Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Keep on the Borderlands: Nuthin' But Goblins

The last two characters painted up for the players, my son's fighter and my wife's magic user.

After escaping with their lives from their first aborted attack on the hobgoblin halls, the party (a gaggle of PCs and NPCs being run by my wife and son) resupplied at the Keep and then headed back to the Caves of Chaos.

My wife's halfling thief hireling investigating the ogre's cave.

Deciding to pursue a more cautious infiltration, they scouted a lower cave they'd bypassed on an earlier excursion into the ravine. Within the natural cave mouth, thick with a sour stench, their halfling thief spied a slumbering(?) bear. Curious, they investigated and discovered it was simply a bear pelt thrown over a pile of leaves as a makeshift bed or nest. As the party gathered in the cave to search the area they alerted the denizen of an adjoining cavern, an enormous ogre who fell upon the intruders with club and fist.

The ogre, surrounded and cut down by my son and the party's meatshields.

Despite his great strength, the ogre was nursing fresh wounds from a recent battle leaving him vulnerable. Coupled with the weight of numbers on the party's side the adventurers slew him quickly.

The party recovered treasure from the creature's lair and then ascended a hidden natural stairway at the rear of its cave, popping out in the middle of the familiar goblin warrens.

I expected my wife and son to either dispense with the goblins quickly or head off to their real objective, attacking the hobgoblins. What ensued was an hour and half of my wife interrogating, negotiating and belittling the poor creatures. She's always declared she doesn't like role playing, but she has really latched onto playing her snotty, haughty, 7 Charisma magic user to the hilt. Her halfling thief is great, but this wizard is the most annoying character I've DMed for. Really looking forward to throwing her into a nest of rot grubs.

Eventually the party was blamed by the goblins for inciting the hobgoblins into attacking the tribe (the hobgoblin attack was repulsed by the goblin's ogre ally, the only protector the tiny creatures had, now dead by the party's hand). A power struggle ensued between goblins who wished to ally with the party for protection and those that wanted to turn them over to the hobgoblins as a peace offering. Naturally, it came to blows, all centered around controlling the goblin chief's sacred shield, a symbol of goblin authority and "chiefhood" of the goblin clan.

Taking on the goblin chief while his bodyguards head for an exit on the opposite side of the room. Those bodyguards couldn't possibly be trying to flank the party, could they?

The players were astonished when goblin reinforcements appeared from a flanking tunnel.

When the halls of the goblins finally fell silent nearly the entire tribe had been wiped out, but the party's magic user had claimed the goblin shield and with it a loyal tribe of the four remaining goblins.

With the hour growing late, low on spells, unconscious party members and packs full of ogre loot, the party decided to head once again back to the Keep, admonishing the four remaining goblins not to go anywhere and not to steal any of the chief's stuff that now belonged to the party. Certainly four injured goblins guarding the wealth of their chief will go unmolested within the Caves of Chaos until the party comes back.


  1. Awesome. I remember playing Keep on the Borderlands when I was in the fifth grade. We butchered the rules, but had a ton of fun with it.

    1. I never had the chance as a kid, so it's been nice to go "back to the beginning" and give the original rules and setting a run. It's like game archeology :)

  2. I can't decide which line is more funny:

    "Really looking forward to throwing her into a nest of rot grubs."


    "Certainly four injured goblins guarding the wealth of their chief will go unmolested within the Caves of Chaos until the party comes back."

    The logic of leaving the goblins to guard stuff, when they've frequently been attacked by stronger, nearby, and actively hostile neighbors is pure late-session PC logic.

  3. I think the knight has to compensate for something because that's a really big sword 😁. Lovely looking miniatures an terrain and it's always good to see them in action.
    Great report, must have been another great game 😊.