It was many years ago now. Some time during my high school days, me and several friends would get together and meet at my friend John's house once every two weeks to play our AD&D game. We had been playing these particular characters for some time now and I was very pleased with Irwin, also known as Irwin the coward, and his progress. For anyone who has never played advanced dungeons and dragons, leveling in this early system was very slow. So the fact that Irwin had reached a covitous level 9 was quite the accomplishment. This was after all back when you had different experiance requirements based on class. The point is Irwin had been played a long time. He was called the coward because of his intense fear of death. Another thing to know about AD&D is that Irwin was an Elf and in that system Elves didn't have souls per say and could not be resurrected like a human could. This put a lot of focus on him not dying if he ever wanted to hit high level, to say the least he ran away a lot or just stayed well to the back and cast magic from saftey.
The Adventure started that day like any other, we gathered our supplies in the town and proceeded to go into the sewer dungeon. We had already foiled the master plan of the dungeons owner, to gather forces and weath and use monsters to conquer the city above, but still had to make sure we cleared as much of the dangerous place as possible. It should also be noted that by an incredible stroke of luck Irwin had only the last play season gotten an artifact orb. This orb was Irwins ticket to staying alive. It had a magical property that alerted its user of impending doom. (the DM and put it there but didn't like the item as it made planning encounters more difficult since Irwin was a fantastic early warning system.) We were proceeding down the stairs as a full party which included a mage, a Barbarian, two fighters, 2 clerics, 1 thief, and a thief mage multiclass. We were using dungeon tiles and Irwin got a bad feeling about the room ahead as he got within 15 feet of the door at the bottom of the steps. The party took his warning and disregarded it as Irwin was a coward. The barbarian charged gleefully for the chance for high and thrilling combat. In the room at the bottom was a large blood pool with a 8 headed hydra in it. A terrible battle insued where the monster dealt a terrible amount of damage to the party but in the end the monster did fall dead! Irwin was feeling great! He had survived easily and didn't even take any damage in the combat! We proceeded to loot the room and within moments we found a few items of great worth. Irwin was the most accomplished mage in the party and agreed to identify what he could if the party allowed him to take the scrolls that were found.
He was abit of a horder of scrolls and if he survived long enough he would retire and open a shop selling scrolls he had collected from all the dungeons he had visited. He had been collecting scrolls for 2 years now and had great success. This is when things get complicated and need explaining. We were playing a home brewed version with a special chart for scrolls. 75% chance any scroll found would be inside a scroll tube for its own protection. These tubes would often be magicly sealed with either a tape, wax or runic seal to ensure no matter what kind of enviroment the scroll tube found itself in it would always protect the scroll. These scrolls were no different, Irwin was always cautions and would leave the party any time he was to open a scroll tube just to be safe. There were rumors that it was dangerous to open these seals however in the 2 years we were playing and more than 50 scrolls later nothing had ever happened when I opened one. Still 2 years had made Irwin no less cautious and he went back to the stairs and closed the door to provide a barrier and went up several steps to make sure the thief mage wouldn't try to swipe the scroll.
Irwin pealed back the seal and cracked open the scroll tube and thats when it happened. in 2 years never had anything gone wrong and only a year later would the DM finally allow me to see the scroll tube chart that he had made more than a decade before. there is a 2% chance that something catastrophic happens when you open a scroll. on a 98-99% it would explode. This is when Irwin the cowardly met his end as the scroll exploded in his hands. At 1d6 points of damage per spell level writen onto the scroll. This doesn't sound to bad most likely but back in those days you could have up to 7 spells on one scroll. (total of 19d6 damage) this alone was nearly enough to kill Irwin but the problem was that damage made another scroll on him explode from the magical expotion and a chain reaction turned him into nothing more than teeth imbedded in the door at the bottom of the steps. When I looked back to where I had placed my mini for Irwin when he opened the scroll, wouldn't you know it. 15 feet up the stairs in the same square the orb had warned him of the impending danger that irwin foolishly thought was the Hydra.