Morning–the party breaks camp and travels back to the Keep. The bandit leader’s body is brought along for identification (and possible reward?)
Question–Does the bailiff of the Keep know of this bandit leader? d10 yes, d6 no, result=No, he does not recognize the man.
Question–Is there a reward for the bandit chief’s capture/death? d10 yes, d6 no, result=Yes! The merchant guild has placed a bounty on bandit groups in the area. I rule that since the bandit leader has not been positively identified, the reward will be less. Reward is 1d6x10 sp. Result=4, so 40 silver pieces for the bandit’s head.
The bailiff has the scribe pay the bounty. The scribe will later receive funds from the merchant guild.
Payment for the hirelings is 1 silver piece per day (total of 14 silver pieces).
Roll for rations, pay inn keeper, and have a feast! This means 7 sp for lodgings and food, and 7 more for extra food and drink (feast).
Evening is spent telling of the adventure, drink, good food, then well deserved rest. Corwin studies his spellbook, Martin prays. All PCs and NPCs are at full health.
Question–Does the evil cleric from the Keep introduce himself to the party? I rolled a d6 (yes or no die). Result=”No, and…” Martin hears from some tavern patrons that the cleric seems strange…
Arden will sell his leather armor to the trader for 50% of its value. [Note-I later realize this is a mistake. Arden later had to buy some leather armor for a new hireling!]
Thane will attempt to alter the chainmail for Arden. I decide that if 2d6=7+ then the dwarf has been successful. He is a blacksmith by trade. If fail, I figure the Keep’s blacksmith can alter it for 5 sp. Thane rolls a 9. Success!
Martin will ask the curate about the wandering priest. Corwin will rest.
Question–Does the curate know of the wandering priest? Result=He tells Martin that he knows little of him, but to be careful. Martin’s curiosity is piqued…
Arden will purchase waterskins for the men-at-arms and for Catamont. He will also buy three spears and two shields, 29 sp. Each PC chips in. Arden is down to 2 sp and 2 cp. They’ll need to find the Caves of Chaos soon. Tomorrow they will foray again.
The party stays at the inn. Lodgings plus food/drink at the tavern will total 7 sp.
The corporal of the guard is at the tavern tonight. He and Thane the dwarf discuss armor, smithing, and fighting. They get on well and Thane is no longer viewed with suspicion by the corporal. The corporal tells Thane that he has heard, “Breeyark is the goblin words for ‘we surrender’.”
Tomorrow Arden and the party will once again venture in search of the Caves of Chaos.
The morning finds the party rested. Martin heals Arden for 1 hit point (still has 1 hit point off). Arden, Martin, and Catamont go to the provisioner to find armor.
The provisioner has a large inventory of items for sale. Arden purchases leather armor for 13sp (overpriced) and has it fit for Catamont. In addition, Arden buys a flint & steel. He gives the young hireling his dagger and the torches to carry.
The party leaves the Keep and heads southeast to the river. They believe they will need a boat to cross. Instead, they do some hunting and find rabbits. Martin’s occupation was hunter and he was able to kill a brace of rabbits with his sling (enough food for five men for the day.) Using the rules in the Keep on the Borderlands module stating that a hunter has a 1 in 6 chance of finding food to feed 1d6 men.
I rolled a wandering monster check. Result=none.
Back to the Keep for more rest at the inn. Money deducted for staying at the inn, roll for rations used.
Day 6 All are fully healed. Arden the fighter wants to explore the wilderness. The party travels four hours along the east road and stop for lunch (no encounters). Roll rations. Arden runs out of water, Corwin runs out of water. Party moves to the river to refill their waterskins. No encounter.
Note-this is the most that I’ve ever been concerned by running out of water or rations. I can’t recall ever really bothering about this in previous games. I think the usage die makes it more interesting. It made me keep an closer eye on the food/water for each PC.
Refilling the waterskins and resting, then northward into the forest.
Three hours to the north. Encounter? No. Continue north? Yes.
Two hours and the party is at the clearing of the Caves of Unknown. (I have no map for this at the moment, so I decided to roll and encounter. Result=2. Yes!
Nine brigands approach! (I decide to use the bandits from area 3.)
