An example of how I took my player's notes
and put them on a background to look like
a journal entry. 
Today's post is a bit of a treat for the players in the D&D campaign I'm running for my daughter and her friends. I've been writing recaps of the past sessions here on my blog and also creating them for my players so they can refresh their memory prior to the next session. The last time we played, I asked for a volunteer to write the recap in the voice of her character, and that as a reward, I would post her recap here on my blog. One girl stepped up to volunteer and has spent the past few weeks or so diligently going through her notes, as well as some notes supplied by one of the other players, in order to put together the recap. 

While this is part of my series of recaps for this campaign, it's also a cross-post as part of my series on playing D&D with Tweens. I'll be featuring some notes that one of the other players took for this session in a future post, as an example of how playing D&D can encourage good note-taking, which is a very useful skill for kids in school, especially as they enter Middle School and need to learn the value of taking good notes in order to succeed. Writing notes by hand has been proven to help the brain return and later recall the information much more effectively than typing notes on a computer. So, be on the lookout for a fun post about that later. 

In the meantime, below I'm going to write a short summary of what happen, followed by the recap from the player in my game, whom I will call "E." I particularly liked how E wrote the recap as though it were her character relating a story of what happened. I ended up copying her notes onto a background that made it look like a journal entry, which E really loved. I also really enjoyed that E incorporated game mechanics into her recap by mentioning that she prepared her spell from her spell book in the morning after she woke up. You'll also notice, as I've mentioned before, that the players are really into their pet animals, which all too often just fade into the background, but which I've made an effort to try to remember them and where they are or what they're doing while the characters are adventuring. 

NOTE: I put the names of characters, NPCs, and places in bold in E's recap the first time they are mentioned, just to help them stand out. 

As always, a special thanks to Professor Dungeon Master at the DungeonCraft YouTube Channel for a lot of the inspiration for how I'm running Keep on the Borderlands, including some of the names of the NPCs and the name of the tavern. 

If you like E's recap, please drop a comment below - I know she would love to hear them! 


A page from my DM's notebook prepping
for the session. 

The adventurers met in the morning for breakfast at the Greased Goat Tavern, and learned that the proprietor, Gustav Gobblegut had fed their animals overnight and the local eccentric entertainer and bear trainer, Vasilov, had played a tuned to calm them down. After chatting with a few of the locals at breakfast, the adventurers hired two retainers to accompany them when they head to the Caves of Chaos. Provisions and supplies were procured, and adventurers also visited the Witch's Tower. Although the witch didn't appear, the adventures spoke to a magical doorknocker and learned that the witch would accept the three elves as apprentices if they recovered an ivory wand that was lost in the Caves years before. The witch also agreed to identify some potions the adventures had liberated from the laboratory of the goblin alchemist on their previous encounter at the Caves. After being told by several people that they should stick only to the lower caves, the adventurers set out, and after stumbling into what appeared to be a primitive alarm system of a wasp's nest that created a lot of buzzing noise that echoed through cave opening. The group pressed on, entering a dark cave and almost immediately a few of them fell into a pit trap, after which they were attacked by lanky, pale human-like creatures covered with blood and using weapons made of bone and who communicate by weird clicking noises. The adventurers repelled the creatures, but not before taking severe damage. Their torches give off a faint, smoky light as the flame dance, creating ominous shadows on the walls of the cave. In the distance, they can hear the clicking sounds of the creatures all around them...

FULL RECAP (As told by "E")

Soulday, Rainfall 25 

This is Holly Short speaking, and I have an unbelievable tale to tell.  

I woke up in my bed at the Travelers Inn. I immediately noticed that my wolf pup, Drake, was gone. I hopped out of bed, got dressed, and studied my spell book so I would have a spell for later if I needed it. I got the rest of my group of adventurers, and we headed downstairs. Alex said her wolf pup was missing too, and Cora said her turtle was missing. In the main lobby area of the Inn, the owners, Brita and Hans, told us the animals were very loud during the night and had been moved to the Greased Goat, and fed bones and table scraps. (Not the turtle, of course!) We thanked them and moved on. When we got to the tavern, we found them tied up outside and sleeping peacefully. We headed inside where Gustav Gobblegut told us Hans had brought the animals over and a man named Vas had given them food and put them to sleep. He was known for being good with animals. We talked to him and he said he would train our wolves for one gold piece per month per wolf. I also found a man named Raddax the Red that I had seen an advertisement for the previous day. The advertisement said he was looking for jobs and was good with a sword. I hired him so he could carry some of our things, and I planned on buying him a sword. He also mentioned that he would like to go to the Caves of Chaos.  

