Solo Funnel – Return To the Wumpus Cave

After the previous experiment with a solo funnel, I made some rules changes and decided to try again.  I decided to use the rule for untrained combatants, where the untrained can be hit on a 7+.  All funnel characters are untrained.  As you will find out, this proved to be a deadly rule.

I used the same adventure as the previous funnel.  This time, however, I rolled for daylight hours.  1-2 morning, 3-4 daytime, 5-6 night.  Rolled a six.  Altar Boy lights a torch and they peer in the cave.  Astrologer notices the Manes in the rear of the cave.  Note that these are not the powerful Manes of the Infernal Realms supplement , but rather a 1st level Demon from AD&D.  Rolled initiative, ties go to NPCs.  The distance was 50′, manes advanced to max distance of 30′.  Rat Catcher opens fire with his slingshot, hit.  Stage Magician hits with his javelin.  The rest, except Altar Boy, rush in.  One Manes goes down.

More blows exchanged, Wood Cutter is slain.  Noble’s armor lets him survive this round.

Stage Magician summons image of giant bear entering cave.  Two of three manes fail Save and prepare to flee. Altar Boy fails save and flees into cave.  Rat Catcher fails save and flees into cave.  The rest pound on the Manes as they attempt to flee.  Two go down.  The brave one swings at the Bear, dispelling the image.  It then kills Astrologer and Outcast.  The rest of the party finish off the manes.

Regrouping, they pilfer equipment from the slain. At the first cave junction, I roll odds/even fr path.  They take the east path toward the green slimes.  This time, with no living members with Wisdom, there’s no notice roll.  Four green slimes drop, 3 hits.  I dice off the party members, lowest rolls get hit. Altar Boy, Stage Magician and Noble are slimed.  Altar Boy’s torch goes out.  Without any other source of fire, the two survivors listen in horror in the blackness as Noble’s screams turn to gurgling and then the drip-splat of oozing slime.

With no fire, Trickster and Rat Catcher feel their way eastward to another cave exit, and escape.  Still determined to slay the Wumpus that eats the villagers, they rest up for a week.  Wounds healed.  Between them they earn 3gp, enough to buy a tinder box.  They build 1d6=5 improvised fatwood torches (3 turn burn limit) and return to the main cave entrance.

Heading south at the junction this time, they come upon a stream flowing from a pond and then into a hole in the wall.  Something clicks and the hole closes.  Water begins to backup and then flow deeper into the cave.  Shrugging, they splash their way east into the main cavern and it’s many sub chambers.

Many of the encounters from the previous run of this  map are replayed.  The poison frogs lose initiative, and our heroes retreat.  Simple reaction roll put the frogs not in the mood to pursue.

Skeleton attacks and Trickster smashes it with the Wood Cutters ax.  Once again nothing to make them vulnerable to Ear Seekers.  Leaving the center cave complex, they meet a party of five Kobolds.  Reaction roll 1d6:

1 – Attack immediately, 2 – hostile, 3 – unfriendly, 4 – cautious, 5 – hospitable, 6 – friendly

Rolled a 5.   It turns out the Kobolds are looking for the Wumpus also, but are disinclined to ally up.  Nonetheless, they are willing to trade.  Trickster trades a rope and 10′ pole for two torches.  Agreeing to peaceable terms should they meet again, the heroes head south and the Kobolds go north.

Next cave has a giant spider. Rolled d6 for position,   (1-2 unfavorable, 3-4 neutral, 5-6 favorable) got a six.  It wasn’t paying attention to them at first.  Trickster lights an extra torch and they use the threat of fire to try and circumvent the spider.  Spider cautiously pursues but does not attack. They spend the next turn slowly retreating toward the unknown, and the spider gives up the chase.

Then they find the wumpus in a cave filled with little alcoves.  It’s feeding on rats.  Rolled initiative, heroes win.  Rat catcher gets off a shot but it bounces harmlessly off the thing’s hide.  Wumpus charges and kills him.  Trickster swings with his ax, misses, then he dies. The wumpus lives on to kill more villagers.  The End.

What conclusions can I draw from this?  The Untrained combat mechanic does make the funnel a lot more lethal. I like it.  Even a 1st level wizard knows the basics of avoiding harm better than a 0 level nobody.  So winning the funnel and ascending even to that modest level of combat skill is something to strive for.

I don’t know if I ran the slimes correctly.  All I did was make attack rolls for the drop attack, and then pick random victims.  AD&D green slimes don’t move or pursue, they just drip and then stay there as flesh devouring obstacles.  It was a shame the Altar Boy was hit, else he might have saved Noble from being slain.


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