The Keep on Yeoldelands – Session 3

Click here for the other sessions.

All returning players this session so I decided to start the session off with the party were leaving the keep. The first two sessions had both overrun and I didn’t want precedent to set expectation. After a week’s break for a computer-less holiday it wouldn’t do to have yet another slow start.

Expedition 3

01 July 2021

  • Kaiden of the DISAVOWED (Cleric 1)
  • Rarder Brete (Fighter 1)
  • Tarek Krel (Fighter 1)
  • Valeri (Cleric 1)

Kaiden, Tarek and Valeri again opted to trust to their map reading skills rather than hire a guide and set off through the Darkwoods for the series of caves, intent on searching for the missing merchant. Their sense of direction was sound, Kaiden and Tarek recognising the trail they’d taken two days ago, and they emerged into the valley with thin columns of smoke rising lazily from several cave openings. Selecting one of the non-smokers, they crept up the valley wall and slunk inside.

The entrance narrowed to a thin funnel before opening up again and branching out. Plumping for the passage with fewer audible voices, the adventurers edged ahead. Their torch was spotted and they were met with several spears and pairs of eyes shining in its flickering light. Attempts to communicate were hampered by the lack of a common tongue, and the party decided to retreat to the entrance rather than fight these things in their own domain. They all noticed, however, that the leader of the pack seemed to be wearing an ill-fitting suit of mail and had a money pouch bearing the mark of their expired companion Utlaf.

The six creatures followed them, daylight showing them to be chest-high humanoids whose exposed flesh was covered in dank, foot-long hair (a longer version of what you might pull from a shower drain).

The party descended down to the valley floor while the creatures postured, high-fived and generally celebrated scaring off the adventurers. The characters were just biding their time and, with their targets out in view and vulnerable to ranged fire, let fly with slings and spears. They were joined by another human charging out from the woods. Several of the little monsters dropped dead and the rest fled back into the cave.

The party followed but, hearing the sounds of alarm and activity in one direction, quickly scurried back into the now-vacated room they had seen earlier. Finding little there, they pushed on into another passage and up to a door. At the sound of movement on the other side they turned and retreated again, but found themselves ambushed by larger, better-groomed and armed examples of these creatures. They just about held them off, cutting down three.

Remembering the bounty offered in the keep, the adventurers sliced off a hand from each slain foe and brought five grizzly trophies back to claim their first real monetary reward of 150 gold pieces.

GM Notes

  • Rarder’s player, whose first character Utlaf perished last session, could only make the last half of this game, but he was brought up to speed pretty quickly. Another advantage of a repeated structure each game is that, just as procedure gives GMs a guide to hold on to when there’s lot of action happening, a player can more easily orientate themselves within a session.
  • Conscious that the circumstances in which we play D&D are quite different from when this module was written with fewer players and less time to play a session on a less regular basis, I’m encouraging players to create their own short accounts of sessions for an extra 250xp, be in in the form of a few bullet points, a sketch, a piece of poetry or whatever. This has the benefit of bolstering characters a little bit – especially those of lower level – and acts as a handy guide to what they pick up on. Like with Barrowmaze, I didn’t want to make this homework nor limit it to a weekly essay – any extra player creativity at any level is a plus in my eyes.
    It’s been encouraging to see this crew take up the opportunity.

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