Saturday, June 6, 2020

The Caller Isn't Captain

Instead of captain, I'm going to liken the spot of caller to the party's communications officer. If this were a Vietnam War movie, the caller would be the soldier with the telephone backpack calling in to headquarters during a battle.

The caller's primary goal—the entire purpose of there even being a caller position in the first place—is to move the fun and action forward. To go from "talking" to "doing." The caller does so by quickly and concisely relaying the party's actions to the GM.

"Quickly," meaning promptly. For example, if the party comes to a door, the caller should immediately (no prompt needed) say, "Thief listens at the door. If he hears nothing, Fighter tests it. If it's stuck, Fighter kicks it down. We're all standing in formation, ready for combat."

A door is routine. The caller should already know the party's actions from several past examples. There's no need to ask anyone what they do, because we've already done this many times. The caller is stating the obvious—not making "command decisions."

As for picking the correct path, that should fall under the routine as well, or it should have been previously discussed, perhaps with the party's mapper. If there's truly a fork in the path with no significant difference, then the caller simply picks one or the other; not because he or she is "in charge," but because discussion would only slow down play.

In regard to special challenges like a symbol puzzle (or whatever), the caller should quickly "pass the conch" to the appropriate player of a character who's best suited for the job. The best callers are those who help the DM make certain everyone gets a chance for as much time in the spotlight as possible.

Once a good "standard operating procedure" is established in a session (often during the phase where marching order is determined), that should take care of most common dungeon situations. If a caller thinks the party should take special care ("We look up at the ceiling for giant spiders"), then by all means tell the GM, but any player can voice such concerns.

From one caller to another, it's a numbers game: the more rooms the players toss, the more treasure they'll find, and that's our entire goal in the game: get treasure.

A good caller knows the difference between minutia and what's critically important to the players' survival. Discuss only the latter, and even that should be brief. Make your plan without over-analyzing the situation (often resulting in "analysis paralysis"), then execute it without second guessing yourselves in the middle of doing so.

The best callers do all of that with one thing in mind: move the fun and action forward as quickly as possible. Let's not just talk about it; let's do it!

All this talk about the caller not being the party leader by default isn't to say that the caller should't strive to be such! The best callers are good leaders!

However, the best leaders do not have to be the caller!

"Leader" is a social position, not a delegated power.

Here's bonus tip from one caller to another: sometimes, the dungeon is set out like a puzzle—but the pieces are spaced far apart. Don't spend too much time on one piece. Sure, give it a good once-over, but be quick to move on and leave it for later. More often than not, later in the dungeon, it becomes apparent where that piece fits in the puzzle.

For example, the classic stone statue missing a head. You can search it up and down, pull all its fingers, set a freshly-disembodied orc head atop its shoulders—do ALL the THINGS—and never figure out why its there. In fact, it may not even have a reason! Maybe it is just junk! Then, down on the next level, you find a statue's head. Now you know where it goes, but there's no way you could have "solved" the "puzzle" earlier.

The name of this blog is Blood or Treasure. That's the metric by which I weigh every decision I make as caller: risk or reward?

As a caller, I found myself asking, "Blood or treasure? Will this course of action ultimately result in chance of harm (blood)—which I do not seek—or will it lead, directly or indirectly, to treasure?"

Of course, everyone knows that sometimes we will have to fight or face danger to win our treasure. In that case, the answer to the question, "Blood or treasure," is "Both."

That, dear readers, is the best answer!

Monday, May 18, 2020

What is 'The Undercrypt?'

There are a number of reasons why I'm running an open-table Stonehell campaign right now.

Stonehell is dead simple to run. I want to meet new people and game during the summer, but I won't have a whole lot of time for RPGs—nothing like I do in the winter. Running Stonehell with B/X requires essentially zero prep work. As close to it as it's going to get.

Stonehell is highly popular among the OSR—I knew it would (eventually) draw plenty of players to an open table. Since I don't have an OSR gaming group, I'm throwing a wide net. The more the merrier!

