Arachnophobia Chapter 1 Complete!

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Back in August of 2016 the group began a 2nd Ed AD&D Campaign called Arachnophobia. It began with a simple group of farmers and peasants who got wrapped up in something much larger than themselves.

During an exploration of an unusual cave that opened underneath of the rural town of Barelydale (the Dale), the party discovered that after a flash of green light, Toby Ryder the towns stable boy had a gem embedded in his left hand. Looking further, the group found ancient prophecies scrawled on the walls of a long forgotten and buried temple. The Prophecies foretold the of coming hordes of Giant Spiders and how one with a green gem would defeat them.

Realizing the importance of what they had found, the town priest arranged for a group of people from the Dale to escort Toby to their liege Lord Kilgour, who resides in the city of Darfield, more than 350 miles away from the Dale.Knowing it would take them many days of travel, the party set out on their adventure as not but level 1 characters.

Well it took them 14 months, 20 games, and 37 days in game, but they finally reached their goal and entered Darfield!

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Why Did it Take so Long?

Arachnophobia was the first long term 2nd Ed campaign that we had played as a group. Each character was using at least two different rule books (and as many six), and for half of our players it was their first time playing 2nd ed. So as the DM I designed the first chapter to move slowly, allowing players to get used to their bizarre and often overly complicated characters. I wanted them to grow into their powers and make their way through a world, so they would come out with a story to tell.

It worked perfectly. Thomas the Chronomancer learned when time travel was appropriate, John the Greenwood Ranger attained his true Greenwood Status, and the party is around level 4-5. In 2nd ed AD&D this means they have around 10,000 to 20,000+ experience points, which you will note is quite high compared to modern editions. So generally things take longer to get the same results.

The Party

How's the Party?

The last 37 days in game have been bloody ones. Out of a total of 19 party members who have joined the party over the course of the game, only 8 now survive, and only 4 of the original 8 who left the Dale made it. That means that the party has a 57.89% fatality rate, or a 42.11% survival rate if you are a glass half full kinda person.

Here is the break down:

The Living:

John Applewood
Ceryl Figgus
Shánfara Al-Asha
Tana Lohs
Toby Ryder
Attia Quinn

The Dead:

Paeter Son of Grayble
Max Flailer
Allison Rey
Enoch Fellstone
The Druid of Grayland Forest
The Druid of King's Forest
Nathan Tyrell
Kevin Trall

After crunching the number of days each player more than a week old had spent in game, I figured out that if you want to join the Arachnophobia Party your life expectancy drops to around 18 days. Good luck!

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A Few Notable Events

Throughout the 20 games of Arachnophobia they guys have had many adventures and these are the most notable:

A Trip Through Time

Because we have a Chronomancer in the party, it was in Arachnophobia that we had our first instance of time travel. I covered a lot of this on the blog in Time Travel in Dungeons and Dragons and 4 Tips for Using Time Travel in Dungeons and Dragons at the time. And while it has become strangely mundane in this campaign, when Dave used it for the first time it completely blew everyone's minds.

He used it to resurrect a dead party member, only to have her die again... and again. After that he vowed only to use his time travel when absolutely necessary... Or maybe to rob some NPCs from time to time.

If you have not used time travel in a tabletop RPG I recommend giving it a try, but be prepared. I have maintain multiple calendars detailing the day to day events of the game to keep track of everything, across multiple timelines. It is fun but not for the ill prepared GM.

The Burning of the Wolf's Head Inn

A large inn at a prominent crossroads dividing the Southern Graylands from the Grayland Forest and the North, the Wolf's Head Inn has stood as a welcome sign to travelers for generations. That was until the evil Count Oppelthor's men arrived. Having learned of rumours of a messiah coming from the North the COunt sent his men to track down the party. The players and NPC alike were arrested but they managed to escape in the night when the Inn was attacked by 16 giant spiders. In the confusion, the inn was set a blaze and during the group's escape they encountered Asra'Vellyn, Kevin Trall, Nathan Tyrell and freed Attia Quinn from captivity. It was an exciting night for the largely low-born and inexperienced party.

The Malbridge Riots

After deviating from their path South towards the East (following John Applewood to some unknown destination that he claimed his Gods were guiding him to) the group came upon the town of Malbridge: a troubled place with a drainage problem, and a large slaughter house that serviced much of the area. It was a point of contention among the townsfolk with half of them feeling it was ruining their town and the other half willing to accept it in exchange for the wealth it brought in.

The arrival of an armed party did not help the situation, and the players ended up starting a riot. For them it had nothing to do with the town's politics however and was a play they made to free two of their group who had been arrested earlier in the day. It worked, and the group fled the town.

Shortly outside of Malbridge Butters was killed trying to retrive his ill gotten gains he had stolen from the Malbridge thieve's guild.

The Sleeping God in King's Forest

After Malbridge the party continued East where John learned of his quest that would turn him into a true Green Wood Ranger: Stop the Wizard of Chester from blowing up the sacred but unusually inactive Waystones around Stone Break Falls. Along the way they met the Druid of King's Forest, who scarified herself to activate the Waystones in the area saving them from the wizard.

If they had failed, and the Wizard of Chester had managed to destroy one of the Waystones, the power held within these ancient Standing Stones would have caused an explosion the likes of which the world had never seen. I calulated it as a 1.2 megaton bomb, which according to D&D TNT Damage Stats would do around 9.6 Million D6 damage. 

