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About four years ago when I was getting my kids into tabletop RPGs, I wanted to start them out with a simple adventure we could play in an afternoon, where they could get the flavor of old-school RPGs and all that goes along with that – role play, imagination, and danger. As a programmer and sysadmin I spend a lot of time in a text editor, that being GNU Emacs, so it was natural for me to whip up a short adventure in my editor, map and all. The

The Lair of the White Wrym Dungeon Map

result was The Lair of the White Wyrm, a Swords & Wizardry Whitebox adventure for 4-5 first-level characters. Nothing original, to be sure, but I found it a good starting adventure for my kids, with an overall plot and  some critical thinking when they run into the white dragon. And let’s face it – to those that have never played D&D-like games before, Orcs, giant spiders and dragons are pretty damned cool. After this, I switched to hand-drawn maps and a key, all on one page, but I’ve been thinking of doing more of these, since they are so easy to make and text is such a universal format.

Here is the adventure, presented in all of its pure-text glory. For those interested, the map was done in GNU Emacs’ artist-mode. If the below preformatted text is mangled, here is the original text document.

The Lair of the White Wyrm

This is a Swords and Wizardry Whitebox [0] adventure for 4-5 1st-level
characters. I originally wrote it for my children, then ages 7 and 10, whom
I was just introducing to tablletop RPGs. So it is by design simple and
thematic, meant to be played in one session of perhaps two or three hours.

[0] http://www.swordsandwizardry.com/?page_id=6

A white dragon has moved into a lair of caves at the base of the Frozen
Spires near to the town of Snowcap in the northern reaches of the Known
Lands. A renowned halfling thief by the name of Fin Hairbreath recently
stole a purportedly magic gem (known as the Shadowgem) from the lair,
enraging the dragon and causing it to take it's anger out on area villages
and merchant caravans bringing supplies to Snowcap from the
south. Yesterday, Fin was caught trying to fence the gem in town, and
arrested by the town guard. The town Regent has asked for volunteers to
return the gem to the Wyrm's lair forthwith, to prevent more attacks by the
dragon. Rumors of the lair's dangers, including orc guards have kept away
volunteers, but you are anxious to prove your worth as adventurers. The
adventure starts just outside of the cave entrance, in the blowing snow and
biting cold, with the gem in hand.

                                                         ..  ...
                             ....                     ....    .....
                          ....  ....                  .            .
                        .          ..      ......     ..           .
                .........     2     ........    ...    ....   8    .
               ..  .....             ....    X    ..      ....     .
              ..  ..   ....         .   ...       ..         .     ...
              .  ..       .... .....      .. 3.....         ..       .
              . ..           . ..          . .            ...       ..
              . .          ... ..          . .           .......   ..
              . .         ..  ..           . .        stairs    ...S..
      ......... ..        ..  .            . .       ......      .. .
    ...          ....     ..  .            . .    .... ...       . 7.
    .               ..     .. .          ... ......   ....       .  .
    .                ..      . .         ..             ..       .  .
  ...     1           ..     . ..          ....    5  ...       ..  .
  .                 ....    ..  .             ....  ...        ..  ..
 . ..................       ..  .                ....        ...  ..
 . .                        ..  .                            .   ..
 Entrance           .....  ..  ..                          ...  ..
                  ...   ....   ..                       ....   ..
                  ...           .. .............       ..   ...
                    ...          ............  .........     ...
                      ..    4    ....       ... .....          ..
                  .....             ..             ..         ...
                 ..       ...        .           ...          ..
                 ....    ..  ..      .           .       6    .    ...
                    ......    ...   ..           ..           . ......
                                .  ..              .....    ........
                              ...   .                ......stream ...
                              ..  4a.             ........ ...      .
                               .....       ..........      ..     ...
                                      ... .. .....          .. ....
Note: There is a 1 in 1d6 chance of the worg from area 6 being present as a
wandering monster in any of the rooms of the complex, except the dragon's

1. Entrance/ guard area

Three orcs guard the entrance at all hours; at night there is a 4 in 6
chance that one of the orcs will be asleep. They have a small camp setup
near the eastern wall, there will be a small fire here at all times, venting
smoke through a natural chimney. Under a pile of rocks against the eastern
wall is a leather bag with 40GP.

