D&D 5e Into The (Keep on the) Borderlands (B1&2) #032 Monster Mash.

Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
Into the Borderlands.jpg


Being a mixture of B1 In Search of the Unknown and B2 The Keep on the Borderlands (& the Caves of Chaos).

So, my main story hour here is the Dark Squad.

I'm also reading my way through the Forgotten Realms novels and posting my reviews (of a sort) here.

Therefore the last thing I want/need to be doing is DMing (and then writing up) another game of D&D 5e, particularly now that I am back in the office and life is returning to some semblance of the old... that would be a ridiculous endeavour.

So, here we go...

Expect lots of pictures, and not much text, and you wont be dissatisfied.

Cheers goonalan
 
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Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
The Intro.

Two things-

a) We're playing a version of what I call Graveyard D&D, a name and style of D&D I invented (I think) the rules of which are described below, don't worry it's pretty much regular D&D only with a slightly elevated chance of PC death.

And,

2) We're using Fantasy Grounds Unity (there will be lots of screenshots. promise) and because all of us (me & the players) are semi-retired, or else work from home, we're playing as and when we can schedule a session.

We've played three sessions so far, the first was on a Wednesday evening- 7 to 11, so far so normal. The second session was on the Friday morning following- 9.30 to 11.30, the third two weeks later on a Thursday afternoon between 2 to 5-ish. My point, there's no reason to the scheduling beyond our diaries- updates and the action may be sporadic.

In truth the ad hoc days and times of this game remind me most of the way I used to play D&D, back when I was a kid/teen, and also back when I left the armed forces and decided to take a year off from the world. I spent that year playing football, doing the bare minimum amount of paid work to keep the boat afloat, and... inevitably, playing a metric ton of D&D, my players were the teens on the street where I lived.

I was the guy that brought D&D into their worlds, yay me.

That was some great D&D, we even recorded some of the sessions using a clunky old Phillips tape recorder, you know the one- the size and heft of a large (and full) Tupperware lunch box. We had a hometown (Carse/Tulan of the Isles) and all of the PCs went on to have houses, wives/girlfriends, and/or lives...

Then the summer ended.

So, this is a bit about nostalgia. Funnily enough the Caves of Chaos featured back then also, who would have thought it.

GRAVEYARD D&D

I'm a DM, I read the modules, some of them are terrifying- by which, of course, I mean many of them make me gurgle with pleasure as I learn about the new ways that I am going to dismember a variety of unsuspecting PCs. That same feeling stays with me when I re-read and set up the module/dungeon ready to be played, the promised delight- it's so tantalising, so close...

And then the players come along, with their flash new shiny PCs and tear my world apart. My traps disarmed, my minions spent- my big bad finale guy now sans life, treasure, and dignity- they even took his skull! My hopes and dreams shattered.

Players!

So, I wanted things to be much more difficult- deadly.

I wanted to build a graveyard of dead PCs for every new module/dungeon that I/we played.

These then are the rules to what we call Graveyard D&D-

1) All starting PCs are approx. 3-5 levels below the written recommended PC level for the dungeon/module. So, the first time we played Graveyard D&D was a version of TSRs I1 Dwellers of the Forbidden City. The PCs started at level 1, not level 4-7 as recommended by the module.

2) Each player starts with one PC, when that PC dies they roll up two more PCs, when they die they roll up three more PCs, ad infinitum. The highest I've even got is a guy who rolled six PCs.

3) A player can go adventuring with as many PCs as he or she likes. So around the table there could be four players with seven PCs between them. The most I ever had was something like six players with 14 PCs in game, that didn't work.

4) When a PC dies his or her XP is divided up between the next PCs rolled up by that player. So, for example Jim rolls up Spikey Norman, who then dies with 400 XP to his name- he made it to level 2, hurrah. Jim then rolls up two new PCs- Bert Wibbly & The Black Duck, both PCs start with 200 XP each (400 divided by 2 = 200). Alas Bert (500 XP) and the Black Duck (700 XP) both also meet their maker. Jim therefore rolls up three new PCs, each of them starts with 400 XP (500 + 700 = 1200 divided by 3 = 400).

5) If the module has a bunch of pre-gens with it then the players don't even get to roll up new PCs, we're using these, except they're subject to the level conventions as above.

6) If there are pre-gen PCs available the players have to roll randomly to see who they get. They don't get to chose.

7) If there are no pre-gen PCs then new PCs are rolled as randomly as possible, usually (for me) a random roll for class and race, then 4d6 keep the best three for each stat.

8) Lots of the monsters/bad guys et al should be at the top end of their hit points, I tend to observe a 50% minimum rule, that seems to do the job.

9) The rest is by the module, or as you like it.

Obviously Graveyard D&D is best enjoyed with people of a like-minded disposition, if you can't laugh at the inevitable demise (repeatedly) of your latest favourite PC then, this isn't the game for you.

You've been warned.

Toodles.

Goonalan
 
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Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
The Players-

Pete
has been gaming since I don't know when, I was his DM back in the day, and on Fantasy Grounds off and on over the last five or so years, although we've not played much since/during the lockdown, for a variety of reasons. It was Pete's constant chirping that was the instigator of this campaign. Pete is an emotional D&D player, at times.

Rob has been gaming for years, and like Pete, gaming with me on Fantasy Grounds for a while, but nothing during lockdown. Rob is a clever D&D player, although when he's playing a dumb half-orc barbarian he's much less smart- he plays the part.

Dave played D&D with me all the way back when we were in the forces, we think- maybe, Dave was there for the first game of Graveyard style D&D I/we played, I1- as discussed earlier. Dave has been playing D&D, and various other RPGs, for as long as I have. He's a year or two older than me. This the first time Dave has played D&D with me (and vice-versa) since the forces days, and that was a while back.

The PCs-

Note, even the pre-gens got a lick of paint from the players, they could make a few changes- but not race and class, or their stats.

In alphabetical order-

Afton Barr RIP (played by Dave) is a (pre-gen) male half-elf bard, all the way from the rough streets of Baldur's Gate. An accomplished juggler of very little regard, the obsequious fellow will do anything and everything to gain the fame and fortune he truly deserves. At present he's counting on the brilliance of High Master Lappoy the Unexpected to give him the leg-up he needs.

Estra Zo RIP (played by Pete) is a (pre-gen) female forest gnome rogue, educated in the school of hard knocks, Zo- pronounced 'So!' is entirely out for herself, and suffers from low morale fibre, and... well, she's a rogue- she has a penchant for taking other people's stuff. Also, at the moment she's on the run from the law.

Farned of the Leaf Lord RIP (played by Dave) is a (pre-gen) male wood elf cleric of Rillifane Rallithil (the Leaf Lord, or the Wild One). Farned is confident, optimistic- everything is within his power/ability, and a little crazy (he's a wannabe fighter). He's also a xenophobe/racist, if you are not an elf... well, there's really no hope for you.

Krago of the Mountains (played by Pete) is a (pre-gen) male mountain dwarf ranger, an expert hunter (and exterminator) of the humanoid scum that dog his home lands. Krago has been travelling for a while with Sho-Rembo, she's trying to mellow the dwarf. Krago's goal is to do maybe three things- hunt and kill goblins and orcs, number one; stand up to bullies, number two; and lastly (but by no means least), he really likes to drink and shoot off his mouth.

Lappoy the Unexpected (played by Rob) is a (pre-gen) male high elf wizard, an educated elf- and very aware of his 'high' station. Lappoy has all of the answers, and he's always correct, so that's a relief. He's also keen to let everyone else know how much more superior he is to them, any of them. He is after all a high elf master of magics.

