Into the Caves of Chaos.

I’m going to mix things up with some play reports from some of the 5e games I have going on.  I’m going to be working off of some notes for these.  I started teaching my kids to play back in May.  My daughter was 13, and my twin boys were 8.  

I had been working on a 3.5e/Pathfinder heartbreaker, and found out about about the 5e playtest.  It was pretty late in the playtest, so I started up with those rules as a base.  I had finished up writing my version of the races and classes, so I wanted to use those.  A little tweaking so that they meshed with the playtest better, and we started character generation.  

My daughter rolled up Lylass, an elf rogue.
The boys have Jackson, a human wizard, an earth elementalist, and Narcisso, a half elf cleric of Corellon.  To round out the party, I played Rurak, dwarven fighter as a DM PC.  

I made some tweaks to the adventure.  I made it a mash-up of the original adventure, Return to the Keep on the Borderlands, a version made for Fantasy Hero, and the Hackmaster Little Keep.  I wanted more than just the Keep as well, so Fort Kyntosh is on an island where the Shingas River flows into the Ohoyo River.  The fort, and the nearby port town of Shingas guard this important trade route.  The far side of the river is uncharted wilderness, teeming with the hordes of the Mon Tootha orc tribe.

So our intrepid band has gathered in Shingas.  The local lord was recently killed in a battle with the Mon Tootha, who had been much more active attacking merchants.  Rumor had it that there was an orcish outpost on this side of the river, in a set of caves nearby.  So they set out to investigate.  On the path to the Caves of Chaos, they come across a group of kobolds busy ransacking a wagon.  The merchants, guards, and horses were dead.  The kobolds were involved in their loot, and the group were able to surprise them and quickly dispatched them.  

On to the Caves.  They decide to head into the lowest cave on their left, the goblin cave.  A short way in, they are ambushed by a group of guards.  Jackson casts expeditious excavation* and opens a shallow pit under the goblins, dumping them in.  The rogue and dwarf jump in on top of them and finish them off.  

They turn to their right, and encounter another group of goblins.  Seeing the party, they open a concealed door and throw a sack of coins thru, paying off the ogre to come help them.  Three goblins are felled in the first round, and luckily for the group, the dice were not on the ogre’s side.  He did not land a single blow in the entire fight.  Jackson cast sleep, and knocked out a few for goblins as the rest concentrated on the ogre.  Two wolves jumped the rear of the party.  Things were getting sketchy, but they finally felled the ogre, and one of the wolves.  The other wolf, wounded, ran off.  The party was in rough shape.  Less than half hit points, and the wizard already out of spells.  They did their best to hide the bodies, and barricaded themselves into the ogre’s cave for a long rest.  Nice little haul from the ogre, including a locked and sealed coffer, bearing markings of the King in Pitz Burke, the nearby city.  Lylass picked the lock, and carefully removed the seal.  Inside was gold and documents indicating that it was taxes, collected in Shingas, and sent to the king.  

One more encounter with some wandering goblins before they came upon the common room.  10 males and 14 females, but the party heard them first and was able to get an ambush in.  This fight was long.  10 rounds total.  3rd round 2 of the females ran off and got the chief and his 4 guards.  They were armed with short bows and bad attack rolls.  2 rounds later the 4 goblins that were guarding the store room came to investigate the ruckus.  Rurak got knocked unconscious, but luckily Narcisso was able to heal him.  Every spell got cast, everyone had less than half hit points, and the goblins stayed strong to the end.  Passed every morale check, including after the chief was killed.  They found a secret compartment in the chief’s room that contained spy reports about troop strength from the Keep as well as info about merchant caravans leaving Shingas.  The info they found can lead to a spy.
With that they decided to return to Shingas and the Keep.  They are returning the tax money and have decided to try to out the spy.  Both of these should get them noticed by the Castellan, and probably given a mission.

Expeditious Excavation

Level 1 transmutation
Casting Time 1 action
Range 30ft.
Components V, S, M (tiny shovel)
Duration Instantaneous


You can excavate and move earth, dust, and sand up to the size of a 5-foot cube. If you are buried, you may open a 5-foot cube around yourself, but the spell cannot be used for tunneling.


Besides its mundane applications, you can open a 5-foot-deep pit at a creature’s feet. A Medium or smaller creature falls prone in the pit unless it succeeds on a Dexterity save. With a successful save, it can choose to land harmlessly on its feet in the pit or hop to an adjacent square; this movement does not provoke attacks of opportunity. A creature can escape a 5-foot-deep pit with a DC 5 Athletics check. Larger creatures may ignore pits smaller than their size.


The earth excavated by this spell is ordinarily distributed harmlessly across the spell’s range, but you may choose to throw up a burst of grit and debris when you dig a pit. This cloud of debris provides concealment to any creatures in the square affected and all adjacent squares for 1 round. Expeditious excavation has no effect on solid rock or earth creatures.


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