B2: Keep on the Borderlands, an event!

I ran B2 today for a small group of players at an event at Gods & Monsters here in Orlando.  Didn't think to get any photos but there wasn't much to see :)

The "fun" part was the Dwarven Forge setup.  Generally, I have everything laid out first, beforehand, but this time with B2, I set up as we went because I didn't know what cave area they'd hit first and it wasn't practical for me to set up the entire Caves of Chaos dungeon (not only not practical, not possible - I have a lot of Dwarven Forge but not nearly that much!)

The party consisted of a half-elf fighter/cleric, an elf magic-user and a human thief.  They lucked out and were able to hire a small group of mercenaries in the Keep; after spending the night there and trying (unsuccessfully) to get an audience with the Castellan, they departed for the Caves the next morning.  They kept to the road, and eventually found a small, nearly-hidden path that led them to the ravine where the Caves are located.

I will admit they surprised me a bit by going in to the left-most caves rather than the well-known (well, to most of us) kobold caves off to the right (Location A).  They instead entered the Goblin lair.  They quickly ran into a goblin patrol and combat ensued.  The magic-user cast charm person on one of the goblins.  I know charm monster was what should have been used but I let it slide.  He yelled at the Goblin to go tell any allies that the noise from the fight wasn't anything to be worried about.  The party clashed with the remaining five goblins; when they'd slain a pair, a trio came from the east and reinforced the patrol.  The magic-user leaped into combat rather than cast a spell and (surprisingly) slew a couple of goblins on his own.  The Cleric's bless spell helped quite a bit.  However, the tide turned in later rounds: one mercenary and the magic-user were brought down.  Fortunately the high charisma and generous pay from the magic-user meant the remaining mercenaries stayed in the fight and eventually the remaining goblins were slain.

The cleric used a potion of extra-healing on the fallen magic-user and after a short (1-turn) coma, the magic-user was back on his feet and at least able to order and inspire his men.  The fallen mercenary was still alive, they bound his wounds and laid his unconscious form outside the cave area so he wouldn't be found by another (indoor) patrol.

Scouting further, the thief entered a guard room and encountered three more goblins.  Fortunately one of the mercenaries was close behind her, and she got a couple of rounds of surprise and was able to move in and get an attack off before anyone else.  She hit, but it was an inconsequential blow.

Rushing to the nearby sounds of battle, the rest of the party joined the combat, with the Cleric using his +1 mace, and the two remaining mercenaries attacking the goblin guards.  The party turned the tide (a bit) when a trio of goblins were felled.  Seeing the battle here was well lost, one lone goblin fled around a corner.  Unable to prevent his escape, the party quickly searched the guard-room but found nothing more than mundane equipment, and a dead goblin (not slain by their hands).  Their ruse must've been discovered, as the goblin that was already dead was likely done in by his fellows when he tried to keep them from investigating.

However, none of this was of any interest: the group followed the Goblin around the corner, up a flight of stairs and then around another corner back to the west and found a closed door.  It took many tries to open, but when they did they heard the rough voices of hobgoblins.  Fearing tougher opponents they turned and headed back down to the guard room to set up an ambush, preparing spears found there to hurl at those coming down the stairs.

Sure enough, a few rounds later, a patrol of five hobgoblins rounded the corner and were met by a roughed-up but well-equipped group.  The magic-user stayed true to his fellows and shouted words of encouragement, ready to hand a new spear to whomever needed it.

During the melee, four of the five hobgoblins were slain, but another pair of mercenaries fell.  The lone survivor of the hobgoblin party fled back up the stairs.  Fearing a repeat of the previous event, the surviving party (minus the magic-user who stayed to stabilize his comrades) followed.  Stymied again by the closed door, they eventually forced their way in, and found what appeared to be a hastily abandoned room beyond...with yet another door at its far end.

Having had their share of bloodletting, the adventurers retreated back down the stairs, making litters and travois to carry and drag their fallen comrades out - after quickly looting the bodies of the dead goblins.  They came up with a fair amount of silver and copper for their troubles, as well as a cask of beer abandoned by the hobgoblins (which the Cleric seized).

Not counting any potential monetary value of the small beer they carried out, the overall XP win for the party was 39 each - eleven goblins total, plus another five hobgoblins, and their coin (which totaled slightly less than 3gp).

They took a short hike along the road back to the Keep to rest and recuperate for future adventures.


By then it was 5:30, and that's where one of the trio of players had to depart, so we called it a day at that point.  In the overall, it was pretty good.  I didn't have too much trouble putting the Dwarven Forge down as they went, and I did have just enough for the Goblin area so I was able to build everything quite nicely.  I've never run B2 as an "event" module before, but it fit quite nicely and I think the new players enjoyed rolling up characters from scratch for 1e AD&D.  In the last half-hour or so of the game, a tourist from South Africa stopped by and watched us play.  His first D&D was 4e, back home, four years ago and he had a 5e game he was playing.  He said he didn't know of anyone in SA playing 1e, 2e or even 3e, that it was all 5e or Pathfinder, with some small groups playing 4e still.


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