True (Cool) Dungeon
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I’m not much for live-action games. The only one I’ve ever played in was a Lost Colony game that Shane Hensley put on at the Pinnacle offices one Halloween. That was fun, but mostly due to Shane.
I had a great time. In the picture above, you can see our party of brave souls. From left to right, we are: Jeff Patch (the cleric; brother-in-law to the game’s inventor, Jeff Martin), me (the rogue), Ken Hite (the bard; game designer extraordinaire, currenlty on the payroll of Steve Jackson Games), Ken St. Andre (wizard; inventor of Tunnels & Trolls, the second roleplaying game ever), Rick Loomis (ranger; president of Flying Buffalo and founder of the play-by-mail industry), and Ratty (fighter; new licensee for Gen Con UK). The photo is from the True Dungeon website and used with their kind permission.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
As a party, we did pretty well, although we failed to solve the game’s final riddle. Ken Hite played an inimitable bard, choosing a broad selection of appropriate classic rock songs to croon for our magical benefit while the rest of us risked our lives in battle. Jeff, who had never played an adventure game in his life, turned out to have an eidetic memory, which was perfect for his role. Rick and Ratty beat the tar out of skeletons, ogres, and more, and Ken St. Andre used a detect magic spell to find many desperately needed clues. (The Dungeon Master with us showed the magic bits by shining a black-light flashlight on items cleverly painted with normally invisible flourescent ink, causing them to glow.)
As the rogue, the high point was the moment when I was told to crawl through a tunnel on my hands and knees, alone. When I reached the end of the tunnel, there was a sign that read something like: “Welcome, rogue! You have two choices. You can 1) Heal everyone in your party for 2 hit points, except yourself, or 2) Sell them out for an awesome T-shirt.”
Hey, I was the rogue. What would you do?
At the end of the game, the crew awarded me my shirt in front of the rest of my party. On the back, it reads: “I screwed my party for this awesome T-shirt!”
As treasures go, that’s a keeper.
If you somehow find yourself at a Gen Con and the True Dungeon is running, do yourself a favor and sign up. It’ll be two of the best hours of the show.
Just don’t be surprised if everyone in your party wants to play the rogue.
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