D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop #3: First dungeon

First dungeon you explored as a PC or ran as a DM?

The first dungeon I ever explored was, as I mentioned before, a homebrewed (and, I suspect, completely improvised) maze of troll-infested rooms and caves.   My first “proper” D&D adventure — using dice, real character sheets, and the rulebooks — was most likely The Keep on the Borderlands, since that was what came with the Moldvay Basic Set that a few of my D&D-playing friends bought.  I hazily recall a short-lived adventure as an Elf in the Caves of Chaos.  I say “short-lived” because a.) it was a solo game and b.) as 4th-graders, my friends and I didn’t really grasp the idea of hirelings.  Why would we?  None of our fantasy-heroic inspirations (Middle-Earth, Narnia, CYOA/Endless Quest, Greek mythology, and movies like the Beastmaster and Schwarzenegger’s Conan) relied on such things, so why should our characters?  Not surprisingly, the expedition ended in disaster…  It’s ridiculous to consider now, but at the time I didn’t think anything of going into the Caves of Chaos alone as a 1st-level Elf!


I have similarly vague recollections about the first dungeon I ran (or at least one of the first.)  It was an “ice level” that was heavily inspired by Mountain of Mirrors and other early Endless Quest books.  Slippery staircases, walls that could be melted with torches or fire swords, ice- and snow-versions of various monsters, freeze rays, and a Water Weird; I thought the Water Weird in Dungeon of Dread was the coolest monster ever, and I’m pretty sure all my early dungeons had Water Weirds in them…

dungeon of dread Mountain of Mirrors


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