Leader-2nd level, chainmail, bow, spear
Lieutenant-1st level, leather, shield, spear
2 archers-1st level, leather, shortbow, dagger
5 spearmen-0 level (I rule they have 1-3 hp each)
They attack! The bandits come upon the party at 60 yards distance. The party wins initiative.
Brother Martins loads a sling stone and lets fly at the bandit leader. Miss!
Arden will throw his spear when the bandits come within range. Corwin hides behind the men-at-arms and gets a spell ready. Thane fires a crossbow at the leader 8, a miss! But Thane uses 1 luck point adding 1 to the roll…9! A hit! The crossbow does 2 pts of damage.
The bandit fires an arrow at the party. Catamont is hit for 2 pts. Bandit archers fire 2 arrows at Martin and Corwin. Both miss! Bandits close 40′. Now they are 20′ away from the party.
Arden throws a spear at the leader. Hit! 1 point damage! Martin’s fires a sling stone at the leader. Hit! 1 point of damage! Thane fires a crossbow at the bandit leader and hits. 2 points of damage!
Corwin the magician readies his magic spell. A bolt of fire races towards the bandit chief striking him for 6 points! The leader has 3 points remaining. The men-at-arms prepare for the enemy charge.
The bandits move forward with spears. Bowmen get wait to get a clear target. They don’t want to fire into their men, so they will pick off any that move from the group.
Thane the dwarf takes a spear hit (outstanding result). His armor and shield absorb it and are out. Meklin and Handsome each hit for 1 point and their armor absorbs it.
Martin smashes the lieutenant with his two-handed morning star and does 2 points of damage. Arden using his greatsword strikes the bandit leader. An outstanding success (roll of 11, +1 for fighter class). The leader takes 3 more points of damage and falls!
Question-do bandits leave now their leader is dead? I roll a morale check. Result of 2d6=11! They fight on! The lieutenant has a battle field promotion.
A bandit hits Thane for 2 points. Martin is hit twice. 2 points total.
All of the party miss except for Handsome. Corwin casts a fear spell. This is a powerful spell for there is no saving throw and the spell affects any number of 1st to 3rd level enemies. The spell is negated by any hostile action to the fleeing bandits. Corwin tells the party not to pursue or fire at the fleeing bandits.)
The party wins! They have killed the bandit leader and driven off the rest.
They search the bandit leader. He has 14 pieces of silver (I use the silver standard), chainmail, shortbow, spear, wineskin, dagger, and arrows (d8 usage die). The party gets 40 xp for the encounter.
Martin heals Thane. The party makes camp and set a watch. Encounter? No.
The party breaks camp in the morning and heads back towards the Keep.
Notes-the magician is earning his silver. Fear is a powerful spell, on par with the sleep spell. Sleep is the nuclear option for 1st level magicians in Dnd, but it is not available in Pits and Perils. The more I think about it, I like that fact. Fear routs enemies but allows them to fight another day. Sleep can drop a large number of enemies and often allows the PCs to dispatch them while asleep (or if they’re not murder hobos, capture of the enemies.)
In reading the Pits and Perils rules, I make note that magicians recover ONE spell point per day of rest and study. This is an important fact. Magicians don’t fully recharge after a day of casting many spells. I think that will make for some interesting decisions. All of the elf games we play come down to resource management. Now I need to quit writing and roll some dice to see if the party’s waterskins are empty…gotta love it!
Day 4 at the Keep
Arden the fighter and Corwin the magician bring the puma hide to the trader. He is greatly impressed (I rolled a positive reaction roll) and even though the hide is damaged, he will pay 50 pieces of silver. I noted that each PC receives 6 xp each.
Scene–the Keep on the Borderlands Goal–Arden wants to add more firepower to the party by hiring two archers.
Arden decides to speak with the baliff of the outer bailey first.
Question–Does Arden get to speak with the bailiff?
He had a good reaction from him at the tavern while helping Arden apprehend the pickpocket. So I roll 2d6 and take the best roll (using the Solitary Solidiers/FU die mechanic) Result=yes. The bailiff will see him.
