|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?