|...and mayhem ensued.|
|Smells like trouble!|
Our very first encounter as we wandered into town was with an exceptionally belligerent Elmo who--though outnumbered 8 to 1, wearing no armor, and packing only a dagger--picked a fight with our paladin. For those unfamiliar, Elmo, though posing as a moronic farmhand, was actually an enormous ~5th level ranger with some bitchin' magic armaments, including the aforementioned dagger.
Anyway, he killed our paladin with a single, massive blow from the dagger, so the rest of the party jumped him. We had 3 fighters and the cleric facing him while the MU blasted him with magic missiles and the halfling thief snuck around for a backstab. Even so it was touch-and-go for a few rounds, but thanks to some crappy rolls by Elmo, we took him down without any more casualties on our side.
However, by this time a bunch of villagers had taken up arms and were coming at us. We ran for it, eventually finding our way to the Inn of the Buxom Wench* where we commandeered the 2nd floor, barricaded the stairs, and launched a fusillade of arrows at the militia, sending them scrambling for cover behind the wall surrounding the inn. Leading the militia was a revived Elmo who was clearly not quite as dead as we'd hoped.
*T1 devotees will note that this is not the real name of the establishment. The actual wench was known more for her welcoming demeanor than her cleavage but it was the name we used at the time and it has stuck.
At the moathouse I only remember a few encounters: the murderous frogs who killed off two of our party including the halfling thief and another, less memorable character; the puncture-resistant zombies--they only took 1 point of damage from piercing weapons as I recall--and the final meetup with Lareth, who was kind enough to take out Elmo for us. For that we were very thankful. In fact, when I look back on T1, to this day I think of Lareth not as a malignant disciple of evil but as one of those respectable bad guys who, under different circumstances, might have been a valued ally.
Meanwhile, our hatred for Elmo was so intense that we cheered when Lareth bashed his head in with his staff of striking; though we were equally glad that Elmo had, by then, relieved Lareth of the vast majority of his hit points. Not satisfied with his death, Elmo's corpse was defiled by the surviving party members and tossed into the swamp as frog food. To add further insult, instead of returning his possessions to his grieving parents, they were parsed out amongst the party along with the rest of the treasure haul. But, true to our word, we paid off our debt to the town and were feted as heroes of the realm before shuffling off to our next adventure; this was 1982 remember, we still had a few years to wait for the continuation of the T-series.
At the time I remember being furious with Byron the DM for coercing us into such a chaotic scenario in town, but also a little ashamed that I was taking such pleasure in terrorizing the villagers with flaming arrows. Byron loved this sort of mayhem and if the players went along with it, he would be happy and our mayhem-seeking would bring us prosperity and happiness. If, on the other hand, we had refused to fight Elmo and/or the villagers, instead relying on our faith in a just humanity, I'm certain that within 30 minutes we would have been rolling up new characters as the corpses of our PCs swung from the gallows. Instead, for the far more sinister crimes of mass murder, grand arson, and public mayhem, we were given a hefty but not insurmountable fine and sent off on an adventure. I don't think we were conscious of it at the time--though we would come to be aware of this tactic in later years--but we were totally playing in a manner to placate Byron and therefore protect our characters. And we had an incredibly fun outing--if a somewhat sociopathic one.
On hindsight, the whole thing turned out to be a pretty clever set up to get us to the moathouse that we otherwise knew nothing about and had no reason to visit--other than the usual "thar's gold in them hills" excuse. But more importantly, by "forcing" us into such a chaotic flurry of morally ambiguous action while simultaneously killing off the only lawful member of our party (the paladin), the behavior of that party was ever-after skewed toward chaos in a way that we could not have done intentionally. Or perhaps I'm giving the DM too much credit; he was, after all, only 13.