As I've said before, I took more than a year off from game-mastering to play in OSR games. Now I want to get back into running games. At the same time, I've always wanted to both game-master a published module and an open table, neither of which have I done before.

Running an open-table Stonehell campaign with B/X checks all those boxes!

The last reason I'm running Stonehell is because it will be an inspirational experience for the town-and-dungeon adventure module I'm writing, The Undercrypt. It's basically "Stonehell, plus a town, plus a hexmap," much like Keep on the Borderlands and The Village of Hommlet. Barrowmaze is probably similar on paper, from what I've read—but at 260 pages, it's way bigger than my plans.

The Undercrypt is a multi-level dungeon. It's the underground tombs and catacombs beneath an ancient, sprawling cemetery. It's set up just like Stonehell—four 30' × 30' quadrants to a level. Four pages to a quadrant: two pages to set it up, one page for the dungeon map and tables and one page for the key. Four levels is 64 pages.

The hexmap is of the necropolis the Undercrypt lies beneath. It's really big. It has a pond, a garden, a cedar grove; slough; a hedge maze; a statuary; a public columbarium; pool and fountain; hundreds of mausoleums, obelisks and cenotaphs; multiple different grave yards with thousands of tombstones and markers; a ruined cathedral . . . all sorts of stuff. I don't know how big the hexes will be, but certainly not six miles. Perhaps 60 feet.

Town (actually a manor) carters to travelers passing through to bury their dead. People from all over bring their dead to the necropolis. There's a legendary hero-saint buried in the Undercrypt. As long as he rests there in peace, no undead will rise.

There is no one "scripted" event that threatens his rest, but players have the opportunity—for example, if they rob his sarcophagus. It's on level 1. It's not particularly challenging to reach and isn't specifically guarded. He's interred with his sword +3, plate armor +2, and shield +1. Oh, and magic rings. And a medallion with artifact-level power. None of it is said to be cursed—unless you count the fact that if stolen the whole place will descend into infernal hell.

Bandits stalk through the wilderness near every road waiting for a pomp funerary procession to bushwhack. Grave robbers perch among the tombstones waiting like vultures. There's an invasion force of pig-faced orcs pouring through a portal deep within the caverns below the Undercrypt. The black banners of an infamously-ruthless mercenary company fly above the tents of a camp not far from town. Cultists and necromancers—not all of whom wear black hooded robes and wield kris daggers—seek to usurp the Undercrypt's arcane and esoteric secrets.

The hero-saint's militant order guards the necropolis, but their number are few and thin—especially with the goblin war raging on the borderlands. No one is allowed to enter the necropolis without permission—and that's only given for funeral services. The punishment for trespassing is harsh. The punishment for grave robbing or tomb raiding is death.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Stonehell Claims its First

Ingrid the One-Armed Dragon Slayer
by her player, Josie
Last night's session is why I play Dungeons & Dragons!

One of the most well-known areas of Stonhell Dungeon is what I call the morgue, rooms 27 and 28 in quadrant 1A: a straight hallway with doors lining the walls. Each door leads to a 10' × 10' crypt. Inside each crypt is a monster roll and a treasure roll. The monsters are weak—especially with a Cleric, and we had two—but it's a grind. The 1d6 treasure roll is 50% nothing, but a '1' results in 1d6 × 1000 dungeon bux—that's a whole lotta dungeon bux! They've cleared half the crypts and made a fortune from great treasure rolls.

However, at the end of the hall is a big scary door. Behind that door is your average "evil temple with evil altar." Skulls and stuff. But, no real danger.

As a player, I was let down by that. So, as a DM, you better believe I put a monster in there—a giant rattler stylized as being undead. I gave it enough venom for one "save vs. death" strike—and it landed.

Ingrid the Dragon Slayer took the hit. She failed her save. Black and purple veins of rot started spider webbing outward from the horrific wound on her left arm. She was doomed. The dice said she had an hour of game time to live.

Ingrid's player took the death roll pretty well, but we all knew how much she liked her character and the players weren't ready to submit to the dice's fate yet. "Can we chop off the arm, Walking Dead style, and save the character?"

