Wednesday, June 2, 2021

A2 Slavers Stockade: Advent of the Ability Check?

Is the dude on the right supposed to be Ogre?
As you may have heard, I've been reading up on the A-series lately and comparing what I read to my fading memories of the '80s. A2 Secret of the Slavers Stockade has turned out to be a bit of a reality check for me because none of it matches up to my vague memories of that spring day in 1985 when an invisible Blodgett [the halfling thief from the pre-jens] leapt from the wall of a cavern to backstab a lance-wielding goblin who was riding on the back of a warg--and failed miserably. He was late on his jump, made a flailing attempt at a backstab, landed on his face for 3 pts of damage only to get up just in time to get lanced by the next charging goblin for 12 points of damage. 

For the life of me, I can't find an encounter area in this mod that matches that memory. Is this another case of the Donjon Maestro taking liberties or am I just misremembering things?

Anyway, the purpose of this here post is really to point out an encounter area comprised of a chasm with a bunch of stalagmites sticking up from the floor. One can cross the chasm, the module informs us, by leaping from stalagmite to stalagmite, but the text states that you have to 

"roll equal to or less than [your] dexterity on 1d20 for each jump." 

I pose this question to you dear readers: published in 1981, is this the first appearance of a roll-under ability check in a D&D product?


Zenopus Archives said...

The 1981 Basic set also has d20 roll-under ability checks as an optional rule. Perhaps unsurprisingly, as its editor was one of the co-authors of A2. And check out the Dig and Phantasmal Killer spells in the AD&D 1E PHB for 3d6 roll-under ability checks.

Timrod said...

Really? It's right there in the Moldvay rules? Dang. Further evidence that rule books are not my forte.

Thanks as always for the fact checking Z.A.

ClawCarver said...

In case you still haven't found it, it's area 18c (Elite Goblin Barracks) on the dungeon level, page 26.

Timrod said...

Yes! That's it! There was a net involved, I remember that now.

Too bad I stopped reading the module at The Chasm; the Elite Goblin Barracks are on the next frickin' page!

paleologos said...

There's a roll required (3d6) against constitution in the Room of Pools in module B1 (the pool of wine)