Mohag the Wanderer (played by Pete) is a (pre-gen) male human barbarian, from the northern steppes. A dumb monosyllabic brute with a wanderlust. At six feet four and weighing just short of 250lbs, Mohag is a force to be reckoned with. Particularly as all he knows, and all he likes, is (directed) violence. Note the application of the word directed, Mohag is not (yet) unhinged.

Sho-Rembo (played by Dave) is a (pre-gen) female halfling druid, with a cosmic plan- she believes that she will become a great druid and that she is feted to save the world. Obviously, she doesn't tell this kind of thing to everyone, but she's not adverse to constantly hinting at it. She further believes that her fate is entwined somehow with Krago of the Mountains. Sho-Rembo is also fond of the bottle, she climbed inside soon after her family and friends were slaughtered on the trail (by Orcs), she was the lone survivor.

Sir Glen (played by Dave) is a (pre-gen) male human paladin of Lathander, and he's a local- although not quite, he has been in the Keep at the Church of the Morning Lord for maybe three months now. Sir Glen, a noble from Waterdeep by birth, is trying his best to be a man of the people, but everyone and everywhere here is just so... filthy. Sir Glen's butler, Humdinger, stays safely ensconced within the noble Lord's rooms (and out of sight). This will be Sir Glen's first combat action, he's keen to make his mark.

Sosspan (played by Dave) is a male dragonborn wizard who has been travelling the lands looking for work with his brother Yor for the last six or so months. The pair have made some dubious choices during this time, and been on the wrong side of the law more than once. They need money, and they need experience, before the pair can head home to slaughter their tyrannical father.

Tassit RIP (played by Dave) is a (pre-gen) female human monk, and she's feisty with it. She has but recently emerged from the wilds, seemingly- she says little about her past. Her self-imposed task is to attempt to achieve spiritual, mystical and magical enlightenment by destroying every gods-damned filthy greenskin, and the like, that crosses her path. Tassit is a force to be reckoned with (she thinks).

The Mystical One RIP (aka Meg) (played by Pete) is a (pre-gen) female human warlock of indiscriminate age, having dedicated her life and soul to the Council (and counsel) of the Great Old Ones. She's from the far off land of Shou, and can communicate with those around her via telepathy, which can be most unnerving. The Mystical One is on a quest for world domination, but... y'know, in a good way. She will be the next leader of this adventuring band, this she swears to her cold not-yet-dead dread Masters.

Trebbelos (played by Pete) is a (pre-gen) male tiefling sorcerer, and more remarkably a fairly wholesome individual. Keen to battle tyranny in all its forms, rather poetic when faced with beauty, and a smooth talking charmer- with a devilish manner, of course. Trebbelos, for want of something better to do, is keen to play the part of the hero.

Yor RIP (played by Pete) is a (pre-gen) male dragonborn fighter who has been travelling the lands looking for work with his brother Sosspan for the last six or so months. The pair have made some dubious choices during this time, and been on the wrong side of the law more than once. They need money, and they need experience, before the pair can head home to slaughter their tyrannical father.

The Graveyard-

Listed in order of demise-

Farned of the Leaf Lord, Male Wild Elf (Acolyte) Cleric of Rillifane Rallithil Level 1 (316 XP), beloved of Dave.
Farned was a crazy (Xenophobic) elf who died following orders- Lappoy the Unexpected's orders, he should have known better. Farned briefly served as the front line in the kobold's lair, that is until he was stabbed in the gut (Crit) and cast down. Farned would have survived the wound if it weren't for the fact that seconds later he was all but incinerated by the aforementioned Lappoy, the... ahem, Unexpected.

Estra Zo, Female Forest Gnome (Urchin) Rogue Level 1 (316 XP), beloved of Pete.
Zo, to her friends, died from a sling stone to the back of the head swiftly followed by a stab in the gut as she lay fitting and bleeding out. She was one square away from being off the map, and as the Gods decree, she would have therefore escaped the encounter. Tymora was clearly on her day off.

Tassit, Female Human (Hermit) Monk Level 1 (263 XP), missed (but not much) by Dave.
Tassit didn't really get a speaking part, her Equity Card, as such, really never got stamped. The ferocious young monk decided early doors that the best form of defence was attack. Thus it was she tumble jumped into a wedge of kobold guards, and... missed every one of her attacks, including with an Inspiration Point (and advantage on all). Mere seconds latter, having been kobold swamp-stomped, she leapt into a spiked pit, seemingly on purpose. Go figure.

The Mystical One, Female Human (Outlander) Warlock Level 1 (469 XP), sorely missed by Pete.
The Mystical One, Pete's answer to Lappoy, was going to have it all, it was all going to be hers. Then she got stabbed in the back three times in quick succession by a trio of goblins, while trying to carry the unconscious bard- Afton, across a spiked pit. It was all going so well...

Afton Barr, Male Half-Elf (Entertainer) Bard Level 1 (469 XP), always in Dave's thoughts.
Afton was bullied into being the front line for a trio of wizards- his words, and delivered with rancour. Towards the end his spirit was broken, the former happy-go-lucky minstrel- famed for his ability to juggle five balls simultaneously (if only for a short while) was bitten by rats and fell unconscious, thrown across a pit, and then finally (casually) stabbed to death by a passing goblin. We shall remember him, mostly with laughter.

Yor, Male Dragonborn (Folk Hero) Fighter Level 2 (638 XP), sadly missed by Pete.
In an attempt to push into the lair of the hobgoblins, and to track down the missing merchant and his wife Yor took the battle to the hobgoblin front-line, and paid the ultimate price. Having broken through the enemy line the dragonborn was about to celebrate victory, however just moments later the brave warrior was cut down (decapitated) by Grelzenod the Render, with a Crit for over thirty points of damage, it wasn't pretty to see. Death, of course, was instantaneous.

Corbis, Male Human Sidekick Warrior Level 2 (650 XP), not at all missed by the DM.
Corbis and friends got ambushed by eight xvarts, the warrior succumbed quickly and after his companions fled was parcelled up into smaller chunks to serve as packed lunch for xvarts both present and future, happy days. But not for Corbis.

Tribbits, Male Human Sidekick Warrior Level 2 (650 XP), the DM was unconcerned by his passing.
Tribbits, see Corbis above, fled into the xvart nest to escape xvart ambushers, alas the route to freedom was beset by the inequities of... well, spiked pit traps. Also the xvarts from above caught up with him. He was less than lovingly stabbed to death.

The PC XP Table.

Up to and including the action in Session #030.

#XPPCRace/ClassLevelPlayerStatus
14729Lappoy the UnexpectedHigh Elf Wizard4RobOKAY
24102Krago of the MountainsMountain Dwarf Ranger4PeteOKAY
24102Mohag the WandererHuman Barbarian4PeteOKAY
24102Sho-RemboStout Halfling Druid4DaveOKAY
24102Sir GlenHuman Paladin4DaveOKAY
24102SosspanDragonborn Wizard4DaveOKAY
74101TrebbelosTiefling Sorcerer4PeteOKAY
83124ScrubsHuman Expert3DMOKAY
91250CorbisHuman Warrior2DMDEAD
91250TribbitsHuman Warrior2DMDEAD
11482YorDragonborn Fighter2PeteDEAD
12316Estra ZoForest Gnome Rogue1PeteDEAD
12316Farned of the Leaf LordWild Elf Cleric1DaveDEAD
9311Afton BarrHalf-Elf Bard1DaveDEAD
9311The Mystical OneHuman Warlock1PeteDEAD
14105TassitHuman Monk1DaveDEAD
 
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Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
The Borderland Bandits in Into the Borderlands.

Session #001: We're Not Dead Yet!

