Thursday, September 12, 2019

Tales from the Borderlands – Episode 2 – Ogre Aggressive

               I apologize for the delay on this series, but the hurricane cause school to cancel last week and the group was unable to get together. We had a session on Tuesday and it was quite special. I am running an open table so players are going to fly in and out of the sessions. I had three characters return from the previous adventure, the Dwarf, the Elf, and the Fighter that was knock out at the end of last session. Joining this merry band was four new players. Two of the new players have played before, and two were completely new to D&D. The party added another Fighter, another Elf, and two Thieves (both of them completely new players). The party still had no Magic Users or Clerics, but such is life.

                When we last left off, the group had slayed a small contingent of goblins, and earned a hearty 60 silver pieces, and one of their front line fighters was down. Since over 50% of the game was new, I decided to hand wave that the party retreated and was attempting to get back to town with their guide, Mac the Woodsman. Luckily I rolled no random encounters and they arrived back at The Keep. I told them how the Keep’s population was snickering under their breath because they came back tail between their legs and with nothing to show for it. Mac was disappointed that he basically did not get paid for four days of work and the group was close to out of money at this point. I ruled that they rested for a week in order to let the fighter get back health, and the new players arrived in the meantime.
                The new players came to the keep and as they entered noticed the guards exchanging some coin and overheard, “I bet this lot comes back with nothing too, most likely one will die too. I’ll give you 5 to 1 odds.” This was a tad disconcerting to them and they headed straight for the tavern to get the local rumors. I did not consult the rumor table, because the scuttlebutt about the cave was nothing but about how the last group failed miserably. Mac introduced himself, and offered his services to the new group. I also had Mac suggest that the newbies might want to combine forces with the group that went in last time. The more manpower, the more likely they can survive. The groups decided to combine and were going to set off the next morning.
                The notion of supplies came up as almost no one had money, or rations. The two new players, both thieves, decided to live up to their reputations. They wanted to go and steal rations for the group. No one seemed to have a problem with this, and they both set out to see what they could obtain. I asked them their plan and explained that there was a “provisioner” and described a simple general store. At first, since they were new, they said “We steal from him.” I asked, “How are you going about this?” I gave them a few examples of how they could possibly go about this, then they understood and came up with a good plan. One of the thieves had a 16 CHA and they were going to distract the merchant, and the other was going to rob from him. I decided to mess with them ever so slightly because they kept saying this is like Skyrim. I wanted to do something that Skyrim does not do. I made the merchant exceptionally nice, and wholesome. He was talking with the character saying how tough times were since the trade routes are threatened by monsters from the caves. How he can barely afford to feed his poor wife, who is ill. How the character reminded him of his nephew, who is a good boy, honest as the day is long. The player actually doing the theft was like, “I can’t do this. He is so nice.” To which the other player said, “We’re in this too far don’t back down now.” So they stole from him, to rub it in slightly I had him give the player a free ration because he knew, “Times were tough.” Both of the players felt a little bad and agreed to give the man money if they get any from the Caves.

Poor Old Merchant

                The group set off with no trouble getting into the Caves, with no random encounters (they’ve been lucky on this both games). After the last time I expected a bit more teamwork, so they immediately split up! Half the party decided to go towards G cave and the other half towards E cave. The group that went towards G decided to attempt to “smoke out” whatever is inside it and build a fire at the entrance. While the group that went towards heard distinct snoring coming from the cave. With the fire lit, I described how only part of the smoke was going in the cave, and part was going out do to being right on the entrance and that the caves must be pretty big, because the smoke isn’t pooling up all that quickly. The other group continues fret about the snoring, but they are hoping it is the Ogre. Last session they heard a rumor in town that the Ogre “sometimes helps the cave dwellers” somehow they took this as the Ogre was friendly, and might help them. I guess they watch too much Shrek growing up.
                The group at G enters the cave and finds the trash pile and two players begin to rummage, finding a gold they rummage more. I rolled noise checks for three rounds of searching for two different players, and nothing. I really wanted to have the Owlbear and Ogre show up at the same time. The group at E decides to enter the cave to see what is snoring, and see the large fur mound, slowly rising and falling. I also made hear noise checks for the Ogre to wake up with bonuses because they were not being that quite, NOTHING. This Ogre was in deep REM cycles. At this point, one of the people at cave E runs to G and says they found something and the whole group enters E and stares at the mound of fur. The newest Fighter gets brave and goes right next to the mound and realizes it is an Ogre with a blanket. They decide to try and make friends. At this point, one of the new players of a thief had to depart, so I ruled that she went out of the cave and hid.
                Half the party stands back, and half the party is right next to the Ogre. The remaining thief successfully hides, and one of the elves shakes the Ogre awake….like you do. It is at this point that someone chimes in, “Does anyone speak Ogre? What do Ogres speak?” I answered with, “I don’t know, what do Ogres speak?” Everything started to spiral very quickly at this point, as the Ogre wakes up with everyone trying different languages out. The dwarf speaks goblin, and the Ogre works for goblins, so I ruled that it was reasonable he knew that language. I had the dwarf roll a reaction check and he scored quite well, but before negotiations could begin, one of the new players, the new elf, says “I throw my weapon at the Ogre.” He rolled a 1.

Not Shrek

                The new Fighter in the party turns on the elf and stabs him as the Ogre tries to grab him. Due to Elven grace he manages to slip out of the cave and runs away. Now the Ogre, pissed off, looks to the Dwarf and asks them why they are in his home. They mention they want to hire him to help with the Caves. He asks how much? They then realize they have almost no money to bribe him, they pool their money and have 25 GP. The Ogre says he’ll help them and hand over the money. Once the Ogre has the money, he chucks it into a pile of stuff, and tells them “Now F--- Off.” They are shocked, but we paid you. He told them that was an a-hole tax and he is letting them live ‘this time” for entering his cave because of the money. The party blusters with bravado, but the Ogre takes a swing and they all go running out. Everyone except the thief who had remained hidden the entire time. The only issue is that they are now in a cave alone with an Ogre, in pitch black. Remember this is the players first time ever playing D&D. They decide to go for glory, wait until they hear snoring again, and sneak over to the pile of Ogre goods. They feel their way around by using the edges of the cave, and sweep their hand in front of them slowly making sure they don’t hit anything.
                The thief makes it to the pile, and I ruled for fun’s sake that the goblins had already paid the Ogre, so there was a fat sack of coins. The thief picks it up and starts to make their way out of the cave. It is at this point, after several before, that the thief blows the Move Silent roll. I decided that a few coins spill out and one rolled over and hit the Ogre. It roars awake, and the Thief says the run as fast as they can, but hold onto the money. The rest of the party seeing the thief running, hearing the Ogre roaring, decide to run too. In a last ditch effort to hurt the party, the Ogre tosses his club at them and barely misses. The party makes off with the Ogre loot. They were ecstatic, they felt they had a real victory. It was a good feeling as a DM. That is where we left it, tune in next week to see what happens.

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. Awesome. The Caves & Keep are one of my favorites. So much so, that my daughter made a painting of it for me.

  2. That is a great gift, was it for Father's Day or something like that?

  3. I find that they thought they had won "a real victory" pretty comical! Great write-up though.

  4. Compared to week 1, it was a victory. :)

  5. Man can you turn this into a podcast? Please!!!

  6. It would be difficult because it is through a school function.