Last night we continued the foray into the Endless Tunnels of Enlandin, using the Holmes Basic D&D rules. Two players were now running three PCs each. They were left in a difficult position, having been teleported to level two with no obvious way back up to the first level. One of their fighters was wounded, and they had but one flask of oil left (plenty of torches, however). At the end of the last session, they had scouted out part of the level, not opening any doors but mapping the corridors as far as they could go, hoping to find a way up. When they found no means of ascent, they started opening the doors. Things went south pretty quickly.
They woke up six sleeping Troglodytes (thinking to negotiate), but the Trogs were having none of it, hating humans as they do. The claw/claw/bite attacks of the Trogs proved fatal to two party members – the wounded fighter and the party’s only cleric. After killing four of the creatures, the Trogs failed a morale check and the last two fled. The party wisely chose not to pursue them.
Moving on through a couple of empty rooms, the next door they tried proved difficult to open (rather than do repeated ‘open door’ rolls, I assume a failed roll means the door opened, it just took a while and was noisy). Unfortunate because they failed to surprise a group of four Orcs, who were now waiting for them. It was here that I think the player’s tactics could have at least delayed what happened. They opted to enter the room and fight, but had some unlucky die rolls and the party was whittled down to just the Dwarf fighter, who was killed fairly quickly. TPK.
We talked afterwards, and I asked the player running the Elf why he did not use his sleep scroll. Since a few of the party had already entered the room and were in melee, he was worried that he would sleep the party members and not the Orcs. The party could have just closed the door and fled, but that would not necessarily have been effective if the Orcs gave pursuit. It may have at least allowed them to barricade themselves somewhere or set themselves up for missile fire, however. In any case, we had loads of fun. I’m fortunate that my players don’t get upset when PCs die. We’ve had TPK’s before, they happen sometimes playing old-school as we do.
A final thanks to Zenopus for his great Holmes Reference, the pregens saved us lots of time, and I used the one-page monster reference during play. I also use his backgrounds in my Ravendale White Box campaign.