I've played Castle Caldwell for 3 hours, and I want to punch Ron Charulsky in the nut-sack.
Seriously. This is not how you do things. I have argued with Trollsmyth before about the steaming "theoretical framework" pile of D&D is always right. I warn you - this does not display me at my best. I'm irritated about this, and remain that way. I cannot think of a better refutation of "D&D is always right", than Castle Caldwell. I'll get into that in another post, though.
So far, we have encountered the following monsters:
1 spitting cobra (more on the cobra later)
2 fire beetles
1 giant shrew (apparently both ferocious and terrifying)
We have also encountered one magically locked door and a poison gas trap. We've found something like 10000 sp, and hundreds of gold worth of gems and jewelry. Oh, and the cleric died - see spitting cobra.
After the last session, we had slept in the dubious comfort of Guido's fort, bought a 4-wheeled cart and 4 mules to pull it, and hired a drover named Fritz to drive said cart and feed/watch said mules.
Fritz was available for 5 sp/week. Which means that we have found enough silver (mostly in bags under beds or piled on the floor) to pay Fritz for 40 years. Not bad for 2 days work... and a cleric.
Returning to the keep, we used the age-old dungeoneering technique - always turn left. We found a tower room (not really - this is a 1-level bungalow castle) with a tree growing through the window. The tree was cut down and shaped into a 10' pole.
Then we found a room that used to be a kitchen. It contained a leather (?) chest, which we opened by tying a rope to the lid and pulling open - which proved to be a good decision, as the chest was apparently used for poison gas storage. Nothing else in it though. What kind of asshole traps an empty chest and leaves it in the kitchen? Someone with a psychotic hatred for scullions, that's who.
The next room contained a "pile of sacks and garbage" and a dead goblin with a swollen arm. The voices of experience screamed "Rot Grubs", so we doused the goblin in lamp oil and lit him on fire - then retreated out of the room for a while. I mistakenly assumed that the sacks and garbage would be in contact with the goblin, and that the flames would also drive out anything nasty lurking in them - I was in fact mistaken.
We re-entered the room, poked around a bit, and "disturbed" the spitting cobra who lived under the sacks and garbage. It proceeded to spit at us vigorously, and Zhanna, the cleric, took a load in the face (I know, I'm a child sometimes). The 4 damage was not too bad, the save vs poison was... worse. She did not in fact save, and died instantly as a result. Bugger.
Zhanna was a great character too. She had excellent stats (so good that I asked the DM if he had watched them being rolled - the player is his sister...), the best armor possible, and was generally being played in a competent manner. And now she is dead. And that is why I hate save-or-die. Oh, and the snake was worth 31 xp (or 8 apiece).
Jenny didn't have another character ready, so we grabbed Fritz from cart-duty, gave him a spear, shield and Zhanna's plate mail, and dubbed him "Sir New Character". He did pretty well, actually.
There was, predictably, no treasure in the room. Nor in the next room, although we found some nifty romance novels (no value, notwithstanding that books were very costly before the printing press), some fire beetle glands - which we detached from the beetles using swords (wtf do people do with those?).
In another room we found a bag full of thousands of silver pieces... Rational. We also encountered a magically held door, and a room with 3 bandits and a mule in it. I was fed up after the spitting cobra debacle, so I dropped the tactical nuke (or Fat Boy, if you will) of the OD&D world - sleep. And then we hit them over the head and took their stuff. I mean, I'm Lawful, but bandits are, well, bandits.
They were pretty good at banditing, though. They had thousands more silver, as well as a box of gems. Oh, and 2 of the bandits had "pearl necklaces". But not the leader. I think we can all figure out how that happened. Rank hath it's privileges, after all.