My friends and I were hanging out one night talking about the “good old days” and D&D came up, of course. We were discussing all the fun we had playing D&D during High School. October tends to be the time of year that I get an itch to start reading up on D&D. One of the guys said, “Hey, we should play some D&D.” And that was that. We started making characters, and I started to look for something to DM.
Rappan Athuk, by Necromancer Games, was the obvious choice. I’ve owned this set of modules since they came out. I bought them at Comics, Games, & Stuff in Maryland. The concept is great. And it’s written to be real D&D rather than the flashy stuff that’s out there right now.
So the first thing I did was come up with a way to “knock the dust off” in the first session. I really didn’t want to start killing characters right away. I decided to add a 1/2 level between levels 0 and 1. Level 0 is the cemetery and level 1 is roughly 30 feet below the cemetery. So I added level 1/2 at about 12-18 feet below the cemetery. I took the map from level 1, cut away some of the details, and simply used this as a map for the players to go by during play. Keep in mind that I added an entryway on the top of the Main Mausoleum. This is in the form of a hatchway. This hatch is not in the original version of the module.
They managed to get about half way through Level 1/2 during the first session.
In case you want to use Level 1/2 in your version of Rappan Athuk, I have provided the “Introductory Characteristics” as per the usual with the module. (Refer to page 4 in Rappan Athuk 1.)
DUNGEON LEVEL 1/2
Difficulty Level: 3
Entrances: From hatchway on top of Main Mausoleum in area G-6.
Exits: Stairs to area G-5 Empty Mausoleum. Opens a secret door that is one-way.
Wandering Monsters: (Same as given in Dungeon Level 1 on page 9.)
Detections: Faint evil from the whole place, slightly more to the southeast.
Continuous Effects: The whole level is dusy and smells of mold. No effects.
Standard Features: (Same as in Dungeon Level 1 on page 9.)
This level is an abandoned level of the Temple. It was once used by soldiers who were in charge of keeping the cemetary under wraps. As the temple extended lower and lower, the soldiers abandoned the level and now reside fully on Level 9. The only remaining inhabitants of the level are ghosts, and monsters. The ghosts are the damned spirits of Orcus’s faithful, going about their duties hoping to be blessed by their dark god.