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Celebrity Game Table
The Tegel Campaign
By Philip Athans

10/13 All About Me
10/13 The Old School
10/16 Dice, Fate, and Happenstance
10/18 The House Rules
10/20 Accessories Make the Game
10/23 To 3 or Not to 3
10/25 The Player (Character)s

The Players

For now, let’s see what an Old School character looks like, generated and maintained using Aaron Allston’s Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia, from TSR circa 1991. Here they are, the Tegel Campaign player characters . . .

 

Mary-Elizabeth Allen
as Luthena

Class: Fighter
Level: 3
Alignment: Neutral Neutral
Hit Points: 21
Armor Class: 0
Strength: 16, Intelligence: 12, Wisdom 9, Dexterity: 14, Constitution: 14, Charisma: 14

Equipment: Shield, dagger, sling, tinder box, torches, rope, and two flasks of oil.
Magic Items: +1 Sword, and +3 chain mail
Treasure: 160 gp, 28 sp, and 82 cp.

Luthena is fairly new to the Tegel Campaign and as such she’s still catching up to the others in certain categories, like material wealth. Still, she’s one of the toughest and fightingest characters in the party and never shies away from combat. She holds the record for the highest initiative roll: 13. Jess was put in his place. Also, she’s the hands down winner of this year’s "14 Roll-Off."

Peter Archer
as Snarf Thunderthighs Wolfbiter Seamripper

Class: Halfling
Level: 6
Alignment: Neutral Good
Hit Points: 25
Armor Class: 5
Strength: 15, Intelligence: 10, Wisdom: 8, Dexterity: 12, Constitution: 10, Charisma: 8

Equipment: Short bow, torch, lantern, wine, rope, arrows, chain mail, a hand axe named Bibliowhacker, a short sword named Goblin Nicker, a warhammer named Skelemasher, a crossbow, and something called "firetongue" that I’m going to have to ask Peter about.

Magic Items: The Helm of Jaerik.

Treasure: 762 gp, 78 sp, 82 cp, and the deed to Tegel Manor.

Snarf is the solid core of the Tegel Campaign party. Sure, he dresses in women’s clothing the few times he isn’t naked all together, but he’s courageous and resolute to the last. Snarf has a fondness for the finer things in life, though he never actually manages to get any of the finer things in life. After finding an especially well-loaded treasure hoard, Snarf skipped back to town and made Altarontha -- the lady who ran the local boarding house—an offer she couldn’t refuse. She moved out the next day and Snarf became the proprietor of the inn. When he demanded that the two men who worked there, Shark Mersin and Vinca One Eye, accept a cut in pay, they burned the place down leaving Snarf to pay for the clean-up. The rest of the party actually considers this one of Snarf’s successes.

Permanently affixed to his head is an extraordinary magic helmet called:

The Helm of Jaerik

The helm is magic. It sticks to anyone who puts it on and it won’t come off without knock or dispel magic being cast on it. Once it’s removed from someone’s head by magic means, it will never go back on that head (like two magnets trying to touch the wrong ends). If a character dies wearing it, it still adheres, and if anyone touches the body after the first midnight passes after the death, that character becomes a zombie (if in the first year after death) or a skeleton.

The helm has a different power every day. At midnight, roll 1d12:

  1. Wearer can lay on hands, as a paladin, to heal 2 hit points of damage per level of wearer, twice that day.
  2. Wearer falls asleep, and sleeps soundly all day unless the helm is removed.
  3. Any disease the wearer has will be instantly cured and the wearer can cast cure disease once that day.
  4. One of the wearer’s limbs goes numb and is useless all day. (Roll 1d4: 1. right arm, 2. left arm, 3. right leg, 4. left leg)
  5. The wearer can fly up to a maximum height of 1,000 feet, at double normal movement rates, at will, all day.
  6. The wearer is convinced that he is Jaerik XXIX, King of All the World -- a Lawful Neutral fascist megalomaniac -- and stays that way all day.
  7. The wearer can shoot lightning bolts out of his or her eyes with a range of 10 feet per level of wearer. The bolts inflict 1d6 damage per level of the wearer and can be fired once that day.
  8. The wearer becomes blind for the rest of the day.
  9. The wearer can jump up to 100 feet across (arc has to be 25% of length), 30 feet up, and can fall up to 40 feet without taking damage (a fall of 50 feet = 10 feet, 60 feet = 20 feet, etc.) once each that day.
  10. The wearer is deaf for the rest of the day.
  11. The wearer’s blood turns poisonous. Anything that bites the character that day must make a saving throw vs. poison or die in 1d4 rounds.
  12. Roll a random attribute – it becomes 3 for the rest of that day, with all penalties applicable.

Snarf is also the rightful owner of Tegel Manor, as the document below will prove. He found it in a dungeon somewhere.