PCs

Estra Zo
(played by Pete) Female Forest Gnome Rogue (Urchin) Level 1.
Lappoy the Unexpected (played by Rob) Male High Elf Wizard (Sage) Level 1.
Farned of the Leaf Lord (played by Dave) Male Wild Elf Cleric of Rillifane Rallithil (Acolyte) Level 1.

Note, you can click on the pictures here to make them bigger (if you didn't know this already).

Day 1: Being the 1st Day of Mirtul, in the year 1493 by Dale Reckoning, known as the Year of the Purple Dragons, about 9-ish (just after breakfast time).


We begin with introductions, players and PCs, we're at the Keep in the Borderlands, which looks like this-

101.jpg

That's nice... we're not stopping.

But Zo is not for hanging around. The presumption is the guys have been here/together for a little while, they have some rumours about what lies hereabouts but this is going to be the first time they have ventured out into the wilds.

So, off they go-

102.jpg

The PCs can only see a bit of the map at a time, just what they can, well... see. A hex is an eighth of a mile.

Onwards, along the main road- patrolled and used by trade caravans and the like, and therefore possibly the safest place outside of the Keep (maybe) on the map.

All the way to the Caves of Chaos.

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It's a shadowy route, apologies- Fantasy Grounds Unity, I'll figure out how to do it better.

Into a wooded valley, there are caves hereabouts, after discussion the first opening on the left is approached-

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Anyone home?

Zo creeps in to find out.

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The Goblin count is high, Zo reckons there are at least ten of them- that's not good.

The rogue returns to her colleagues, who retreat a way (into cover) for a discussion, the result of which is... let's move on. There's three of us and ten goblins, it all sounds a bit dangerous.

The next cave along-

106.jpg

Has an Ogre in it.

Not a chance, the discussion here is minimal, as Zo puts it- "We ain't never gun do 'n Ogre!"

Zo's stealth and perception checks have all been great so far.

Move on...

But what's this, over the way hidden in a tree are a bunch of kobolds, note the PCs required something like a DC 16 to spot these buggers, their lowest roll was an '18'.

Enemy selected.

107.jpg
He-he-he. Here we go, and Lappoy has had a great idea.

So, while the kobolds are hard to hit (they have cover) the PCs have not been spotted- kobolds are much less observant out in the sunlight.

Zo, shoots one of the kobolds dead, and then Lappoy stands up from hiding and unleashes his terrible magiks!

108.jpg

A Sleep spell, and keep in mind the scaly buggers are all balanced on branches in the upper limbs of the trees, all of them 1d4 x 10 feet up from the very hard ground.

And so when three of the kobolds fall instantly asleep, well... seconds later they're roughly awoken after close contact with the ground, death by deceleration trauma.

Great work!

There are screams and shouts, kobolds climb down, up, attack with slings, or Tarzan-like swinging on vines armed with javelins- used like lances. There's a fair amount of panic.

The result is inevitable, although one of the buggers gets away and makes a dash for a cavern entrance to the north west.

110.jpg

He's getting away!

But not for long, Zo shoots the fleeing kobold dead.

[Kobolds in a tree 200 XP]

The bodies of the dead are dragged into hiding and searched- some coin but not much, then the PCs spent ammunition is recovered and a short rest taken. Lappoy wants his spell back (Arcane Recovery), remarkably none of the PCs took a hit.

Next stop, what must be the kobold's lair, Zo creeps in to take a look.

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A few kobolds on guard, the rest huddled, yapping and gambling- perfect.

The plan is- attack, there are six kobold guards- all of them need to be killed quickly, before they raise the alarm.

However...

112.jpg

Alas, none of the PCs spotted the pit trap right in front of them.

Remarkably (Dexterity DC 18 to avoid) Zo manages to trigger the trap but then dive aside, she also has the stones to shoot a kobold dead.

Lappoy has another plan...

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Burning Hands!

Note the PCs need to make a DC 10 Athletics or Acrobatics check to dodge around the outside of the awkwardly placed pit.

Remember this.

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After the flame!

Farned finishes off the last kobold guard, but what's this- a bunch of giant rats come scurrying and squeaking down the western passage. Thank the gods the pit trap is still open, the nasty rodents also need to manoeuvre around the yawning opening.

[The kobold guards 150 XP]

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The pit closes shut- bugger!

But the rats are getting cut down, or shot, or burnt.

This could still work.

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But the Giant Rats keep on coming- bugger (again).

And still they come, time for another bit of Lappoy magic.

He's the best! He repeatedly let's his companions know this.

Note, Farned is bloodied and beyond.

118.jpg
Sleep!

Keep in mind Farned is obviously immune to sleep magic.

But, alas- even after spending an inspiration point to roll again, only two giant rats succumb to the high elf's slumberous magic.

Then, alas, suddenly everything goes bad.

119.jpg

Lappoy trips and falls into the pit, which now also has a giant rat in it. Farned is surrounded and on one hit point.

Zo is preparing to make the long journey home- alone.

Ah! First level.

Still can't get any worse.

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Then, after healing himself- using an inspiration point to trigger his healing hit dice (like a healing surge, a house rule for first level PCs) Farned also trips and falls into the pit.

There is screaming, and a few very fruity swears.

That's also the end of the first session.

Oddly, it felt very nostalgic- in a very good way.

Stay safe and well you lovely people.

Cheers the Borderland Bandits* and goonalan.

*Note, Pete is calling the gang- the Borderland Bandito's, a much better name, he insists.
 
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Nice to see one of the classics getting rolled out.

I'm sure you'll soon have some bodies in the graveyard :) Although it's probably a little less certain with 5e than it would have been back in the AD&D/BECMI days.
 

Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
Nice to see one of the classics getting rolled out.

I'm sure you'll soon have some bodies in the graveyard :) Although it's probably a little less certain with 5e than it would have been back in the AD&D/BECMI days.

Yeah, it's easier with Graveyard D&D when the scenario being played is say 5th level and the PCs are level 1, I may have over-sold it (already). However, be assured, the graveyard will be put to good use.

Cheers goonalan
 

Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
The Borderland Banditos Into the Borderlands.

Session #002: A Tactical Retreat.

PCs

Estra Zo
(played by Pete) Female Forest Gnome Rogue (Urchin) Level 1.
Lappoy the Unexpected (played by Rob) Male High Elf Wizard (Sage) Level 1.
Farned of the Leaf Lord (played by Dave) Male Wild Elf Cleric of Rillifane Rallithil (Acolyte) Level 1.

Note, you can click on the pictures here to make them bigger (if you didn't know this already).

Day 1: Being the 1st Day of Mirtul, in the year 1493 by Dale Reckoning, known as the Year of the Purple Dragons, about 1-ish (and the PCs have yet to have lunch).


So, to begin with- the oddity of it all, we're playing D&D at 9.30 AM on a Friday morning, and while all of us are probably wearing shorts, or else a dressing gown, we're no-longer teenagers. Life, subject to lawyerly qualifications, is good.

Welcome to your second youth-hood, Mr. GM and friends.

But where were we...

In a pit-

201.jpg

Note, two of the Giant Rats outside of the pit are at present subject to Lappoy's Sleep spell, for some reason I failed to tick the box on FGU which shows the icon effects on enemies, my bad. So, there are only three Giant Rats between the Banditos and freedom.

Then another giant rat gets in the pit with Farned and Lappoy and bites the former- the cleric is down to one hit point, Lappoy is replete with three.

Just for info Zo hasn't taken a hit yet.

Lappoy screams and shouts and Shocking Grasps the giant rat before him- the rodent survives, if anything it's more determined to eat the wizard.

