Adventures In The Dungeon

Originally published in The Official Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Coloring Album with the following statement:   ADVENTURES IN THE DUNGEON © E. Gary Gygax, 1979

Discussed in this post.

The center of this book contains a specially designed game board for you to experience the excitement of a mystical treasure hunt.  Normally a Dungeons game has very few actual rules, and the play is controlled by a Dungeon Master.  In this game the author is the Dungeon Master and his “rules” may be found throughout the book at the bottom of each page.  The Order of Combat appears next to the dungeon map game board.

How To Play

The Adventure In The Dungeon is designed so that you can play with up to four persons – or by yourself. Before you begin, however, you will need a pair of ordinary dice, scratch paper and a pencil.  As soon as you have those items, you’re ready to go adventuring after fame and fortune.


Your party of four bold adventurers has been charged with the recovery of a Holy Relic, a mystic talisman of great power against the hordes of Evil threatening to overwhelm the Kingdom of Good.  You know that it is hidden somewhere in the depths of the vile dungeon, guarded by terrible minions of the Dark One.  You have just descended the stairs (START), and you are now facing the greatest peril you have ever known, in quest of the Holy Talisman of St. Cuthbert!


Each of the four characters may be represented by a player, or one player can represent two or more of these adventurers:

Paladin:  A holy and dedicated fighter, Adelhardt is able to remove (cure) a hit from himself or any other character, but only once during the adventure.
Rangeress:  A skilled fighter and magic-user also, Krylla can always attack a monster before it attacks the adventurers.
Fighter:  Being a dwarf, Ibli is resistant to both magic and poison, so monsters using these attack forms deduct 1 from their dice when using such powers against him.
Wizard:  By using magic spells, Regalan is able to inflict two hits upon any opponent, but only if he is not struck first by the monster's attack.  If attacking magically the Wizard needs only a roll of 4 to score a hit.


The characters move nine squares each turn.  They may move in any direction, but it is suggested they stay together as one party.  Mark the dungeon map to show route of movement in light pencil.  If you retrace route, use dashed or other colored line.  If a monster is not encountered during one complete tum, characters move on, nine more squares.

Play Routine

Characters move.  When any character enters a room with a monster, combat takes place.  The characters may choose to leave after the monster has attacked.  (EXCEPTION:  Giant Rats.)  The monster always attacks first, unless the Rangeress is with the characters; then she may opt to attack before the monster attacks.  Combat consists of rolling the dice to score hits.  Keep track of each hit scored, whether on monster or character, so that whenever one or the other is killed a record is marked.  When a monster is killed, the characters move on.  If the characters are all killed, the adventure is over.

Note Regarding Combat

Monsters and characters alternately roll dice until the monster(s) or all of the characters are slain.  Each such exchange is called a round of combat. i.e., the Rangeress attacks (if applicable), the monster attacks, and the characters attack and this is a round of combat.

How Hits Are Scored

Dice determine hits.  You will note that each of the characters has a “Base Score Required” to: a) Hit a Monster, b) Be Hit.  The Paladin, Adelhardt, for instance, will hit a monster on a dice score of 4 or better; but he is hit by monsters only on an 11 or better total when the two dice are rolled.  Whenever a character matches or exceeds the number required to hit a monster, or the monster’s roll scores a high enough total to hit a character, one hit is scored, unless the monster has an exceptional ability which causes two hits.  Remember also that the monsters have certain special features which might subtract from a character’s dice rolls and add to their own attack dice rolls.

Keeping Track of Hits Scored

Write the name and class of each character, and after the class show the number of hits he or she can withstand.  The Paladin, for example, can withstand nine hits before being slain:
Adelhardt – PALADIN:  9
Then, when a hit is scored upon him, draw a line through the nine and write an eight after it.  After receiving four hits, the notes would look like this:
Adelhardt – PALADIN:  9  8  7  6  5
Monsters need only be tallied (IIII) as it is usual for combat to last until the creature is slain.  If you decide to leave before the monster is killed, note the name of the monster and the number of hits inflicted so far.  A monster which can withstand five hits is slain only when the fifth hit is scored.  Until then, it fights normally.


It is obvious that the Holy Talisman must be found in order to win.  Also, the fewer characters killed in the process of finding the prize, the more profitable the victory.
Locating the Holy Talisman can be accomplished only by combatting the monsters.  Each time one is slain by the adventurers, the dice are rolled, hoping for a score of 12.  If such a score is rolled, then the prize has been found!  Get out of the dungeon immediately!  Do not risk further fighting, as there is nothing of value to be gained.  It is more probable that you will not roll a 12 even after killing off all of the monsters, so when only one monster remains, it must be the guardian of the Holy Talisman.  That is the prize is always with the last monster left alive, providing it hasn’t previously been found.
After several runs through the dungeon, you should find it fairly easy to beat the monsters most of the time, often by large margins, because of what you have learned.  Keep track of these games by using the following scoring system.


