The Training Ground
|The Training Ground|
|◄Eamon adventure #195►|
|Revised||13 February 1990|
|EDX set||Beginners Adventures|
|Native format||Apple DOS 3.3|
The Training Ground is an Eamon adventure for beginners written by Charles Hewgley and released in March 1990. Hewgley's only other adventure, The Caverns of Vanavara, was released just three months later.
You hear there's a place outside of town where beginning adventurers can gather loot and improve their skills, so you hitchhike to the site, ready your weapon, and venture in. A pamphlet laying inside the entrance gives the following welcome:
Welcome to the Barrow Downs Training Ground!
Well, you've been to the Beginner's Cave, but do you really feel ready to tackle that big world out there on your own? Maybe you don't, and that's why we've set up this practice facility for adventurers of little or no experience. To challenge you, the complex is stocked daily with beasts, non-humans, criminals, and other perils, not to mention $TREASURE$. NOTE: The adventurer enters at their own risk! The management assumes no legal responsibility for the safety of the adventurer. Good luck!
The training area's manager, a huge man wearing a uniform, comes out to inspect you and verify that you're a beginner; in the original version of the adventure the man prevents experienced players from entering, but in Eamon Deluxe and Eamon Remastered he says he's feeling generous and allows any character to proceed.
- Descend the stairs, take the torch from the wall, and
- Go north to reach an intersection with tunnels leading in all four directions.
North and west
- Heading north you'll encounter Red Sun, a small and capable fighter who will join your dungeon crawl.
- Follow the tunnel farther north to find doors opening into two small side chambers. The west is inhabited by a pair of thugs and the east by a hostile rogue waiting next to a chest. When you defeat the rogue, be sure to collect his rapier and his metal key, then open the chest to find an ancient urn and about 200 gold coins.
- Continue north to where the tunnel bends west, with doorways north and east. The north chamber is a cell you can unlock to find the friendly prisoner Jacques: he'll be happy to have his rapier back. The east chamber is the first of several mural rooms and contains the remains of a fellow adventurer, along with his spear and backpack (containing a torch and a purple potion).
- Take the tunnel west and fight your way through the four kobolds.
- Continue following the graffiti-decorated tunnel until it bends south. You'll pass an otherwise secret door standing open in the east wall; it leads only to a filthy kobold sleeping chamber.
- Further south the tunnel bends east, with a door west leading to another large mural room. Examining the mural are the friendly Don Johnson and Sylvani the elf who will join your party.
- Take the corridor farther east to find the third mural room, this one dedicated to Thor and the Norse pantheon. You sense the presence of magic, and if you cast your Power spell Thor's hammer will become real and emerge from the mural for you to collect.
- Follow the corridor east again to return to your starting point at the four-way intersection.
- Take the corridor east to reach a bend where it turns north, with a door opening east.
- Enter the east chamber, a library where you notice red, green, and purple books on the shelves. Taking the purple one opens a hidden entrance east to a secret scroll room where you find two scroll cases, one made of wood and the other obsidian. Smashing the wooden case reveals a magical scroll you can
readto supercharge your ability with the Blast spell. Opening the obsidian conjures the Emerald Warrior, who seizes the Scroll of Power and makes off with it, laughing maniacally.
- Return to the corridor and follow it as it bends north and east, leading to a discover a scuffle in progress between the friendly Zapf the Conjurer and four toughs: Francis, Winifred, William, and Ogden. Dispatch the bullies, but be aware that Zapf has a penchant for randomly resurrecting dead opponents.
- At the north end of the corridor you'll reach the portcullis room with gates north and east, manned by a gnome named Bozworth who'll happily sell you a healing potion.
- Go through the north gate and follow the small tunnel to a dead-end where a giant lizard lurks. Dispatch it and collect the valuable brooch and brass coins.
Openthe east portcullis and go through into a cave-like chamber with exits in all directions. North leads to a fearsome Hydra guarding gold coins and a precious gem. South and east both lead to a fight with an amoeba-like Ochre Jelly.
With both of the main sections explored and cleared you're now ready to depart. Make your way back to the four-way intersection, up the stairs, and east to return to the Main Hall.
EAG president Tom Zuchowski reviewed The Training Ground in the club newsletter, describing it as a good way for starting characters to increase their wealth and stats "honestly" without having to use a Character Editor. He felt that advanced or experienced players would find it unremarkable, but its ease and simplicity might suit a child player. Zuchowski assigned the adventure a rating of 5, a difficulty of 2, and estimated the playing time as 30 to 45 minutes.
From the Training Ground entrance "a lonely road heads east to the Main Hall", suggesting the site lies west of Evenhold. The complex itself is described as being under a mountain.
- The Barrow Downs mentioned in the pamphlet is an ancient burial ground east of the Shire in Tolkien's Middle Earth legendarium.
- Ochre Jelly is a monster from Dungeons & Dragons, normally classified as a "large ooze".
- At the time of the adventure's release, actor Don Johnson was best known for his recent role as undercover cop James "Sonny" Crockett in the hit TV series Miami Vice (1984-1990).
- The red book in the library is entitled Using Lizards in your Alchemical Concoctions and contains the following passage: "For most purposes the Excamian Fire-Newt is the ideal lifeform for alchemical concoctions. In the event of the unavailability of this type, the Purple Chameleon of Og is a suitable substitution..."
- The green book is The Metaphysical Ramblings of Leonard the New-Age Prophet: "I am life... You are life... The world is a flower... The universe is pink..."
- The purple book is The Life and Times of Thaddeus the Scholar: "Thaddeus the Scholar was possibly the most learned man who ever lived. The period of his greatest works was about 253 E.A.R. [about 500 years ago]. Legends say that his body lies in a great tomb, but no one has found it."
- The tunnel graffiti reads "If you are reading this... then you can't be watching... your back!"; "Conan's sword is sharper than he is"; "What's uglier than an orc? ...Nothing!!!"; "Hewg the Sorcerer wuz here"; and "Assassins do it from behind."
- Eamon Adventurer's Guild Library Master List
- The Interactive Fiction Database: The Training Ground
- Interactive Fiction Reviews: The Training Ground