Deede 

Sworn upon the Seat of Modron

by those who by right testify

Verily

The holdre of this parchment shall present himself to the fathres of the faire hamlet that is Tegel and thereupon take possession of the Manor.


In the name of the Overlord, tho without His Blessing is deede conveyed, tho no Title conferred.

 Hear all, Read all, and Obey.

This on the 23ered Day of Novembre

in the Year Four Thousand Three Hundred and Three

B.C.C.C.

 Ulezh vonHowminn

Doer of Deedes

Modron

Lizz Baldwin
as Mrs. Bojangles

Class: Thief
Level: 5
Alignment: Neutral Evil
Hit Points: 14
Armor Class: 5
Strength: 8, Intelligence: 9, Wisdom: 8, Dexterity: 15, Constitution: 11, Charisma: 9
Open Locks: 35%, Find/Remove Traps: 30%, Pick Pockets: 40%, Move Silently: 40%, Climb Walls: 91%, Hide in Shadows: 28%, Hear Noise: 50%, Read Languages: 80%.

Equipment: Two perfume bottles, a silver dagger, rope, thieves’ picks and tools, two waterskins and one wineskin (important distinction), short sword, 13 days’ iron rations, backpack, sling, holy water.

Magic Items: Leather armor that makes her more attractive and is, I think, +1; an amulet that causes her to not bleed, no matter how wounded she is; a potion of invisibility; and something that might be a magic item called "aid manual ascension."

Treasure: A necklace, a ruby, earrings, and a choker that are worth something I’m sure, a bracelet worth 500 gp, plus 1,492 gp, 673 sp, and 200 cp.

There might be more of all of the above on her scratch paper—the same sheet of which she’s been using for a year.

Mrs. Bojangles is the boss of the party in much the same way Lizz is the boss of everyone Lizz knows in real life. She will look for traps if asked nicely but you will not ask her to open anything. Mrs. Bojangles is also the baddest character in the party, on every level. She makes excellent use of her Dexterity and thief abilities, once even pulling off a kick-ass Jet Li move in a narrow corridor.

Lizz wins the prize for the messiest, least organized character sheet. I just have to show you:

I really just take her word for it at this point.

Jocelyn Folawn
as Mara Flowerbottom

Class: Cleric of Frantilla, Goddess of Flying
Level: 5
Alignment: Neutral Good
Hit Points: 27
Armor Class: 2
Strength: 14, Intelligence: 10, Wisdom: 16, Dexterity: 8, Constitution: 9, Charisma: 6

Equipment: Mace, sling, backpack, shield, holy symbol, waterskin, four torches, bandages, Snarf’s clothes (don’t ask), and plate mail.

Magic Items: A staff that so far healed Plathus once but didn’t heal Snarf but that she hasn’t had a chance to have analyzed yet; a helm that sometimes makes her fly into a berserk frenzy, which, though hilarious, she never wears; what appears to be a scroll of some kind; and I think that’s it.

Treasure: A pouch of unknown zombie tea dust (again, don’t ask), two bracelets worth 150 gp each, a silver half-moon necklace, 806 gp, 197 sp, 610 cp, a book titled The Day I was Stabbed in Modron, and the diary of someone she’s never met named "Catherine R."

Flowerbottom can, like all 5th-level clerics in Basic D&D, automatically disintegrate the first 2d6 skeletons or zombies she encounters. This has forced me to enact the following, till now unwritten rule: skeletons and zombies will henceforth be encountered in groups of 2d6+12.

Flowerbottom has injected a level of sensitivity into the game. She even went so far as to shed a tear when the local priestess, a cleric of another faith no less, tragically committed suicide. The rest of the party didn’t care, but she went so far as to try to make funeral arrangements and take over as the humble village’s spiritual leader.

She’ll be punished for that in the weeks ahead.

James Jacobs
as Lardus

Class: Elf/Orc
Level: 4
Alignment: Neutral Neutral
Hit Points: 20
Armor Class: 3
Strength: 10, Intelligence: 13, Wisdom: 7, Dexterity: 9, Constitution: 14, Charisma: 4

Spellbook: Magic missile, read magic, charm person, protection from evil, detect magic, analyze, entangle, mirror image, ESP, and locate object.

Equipment: Long bow, 20 arrows (of which he’s fired eight), shield, sword, plate mail, backpack, six torches, tinder box, hammer, five spikes, six days’ worth of rations, a jar of garlic, a jar of sweet and sour syrup, and three flasks of oil. He’s made note of his intention to buy a cauldron and a big wooden spoon.

Magic Items: Rumpole’s Arm, which is a magic halberd that can detect traps (but not always) and allows Lardus to fly. He also had a really cool magic throwing knife, but he let that one get away.