Score 25 points for each character alive when the quest is over.  The monsters score 10 points for every adventurer they manage to slay.
As the quest can be over only when the Holy Talisman has been recovered, scoring is done when the adventurers gain the prize and leave the dungeon.  The prize does not count in scoring.  The scoring is set up to allow victory for the adventurers unless they lose three of their four members (too high a price to pay to recover even the mighty relic they are seeking).  If you wish to see how well your games stack up, here is a comparative chart:

The Dungeon

Each monster is listed below.  Special advantages for each creature are noted, as is the number of hits needed to slay each monster.
AREA 1:  Lair of the Ocular Terror:   This monster can attack all of the adventurers at once (roll dice for each attack, of course), gaining a +3 bonus on each roll!  It takes eight hits to slay this creature.  Its attack form is magical.
AREA 2:  Demon’s Den:   Only the Paladin and the Wizard can hit this monster.  It can hit any one character, with a +1 on its dice roll too!  It takes five hits to slay the demon.  Its attack form is magical.
AREA 3:  Rats’ Nest:  These huge rodents swarm over the party, so until they are all slain, no character can leave the place.  The swarm attacks each character each round of combat.  Spells cannot be used against the rats.  It takes eight hits to kill this horde.
AREA 4:  The Ogre Mage:  Due to this monster’s magical abilities, it inflicts two hits upon any opponent when a successful dice roll scores the total needed to hit an opponent.  All opponents must subtract 1 from their own dice rolls to hit it.  It requires four hits to kill the Ogre Mage.  One of its attacks is magical, so if the Dwarf Fighter is hit, only one hit will be scored, not two.
AREA 5:  Chamber of the Ochre Jelly:  This amorphous blob can attack two opponents at once, rolling separately for each.  Only the Wizard or the Dwarven Fighter, Ibli, is able to attack this monster.  It takes five hits to kill it.
AREA 6:  The Gorgon’s Room:  This creature can inflict two hits upon each and every character, provided it isn't struck first!  It takes six hits to slay the Gorgon.
AREA 7:  Octopus Pool:  This giant monster will be able to attack twice per round of combat, and any character it hits will be entwined by a tentacle.  If that character fails in turn to hit the monster, he or she is dragged into the water and drowned!  Eight hits will slay the Giant Octopus.
AREA 8:  Corridor of the Cadaver Creeper:  If any character is hit by this monster, he or she is paralyzed until the Paladin uses his powers to remove the hit. (If already used, the character dies!)  It takes but two hits to slay this creature.  Its attack form is poisonous.
AREA 9:  Xorn’s Burrow:  This elemental creature of earth can attack three characters at the same time. It gets +1 on each of its dice rolls, and opponents must subtract 2 from their dice rolls to hit lt.  Five hits will kill this monster.
AREA 10:  Hall of the Remorhaz:  This monster inflicts two hits upon any character it successfully attacks.  It has +2 on its attack dice rolls.  It subtracts 2 from opponent dice rolls to hit it, and any miss (except by the Wizard using magic) makes that character unable to attack the monster on the next turn.  It takes seven hits to slay this monster.
AREA 11:  The Spider’s Nest:  This bloated horror can entrap its opponents in its webs, so upon entering, all characters, including the Rangeress, must roll as if they were striking the spider.  A hit means that the character has cut the spider’s webs, a miss means they are entrapped until the spider is dead or untrapped characters are killed (and the spider eats them!).  The creature inflicts two hits on a roll of 12, one hit otherwise.  It takes three hits to slay it.  Its attack form is poisonous.
AREA 12:  Hall of the Brownish Brute:   Only one of the characters will be able to attack this monster during any round of combat.  It attacks at +2 and subtracts a 2 from opponent dice rolls to hit it.  It takes two hits to slay the Brownish Brute.
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).  Each will attack an adventurer (or all will attack the sole survivor, or any combination so long as all four attack).  They attack at +1 on their dice rolls, and opponents deduct 4 from their dice rolls to hit these monsters.  Each takes but a single hit to destroy, however.


The following combat order is always used, unless a special ability of the monster prevents following the order exactly.  (The Giant Spider at Area 11, for example, has the possibility of preventing one or more of the characters from being able to do anything.)
First:  The Rangeress may choose to attack first, except in the special cases where the monster is immune to her attack, i.e., the Demon and the Ochre Jelly.
Second:  The monster attacks one, two, three or four of the characters, according to the abilities it possesses.  If there is more than one person playing, anyone can roll combat for the monster by agreement.  An attacking monster will always attack the character or characters who are attacking it at first.  It will otherwise work down the list from top to bottom, from Paladin to Wizard.  The Giant Octopus, for instance, can attack twice per round.  If the Rangeress attacks it first, the monster will always then attack the Rangeress and one other character, or attack the Rangeress twice if she is alone in the area.  If the monster can be fought only by certain characters, then that monster will fight only those characters until they, or it, die.
Third:  The characters now choose to flee the area or remain and fight.  They attack (dice are rolled for each to score hits on the monster) in turn, from the top to the bottom, Paladin to Wizard.  Of course, if the Rangeress has already attacked first, then she does not again attack.  If only certain characters can attack the monsters, they go in order, the others being omitted.
Fourth:  Combat procedure reverts to the first step, with the Rangeress again having the option to attack first, etc.  Combat goes through the three steps until:  a) the monster is slain, b) all the characters are dead, c) the characters choose to break off combat instead of attacking in the third phase.


The Holy Talisman of St. Cuthbert is hidden somewhere in the dungeon, guarded by one of the monsters.  Each time a monster is slain, roll the dice to get a 12.  If a 12 is scored, the treasure is there, and the quest is completed!  If the Talisman has not been found, and only one monster remains, that monster definitely has it (you don’t need 12 to get the treasure).

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