Part 3: Rocks Fall, Nobody DiesEOTB 1: Rocks Fall, Nobody Dies
The party that will begin this adventure is:
Garry Stew: LE dwarf fighter of unparalleled toughness.
Leonerdo: LG Ranger/Cleric emulating a legendary sewer hero.
Dave Grohl: CG Foo Fighter, Foo Mage, and Foo Thief.
Maskmaiden: CE Cleric/Thief and token lore-friendly character.
They each start with 5000 experience divided between all their classes, rounded down in Dave's case. Some of them will be staying around for quite a while due to the way recruitable NPCs are spread throughout the game and other things I want to show.
When you begin, characters' health is shown via bars. You can change this to show numbers instead in the preferences menu. Everybody starts off wearing leather armor and carrying mundane weapons. Two of them are wearing boots, which don't really do anything. Multiclassing is permissive, equipment-wise: Mages can cast in any armor, and clerics won't be restricted to blunt weapons. The thieves have lockpicks, and the spellcasters have books or holy symbols that are used for casting. Speaking of which, your characters won't start with spells memorized in any of these games. This room is secure and a good place to remedy that. My clerics memorize Bless (attack buff to the whole party), Protection from Evil (single character defense buff), and Cure Light Wounds (restore 1-8 HP). Dave memorizes Magic Missile, a single-target damage spell.
Your top-left character will have a "Commission and Letter of Marque" whose text is also presented in the manual with better formatting:
We're legally entitled to ALL the piss and shit!
Short swords are the only melee weapons that can be used in the off-hand. Dual-wielding gives a hit penalty to anyone other than a ranger wearing leather armor. Rangers do not get spells or any other special abilities at higher levels in these games. They are essentially just fighters who take longer to level up. Daggers in this series are strictly thrown weapons, which means they can be put in the belt slot along with rocks and darts plus some other small items. In the east side of the room, we find some extra lockpicks and a skeleton.
The whole thing can be picked up and only takes up a single inventory space like anything else. These are the remains of Tod Uphill, a thief who we won't be able to revive until we reach the game's 5th level. I've also shown what happens when you click on that grate on the floor. Hunger meters are a mechanic of this series. If they get empty, that character will continually take damage and be unable to memorize spells. They must periodically eat rations, by dragging them onto the plate icon, to prevent starvation.
Past the first door we find our first enemy, a single kobold. Since you have basically infinite mobility, it is possible to avoid almost any potential damage. The hallway it patrols also has a changing point for the rest of the level. Using the All-Seeing Eye shows that the way the layout changes depending on your path:
Thanks to vilkacis for making this GIF from my map screens
I go east, which leads to this:
Gnomes can translate this kobold rune, which is the only one in the game.
After opening a door further on we come upon a larger group of kobolds. They can fit 4 to a tile. When this happens, the heroes and monsters can both only hit enemies on the same side.
One of those kobolds had a mage scroll. Detect Magic is a spell Dave had from the start which gives magical items a blue glow. We also see a floor plate. This particular one opens or closes the door behind it when stepped on. Some later ones will require items to hold them down.
Yum, rations from the sewer floor.
These are purely decoration.
Two paths from the furthest east hallway have buttons in the form of these slightly discolored bricks. They both remove walls. One of them makes a shortcut back to the center of the level.
The other opens a room with some kobolds in it. After you get past them, you can get a +2 dart, though nothing can be identified until at least the second quarter of the game.
When we get closer to the exit, we encounter the other enemies of this level, giant leeches. They have more HP than kobolds, but only one can occupy a tile. Enemies have very specific patrol areas that can be exploited. Moving just one tile to the left would make these leeches completely unable to get to my party.
The southernmost hallway has a shelf on its north side. It has two scrolls, Armor for mages and Bless for clerics. Armor is the first spell that we could have Dave learn. It sets the caster's armor class to 6, but does nothing that mage already has an AC of 6 or lower. If you're not familiar with 2E AD&D rules, lower is better in this case. Since it's useless to him and he's temporary anyway, I won't bother teaching Dave this spell.
This is also where we will find the game's first special quest. Each level besides the last has a special quest, often rather obscure, which give rewards like experience and items. In this case, putting a dagger on the shelf will upgrade it to +4. No, there is absolutely nothing in-game that would make you think to try that.
The entrance to the second level has a puzzle slightly more complex than we've seen before. We have to leave an item on the pressure plate to the left then press the small button on the wall. We also find a single arrow, though we don't yet have a bow.
This ladder is the way to the next level.
Before we can actually get there, we're met with copy protection. Every other page of the rule book has a picture of an item in the top-right corner. The shield is on page 10, and "certain" is the password in this case. There are a couple more instances of this, but the GOG version is cracked to allow anything in response.