Treasure: A book titled Recipes for the Preparation of Human Flesh by Retok, another book this one titled Why I Hate the Gods by Rodek the Rational, 418 gp, 317 ep, 318 sp, 615 cp, 142 gp, 613 gp, 3870 cp, 53 cp, 5 sp, 13 gp, 1 gp, 20 sp, 140 cp, 6 gp, 20 sp, and 82 cp.

Ah, Lardus.

On the opposite end of the character sheet spectrum from Lizz’s Mrs. Bojangles is James’s ultra-neat Lardus. Not only did he actually write down how many arrows he bought in the first place, but he’s actually been tallying off the ones he’s fired. A man after my own heart. I’m not sure what happened when he got to the "MONEY and TREASURE" box on the sheet. It does seem though that at some point they must have found a bunch of copper pieces that, when divided between the party members, gave each of them 82. Hmm.

We’ve already gone over Lardus’s inability to hit anything, so I think the only burning question left is the whole Elf/Orc thing and what that’s all about. Well, in Basic D&D, there is no class/race distinction. All elves are fighter/magic-users, and all halflings and dwarves are basically fighters with some special abilities. Lardus started life as an elf and in all ways, including his continued ability to cast spells, he still is, but thanks to one of Tegel Manor’s many chaotic surprises, he now looks like an orc.

My favorite thing about Lardus is that when his halberd gives him an uneasy feeling about something . . . he listens!

Jess Lebow
as Plathus the Quick

Class: Elf
Level: 4
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Hit Points: 18
Armor Class: 1
Strength: 18, Intelligence: 16, Wisdom: 11, Dexterity: 16, Constitution: 11, Charisma: 6

Spellbook: Read magic, protection from evil, detect magic, magic missile, charm person, analyze, entangle, mirror image, ESP, and locate object.

Equipment: Crossbow, 44 bolts, long bow, 50 arrows, plate mail, two-handed sword, backpack, three flasks of oil, small pouch, rope, wineskin, helm, and a few other things I couldn’t read.

Magic Items: A jeweled +1 sword that glows, producing light in a 20-foot radius; a Ghost Dispelling Blade, which is a +1 sword that has a 75% chance of dispelling ghosts; an arrow of speaking; the Amulet of Fromaz Din; a ring of holiness; gauntlets of ogre power; and a potion of black dragon control.

Treasure: A ring he’s never had appraised, 1,403 gp, 175 ep, 410 sp, and 5,201 cp.

I really hope Jess doesn’t think Plathus is actually carrying all this stuff. For the record, this is what happens when you’re a nice guy and don’t whine about encumbrance.

Jess was worried about this article revealing things about his character that he was keeping secret from the rest of the party. There’s one of these in every group, isn’t there? Reminds me of my friend Gordon who once played a Neutral Evil fighter/cleric who never told anyone he was a cleric and only healed himself. My only consolation to Jess is not detailing what the Amulet of Fromaz Din actually does.

Plathus was, until recently, possessed of the Dreaded Two-Hand Attack. A trap cut off his right hand, though, so now he uses the Dreaded Left-Hand Attack. Neither really works well for him, but he at least he always rolls high for initiative so we get his 1-2 misses out of the way fast.

Isn’t it weird that Plathus has way more magic items than anyone else?

and introducing…
Laura Veasey
as Smedly
(no picture available)

Class: Fighter
Level: 3
Alignment: Neutral Neutral
Hit Points: 24
Armor Class: 0
Strength: 16, Intelligence: 12, Wisdom: 10, Dexterity: 16, Constitution: 14, Charisma: 9

Equipment: Plate mail, sword, shield, long bow, waterskin, tinder box, rope, 10 spikes, small hammer, backpack, six torches, rations, a flask of oil, dagger, and a quiver of arrows.

Magic Items: None. She should get on the ball. Maybe Plathus can spare a couple.

Treasure: 39+142 gp, 28 sp, and 82 cp.

Hey, there’s those 82 cp again!

Laura is the newest addition to the Wizards of the Coast Book Publishing team, and the newest player in the Tegel Campaign, so her character is still kind of wimpy and doesn’t have much stuff. Laura’s learning quickly and Smedly has the potential to become a fighter to be reckoned with. She’s definitely the strong silent type.

Of course, I could always make her the victim of some sort of curse or geas or something. It’s worked for everyone else at one time or another. . . .

And so there it is, the Tegel Campaign and the characters that bring it to life, played in the second floor conference room in the west building of Wizards of the Coast’s corporate offices in Renton, Wash., over lunch on Wednesdays and Fridays.

The campaign’s message? If there is one, I guess it’s that D&D -- whatever edition you use -- is a game, and a damn fun one. Rules make it work, but don’t forget the fun.

About the Author

Phil Athans is a senior editor in Book Publishing at Wizards and the author of the successful novelization Baldur’s Gate. For more about Phil, read his author biography.

Back to the Tegel Campaign Home Page

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