Aaron Allston. I still remember his Treasure Hunt adventure N4. It wasn't what I expected . I hadn't played zero-level characters in AD&D prior, and in many ways, it was groundbreaking for the time.
Treasure Hunt is 5 bucks in PDF, 14.99 in Print plus PDF.
Marooned on a barren isle?
The Island of Viledel, the mighty Sea King, was sacked by a pirate army 60 years ago. It's destruction was so complete that even the location of the island was lost and forgotten. Despite rumors of immense treasures still hidden in the ruined stronghold, no one ever found the Sea King's island again
Until now. Through a cruel twist of fate, a small band of unwilling adventurers are washed ashore on a small, barren island, and discovers what remains of Viledel's settlement. But they aren't alone; marauding orcs and goblins have found the island too, and are frantically searching for the lost hoard. In this desperate treasure hunt, the real payoff may be survival.
"Treasure Hunt" is different from other AD&D adventures: The player characters begin the game at 0 level, without choosing a class, and must work their way up to 1st level. It is perfect for a group of beginning players or experienced players looking for a new and different challenge.
N4: "Treasure Hunt" (1987) is the fourth adventure in the novice (N-) series for AD&D. It was published in January 1987.
A 0th-Level Adventure. "Treasure Hunt" was commissioned specifically as a 0-level adventure. It was the first AD&D adventure ever to present general rules for 0-level characters. Uniquely, the GM assignments classes and alignments to characters at the end of the adventure, based on their actions.
Apparently players liked how 0-level characters worked, because in Dragon #129 (January 1988), James M. Ward asked readers what they wanted to see in an upcoming Greyhawk hardcover, and they told him "rules for zero level characters" - even though that had nothing to do with Greyhawk. Ward dutifully included an appendix about 0-level character in Greyhawk Adventures (1988), expanding on some of the ideas found in "Treasure Hunt."
A Truly Introductory Adventure. Though this was the fourth novice adventure for AD&D, none of the others were actually "introductory": That is, they didn't help players and GMs to learn how to play AD&D. Of course, TSR's scant other low-level adventures for AD&D - such as T1: "The Village of Hommlet" (1979) and U1: "The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh" (1981) - weren't really introductory in that sense either. That isn't to say that TSR hadn't written introductory adventures before, but they were all over in the Basic D&D line - particularly B1 through B4 (1978-1982). For "Advanced" D&D, TSR had previously assumed that players knew how to play.
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