Dungeon of Zenopus
Post new topic Reply to topic Page 1 of 21, 2
Author


Prolific Collector
Acaeum Donor

Posts: 188
Joined: Jun 30, 2004
Last Visit: Feb 21, 2021
Location: Del Norte, CO

Post Posted: Wed Feb 23, 2005 3:35 pm 
 

Hey,
what is this five page Dungeon of Zenopus. Is it something I've missed, or am I in for a big letdown?


http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... Track=true

  

User avatar

Grandstanding Collector

Posts: 5634
Joined: Jun 30, 2003
Last Visit: Jul 20, 2021
Location: New Hampsha

Post Posted: Wed Feb 23, 2005 3:38 pm 
 

A very basic dungeon setup, for true beginners. You investigate some ruins. I thnk there is a 3rd level wizard with a pet ape somewhere in there. Wand of paralyzation stuck under the table?


If you hit a Rowsdower, you get to keep it.

 WWW  


Sage Collector

Posts: 2639
Joined: Jan 23, 2003
Last Visit: Jan 11, 2006

Post Posted: Wed Feb 23, 2005 3:39 pm 
 

*chuckles*. neat selling trick!

there was another one here...
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... 5953443036

  


Prolific Collector
Acaeum Donor

Posts: 188
Joined: Jun 30, 2004
Last Visit: Feb 21, 2021
Location: Del Norte, CO

Post Posted: Wed Feb 23, 2005 4:51 pm 
 

Oh,
It's just the last five pages of the regular blue book. I thought it was something extra. Now I feel like a retard. Thanks for answering anyways.

  


Sage Collector

Posts: 2639
Joined: Jan 23, 2003
Last Visit: Jan 11, 2006

Post Posted: Wed Feb 23, 2005 4:54 pm 
 

ifearyeti wrote:Oh,
It's just the last five pages of the regular blue book. I thought it was something extra. Now I feel like a retard. Thanks for answering anyways.

Thanks for taking that one on the chin! ;) And for the smile. :)

Wonder whether anyone else will recycle that idea... It really wouldn't surprise me to see the BIN snapped up. :?

  


Sage Collector
Acaeum Donor

Posts: 2884
Joined: Nov 04, 2004
Last Visit: May 09, 2020

Post Posted: Wed Feb 23, 2005 5:06 pm 
 

ifearyeti wrote:Oh,
It's just the last five pages of the regular blue book. I thought it was something extra. Now I feel like a retard. Thanks for answering anyways.


I didn't get it at first, either. I'm sure the half-vacant/half-puzzled look on my face was priceless. Then, finally, one of these ...  :idea: ... went off over my head.

Just for the record, the mage is fourth level. Not to mention lame ...  :wink:

 WWW  

User avatar

Grandstanding Collector

Posts: 5634
Joined: Jun 30, 2003
Last Visit: Jul 20, 2021
Location: New Hampsha

Post Posted: Wed Feb 23, 2005 8:18 pm 
 

Was I right about the wand? Huh? Huh? I'm too lazy to go check.


If you hit a Rowsdower, you get to keep it.

 WWW  


Sage Collector
Acaeum Donor

Posts: 2884
Joined: Nov 04, 2004
Last Visit: May 09, 2020

Post Posted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 11:57 pm 
 

Room S2: "... wand of petrification hidden in a secret compartment in the table ... "

 WWW  

User avatar

Grandstanding Collector

Posts: 5634
Joined: Jun 30, 2003
Last Visit: Jul 20, 2021
Location: New Hampsha

Post Posted: Fri Feb 25, 2005 12:19 am 
 

petrifaction? Right?


If you hit a Rowsdower, you get to keep it.

 WWW  


Sage Collector
Acaeum Donor

Posts: 2884
Joined: Nov 04, 2004
Last Visit: May 09, 2020

Post Posted: Fri Feb 25, 2005 12:22 am 
 

Whoops, too many syllables, it looks like.

Yes, petrifaction. And a 2-hit die, AC 7 ape in a cage. :)

 WWW  

User avatar

Grandstanding Collector

Posts: 5634
Joined: Jun 30, 2003
Last Visit: Jul 20, 2021
Location: New Hampsha

Post Posted: Fri Feb 25, 2005 12:23 am 
 

Yup, and the ape can get loose too, right? RIGHT?


If you hit a Rowsdower, you get to keep it.

 WWW  


Sage Collector
Acaeum Donor

Posts: 2884
Joined: Nov 04, 2004
Last Visit: May 09, 2020

Post Posted: Fri Feb 25, 2005 12:29 am 
 

Not only that, he's so pissed at the mage — probably something to do with the whole cage thing — that he has a 25-percent chance of attacking that dumbass first.

This has been kind of fun. It's probably been 20 years (maybe more) since I read through this adventure.

