You are a member of a group of six adventurers, met by chance some weeks past. Each was seeking the Caverns, each possessed a fragment of information regarding them. Together you have compiled what seems an accurate set of direction to the entrance of these caverns, and you are certain that the Archmange has filled them with fierce creatures to prevent trespassers from gaining their goal. A fragment of parchment you have states: “The right way is narrow . . . (words obliterated) . . . eam lies the straight pas . . . (more smudged writing) . . . pe the span swiftly of plunge to doom where the wat . . .”
Your information indicates that the caverns are on two levels, and that the way to the deeper section can only be gained by a chosen few, for the lacale is strange in yet another fashion. The Caverns of Tsojconth are a nexus in probability, where several alternate worlds touch. Each of you is aware that numerous parties such as yours, each containing six alternate persons like each of you, will be entering that part of the Caverns which manifest itself in their respective worlds. As each group adventures through the upper caverns one of their number will gain a certain aura, and he or she alone will be able to enter the lower level, while the rest will have to turn back (For tournament use only). The chosen from each party will meet – possibly with one or more of their alter egos – when the descent to the lower caverns is made. It is important to get as close to each other as possible to the way down, for the shift by the nexus will throw together those individuals who are relatively close to each other in location in their respective caverns. Those who have not located the way to the lower level prior to the shift will not have certain information.
Aura will be gained by ability – to reason cleverly, to lead, to defeat opponents, to avoid damage or death, to find valuable treasure, to co-operate with your fellows. The gods are watching. Good hunting! (original version, pg. 2)
Your party has been gathered by agents of the Margrave of the March of Bissel. He tells you that there are "political considerations," which he does not explain, that prevent him from searching for lggwilv's trove himself. However, it is vital that the treasure not fall into the hands of his enemies. Your party's goal is to get the treasure before Bissel's enemies do. The Margrave has provided you with horses and a map showing the most probable location of the Lost Caverns. The Margrave will also give you an escort from Thornwood to a narrow trail leading from the easternmost arm of the Bramblewood Forest northward into the Yatil Mountains-the very heart of lggwilv's old domain. You have pledged to repay the Margrave for your horses, as well as any other equipment he provided, out of the monetary treasure obtained. You will also be required to pay a treasure tax of 15% on all money taken. He tells you that the remainder, as well as any magical items taken, are your reward for undertaking this perilous quest. However, you are warned under threat of dire punishment not to allow any magical items to fall into evil hands.
An examination of your map reveals that the track through the mountains has numerous branches. At the end of each track is a number, evidently standing for something unknown. The agents of the Margrave cannot tell you anything about their significance, except that it is likely that at one of the sites are the caverns you seek. Obviously, the map is incomplete, for from what you know of this part of the world, there are mountains where nothing but blank space is shown on the chart. With this map you must somehow find where the treasure is hidden. The more direct your route to the caverns, the less the likelihood of injury or death from the many perils of the journey. A scrap of parchment with a bit of doggerel on it might be a clue, or it might be of no use whatsoever, save to mislead you.
The verse says
The horn of Iggwilvpierces the heart –look over your shoulderbefore you start.How many sorrow?Foolish men,because they didn’tturn back then.
After a journey of a sen'night [seven nights – Charles] your band has reached the foothills of the Yatils without incident. Before you is the winding path leading into the grim mountains; behind is the escort of horsemen riding south for home. Fortunately, you have sure-footed, mountain-bred horses given to you to assure a swift passage to your destination. Vellum map secured safely, there is naught else to do but proceed with the quest to find the Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth (sequel version, pg. 3)
“The right way is narrow . . . (words obliterated) . . . eam lies the straight pas . . . (more smudged writing) . . . pe the span swiftly of plunge to doom where the wat . . .” (original, pg. 2)
The horn of Iggwilv
pierces the heart –
look over your shoulder
before you start.
How many sorrow?
because they didn’t
turn back then. (sequel, pg. 3)
Gygax, Gary The Lost Caverns of Tsojconth. MDG, USA: 1976. pg. 2
Gygax, Gary S4: The Lost Caverns of Tsjocanth. TSR Hobbies, Inc. USA: 1982. pg. 3