GUEST POST: OLD SCHOOL ESSENTIALS CAMPAIGN: SESSION 9 (MY DAUGHTER'S CAMPAIGN)

Recapping the 1981 Moldvay Basic (aka "B/X") D&D campaign I'm running for my daughter, using a combination of my original boxed set from back in the day along with the newer Old School Essentials rules set continues with this last installment, written by one of the players. I'll call her "H" and she is one of the last two remaining players who have yet to write a recap. Last month's recap was written by the only other adult in the group (besides me). 

It's always fun for me to see the different styles of how the players write, and what they choose to focus on. In this particular case, the session was almost all combat along with some pursuit of a fleeing, bleeding monster. So, this particular recap focuses a lot on "who hit whom" and what happened as a result of those actions. 

"H" plays Claira Boba, the Elf, one of the cousins of Holly Short and Cora Netflix (my daughter's character). These three girls all decided when making their characters to have them all be cousins from the same village, Wibbleville. Shortly after the session, "H" sent me an email asking me if she could use the name of the monsters they fought (orcs), because I kept accidentally using that name during the session but then would remind them that their characters don't know what those creatures are. However, I told her that one of their retainers, the gruff and direct Gruumsch the Dwarf, could tell them that his Dwarven people refer to the creatures as "orcs," which in their language means "warriors of the dead god." I just made that up on the spot, but I thought it sounded suitably cool and evocative. From a world-building standpoint, it started to help me define the role of orcs in my campaign. I came up with this by reading the etymology of the word" orc" online. Interestingly, I found two very different origins in terms of the original language (one claimed it came from the Greek word "orkos" which means oaths) and one claimed it came from the Anglo-Saxon word "orc-nea" meaning monster or demon). Both definitions eventually pointed back to the Roman god Orcus (related to the Greek god Hades), the god of oaths and the dead. So, I just took "god of the dead" and reversed that to "the dead god." It'll be interesting to see how that plays into the culture of the orcs in the campaign moving forward. 

As always with the other recaps I've shared, I would really appreciate any feedback and comments you'd like to offer so I can share them with the young 12 year-old girl who wrote this recap. The kids especially get a lot of happiness and encouragement from hearing what people have to say about their writing. 

I particularly liked "H"'s detailed descriptions of the combat, which helps the reader to picture what was really happening. She also included some comments on what her character thought or how she perceived what was going on. You'll also see something unexpected happens at the very end of the session based on the actions of one of the players. 

This session's adventures took place in Cave B of the Caves of Chaos in B2: Keep on the Borderlands, which I've modified some based on the excellent "Caves of Carnage" series of videos on the DungeonCraft YouTube Channel

For more information on our previous adventures: 


First up, a quick summary of the session by me. Then, H's full recap. 



A page from my DM Notebook
The plans for this session. You can 
see I had a flowchart with 3 possible
outcomes just so I could be prepared.
The players ended up choosing the
left-path, but now I have the other
ones ready for the future.

SESSION 9 SHORT RECAP
(by Martin)

The company stood in front of a huge wall of severed, decaying heads. One was green and looked "fresh." Later, Alex and Bartolo noticed the green head was gone, and a decaying goblin head was in its place. Undeterred, they moved toward the noise they heard coming from down the right passage. Making their way through the dark, they came to a door which they opened, immediately finding themselves in a fight with four large, green-skinned, muscle-bound warriors, each with one broken tusk/fang and a lot of tattoos, who chanted a war cry in unison as they attacked. 

The fighting was furious, but luck was on the side of the company, including a few very well placed hits (a natural 20 on my daughter's "YEET!" die!). The Shadow Hunters seemed on the verge of victory when a loud cry behind them indicated the arrival of four more of the creatures (I had rolled a D4 "Timer Die" to indicate when "something bad will happen at that time), looking to trap them. Bartolo had already healed Claira the Elf with a magical cure spell, but in so doing, was out of divine magic to save the life of Raddax the Red, a stalwart retainer of the company, who was felled by one of the creature's wicked looking blades. 