"She'd bleed out," was my reply.

One of the players offered that the instantaneous use of a Cure Light Wounds spell could "cauterize" the wound without healing hit points (similar to how it canonically cures paralysis without healing). Iver Swiftaxe, the Dwarf, would perform the surgery with a single swift stroke of Ingrid's own sword, "Dragon Cleaver."

As the rest of the party battled the snake, they performed the field surgery. It worked. The amputation cost eight (max damage) of Ingrid's nine remaining hit points. She was incapacitated but alive.

Just then, the entry doors the players had previously spiked closed started to rumble. A bunch of failed wandering monster checks were attacking from behind! The party was surrounded, caught between a giant undead snake and a squad of nine orcs bursting through the doors!

Kesshut the Magic-User's Sleep spell made quick work of the flanking orc horde; eight of nine dropped and the last fled. Our swordmaster (F3), William, rolled tremendous damage on two attacks and hacked off the rotten snake's head.

If you know the room, you know the quadrant's greatest treasure is hidden there. They were stuffing their pockets, bags, sacks, pouches, and backpacks full of coins. More than 20,000 xp worth of treasure to be divided between the six players. Everyone would level once; half would hit the one-level-per-delve limit with hundreds of xp wasted (Bolek the Acolyte went 1,118 over!). Now that's a haul!

They picked up the limping one-armed Dragon Slayer and started to make their way out of the dungeon, thoughts of the riches, fame, and power all this treasure would buy! The exit wasn't far! Just through the now-empty dragon cave, then past the sign and up the stairs—then home free.

There was only one problem. The dungeon wasn't finished with them.

Ever feel like the dice are supernatural arbitrators? I rolled a wandering monster literally right directly in front of the exit. Snakes! The save-or-die kind!

There was no way around them, only through. They fought well, but Swiftaxe got bit. His saving roll failed him. The evil serpent god would have its victim! He went down fighting, defending the rest of the team. So close to the exit, it was a bittersweet victory when the last snake was defeated.

With heavy hearts, they all escorted Swiftaxe to Snorri Broadshoulders, the NPC dwarf in the nearby dwarven statuary (Room 19). Swiftaxe would be laid to rest with full dwarven honors. Everyone said their farewells.

Missing their dwarven comrade, the party ascended, finally, back to the surface.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

On Beginning the Delve Into Stonehell

Map by Erika, who plays our Robber, Nicole
Players in my B/X Stonehell dungeon crawl have explored about half of the first quadrant of its first level in the five sessions we've had. They've met the patrols of kobolds and orcs, slayed the dragon, and—after feeding it a severed arm—talked to the stone head. No one has died.

As for running an open-table, no-commitment game, we've had no "issues," social or otherwise, so far. Everyone has been friendly, relaxed, patient, conversational, enthusiastic, and proactive! When we've played, we've always had a great group show up despite sessions being mainly impromptu.

Both of our last two sessions have had five players. The table is so full of lively personality that I've lowered the limit of seats from six to five. Stonehell better caters to a smaller group, in my opinion as both as player and now DM. Usually, I find five to be the perfect number for online gaming; for this, it's four with three—normally a sparse amount—being good as well.

Of the nine total players, four have attended only one of the five sessions while five have played in three or four games. At least two or three are very enthusiastic to play. Caller is a popular position, a great "problem" to have!

Treasure, and thus XP rewards, have been very "feast or famine," as I expected having been a player at not one, but two other Stonehell tables. While they had a Cleric in the group, the Thief picked the lock to the stone-door crypt, but only raided one of its tombs and haven't returned since. Their robbery was rewarded with a necklace worth 400 gp. That was a random roll, and a damn good one on a table with a 50% chance of no treasure. It was the same delve in which they found a bag of 3,000 silver coins under a random flagstone in a broom closet.

All three characters that session leveled with the Thief hitting B/X's one-level-per-session limit with plenty of excess. So, we have an adept (C2), Oscar; a robber (T3), Nicole; and a warrior (F2), William. All others who weren't at that one particular session are first level.

