Well, it was time to bring my 8 and 10 year old into the fold. So, after puttering around with my books, I decided to run Hommlett, always a favorite, and to insert Chris Gonnerman's The Nameless Dungeon as a good opening dungeon. Statted for classic, I only had to make a few changes to update it for AD&D (the one thing that sticks out in my mind is changing the giant shrew to a giant weasel).
The ruleset is AD&D, no UA. The cast of miscreants is as follows:
Katherine (13.5)/ Aislinn Blasdesong, a High Olve Fighter/Magic-User, CG. Rene' (almost 12)/Anana of Glorsten, a Hill Dwur Fighter/Thief, NG. (and war dog!) Jenny (10)/Elvina Everheart, a Half-Olve Ranger, NG. Will (8)/Richard Willowgrove, a Hobniz Thief, NG. GM NPC/Dalgard Nordis, a Human Cleric of Pelor, NG.
(Yes, I have this thing for NG parties. Of all the alignments, NG is the easiest for kids and 1st-timers to grasp, I think. "Just act like they tell you to in church. )
Katherine and Rene' cut their teeth on Hackmaster almost 5 years ago. Jenny rolled up her character under the supervision of her sisters and Will told me what he wanted to be and I rolled it up for them. 4d6-L, reroll 1s, and arrange as you like, max hp 1st level.
Backstory. Aislinn and Elvina were sent to investigate the area around Hommlett for the Queen of Celene. Apparently, there has been trouble with caravans running into bandits and the like recently. Anana was sent by her stronghold in the Lortomils (Glorsten, my creation) for the same reason.
Richard is actually the son of one of my old characters, Thomas Willowgrove, a retired 12 lvl thief. As far as Richard knew, his father was just a respectable tailor who was quite successful and had some money stashed away. However, after his father's recent death he found Tom's journal and discovered that he had been an "expert treasure hunter" in his youth. Rich found himself wanting to see beautiful things, "to carry a sword instead of a walking stick...just once" and thus set out on the road.
Dalgard is NPC healing backup and actually saved the party tonight (through happenstance and almost at the cost of his life!) He's a wandering Priest of Pelor doing "knight errantry" essentially and also had heard rumors of bad goings on around Hommlett.
The PCs (and NPC) all met on the road to Hommlett and decided to travel together and see what they could discover (wonderful how good parties just work together like that--"You seem a decent fellow; fall in line!").
After setting up camp for the night (about 5 miles south if Hommlett), the Nameless Dungeon calls for a Goblin attack in the middle of the first watch. On watch were the Hobniz thief and the Olve fighter/mu. Surprise check is negative, 8 goblins rush the party in a semi-circle roughly 0 to 90 degrees. Initiative is tied. The Olve gets off a sleep spell and promptly drops 6 of the goblins. The Hobniz drops another with a sling bullet. The last goblin holds morale and manages to stab the Cleric who's trying to awaken. Next round the Hobniz rushes forward and hits the last goblin with his club, killing him.
In the aftermath, the olve suggests slitting the throats of the sleeping goblins, the dwur agrees and helps, and the cleric drops a CLW on himself. The party then notices a goblin scout in the underbrush who takes off! The dwur sicks her trusty dog after him and the olve and the ranger take chase. The dog manages to crash through the brush into the entrance to the Nameless Dungeon. The ranger goes back to get the others and to explore this ruin.
They go down and go east, finding a room of magical darkness and then come across a large room where they are attacked by stirges! The dog is wounded, as is the olve (for 7 of 8!). The cleric heals the olve (8 on d8!). It is at this point that the hobniz asks, "Why did we come into this dungeon anyway?" They also find the secret door in the room; the hobniz pulls the lever before anyone can stop them, thus deactivating a trap elsewhere in the dungeon.
Pressing onward, they find and defeat the giant weasel and find the bag of gems in the refuse pile. They then find the room with the trapped chest. I should have got a pic of this one; I told them to arrange everyone and they put the cleric in the door. Perfect. They open the chest; the Olve reads the scroll: "You lose!" The door slams shut, but the cleric makes his death save to block it; he makes the save, taking 8 points of damage, dropping him to 0! The PCs flee the room (the dwur is the only one to fail the poison save...for 1 pt of damage!). I rule they're able to stabilize the cleric and they retreat back to the campsite. I have some mercy on them, and keep the goblins from ambushing them again. Of course, who knows what'll happen while they're gone...: (The goblin tribe moves in?)
The next morning, they decide to push on to Hommlett. Fortunately, the cleric had a horse so they lash him down and ride for Hommlett, arriving about noon. They cause quite a stir, arriving with a comatose cleric and make for the Inn of the Welcome Wench. The stableboys help them get the unconscious cleric down and one runs for Gundigoot. Ostler (who I describe as looking a lot like Barliman Butterbar from the LotR movie; an aside to Rich...."Your father's diary said to never trust a skinny innkeeper; this one is quite fat.")
While the Olve arranges for a room for the cleric, the other 3 decide they want food. Ostler has the barmaids set them up in one of the private dining rooms and gets a private room for the cleric. He sends for Jaroo while the Olve waits with him, eating her rations! (She said she was feeling guilty because she caused him to get hurt since she read the scroll! she even paid for the room.)
Jaroo arrives and questions her briefly while healing Dalgard for 3 pts, bringing him around. She asks how much it'll be to heal him and Jaroo says a donation for the needy in Hommlett would be fine. She offers him all of her remaining gold (17!) and Jaroo smile and takes 3.
Dalgard smiles as well and finding that she paid for his room insisted that she take the payment from him. The Olve then goes down and inquires about shops and he directs her to the moneychanger. There, the olve is able to exchange most of the gems for 60% of value. He can't handle the tiger eye ruby (5000 gp!) so she keeps that for the moment. She goes back and distributes cash to everyone and they all take separate rooms in the Inn (the dwarf opting for the 5 gp/night suite!).
And there we ended for the evening. They're debating going back to the dungeon (which the goblins will have occupied by then). I expect that as evening draws near, the Town Council will want to talk to them. Goblins on top of the recent banditry? Horrors!
One last thing. My 13 yo is an aspiring artist and decided to make her own PC sheet:
My wife might join us for the next outing. She was a computer gamer (old SSI AD&D PC games) when we met in college in '93. She's been playing tabletop RPGs since 94 or so. She was a tad tuckered tonight, though.