After a few more seconds of viscious fighting, the last creature, bleeding profusely, ran away (he failed his morale roll). The company wrapped Raddax's body and Bartolo the Seeker performed the funeral rites of the Thrice-Great Kule, despite knowing that Raddax followed the rival faith of the Great Church. Bartolo felt sure the Thrice-Great Kule would still bestow traveling mercies upon their fallen comrade. 

With this act completed, the Shadow Hunters began to follow the bloody trail of the creature that led deeper into the caves, eventually coming to a T-shaped end, with the choice to go left or right. The blood trail went to the left, but a very spirited discussion erupted among the members of the company as to which way they should go. The group wishing to follow the blood trail won the disagreement, and the company headed to the left, where they encountered a huge version of the same creatures they had been fighting, emerging from a small cave where the blood trail disappeared, and who caused the ground to vibrate every time he swung and missed with his giant sword. He also seemed to heal some of his wounds every time he struck one of the company with his blade. He had been warned of the company's incursion by a huge dog/wolf hybrid who furiously attacked the members of the company, eventually biting and latching onto Cora's leg. 

Holly was blinded by a foul magic spell cast by some kind of cloaked witch who also had what appeared to be iron finger-nails. The company succeeded in killing her, but as they did, loud shrieks erupted from the back of the small cave and another cloaked figure, looking almost identical to the first, appeared and attacked. She cast the same blinding spell at Bartolo, effectively removing him from the combat. Cora and Claira struck down the mutant dog creature and the second witch, but upon killing the dog, the huge leader creature bellowed out a mournful cry and then cut poor Isentrud, another of the company's retainers, in half. However, at this point, the leader realized he was surrounded, and his dog and two witches were dead. The creature who had led the company here by his blood trail, was nowhere to be seen. 

The leader lowered his sword and began to speak in a very choppy version of Common, mentioning he was Rulkin the Blooded, chief of the Broken Fang Tribe, and demanded to know why the intruders had killed his dog. He also mentioned that his tribe had been so much better off before he led them to these caves, and that terrible things had befallen them since coming here. During their conversation, the company learned that Rulkin had captured some humans, whom he had traded to the goblins in one of the adjacent caves. The Shadow Hunters could hear the shouts and cries of more of the creatures coming, so they made a deal with Rulkin that they would leave him along and never return as long as he called off his warriors. 

Bartolo recovered from his blindness and quickly performed funeral rites for Isentrud, and then the Company left, with the intent of returning to the goblin caves to find the human captives, one of whom they believed was Olaf von Munchberger. 

However, as they began making their way out of the caves, Alex grabbed a torch and ran back alone in the direction of Rulkin, intent on getting revenge for the death of Isentrud. The company called after her, trying to talk her out of her impulse actions, but Alex ran forward undeterred and disappeared into the darkness of the caves. The rest of the company continued toward the exit to honor their deal with Rulkin, who had spared their lives in return for them leaving his home... 

A sample of how I copied H's recap into a fun
template to make it look like a vintage journal.

FULL RECAP
(as written by "H" in the character of Claira Boba, the Elf) 

 The Journal of Claira 

 Treeday, the 24th Day of Redleaf 

Walking from the wall of heads, Bartolo notices that the green head from earlier was replaced with a goblin head, and looked like it was starting to decay, unlike the other green head. As we walk forward, we turn to the right, we can hear yelling, throwing, and crashing.  As we wander to the right the smell changes from a poop smell to a body odor smell. 

