2008-04-20 Palace of the Silver Princess

This was also posted to EN World [1].

B3 Player Map Today we spent a few hours playing through the orange-cover Palace of the Silver Princess available for free from Pandius using the Labyrinth Lord rules. These rules are a “retro-clone game system” designed to take us “back to the basics of old-school fantasy gaming”. The rules are dedicated to Tom Moldvay, author of the Basic Set. Check out the nice list of D&D book covers by Robert Fisher to get some context.

The party managed to steal the ruby in the end!

I had three players. We started with Belfin the elf, Darn the elf, and Marcus the cleric, all on first level. Belfin hired three retainers and promised them that they got to keep the padded armor and short sword he bought them if they came along for this adventure.

Beflin got replaced by Solarus the cleric, Darn got replaced by Darn the second, also an elf, and Marcus got replaced by Wilford the Witless. Later Solarus got replaced by Grump the dwarf, Darn the second got replaced by a nameless cleric, and Wilford got replaced by Archibald the Wise. We lost count of the retainers we lost. Often the party had as much as nine people in it. Ordinary humans came along for armor and weapons, elves and clerics came a long if they got a share of the treasure. Many a cleric died before being able to cast a single spell. More than one retainer ended up turning into a PC. The system is DEADLY.

The last party got to level up in the caves by popular vote of the players. Not much later they found the lair of a harpy that owned over 6000 gp. Remember how the orange book had many empty rooms that you had to stock yourself. I had added this one myself, thinking that the random treasure I had rolled would help them level up. Well, the nameless cleric ended up on level three, so hopes were up again.

The rules left me with some questions. Maybe somebody can help me out.

Other stuff I noticed:

It was fun for a one-day adventure. We’ll be happy to return to D&D 3.5 in our next session.

The following is stuff I didn’t write in my EN World post.

If I were to compare it to D&D 3.5 directly:



Definitely less treasure than the last time I played BECMI D&D. Then again, it was a total Monty Haul campaign, before I knew it I was 9th level and building a keep and taming a dragon to use as a mount.

I definitely think that D&D has evolved for the better. I will readily admit that I like playing heroes, growing to mythic or superheroic levels. I like growing attached to my character, and having a long, successful run in a campaign. I like PCs that are the central protagonists of the game’s evolving storyline, and not grist in a mill, to be ground down by all the deadly horrors that lurk everywhere. I like the tactical richness and character optimization of 3.x, and not the arbitrary monotony of Basic/AD&D combat.

But that is just me – perhaps I am not as hardcore or old skool as I’d like to think 🙂

– Adrian 2008-04-21 13:50 UTC

w00t – they get about 16500 gp on their first session!! 😀

AlexSchroeder 2008-04-21 21:54 UTC

Today I found a note on Mike Hensley’s blog linking to a post in the Help Me Wrap My Head Around Classic thread on Dragonsfoot. The post’s author was Frank Mentzer and it said:

D&D Characters Die Frequently.

Indeed. 🙂

AlexSchroeder 2008-05-22 18:44 UTC

If I were to run it again, I’d use the Improved DIY version by Zak et al.

– Alex Schroeder 2016-04-06 08:37 UTC

New maps

– Alex Schroeder 2017-05-03 21:22 UTC

The Alexandrian writes The Day the Old School Died with some history about the module Palace of the Silver Princess.

These days, by the way, characters in my games no longer die as frequently because of two important house rules by Trollsmyth and Robert Fisher:

  1. Shields Shall be Splintered!
  2. Playing with Death and Dismemberment

– Alex Schroeder 2019-08-06 20:40 UTC

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