Farned casts a Healing Word on Lappoy (because it's a Bonus Action and not an Action) and then slices at the giant rat before him- he misses. As does Zo who is creeping closer, firing her bow, and then retreating in swift order.

Lappoy gets bitten again.

202.jpg

We've been in this pit (in this session) fifteen minutes and just over one turn, and yet very little has changed.

Oh but hang on...

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That's new- Zo shoots the closest Giant Rat but only wounds it, the rodent goes rushing after the gnome. The consensus around the table is- we're doomed!

Three level 1 PCs (two badly injured) versus three injured giant rats, this is epic cinema.

Hang on!

Farned cannot survive much longer, he thinks, and so uses his last prayer to Cure Wounds himself better.

But that's not all-

204.jpg
A Giant Rat bites Lappoy, the wizard sinks to his knees and then slumps into the corner of the pit, his last words to Farned before unconsciousness- "For the People! Avenge me!"

There follows quite a lot of rolling and missing.

Not a lot in the way of avenging.

But not for Zo, the gnome cuts down the giant rat that was threatening her (with a Crit) and then (mainly because she still hasn't taken a hit yet) rushes back into the cavern and shoots one of the giant rats in the pit dead too.

Note, Zo has been threatening to cut and run for about three turns now.

But then a miracle!

205.jpg

Lappoy rolls a '20' on his first Death Save, and gets to his feet full of bile and fury.

The raging wizard pumps another Shocking Grasp into the last giant rat still standing- it dies.

YES!!!

[A bunch of giant rats 175 XP]

The Borderland Bandits quickly kill the two sleeping giant rats, search the dead kobolds and the area, and then dump all of the bodies in the pit, figuring if they spring the trap again then at least they'll have a soft landing.

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Another hit of nostalgia- what are pits for if not the hiding of dead bodies, a facility that has been put to good use by generations of adventurers.

The 'do we stay or do we go?' discussion takes less then three seconds to play out.

A tactical withdrawal is the order of the day, all of the PCs are spent- no inspiration points left, no spells (save cantrips) and no healing. Also, Lappoy is still on one hit point, he's remarkably bolshie even so, ordering his (followers, he thinks) colleagues around.

The Banditos retreat out of the valley to hide in the nearby foliage.

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Watching the Caves of Chaos, the Banditos don't have long to wait.

Spilling out of the cave ten or so minutes later are a clutch of kobolds, the pesky little dragon-things run willy-nilly for a while, that is until a slightly larger kobold emerges and starts shouting the odds.

Zo, who still hasn't taken a hit remember, decides to creep closer to take a look.

Farned and Lappoy are going nowhere, keep in mind Farned my be good at hiding (he's a wood elf) but he's also a tin-can in his half-plate.

And so, Zo-

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Zo follows her '19' Stealth with a '20' Perception check, she sees...

A bunch of 'normal' kobolds, several scantily clad females- although not lots of either. Three armoured kobolds- two with handaxes and shortbows look to be guards of some sort, they bully the other kobolds around. The third is clearly the big chief.

The big chief puts on a fairly adept five-minute display with his battleaxe, which he wields two-handed, swinging the hefty blade left, right and centre, and all the while screaming blue-murder. This delights the female kobolds hereabouts- the chief's entourage/hareem, no doubt.

But what delights Zo more is the fact that the chief kobold is wearing a heavy gold chain with a fat black gem, and keep in mind the gnome rogue rolled a '20' for her Perception.

The DM states- I'll let you guess how much the jewellery is worth, if you like? I'll just answer higher or lower, whatever you guess.
Zo: (after much deliberation) 500gp?
The DM: Higher.

Just to note, Zo is very motivated by money.

The gnome heads back to her colleagues, and she's certain- they're coming back here soon.

Then, back to the Keep on the Borderlands.

But, what's this...

209.jpg

That's a better image of the hex map.

Just off the road and up a nearby hill, both of the elves spot smoke coming from a campfire (they think).

Zo goes for a little creep up the hill, while her colleagues hide, but alas the gnome is spotted before she has even got halfway up.

There follows a brief but polite conversation (the last one for a while- see below) with the as yet unseen individuals atop the rise.

As it turns out the group camped on the summit are a bunch of adventurers (called the Fortune's Five), accompanied by a few Borderlands Guards, that have been hired to clear out a nest of bandits in the region.

The Banditos are therefore cautiously welcomed...

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The camp of (the?) Fortune's Five (I know, it's a stupid name, almost as bad as the Borderland Banditos- but not quite).

There follows lots (and I mean lots) of chatter, so (some of which is OOC)-

The Banditos explain to the leaders of the Fortune's Five what they've been up to- killing kobolds and the like, and then offer to help out around the camp providing they are allowed to rest here the night. They will be returning to the Caves of Chaos to slay more kobolds in the morning.

Permission granted.

The PCs then discuss (for the first time) what they know about the region.

Note, each of the PCs starts the game with a few rumours distributed during character creation, they share/discuss the following-

3. Tribes of different creatures live in different caves.
6. All of the cave entrances are trapped.*
8. Altars are very dangerous.
16. Lizardmen live in the marshes.

The numbers on the list are for me, the DM.

*Note, Lappoy had this rumour- he forget, or else neglected, to share it with his colleagues prior to entering the goblin/ogre/kobold lairs.

Also, it's probably worth mentioning now that as well as rumours about the region the PCs were all gifted (by the saintly) DM with a few clues about the lair of the Great Wizard Zelligar, and his Myrmidon Champion companion- Rogahn.

The former home of these two 'epic' and possibly long-dead heroes is also rumoured to be located somewhere in this region, it has been sought for the best part of a century.

This then is the quest given to each new PC, in line with Module B1 In Search of the Unknown.

Note, none of the PCs have even mentioned this so far, therefore I thought I'd be the first.

Next up chatter about the Banditos options, the issue, of course, being that they are three 1st level PCs, and their enemies are legion. The obvious solution, as expressed by Pete (playing Zo) initially, is- if one or two PCs were to die, then the unfortunate player/s would suddenly find themselves with two new PCs (each). In conclusion- four or ideally five PCs would be a good number for a low level adventuring party.

Here's the thing though, two sessions in and I'm fairly certain that all three players wouldn't bat an eye-lid if they had to abandon their colleagues to allow their PC a better chance of escaping their doom.

Also, these characters were selected at random from the Pre-Gens, and they ended up with a Cleric, a Rogue and a Wizard- that's a pretty good mix, particularly as the Cleric has got a decent AC etc.

If they could only get all three of these guys up to level 2.

Therefore the decision is swiftly made- back to kobold killing, as already stated, and if the going gets rough- get out.

Just three more things to get said.

One, the PCs have started to garner personalities, or at least ways of speaking.

Zo started out as tough, terse and in charge, it didn't last long, she got trampled on by the elves, who have somehow bonded.

Farned briefly made a play for party leader spot, but was foiled for two reasons- he's too nice and Lappoy isn't (nice).

Lappoy spent the first half of the first session listening to his two colleagues semi-bicker, and then after some remarkable spell results- dropping three kobolds out of the tree (= dead), incinerating the kobold guards (four killed in an instant), and then sending two of the giant rats to sleep. Well, Lappoy is in charge, atm. He's not shouty, he is however (big sigh) frustrated by the fact that he has to tell his followers/colleagues what to do all of the time.

When Lappoy started to shine- Farned fell in line very quickly, remember the cleric thinks that Elves Rule! and Lappoy styles himself a High Elf Master Wizard (or similar).

So, they're growing as people.

Point two- a word about gambling.

It's not mature or indeed sensible, so don't do it.

So, we've opened a book on the PCs.

Every new PC (Pre-Gen or rolled) costs the player £1.
Every session costs the player (and the DM) £1 just the same.

