Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Keep on the Borderlands: From TPK to eternity...

So... we FINALLY got to play tonight! A small group, only three players... my buddy Mike, my buddy Steph, and my buddy Tim's son, Zac. All have various experiences with AD&D of various flavours, but non thought they had ever played Basic before. I just wantd to PLAY dammit. We started making characters at 7, over pizza. 3d6 in order, but we used the Basic rule of being able to drop 2 points in some abilities to raise your prime requisite by 1. Went quite well... Zac had a fighter with 18 STR, but only 6 INT. He ended up named Ugh. Steph went with a mage, named "The Character Formerly Known As Prince".... so we just called him Prince. Mike made a female elf, name A. As expected, the TPK occured quickly. We started out rather silly... arguing with the men at arms in the tower, attacking gates (which didn't go well), and deciding to journey to thCaves without even looking around the Keep. Since they left late in the day, I actually used wandering monster rolls, and decided they ran ino the bandits south of the Keep at sundown. Outnumbered three to 1, they of course decided to fight. First round, lousy initiative, 2 dead characters. 2nd round, I gave the last character a chance to surrender. He declined, but managed to get one of the bandits horses to throw him, killing him in the fall when he landed on his head. Of course, the elf died shortly thereafter. Less than 2 hours door to door.

So, now that they knew I was going to school them if they got stupid, we tried again.

New characters. Now we had... another female elf named Mama Chopita (don't ask), a cleric named Brother Joseph, and a cleric named.... Brother of the character formerly known as Prince.... who became known as Brother Prince. This time, they actually poked around the inn and the tavern. After hearing a few tales, they tried to recuit some local yokels. The leader of the yokels declined, but to btohers, Zeke and Zebekiah, signed up. Zeke had such a positive reaction (a natural 12!) that he suggested their other brother Ulflucase (they called him Luke, everyone else called him Ulf) join them. Zeke and Zeb signed on for 3 gp a day, plus leather armor and a dagger. Ulf (a level 1 randomly generated thief, with a +1 longsword but only 2 hp) joined on as well, giving us six characters. They journeys to the caves, and decided, at random, to enter the ogre cave first. After awakening the ogre with a Magic Missle (which did little more than awaken him), they attempted to parlay, but when they couldn't meet his demand of 20gp to forget he saw them, melee ensued. In the first round, poor Zebekiah bought it when he failed his morale check, turned tail to run, but being in the front row, he couldn't get away... and got squashed by the ogre (3 hp, hit for 11 damage). A highly chaotic fight ensued, marked by pathetic rolling, and an enraged Zeke finishing the ogre by doing 8 points of damage with 2 well-placed dagger strikes to finish him off. By the end of the battle, Zebekiah was dead, dead, dead, Ulf was at -6 (healed to 1 hp and unconsciousness), and everyone was battered. A quick investigation revealed treasure in the small side cave, and also the secret door. However, the incautious party roused the suspicions of the goblins on the other side of the door. The first who stuck his head through the door was promptly slain by an enraged Zeke, but then the other 5 piled through the door. The quick witted Brother Joseph doused them with the brandy found in the room, and a well placed DEX check allowed Mama Chopita to light them on fire. Some spectacular damage rolls later, 4 of the 5 goblins died in the conflagration, and the last ran around the room wildly, on fire, until put out of his misery. The party quickly carted out the dead and wounded, along with all the coins except for the bag of copper. However, upon returning to camp, the pary basically attempted to screw Ulf out of his promised share, saying his share was left back in the cave, plus they owed him for the multiple Cure Light Wounds spells and carrying his near-dead unconscious ass out of the caves. They managed to return to the Keep, but while the party got their coins counted and converted (although the Bank wasn't happy about them trying to rip them off with the fake gold coins), Uld appealed to the Captain of the Watch for succor. An impromptu trial occured in the bank, the result of which was Ulf giving up his share of the treasure (the bag of coppers left back in the cave), and receiving 30 gp for his troubles. What the party doesn't realize is they now have a VERY bad rep amongst hireling, and can expect to have NO help, unless they get lucky and encounter a random adventurer in the tavern.

At this point, we had been playing for 6 hours, so we divided up the XP, and called it a night. I hope to turn this into a monthly event (even if it means trying to drive back in to Winnipeg once a month once school starts, which will be tough when I will have volleyball tourneys every weekend to help coach). However, I had a BLAST tonight... once I got back into the swing of things, it went pretty well (considering I had 2 laptops in front of me, instead of screens 8). I look forward to next session!


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  2. I let the players control them, but I do the rolling for them in attacks. It seemed to work... although after they antagonized the hirelings to the point of not wanting to go to sleep around them, I kinda co-opted them. 8)

  3. Fun! I should resurrect the Keep from the archives. It was our first adventure 30 years ago, and our first TPK, on our first night out. Ah, such memories. I wonder if I should upgrade it to our 3.5 custom game, or run it as an alternate in all its original glory. Probably the latter is better.