On the Solo Play of the OSR

The Challenge

What's the OSR solo play challenge?

Here are the key factors in such an adventure.
  • A pregenerated multi-talented character with a limited number of resources.
  • A completely linear adventure. One room follows the next, like a puzzle that must be completed.
  • Scenario design used to test knowledge of Dungeons and Dragons (or in our case OSR) tropes.
  • Ability to select from a number of preparations & actions (from 0-4)
So, we should produce one of these! 

Either here in the comments section, or in the posted link on G+, describe and write a single room! I think if we can get 8 rooms together, that will be enough to put together a short free .pdf. The pregenerated character and quest follow at the end of this post.

Examples of rooms can be found in yesterday's post here.

Some of my favorite actions and responses from the Cavern Quest series:

Action: D-13: Throw holy water into the cave as you rush past the opening.
Result: D-13: You are splashing holy water on a red dragon who is not amused. It breathes on you, and in the melee that follows you take further damage before killing it. Mark off 10 points damage, and find an opal hidden in the back of the cave.

At first the voices are unclear, but soon they are louder and closer, and you recognize the speech of orcs. There seems to be at least three of them. They sound as if they are approaching the room at a walk and are unaware of your presence.
Preparation: G-1: Quickly put on the shirt and pants, and strike a pose as if you belong there.
Result: G-1: Nice try. Apparently you correctly guessed that the things in the closet are used by the orcs’ jester. But the jester is an orc, not a half-elf, and the other orcs are only fooled for a minute. Deduct 2 points from any damage taken in combat

The opal appears to be merely sitting on a velvet pad about 18 inches inside the wall. Next to the opal and the pad is a liquid-filled hole wide enough to allow the opal to drop into it. If you aren’t careful it appears likely the opal could fall into the hole and be lost. You carefully push a pebble into this hole — and it immediately dissolves, along with the tip of the sword you were pushing it with.
Action: K-13: Reach in and take out the opal using your hand.
Result: K-13: Congratulations! Sometimes it doesn't pay to be overly cautious. You grab the opal with no problem.

Visible inside it are four sets of glowing red eyes, each about two feet above the ground. These seem to be moving towards you. As you prepare to take action, you hear scuttling noises coming from the darkness
Action: H-15: Get out your holy symbol and order the eyes away
Result: H-15: So now you’re a cleric? Anyway, fire beetles aren’t smart enough to know what a holy symbol is. Take 3 points damage in melee, then find an opal on a table in their lair.

OSR Tomb Quest

Guidelines for Room Creation


  • The ruleset is OSRIC/1st Edition
  • You should write a room description including the approach. There should be both obfuscated clues and red herrings in the room description (see the examples from yesterday, also reference the articles on Red Herrings, Why and What).
  • There should be 4-6ish preparation options. Some of these options may be useless. Some may only have a use dependent on the action chosen. They should be based on the character inventory, spells, and magic items. These should be things like casting spells, drinking potions, and readying weapons. They should modify results of the actions below. (Using an edged weapon against skeletons? Take 2 more damage. etc.)
  • There should be 4-6ish action options. Resolution of these options is not random. There should usually be an option to bypass the room, and several approaches for fighting the occupants or dealing with the setup. 
  • Thief skills are handled in the following ways. Hear noise will only be useful in 1 out of 4 situations in which it may be useful, meaning the preparation result of listening will result in "You don't hear anything" 75% of the time. Opening locks and hiding in shadows will always succeed. Only the most difficult traps will cause the roll to fail, and clues to that should probably be in the room description. Picking pockets should be a slight of hand option to grab something when bypassing the room which should usually work.
  • Put in values for damage and such that seem reasonable. I will adjust them to be balanced once the final room count is determined. 1 or 2 points is a good amount to sacrifice for a gem or stone, 3-4 points is the cost of an aggressive or poor decision, and making the clearly wrong choice  (fireball at an iron golem?) should cost 5-10
  • Coolness and creativity trumps these options.
  • In general each room should focus on one trick, monster, or OSR ideal. 

The Quest

Ostensibly, you are a holy man. Though your father noted you had the appropriate lust for gold that every able bodied dwarf should have, your criminal tendencies depressed him greatly. He drank heavily until there was a terrible accident at work. He did not survive the fall, and the entombment was closed casket.

You made your living robbing and stealing from foreign visitors, until caught and punished and forced to enter the clergy. This worked out well for all the parties involved, because during seminary you discovered the glory of Abbathor, dwarven god of appreciation of the beauty of gems and metals. What your teachers didn't know, were the secret rites you found that told you of Abbathor's true glory -- that those gems and metals are best admired when they are taken from the hands of another. 

Your righteous greed has begun to worry your fellow priests, which is just as well. Recently a dwarven expedition has broken into the Tomb of Barkaresh. Barkaresh was an ancient and deviant dwarf who had elven blood and was said to be consorter with ancient serpents, men, and worse. He was even said to practice sorcery. Since the tomb has been opened a series of disasters has befallen your clan.

Your academic colleagues have determined that to calm his ancient spirit, you must acquire four dwarven spirit stones and perform a rite in his final resting place. You have agreed to do this, even though your "peers" deem it a suicide mission, because of the legendary set of perfect gemstones Barkaresh was said to have acquired. You have prayed long on the subject and Abbathor your god has made it quite clear that it is your destiny to loot this tomb. You figure you'll perform the rite to put Barkaresh to rest, because you don't want any problems from his spirit once you rob him blind.

The gap in the wall looms before you. You step in, uncertain of what danger awaits. 

Reaper

The Character

Halcion Auricgrinder
5th level Cleric / 7th level Thief
Armor: Dwarven Leather, Large Shield
Weapon: Dagger +1, Enchanted to detect gems within 20'
Dwarven Throwing Hammer +3
Mace +2
Assorted Magic Items:
Enchanted Thieves Tools: +10% to Opening Locks
Shadow Cloak: +40% to hiding in shadows
Gauntlets of Dexterity: Raises Halcion's Dexterity from 17->18 and gives +10% to pick pockets and open locks
Potion of Giant Strength
Potion of Plant Control
Spells Selected: 
(1) Detect Evil
(1) Protection from Evil
(1) Sanctuary
(2) Silence 15' Radius
(2) Resist Fire
(2) Speak with Animals
(3) Dispel Magic
Thief Abilities:
Pick Pockets 80
Open Locks 97
Find/Remove Traps 70
Moving Silently 65
Hide in Shadows 93
Hear Noise 25
Climb Walls 84
Miscellaneous equipment:
Sprig of garlic
Thieves Tools
Vial of holy water
Holy Symbol
Rations for 5 days
Backpack
20-foot rope
2 torches
Hooded Lantern
Small sack
Tinder and flint
10-foot pole

Hit Points: ☕☕☕☕☕ ☕☕☕☕☕ ☕☕☕☕☕ ☕☕☕☕☕ ☕☕☕☕☕ ☕☕☕
(28 HP)

Perfect Stones: ☕☕☕☕☕ ☕☕☕☕☕ ☕☕

Spirit Stones: ☕ ☕ ☕ ☕
(Note, based on the room descriptions or interesting ideas, the above is subject to change).

Hack & Slash
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