At the end of the game the three PCs (living or dead) with the highest XP will receive (60/30/10%) of the total pot, or else the money will go to the player who took charge of the winning PCs.

Two sessions in and the pot is at £11.

Last bit, sorry- lots of chatter in this one, but let's skip back to the Fortune's Five camp.

So, while enjoying their stay at the summit camp the Banditos decide to see what new info they can find out, also to see if they can hire one of the warriors/guards/anyone to accompany them back to the Caves of Chaos.

That's when things start to go wrong-ish.

The three leader types of the camp- Eddis (female human, could be a ranger), M'Baddah (big male human, a warrior of some sort) and Jerdren (hefty male human, another warrior?) are either individually or collectively rubbed up the wrong way by all three of the PCs.

Zo, almost convinces M'Whan (male human, definitely a fighter) to join the Banditos but when M'Baddah (M'Whan's dad) hears about this then they both get shouted at. The Fortune's Five have a contract with the Castellan of Borderlands Keep, M'Whan is going nowhere.

Then Lappoy makes it clear that Mead, a wood elf fledgling mage member of the Fortune's Five, is clearly not up to much- magically speaking. Certainly not on the road to being Archmage Lappoy, as he is. A little later insults fly.

Lastly, and collectively we have forgotten who it was he said this to, Farned calls one of the leader types a 'sub-elf', and then goes on to explain at great length that anything not elf is 'sub-par', and to be pitied.

All three PCs made one social skill type check, the results before bonuses/penalties were '5', '2' & '1'.

The Banditos, after a little more wrangling- and some better rolls, are allowed to stay at the camp for just the one night, and furthermore warned- the camp is supposed to be a secret, the Fortune's Five are searching for a gang of bandits in the region. In short- Banditos, stay away!

The Borderland Banditos are all just over half way to level 2, they need to stick their necks out again.

Stay safe and well you lovely people.

Cheers

The Borderland Bandits and goonalan.
 
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Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
The Borderland Banditos Go Into The Borderlands.

Session #003: Kobold Killers (& vice-versa).

PCs (in alphabetical order)
Estra Zo
(Pete) Female Forest Gnome Rogue (Urchin) Level 1.
Farned of the Leaf Lord (Dave) Male Wild Elf Cleric of Rillifane Rallithil (Acolyte) Level 1.
Lappoy the Unexpected (Rob) Male High Elf Wizard (Sage) Level 1.

Note, you can click on the pictures here to make them bigger (if you didn't know this already).

Day 2: Being the 2nd Day of Mirtul, in the year 1493 by Dale Reckoning, known as the Year of the Purple Dragons, about 10-ish (after a lazy start to the day).


Just before we start I wanted to make something clear, the Borderland Banditos didn't just escape the kobolds last session with their lives, they got a bunch of XP, and... treasure.

In total?

Fifty one silver pieces.

What a haul- that's 17sp each.

Remember the times when a hard day adventuring generated 1.7gp for each PC.

Made me smile.

Then, onwards...

The Banditos awake late and soon after depart the Fortune's Five camp, they make their way unimpeded back to their previous hiding place in the woods at the neck of the Caves of Chaos ravine. Then... they watch, for an hour or so, but there's no movement to be seen.

So, next stop the kobold cave, here we go-

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Hullo! We're back again!

Note, Lappoy has his Mage Armour on from the start for this one, he figures (correctly) it's probably going to get hairy in here.

But here's the thing, while Zo (as usual) is really sneaky her companions are (very) much less so, Stealth checks '1' & '2' for Farned and Lappoy respectively.

So, one of the kobold guards within the cavern spots the cleric- as the wild elf leans in to the opening to see, the dragon-thing yelps and then rushes at the priest.

But that doesn't work, Zo (from hiding) sinks an arrow into the rushing kobold's back as it exits the cavern, and that's enough to end the little bugger- dead.

Zo slinks back into hiding, briefly, while warning her compatriots that there are more guards within the cavern entrance, including one of the hefty (for a kobold) armoured fellows.

Meantime there's kobold confusion within the cavern- shouts and calls and the stomp of little feet.

Seconds later Zo scoots back out of hiding and into the cavern entrance again- surprise and then very high initiative, she ends another kobold guard with her bow.

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Zo is a killing machine.

But then the rest of the kobolds come running, all four of the little buggers rush screeching out of their lair, they get as close as they can to Farned before throwing, or else stabbing, with whatever they have to hand.

Remarkably all four of the little buggers fail to hit the priest of the Leaf Lord.

Including the armoured fellow.

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Farned, in the wrong place and at the wrong time, and with a '1' for his Stealth.

But the kobold guards keep on coming, spilling out of the cavern and straight at the cleric, the elite kobold (the kobold with the armour) is calling the shots, and he's got his comrades in arms real riled.

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Farned gets sliced by the elite kobold's handaxe.

The Banditos' retribution is very swift, Lappoy blasts another kobold guard (explodes its head) dead with a Crit hit Fire Bolt, while Zo sinks an arrow into the elite kobold's back.

Seconds later Farned's Shillelagh thumps the big(-ish) kobold bastard dead.

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Elite kobold my ass.

The last kobold standing suddenly realizes that all of its friends are gone, it flees and is also smashed into oblivion by the priest.

Success!

And as far as the Banditos know the alarm has not been raised.

This, of course, is absolutely not the case- one of the kobold guards departed to tell the rest of the tribe moments after the Banditos were initially spotted.

They're coming!

Zo, quietly creeps in to the cavern- easily leaping the pit trap (it's still there she ascertains) and then spies down a long and low-ish ceilinged packed-dirt passage. There are lights to the east, and stink to the west, but that was where the rats came from previously.

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The coast is clear.

Zo hushes her comrades forward.

But then, with wild squawks and shouts, a bunch more kobolds come rushing.

The other two Banditos jump across the unsprung pit and then scooch into cover, en route Farned fires Sacred Flames into the closest approaching kobold.

Which causes the rag-tag bunch to hesitate, but only for a moment.

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Incoming!

There follows a brief but intense chat between the adventurers, to reiterate- kill as many as you can but if it all goes to naughty word then get out of here fast!

The Banditos have a plan, or else the players do- we need XP, we need to stay alive...

Lappoy Fire Bolts another of the approaching little bastards dead.

Zo ends another with her bow.

But the kobolds keep on coming- straight to the action, some are armed with spears, others javelins, a number just clutching daggers- but... there are a lot of 'em.

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Farned, he's the tough guy (he thinks), holds the line, but the little bastards keep on coming.

The priest of the Leaf Lord is however starting to fret, and keep in mind he's been attacked over a dozen times in the last 3-4 turns, and with just one hit- he figures his luck is going to run out sooner rather than later.

Farned therefore adds a little Shield of Faith to his cause, I figure his AC now must be up to 20.

Nice work.

Lappoy Fire Bolts yet another kobold dead.

Zo, ends yet another with her bow.

The Banditos are winning.

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But it just takes one, see that guy- Kobold #51, that little savage takes down Farned with a crudely made wooden spear and a natural '20'.

But the screeching kobolds just don't stop, still they keep on coming.

Just to say when Zo spied the kobolds outside of the lair yesterday she was convinced that there were not too many of the little buggers left. In truth the lion's share of the tribe were still inside the cavern, tearfully extracting the bodies of their dead brothers and sisters from the pit trap.

Oh, and of course the only PC with any healing is/was the cleric.

But Farned passes his first death save, so there's that.

It's getting busy...

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Lappoy spots a way out of this predicament, it's called Burning Hands. Shame that Farned is prone and unconscious within the compass of the spell.

And then...

