Sunday, February 28, 2010

Red Box - Session One: Feb 28, 2010

I had the great fortune to play “face-to-face” old-school, 1981 Basic Dungeons and Dragons with Pat (Ode To Black Dougal) and Roger (Stirges Suck) today.

We met in the after-hours room of The Sentry Box just after 11 am, and got the game rolling at 11:30. The session consisted of myself, my 11 year-old son DJ (who, after finding out D&D was in the offing, begged to come) and Roger, with Pat as the DM.

Roger had the misfortune of rolling up a Thief with a 3 Constitution, which he promptly named Sickly McGee. Prior to the game, DJ and I had rolled-up characters: DJ was playing a Fighter named Exeter the Brave, and I was playing Castor Brandlestix, the Wizard.

After poking around the local Inn (The Dancing Dragon) and engaging in a conversation with Frederic the Dwarf for rumors about a Dwarven Delve several days to the East, we decided to take our chances in the Caves Of Chaos, as it is nearer than the Dwarven Delve, and we found the Cave location scratched on a corner-table at the Inn, so we suspected that the Cave inhabitants had already been softened up. Besides, Frederic the Dwarf was vague about what we might find at the Dwarven Delve. Perhaps he will provide more information the next time we cross paths.

Before leaving, the party made a visit to the local Mercenary Guild. There, we chatted up Morgan, and she agreed to refer several local Mercenaries to us, for a small fee of 10 Gold (which we happily paid).

Brother Maynard, a traveling Priest, looking to battle the forces of Chaos, and his two bodyguards, Bors and Ironside, enthusiastically agreed to join us, in exchange for each receiving 10 Gold per week and a half-share of treasure. The extra muscle was welcomed, and off Exeter, Cas and Sickly McGee went, with our hirelings in tow.

During our first day on the road, we encountered several mounted men-at-arms of the Striped Mage, and they suggested we hire-on with their master, located in his tower several days south of the Gloomfens ... an offer we agreed to consider. The men-at-arms moved on, but despite having avoided any unpleasantness with them, we suffered our first casualty: DJ, who had been eating candy, had one of his loose teeth come out!

After a five-minute break, to deal with that tooth emergency, we camped for the night, then continued on for a second day, finally spotting a box canyon, with caves dotting the interior walls. This appeared to be the Caves of Chaos! As nightfall was closing in, we traveled another 30 minutes down the road, and camped overnight. We wanted to be rested and alert for our first foray into the caves.

The next morning, we made out way to the cave entrance, on the north canyon wall, closest to the entrance to the canyon. Approaching from above, Sickly McGee quickly scouted the entrance to that cave, but the interior was too dark to detect anything, although he did notice a well-worn path leading from the cave-mouth to the bottom of the Canyon.

Emboldened by the relative lack of activity within the canyon, we lit our lanterns, set our marching order, and crept into the cave. After being taken by surprise by 4 pig-faced humanoids, we regained our composure, quickly defeated them, took their spears and hid their bodies, extinguished our lanterns, and hunkered down in a dead-end guard-room. Five more pig-faced humanoids briefly appeared at the other end of the hallway, checking out the commotion, but they retreated deeper into the cave-complex without locating us.

We discussed our options, and agreed that we would continue our foray, deeper into the cave complex. A guard-post (which we failed to spot during our first pass) was discovered, disguised as several alcoves with decaying heads: one of the alcoves was a false one, used to spy (from the other side) on anyone entering the complex. Turning past this guard-post, we found a second guard-room, this one, empty (probably the lair of the 5 pig-faced humanoids who had investigated the noise from our first combat).

Further to the West, we could hear conversation, though the language was unfamiliar to us. Discovering what appeared to be a throne-room, Sickly McGee suggested that we create a diversion, by setting the wooden furniture alight. So Exeter and one of the hirelings tossed the furniture into a pile, and lit it up with several flasks of oil. After several minutes of unintelligible shouting by the inhabitants of the cave-complex, 5 well-armed pig-faces appeared at the far end of the throne-room. Four of our party threw spears, killing one and wounding two others. Then the other four pig-faces were upon us. We fought them for several rounds, and then another 8 pig-faces appeared at the far end of the throne-room: at that point, Cas the Wizard invoked his sleep spell, taking out all 8 pig-faces who had just entered, along with one of the original pig-faced combatants.

