Medieval Wiltshire, session 3

The 3rd session began with the party assembled at the sealed doors to the basement of the ruins of the cathedral in Old Saurm. We hand-waved the fact that we had a slightly different set of players — this time no knight, but the fool was back, so we had Alfred of Mercia (palmer 2); Big John (fighter 1); Lord Chuckles (fool, 1); the cleric whose name escapes me; and Thomas (druid 1), who now had a wardog and basset hound in tow. I used a “one page dungeon” (OPD) as a prompt, figuring I’d use the maps and some of the general ideas but adapt it to the setting.
The sealing wax on the doors was not much of a challenge for the PCs, but the chains binding the doors were more difficult. Big John failed to break them, despite trying to crank them with a lever, but eventually they brought the horses into the cathedral and used them to pull off the chains from their anchors in the walls. Inside, they found that eerie green torches illuminated the halls and chambers. The next door they found had a brass face which challenged them with a riddle. The OPD said three wrong answers would trigger a disintegration ray, but for mostly 1st level characters that seemed a bit rough. Instead the face shot a single magic missile after three wrong answers. The bigger issue was that, having failed to find the list of riddles I usually have in a binder with some other DMing references, I went with the first riddle that came to mind, and it was more difficult than I realized (I mean, riddles are always easy if you know the answers, but evidently this a was a bit of a stumper!). So things got a little bogged down, and my risk-averse players were ready give up, as the fighter took two missiles and the cleric one (maybe a fourth for the druid? I lost count!). For the curious it was: “I met a man carrying a load of wood. It was neither crooked nor straight.  How can this be?”*

They explored some empty halls and a partly flooded chapel which seemed to be a dead end. Back-tracking, they found some rooms lined with shelves, the shelves holding the skulls of monks who had served the cathedral in the past. Disturbing a door summoned a wraith-like figure of a knight Templar, who radiated cold and fought with a magic sword. They managed to defeat it (basically ogre stats) and continued on, finding a small gallery of art with a huge spider hiding in it. They defeated the spider and called it a night, hauling away the art as treasure.

This doesn’t sound like much of an adventure, but we did have to call it a bit early — it was maybe an hour and a half after the initial chatter with beer and pizza. I’ll have some more interesting encounters ready for next time.


*The classic answer is: it is a load of sawdust; I would have accepted charcoal or ashes as plausible solutions too. The party kept focusing on other shapes that combined straight and rounded sections, with the druid player, my nephew, blurting out answers. In the chaos they repeated a few wrong answers as well. I’m getting less and less enthusiastic about riddles and puzzles. Maybe I just need to have them planned a bit better so there are some clues or foreshadowing — say, if they met a charcoal-burner on their way to the cathedral, or saw a man carting sawdust away from a sawmill.**

**Sawmills probably originated in Turkey in the 3rd century, and spread throughout the Roman Mediterranean and Arabic world. They arrived a bit later in Europe, but would be known to the medievals.

Published in: on May 25, 2023 at 5:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Wayne's Books

Game Gallery ~ Photo Blog

Ann's Immaterium

Mostly physical culture but also writing, gaming, and other dark procrastinations


Collecting, modelling, painting and wargaming in 28mm

Dragons Never Forget

What were we talking about again?

This Stuff is REALLY Cool

Young scholars enthusiastic to tell you about COOL RESEARCH STUFF

Chuck Wendig: Terribleminds

Hey Did You Know I Write Books

Save Vs. Dragon

"We are here on Earth to fart around. Don't let anybody tell you any different."--Kurt Vonnegut


Old School Roleplaying and related musings

Hobgoblin Orange

My return to the world of miniature figure painting and RPGs

The Book Reviews You Can Trust!

Dawn of the Lead

Miniature wargaming and the occasional zombie News

The latest news on and the WordPress community.


Miniature Motivation

Take On Rules

Jeremy Friesen - a poor soul consumed by gaming.

Age of Dusk

A blog that only kills animals.

Roll to Disbelieve

"We are here on Earth to fart around. Don't let anybody tell you any different."--Kurt Vonnegut

A Book of Creatures

A Complete Guide to Entities of Myth, Legend, and Folklore

Making the Past

Diary of an apprentice swordsmith

Ancient & Medieval Wargaming

Using De Bellis Antiquitatis, with the odd diversion...

Riffing Religion

Prophets should be mocked. I'm doing my part.


Magazine of Thrilling Adventure and Daring Suspense

2 Warps to Neptune

Surveying the Gen X landscape and the origins of geek

Dagger and Brush

Miniature painting, wargaming terrain tutorials, reviews, interviews and painting guides


A lair for gaming, sci-fi, comics, and other geekish pursuits.

I bought these adventure and review them so you don't have to.

9th Key Press

Maps, supplements, and inspiration for roleplaying games.

The Rambling Roleplayer Archives

This site is no longer being updated. Check out the new site at

The History Blog

History fetish? What history fetish?

Sheppard's Crook

The occasional blog of a closet would -be wargamer and modeller


A catch all of books, games, and sundry other interests

The Weekly Sift

making sense of the news one week at a time

%d bloggers like this: