for his next adventure. He has some money, now, so he decides to visit Baldrick’s Armor Emporium, Inc. to check out what it would cost to upgrade his armor. Baldrick has just the thing, hanging on one of his racks; a suit of plate armor that he finished only the week before, and it is just the site rize.

“Fifty simoleons?” Halleck exclaims. “What will you give me for my trade-in?” Using his superior charisma, Halleck manages to bargain the armorsmith down to 30 simoleons, by trading in his suit of chainmail, plus putting a sign up in his yard, and promising to follow Baldrick on Twitter. Baldrick promises to have the plate armor hemmed and pressed by Tuesday, but he misses that deadline. Meanwhile, Halleck update his character sheet by erasing “Chainmail armor” and scribbling in “Plate ‘mail’ Armor”. He then flips the sheet over and reduces his armor class number to “2”.

Though he is famous, Halleck is still somewhat poor, and can’t buy love, so he heads to the caves alone, which tale will be told in Part 3: “In the Caves Alone”.

But first, Part 2: “How to Battle”

Part two relates information about how to conduct one’s self in a fight. The secret is to jab at the opponent’s forehead, then, when his head snaps back, punch him in the chin. It hurts like billy-o.

Wait, that’s not what it says. What it really says is that, as a review, Halleck’s attacking a monster is represented by Halleck’s player rolling a twenty-sided die (d20), and comparing the result to the target number given in the adventure. A new element is introduced: the damage roll. In the first adventure, Halleck only did 1 point of damage to the monsters he attacked. Now, the player determine the amount of damage Halleck does by rolling a d6. Later in the rules, an optional variant for damage rolls is described, in which different weapons use different dice for damage rolls. As an aside, I prefer the “all weapons do d6 damage”, but with a house rule that 2d6 are rolled for two-handed weapons, with the higher of the 2 dice used. (i.e. a 2 and a 4 are rolled for a successful attack with a two-handed sword; it thus inflicts 4 points of damage).

Monsters also will do variable amounts of damage. Keep track of both Halleck’s and the monsters’ hit points during this adventure. A conflict checklist is promised for whenever Halleck has a combat encounter. The player is encouraged to keep records of the adventure–how much treasure, and how many (and what kind) of monsters that Halleck defeats. This information will be used to determine Halleck’s experience points at the end of the adventure.

Unless…Halleck gets hisself killed dead. At that point, the player should observe a moment of silence, and replay the adventure (the second one, not the first), pretending that Halleck never even existed. The player is reminded, though, that Halleck has a potion of healing, which he can drink, if he suffers severe damage.

Part 2 ends with a discussion of mapping. The player will need to get some graph paper and draw a map of the caves that Halleck explores, based on the description. A full map for the adventure is provided at the end, but the player should avoid peeking at it before he completes the adventure, because that would be cheating, and cheaters never win, even in D&D.

Part 3: “In the Caves Alone”

What follows is another “Pick your Own Story” series of numbered entries. Sections of the map are presented, along with the entries. It references the “Combat Checklist”, but I do not see it within the adventure, and so presume that it is in a separate section of the rules.


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First, the front-and-back of the character sheet:

B. Mentzer Character Sheet 1.1


Next, the game data reference sheet (from the Basic Player’s Manual):

A. Mentzer Basic PM Reference Sheets

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Halleck stands with sword in hand, facing down a snake. It’s a ten footer, but it’s got some sweet loot and, uh, 3 hp. See the last post if you don’t know what an “hp” is.

Halleck has to roll an 11 to hit the snake, which means it’s easier to land a blow against it than against the goblin that Halleck fought a few moments before. However, unlike the goblin, the snake can actually hit back. I’ll let you read the gripping blow-by-blow of the battle (What do you mean, you haven’t yet purchased this off dmsguild.com?). I shall mention that the snake auto-hits twice, then hits Halleck no more.