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That's the end of Farned.

I'd like to say that Rob (playing Lappoy) wasn't aware that an unconscious & prone Farned would automatically fail his dexterity saving throw versus his Burning Hands spell.

I'd like to say that... but it wouldn't be true.

What is true is that there was an awful lot of giggling, particularly when you consider the fact that the average age of our little group is approx. 50, going on.

But in truth Dave, playing Farned, encouraged Rob to drop the bomb, as I say- there was lots of giggling.

But we do get a last line/scene, the prerogative of every dying PC/player.

So, head to your imaginerium and viddy this-

Farned clutches at the spear in his gut, slumps against the hard packed earth wall and slides down it to a sitting position. His magical (Shillelagh) club waving forlornly at the kobold before him.

He turns to Lappoy- “So cold, High Master? Warm me? Let me feel again the heat of the sun on my back...”

Alas the rest of Farned's final words are lost to history, scourged by the roar of Lappoy the Unexpected's carpet of roiling flames (Burning Hands).

However, three of the four kobolds that were about to savage the Banditos are also incinerated in an instant, the last kobold left standing is not looking too well either.

Lappoy shouts at Zo- “Run you tiny little fool! The Leaf Lord got burned”, and then the wizard sprints out of the cavern, dodging the staggering singed kobold's (opportunity) spear attack.

Zo guts the last kobold standing and then she too exits the cavern, again remembering to leap the still unsprung pit trap.

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But, there are still more kobolds coming.

Outside of the cavern lair Lappoy makes directly for the nearest patch of cover and then skids to a halt, the high elf wizard spins around to shoot one of the kobolds emerging from the lair with a Ray of Frost. Which also reduces the creature's move by ten feet for a turn, he's a smart fellow.

The affected kobold however survives long enough to stab at Zo, the gnome is, of course, much slower than the little dragon bastards. It misses.

The rogue stabs the kobold right back- dead with a Crit.

However, another chasing kobold manages to fling a javelin at the rogue (even at disadvantage in the sunlight).

It's a hit and Zo is bloodied in an instant.

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Run!

Lappoy, the hero of the hour, hangs around long enough to shoot a second kobold down with yet another Fire Bolt.

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Lappoy's to hit and damage rolls are on fire (just ask Farned), I don't think he missed once all session.

Then the high elf wizard lifts his robes and takes to his heels again.

There's a lot of fleeing going on, particularly as Zo shouts to warn that there are two more kobolds giving chase, and these two buggers are armed with slings.

But the kobold slingers are looking to close the distance first.

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That's a good lead, they can't catch the gnome. Can they?

Just so that you know, the rule in game here (99% of the time, unless I wanna run a chase) is if the PCs get off the map then they get away.

Lappoy is way off in the distance, sprinting like a terrified mad man.

Zo?

Not so much, her yapping kobold chasers- whirling slings in hand, are catching up with the bustling gnome.

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See that square that Zo is standing in, that's the last square on the map.

So, here's the deal- the closest chasing kobold skids to a halt and lets loose a sling stone.

Here's the (not very) contentious bit.

Disadvantage because the kobold is out in the sunlight.

Disadvantage because its at long range.

Which adds up to?

Disadvantage.

Well...

I rolled a '20' and a '19'. The sling stone hits Zo in the back of the head, I roll max damage and she falls.

Pete, playing Zo, goes very briefly apoplectic.

I swiftly cut a deal with him.

When the kobold chasers catch up with the fallen gnome- there are still two of them in the hunt, one of them will stab Zo to make sure that she's down for good (delivering one auto fail Death Save).

Then, providing Zo stabilises, they'll take her prisoner.

That seems fair.

Although, fair or not, that's what's happening.

What could go wrong?

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Zo rolls a '1' on her first Death Save, that's two automatic Death Save failures.

Then the first kobold on the scene stabs her with its dagger.

Zo is dead.

Lappoy, of course, ran off the map two turns ago, he wasn't stopping.

But let's click to the cut scene-

Zo, her chest heaving, cries out to Lappoy- or at least the spot in the trees ahead she saw the leggy wizard rush into- “Hey... (HUH-HUH). Hey, Lappoy! (HUH-HUH) We got awa... CRACK.”

The fallen gnome does a brief spastic dance as her eyes roll back, and then thumping into her chest, like an eight year old late to a pile-on, comes the other chasing kobolds- dagger first.

The gnome is gone.

[Lots more kobolds killed 425 XP]

We take a moment to remember them.

And giggle.

In truth the raised voices and shouting lasted less than ten seconds, and it was only for effect.

Dave & Pete are swiftly on with fitting out their new Pre-Gen characters, and remember they get two PCs each this time, you'll get to meet them in the next session.

Lappoy however doesn't stop running (for nearly an hour).

All the way out of the ravine and back on to the road, although he's trying to stay in cover.

Note, every time a/the PCs venture onto the hex wilderness map I roll a random encounter check, I need a 1 on a 1d10.

I don't roll a '1', although both Pete and Dave are strangely keen for me to keep on trying.

Lappoy, exhausted, eventually makes it back to the Fortune's Five camp, he's still running (jogging)- and screaming and gabbling about his colleagues all being dead, as he charges up the hill.

He rolls a '20' on his Persuasion check.

A pair of guards from the encampment quickly move to aid him.

Safe.

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The High Elf gabbles out his story, and keep in mind he's still expecting Zo to catch up with him some time soon. He didn't see the gnome fall.

But there's no-one else showing up.

It's Bandito (singular) from here on in.

The Wizard is fed and watered, and then after sulking (& skulking) for a good long while- “they should have listened to me!” He's allowed to spend the rest of the day and following night in camp. The Fortune's Five feel sorry for the wizard.

We move on...

Day 3: Being the 3rd Day of Mirtul, in the year 1493 by Dale Reckoning, known as the Year of the Purple Dragons, about 7-ish (an early start).

Lappoy awakes a level two wizard.

Then in the morning, and on his own- having failed to persuade any of the Fortune's Five leaders to lend him a guard, he heads back (in cover again) along the road to the Keep on the Borderlands.

It should take him about ninety minutes to return to the fortress.

Which necessitates, of course, another random encounter check.

I roll a '1'.

And remarkably the two players (Pete & Dave) that have been minding their own business for the last half-hour, quietly fitting out their two new PCs (each), are suddenly very interested again in the action.

And so...

The stumbling high elf wizard hears a noise behind him, something moving fast on the road- he has to make an immediate Stealth check.

Hey look- he rolls a '1' too, and so falls out of cover and directly into the road.

Rob (playing Lappoy) seems to be saying “No” a lot, actually it's more like- “NO!”

His friends- Pete and Dave, on the other hand are very much in favour of repeatedly yelling “YES!”

The drumbeat of horses and the gruff shouts and cries of fast approaching men cause the floundering wizard to tumble turn to spy his impending doom!

And that's where the heavily armoured outriders of the approaching caravan find him, cowering on the dusty road.

Dave & Pete are gutted.

Rob, on the other hand, is rather delighted.

The caravan is heading for the Keep too.

What luck.

Two pleasant hours later and Lappoy is deposited, and cheerily waved off, within the Keep on the Borderlands castle yard, having regaled his new travelling companions with his tales of high adventure.

Lappoy the Unexpected (2nd level) lives on.

That's all for this session, next time- five PCs in action.

Oh, and just to say the pot is up to £15.

Although... It's the weirdest party mix, random the guys are rolling at random for the Pre-Gens.

Stay safe and well you lovely people.

Cheers

The Borderland Banditos (all one of them) and goonalan.
 
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Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
The Unexpected In The Borderlands.

Session #004: Expect the Unexpected.

