Last night was session 12 of my Tuesday night First Edition game. Somewhat to my surprise, there was not a single combat. (Well, one character did kill a piercer which was feeding on a dead goblin, but I'd hardly call it a combat.) The only major potential throwdown (a group of albino carnivorous apes) was defused by the cleric's timely casting of speak with animals and a good reaction roll. ("I knew that spell would come in handy!" the player exclaimed.)
The entire session consisted of exploring the various strange floors of Radamant's Tower. The party found many strange things, but bypassed many things as well, as they are chasing an evil NPC magic-user who entered the tower ahead of them. (Due to their nine day delay while the thief recuperated and they chased down a cult of people worshipping a coven of jackalweres.) The party seems very interested in exploring the rest of the dungeon once they catch the magic-user.
I absolutely loved watching them toy with the various strange devices they found in the tower. The exploration aspect of traditional D&D is probably the best part, for me anyway. I absolutely relish seeing what they poke, what they steal, and what they tiptoe around out of paranoia or common sense.
The two highlights of the session:
1. A player told me that he couldn't wait to see what was in the next room or hallway of the tower.
2. That same player has the idea of clearing out this tower and claiming it as a stronghold for the party! I thought it was a fantastic idea, though I told them it will take some cash, (to repair the damaged sections and perhaps dig a more accessible entrance) time, and effort (clearing out the monsters, blocking access to the sunken tower from the underworld.)
This was actually one of my favorite sessions so far. Now, I just need to come up with some ad-hoc experience for them. (Since they killed nothing but a piercer and found relatively little treasure.)