Trial by Fire: Session 1

(This is foner’s test drive of AD&D first edition, played entirely by-the-book. The module is “Trial by Fire” from Judges Guild.)


  • Heldrin of the Reddened Green, Elf Assassin, played by FredH
  • Philo, Half-Elf Cleric/Ranger, played by skidoo
  • Sassafrass, Elf Fighter/M-U, played by Invincible Overlord

Two-and-a-half elves walk into a bar: “The Watering Hole of Crossed Purposes.” They have travelled from Elfland (from the Elvish, meaning “Land of Elves”) to the human village of Auburndale. They were drawn by rumors of a secret fortress, built by the humans a few hundred years ago to hold the border against the incursions of barbarians. Recently, local youngsters may have rediscovered its remains. Why was it abandoned? Why was all trace of it hidden? What secrets and valuables might lurk in its depths.

The party makes nice with the barkeep, Ficus the Younger. When he asks the elves their business in town, Sassafrass regales him with an impromptu poem of their history and purpose. Having perhaps charmed the man with this, he gives the party rough directions to where a local lad did indeed come across what might be the secret fortress. He recommends the party to his brother Ficus the Elder’s inn, The One-Eyed Beholder.

After Heldrin secures Room #2 for spies and thieves, the party scouts the location. Philo discovers the boy’s tracks, which lead to pile of rubble, among many similar outcroppings on the side of a small mountain. After a brief search, they discover a large metal door, which they open to reveal a totally unexpected set of stairs leading downward. Throwing caution to the wind, the party, scant on supplies, decides to explore a bit.

A few rooms are searched, yielding little but rubble and rusted weapons. The first door encountered teaches the elves that their hearing is standard. When they open the door, their standard hearing gets an earful of (probable) shrieker shriek. The party retreats to an intersection, where they quickly dispatch a curious zombie.

Returning to a nearby intersection, Heldrin is separated from the party by a suddenly interceding wall. Sassafrass and Philo find their way around to the other side by an alternate route, to rescue and reassure the cold-blooded killer. The party explores a room with man-like pillars and metal plates dedicated to warriors past, and ransack a few useless bits of parchment from a broken desk.

Monsters: 1 Zombie

Treasure: Bits of useless parchment.

Rolling dice for five minutes to learn how many spells you can’t know: priceless.

written up by skidoo

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