 WWW  


Verbose Collector

Posts: 1655
Joined: Sep 03, 2003
Last Visit: May 17, 2021
Location: Portown

Post Posted: Sat Feb 26, 2005 12:27 pm 
 

The blue book basic set was my first D&D product so I've always been a fan of this "Sample Dungeon". Here's some interesting trivia:

Dr. Eric Holmes, who wrote this adventure, was a physician/professor of neurology at USC. Xenopus (sometimes mis-spelled Zenopus) is a genus of African clawed frogs often used in biological research.

This adventure probably came from Dr. Holmes' own campaign. In the dedication to his book "Fantasy Role Playing Games", he includes "all the adventurers" who "plumbed the depths of the Wizard's Tower". His version probably had more levels since the adventure at the end mentions "the (undiscovered) levels where Zenopus met his doom".

His book has another sample dungeon, called "The Eye of Arzaz", although it's smaller and more random.

 WWW  


Verbose Collector

Posts: 1655
Joined: Sep 03, 2003
Last Visit: May 17, 2021
Location: Portown

Post Posted: Sat Oct 22, 2005 11:04 am 
 

(moved over from: Random Assorted Collecting Questions )

Yama-Arashi wrote:Does anyone else think that the sample adventure in the back of the basic blue book might be the most perfect adventure ever? Just me then?


Although it's simply titled "Sample Dungeon", I've seen this dungeon referred to as "Tower of Zenopus", "Dungeon of Zenopus" or "Zenopus' Basement".

It's unfortunate that Holmes didn't have a chance to write any full-length modules for the game. But if you are interested in more of his style you might try these books he wrote:
1) Fantasy Role-Playing Games (1981), which contains another Sample Dungeon (The Eye of Arzaz); it's not as good as the Zenopus dungeon, but it's written in a very similar style.
2) The Maze of Peril (1986), which is a short fiction novel based on the adventures of Boinger the Halfling and Zereth the elf, who also appeared in the 4 short stories he wrote for Dragon Magazine. Although it's clearly not the same adventure as the Sample Dungeon, there are certain thematic similarities including a thaumaturgist with a wand of petrification and a giant crab hidden in the sand on edges of an underground sea. Also, the artwork on the cover of this book is in mono blue, as if to evoke the blue basic rulebook cover (although the artwork is not nearly as good).

Here are some other threads related to the Sample Dungeon, Holmes and the blue basic rulebook:

woodgrain sale

Differences among early prints of the Basic Set.

 WWW  


Grandstanding Collector

Posts: 5643
Joined: Nov 16, 2002
Last Visit: Jul 26, 2021
Location: Wichita, KS, USA

Post Posted: Sun Oct 23, 2005 4:19 pm 
 

zhowar1 wrote:It's unfortunate that Holmes didn't have a chance to write any full-length modules for the game. But if you are interested in more of his style you might try these books he wrote:
1) Fantasy Role-Playing Games (1981), which contains another Sample Dungeon (The Eye of Arzaz); it's not as good as the Zenopus dungeon, but it's written in a very similar style.
2) The Maze of Peril (1986), which is a short fiction novel based on the adventures of Boinger the Halfling and Zereth the elf, who also appeared in the 4 short stories he wrote for Dragon Magazine. Although it's clearly not the same adventure as the Sample Dungeon, there are certain thematic similarities including a thaumaturgist with a wand of petrification and a giant crab hidden in the sand on edges of an underground sea. Also, the artwork on the cover of this book is in mono blue, as if to evoke the blue basic rulebook cover (although the artwork is not nearly as good).


Holmes also wrote some Boinger and Zereth stories for A&E, back in the day.  I don't know the issues offhand, though.  He also had one or two rejected by The Dragon (!), which are equally good IMO.  

Maze of Peril should still be available from Project Pulp (formerly from Time & Space books) at Authentication required!

In addition, his excellent "Confessions of a Dungeon Master" from Psychology Today (1980) is well-worth digging up from microfilm.


Allan Grohe ([email protected])
Greyhawk, grodog Style

Editor and Project Manager, Black Blade Publishing
https://www.facebook.com/BlackBladePublishing/

 WWW  


Verbose Collector

Posts: 1655
Joined: Sep 03, 2003
Last Visit: May 17, 2021
Location: Portown

Post Posted: Sun Oct 23, 2005 6:24 pm 
 

grodog wrote:Holmes also wrote some Boinger and Zereth stories for A&E, back in the day. I don't know the issues offhand, though.

Yes, it mentions that in the back of Maze of Peril, but as there is no index available for A&E, I haven't been able to figure out which issues,
short of buying them all.  :D  And they don't appear on Ebay often.

He also had one or two rejected by The Dragon (!), which are equally good IMO.

Are these the ones Holmes sent you? He didn't give you permission to distribute them, did he?   :)

Maze of Peril should still be available from Project Pulp (formerly from Time & Space books) at Authentication required!


Yes, I bought it there about two years ago. I believe the copy I ordered from them says First Printing, 1986, so it may be overstock from the original printing, or else a re-print where they didn't bother to change the printing info.

