Thursday, January 12, 2023

Damn Redcaps - Chaos on the Frontier.

Sunday game, y'all!

Tonight's cast of characters:

  • Frederick
  • Jax/Goober
  • Bonk

And two newcomers:

  • Joe, playing Thayer the Elf (first time rpg player)
  • Wayne, playing Fulvus the Halfling 

(both rolled "bald" on the Random Headgear chart, for those of you keeping track at home)

Again, because of a late start and smallish party, I set aside my planned adventure and pulled "Damn Redcaps" out of the pile. I figured it would make for some fun exploration and combat, particularly for a first timer.

I described how caravans coming into Neuforde had been harassed, and that the mayor, sensitive to the town's reputation, called on the town "problem-solvers" to go investigate.

The party trekked north on the trade road for two days. The dawn of the second day, Bonk was alerted by Goober that something/someone was approaching the camp. Seeing movement in the trees, Bonk awoke the party, who spotted a couple of gnolls peering at them. Not sure how many more were hiding, the party armed up, and I let Joe/Thayer know that elves could speak the language. He stepped toward the apparent leader, and greeted them in their own tongue. Taken aback, the gnoll responded in kind. A bit of a stand-off ensued as the pair cautiously exchanged greetings. Sensing that more gnolls were in the wings, Thayer successfully cast charm on the leader, who stood down. Some information-gathering later, the gnolls headed off into the woods, the followers somewhat confused by their leader's chumminess with an elf.


Using intelligence gained from the gnolls, the party found the abandoned temple now occupied by the redcaps. After banging on the front door, Frederick finally picked the lock without issue...

Of course, the banging alerted the occupants, who scattered to attempt some ambushes. A few hid in the mess hall, flinging darts at the party as they entered. the party returned fire, killing one while the others escaped. Pursuing them, the party set off a blinding gas bomb. The halfling shook it off, but Bonk was temporarily blinded.

"How long does the blindness last?" "As long as it's funny."

Goober was enrolled as a seeing-eye wardog.

Investigating further, the party was set upon by a jumping spider, who failed spectacularly in ambushing Thayer. Frederick, in turn, was "blown up" by an illusionary explosive.

Entering a large cavern set off a bit of a running battle with the redcaps, who generally failed at dart-throwing, but cast enough illusion magic to hamper the party. 

FYI, the 'redcaps' in this space are essentially chaotic garden gnomes.

These guys

More running battle, and Thayer got to use his light spell to counter a darkness spell, again putting the foes off-balance, and allowing for eventual victory. 

The party managed to suss out various treasure stashes, and explored the remainder of the cavern once the final redcaps were dispatched or scattered.

Oh, and Fulvus and Thayer each claimed red caps to cover their respective bald pates. 

DM notes:

Well, this one was fun, but could have been run better. I had designed this adventure to allow for more of a hit-and-run type of conflict, with the potential for attrition from party members being hampered by poisons and spells. Again, since I grabbed his at the able, I didn't have a chance to really pre-set the belligerents, and got a bit behind in the conflict, allowing the party to overwhelm their foes. Again, as I mentioned before, take time to slow down and think. Still a work in progress. And note to self - print out your adventures full size. Digest size in a dark brewery and old eyes don't work.

And I got to revise the adventure for content and usability. Most of the actual damage to the party came from traps, real and illusory, so of course a bunch of shifty gnomes should have a few more traps. Plus there needed to be more gnomes, since the little buggers breed like halflings. Toughened them up a bit, as well... Descriptions have been improved and broken out a bit, and treasure buffed to fit a B/X style game. 

So here's the revised "Damn Redcaps."

In the end, I think this adventure is a good candidate for 1st level play, with traps, intelligent foes, and a few curiosities. Our second/third level party mopped the floor with the gnomes.

And thanks to Joe who drove an hour to play in my silly little game. It was the first time he was able to sign up for a game after multiple attempts, since the local Meetup group sessions fill so quickly. So for whatever a certain corporation may try to machinate, never underestimate the need for people to gather and play in analogue. Not to be dramatic, but we need to sit around the campfire and create stories. Enjoy.


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