24 May 2018

D&D Story 2: B1 In Search of the Unknown, Part 1

This interview took place on May 9th. I'm splitting this into 2 parts. This details my father's first encounter with B1, next will be about when he ran it for us at the beginning of the adventures that led to the Dragon City. This has been severely edited, taking out all the inttereuptions, repetitions and irrelevant chatter, so no audio file this time.

UPDATE: I have uploaded all of our interviews as a podcast on Anchor called Dungeons and Dragons and Duncanites. This episode can be found at https://anchor.fm/lance-duncan/episodes/DD-Story-2-B1-In-Search-of-the-Unknown-e3psfk

Lance: Ok, so the first module you ran was B1: In Search of the Unknown?

Bruce: Correct.

And this was given to you?

This was the first module given to me by Dwayne Hansen.

Ok, then you never saw the monochrome version?

What is monochrome?

The older one that has just one color on it.

Oh yes.

This is the one that came out with the 81 basic set, so that gives us a timeline cause the monochrome is the one that came out sooner. Lets run through it the first time that you ran it.

Oh I spent an entire two weeks reading, and all I did was breeze though it; I didn’t read for thorough understanding. I numbered what monsters were in what room on a sheet of paper so that I wouldn’t have to roll them up. Some of the numbers there's a chance of monster and there’s a no chance of monster and stuff like that, so the ones where there’s a chance and you have to roll it up I prerolled it for this game. Dwayne and Mark Eads and Susy Butlers husband, I don’t remember his name, and one other guy we were all playing in our home in Escondido, or our apartment in Escondido, Linda saw how much fun we were having and wanted to play at the time, and then didn’t want to play anymore after she played one game.

Do you know how many sessions this dungeon lasted?

Seven, because there were so many things in each room.

Yeah especially the first level; the first level is a maze.

Yeah and also the guys were taking forever to do anything they did an awful lot of discussing before they moved on to the next room or whatever. It almost felt like they wanted me to give them experience points every time they did something. So they would level up faster I guess. I didn’t figure that out until later, that’s when I started telling everybody that played with me, “you don’t get to level up until one of two things happen; you complete the task, the dungeon, whatever, or you have to end for the night. Whichever comes first.” And then I would calculate it out in between time.

What are all these pencil markings?

I put in secret doors here and there.

Cause these are like blocking off passages and stuff

Yes they are; it was another maze.

Ok, so you just made it more maze-like, but when did you do that?

That was for you kids.

Ok, so before we get on to the adventure you did with us, let’s go through this. Was there anything memorable the first time you ran it?

The entrance, you know the voices. Because they were in the mode of discussing everything, the voices kept saying the same thing over and over again. And I was getting tired of having to say it over and over again, that then i put anew line in there that wasn’t in the script. And it was to insult them for not being very decisive. I don’t remember what it was, but i know they all started laughing

What are the voices supposed to say the voices are supposed to say “Who dares enter this place and intrude on the sanctuary of its inhabitants? Only a group of foolhardy explorers doomed to certain death. Woe to any who pass this place - the wrath of Zelligar and Rogahn will be upon them!” and you said something else cause they were just standing there?

They were just standing there talking, talking, talking, and I repeated the whole thing again, and they still stood there, and talked, and talked, and talked, and so I said- I can’t remember the exact words, but something to the effect of, “there must be tourists because only tourists wouldn’t adventure or leave.”

That’s great, so in that same room there’s 5 bodies. Do you remember anything about those?


 Did they do anything in the kitchen?

They ate. They sat down to eat; some of the food was still good.

There's a dining room.

Yep, and there was a monster in there that I added at the spur of the moment.

Do you remember anything else that happened?

Oh they loved the room with the pools. They tried every single pool.

Well yeah, There’s a pool that’s poison, isn’t there?


Did you play that by the book, and that it killed them instantly?

