IN THE YEAR OF OUR LORD MCCCIV

Countless years have passed in Hybreasil since the cruel but valiant King Ull led the forces of Law to victory over the Old Ones, driving them by sword and cross into the caves, the catacombs and the hidden places. The ancient city of Dun Fadu is a city of men now, its weird, fluted towers and temples replaced by squat, homely houses of wattle and daub. But on the hill that overlooks the city there still stand the brooding, mist-cloaked ruins of the old keep of Dun Fadu. Legend says that a giant 99 feet tall carved the knots and whorls into its walls, and then a giant 66 feet tall carved the spaces he left untouched, and then a giant 33 feet tall carved the spaces he left untouched. It is said that in its heyday no mere human being could look at the walls of the keep of Dun Fadu without going mad; but wind and rain have eroded the weird designs, and moss and lichen grown over them. Even so, the cautious do not let their gaze linger too long on the walls of the keep of Dun Fadu.

But the incautious gaze, and they listen to a different legend – that the Old Ones still hide within the dungeon beneath those stones, and that they keep their treasures there – gold and silver, jewels and gems, and things of ancient sorcery that could make a man mightier than kings . . .

. . . Indeed, how can they, who call themselves the bold, fail to rise to the challenge and plumb the mystery that lies beneath the black stones of Dun Fadu?

RULES

STARTING CHARACTERS

I will roll ability scores, hit points and money. Your character begins with 5,000 XP. Starting money is the same, however. Tally up your encumbrance; in OD&D it’s not too burdensome.

ABILITY SCORES

No XP bonuses or penalties from ability scores. STR 15 or higher gives plus one to hit and damage. INT 15 or higher gives a bonus 1st level spell to magic-users. WIS 15 or higher gives a bonus 1st level spell to clerics. In addition to the textual benefits, DEX 15 or higher gives thieves +10% on all skills.

CLASSES: EXTRA ABILITIES

(All standard abilities from “Men & Magic” are in play)

Fighters

Human fighters roll two damage dice and take the higher as their result; in addition, they do +1 damage when wielding a two-handed weapon.

Clerics

They are considered “white magicians”, and their powers are sorcerous, not divine, notwithstanding the fact that they restrict themselves to relatively benign magic.

Thieves

As in Greyhawk; however, no other elements of Greyhawk will be used at this time. Thieves gain +1 to Reaction rolls when making fraudulent overtures.

Halflings

A halfling is a faun, complete with cloven hooves, horns and a generally goatish aspect. The people of Hybreasil are accustomed to them, horrifying though they might seem to the rest of Christendom. They may make their words intelligible to all animals. Once per day, a halfling may require a small animal (no larger than the halfling themselves) to perform a service for them. The animal is freed from compulsion either upon completion of the service, or at sunset or sunrise, whichever comes first. When a party with halflings in it begins their adventuring day, there is a chance (known only to the DM) that one of the halflings will overhear an animal saying something that is a clue to what they will encounter that day. Halflings may advance in either thief or fighter.

Elves

Elves can revive a fallen foe to serve as a henchman. The foe must have been personally slain by the elf’s own hand, and his “recruitment” is subject to the normal procedure with henchmen. If successfully pressed into service, the henchman is exactly as they were in life, except for being undead for all game purposes (and having a notably miserable disposition). If such a servitor is turned by a cleric, he departs from the elf’s service and dies immediately (warning: when a PC cleric turns hostile undead, servitors within the same area are considered targets as well!). Only one servitor at a time is allowed; recruiting a new one frees the old one to pass on to the next world.

Dwarves

Once per day, dwarves may awaken feelings of avarice in others. A gift of golden jewelry is required (this must have been found, bought or made in-game); the recipient will react as if the gift is worth 1d6+1 times its actual value. It can be useful to give such a gift to a group of just-encountered potentially dangerous humanoids (or humans, or demi-humans). In such a case, if the perceived value of the gift exceeds (250 gp x HD of the most powerful group member), then a hostile reaction roll will mean that the group starts fighting amongst themselves over the gift, rather than attacking the dwarf’s party. Dwarves may advance in either thief or fighter.

SPELLCASTING

Spellcasting is handled as written in “Men & Magic”—verbatim! All spells in the book are available to you, subject to level limits. You may choose your spell at the time of casting, but not cast the same spell twice in a day. I’m hoping to make a decent trial of this system to see if it works well.

REST & RECUPERATION

All hit points and spells are restored when the party rests for a few days in the city. They must pay upkeep at this time equal to 1% of current XP in gold pieces. Characters who build a stronghold pay no upkeep when they rest in their stronghold. (Note: Inviting other characters to rest in your stronghold doesn’t make their upkeep free; it just devolves the responsibility of paying it onto you.)

DEATH

Characters may survive, albeit unconscious, at up to -2 hit points; -3 or lower is death. There is no “bleed out” countdown. If the unconscious character cannot be carried out of the dungeon by his comrades, he will be found, revived and pressed into servitude by underworld beings.

Dun Fadu