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    Canonfire :: View topic - Unsure what to do. Ideas?
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    Unsure what to do. Ideas?
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    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 25, 2016
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    Thu Feb 04, 2016 10:14 am  
    Unsure what to do. Ideas?

    New campaign, mostly inexperienced players, Ages 14 - 19 except my wife.

    Decided to let them cut their teeth on the original Keep on the Borderlands with a few ideas from Return. They cleared the kobold, goblin and ogre caves.
    They returned after R&R to find extra traps and alarms in the hobgoblin caves. The party retreated when viciously attacked, carrying three unconscious party members along. Once outside in the valley, the chieftain and 9 hobgoblins gave chase. The mage Slept 8, the 1 remaining failed his morale check, leaving the chieftain.
    A critical hit to the knee all but immobilizes the chief. The party doused him in oil and set him on fire.
    A quick look around showed that the orcs are taking notice; screaming will attract a crowd after all. Movement at the far end of the valley is noticed as well.
    The party retreats to the road, and the orcs cautiously come down to the valley floor and give chase once assembled.
    The party reaches their horses, and the henchmen holding them, and return to the keep just in time. Recovery will take at least a week.

    While recuperating, the keep is attacked in the night. A few defenders hit by arrows, a few spells thrown, but that is it. The Lord summons the group where they are told his wife went missing during the attack. Two guards and attendants dead.

    My problem: How do I have the denizens of the valley prepare for the next attempt without making it a complete meatgrinder?

    Keep in mind, they are inexperienced players running first and second level characters. No fancy healing potions, just a CL2.

    Any ideas would be appreciated.
    GreySage

    Joined: Sep 09, 2009
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    From: SW WA state (Highvale)

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    Sat Feb 06, 2016 8:43 am  

    That's a very open-ended question that will probably receive a very open-ended response. Wink

    I guess it all depends on the campaign style you run. Most of us who cut our teeth on the game preferred a 'meat grinder' (hack and slash) style. Only later do more 'mature' players enjoy a good dose of role-playing. However, perhaps your style is a balance of the two.

    It might be helpful if we knew the composition of your party: number, race, alignment, and class.

    Furthermore, what is the 'end game' you have in mind for your campaign? Is it to have the PCs clear out the caverns? Do you have allies for them upon which to bolster their ranks (the Lord, for instance, who could grant them a few soldiers, mercenaries, etc.)?

    Bear in mind that the denizens of the valley don't necessarily work in concert for mutual gain (unless you have already decided that they do). The stronger humanoid tribes might take advantage of the weakened position of their rivals, thus giving the characters a chance to capitalize on that element.

    Just some ideas, but not sure that they are very helpful.

    -Lanthorn
    GreySage

    Joined: Jul 26, 2010
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    From: LG Dyvers

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    Sat Feb 06, 2016 12:02 pm  

    Wow! If the denizens in the Caves of Chaos are powerful enough to effect a kidnapping/assault on the Keep, your beginning players are in for trouble! Shocked

    If you want the humanoids of the Caves to be somewhat organized and to act intelligently (which seems to be your MO, by having the orcs follow up on the hobgoblin assault), then I second Lanthorn's advice - grant them access to a band of mercenaries they can hire, or have the Castellan support them with some of his troops. Otherwise, intelligent defense of the Caves will quickly overwhelm the PCs.

    My latest group of players were new to the game, but they were all in college, so they took the deaths of their characters in stride - especially since that is the type of game we agreed to play beforehand. For ideas to bring life to your own campaign, I invite you to read over my own Keep on the Borderlands blog here on Canonfire!
    http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=5218

    SirXaris
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    Mon Feb 08, 2016 9:22 am  

    Small WoT (Wall of Text) incoming!

    Lanthorn wrote:
    That's a very open-ended question that will probably receive a very open-ended response. Wink


    Lovely! Open to any ideas!

    Lanthorn wrote:
    It might be helpful if we knew the composition of your party: number, race, alignment, and class.


    F2, F2, F1, CL2, CL1, F2/T2, I2, MU2 (DM NPC) because nobody wanted to run a magic user. They are learning how useful the Sleep spell can be at this level.

    Lanthorn wrote:
    Furthermore, what is the 'end game' you have in mind for your campaign? Is it to have the PCs clear out the caverns?


    They choose their moves, and I let the chips fall wheree they drop them. so far, they've been pretty smart. Except the F1 who took offense when Horkin didn't answer his door, so he tried to kick it in. He opens the door, and puts everyone to sleep. They woke up in the pokey.

    Their main goal, after talking with the castellan, is to clear the caverns and discover why the humanoids are attracted to the caverns since it is so close to human settlement.

    Lanthorn wrote:
    Bear in mind that the denizens of the valley don't necessarily work in concert for mutual gain (unless you have already decided that they do).


