Friday, March 14, 2014

Tree Maze of the Twisted Druid

Over the holidays I had a chance to hoof it up to my mom's house. She surprised me by handing over a small cardboard box filled with most roleplaying game related things from my tween days in the early 80s.

As a grown man I am almost ashamed to admit how excited I was to get the box. The contents were mildly disappointing, heavy on coverless Dragon and stone age computing magazines. What I really wanted were my old dungeons and notes. Sadly the only things left were some random scraps in a spiral notebook, the most complete find was a first edition Gamma World base.

The best and most chuckle-producing thing I did find, though, was a single half page of a numbered key to a DIY, somewhat narcissistically-titled module, CK1: Tree Maze of the Twisted Druid, that I inflicted on my brother's and best friend's characters (and a couple of my own GM PCs) somewhere around 1981.

The matter would have just died there with that little nostalgia binge if I hadn't been tooling around the internet instead of working and found some touchingly-sweet examples of the kind of handmade modules that any number of other Gen X kids were producing at the time.

The similarities, down to the awkward attempts to replicate TSR- modules got my brain juicing on the completely stupid idea of reproducing that “dungeon” on a “more or less faithful” (cough, cough) degree and inflicting it on a stoic group of 3-7 players. A few feverish hours down, I managed to recreate a big chunk of it down to the cover and crappy hand-drawn map (I drew the line at handwriting all the interior copy)

So behold, straight from the Box from Chris's Mom's Garage (more or less)...
The Cover!

Interior Art!

A sneak peak at the Map!
(An Excerpt!)
Hooks to get your party out of their Sandbox and into the Adventure!
The party is in the hamlet of Hamlet in the Gnome Hills and the Sheriff (7th level fighter, LN) says, “bring me the head of the Twisted Druid, or I will chop off your head!” He has 5d8 hobilars in ring mail with bec de corbins and scimitars with him (40% chance of horseman's mace).

The party jumps through a red demon mouth in the Mauseluem (sic) of Terror and poof they are in the maze!

While drinking at the Prancing Pony Inn the PCs are kissed by a naked lady. Then 4d6 sailors slip knockout drugs into the beer. They steal the best item from each party member and hide them in the Maze!

The party is in the Cathedral of Elemental Naughty and a chute opens and they fall into a big cave that has the Maze in it!


  1. Yep, I just got a box of my 80's-vintage game materials mailed from my folks - Found my original PC, and a couple of home-built adventures, which may also see the light of day.

    And "Cathedral of Elemental Naughty" -

    1. That reminds me that I need to do a post on all the "Found Art" I have discovered in Ebay and Half Price Books old school finds. All those ancient character sheets, maps, cross-sections and other whoha need to go to a happy place.

  2. Priceless. As an adult gaming veteran, you recreated (with a sense of irony) a DIY childhood adventure module that was itself inspired by the professional adventure modules created by adults who were trying to sell a revolutionary new game to the young. Is that about right?

    Anyway, you had me at "RAWR!"

    1. Yep! Gen X ironic detachment and need to overthink simple joys, rawr!!

  3. Just think, in ten years you'll be able to ironically enjoy the half-hearted attempts you meant to make to preserve these child hood scraps.

  4. This post is made of win!

    Love the box of nostalgia, I'm enjoying it and it isn't even mine! I'm trying to get motivated to reconstruct my inverted pyramid minimegadungeon from junior high, but alas my memories aren't very clear.

    Will module CK1: Tree Maze of the Twisted Druid see publication anytime soon? Maybe it could be issued as part of Usherwood's "High Adventure from Middle School" series?

    1. Yes I plan on inflicting the world with a PDF when it's done. Get cracking on that pyramid!

  5. Great find. It's a nice nostalgia trip going through your creations from an earlier era.

  6. I love the druid's evil laugh, and like you, I really like seeing these juvenile efforts from folks. It reminds of the real fun of gaming.

  7. I'm looking forward to visiting my Mom's house this Christmas - for the first time since I started old-schooling - and seeing if she has any of my old stuff socked away.