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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Adventures in the Dungeon

Adventures in the Dungeon is a mini-boardgame by Gary Gygax included in the 1979 Official Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Coloring Album (published by Troubadour Press in conjunction with TSR; art by Greg Irons). The game uses the board shown above, which is found in the center of the coloring book. As I wrote previously, the map on this board is re-drawn from the Sample Dungeon map in the Blue Book.

The game is for 1-4 players who control the following four characters:

(This table integrates info found on pages 4 and 6 of the album. Click on the table for a clearer view.)

The party enters the dungeon at spot marked Start (the same entrance as in the Holmes Sample Dungeon). The goal of the party is to recover the Holy Talisman of St. Cuthbert. Combat uses 2d6 for both the character and monster attacks, much like DUNGEON!, except that a successful strike causes damage (a "hit"). Each character or monster can take a specified number of hits, which should be tracked during the game. Thus, the game is sort of part way between DUNGEON! and D&D.

(This list summarizes info found on pages 8-16 of the album)

There's also a scoring system which gives the characters 25 points for each surviving character; this is pretty much meaningless except that it denotes whether the victory is Pyrrhic (25), Costly (50), Resounding (75) or Triumphant (100).

And last we have the monsters. They are described room-by-room on pages 22-30, one paragraph per room. There's little information other than the monster stats and abilities, except for "Area 13: The Crypts: There are four coffins here, each containing one of the Iron Skeletons of Grusyin (a mad Wizard of the Past Age)".  For quick reference I turned the descriptions into a stat table:


  1. Do you see a way to interpret the story and game map so there is no descrepancy? I'm planning to convert the coloring book info to a third version of the Zenopus adventure. First and second are the manuscript and published versions. I'll need to convert coloring book hits to hit dice. The information you gave about the special skeletons will be important since they are so powerful.

  2. Also, if you look at the story part of the coloring book separate from the game in the book, there is a wizard the party awakens that casts a spell which causes a wall of violet and green flames to spring up. Maybe you'd be tempted to say this is Zenopus and the cause of the green flames seen from his tower is from some later spell use. If so, in this story, he summons an efreeti. The MM says this is a 10 HD monster. Monster Summoning VII is a 9th level spell which can be cast by a 18th level magic-user. So maybe Zenopus is at least 18th level.

  3. I was reading on the page how the story fits the dungeons of Castle Greyhawk more than the dungeons of the Tower of Zenopus. It hadn't occurred to me but that does seem to make more sense. The wizard in the story is not a Holmes creation so it's probably more likely to be Mordenkainen than Zenopus.