Question–Does the bailiff have or know of any men that would hire on as archers? I roll 2d6 again…result= “No, but…” I interpret this as no, but the bailiff offers Arden a job with the guards and a rumor, “Beware of treachery from within the party.”
Arden takes both of these under consideration and asks about the man who tried to pickpocket him last night. He seemed like a harmless fellow. The bailiff said he will be sentenced to hard labor for one month, repairing the castle walls. Also, he will get ten lashes for being a thief.
Arden offers to pay the man’s fine and places 10 silver coins on the table. I roll…not enough. 15 silvers? Still not enough! 20? Yes.
The bailiff releases the thief to Arden. He is little more than a boy, dirty and unkempt. His name is Catamont Beerling (from my hireling list), a young adult, reckless, and brawny, 5 hp. [His hit points are greater than both of the party’s men-at-arms combined!]
The boy will gladly work off his debt instead of facing the lash and hard labor. The bailiff gives him a warning and also warns Arden to keep him closely reined.
Arden has a new lantern bearer (indentured servant for at least one month.) But now he is down 20 sp. Arden takes the boy to the inn to get a hot bath and some decent food. He also buys him a set of clean clothes. 2 sp should cover all this.
Goal–Corwin the magician is looking for other practitioners of the arts.
He learns that the scribe at the bank has magical knowledge and contacts him.
Questions–Will he discuss magic resources with Corwin? d6=yes, d10=no. I used MisoRPG mechanics here. Result=No. The scribe is either too busy at the bank or unwilling to discuss anything magic related at the moment.
I roll the “twist die” to shake things up. A 1! Then roll two separate d6 and the result is “item” and “appears”. I interpret this as something special is found at the scene. In the module the bank has a list of used items for sale on a display table, so I ran with that idea.
Corwin sees a scroll tube (empty) and some fine robes on display. Corwin recognizes the robes as magical. They are adept robes (adds +1 protection) and his ability (Intelligence) gives him some insight into this. He isn’t sure if they are truly magical yet, but gives the banker 10 sp to hold them. The banker agrees to hold the robes for 30 days. They are priced at 50 sp. Corwin has to wonder why the scribe didn’t notice them?
Goal–Martin the templar-in-training, wants to speak with the curate of the Keep and learn more about the Keep and its surroundings.
The curate receives him in a friendly manner (9 on 2d6 reaction).
Question–Does the curate mention his distrust of the wandering priest (area 7 of the Keep)? d12=no, d4=yes. Result=No.
Question–Does Martin meet with the other priests? d6 vs d6 Result=not at this time.
In the module, the priests will talk up the good reputation of the wandering priest and I wanted them to let Martin know about this possibly.
Martin leaves 2 sp in the poor box of the chapel.
Goal–Thane the dwarf seeks out the blacksmith and other dwarves.
Blacksmith’s reaction to Thane is neutral (7 on 2d6). He will allow Thane to work the forge in order to make some common items, if the blacksmith can him smith. The smith thinks he may learn some secrets of the dwarven forge.
Thane spends a few hours “relaxing” in the smith’s shop and forges two iron spikes (free!) I change the spike usage die from d6 to d8 on Thane’s inventory.
Thane was so busy at the forge, he forgot to look for other dwarves.
End of the day….I roll usage on the rations (fresh rations, may have been eaten or going bad) and pay the innkeeper for food and lodgings.
Note–I found myself thoroughly engaged in the setting. It was more than just record keeping and rolling some dice. The story went in some unpredictable ways and although this sounds funny…I was damn proud for making those two iron spikes!
With dwindling funds, the party makes ready to explore the forest once more.
[Note–I wasn’t sure if any NPC in the Keep knew the exact location of the Caves of Chaos, so I decided the party would just set off in a random direction. A few forays into the wilderness might gain some valuable intelligence.]
Our party has grown since first arriving at the Keep.
Arden of Granden Vale, a fighter
Corwin the magician
Thane the dwarf
Martin, templar-in-training (cleric)
[Note, I don’t have high hopes for Handsome to last too long. My random hireling generator served him up with only 1 hit point! Melkin isn’t much better with 3 hit points! Argghhh!]
