Wednesday, March 16, 2011

19th Level Wizard from my early D&D days in the Monty Hall Dungeon

I found this character sheet while looking through the storage container that has all of my old D&D stuff in it.  There are also some old dungeons that I wrote back then in there that I'll probably post at some point and may even publish for real if it's a worthy project.  Anyway, this is my 19th level Wizard Elroy that I played in the Monty Hall game I was in back then when I was a teenager sometime around 1980 or before:

I elaborated on this a little in this post:

Re-discovering Old School D&D

A few things I have observed and recall about how we played back then from looking at the character sheet:

1.  I can't believe all of the magic items and treasure he's carrying around with him - its obvious that we didn't care about encumbrance back then.  I remember bags of holding getting a lot of use but Elroy didn't have one.  He also has what amounts to a dragon's hoard worth of gold and platinum pieces which one can only assume he has stashed away in his stronghold or something because he certainly isn't carrying it all.

2.  The amount of incredibly powerful magic items he has in his possession is staggering.  Several artifacts and several really powerful items can only be explained by the fact that it was a Monty Hall game and we went down into a 20 level deep dungeon and killed Demogorgon at the bottom where we found some of the artifacts and the 1,000,000 gold piece gems and crown.

3.  Yes, you heard that right, not one but two 1,000,000 g.p. gems each with a demon trapped inside and a crown worth 85,000 gold pieces!  This can only be explained by the Monty Hall nature of the dungeon and the fact that once you are that high of a level this is probably the only way you are going to level up - its certainly not going to happen by killing kobolds!  Keep in mind that these items were in Demogorgon's treasure horde so its not like we just found them laying around - we had to kill the Prince of Demons to get this stuff!  And behind door #1 Monty is this beautiful 85,000 g.p. crown!

4.  His AC is -5 mostly due to magic items but having a 17 Dex doesn't hurt.

5.  He has 73 hits!  I'm not sure how he got this many unless either we were using Basic D&D for the +1 CON bonus per level with a 14 CON and we didn't stick with hit point limitations for higher level characters (thru 9th Level per Rules Cyclopedia).  If he rolled 2.5 hits average each die +1 hit point per level for CON that comes out to 66.5 hits (average).  So if this is what we did then 73 hits is plausible and only a little above average.

If we were using 1st Edition AD&D he would have had to have rolled fours on just about every roll without hit dice limitations for higher level characters since there is no CON bonus to hit points in the AD&D PHB for a 14 CON.  So either I fudged the numbers or we were playing Basic D&D and weren't playing with reduced hit dice at higher levels. 

6.  No pre-generated character sheets here - we just used a piece of paper and rolled with it.  Remember this was somewhere around 1980 (maybe earlier) and there was no internet and you had to buy the character sheets just to Xerox them.  If you are a kid with a limited budget why bother...

7.  His stats are pretty darned good.  I'm not sure if they got bumped through play (wishes, tomes of whatever or other magical effects) or he got rolled up this way but I actually didn't roll this guy up, he was inherited at first level on the first level of the dungeon so I can't say for sure.

8.  Rather than selling all of the non coin treasure that we found and dividing up the total which is what we do now, we just handed out the spoils as fairly as we thought possible and didn't worry about it if one guy got more g.p. worth of stuff than the other.  This explains why he has all of the elaborate gems and jewelry written out on his sheet rather than just a pile of cash.  Again, one can assume that most of this stuff is piled up in his keep somewhere.  That's a dungeon that's just screaming to be written up at some point (Elroy's Tower) and I even started it back then but never finished it.

9.  I guess the two magical shields were just excess loot to give to my hirelings or something.

Not every game we played in back then was this Monty Hall but I do remember that there were magic items a plenty in most games and that plenty of characters died.  Elroy even died once on one of the upper to middle levels of the twenty level dungeon he was adventuring in when he foolishly put on a Necklace of Strangulation without casting Identify on it first.  The other party members boiled the flesh off of his bones in a massive cauldron located somewhere in the dungeon to remove the necklace and then had him resurrected and he returned to the land of the living to complete the massive dungeon crawl!


  1. Why have hit point caps? I'm not sure that we ever did. Also, when you lost levels, you rolled for the number of hit points that you lost, then rolled again when you regained them. Add to that a few limited wishes or something else that you may have picked up from a deck of many things. Jay was using the random dungeon appendix in the back of the DMG. I knew it, and so he placed messages throughout to tell us that it was not a random adventure... but he used the random monster tables and the random treasure tables to their max... so yea... the layout was pretty random.

  2. I think the treasure was random too which explains the prevalence of really powerful magic items, especially when you consider all of the powerful monsters we were fighting (including lots of demons and probably some dragons too). It was fun but it was kind of a crazy "write it as you go down" type of adventure - I think he would roll up the next level right before we played. By the time we were at the bottom we were pretty close to being in Demogorgon's plane (if not already there)...

  3. I think I was using the roll two or three times and choose the best roll technique for choosing monsters and treasure. But then again the older random generation tables where a little on the treasure heavy side.

    I did actually make up the dungeon layout, I remember working on some of those levels for hours in my room and the images that I am getting make no sense to me at all weird long hallways and clusters of rooms with no order that my mind now can see but perhaps my younger better brain had some mad genius thing going on (I wish ha)

    All of the content in the rooms Monsters and treasure, that was completely random from the tables.

    I don't remember where the idea came from but I do remember I originally wanted a more 'story' oriented game but that was not what the folks playing where interested in (ain't that life?)... We had even heard the name Monty Hall style game from a source out side of our circle. But where or whom I have no idea...

    1. However it went down, it was kewl... Swag vs. Story... some things never change.

      Ok D, you got J here. Who were the members of the party? We went in at like 1st to 3rd level or some such, and I remember exiting After months of play at like 19th or 20th level. (I was the 1e Bard).

  4. So Jay, do still have a copy of this dungeon? If so I'd love to see a scan of it if you do. I think we were more intent on killing monsters and taking their stuff than in the story back in those days (we were kids after all). At least that's what I remember the focus was but the fact that there was a common thread throuought (rescuing Cornelius' lost soul from Demogorgon) was actually a pretty cool idea for a dungeon and gave the whole thing an overarching goal or purpose.

  5. I designed and wrote up Elroy's keep afterwards and was going to populate it with an army of orcs but never really fleshed it out. I looked for the maps I drew of that but couldn't find them.

    Someday I might write up a keep and dungeon filled with all of the stuff we got out of demogorgon's lair that Elroy ended up with on his character sheet. Its quite a bit of treasure and magic items (more than enough for a medium sized fortress with a dungeon below).

    I never really played Elroy after we ran through that dungeon and I never actually got around to cutting off his hand to put on the hand of Veccna because I was too chicken to do it. It would have made him evil but that's probably what he would have done since its such a powerful artifact but it probably would have driven him mad or led to his demise one way or another - there's a story seed for a new dungeon someday...

    1. What, you never found the Head of Vecna? (I love that story)

  6. Yeah, I just posted that for a guy in our game that hadn't heard it before. If you have gamed anytime in the last 15 years you have probably heard that story and it is pretty hysterical - next victim... LOL