June 11, 2013
Andy, the DM, brought everyone together at his house in Western North Carolina to start a retro game that would be utilizing a hybrid version of AD&D 1st Edition, AD&D 2nd Edition, a couple of items borrowed from the Skills & Powers (2.5 Edition) stuff and more than a few house rules.
He decided to start by running a classic module, the B1/B2 modules, with most time being spent using the B2 Keep on the Borderlands module. It is merely a baseline, though, since Andy, as long as I have known him, has always changed things and prefers to adlib and fly by the seat of his pants as often as not. It was decided that we would be in Forgotten Realms, around the same timeframe that Drizzt had arrived on the surface of the realm, but before the rediscovery of Mithrall Hall.
The party was employed as security for a convoy moving northwest out of Scornubel. The convoy, a large caravan of more than 100 wagons, was to travel up to Boareskyr Bridge. At that point, the merchant caravan to which we were attached was going to break away from the main caravan and travel northeast, eventually arriving at Kendall Keep. The main caravan would turn southwest and head to Baldur’s Gate.
There were no encounters of note on our way to Boareskyr Bridge. However, on arriving at the bridge, Mendel, the merchant in charge of the section of the caravan to which we were attached, offered the party some gold to go into the nearby plains and search for anything of value he might be able to sell. Off to the immediate southwest, there was a plot of land called the “Fields of the Dead” where a large battle had been fought years ago. Mendel was curious if anything of value might have been left behind. The party set off to their task.
6 hours of exploration revealed no items of value, although Koyten, the “civil engineer” in our group managed to pilfer a gemstone of some value and pocket it quietly. The party did manage to get stung by a bunch of angry bees and then both accidentally summon and purposefully defeat half a dozen skeletons through the copious use of fire and more than a few missed swings. This would become a recurring theme with this party.
The caravan to which we were attached turned northeast as planned and traveled up the river, eventually arriving at a fishing village. Among the inhabitants was a gnome merchant named Rocknose Hammerstaff. Rocknose is an old character of the DM’s that will certainly make more appearances in the future. Rocknose was a good source for some new supplies and information. The party learned from the fishing village chieftain, that people were missing from the area; specifically the chieftain’s daughter, Tywilla and some children. The priest and ranger seemed especially interested in this development. Tharsis, the priest also made it a point to seek out a number of villagers that had been struck ill recently, and brought all of his skills to bear to attempt to aid them; an act that was much appreciated by the fishing village chieftain.
Koyten managed to start two more fires, but not before noticing what appeared to be orcish encampments off in the distance in the very direction we needed to travel to get to our final destination of Kendall Keep. Moreover, Rocknose paid Mendel to escort a caged leucrotta with the caravan, a move that made most people nervous, but the ranger assisted in keeping the leucrotta calm…as calm as can be expected.
The ranger and Ingrid spent some time hunting with the intent of procuring food for the party as well as possibly some hides to sell. They were successful, so I guess everyone was so happy they didn’t mind overlooking that Ingrid now had a pet wild boar with her. None of us were exactly sure why she got a pet pig, but since she is bigger and stronger than anyone else in the party, we didn’t bother commenting on it. I remember thinking that she needs to keep it away from Koyten and his baffling need to set everything on fire. A pig that ends up on fire also ends up delicious!
So we left the fishing village and a few small encounters later, the party is almost to Kendall Keep. The night before our arrival, the caravan is encamped with it’s back against a sheer, vertical cliff face and the wagons arranged in the traditional semicircle for security. In the middle of the night, we got attacked by waves of orcs and goblins.
Zaphael cooked up the idea to dump the contents of the wagons out on the ground in between the wagons to form a makeshift wall, leaving only two avenues of approach into the camp. The party then lined themselves by those two points of entry. This nullified the numbers advantage the orcs had and tips things in our favor. The first few waves were dismantled and disemboweled easily. It was then that the “civil engineer”, as he insisted he was, for reasons known only to himself and the gods of chaos, set a horse on fire and sent it towards the gathered orcs. The horse was greatly offended by this, and how the orcs felt about it, we could only guess. I am betting they just thought of it as dinner, albeit still moving and certainly pissed off. Much debate was had over whether or not to release the leucrotta as a kind of WMD. We eventually decided against it. We…excluding Koyten, who was content to just try to find something else to set on fire.
The orcs began to break through the crate barriers in between the wagons, so Zaphael ran over and used a Burning Hands spell to set the orcs and the supplies on fire, further discouraging their attempts to enter and very likely to the pleasure of Koyten. However, another barrier was broken down, and the mage was easily overwhelmed, as 1st level mages often are, and was being dragged off into the dark by three orcs when Mendel threw out a very much appreciated Sleep spell that dropped the orcs. A few cut throats later and we were back in control of the fight. Koyten took the time to point out that a level 1 housecat has more attacks available than a level 1 mage to Zaphael.
Finally, the orcs sent in their own WMD, and rather than a flaming horse, they sent in an angry ogre (I think). It started off swinging hard and nearly taking the female warrior out, but it was felled with some good rolls and the remaining orcs and goblins retreated. It should be noted that Ingrid did happen to have a massive wound to herself that looked a lot like it was caused by her own sword. She didn’t explain and we didn’t push the issue. The priest just healed her up and we minded our own business. The next day, we arrived at the keep.
That was the end of the first session. No magic items, no one leveled and the mage/alchemist had managed to create a mighty Potion of Fish Control, which will almost certainly never even remotely be of any use in his life (wait….is Cthulhu a fish…?). Anyway, it felt great to be back in the saddle, but we were all very rusty. It is coming back quickly, though.