After dispatching the sleeping pig-faces (Maynard the Priest assured us this was quite honorable, as we were merely hurrying their journey to the afterlife, and the slim possibility of redemption) we grabbed up several more spears.

Crossing the throne-room, we spotted another, larger common-room, occupied by six more pig-faces, who were arguing amongst themselves, quite oblivious to our stealthy approach. Catching them unawares, we made good use of our spears, getting off two volleys before the pig-faces recovered their senses and engaged us. While fighting valiantly, Exeter was cut-down by a lucky stab from one of the humanoids, but Sickly McGee and Brother Maynard avenged Exeter's passing, smashing and stabbing the offender to death.

Having, by this time defeated a total of 23 pig-faces, with but a single casualty, caution got the better of me, and I suggested we retreat and regroup. We retreated back to our original campsite, there encountering a dozen merchants using the cold embers of our campfire as starter for their own. They agreed to share the site with us, happily buying some of our loot at bargain prices.

The next morning, we returned to the cave complex, only to find that the remaining inhabitants had abandoned the caves, taking the bulk of their treasure with them. We did recover some equipment from a storage room, and some of the pig-faces' treasure, hidden in a secret room and forgotten in their hasty retreat, which netted us 80 Gold each. In addition, we gained experience for the 23 pig-faces we eliminated.

We discovered a quiver of 20 arrows, two daggers and two swords that were resting within a chest, however, neither I nor any other the inhabitants of the Keep have the ability to detect magic. We will hold onto those items until we can have them appraised for magic dwoemer.

Overall, it was a great session (other than the loss of Exeter, and my letting whatever treasure the pig-faced creatures had slip through our fingers), but i'm sure that treasure is still waiting for us to we make our next foray into the Caves of Chaos!


James said...

Great recap! Looking forward to reading more.

Christian said...

Oh man, that's a great recap!!!! Too bad about Exeter, though. Perhaps the Tooth Fairy will make up for his loss. :)

John L. Williams said...

The game sounds awesome! Looking forward to hearing more.

P. S. Mangus said...

Wow, talk about bringing back memories! It has been decades since my last romp through the Caves of Chaos. I have always felt it was an overlooked gem, since most of the gamers I know take it for granted and tend to dismiss it outright since it came bundled with Basic D&D. It sounds like you had great fun, and I admire you for including your son.

Narmer said...

Very cool.

adventurematerials said...

Oh man, that sounds like a blast. Good look finding those pig-faces and returning the favor for poor, fallen Exeter.

Mr. Gone said...

What an adventure! Always exciting to read about the Caves.

Jay said...

That's awesome! Glad you guys had the chance to meet face-to-face and get in a game. Hope all future adventures are as fun!

A Paladin In Citadel said...

It looks like the next game will be March 14 or 21 (21 is more likely)

Apparently the tooth fairy was quite generous. $5! When I was a kid, you were lucky to get $0.25.

A Paladin In Citadel said...

It's insightful to realize that, despite Sickly McGee's terrible character stats, (at least 3 were below average, and one was a 3) he was among the most impactful characters in the game.

I will have to ask Roger to post Sickly McGee on his blog.

Narmer said...

$5? Must be the exchange rate. My youngest just lost his first tooth. He received $2. One gold coin and one greenback. He was thrilled.

A Paladin In Citadel said...

It may be a age thing as well. Perhaps the tooth fairy figures $2 doesn't go as far for an 11 year-old as it does for a younger child.

And sometimes there's just no trying to second guess the tooth-fairy, she has her own economic model. Just glad it came out of her pocket, rather than mine and the wife's!

A Paladin In Citadel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Narmer said...

Yeah, its a lot easier to please a 5 year old than it is an 11 old. He loved the gold dollar.