Friday, November 29, 2013

Game Maps and Notes From My First Adventure EVAR!

In my continued rummagings through my very first DM binder of 20 years ago, I came across the maps and notes I drew up for the very first adventure I ever ran.

The girl I was dating at the time (read getting caught making out on people's couches like the uber-jerk I was at that time in high school) had an interest in D&D I think largely due to her dad. The basement of their house was AWESOME. Wall to wall shelves of dad's fantasy paperbacks and game books.

Well, she and some of our other friends wanted to get a game up, but we had no DM... of course, I said I'd do it. What's the big deal? I thought. I had previously played and run a lot of HeroQuest and Dragon Quest games. I really liked THOSE. how hard could it be!?

I was a newbie DM with newbie players. Talk about the blind running the blind!

I picked up the 2nd Edition core rule books and set about creating a homebrew adventure. I wasn't going to run some wussy pre-published thing! NO, I was a creative dynamo and would craft a world of danger and intrigue! Little did I know that making the shift to D&D from HQ and DQ was a lot bigger change than I expected. Those other games served as gateways to D&D, but their adventures tended to be MUCH more site specific. You had a game board and a pre-printed booklet, and your players were basically railroaded through a linear adventure. Story was secondary if it even existed.

To me, as I began working on my first real D&D adventure, all encounters were site based, I distinctly remember reading about creating "hooks" and thinking... why the heck would I want to do that when I could be drawing maps and we could be fighting monsters! So, of course the first thing I did was draw a couple maps and then fill in the rest with notes.

The first adventure took place in some sort of manor house. Not sure why the players were there. I did know that there were orcs and other nasty things hiding inside though, so that was cool. The map above covers the ground floor of the house and surrounding areas. The map key extended to two pages of notes seen below.

As I read through the notes, I cringe at the mishmash of humans and monsters inhabiting the manor, apparently oblivious to each others' existence. I also cringe at the hidden secrets with no hints mentioned or reasons for the players to even try finding them out. Oh, and the itinerary describing the shift rotations is both amusing AND cringe-worthy.
Ground floor notes p.1

Ground floor notes p.2

Upper floor map and notes
As I recall, this adventure did not last for very long, nor did the game group. My uber newb self also relied entirely too much on the rules for wandering monsters, and so the players became distracted before even entering the manor. I rolled a wandering monster check on a forest table and a friggin random leprechaun just popped out of nowhere to lead them on a merry chase wasting most of a session.

We met again and the party actually made it into the house and started hacking and slashing their way through it. I don't recall if they ever finished the adventure, but I do know that the girl and I broke up after about a month of making out dating, and the group fell apart after that.


  1. Thank's for sharing. My first efforts were certainly cringe-worthy (A Yuan-ti wants to attack a walless village with a siege tower and a handful of Tasloi minions? What?). But still, every DM has to start somewhere.


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