    They haven't been, until now. They had no idea the kobolds or goblins were even gone. The hobgoblins knew of the goblin attack, and readied for the next attack, only to have their chieftain toasted in front of everyone. they are pulling out, leaving orcs, gnolls, and bugbears with the human Priest in overall command.
    I should probably mention that the priest and his silent flunkies in town are part of this cult, CL5, CL1, CL1. The priests handled the kidnapping during the attack with surprisingly few invis potions, under the auspices of bolstering the defense of the north wall.
    The Lady is actually in the cellar of his abode until normal traffic resumes to and from the keep. Charm spells will deflect any routine inquiries.

    Per the parties request, a ranger from the keep tracked the attackers, overland, back to the valley. He retreated when he noticed gnolls patrolling the upper rim.

    I've pretty much decided that there will be a, sort of, coordinated defense.
    Orcs on the valley floor, bugbears on the northern rim, and gnolls on the southern rim.

    A smart, sneaky group could take out a patrol or two and still attack each main cave in relative safety. Once. After that, they'll need help.
    GreySage

    Joined: Jul 26, 2010
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    Tue Feb 09, 2016 1:07 pm  

    Osmium wrote:
    I've pretty much decided that there will be a, sort of, coordinated defense.
    Orcs on the valley floor, bugbears on the northern rim, and gnolls on the southern rim.

    A smart, sneaky group could take out a patrol or two and still attack each main cave in relative safety. Once. After that, they'll need help.


    I noticed that you increased the evil cleric in the Keep from 3rd to 5th level. I did the same thing with the evil cleric in the Caves for two reasons:

    First, the party was higher than 3rd level be the time they entered the evil clerics' cave, and;

    Second, because I wanted there to be a reasonable explanation for why there were so many skeletons and zombies under his command in that cave system. And, in an earlier campaign, I used that ability to make it even more costly for the players to have their PCs take too much time between forays against the denizens of the Caves. This increase in level meant that the evil cleric could animate new zombies every time the PCs attacked a humanoid cave and retreated to the Keep for healing/magic. When they returned, they found the bodies of the kobolds/goblins/orc/etc. that they had previously killed, up patrolling the rim and the entrance to the canyon. Evil Grin

    SirXaris
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    Tue Feb 23, 2016 1:13 pm  
    Chip: Fritos or Lays?

    I'm curious where the chips ended up landing.

    I never used the hermit. Maybe if your players are not up to strength to fight a patrol of monsters you would have them get "lost" and stumble onto the hermit.

    Or into the Cave of the Unknown. Have you decided what to do with that and/or the tunnel which runs out the bottom left of the Caves of Chaos map?
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Wed Mar 09, 2016 9:28 am  
    Re: Chip: Fritos or Lays?

    Raymond wrote:
    Maybe if your players are not up to strength to fight a patrol of monsters you would have them get "lost" and stumble onto the hermit.


    The hermit is undiscovered as yet.

    Raymond wrote:
    Or into the Cave of the Unknown. Have you decided what to do with that and/or the tunnel which runs out the bottom left of the Caves of Chaos map?


    What is now the "cultists cave" is an ancient dwarven mine entrance. The blocked passage does lead to the Cave of the Unknown, but there is a catch. The passage is flooded a couple hundred feet from the boulders, eventually connecting to...

    The Cave itself is a winding, twisted, VERY narrow natural passage down to a large (120' across) underground cavern. Mostly natural, but worked a bit. It was originally a dwarven mine, converted to a quarry when the vein ran out. Now flooded.

    At the far end of the pool, a youngish green dragon has taken up residence. Age flexible based on party strength.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Wed Mar 09, 2016 10:01 am  
    Re: Chip: Fritos or Lays?

    Raymond wrote:
    I'm curious where the chips ended up landing.


    They realized they had alerted the enemy, so they recruited a ranger. (The wife was unhappy with her fighter, whatcha gonna do?) The ranger and the elf rogue spent an entire night scouting the location.

    The castle had been on lockdown for a week since the recent attack. No one but the party and a couple of novice clerics had permission to leave.

    The party organized a "trade caravan" with the castellan to lure the enemy out. It worked. 8 bugbears attacked on the road north of the valley. The party handled them, even captured one. Interrogated him at the keep.

    Returned to the valley at dusk, approaching from the north angling for the, now nearly defensless, bugbear lair. They dispatched a total of 5 gnoll sentries.

    Just after nightfall, in a driving thunderstorm, they reach the lair and go left. Due to losses in the ambush, the guard room was empty. The chief and his woman were the first encounter. Believe it or not, they knocked politely on the door! The mage had readied his "Friends" spell. Door opens and AbracaPocus, the chieftain welcomes his newfound friend into his room. (my rolls sucked)

    2 rounds later it wears off and the short fight ensues, door closed. First, they discover the store room, then find the secret door into the minotaur lair.