Right now, the players are still in an early phase where they aren't making great strides of progress with each delve. Stonehell is a mysterious and deadly place; they're in no hurry to meet their unwitting doom. At the same time, I, as the DM, am by no means pulling at their leash or cracking my whip to hurry them along. A slow-and-steady pace for our first half-dozen or so sessions is fine. We're having fun and that's the most important thing!

However, a faster pace would better equalize treasure rewards. Stonhell has an organic rhythm or cadence. Its drum beats only as fast as the players move in real-time.

The two times I played Stonhell, both my characters ended up at the fourth level with starter equipment before the game ended. To avoid that, I knew I was going to increase and redistribute Stonhell's treasure. I multiplied the coin value of everything by 10 using a "silver standard" of currency exchange rate (1 sp = 1 xp, prices are in silver). So, that 400 gp necklace they found was worth 4,000 xp.

Also, I sprinkled generic, base magic weapons throughout the level—a +1 dagger has been found.

At the same time, I've strengthened the monsters considerably. In place of a giant gecko, there was a much more fearsome winged draco hiding on the ceiling. Importantly, unlike the gecko with 3+1 HD, A draco has 4+2 HD—making it immune to the Sleep spell. It glided down and was promptly dispatched.

You don't even have to ask: yes, of course the PC took the "dragon slayer" moniker. This is D&D! Well deserved, too. Ingrid tanked two 1d10-damage attacks!

In last night's session, the delvers were attacked by a giant black widow, a dreaded "save-vs-death" monster. It dropped from the shadows of the "spider web chamber's" high vaulted ceiling, but our Magic-User, Kesshut, nuked it with Sleep.

Earlier in the session, Kesshut had the idea to use his mirror to reflect the party's lantern light upward to a high ceiling in the "bat room." That was a good idea, and it was rewarded by finding a gold ring on a high rock ledge. The party thinks it's magic. And cursed. Or not.

As Nicole used spikes and rope to scale the wall, a band of orcs approached to the edge of torchlight. The Dragon Slayer scared them off with pure intimidation.

Who knows what they'll find if we have a session tonight!

Friday, April 24, 2020

Stonehell Dungeon April 23 Session Report:
"CC's Character Got Blood in His Hair"

Do you, my dear readers and fellow game masters, suffer from anxiety before running a session? Do you cram in the preceding hours and minutes and yet still feel as if you're ill prepared at the start of the game?

From what I've gathered in my 25+ years as a GM, that's fairly common. It might even be the norm. Pre-session jitters come with the territory.

For the first time since I was a sadistic child Dungeon Master in the early 1990s, I didn't really have any butterflies in my stomach before my impulsive April 23 session running Stonehell Dungeon using Old-School Essentials, a reprinting of B/X, the 1981 edition of Dungeons & Dragons.

That's pretty amazing considering it's the first time I've ran a game in more than a year and I had no previous experience with any four of my players!

There are a few reasons I was so calm. First, I ran the game totally as an impulse. Less than four hours between "Anyone want to play some OSR D&D?" and "Stonehell Dungeon at 6:30!" I was cramming the whole time, copying the dungeon maps from the book (using Sumatra), editing them with GIMP, uploading them to, and setting up the dynamic lighting. My mind was occupied; I didn't have time to worry!

Another reason is that I felt at home as a player in Stonehell, at least on the first level. Of course, it's a lot different on the other side of the table, but it really helped that I had wandered the halls as a player.

Lastly, Stonehell is really easy to run. Michael Curtis's style and format is fantastic for use at the table. You don't have to remember a single thing. You don't have to read ahead. Hell, you don't have to read anything at all before playing! Room entries are a line or two at most.

We had a great time. All four players were totally cool. Erika—with whom I was passingly familiar from the OSR Discord Server—was our caller. She did a wonderful job. I could immediately tell she had plenty of OSR dungeon crawl experience. She, like her three comrades—CC, Jacob and Minalt—were all chill, relaxed, friendly, attentive, conversational, and talented players. Bravo, guys! Thank you for playing and thank you for not making my job a chore. I had fun! Zero stress.

