The inspiring crew of the Wasp-Class Ship “Vespa Nera” is off into the Bralian Field to find “Quesqueton” the fortress of the two heroes Rohgan and Zelligar. They were told by Prince Andru’s spymaster, Mardan Rhom, that if they could clear the old adventurers fortress, that they could keep it.
So naturally our heroes are heading to this dusty old dungeon to blow off some steam from the stress of their personal lives; Amalia’s family, Hauberks deal, Jason’s reputation, and Leo’s hunter.
All my prep this week was done a month ago. I knew Quesqueton was going to be the adventure as soon as I picked up a copy of Into the Borderlands by Goodman Games.
This excellent hardcover collects two of the most famous D&D adventures, B1 and B2. also known as In Search of the Unknown, and The Keep on the Borderlands. What Chris Doyle and Tim Wadzinski have done is collect the original printings of the modules, and their own 5e conversion. They also included forward letters and several conversions of items and monsters unique to these adventures.
One of these forward letters was from 5th edition’s co-creator, Mike Mearls. In it, Mike talks about how In search of the Unknown could easily be adapted to other settings, like Spelljammer. Obviously, this hit me like a ton of bricks, and I was losing my mind about it all week. So I decided to tackle B1, and introduce it to my players in this game.
The interesting thing about B1, is that it is the very first dungeon anybody playing D&D would ever play. It was included in the basic rules, and was made to teach both DMs and Players several things about the game. I threw away the 5e conversion that Doyle and Wadzinski did (despite it being fantastic) and decided to key the original dungeon myself.
New treasures, new enemies, and old school as fuck.
The dungeon called Quesqueton is famous for being an awesome dungeon, even without monsters and treasures. The idea of it was that it would hold up as good design even when there were no monsters nor magic items in it. I agree with that aspect, but still went ahead and keyed the dungeon with several really cool encounters and items.
It seems that this is going to be the location for a handful of sessions, so the prep area won’t be too full. I’ll reveal more about certain encounters and my wandering monster tables once we pass those parts.
This session did not start out great. The players entered the great fortress Quesqueton, and brought along Gargax, the Goblin Grave Cleric who has been acting as party healer.
They passed through the center entrance, and spotted a Carrion Crawler feasting away on a few rotting corpses. They fought this creature quickly, and investigated their seven different ways of exploration, optioning to check out the kitchens and the dining room.
In the kitchen, Leo found an apron that Jason confirmed was quite magical. It has a yellowish color, with a big purple “Z” emblazoned on the front.
(I will provide the stats for this magic item at the end of the article.)
They immediately got lost in a maze-like part of Quesqueton, and fought a Doppleganger that pretended to be Gargax. They kept exploring, becoming more and more frustrated with the tricks and turns, and having a hard time mapping. When they finally found their way around, they traveled down a long hallway, found Roghan’s workout room, and then dropped into a pit in front of a false door.
This dropped them into a pool of ice cold water, where Amalia was bitten and attacked by a constrictor snake. They made very quick work of it, and started to explore this cavern further, Amalia using prestidigitation to warm up and dry everybody’s clothes.
Turns out they had dropped into some form of cave system under Quesqueton, perhaps a second floor. This was later confirmed when they found an area that had been carved out like the walls upstairs, and they found a set of stairs that would lead them back.
They explored just a bit, but when Leo tried to follow a trail of water, he was almost grabbed by a Water Weird. He ran back to the rest of the party, and they investigated further, with Amalia being pulled in, Hauberk grappling with the creature, and Jason using his spell sculpting powers to electrify the water without harming anybody but the creature. Hauberk grappled with it, and with Leo and Jason’s help, he ripped it apart and swallowed it, boiling it from his insides to finish it off.
The group gets healed up and starts to explore further, finding a smaller cavern that leads off in multiple directions. Leo goes off to scout ahead again, and hears murmuring. The source of it is a Spectator, which quickly notices Leo due to a critical fail on his Sneak. Leo is hit with a confusion ray, and the rest of the team rush in. First Hauberk to slash at the thing, then Jason to provide support and spell blasts. Then Amalia rushes forth, but hangs back near the confused Leo, who attacks her! He gets off two gnarly hits, before the effect ends and Gargax comes in to heal Amalia.
Hauberk slays the Spectator, and the group regroups. They head north, into a massive cave that goes on for hundreds of feet on all sides. The ceiling looks like it has stars in it, but when Amalia uses Fly to get up there, she realizes they are fireflies. She catches one and gives it to Leo as a sign she forgives him for hurting her before, and they have a sweet moment.
They make camp for the night, and of course, are attacked. Six Mud Mephits swarm the group, and Leo starts slaying, with Hauberk joining in. At first it seems like the battle will be long, but Jason rolls over and shoots a Fireball into the mass of creatures, ending the Mud Mephit problem, and giving Chris a real scare, considering he forgot that Jason could sculpt his spells.
And so we end it there, with the crew getting a long rest, and Chris learning what the apron does.
Truly an awesome item for a Swashbuckling Chef like himself.
What I learned
This session started out with a good deal of frustration. The main thing I learned was to be clear and concise with my measurement descriptions, and when there is a long series of hallways, to be clear around how long and wide they are.
After a bit of annoyance though, the party got through and had a pretty great time. Luckily, they cleared out the most frustrating section, and have plenty more encounters with some awesome rooms and monsters left to go. Maybe even some more cool items too? Who knows!
Spelljammer Summaries is a simple Campaign Diary article series about my time running a 5e Spelljammer game. It is filled with many details and lore about Spelljammer, with a good portion of my own homebrew details.
If you have any more questions about how to run your own Spelljammer game, Contact me! I’ll be happy to share any personal resources I use.
Here are a few resources from across the web that got me started!