(Note: Any of my players who value the lives of their characters should stop reading this post now.)
Due to time constraints the party accomplished very little in our first session, which consisted mainly of introductions, background development, and getting waylaid by bandits on the road to the Caves of Chaos. In our second session, we were able to get right down to brass tacks and after a brief rest and refit at the keep, the party made it to the fabled caves.
After a description of the caves and the canyon area they rest in, the group wasted little time heading to cave D, a.k.a the Goblin Caves. They lit a torch, walked 30 feet, and encountered a roving band of 6 goblins that “there is a 3 in 6 chance of encountering every 30 feet traveled in this cave.” This of course set of a chain reaction whereby the party wound up facing no less than 18 goblins and an ogre during their first foray into the caves. Garwin the dwarven fighter and Enmetius the human barbarian wisely barred the right-most passage, bottle-necking the majority of the goblins and preventing the party from getting swarmed and overwhelmed. The party was also lucky that Tim the human sorcerer had such a high initiative, and was able to color spray the goblins who swarmed in behind them, taking out all but two. The party was able to handle the goblins swiftly and fared much better than I thought they would. The ogre was also dealt with handily, as Tim was able to get off another color spray that managed to stun and blind him long enough for the rest of the party to take him down without too much trouble.
Following this fight, the party proceeded down the right-most passage and elected to do a quick toss of the room after I explained the difference between a “take 20” Search check and making the roll. They rolled poorly, and therefore completely missed the secret door that would have led them to the ogre’s lair and the first real treasure they would have found for all their hard work. Now if they decide to give the room a thorough search I will have no choice but to conclude that they have read this post and that all of the treasure in the ogre’s lair has mysteriously turned into a tarrasque.
The party continued to press their luck and head deeper into the caves, where they found a large number of goblins waiting for them, protecting their women and children. Tim and Enmetius got their first taste of what it’s like to have a negative hit point total, but the group managed to take out the 10 male goblins in this room. They decided to dispatch the goblin women and children, and I decided to tell them that since they were new players I didn’t attack them with the 14 female goblins (whom the module notes will in fact fight rather than be non-combatants) in this room and kill them all. I think they got the message, and will be more mindful of the number of hit points and spells they have left at their disposal in the future. Following this brush with death, the party decided to haul their big pile of silver and copper pieces back to the Keep on the Borderlands and plan their next foray into the caves.
Overall I’m pleased with the way these new players are developing. Aside from their adventures in the Caves of Chaos, the group did a bit of roleplaying in the keep as they sold their bandit gear from the first session and tried to gather some information about the mysterious pendant one of the bandits was wearing. Seeds of suspicion were planted when they asked the priest staying at the keep (the evil one) if he knew anything about it, and some astute characters with good “sense motive” rolls got the impression he wasn’t being completely honest when he said he didn’t know anything about this pendant, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out.
(Note: I’ve decided if things keep going I would like to tie this module into the Temple of Elemental Evil, and so I’m saying that the evil cleric staying at the keep, as well as the cultists in the caves and the bandits in the wilderness, are in league with agents of the temple who are attempting to spread their influence into this region of the borderlands. To this end I planted a pendant bearing the symbol of elemental evil on one of the bandits.)
- Keep on the Borderlands Session #1, in which our intrepid heroes make it to the keep, and not much else. (theroleplayingrambler.wordpress.com)