As a DM, I was absolutely perfect and never made a single mistake. Well, maybe not perfect and maybe not "sober" by the end of the session, but pretty close. Somewhat close. Okay, I was soused by 10 p.m., but I still remember the end of the session! Mainly. I remember most of the end of the session.

There were orcs and CC's character got blood in his hair.

. . . Yes, that's my whole 3.5-hour session recap.

Oh! Speaking of CC's character—how about this, BoT readers: that son of a gun rolled an 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, and an eight-freaking-teen during character creation! Okay, so it was AD&D's default method: 4d6, drop lowest, arrange, but still! He put the 18 in CON and the 17 in STR and played a Fighter. WIS was his "dump stat," if you can call an 11 that.

Oh again! Minalt was our mapper. Check out this sweet action:

Hell yeah! No grid lines, even!

Thanks for reading!

For the love of Satan, leave a comment, would ya?!

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Six More First-Level B/X NPCs
Rolled 3d6 in Order

Compared to the last six NPCs, this is definitely the "B-Team." At least a half-dozen times, I cursed the plastic cubes out loud. Four characters with CON as their highest ability score. On both of the last, a Thief and a Dwarf, I rolled a '1' for hit points. Ouch!

Enough complaining! Here are six more NPCs, using B/X, rolling ability scores in order with a 3d6x10 "silver standard" rather than gold—and I won't have to convince anyone that not a single pip was fudged even a little:

Level 1 Lawful Magic-User

Strength      12    Dexterity     12
Intelligence  14    Constitution   9
Wisdom         6    Charisma       9

Armor Class    9    Hit Points     3
THAC0         19    Damage       1d4

Weapons: Dagger; staff.
Armor: None.
Equipment: Backpack; garlic; holy water; lantern; mirror; oil (3); small sack (2); tinderbox; waterskin; wolfsbane.
Silver: 49 sp.
Spells: Sleep.

All Felix wanted to do was get out of the Tower and explore the world. Day after day of lessons and night after night of chores filled his life for as long as he could remember. Worse, he hadn't learned a single spell! How was he to get past the night watch? Once again, Felix turned to his books for an answer . . .

Level 1 Lawful Cleric

Strength       6    Dexterity     11
Intelligence  12    Constitution  17
Wisdom        13    Charisma      13

Armor Class    3    Hit Points     8
THAC0         21    Damage     1d6-2

Weapons: Warhammer.
Armor: Plate mail.
Equipment: Backpack; holy symbol; waterskin.
Silver: 2 sp.

No one could take a beating like Belle, and she proved that on many occasion during the holy wars. So, they cased her in armor and threw her on the front lines. She thought that was just glorious and her steadfast tenacity lifted her comrades' spirits. Praise the gods!

Level 1 Chaotic Halfling

Strength      11    Dexterity     12
Intelligence   5    Constitution  15
Wisdom        11    Charisma       8

Armor Class    7    Hit Points     2
THAC0         19    Damage       1d6

Weapons: Dagger; short bow.
Armor: Leather.
Equipment: Arrows (20); backpack; crowbar; hammer; iron spikes (12); lantern; large sack; oil (3); rope (100'); thieves' tools; tinderbox; waterskin.

Gerald spends much his time wallowing in a dank cell slurping gruel. On the "outside," he's either deep in a flagon of ale or passed out in a dark alley. When he's not degrading himself for coppers as a fool in a street circus, he steals to pay for his drink. If he ever finds out the fence set him up on his last heist, he'd probably turn to murder.

Level 1 Lawful Cleric

Strength       9    Dexterity      8
Intelligence  11    Constitution   8
Wisdom        14    Charisma      15

Armor Class    3    Hit Points     3
THAC0         19    Damage       1d6

Weapons: Warhammer.
Armor: Plate; shield.
Equipment: Backpack; holy symbol; tinder box; torches (6); waterskin.
Silver: 10 sp.