PCs (in alphabetical order)
Afton Barr
(played Dave) Male Half-Elf Bard (Entertainer) Level 1.
Lappoy the Unexpected (played by Rob) Male High Elf Wizard (Sage) Level 2.
Tassit (played by Dave) Female Human Monk (Hermit) Level 1.
The Mystical One (played by Pete) Female Human Warlock (Outlander) Level 1.
Trebbelos (played by Pete) Male Tiefling Sorcerer (Charlatan) Level 1.

Note, you can click on the pictures here to make them bigger (if you didn't know this already).

Day 5: Being the 5th Day of Mirtul, in the year 1493 by Dale Reckoning, known as the Year of the Purple Dragons, about midday-ish.


The Traveller's Inn, the meal nearly finished- soup again, and the first full meeting of the, sorry... The Unexpected, Master of Magic Lappoy THE Unexpected, presiding.

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High Master Lappoy sits at the head of the table, as is his right, note Afton Barr (the Bard) is on hand to provide much needed quips & jingles during the following chatter, and to deal with the media.

“So, that's clear- I will lead you to the lair of these damned kobolds tomorrow morning. The tribe were all but decimated in my previous attack. We will enter their cavern, remembering- as I said, to look out for the pit trap. Then, we kill the guards- they will be no match for our combined magics. Although, keep in mind- I will be preserving my more powerful spells for the confrontation with the chief, his lair is a little further into the tunnels.”

Three of the four new members of the The Unexpected nod and continue to spoon their soup.

The other...

“You attacked the lair previously? On your own?”

The questions are delivered in a reedy quavering voice whispered directly into Lappoy's mind, damn that woman the high elf wizard thinks, and then instantly regrets doing so. The Mystical One, as she styles herself, a female Shou warlock, can communicate via telepathy. But, can she also read minds?

Lappoy simply nods to the woman by way of reply, while mumbling the incantation for his Burning Hands spell, I must remember to keep her in front of me- and in range, the wizard thinks.

The four new members of the The Unexpected (motto: Expect the Unexpected) are-

Afton Barr (played by Dave) is a (pre-gen) male half-elf bard, all the way from the rough streets of Baldur's Gate. An accomplished juggler of very little regard, the obsequious fellow will do anything and everything to gain the fame and fortune he truly deserves. At present he's counting on the brilliance of High Master Lappoy the Unexpected to give him the leg-up he needs.

Tassit (played by Dave) is a (pre-gen) female human monk, and she's feisty with it. She has but recently emerged from the wilds, seemingly- she says little about her past. Her self-imposed task is to attempt to achieve spiritual, mystical and magical enlightenment by destroying every gods-damned filthy greenskin, and the like, that crosses her path. Tassit is a force to be reckoned with (she thinks).

The Mystical One (aka Meg) (played by Pete) is a (pre-gen) female human warlock of indiscriminate age, having dedicated her life and soul to the Council (and counsel) of the Great Old Ones. She's from the far off land of Shou, and can communicate with those around her via telepathy, which can be most unnerving. The Mystical One is on a quest for world domination, but... y'know, in a good way. She will be the next leader of this adventuring band, this she swears to her cold not-yet-dead dread Masters.

Trebbelos (played by Pete) is a (pre-gen) male tiefling sorcerer, and more remarkably a fairly wholesome individual. Keen to battle tyranny in all its forms, rather poetic when faced with beauty, and a smooth talking charmer- with a devilish manner, of course. Trebbelos, for want of something better to do, is keen to play the part of the hero.

But that's enough of that for now.

Day 6: Being the 6th Day of Mirtul, in the year 1493 by Dale Reckoning, known as the Year of the Purple Dragons, 7.30 AM- an early start.

Just over two hours later and The Unexpected are parked in Lappoy's favourite bit of shrubbery, the High Master is dispensing wisdom in his condescending way- pointing out the goblin and ogre caves to the left, and the kobold cavern to the right.

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Watching the Caves of Chaos.

There's nothing coming- the adventurers watch and wait for a further twenty or so minutes, and then using what little cover there is make their way swiftly to the kobold cavern.

After a brief argument/discussion Tassit, the semi-stealthy monk, is sent forward to spy within- there are, as Lappoy predicted, a bunch of kobolds present, including one hefty specimen wearing armour (the wizard even got that right). That said the monk has no idea where the pit Lappoy was speaking about is situated- she can't see it.

Is this a test?

She therefore sneaks back to tell her friends, and then after another brief discussion- actually not much in the way of a discussion, the High Master is mostly giving orders. The Unexpected get in position to spring their surprise, more remarkably all five PCs manage to do this quietly.

Note Trebbelos and Lappoy have already got their Mage Armour on.

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Soon to be dead kobolds, maybe.

The artillery (80% of the PCs) take it in turns to shuffle into the cavern entrance- blast (of some variety) a kobold, and then shuffle back out of sight again. Two kobold guards (actually very newly promoted kobold guards) are either burnt or otherwise butchered.

Then the front line arrives- Tassit the monk tumbles in, and then leaps a pit she cannot even see, landing in the crowd of kobolds- and more specifically directly before the armoured guard, the soon to be target of her fury.

“Die you filthy little scumbag!” She adds for the camera.

The monk then fails to hit (with advantage on all of her attacks) with her quarterstaff, then with her kicking foot, and then after spending her one and only inspiration point- with her staff again.

“Oh naughty word!”, the young monk adds.

And she'd be right to.

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Tassit in action.

Afton Barr, the bard, dodges in and helps Tassit out (a bit) by casting a Light spell (so the monk can at least see who is hitting her) on the heavily armoured kobold.

Then moments later Trebbelos hits the now glowing kobold tough with a Fire Bolt- it feels the burn but works through it.

But the rest of the kobolds are now into the fight.

Tassit gets stabbed.

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And then stabbed again.

But Lappoy as Unexpected is here to save the day, the High Master wizard steps in to play and with a Fire Bolt (Crit) blasts the armoured kobold to smithereens.

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That's why he's the High Master.

Tassit meantime gets stabbed again, the kobold guards (most of 'em) as it turns out- they're desperate here, are only armed with knives.

The quick-thinking monk therefore swiftly disengages, and then leaps back over the pit, only... well, she doesn't. Tassit stumbles, flails (briefly), and then somehow star jumps to land hard directly onto the pit trap, which duly springs open.

Note, Dave playing Tassit just forget that the pit trap was there. I asked, “Where are you leaping too?” He moved Tassit a couple of squares and declared “Here!”

And the pit trap opens.

The vexed monk runs on air for a second, like they do in the cartoons, and then plummets.

The kobolds, it now appears, have improved upon their earlier pit trap design, they've added sharpened stakes smeared with rat (and other) faeces.

Tassit is impaled and dying down there.

She's also diseased.

But first things first- let's do something about the unconscious and dying thing, then get to work on the disease.

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“Well, get her out! We can't all stand at the back.” Lappoy is miffed, the attack isn't going to plan.

Afton Barr, the bard, moves forward and flings a dagger at a kobold- he misses, and then fires a Healing Word down into Tassit in the pit, she stirs.

A kobold guard makes it past the pit and stabs Trebbelos.

This really isn't going well.

Also, the Unexpected have seen, and can now hear, that at least one kobold has already departed the scene, gone rushing- screaming and shouting all the way, deeper into the dank tunnelled lair.

The alarm is ringing.

The Mystical One therefore Eldritch Blasts another kobold dead, and then orders (using her telepathy) all of the members of the Unexpected (except Lappoy, of course) to leap the pit and engage with the enemy.

It's at this point however that the giant rats start arriving, the first of the nasty vermin swiftly cuts off the artillery, the second scrambles down into the pit, and to the prostrate and bloodied monk.