Orcs: AC: 13 HD: 1 HP: 2,5,4 DMG: 1d6 sword SAV: 18 HDE/XP: 1/15

2. Storage area

Barrels line the walls, containing dried foodstuffs, water and ale. Behind a
broken barrel of food along the northern wall, two giant rats will be
hiding. If the party does not disturb them, they will likely not
attack. Note that a fight here will alert the orc guards in area 4. The rats
have no treasure.

Giant rats: AC: 12 HD: 1-1 HP: 2,3 DMG: 1d6 bite SAV: 19 HDE/XP: <1/10

3. Empty cave

A small cave lies to the east of the storage area. It is empty, although
there is a pit trap in the center of this cave, anyone walking over it has a
4 in 1d6 chance of springing it and falling 10ft. for 1d6 damage. Dwarves
will notice the trap 1-2 in 1d6. The skeleton of a long-dead adventurer lies
at the bottom of the pit, with a rusty helm and sword. A pouch near the
skeleton will hold 10 small gems worth 100GP in total. If the trap is
sprung, the party will have no chance of surprising the dragon in area 8.

4. Sleeping quarters

Four Orcs and their leader live in the alcoves here. At any given time,
there will be a 2 in 6 chance of one of the Orcs being asleep, meaning they
will not be able to participate in the first round of combat.

Orcs: AC: 13 HD: 1 HP: 4,3,3,1 DMG: 1d6 sword SAV: 18 HDE/XP: 1/15
Orc leader: AC: 14 HD: 1 HP: 6 DMG: 1d6+1 sword SAV: 18 HDE/XP: 1/20

The south alcove belongs to the leader, he has 20GP and a potion of healing
amongst his belongings. The small cave to the south (4a) is used as a

5. Spider cave

Humanoid bones and refuse litter the floor of this cave. A giant spider lays
in wait, hanging from a large web that covers the ceiling. He will surprise
the party 1-5 in 1d6. When (if) the spider is killed, the party can search
the refuse and find a quiver of 10 +1 arrows, a pouch with 23 GP, and a
large ruby worth 150GP.

Spider: AC: 13 HD: 2+2 HP: 9 DMG: 1d6 bite SAV: 18 HDE/XP: 5/240
Special: Poison bite, save vs poison or 1 hour of weakness, unable to fight.

Stairs cut into the rock lead down and to the north, directly into the
dragon's lair.

6. Stream

A cold mountain stream flows through the southern portion of this cave, it
is the water source for the Orc guards. There will always be several empty
buckets laying next to the stream. On the other side of the stream, a worg
has made it's lair. It is a pet to the Orcs, and will be present 1-5 in d6
(otherwise wandering the caves).

Worg: AC: 13 HD: 4 HP: 16 AT: bite DMG: 1d6 HDE/XP: 4/120

A downward-sloping tunnel exits to the north and area 7.

7. Secret door

A dead-end is actually a secret door, activated by pushing on the floor just
below the wall. Elves and Dwarves in the party will notice the triggering
mechanism 1-2 in 1d6. The door opens silently, out into the dragon's lair.

8. Dragon's lair

The young but still imposing white dragon is holed up here along with an
impressive pile of gems and coins, with an occasional sword or bit of armor
visible. The dragon will only be surprised by those entering from the secret
door to the south, otherwise he will always be alert and watching the
staircase entrance.

Young white dragon:

AC: 17 HD: 7 HP: 14 ATK: Frost Breath (3/day)/Bite DMG: 14 HDE/XP: 9/1,100

The party can use the Shadowgem to make a deal with the dragon in trade for
some of its large treasure pile. Offering the gem quickly will result in the
dragon offering a the party a large sack, filled with the following:

- A +1 dagger
- A +1 war hammer
- Cloak of protection +1
- Scroll of cure light wounds
- 860 GP
- 1200 SP
- 18 small gems worth 20 GP each.

The GM can reduce this a bit depending on the party's behavior and the
dragon's implied reaction. The GM can also decide how to deal with the rest
of the treasure hoard if for some reason the party decides to attack the
dragon, and (however improbably) kills it, but it's more likely a single
breath weapon attack would kill an entire party of first-level adventurers
in one fell swoop.

There is a small alcove on the north wall, where the dragon usually keeps
the Shadowgem inside a large, unlocked chest.

Upon returning successfully to the town, the grateful Regent will reward
each player 100GP.