After we untied our wolves, we headed over to the witch’s tower to have her identify potions and some herbs we had collected on our previous misadventure to the goblin caves within the Caves of Chaos. When we arrived, we knocked the door knocker three times just like her advertisement said to. A male voice responded, “What do you want?”  

We looked around to locate the speaker, because they definitely weren't inside the castle. We realized that, to our surprise, it was the door knocker itself talking! Once we regrouped, we told him that we wanted some items identified. A basket was lowered from an unseen window, and we placed the potions and herbs inside, and were told to come back the next day to retrieve them. The knocker also said he had noticed that Clara, Cora, and myself, Holly, were elves and he was very interested in elven magic. He said he doesn't usually do this, but he would like us to be his apprentices. He said that we had to get his ivory wand from the goblin caves to prove ourselves. Next, we went to the Provisioner and I bought a sword for Raddax and some rations. We wanted to sell the Great Grub (or as I call it the Grody Grub) but the provisioner told us we should go to his brother, Crazy Ygor because he collects stuff like that. So, we headed over there and told Crazy Ygor our story and said we wanted to sell the grub. He said the grub was not worth much and did not take it. We did sell him the mushrooms Cora and Alex had collected for one gold piece per mushroom, plus he gave Cora a used shield that she was already thinking about buying.  

By then it was around noon, and we headed back to the Greased Goat. We met up with a woman named Benedicta who had advertised that she was missing a ring. When we had been along The Bone Road, we’d stumbled upon a young fellow named Leopold who was very close to death. He had begged us to find his fiancée, Benedicta, in Ostenscheig (where we were currently) and give her their engagement ring. He gave me the ring, then went limp. He had died right there in front of us. Now, back to the present. We walked over to a woman that fit the description of Benedicta.  

“Hi, Benedicta?” I said to her. 

“Yes? Do I know you?” she replied.  

“You don’t know us,” I said, “but we saw your advertisement, and we think we have your ring.” I pulled the ring out of my bag and handed it to her.  

“Oh my, yes this is my ring!” she said. “But what ever happened to my dear Leopold?” 

We solemnly explained what happened as realization hit her and she started weeping. We apologized deeply for her loss and went on our way. We then started heading towards the Caves of Chaos to retrieve the ivory wand. 

As we walked, the trees in the forest got denser and darker. Everything seemed unwelcoming and unnatural. A large vulture gazed at us through hungry eyes. We came upon a rock face with many openings. We saw bones--white, glimmering, bones--strewn around us. We remembered that others had told us the lower caves are safer than the higher ones. We entered the opening to the lower caves that was closest to us.  

As we entered, we made a line, two by two. I stood next to Greta the Wanderer, Cora next to Alex, Clara next to another hired person named Osanna, and Bartolo the Seeker next to Raddax the Red. As we continued walking, Greta and myself started to trip. I managed to steady myself, but I watched in horror as poor Greta fell into a pit trap! Before I could warn them, Cora and Clara stumbled into the trap as well. Bartolo, Alex, and I decided that we must use the bits of rope we had to pull them out. Alex stood guard while Bartolo and I lowered our ropes and the others attempted to start pulling themselves up. Meanwhile, Alex heard a small shuffling noise, and she whipped her head around to locate the sound. Out of what seemed like nowhere, tall, blue, humanoid creatures leaped out of the shadows and started to attack Alex!  

They seemed to be attracted to light, or maybe scared by it, and attacked everyone holding torches, including Osanna and Raddax (who was holding most of my things!), and they both got dragged off. Bartolo went after the nearest savage and hit it in the stomach with his warhammer so hard that it went flying into the cave wall. We heard a loud crunching noise and saw it slide to the ground. Alex went for another one and stabbed it and threw it against the wall. I went after one of the savages that I had seen take Raddax and stabbed it with my trusty sword. Greta climbed as fast as she could up to the top of her rope and joined the fight. Clara climbed up some time after her and joined the fight as well. Cora used her daggers to stab crevices in the walls and managed to hoist herself up. Alex retreated into the shadows, and we could only see her the slightest bit. Bartolo went for another savage and bashed into it so hard that it flew off and we never saw it again. Greta tried to hit one with her spears, but she missed. Alex readjusted herself so we could not see her at all. She started moving toward the savage that Greta had missed and stabbed it in the neck. Then she jumped on top of it and stabbed it again. The savages then retreated to the shadows.

