Friday, May 24, 2019

Recaps & Roundups part 13: Wargamer's Digest vol. 2 #8

This issue of Wargamer's Digest, published with a cover date of June 1975, features another D&D article by Gary Gygax. Anyone who wants to read the article can find it here, but I'll detail the most interesting parts of it below.

The Magician's Ring by Gary Gygax: The article is an account of a D&D adventure undertaken by Lessnard the Magician (6th level) and three hirelings (a veteran (1st level) fighter, an acolyte (1st level) cleric, and a medium (1st level) magic-user named - sigh - Floppspel. The quartet venture into the Greyhawk dungeons, battling some wights and a giant scorpion (which kills the cleric). Floppspel finds a ring of invisibility on the scorpion's tail, and there's some dispute as to who should claim it. On the way out, while navigating past a pool filled with giant crocodiles (which killed the fighter) via some boots of levitation, Lessnard is almost killed when Floppspel tries to extort him for the ring. The two escape after their altercation almost drops both of them in with the crocodiles.

This story isn't much to write home about, and the quality of the prose is bad even by Gygax's standards. Perhaps more interesting than the story is the bit at the end where Gygax details how the rules played into the various actions of Floppspel. Nevertheless, it does feature some interesting tidbits about the Castle Greyhawk dungeons.

  • The ruins of Castle Greyhawk lie on a hill about a league to the east of the bustling City of Greyhawk.
  • The countryside between the two has numerous strange tunnels and wells, which are entrances to the "fiendish maze of dungeons, pits, labyrinths, crypts, catacombs and caverns which honeycomb the hill and the rock far beneath it".
  • Lessnard enters an outside entrance into a lower dungeon level, but finds the labyrinth beyond has been recently looted. Some stairs leading up a level bring him to a crypt and a trio of wights.
  • From a four-way junction near the crypt, Lessnard heads 100 paces north and enters a large chamber where he is surprised by a giant scorpion.
  • Somewhere between the stairs and the scorpion room, Lessnard had passed through a one-way door.
  • Somewhere not far from the crypt, a narrow crack in the wall leads to a hexagonal chamber. A deep well filled with dark water and hungry crocodiles took up most of the chamber, with only a narrow ledge providing a way around.
  • Lessnard, a 6th-level magic-user, and Floppspel, a 1st-level magic-user, will be included as NPCs in the city of Greyhawk. The cleric and the fighter seen in this story both died, and were eaten by crocodiles.
  • At one point Lessnard swears an oath to "Crum and St. Cuthbert". I'm going to assume that the former is supposed to be Crom, and that Gary changed the name to avoid any legal troubles. Both Crom and St. Cuthbert will be deities in my campaign. Lessnard, if he's ever encountered, will inexplicably pronounce the former as Crum. (I'm not entirely sure, but this might be the earliest mention of St. Cuthbert that we've had.)

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