Monday, April 23, 2012

Storytelling with B2, part II

     
     After telling the Castellan about the adventure with the lizardmen and the spiders (Part I), the Warrior asked if he could become a knight. The Castellan replied it would only be possible to become a Knight of the Realm through extraordinary service to the Keep. Suddenly the Guild Master burst in with urgent news: two out-of-town guests at the Guild House had vanished during the night, and while looking for them the guards had discovered a secret door in the basement where none was previously known. Shortly after it was opened two skeletons had emerged and battled the guards. The guards refused to explore further, and so the Guild Master had come to the Castellan for assistance. The Castellan asked the Warrior if he would investigate, and he agreed. Accompanying the Warrior would be his trusty Dwarf companion, the Castellan's Advisor (an elf), and the Curate of the Chapel. We then looked at the picture of elves and dwarves in the Player's Handbook:


    The group arrived at the Guild House and I showed him the map in the back of B2, with the stairs leading to the basement (see above). The Guild Master took them through the  the basement kitchen to a small storeroom in the back, and showed them the trap door in the floor. It appeared that a seal on the door had been recently pried open, making it  noticeable. The Warrior opened the door and saw a set of stone stairs leading down into the dark. He lit his lantern, and then gave it to the Dwarf so he could descend with sword out and new magic shield in hand. At the bottom of the stairs he spotted two bodies lying on the floor of a dusty room. Two more skeletons then came through a doorway and attacked! The Warrior chopped off the arms of one as it lunged for him, and then broke the rest of it apart, while the Dwarf took care of the other one. The bones crumbled away to dust. The Curate looked over the corpses and found a map that appears to show the level they are on.


     Until next time...

     Notes: On page 25 of B2, Gygax suggests including in the basement of the Guild House "a secret entrance to a long-forgotten dungeon (which, of course, you must design and stock with monsters and treasure)!".

     Dragonsfoot Discussion of the Dungeon Under the Keep on the Borderlands

10 comments:

  1. That is fantastic. You should have a link to part one.

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    1. Thanks, Jason! The link to Part I is embedded in the first sentence; I just edited it to make that more clear.

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  2. WOW thats great. Ive read and run B2 hundreds of times and never caught the mention about the secret entrance in the guildhouse to a possible long forgotten dungeon- What an awesome Idea. The more I think about it, since fortifications were often rebuilt with the building materials and foundations of older fortifications it seems to make sense that the Keep was probably build upon the remains of an older ( maybe ancient?) fortification. That being the case, there are bound to be the remains of older basement foundation structures, tunnels, and dungeons.

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    1. Those are good ideas, Tom. I added a link above to an old Dragonsfoot discussion that is relevant.

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  3. Great thanks Ill check it out

    BTW - heres a question for you KEEP ON THE BOARDERLANDS Fanatics. Im contemplating taking on the great task of makeing a scale model of the keep ( if anyone has looked at my Blog you now I have started making lots and lots of dungeon sets from Hirst Arts). The whole model will be in sections to have access into various areas of the keep and will be about 4ft by 6ft in dimension ( im not sure about height since I havnt factored in if I want to build the rock plateau its built upon or not). I googled the keep and it seems noone has taken on this task so Id like to be the first. I think it woujld take me maybe a year to build it in my workshop in my off time. I want to add as many of the elements listed in B2 as possible.

    So here is my dilemma from a planing and building perspective. The plans of the keep show the back northern towers - The Great Towers ( labeled 23 on the map) to be round towers and the eastern Guard Tower ( labeled 20 on the map) to be partial hexigon. BUT- the artist picture on the back shows the Great Towers and the Guard Tower to be square. SO.... Do I design the Keep with the plans given in the module or go by the iconic artwork provided on the back of the module. I know this may be a minor discrepency but as a builder myself, these things bug me.

    So what are peoples feelings about which they feel I should use as my basis for my model?

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    1. I noticed that discrepancy when we were looking at the plans for the Keep. The text doesn't give any further guidance (just the relative heights). I think you'll just have to pick one and go with it.

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  4. Another thing I always thought was just common sense but when I look at posts about it, noone ever seems to make the connection. That is the site on the map called Cave of the Unknown. This had always been "clearly" the location for B1 - In Search of the Unknown, he hidden lair of Zelligar and Rogahn and it seemed this was where 1st level characters were suppose to bloody their swords a bit before taking on the menace of the Caves of Chaos or other wilderness encounters. I know in B2 it doesnt seem to come right out and say it- and I know that B2 came out in 1979 and B1 in 1984- suggesting that there was an attempt to make a connection between the two.

    Am I the only one who has made this connection and used B1 as an intro for B2? Just curious.

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    1. B1 was first published in late 1978, appearing in the 2nd edition of the Holmes Basic Set (Nov 1978), so it predated B2 by more than a year (Dec 1979). So it's possible that Gygax was thinking of it when he used the name the "Cave of the Unknown". I always felt that the two were separate, with B1 having the feeling of being farther north in a more desolate area (not so close to a civilized area like the Keep). Also, the geography doesn't match: Quasequeton is described as being on a great rock cropping at the crest of a wooded hill, whereas the Cave of the Unknown is in a large clearing on a relatively gentle slope. However, it's a common suggestion and it certainly works to place it there.

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  5. I'm also running B2, and it's a great little adventure. It takes a while to get used to the no-plot, every monster near each other, but most of my enjoyment derives from coming up with justifications (not entirely logical, mind you) to these conflicting elements. My players started exploring the Caves of Chaos on their 2nd session, and only confronted the hermit outside.

    Also, to Tom above me, I don't think B1 was intended as an introduction to B2. Other than the Unknown in the title, there is no connection between the two, but I've read B1 a long time ago so I may be mistaken about this.

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  6. Your probably right now that I read the location descriptions for B1 it probably doesnt fit the locale of B2. I guess I always assumed that since B1 was called In Search of the Unknown, and B2 has a location marked Cave of the Unknown- It just made sense to me that this was where they had inteded B1 to be placed but didnt come right out and say it.

    The online group Ive been running made several forays into the Caves in the past few sessions but are kind of tired of going in, killing goblins, getting their hirelings wasted, and running back to the town. Much of this has to do with their approach as they just go in without any scouting, foresight, or attempt to deal with the humanoids in any other manner than their swords. So they are moving on to Quasqueton.

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