In addition, his excellent "Confessions of a Dungeon Master" from Psychology Today (1980) is well-worth digging up from microfilm.


Yes, I've been meaning to locate that. Also interesting is the Dragon Magazine article where he reviewed the Moldvay basic set when it came out!

 WWW  

User avatar

Grandstanding Collector
Acaeum Donor

Posts: 6720
Joined: Jul 16, 2005
Last Visit: Feb 02, 2021

Post Posted: Sun Oct 23, 2005 6:55 pm 
 

You have to credit that original dungeon for introducing the game.  I played in it as PC back when everything we met was terrifying.

    I remember my fighter character clearly:  Tirandar Dragonhelm, 1st level with an 11 strength (best stat) and 2 (yes, two) hit points.  I lived through the first adventure and rolled a 7 for new hit points.  9 seemed like enough to take a dragon!

    The mystery of the game was what made it a blast...that and the perceived possibility that every monster could be my last.  Lord were we ever cautious!

    Then I made a fatal mistake...I noticed that the game needed more scope so I offered to DM.  I got scope all right...and basically never got to be a PC again.    :cry:


"But I have watched the dragons come, fire-eyed, across the world."

  


Active Collector

Posts: 26
Joined: Oct 13, 2005
Last Visit: Nov 29, 2005
Location: Athens, Greece

Post Posted: Mon Oct 24, 2005 4:04 am 
 

MShipley88 wrote:You have to credit that original dungeon for introducing the game. I played in it as PC back when everything we met was terrifying.

  The mystery of the game was what made it a blast...that and the perceived possibility that every monster could be my last. Lord were we ever cautious!


You've put your finger right on it.  We were so young we didn't know what a sarcophagus was, but when the lid starts to come away and skeletons(!) came out -- heck, there was a stampede for the exit led by our brawny fighter!  We'd all seen Jason and the Argonauts -- animated skeletons couldn't be killed!   8O


"Remember, wherever you go... there you are."

  

User avatar

Grandstanding Collector
Acaeum Donor

Posts: 7960
Joined: Jun 23, 2003
Last Visit: Jul 27, 2021
Location: DFW TX

Post Posted: Mon Oct 24, 2005 12:44 pm 
 

Yama-Arashi wrote:
MShipley88 wrote:You have to credit that original dungeon for introducing the game. I played in it as PC back when everything we met was terrifying.

 The mystery of the game was what made it a blast...that and the perceived possibility that every monster could be my last. Lord were we ever cautious!


You've put your finger right on it. We were so young we didn't know what a sarcophagus was, but when the lid starts to come away and skeletons(!) came out -- heck, there was a stampede for the exit led by our brawny fighter! We'd all seen Jason and the Argonauts -- animated skeletons couldn't be killed!  8O


A similar thing happened in my first adventure.  Seven of us entered B1 In Search of the Unknown (three players and four hirelings we had paid to accompany us)  We got waylayed by a group of Kobolds in the first corridor, and they proceded to kill all of us except for my fighter and the party cleric before we offed them.  I was thinking after that bloodbath that kobolds must be some bad-ass creature, imagine my dismay when the DM showed us the picture in the monster manual where the party is surrounded by the little bastards.."What, those shorties beat the crap out of us?  If I had know they were three feet tall I would have punted the entire group of them!"

Mike B.

 WWW  

User avatar

Grandstanding Collector
Acaeum Donor

Posts: 6720
Joined: Jul 16, 2005
Last Visit: Feb 02, 2021

Post Posted: Mon Oct 24, 2005 5:09 pm 
 

Badmike wrote:
Yama-Arashi wrote:
You've put your finger right on it. We were so young we didn't know what a sarcophagus was, but when the lid starts to come away and skeletons(!) came out -- heck, there was a stampede for the exit led by our brawny fighter! We'd all seen Jason and the Argonauts -- animated skeletons couldn't be killed! 8O


A similar thing happened in my first adventure. Seven of us entered B1 In Search of the Unknown (three players and four hirelings we had paid to accompany us) We got waylayed by a group of Kobolds in the first corridor, and they proceded to kill all of us except for my fighter and the party cleric before we offed them. I was thinking after that bloodbath that kobolds must be some bad-ass creature, imagine my dismay when the DM showed us the picture in the monster manual where the party is surrounded by the little bastards.."What, those shorties beat the crap out of us? If I had know they were three feet tall I would have punted the entire group of them!"

Mike B.


    I know of a couple of PC groups that got killed off by the crazy hermit and his pet cougar in Keep on the Borderlands.  I also know of one group of PC's that ignored the Caves of Chaos and attacked innocent citizens in the keep instead.

    I think the coolest thing about B1 In Search of the Unknown is that monsters and treasure were left entirely up to the DM to decide.  The bones of the adventure are there, but the encounters are left so the DM can grow the needed muscles to run his own game.

Mark


"But I have watched the dragons come, fire-eyed, across the world."

  
Next
Post new topic Reply to topic Page 1 of 21, 2