Trial By Fire - Session 9

(or, “Get me a tower shield and a chicken.")

(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.)


  • Bluebell of the Reddened Green, Elven Fighter played by Invincible Overlord
  • Flintheart, Dwarven Fighter, played by James Nostack
  • Kalem, Elven Mage, played by BlueLightning
  • Reggio Emilia, Gnome Illusionist/Thief, played by skidoo


  • Cael, a spear carrier
  • Stan , a spear carrier
  • Timmy, a spear carrier
  • Cartman, a linkboy

The Anonymous Party of Auburndale welcomed two new members: Bluebell of the Reddened Green, a cousin of the late elf Heldrin, seeking vengeance for his kin; and Flintheart, a dwarf so eager to prove his superior strength that he tore half of the neighborhood’s gates from their hinges. The newcomers engaged in a bit of friendly racial antipathy when Bluebell wagered Flintheart a gold piece that he could loose any knot the dwarf tied in his beard. Kalem pointed out that this was a common wager that elves made with dwarves, but only because it was worth the coin to see a dwarf tie a knot in his beard.

Reggio insisted that the party could solve the mysterious rhyme by returning to the mural room. There, according to his infallible gnomish memory not at all damaged by pitfalls and ghouls, they would find in the street scene a juggler, or a man spinning plates. The party made haste, yet found neither juggler nor plate-spinner in the painting.

Next, the party disturbed two orcs in a room with a chalkboard. probably at their studies. The party’s superior number of elven arrows, hireling spears and angry high-rolling dwarves carried the battle. Such weak orcs did not deserve the sardonyx they carried.

Bluebell discovered a hidden compartment behind the chalkboard. In addition to some coin and a list of names, there was a small metal box. The thief cautiously dismantled it, and found seven strips of paper within. Bluebell held a strip up to the torch light, and revealed faint sepia writing upon it. Kalem, fearful of glyphs, refused to read the strips, so Bluebell copied down the seven words himself. In common, they read:

  • dragon
  • oracle
  • rain
  • seven
  • under
  • seeker
  • power

He also copied the names from the list, in case the original scrawl vanished once carried out of the underground, as did that of the fortress’s books. Meanwhile, Flintheart smeared himself in orc blood, drew a man spinning plates on the chalkboard, and demanded it reveal the dungeon’s secrets.

Next, the party had what was possibly its first successful Hearing a Noise Through a Door. In this case the noise was a lovely voice singing. That can never mean any good in a dungeon, so the party put candle wax in their ears and sang “LALALALALA!” as they opened the door. Ah, but it was only a singing fountain, in a room so blindingly bright one could only find the walls by touch. The water in the fountain was clear and cold and didn’t seem to drain out anywhere. The party drank the water, filled a skin with it, threw a coin in it, harmonized with it… the Dwarf even bathed in it. Nothing happened. Which means singing things in dungeons are still no good.

Kalem’s epic string of secret door discoveries continued when he found one in the corner of the room, a very difficult thing given the glare. Exploring beyond into the hall, the party came upon the strangest phenomenon yet. In the middle of the hall was a huge, black, watermelon-shaped blob. It blocked the corridor almost entirely. The party spoke to it, shot arrows and bolts at it, touched it, hit it, constricted it with a rope, and burned it. Again, nothing happened. It was even more no-good than a singing fountain.

However, the party noticed the thing seemed to breathe: during an “inhalation” it filled the hallway, during a brief “exhalation” it left a two foot wide path to either side. The Watermelon Thing, as it came to be known, was fifteen to twenty feet long; only a person running full speed through the opening would have a prayer of getting to the other side before the next inhalation. Flintheart tried twice, but was unsuccessful, crushed and expelled by the Watermelon Thing in a process resembling peristalsis. Reggio slipped through, and saw the corridor extended around a corner to a far door. Attempting to return to fetch some tools, he too was crushed and expelled by the thing.

This left the elves in charge. The unconscious rock-lovers were deposited on the surface with none but Stan and a wet-eyed mob of rabbits to guard them. The elves returned, hoping to find a secret door in the mess hall (rm. 30) that would allow them to skirt the dire Watermelon Thing. They didn’t, but they did find a secret door on the way to the mess hall. Inside it were niches, and something glowing. The niche is the natural habitat of your common undead skeleton, so Bluebell insisted on saving the room for another day, preferably one that had a cleric with it. Kalem feared no bones, but acquiesced. The elves returned to the surface and Auburndale.

Flintheart (in a coma, resting for one week)
Reggio Emilia (same)

5 gp
1 Sardonyx worth 50gp

Monsters killed:
Two Orcs

While convalescing, the party devised a plan to surpass the Watermelon Thing. First an excellent device was conceived to protect a party member as it squeezed past. When the smith Longbeard McSweeney estimated a cost of 450gp to build it, the party opted to test their theory first with a tower shield and a chicken. When Reggio’s alignment began to prick him for endangering animals, he declared that the party should eat the chicken if it did not survive the test.

The party returned to the Fortress, where Reggio thanked his adoring rabbit friends with heads of lettuce. The company then descended and made for the hallway. Once arrived, they tied the squawking chicken to the underside of the shield, shoved the shield aside the Watermelon Thing, and watched it buckle under the Thing’s force. Chicken Scallopini for all.

One chicken, disposed of ethically.


Monsters killed:
I think that chicken was plotting to murder us, so we get XP right?

written up by skidoo

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