Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Tales from the Borderlands – Episode 1 - The Search for the Caves

With the school year back up and running I am beginning a new campaign using Old School Essentials. I am going with a Westmarches style of game also known as open table because of the size club that I generally end up with. Currently we are in a rebuilding year as far as the club is concerned due to a huge drop off due to graduation. I had five players, two of which had never played an RPG, two more that were 5e players, and one that I brought into the old school world last year. Needless to say they were lacking a lot of experience as far as for old school experience. I also decided to start with the classic B2 Keep on the Borderlands, with plans to expand it if the players end up getting some gumption to go other places. The two that had never played before did know the RPG lingo and parlance, I assume from watching YouTube videos, which did help to speed some factors of play up.

It is a pretty sight

I made them roll up some fresh 1st level characters and kept with the house rules that I presented previously on the blog. We ended up with characters with extremely good stats, I suspect it is the luck of the new player shining through on them. The party consisted of an Elf, Fighter, Halfling, Thief, and a Dwarf. Not the most well rounded group, especially lacking to two primary caster classes, but this was their decision and at least they would be well armored. They bought equipment and weapons, and I strongly suggested that the inclusion of polearms and missile weapons would be vital in the early stages, but the 5e mentality of going into hand-to-hand combat weighed out, at least I warned them.

Go to sytem of choice now

I started them by saying they were all adventurers seeking their fortunes because farming sucks and being rich is awesome. That was about the end of the premise, I am hoping the lure of adventure and gold will be enough to propel the plot along in the beginning. They immediately went to the inn and started to ask about the caves that was good. They then proceeded to goof off a bit, and I felt they did not know how to proceed with the adventure, in comes striding my Strider facsimile.
I had a woodsman approach and mention that he had been to the caves as a guide, and wanted to see if his services were required. He offered them a fair deal in that he wanted 1 share of what was brought out of the cave, though he would have settled for much less. They agreed to his terms, but were under the opinion that they would screw the guy over in the end. They had several plans, have them lead them to the Caves then come immediately back, now they knew the route. Also, lie about what they bring out of the Caves and give him a pittance. Lastly, have the guy lead them there, then kill him and take his stuff. Sounds like a typical new adventuring group.

I use this gag way too often.

They travel to the Caves and then proceed to head into the goblin cave immediately. They did not attempt to scout or listen, and ran into room 17’s guards. They decided to engage with 4 PCs, because the Elf had to leave early. They heard earlier that “Bree-Yark” was the goblin word for surrender, and began yelling it loudly. The goblins slightly confused decided to toss some ineffectual spears. The thief went sneaking around, and decided to hide because they didn’t want to get hurt, this left a 3 on 6 scenario. By the end, the Fighter was down, but not dead. The dwarf was down to 1 HP, and their reward was 60 copper pieces and 6 silver.

We had to end at this point, but we will see what happens in the future!

Missed the other Episodes? Look here to catch up.

I went ahead and created a Facebook group for the blog, if you are interested the link is here.


  1. "...farming sucks and being rich is awesome" - what deeper motivation do first level characters need?

    Are you aware of the Dungeon Craft YouTube channel? He's doing his own 'interesting' spin on Keep On The Borderlands, which might give you some ideas.

  2. I am not, but I will certainly check it out!

  3. I love B2! ... they all run right into the goblin cave. Players used to 5th ed especially. They don't really have a concept of dying. So when they all go down, I wake them up in the torture chamber ... if any had fled, they can try to sneak in the back way through the stairs if they haven't stirred the whole nest of goblins again.

  4. They haven't all died yet, but it was close.