Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Caves of Chaos Update: They Survived

If you've been reading the blog of late, you know that my wife and 10 year old daughter have been navigating the kobold lair in the Caves of Chaos, and as I pointed out in my previous entry, got themselves into a particularly bad spot losing 3 of the hirelings and forced to hole up in the food storage room.  I posted an entry here on how some of you might handle the escape from  the room (and the lair.)  As it turned out, they managed to live and escape.
A few moments after they barricaded themselves in the room, they heard a knock.  It was the cleric.  Feeling around blindly in the dark, he managed to make his way to the food storage room.  They moved the barrel they had propped against the door and let him in.  Then they proceeded to devise a plan of escape.  The elf, having infravision, was essentially the only one able to see down the long, dark cooridor, so they cracked the door open so she could get a peek.  Sure enough, two of the kobolds were positioned behind some cover at the end of the hall, bows at the ready.  They quickly closed the door, arranged some of the crates in the center of the room for their own cover, emptied one of the barrels of water, and proceeded with their plan.  Much of it was flying by the seat of their pants.
After taking some time to prep some spells, the cleric opened the door.  The thief, hiding in one of the barrels positioned behind the door, popped up and fired some arrows blindly down the hall.  Some arrows were fired in response, striking the barrel, and nearly knocking her over in the process.  They closed the door promptly realizing this was going to be more of a challenge than they might have forseen.  After a few moments they heard a low gutteral voice speaking out in common echo down the hall, challenging them to open the door and reveal themselves.
They responded by bluffing.  Attempting to convince the kobolds they had a few kobold children as prisoners in the room with them, the elf squealed out in her best kobold immitation, feigning death.  At this point, I rolled an intelligence check for the chief (who was speaking to them, although they didn't know it at the time.)  The chief failed his check, and falling for the bluff, he charged down the hallway.  Once he came into view, the elf hit him with the sleep spell.  The thief popped some arrows into him, while the cleric moved out into the hall (with a sanctuary spell castt), grabbed the chief to use as cover and dragged him into the room.  They quickly tied him up, and when he awoke, essentially used him as a shield to ensure safe passage out of the caves.
Overall I was impressed with how they handled the situation being newbies to the game.  While it may seem like old hat to most of the gamers who read this blog, watching new players figure out a clever means to escape a situation always impresses me as a DM.  So, they have arrived back at the keep and live to fight another day.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

How Might You Handle This Scenario?

Little red X's indicate the PCs in this room

Ok, since the recent discussion of "combat as sport vs combat as war" came up on Zak's blog and on Enworld, I was curious as to how some of you old school players might handle a particular situation my wife and kid have found themselves in our Caves of Chaos game here at home.

First some background.  My wife is playing a thief, my daughter a magic-user.  The above map is that of the kobold lair in B2, Keep on the Borderlands.  The party originally consisted of the PCs, 2 fighters, and a cleric as well as a 0 level hunter who was their guide to the caves.

The PCs have been to every room except 5, where the kobold chieftain and his kobold bitches are.  They've managed to wipe out all the kobolds in the caves except for 4 regular warriors, the women and children, and the chief and his harem.  But basically most of the fighting kobolds are dead.

In our last session, things didn't go well for the party at all.  They entered area 6, which is the common room with a shit ton of kobolds.  The women and children were already huddled in the back of the room, while two kobolds stood at the entrance on either side, knowing the party was in the cave.  They were set to pop some arrows at the party as they came down the hall.

The short of it is, the magic-user is out of spells.  The cleric is out of spells.  The two fighters and the guide died in this combat.  The thief and magic-user fled and ran into room 3, the food storage room, which contains a couple of barrels of water, and some various food supplies, bones scattered on the ground, etc.  4 of the kobolds chased them, but they managed to get into the room and push the barrel up against the door.  The kobolds tried, but couldn't get the door open.  The party then heard the kobolds footsteps as they moved away from the door, and then...silence.

So, now the cleric is somewhere in the caves, but they don't know where...they don't know if he's alive or dead (he's still alive.)  The rest of the NPCs are dead, and they are holed up in this room.  They have no idea what awaits them on the other side.

My daughter's character has already determined to spend the 10 minutes required to memorize her sleep spell again.  They both have standard adventuring gear:  50' rope, grappling hook, torches, rations, etc.  At this point, they are ready to flee the caves fearing for their lives.  But they don't know what awaits them when they open the door.  They also have taken some wounds.  They are both at 3 hit points.  As a side note, they did not trigger the pit trap on the way into the cave, but they don't know it's there either.

So, I'm not sure I even have the readership to ask this question, but I'm throwing it out there anyway.  If you were in their position, what would you do?  Would you attempt to engage the kobolds in combat?  Try to run out?  What sort of plan might you come up with for escape?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Nice Hi-Res Caves of Chaos Maps

As some of you readers out there might know, I've been running my wife and 10 year old daughter through the original Keep on the Borderlands module to introduce them both to the game.  Zak linked me to his great one page dungeon map for Caves of Chaos whic has come in handy at the table for me.

Thanks to the wonders of Google+, I recently found a beautifully rendered high resolution map of the Caves of Chaos, perfect for printing or using on your laptop or tablet at the table. The map is available in various resolutions.

The maps can be found here.