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For this session I rolled up Freya the Acolyte. She was outfitted with plate, shield, mace and the usual assortment of dungeoneering equipment, and had 3hp. Again I’m using the 3LBBs as written, with the Strategic Review random dungeon tables and the Monster & Treasure Assortment as needed.

I received an email asking me about how I was running combat, and I’ll detail it here since others might be wondering. I’m using the alternate system tables in vol. 1, along with the rules clarifications in the OD&D FAQ, from the Strategic review. So essentially that is surprise by the book (d6, 1-2 is surprised), individual initiative, modified by DEX with the standard d20 attack rolls and d6 for all damage. If I ever need to use it, morale will be the simple 2d6 check suggested in the rules.

I’m building off of the same map I used in my prior solo OD&D session, so the entry room has no visible exits but a secret door. It took Freya five turns to find it by torchlight. She went through the door, into a small, unoccupied room with a bare table and two chairs (Ref. note: The Hobgoblins must have vacated the room since we were last here).


She listened at a southern door, and, hearing nothing behind it, lit another torch and forced it open. The door led into a 20×30 room with one exit on the opposite wall. In the torchlight she saw two zombies shambling towards her! She presented her wooden cross, and the zombies moved into the far corner, unable to face her.

She moved quickly through the southern door, into a 20×20 room with no exits. She closed the door and rested, then searched the walls, finding a secret door on the south wall just as her torch was again burning low. She rested again, lit a new torch and opened the door.

Beyond the secret door, her torch showed a tunnel leading diagonally away so the southeast, with a “T” intersection revealing a branch directly to the south. That led to an even longer tunnel, which split after 120′. To her south, she could see an open chamber. To the southeast, a 30′ tunnel led to a door. She proceeded cautiously forward towards the open chamber.

Run Away!


As Freya approached the chamber entrance, a shadowy figure advanced towards her – a wraith! This was far beyond her skills and she turned and fled as fast as her plate armor would allow, turning east down the short tunnel to the door. Unfortunately, the wraith pursued her, and the door proved difficult to open. The wraith attacked her as she frantically tried to open the door, but it was no use, even after several tries the door remained stuck and poor Freya succumbed to the wraith’s icy touch. RIP Freya, turned into a wraith on level 1.

Referee notes

Underworld Exploration Rules

Using the rules-as-written from vol. 3, tracking turns, torches and rest periods, along with doors that are hard to open, silent undead, and with wandering monster checks every turn gives quite a different feel to dungeons than in more modern games. Dungeons are much more dangerous and you really do have the sense that the dungeon itself is working against the player.

Turn Undead

The rules for turning undead are not spelled out in any detail in OD&D, but I’m using the simplest interpretation that a successful attempt causes 2d6 creatures to turn away from and not attack the cleric. In this case I did not have to worry about how long the turning effect lasted, nor if the effect protected other party members, since Freya was alone.

Wandering Monsters

Again the OD&D wandering monster table proved deadly – I rolled a six, which means I had to roll on the 4th level monster table, and came up with the worst creature on it, the wraith. Freya had two chances to escape. One, since she turned a corner when fleeing, the wraith might not have pursued her (1-2 in 6 chance of pursuit past a turn). Two, if she had been able to open the stuck door on the first try (also a 1-2 in 6 chance), she would have likely escaped since the wraith missed its attack against her on the first two tries. She also might have dropped some treasure, but she had only 12gp and it was not readily at hand.