No. They could tell that they had been poisoned, and their cleric then healed them and staved off the poison long enough that they could get anti-poison, there’s a pool that’s anti-poison.

ok, so there’s a pool of healing, an acid pool, a pool of sickness, green slime pool, drinking pool pool of wine, one that’s dry,

They actually took the drinking pool and the pool of wine first. Because they took the pool of wine, and this is aged wine, they all started acting very funny. They played their parts quite well; they were all drunk.

There’s a hot pool, an aura pool, a pool of sleep, a fish pool, an ice pool, a treasure pool, and a pool of muting. Did you keep them all the same?

I did and they tried every single pool.

And so the one that was hurting them, which one was that?

That was the pool of poison

Well there’s sickness, acid, and green slime

It was the acid

Ok, so then they would just get to the pool of healing

Right, they kept going back to the pool of healing quite often. That was the third pool that they found after the wine. They also kept going back to the pool of wine though.

Well yeah was there anything else on that adventure specifically memorable?

I can’t think of anything spectacular

Well there's zelligar’s closet. There's several books, did they do anything with the books?

They read the covers and if the cover was interesting they would then put it in their stash to read later

I remember one of the times we went through this, maybe it wasn’t this one, but we found some books and we touched them and they crumbled away. Was it here?

No, it wasn't. It was the other one with the carrion crawlers

And there's the wizards workroom which has a whole bunch of ingredients, do you remember anything about that?

They tried putting the ingredients together, but it was all so old and decayed that it had no more power. Now I think it says that some of these have power, but I was just tired of them, so I just told them that they're labeled and don’t work.

Number 12 is the library, did they do anything with that?

Same with the books; if the books were interesting they kept them

Ok let’s see, teleportation rooms! 15 and 16. It's meant to confuse them, did they get confused with the map?

They got confused with the map yes

How long did it take them to figure out their mistake?

About 20 minutes

That's pretty good

Cause they kept going back and forth

20 is a dead end room, that's just a maze?

Right thats why I put more walls and secret doors

I'm not sure what this says; I think the bottom word is map?

Lower map

Cause you had it drop down

Well, there's another pit but this was different

Yeah but you didn't have that the first time you ran it?


In the Trophy room there is a dragonskin on the wall

First time I ran it as that was fake dragon skin, it was just alligator

That's interesting

 Because real dragon skin is valuable

Right, and you wouldn't just put it on the wall; it's not like bearskin.


Oh lets see, advisor’s chamber- there's a desk, some magic items in there

Kept that one pretty much as written

Ok so room 36, or north of room 36 there's some false steps that are supposed to confuse them what did they do when they were in that area?

They spent an awful lot of time in that area. Kept going to these rooms and then kept getting turned around and going back in here and falling into a pit trap. They fell into that pit trap at least twice. Thing is, the pit trap opens up into one of these rooms down here

Let me read it real quick, it opens into the pool of cold water

Right, but the thing is no matter what there was always at least one person still up there. They would shoot a rope up to him or he would drop a rope down to them, and they would come back that way and still explore this area and get all messed up with the maze and everything. Cause they weren’t mapping

They were not mapping, but they still figured out the teleportation room and this maze?

Because they had all played this before

Oh, because they gave you the module

Yes, and they couldn't remember everything

So thats the first level, and the second level is where you fill things in. And you had a piece of paper saying what was there, so when you wrote stuff down for what was on each level, did you have a piece of paper summarizing the first level too?

Not really because most of it is in the module

But in the second level you had a piece of paper where you wrote down what was in each room?

Yep, and whether there was a trap, or what type of trap was it, something that would make them disoriented, one of the rooms has gas in it; it upset their equilibrium and they couldn't figure out which way they were going.

Ok, the grand cavern of the bats?

Yes, which became the grand cavern of the white dragon who had been fed there for so long he couldn't get out

That was the first time you ran it?

No, that was the time i ran it with you kids

Ok, so that big cavern was bats originally and you ran it with the bats your first adventure with them ?


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