To be continued...


That's it for E's recap. We're scheduled to play again this Sunday. I hope you all enjoyed this guest post by one of my players. Reading over it again, I really liked a lot of the attention to detail, including the description of the environment in the forest as the adventurers made their way to the Caves. She really captured what I had said, so hopefully my description (which was an edited version of the text that Gary Gygax wrote in the adventure over 40 years ago) helped her visualize the scene in her mind. I do recall that I'd made a playlist of some music and forest sound effects and I timed my description of the forest sounds perfectly so that when the birds stopped chirping happily and instead began to sound more ominous, the bird sounds on my playlist changed to the croaking of ravens. E even mentioned, "That was perfect!" when it happened. 

Hanging: Home office (laptop)
Drinking: Stumptown Original Cold Brew Coffee
Listening: "50 Ways to Leave Your Love" by Paul Simon, from the album "Still Crazy After All These Years


  1. Sounds like a grand adventure! Love reading journals from the character's perspective.

    1. Welcome, and thank you so much for reading and commenting! I think she did a great job, especially considering this is the first time she's done anything like this. I understand she got a little editing help from my daughter as well (which I didn't know when I posted the recap).

      Thanks again! I hope you stick around for future recaps. Cheers!

  2. Sounds like a great adventure. Even better write-up. I wish my adult players could do half as well.

    1. Thank you so much for reading and commenting. Yeah, I think she did a great job. Writing recaps is not easy; there's a reason I usually don't send them out until the very last minute!

  3. A super fun read and really creative. I was impressed by the amount of detail which made me feel like I was tagging along for the ride. I love that you are passing the game on to a new generation and that it's a group of girls playing. Too often I think girls aren't encouraged to participate in what's considered "boy" activities when really this appeals to anyone with a creative imagination. Love it! And a big applause to E for her great recap. Keep up the creative writing. It will serve you well in the future. And continue having fun with D&D!

    1. Thanks a ton, Mal. I know E will appreciate your comments.

      I love running D&D for this group. It's the most fun I've had with the game possibly ever. Part of that could be that I've just become better at running games, and I'm sure a lot of it has to do with not having players who know the rules better than I do so there's never any complaining or questioning. We're also using a very rules-light version of the game, so the players aren't "playing their sheet." It's very rare for them to look at their sheets at all. Instead, they come up with questions and ask, "Can I do this?" and my answer is either "Yes" or "Yes, but you need to roll to succeed..." or "Yes, but if you fail, there will be a consequence..."

  4. This was not only really well written (my own DM notes are never this good) but entertaining to read. I'd nominate E to be the party scribe from this day forward!

    1. Thanks so much for reading & commenting! I'll definitely pass this along to E.

      I was using the idea of being "featured" on my blog as a carrot for the girls to help them get better at taking notes (and there is an ulterior motive here - from talking with their parents, I understanding all of them could do a better job of not getting distracted and paying attention and taking good notes, which will help them with school. I know my own daughter could benefit from this). So, the idea is to take turns and have each player step-up and volunteer to write the recap. I'll see what happens tomorrow.

      Interestingly when I brought this up last time and told them "Plus I'll put your recap on my blog!" I actually had to deal with one girl asking me, "How many people actually read your blog?" and it was clear that the implication was that it wouldn't be worth it if not enough people read it. :)

  5. An excellent summary! It looks like there is a lot going on in the game and the players are having fun interacting with everything.

    1. Thank you so much! Yes, they *really* enjoyed exploring the inner part of the Keep and interacting with the different personalities. I do think they have a lot more fun doing that than they do exploring the caves, but as a DM, it does get a little taxing trying to come up with different speech patterns/accents and quirks for each NPC to help them tell them apart. And now that I've set the precedent, I feel that I have to have a fun accent for each NPC!

    2. Time for some acting classes! ;)


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