Luckily they succeed, spoke to one of the ancient sleeping Gods, and were rewarded with John's Greenwood Ranger Status, and a number of magical items and small gems.

A Party in Warrem

The group had the pleasure of celebrating Grandma's Nelson's 100th birthday in the farming village of Warrem. It was a refreshing change of events for the group, and they used the opportunity to socialize, watch a play, feast and drink their fill, and of course get into all matter of trouble.

After learning that the people of Warrem followed a strange racist religion against Half-Elves, the group decided to rob the town of their cart, and the remainder of their ale and wine. It went off perfectly with Thomas blaming the whole event on bandits, and then leaving to chase after them.

A Lich Revealed

The very night of the Warrem heist -while the party was divided- Nathan Tyrell made a disturbing reveal. He was not the old cleric they thought him to be, but in fact some dead corpse controlled by an evil distant power rumored to be a Lich. 

Raising a force of the undead, Nathan demanded that the they turn the now drunken and passed out Toby Ryder over to him. John and Kevin were able to hold the skeletons off after Nathan put the other half of their party to sleep with a powerful spell. The nightmare ended when John delivered the killing blow against Nathan, and the remaining skeletal attackers crumbled to dust. The next day when Thomas, Asra'Vellyn and Lethoras showed up, Asra told the group of rumours of a dark and ancient evil known only as the Lich. All he knew were vague stories of possessions and the living dead, but it seemed the tales of the Lich were true:  and it wanted Toby.

The group left Nathan's body where it lay and left as quickly as they could.

The Penkurth Massacre

In vilalge of Penkurth, Count Opplethor's men caught up with the the party once more, this time lead by the ruthless Sir Gavriel de Ponce. Here the party was divided as only a handful managed to escape the walled town. Thomas time traveled forward and skipped the entire event, while John was never allowed in the settlement to begin with as the porters where terrified of his monstrous form. Toby managed to escape with Zander's assistance, but the other were not so lucky.

Asra'Vellyn, Kevin Trall and Zander were all killed during the escape, and Attia Quinn, Lethoras were captured. It was a devastating loss for the party in terms of life, equipment and supplies. On top of the aprty members killed and captured, they lost 5 magical items, 5 gem stones, a cart full of traveling supplies and 2 donkeys. Things were looking grim, but with the help of a friendly nobleman with a bone to pick against Count Opplethor they were able to rescue their imprisoned party members in in the neighboring town of Norwich a few days later.

After that of course they reached Darfield and learned that the Giant Spiders had overrun the Grayland Mountains, the party's home of the Grayland Forest and were heading south.

The Apocalypse had begun.
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The Group's Magical Items

Along this journey the party acquired a number of magical items and though many of those were sadly lost in the Penkurth Massacre a few interesting ones remain.


As many of you have seen the party has a functioning Fantasy TARDIS. This took a while to figure out all the extra rules need to run it but we are pretty happy with how it turned out. Mainly this object will help us Time Travel as a group thus making that aspect of the game a little more open to the rest of the party and not just our Chronomancer Thomas.

The Bracelets of Rough Iron

Given to Attia Quinn by the Sleeping God they Awoke in King's Forest, these bracelets of naturally formed iron grant the user an AC Bonus. In this case it is a -2 bonus, which is a good thing in AD&D. As odd as it will sound to more modern players, in 1st and 2nd Ed AD&D the lower your AC is the more armour you have. So some one in Full Plate Mail has an AC of 0, while someone in a a tunic and trousers has an AC of 10. Weird right?

The Boots of Comfort

These boots appear as regular leather boots but are a comfortable as soft fuzzy slippers, and incredibly durable. They were given to Lethoras by the Sleeping God of King's Forest to ease his suffering on this trip. Lethoras is a known misanthrope and the boots have at least stopped his complaining for now.

Canister of Condiments

Given to Thomas by the Sleeping God of King's Forest, this clay pot with a cork lid is capable of creating 6oz of Pepper of Sneezing once a day when the secret word "Relish" is uttered. The Pepper of Sneezing is harmless but the target will continue to sneeze until they pass a Poison Save. Thomas has used this to his delight and has begun stock piling it.

Some of the items the group lost include the Horn of Fog, and the Flute of Fairie, all gifts from the Sleeping God.

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Next Steps

In Darfield the group will decide where they want to go next. I have told them about a couple of plot hooks to look out for, but regardless of who they get involved with it does seem like that the group will head out to sea. I recently got the Of Ships and the Sea book for AD&D which detail naval travel, combat, and encounters. Myself and the guys are eager to give it a try so across the sea we go.

But first we will have a few games in Darfield where they meet Count Opplethor once and for all and finally complete their quest of delivering Toby into the supposed safety of Lord Kilgour's Court.

For October I have taken a break as the DM but we will be returning back to Arachnophobia Mid-November. So stayed tuned with more 2nd Ed Adventures coming soon.

Written by: Andrew Gregory
Arachnophobia Chapter 1 Complete! Arachnophobia Chapter 1 Complete! Reviewed by JADE Gaming on 10/26/2017 02:05:00 pm Rating: 5


  1. Thank you so much for sharing this. I've only recently discovered your blog and this was a very useful overview of everything that's been going on. You've inspired me to invest in a copy of the Chronomancer book (even though we don't 2nd Edition, but more streamlined OSR hacks of the earlier iterations of D&D)

    1. You are most welcome! The Chronomancer's book is a great resource with enough material that you can easily take it outside of 2nd Ed. I hope you enjoy it!