    They fight the firebeetles and follow the right hand wall to stave off the disorientation. The minotaur smells them coming and ambushes them. The deadly encounter I expected, wasn't. The H/E cleric got hit pretty badly, but the minotaur went down in 2 rounds. It was sick.

    This party is learning to fight together.

    The mage used a clean cantrip to clean up the blood in Chiefs lair. The party moved all the valuables into the secret passage, the bodies into the firebeetle lair, and is now camping in the minotaur lair.

    They did very well. I'm expecting them to map the minotaur lair, then finish the bugbear lair, but we'll see what they decide to do.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Wed Mar 09, 2016 10:42 am  

    SirXaris wrote:
    Second, because I wanted there to be a reasonable explanation for why there were so many skeletons and zombies under his command in that cave system. And, in an earlier campaign, I used that ability to make it even more costly for the players to have their PCs take too much time between forays against the denizens of the Caves.


    My thoughts exactly! They've already noticed the bodies are disappearing between forays. The party assumes they are being eaten.

    They are in for a wonderful surprise!
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Thu May 12, 2016 6:24 am  

    Just an update for anyone interested.

    The party is in the temple proper. They've dispatched the lower level humans, and the smaller groups of undead in the south/central part of the complex.

    They've explored part of the eastern section, then turned back to hit the main temple area first.

    Approaching the temple, the 40 skeletons and zombies filed into the hallway. The two clerics turned all but 6 of them, and it was a good fight. Took almost the entire duration of the turning. When the horde wheeled about to renew the attack, a newcomer had slipped unseen into the crowd.

    The clerics turned all but one skeleton. The 5th lvl necromancer cast gaseous cloud, then moved away with the fleeing horde. A fighter and an Illusionist dropped to their knees retching, the rest dragging them back down the hallway, and easily dispatching the single skeleton, waited for the cloud to clear. The party assumed the cloud was a trap they had missed.

    When the gasses dispersed, the horde was there, shambling back down the hallway. The cleric of Moonbow noticed the necromancer in the crowd making arcane gestures, but it was too late. The cleric of Heironeous, the Evoker, and human fighter fell into a deep slumber. Two skeletons and two zombies did not turn. The necromancer, realizing he had been seen, cast invisibility.

    And that's where we left it. The party is sure a TPW is coming.

    The necromancer has 2 first lvl slots left, 1 2nd, and 0 3rd. He'll try one more sleep spell hoping to get the cleric (he won't), then flee back to his chambers. As the party is finishing off the horde, he hopes to slip unseen out the secret door, warn the torturer, and offer the medusa her freedom if she helps him kill the intruders. Failing that, he'll use his gaseous form potion to escape through the blocked passageway, eventually making his way back to Hedrack to report his failure.
    GreySage

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    Thu May 12, 2016 1:01 pm  

    Why will the Necromancer's Sleep spell automatically fail against the Cleric? Confused
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    Fri May 13, 2016 5:55 am  

    This was the first session since switching over to 5e. The mechanic of the Sleep spell is vastly different than 1e/2e.

    In 5e, when a 1st lvl Sleep spell is cast, the caster rolls 5d8. The total is the number of hitpoints affected by the spell, starting with the lowest hitpoint total first.

    All the lowbies went down with the first casting using a 3rd lvl slot (7d8). The average roll of 23, for a first lvl slot, will only affect one more player at this point, and one of the fighters has fewer HPs than the cleric, so would go down first.

    A total of 37 points would take them both down, so it isn't completely out of the realm of possibility.
    GreySage

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    Fri May 13, 2016 6:16 am  

    Ah ha! Mechanics understood. Knowing who has how many hit points remaining explains it. Wink

    Looking forward to the T.P.K.! Evil Grin

    Oops! Did I say that out loud? Embarassed

    Evil Grin Laughing Evil Grin Laughing Evil Grin Laughing

    Maybe next time they'll include a Magic-User in the party! Laughing
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    GreySage

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    Fri May 13, 2016 7:59 am  

    Osmium wrote:
    And that's where we left it. The party is sure a TPW is coming.


    Mystic-Scholar wrote:
    Looking forward to the T.P.K.! Evil Grin

    Oops! Did I say that out loud? Embarassed

    Evil Grin Laughing Evil Grin Laughing Evil Grin Laughing


    I am pleased that our esteemed Scholar pointed out your mis-speak before I got to it, Osmium. Razz

    Otherwise, the campaign seems to be going along in an exciting fashion. Smile

    SirXaris
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    Fri May 13, 2016 8:57 am  

    Sorry, my years in Everquest are showing.
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