Turning the page, we are given the distressing information that this rattlesnake is actually poisonous! I think they mean venomous! Did you know you could drink a gallon of venom with no ill effect, unless you have a mouth sore, or something? Not that I’ve tried it. Whatever. If the snake bites Halleck, it does one point of damage, but then the concept of the “Saving Throw” is introduced. For a fighter that is level three or below, his saving throw for poisons (or venoms) is 12. The player will want to roll a d20 and hope he gets a result at or above 12. That means that the snake’s bite did not envenom Halleck. If the player rolls less than a 12, then Halleck takes two more points of damage. It’s quite harrowing, but since the poisonous-venomous rattlesnake can only hit twice (“This fighter is Nintendo hard!” ~ P. V. Rattlesnake), the battle ends with Halleck still standing–perhaps only barely, though. He can recover his health with a few days’ rest, but why would he want to do the sensible thing? He’s here for treasure, and P.V. Rattlesnake’s little nest egg will barely cover the cost of replacing Halleck’s beautiful sword when he loses it later to the rust monster. Oops; spoilers.

Now, comes the most unrealistic part of this adventure: Halleck hears a voice, and shutters his lantern and peeks around the corner and sees a beautiful woman. She’s got her own lantern, and she seems to be praying. This is Aleena the cleric. Since she’s beautiful and religious, then I’m sure she’ll survive this adventure. She claims that she lives in the town nearby, so you’d think that Aleena and Halleck were already acquainted, but perhaps she’s lived a sheltered life, all cloistered in the cloister, and stuff. She probably ran through the hills, singing, before entering the cave.

Okay, I’ll stop. Aleena actually helps Halleck out quite a bit. She tells him which way the goblin went, she informs him what clerics are, and she restores his hit points. There is no talk of religion or gods or churches at this point; all we know from Aleena is that clerics can 1. Fight and 2. cast spells that “enter their minds”. She then invites Halleck to sit, and explains the differences between magic-users (not wizards, mages, or sorcerers) and clerics. Magic-users have book-learnin’ while clerics have meditation. She talks about types of attacks, like poison, that require Saving Throws.

We next read of another ability score (for the record, we have already spoken of Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, and Constitution): Charisma (CHA). Halleck is a likeable fellow; he was able to put Aleena at her ease, even after sneaking up on her with his lantern shuttered. His CHA score is 14.

We also learn about his Wisdom (WIS). This is his lowest ability score, at 8. Halleck is probably the kind of guy who would jump out of a plane at 25,000 feet without a parachute:


Aleena offers to assist Halleck, just like the beautiful alien women would help Captain Kirk. As soon as Aleena said she would help, Fate looked up from binge-watching “Early Edition” on DailyMotion, and frowned.

Halleck and Aleena, walking side by side, down dark corridors with lanterns half-shuttered. They run across a few ghouls–foul, undead creatures that seem to be a fairly tough monster for a first-level adventurer, especially since there are four of them. Here we get the first mention of a “church”: the symbol of one of the town churches hangs on Aleena’s silver necklace. She shouts, in a harsh voice, “BEGONE, vile things!” I wonder if she pronounces it “beegahn” or “beegohnee”. Whichever it is, it works, and the four ghouls scramble, Three Stooges style, out the door, while Yakety-sax plays on the dungeon intercom. (As an aside, the themes of The Three Stooges are “Three Blind Mice” and “Listen to the Mockingbird“; either of those would have been acceptable alternative tunes). Aleena pauses to let Halleck know of other types of creatures that are “neither dead nor alive, but something horribly in between!”

They proceed, and come across a door, which one sometimes finds in caves. Halleck can’t force it open, which is a pity, because it probably has a lot of sweet swag, according to Aleena. Aleena bemoans the lack of a thief. Halleck gives her the “WTQ?” look, and she explains that thieves can pick locks and disable traps. Well, this is Basic D&D, so they can eventually, but most of the time they won’t be any more effective than Halleck trying to break down the door. Aleena then lets slip that, while she usually tries to go adventuring with some companions–a thief, a magic-user, and a couple of fighters (Five Man Band, what?), this time around no one else wanted to join her. Considering how things are about to turn out, I don’t blame them; don’t blame them, at all.

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