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Everything is under control...

Trebbelos tags the giant rat threatening the adventurers with a Shocking Grasp, which only serves to rile it.

Another giant rat gets into the pit with Tassit.

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…of the giants rats and kobolds.

Another kobold (easily) leaps the pit and stabs Afton.

A different kobold slithers safely down into the pit and stabs Tassit (yet again).

The monk is still prone, and now back down to one hit point.

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Please stop reading, or at the very least look away. There are experienced D&D players trying to work here...

Tassit, miraculously, manages to get to her feet and smash the kobold that just stabbed her dead, with her quarterstaff.

“Get me outta here!” she yells, but time moves on very quickly.

Afton cuts a giant rat down with his rapier.

Yet another giant rat gets into the pit with Tassit.

It bites her.

The monk falls unconscious (again).

Trebbelos is quick to the scene, the tiefling sorcerer dodges past the giant rat in the cavern entrance and scurries to the very edge of the pit, he unleashes a somewhat feeble Burning Hands into the void- incinerating only one of the vermin, but thankfully entirely avoiding incinerating Tassit.

That's how it's done.

The heroic sorcerer is then swept into the air by a swirling magical vortex, he's deposited safely on the far side of the pit, but he's still not done. An inspiration point later and the last but one kobold standing is Shocking Grasped to death.

Trebbelos for MVP.

Too soon- keep reading.

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Trebbelos, showing folk how it should be done.

But, we're still fighting...

Lappoy gets bitten by a giant rat.

The High Master is not best pleased.

Note, at this point Lappoy the Unexpected and The Mystical One have both backed out of the cavern, the pair are looking to stay alive here.

Another giant rat tries to get into the pit to feed on the bleeding out Tassit, alas it falls in and impales itself on a spike- dead.

However yet another pair of giant rats make it to the fracas.

I rolled 2d4 earlier to see how many giant rats were attracted to the fight, I rolled a '4' and a... what was it now? Oh yeah, another '4'.

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Where's your money at? Unexpected FTW? Or the Giant Rats & Kobold (singular)?

And we get all the way around to Tassit's first Death Save.

It's a '1'.

Oh how we laughed.

At least I remember laughing.

Afton Barr, the bard, attempts to back away from the giant rat trying to savage him (without disengaging), he's prepared to take the risk- but of course he gets bitten, and now he's down to two hit points.

Although he's also now in position to press the red button, he Thunderwaves the three enemies before him- a kobold guard and two giant rats are ripped apart in the percussive shock and awe.

A (minor) victory of sorts.

Meanwhile, back in the pit the giant rats tuck in to Tassit.

The monk is dead.

She didn't last very long.

I ask Dave, playing Tassit, if she has any last words.

“Stupid!”

It was all he could think of.

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Can they... I mean, could they. Don't worry about the two giant rats in the pit, they're plenty busy eating Tassit.

But then Trebbelos, the tiefling sorcerer, shouts out- there are more kobolds coming down the eastern passage.

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This looks very familiar.

The tiefling is urgent- “Come across the pit, let's fight them!”, then however he Fire Bolts a giant rat (not quite dead) and ducks into hiding, in the kobold guard's former watch room.

Lappoy is quickly across the pit and to Trebbelos' side, the High Master stops briefly en route to Fire Bolt one of the approaching kobolds dead.

Moments later Afton Barr, the bard, also scrambles around the pit and into cover- the Unexpected are going for it.

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Brace for impact! Here they come.

The Mystical One however telepathically explains (states) to Lappoy that she's staying on the 'run away' side of the pit. The warlock shuffles forward and Eldritch Blasts one of the giant rats in the pit eating Tassit dead, she then shuffles back into the shadows.

Trebbelos, the sorcerer, Fire Bolts another rushing kobold dead, and then he too dives back into cover.

Then...

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High Master Lappoy (the Unexpected) steps out and unleashes his Burning Hands.

Come on! Come on!

And incinerates three more kobolds, following up the procedure with a series of taunts and threats, all delivered in guttural draconic.

The High Master rolls a '20' for his Intimidate check.

There is whooping.

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Lappoy, unexpected? I doubt it.

That's how it is done.

The formerly swiftly approaching kobolds turn tail and run, back the way they came.

Afton, with a hearty cheer, steps out of hiding and sinks an arrow into the back of a fleeing kobold- dead. While The Mystical One, with a nod- and a little smile for Lappoy, shuffles around the pit and Eldritch Blasts another fleeing kobold, also dead.

The last giant rat in the pit grabs one of Tassit's hands and flees back to its stinky chamber to the west, to consume the bloody morsel in peace.

We're out of combat.

[Lots of kobolds and giant rats 525 XP]

Briefly.

There's a lot of shouting coming from down the eastern passage.

More kobolds are definitely coming.

Just to recap- The Mystical One is uninjured, Trebbelos is on 6 HP, Lappoy is on 5 HP and Afton Barr has just 2 HP left.

There's no healing left, save for those PCs with inspiration points and healing Hit Dice to spend (and are first level). A house rule.

Do we flee or do we make a stand?

But again, there's no discussion- Lappoy orders his followers to make a stand- and to shoot anything that comes down either passage.

“We're staying right here!” The High Master makes clear.

The adventurers have a few moments to sift through the belongings of the dead (kobolds) and then kick the bodies into the pit.

Afton Barr, the bard, uses his inspiration point to trigger his Hit Dice Healing (surge), he recovers one hit point- totally worth it.

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It's a waiting game, all the PCs have readied actions...

While, not far away...

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Kobold Chief Tonka rallies his troops and then gives the order...

Here they come- and all at once.

Afton shoots a kobold dead, Lappoy likewise blasts another with a Fire Bolt, while The Mystical One wounds yet another with her Eldritch Blast.

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Here goes nothing...

Afton holds the line and stabs a kobold dead, Trebbelos's Fire Bolt accounts for another one.

Then Lappoy elbows himself into the fracas and unleashes his Thunderwave.

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Oh Lappoy!

Followed by...

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He's magnificent. Just the wounded kobold chief and one other left standing.

The other surviving kobold tries to rush his way out of the lair, en route The Mystical One stabs the unfortunate in the back, while Afton Barr impales the little bastard with his rapier.

Dead!

Then The Mystical One steps out into the cavern passage and blows the kobold chief's tiny mind- with her Dissonant Whispers, the former big boss of the tribe flees screaming.

But the kobold chief doesn't get far, it soon staggers to a halt, shakes its head clear and hefts its battleaxe, and then comes running (and screeching threats) straight back at the Unexpected.

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Straight for The Mystical One.

The Shou warlock doesn't flinch, only telepathically orders her companions to swiftly end the threat.

Afton Barr fails to do so with his rapier, while Trebbelos' Fire Bolt is way off-target, which just leaves...

Lappoy the Unexpected.

“Please High Master”, The Mystical One telepathically begs.

Lappoy, of course, blasts away the kobold chief's head, with a Fire Bolt, and another Crit.

Oh Lappoy!

[Kobolds & the chief 400 XP]

So, a couple of things to report-

Lappoy takes possession of the black opal on a thick gold chain that the kobold chief was formerly sporting- it looks particularly valuable.

The three other members of the Unexpected have enough XP for level two.

That's nice.

But first a short rest to reflect, also an opportunity for Lappoy's followers (all of them, even the telepathic ones) to repeatedly tell the High Master of Magics how great he is.

More of the same sort of thing next time.

The pot is up to £23.

Stay safe and well you lovely people.

Cheers

The High Master of Magics Lappoy the Unexpected, and his followers. Oh, and goonalan.
 
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