Day 3 finds the party up and out of the Keep early to continue exploring. I roll a d12 for a random direction, 12. They head north. I still don’t get the travel times in the module. The map shows 1 square = 100 yards, but says that a party can travel 2 squares of forest in 1 hour. So, that’s 200 yards per hour? Maybe if searching with a fine toothed comb.
Do they reach area 4, Hermit’s hideout? Yes! The hermit is home and is not surprised by the party.
Question. Does he talk first? 50/50 chance. No! I decide he hides in shadows and waits for his puma to attack from above. He then strikes.
The puma leaps down on poor unsuspecting Corwin the magician! It claws and bites him for a total of three hits! The hermit backstabs Arden the fighter. Hit! And does 3 points. I added a point of damage to reflect the module’s description of his mad fury.
Arden misses, but Thane hits (+1 for outnumbering puma) for 2 points. Melkin lands a blow to the hermit for 1 point. Corwin retreats! I don’t blame him.
The hermit attacks Arden again with his dagger…hit! 2 points. Arden returns the favor, hitting the hermit with his greatsword for 2 points. Martin wallops the puma with his morning star, 2 points. Hansome rolls a critical on the puma! Does 2 points and I rolled on Christopher Salvatore’s critical hit table. Result was, puma’s head grazed, loses next attack!
The hermit misses, Arden hits him for 2 points. Melkin hits the hermit for 1 point. Martin crushes the puma with 2 more points. Puma is DEAD! I roll morale and the hermit continues to fight…he’s mad, you know!
Arden and Martin finish him off shortly after.
I rolled search checks for all the of the party. Handsome Brune the man-at-arms finds the hermit’s hidden entrance to his tree. I make a wisdom check for Martin and he uncovers the hidden cache of loot. I was excited to see this happen but wanted the dice to determine the outcome.
The party finds 31 sp, 164 cp, a potion of invisibility (they still don’t know what it is), and a +1 dagger. They decide to skin out the puma. I figure the hide is punctured a bit and will bring 50% of the normal value. [Note-I am using the silver standard, so all prices and treasure found will be shifted to silver pieces. I’m doing this to give copper pieces a reason for being.]
Martin gives the hermit a proper burial and the party also buries the puma beside him. Martin heals Corwin for 5 points!
The party heads back to the Keep to celebrate their good fortune!
Treasure is divided among the four principals, and Corwin will keep the potion and the dagger for now. I almost forgot! The hermit had a magical ring of protection on him. Corwin doesn’t know if it is magical, but has Arden wear it.
Corwin pays the hirelings stay at the inn (2 sp) and drinks and eats are also bought for the hirelings with an extra 1 sp thrown in for more food (feast!) (3 sp). Thane the dwarf pays his debt of 1 sp back to Arden.
XP= 28 per PC.
Party rests at the inn for the evening. The next morning Arden is healed by Martin for 1 hp and rest gave him back 1 hp.
Can Arden find used armor in town? I roll the die…3. Result is “No, but….” So no used armor, but new armor at full price can be found.
Can Martin find the chapel? Yes, but no one is there and it is closed for the day.
Can Corwin the magician find rumors about the area? No.
Rest of the day is spent wandering southeast of the the Keep, near the river. No sign of monsters.
Back at the Inn, Corwin pays for room and board for the two near hirelings. Corwin and Martin chip in to buy leather armor for Meklin the hireling.
In the afternoon, the party explores the forest north of the Keep and encounter a giant rhagodessa, lvl 4 attack 1, no damage on first hit, then 2 points automatically each round after, hit points 8). This creature is like a cross between a spider and a scorpion.
I check to see if Martin notices it lodged in the hollow of a tree in the dark area of the forest. Martin’s ability is wisdom and he does see it. The party attacks with surprise. I give the party -2 to hit it (dead tree acts as cover) and +1 for surprise attack.
Thane, Martin, and Arden all miss with missile weapons. The creature comes out of hiding and moves towards the party (no attack yet).
Arden strikes it with his greatsword (2 pts damage!) Martin smashes it with his two handed morning star (2 more pts!) The men-at-arms miss and so does Thane the dwarf.
