Sunday, December 8, 2013

Some B2 Notes

Apologies for the unplanned hiatus - being busy around the holidays and having a bit of writer's block doesn't help with blog productivity. I'll see about getting Dungeon Crawl 4 out before the end of the year but there's no guarantee there.

In the meantime I've run a couple games set in B2 Keep on the Borderlands. It's worth noting how much play I've gotten out of this module, and the players are a ways from being done. The humanoids have been totally devastated for numbers, while the deeper caves have only just been scratched.

The PCs played politics very well between the orc groups in the previous session, getting them to help in a raid that wound up killing both chieftains (with some PC trickery in the mix as well). The elf NPC with a vendetta proved quite bloody, though he wound up meeting his end last night, not at the hands of the orcs he hated, but from a group of zombies. He died having had his vengeance, so he was probably on his way out.

B2 encourages a lot of play that I really find enjoyable as a referee. For instance, there was a lot of roleplaying that led to the orc slaughter; the reaction and morale systems are really important for this. In a room further down the caves, the PCs cleverly destroyed a dozen skeletons before setting off the trap that would animate them - although this attracted the zombie guards that killed the elf NPC and one of the PC fighters.

In last night's game, surprise almost doomed a dwarf PC who's made it through many Stonehell and a few B2 sessions; he was in the path of the bear from my B2 wilderness encounter list. A 4 HD bear with 3 attacks per round is a formidable challenge to 1st and 2nd level PCs, even if they outnumber it. The bear won surprise and decided that the dwarf in his plate armor was a meal in a can, and he was determined to open it. High PC damage output did get the bear to break in morale and probably saved the life of Tybur.

I've also been doing some preparatory work in expanding the wilderness area. It's a good basis for a bit of a sandbox with dungeon modules around it; I won't spoil exactly what is lined up, but once the PCs finally finish with B2 I think there will be some good opportunities.


  1. I love the fact that you are using and expanding this classic module! It is my all-time favorite. I had an idea for a game where each player would take control of one of the humanoid tribes and wage war against the others in a struggle to rule the caves. Just haven't had a chance to get all the details worked out yet. :(

    1. I've been pleasantly surprised at the quality of play that comes out of B2. Very different from B1, and I think a lot better in actual play.

  2. B2 is really living up to it's reputation as a meat grinder. I think I'm suffering from virtual PTSD.


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