When Henry awoke surrounded by corpses and in a pool of his own blood, he was missing an eye. It had been clawed out by one of the dead beasts laying on the ground. He staggered to a nearby pool of rainwater where he dropped to his knees and began washing his face. Behind him, smoke rose from the smoldering ashes and charred timbers of his temple.

Level 1 Neutral Thief

Strength       7    Dexterity     13
Intelligence   7    Constitution  14
Wisdom        10    Charisma      10

Armor Class    6    Hit Points     2
THAC0         21    Damage     1d4-2

Weapons: Dagger; short bow.
Armor: Leather.
Equipment: Arrows (20); backpack; hammer; iron spikes (12); lantern; large sack; oil (3); rope (100'); small sack; thieves' tools; waterskin.
Silver: 12 sp.

Coralie's mother was always telling her she was too young to go out alone, but that didn't stop her from sneaking out at night. Being small helped her climb down chimneys. Just because she couldn't find some far-off land on her cruel school mistress' map didn't mean she couldn't find her jewelry box when she burglarized her home last night.

Level 1 Lawful Dwarf

Strength      13    Dexterity      8
Intelligence   8    Constitution  15
Wisdom        12    Charisma       5

Armor Class    3    Hit Points     2
THAC0         18    Damage     1d6+1

Weapons: Dagger; hand axe.
Armor: Plate mail; shield.
Equipment: Backpack; hammer; iron spikes (12); rope; tinder box; torches; waterskin.
Silver: 9 sp.

Azaghal had wandered among the humans for months with no idea where to find his homeland. His comrades had all been slain in the deepest depths of the earth, casualties of an endless war. When the portal appeared, he had a choice; step through it or die. He fell upon the surface ground in the middle of a rainstorm with no way to return. Was he even on the same world?

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Six First-Level B/X NPCs
Rolled 3d6 in Order

Sometimes, as I sit at my computer working on my multi-level dungeon—tentatively titled "The Under-Crypt"—I like to pick up three of those plastic, six-sided cubes and give them a toss. I'll ask myself, "What kind of character would I roll if I were rolling a PC to play right now?"

Here's a half-dozen answers to that question, using B/X, rolling ability scores in order with a 3d6x10 "silver standard" rather than gold—and not a single pip fudged even a little:

Level 1 Lawful Magic-User

Strength      10    Dexterity      8
Intelligence  14    Constitution  10
Wisdom        11    Charisma       5

Armor Class    9    Hit Points     2
THAC0         19    Damage       1d4

Weapons: Staff; silver dagger.
Armor: None.
Equipment: Backpack; garlic; holy water; lantern; mirror; oil (3); small sack (2); tinderbox; waterskin; wolfsbane.
Silver: 6 sp.
Spells: Charm Person.

Achard would rather be down in the undercroft, recording interrogations and keeping records, but here he was, "adventuring" with an anarchic herd of imbecilic vagabonds. Ah, life was so much simpler before his master's tower was razed. Torturing the perfidious to confess their wrongs against the Guild was much more fulfilling than roving the countryside in hiding.

(Creation notes: Pretty bland until I rolled that '5' for Charisma. Spell was chosen. Silver is what's left from the roll after buying starting equipment out of the book.)

Level 1 Lawful Cleric

Strength      12    Dexterity     13
Intelligence   9    Constitution  15
Wisdom        13    Charisma      17

Armor Class    3    Hit Points     7
THAC0         19    Damage       1d6

Weapons: Warhammer.
Armor: Chainmail; shield.
Equipment: Backpack; holy symbol; holy water; stakes (3); mallet; tinderbox; torches (6); waterskin.
Silver: 2 sp.

The tall, golden-blonde warrior-woman Adeline radiates divine authority and fierce determination. Frost burns in her piercing blue eyes. Everywhere she goes, Adeline leads from the front and by example—by being courageous, trustworthy, steadfast, compassionate, charitable, and wise. Some believe she is flawless, but a few others whisper tales of bloodlust.

(Creation notes: I was thinking, damn, pretty good rolls here; then I rolled the 17! I'm not as inspired by high rolls like this as I am by a mixture.)