The rhagodessa attacks but misses. Corwin warns the rest of the party to back away and casts a fire bolt…doing 6 points of damage! The creature is dead.
The party searches the creatures nest and only finds 9 copper pieces from a past victim. Corwin harvests the insects parts and poison glands to sell.
The party meets an NPC party moving through the woods. The reaction roll is neutral. They tell the party that they are looking for the Caves of Chaos and give them a rumor. “Bree-yark is Goblin for surrender.” (false).
Party returns to the Keep. Does Corwin find the trader’s shop? Yes. Does he sell the insect parts? No, and the trader tells him not to come back with any more monster parts!
I check for rations used and missile weapons, etc. For this I use the Black Hack usage die. In practice, I find it to be fun. It makes the bookkeeping of waterskin, rations, and arrows/bolts more of a mini-game and unpredictable.
I also rolled a dilemma die just for the hell of it. A 1…someone comes to the tavern tonight.
At the tavern are three mercenaries and the Baliff of the the outer bailey.
Question…Does one of the mercenaries want to fight? For this I used the Miso rules and gave both options a die. D10 for yes, d6 for no. Result was no.
Does the Baliff have a job for the party? No.
Does a thief pickpockets? Yes! Random target is Arden. Thief rolls a 5 on 2d6 and fails to pick the fighter’s pocket. Arden grapples with the thief and grabs him in an arm lock. The Baliff helps subdue the thief. The watch is called and they take him away.
The Baliff is impressed with Arden’s actions (+1 reaction from Baliff to Arden). I make note of this.
Corwin takes an evening stroll and disposes of the Rhagodessa’s parts discretely.
So ends a busy Day 2 at the Keep on the Borderlands.
Just for a lark, I decided to play some solo rpg today. I wanted to try Pits & Perils in solo play and the adventure I selected is….Keep on the Borderlands! So, with that in mind, I give you the game notes to “Perils on the Borderlands”!
I created four 1st level PCs, rolling randomly for abilities.
Arden, Level 1 fighter (charisma), great sword, leather armor.
Corwin, Level 1 magician (intelligence), staff, dagger, spells-fire bolt, fear, and call.
He has a black cat familiar named Nicodemus.
Thane, Level 1 dwarf (intelligence), crossbow, hand axe, leather armor.
I was hoping for strength or dexterity, but took the rolls as they came.
The PCs began their adventure at the main gate in late afternoon. The corporal inquires what their business is in the Keep. I had all of the PCs make a reaction check with the corporal. Thane the dwarf failed his check, but Martin smoothed it over with a good reaction from the corporal of the guard.
[I made note that the corporal would be watching the dwarf until he shows himself to be a trustworthy fellow. (-1 to all reactions for the dwarf, but Martin receives +1)
The evening was spent settling down at the inn, gathering some rumors, meeting the tavern keeper. The Sgt of the Guard was in the tavern, but was not real interested in talking with the PCs. Arden bought him a drink and Corwin even tried some minor magic, but nothing.
I am still trying to find my way with some type of oracle, a couple ideas I am using now are the solo gm rules at the tiny solitary soldiers blog and also I have found some excellent solo mechanics written by Sophia Brandt, check her work out some time. She is really a great source for all kinds of rpg stuff. Her rules are Miso RPG.
Meals and drinks are bought, I made careful recording of the silver spent (I changed everything to the silver standard, cause that’s how I like it.) Thane the dwarf had to borrow a silver piece from Arden or else sleep out in the cold. He’s an honorable dwarf and vowed to pay him back.
There were five mercenaries in the tavern and the party was able to hire two of them for now. Handsome Brune (sword and leather) is an ugly fellow, youthful, and reckless, and Meklin R’bonic (leather and club), a farmer turned mercenary from a distant land, missing several fingers.
The hirelings needed more equipment but that would have to wait until the morrow…
I will write more of the Perils on the Borderlands sometime soon. In all, I ran three days of game time with the party and had a couple combats…more on that next time. Using Pits & Perils was so easy to run and really enjoyable. I didn’t know if the whole solo rpg thing would be my cup of tea, but I can tell you that I was truly entertained, mainly because I didn’t know how it would turn out.