We approach a door, Cora and Holly try to listen but don’t hear anything. So, Greta opens the door and there are these very muscular green armed giants waiting for us, as if they knew we were here.  As they are attacking, they are chanting like they are cursing us. They all try to hit but all miss us, so I draw back and shoot with my crossbow but miss. Bartolo swings his war hammer and hits one of the green guys, but he just swallows the hit like it's nothing. Cora takes a big hit and slices his neck and kills him, Greta stabs it, but he just pulls the spear out like it was nothing, meanwhile bleeding out. Alex hides in shadows and just disappears, Holly stabs one, and he falls to the ground dead. Gruumsch walks up, swings his axe and almost cuts these things in half. Raddax stabs another one, but does nothing, now we have 3 down and 1 still up, and in the distance, we can hear more creatures running in our direction while doing that same chant. But out of nowhere the last one standing hits Raddax and he falls and eventually dies. 

Now the other creatures that were running are now here, one hits me, and I now am severely wounded.  I cast my shield spell in trying to protect myself. At the same time Cora kills another one, Alex shoots her crossbow from the shadow, hits the creature’s eye and he falls to his death.  Holly hits but the creature is now just bleeding. Gruumsch tries to hit another like before but misses. Isentrud hits but doesn't hurt it very much, and Osana misses. Bartolo casts a cure light wounds spell, and heals me, Cora again kills another creature. The last one standing runs off, as he is running, we notice that he looks a lot like the green head from earlier, but it could just be that they all look really similar. 

Now walking forward from the fight, we see lots of the same straw bedding in other rooms, in those same rooms we can see there is metal armor and weapons. Now we are moving back toward the heads. As we move, we can smell something like smoked meat and rotting veggies, we can hear a crackling fire and bubbling liquid and we can see a light glow. Alex sneaks ahead, she walks in a dining hall and goes into the kitchen and sees a trail of blood going to the right. After Alex had told us what she saw we all headed into the kitchen following the blood trail. 

Following the trail, we see it moves off to the left, and we still follow it. As we move to the left, we can hear growling and barking very loudly, and we see a dog that looks like a dog-wolf mix. It starts to attack us, it first lunges at Bartolo but completely misses him, Cora gets bit and thrashed around. Holly gets blinded by a cloaked woman. Now there is another creature, but this time he is huge! Whenever he takes a step the ground shakes. I attack and shoot him in the shoulder, but  he just breaks the bolt in half while still in his arm. Greta hits the dog, and it lets go of Cora. Isentrud also hits the dog, and it gets really injured. The big creature tries to hit but misses. 

Meanwhile in the  other room where the cloaked lady is, she tries to claw Cora but misses. The big guy hits Isentrud and she collapses to her death. Greta tries to hit but completely misses with her spear, Alex tries to hide in the shadows, but fails. Gruumsch hits the big guy, and Raddler also hits. In the distance we can hear others running in our direction.  But after, the big guy starts talking to us in Common, he introduces himself as Rulkin the Blooded. We ask him if he has seen other humans around, he says, “Yes, I have traded them to the goblins.” We all make an agreement that we (the Shadow Hunters) will never come in this cave again and the creatures will not kill us. So, all of us are walking out, and we see Alex run off with a torch, and that's all we see of her. As we walked out of the cave we started to think on our next move, and we decided to go to the Goblin Caves once again.  

TO BE CONTINUED IN THE GOBLIN CAVES

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That's the end of the recap. I hope you all enjoyed reading about the further adventures of this fun group of players! 


Hanging: Home office (laptop)
Drinking: Black coffee (Italian Roast)
Listening: "What's Going On" by Marvin Gaye, from the album "What's Going On" (1971) 

Comments

  1. I like the recap and get a strong feeling of being there as things are happening while reading it. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment, and I will share your comments with the author of the recap! Cheers!

      Delete
  2. One again it's quite touching to see the recap by one of the tween of a part of Keep of the Borderlands I mastered when I was still a young Gamemaster. This is a very fact based recap, and the way you have made it into an ancient writing is nice !

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much - this player will really appreciate reading your comments on her recap! They do work really hard on them and have to fit it in with their homework and other extra-curricular activities. Thanks again!

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