Level 1 Neutral Fighter

Strength      14    Dexterity     12
Intelligence   7    Constitution  12
Wisdom        13    Charisma      11

Armor Class    5    Hit Points     5
THAC0         18    Damage     1d8+1

Weapons: Battleaxe.
Armor: Chainmail.
Equipment: Backpack; tinderbox; torches (6); waterskin; wine.

Bram is a man's man. He prefers action without debate. He can fist-fight, hunt, fish and race a horse at full gallop through a forest. He had lots of friends and a good wife who loved him. His young son was growing up to be just like his father. It was just another fine sunny midsummer afternoon when Bram returned home to find his family slaughtered. His wife, clutching their son to her breast, made it into the stable before they were both hacked to bloody pieces. Orcs.

Level 1 Neutral Elf

Strength      16    Dexterity      7
Intelligence  14    Constitution  11
Wisdom        10    Charisma       9

Armor Class    5    Hit Points     5
THAC0         17    Damage     1d6+2

Weapons: Dagger; hand axe; sword. 
Armor: Chainmail; shield.
Equipment: Backpack; rope (50'); tinderbox; torches (6); waterskin.
Silver: 2 sp. 
Spells: Shield. 

While other elven boys were nimble and quick, Círdan grew up tall and muscled, "Like your grandfather," his mother would say. He never met him, but Círdan knew he lived in a far-off human settlement. Círdan would like to meet him someday, if he's still alive. He wondered what type of elf would want to live with humans.

(Creation notes: Name is pronounced Keer-dan or Kyre-dan. Soon as I rolled a 16 and a 14, I knew I had an elf, so I was hoping for good Dexterity. Instead, I rolled his lowest ability score. Then I thought, "A clumsy elf—good reason to leave the homeland and go adventuring!" His grandfather is human, if that wasn't clear. Spell chosen.)

Level 1 Chaotic Magic-User

Strength       9    Dexterity     11
Intelligence  15    Constitution   9
Wisdom         9    Charisma       8

Armor Class    9    Hit Points     3
THAC0         19    Damage       1d4

Weapons: Staff.
Armor: None.
Equipment: Backpack; lantern; large sack; mirror; oil (3); rations (iron, 7 days); small sack; rope (50'); stakes (3); mallet; tinder box; waterskin. 
Silver: 46 sp. 
Spell: Read Magic.

Bookish and shy, short and skinny, Delphin wasn't the adventuring sort. However, his unquenchable thirst for esoteric knowledge drove him out of the tower and into the world. He wanted to know what made the stars glisten. Why did the wind blow? Why was water wet, fire hot, and stone solid? Was the soul immortal? What drove the dead to rise? What secrets did the celestial, the demonic, and the things from other worlds hoard?

(Creation notes: My great rolls, as far as this exercise is concerned, continue. Why can't I roll this well for my PC's? Spell chosen.)

Level 1 Chaotic Fighter

Strength      12    Dexterity     11
Intelligence   6    Constitution  14
Wisdom         9    Charisma      11

Armor Class    2    Hit Points     4
THAC0         19    Damage       1d6

Weapons: Crossbow; dagger; sword.
Armor: Plate mail; shield.
Equipment: Backpack; bolts (30); crowbar; hammer; iron spikes (12); large sack; rope (50'); small sack; tinder box; torches (6); waterskins (2); wine.
Silver: 8 sp.

Soldiers torched his family's wheat field in the fall. Bandits stole his family's barley that spring, and slew his older brother before their eyes. Plague followed, taking both his parents and later, his younger sister. When the mercenary band came along, Edelmire had nothing left to take, not even hope. So, they took him instead. He learned to be a thug and a brigand. He's a mean brute who thinks he's smart. He bullies anyone he can, and tells others to let him do the thinking.

(Creation notes: Finally rolled a bit of a "dud." Hoping at least to roll high HP, but . . . He'd make a better serf or peasant farmer than an adventurer. But, then I rolled high for starting money . . .)