Ophira made it a little further than her predecessor. I made a few adjustments by including Moldvay Basic to guide the dungeon exploration, such as keeping track of turns and rolling for a wandering encounter every two turns. Instead of randomly determining the wandering encounter, I worked with the theme and chose a monster from the Monster Manual, scaling it down to a 1st level encounter.
Ophira walked up to the temple at the top of the hill. Vasilis had not been seen in over a week, and this was the last place anyone considered checking. Everyone knew to leave the temple alone. Vasilis had a habit of not listening.
The late morning sun struck the white and gold marble of the pillars and revealed the dark double doors of the temple. There was a pedestal just in front of the pillars. She saw an arm peeking out from behind it, and she felt a surge of dread.
Ophira raced up to see if she could offer any aid but immediately realized he had been dead for days. A bolt stuck out from his chest. She sighed and offered a prayer to Athena as she examined the body. Sad news to bring back to his family.
From the top of one of the columns, black smoke billowed and poured toward the ground. As it came closer, it grew more tangible. Four thin and awkward legs emerged and pulled a dark mass behind it, almost like it suctioned to the ground and slid its bulk across the dirt.
Ophira was speechless and could only watch as the shadowy smoke crawled up Vasilis’s body and forced its way into his mouth. The corpse jerked, loud snaps sounded hollow, Vasilis got awkwardly to his feet.
[GM rolls initiative: 1]
[Player rolls initiative: 3]
[GM sets Timer: 2]
[GM rolls HP: 3]
[Player rolls attack: 6]
[GM rolls attack: 9]
Ophira drew her mace and hopped forward, striking a blow against the gangly corpse. The mace struck solidly against its mail and seemed to not have any impact. It responded with a breathless hiss and swung its fist into her shield.
[GM sets Timer: 1]
[Player rolls attack: 1]
[GM rolls attack: 14]
[GM rolls damage: 2]
The cleric struck at the thing with her mace but was again thwarted by the corpse’s armor. Another ineffective attack. The zombie’s eyes began to burn with a yellow green light. It swung its fist at her, faster, and managed to strike her across the face.
[GM sets Timer: 0]
[Player rolls Turn Undead: 8]
[GM rolls attack: 1]
Fully animate, the corpse moved with more human speed. Ophira called upon Athena and produced her labrys axe medallion. It glowed faintly with a gold radiation but seemed to have no effect on the zombie. Vasilis pried his xiphos free and swung it in a wide arc; Ophira’s shield intercepted the attack.
[Player rolls attack: 19]
[Player rolls damage: 4]
Ophira’s mace retaliated and knocked against Vasilis’s jaw. Its head tilted back and emitted a loud keening, like escaping steam. Black smoke ripped itself out of the body’s throat and dissipated into the air.
She calmed herself, carefully watching the corpse for any sign of movement. Ophira took a few minutes arranging the body with its items before setting it on fire. She didn’t want to take the risk that it might come back. Again.
[GM rolls # of exits (d3-1, min 1): 1]
[GM rolls type and content: 9, common themed discovery]
[GM rolls discovery: 3, 11 lichen/fungus]
Ophira approached the double doors, if there were malicious creatures a half day’s travel from home, it was her duty to determine what type of threat could be lurking inside. The doors creaked open into a long hall leading to the west.
The corridor was spacious and travelled a distance of hundreds of feet until expanding into some sort of reflection room. There were benches of stone scattered through the chamber, surrounded by more pillars supporting a vaulted ceiling. Statues like the ones out front, almost twenty feet tall and bearded, were placed in the corners and ringed the center of the chamber. The stone work was covered by a black and purple moss, like bruises marring the fine sculptures.
[GM rolls # of exits: 1]
[GM rolls type and contents: 12, themed unique discovery]
[GM rolls discovery: 5, pit]
[GM rolls wandering monsters per Moldvay Basic B53: 6, 1]
[GM chooses Violet Fungus from Monster Manual 1E]
The exit from this room also spanned hundreds of feet to the west. The next room was as expansive as the first, an altar dedicated to some forgotten god. He stood like the others, in solemn repose, but rested a maul upon the pedestal. The statue, like, the others, had the same bruise like moss crawling up its length. The rest of the chamber was in disrepair, rubble blocking any other exit, and a gaping pit dropped precipitously into the earth.
Patches of mushrooms and fungus were growing from the pit. A small patch had tendrils which animated as Ophira approached the pit. The fungus bore the same bruise like coloration as the sheet that grew across the floor and up the statue.
[GM rolls initiative: 5]
[Player rolls initiative: 2]
[GM rolls attacks: 15, 20, 5, 6]
[GM rolls damage: 0, 2]
[Player rolls attack: 18]
[Player rolls damage: 1]
[GM rolls hit points: 1, 1, 5, 5]
The tendrils whipped forward and flailed against the cleric. Two of them scored hits, though the first merely left a bruise beneath her armor. The second scratched across her forehead and left a small welt. Ophira brought her mace down on one of them and watched it splatter against the stone floor.
[GM rolls attacks: 11, 13, 4]
[Player rolls attack: 6]
The fungus flailed wildly into the air, threatening but not scoring any hits against Ophira. The snaking tendrils prevented her from getting any closer to dispatching the remaining mushrooms.
[GM rolls attacks: 20, 7, 15]
[GM rolls damage: 1, 3]
One of the tendrils reached across and cracked sharply against her ankle. Ophira was pulled to the ground. A second tendril smashed into her head, rendering her unconscious. The tendrils wrapped around her legs and pulled her prone form into the mossy patch where the three mushrooms waited for their next victim.
[GM note: technically, since all the themes have been explored, Ophira made it to the end of the dungeon. She just didn’t survive the encounter… I think I will use the pit for a 2nd level, should the next victim make it beyond the violet fungus.]