Read on and watch a group of adventures brave their first foray into the Caves of Chaos.
This was a PBEM game I ran several years ago using the Keep on the Borderlands adventure.
You will be reading the synopsis text after each section of the adventure was completed.
The four of you sit at the bar in the tavern, Durin eating the dinner he ordered, roast joint. You have all exchanged pleasantries and given your names. The rabid priest in the back has settled down and is eating a meal himself, along with two robed figures.
The guard shift must have just changed also, as there has been a slow, yet steady, stream of guardsmen entering the establishment and ordering drinks and food.
The barkeep brings a large bowl of mixed fruits and cheese over to you. “Compliments of the priest,” he says while pointing you in the direction of the threesomes’ table.
Upon recognition of your receipt of the bowl, the priest rises slightly and waves a friendly hand at your group.
Durin motions to his new companions to join him in speaking with the priest. He carries his food and drink and pulls up a chair to the robed men’s table and asks, “May I sit and eat with yins holy men?”
Ereptor looks at everybody “Now when we are a big group maybe we shall declare some kind of leader. Tell me what you do for a living and then we can maybe declare a leader. I can start telling little about me, I spend my time most in cities making money on other peoples cost when I’m out and adventuring I try to find some treasures and other stuff. That is my life in a very compact format. Now tell me your story.”
“A leader” replied Grendel,” I have no tongue for it, I am an adventurer, travelling from place to place in search of just that”, he than picks up his ale and approaches the Priest, that Durin was now talking with, “greetings”, all he said as he loomed over the table of men with his massive size.
“I too excel at ‘the profession’. We have something in common.” Says Zoltan to Ereptor.
“Why yes good man, you may sit with us, please, we would be delighted,” begins the priest. He signals the two robed figures to procure chairs for your group.
Soon Durin and Grendel are seated at the table with the priest and his two acolytes. You also notice another individual, a man in wizard’s robes. He introduces himself as Corran the mage.
” I have heard of you, Corran,” speaks Zoltan, “I hear that you are very intelligent, almost as intelligent as me. I can also see that I am in the company of some worthy warriors. Strong and solid. And a Holy man. I’m not too religious, but I’m sure you are a capable man. A toast…to possibilities!”
“Who do we follow?” speaks the priest, “Why none other then Fantzar, brother of Berligzz, the bringer of light!” You recognize the name of Fantzar, a deity with a most fanatical lawful following. We are here as sort of an advance guard, what with the caves of chaos being nearby and all.” The priest looks the party over, and takes a sip of his wine. He then stands up and says,” Where are my manners? I am Brother Tiberius, these are brothers Robert and John, but they speak not, vow of silence. Who might all of you be?”
Ereptor takes a seat at the table and repeats his earlier question, “Now that we are a big group maybe we shall declare some kind of leader. Tell me what you do for a living and then we can maybe declare a leader.”
Durin answers Ereptor’s question, “I am Durin Bloodstone the Warrior. I was adopted by a dwarf and so I was raised under the beneath the earth in the land of the dwarves. Now I have returned to claim my revenge for my parent’s murder and cleave any evil that crosses my path. I am not the smartest man to lead, but I say what I mean and mean what I say and will never hesitate or cower in the face of danger.”
Corran inclines his head toward the priest, “I am Corran, What is it that you would be sent here as a forward guard? Why such precaution?”
The priest arches an eyebrow and begins. “There is much evil in the land. Evil that will be destroyed by the light of Fantzar! You appear to be of the adventuring trade, perhaps you are here for a similar purpose?”
Zoltan turns to the party, “yeah well, we like to adventure. But this leader stuff. I don’t follow a God, I follow me. And I want to go out and get me some. This warrior,” he points at Grendel, “he’s right. He’s not too bright, but he is fierce. He would make a good second in command.”
“I don’t know about a leader, “chimes in Corran. “Besides where would we all go?”
Corran turns to the priest, “My purposes are my own, revered friend. It just strikes me as odd that you would be put here as a guard, when I have encountered no other such guards in the land.”
The priest turns towards Corran, to respond to his question. “Strikes you as odd? Are you sure you’re not really a hedge wizard? Look around you, is this keep not well armed? Are we not on the borderlands of the kingdom?”
Corran then turns to the party again, “well, if we are to go off adventuring, can you sir priest leave your post here? And if so where would we go, any suggestions?”
“I can not leave right away. I am waiting for a message from my superiors. Though I can tell you how to reach the aforementioned caves of chaos, if you think your group strong enough!\” the priest leans back in his chair, biting on an apple and chewing it with a grin on his face.
Durin rises to his feet and fiercely replies, “Strong enough? What is this challenge? Give me the directions to these mysterious caves and never again question me or this party.”
“We are strong. Let us go,” says Zoltan.
“Ah, spirit, I like that!” The priest leans forward, gesturing all to come in closer. “The caves are a vile place. Filled with humanoid scum. You must be very careful if you are to survive there. Many brave souls have ventured there and never returned. If you care to leave a message for your kin folk should you not return alive, I will gladly hold it for you.” He takes a bite out of his apple again and reaches into the folds of his robe.
The priest pulls forth a leather scroll case. Pulling the ties open he proceeds to pull forth a map. Laying it flat on the table he points to a black mark. “This is the keep, where we are now. This line here is the king’s road, it travels north quite a ways. 2 miles up the road, after you have passed the river and marsh the road enters a ravine. To your left will be the mountain you see behind the keep, to the right will be another.” He then points to an area in the ravine. “It is in this area that you will notice a few paths going off to your left, these paths lead to the caves. I recommend you start on the bottom caves and work your way up.”
“Ok guys let’s go to the bottom…I nominate, umm, Durin as the Map guy.” says Zoltan. “We need a party order. How about 2 fighters in front, mage, priest and thieves in back. We can always run to the front to scout if needed, right fellow thief?”
The priest turns to Zoltan, “You have a priest among you?” He appears quite interested.
“Hey Priest Boy, you’re the priest I refer to”, says Zoltan. “You’ll get your cut”
“As I said earlier, I can not go with you at this time, I am awaiting an important message from my superiors,” reiterates the priest.
Durin tells Brother Tiberius, “There is no priest currently among us and any more adventures would be welcome to join.”
“Okay I’m ready, though I propose I travel in the middle, so that I can use my magic against either a front of rear attack, or both if need be,” speaks the mage.
“Agreed,” says Zoltan.
Grendel smiled “fighter’s up front, that’s how it should be,” he agreed, “well, now that we have travelling order, we should head out, but wouldn’t it be wise to have a thief up front, looking for traps, I would not like to be decimated by a nasty trap” spoke Grendel, as he shrugged his shoulder’s.
“Very well”, says Zoltan the Thief. “I too, will travel in the front,” he sighs, “It’s always me in front.”
“Excellent, Zoltan, let me tell you I shall feel relieved that you are up front, and fear not my little friend I shall watch over you, up here in the front\”, spoke Grendel as he patted the thief on the back.
“I just hope you can keep up with me Grendel”, says Zoltan the thief.
All of you spend the night at the neighboring Inn. Staying in the Common room proves a wise decision as it only costs you 1 silver coin each. Upon awakening you are greeted by Brother Tiberius who orders a breakfast for all of you at the neighboring tavern. After some light conversation and last minute equipment shopping you set out for the caves.