Dungeons. Dragons. Graph paper. Funny dice.

An Embarrassing admission

During middle school and high school, I played almost exclusively home-brew adventures. There’s nothing inherently embarrassing about that, except that it means I never played many of the classic adventures.

Tonight, at thirty-some years of age, I played Keep on the Borderlands for the first time.

I know. I’m an aberrant mutant. Please don’t shun me.

I’ve read a few modules, but a larger number I’ve intentionally avoided to preserve the pleasure of playing them for the first time.

Let me tell you the the facts about KotB I’ve unintentionally gleaned in the last few decades:

  • There is a Keep. The people there have titles rather than sir-names—like ‘Corporal’.
  • There are caves called the Caverns of Chaos.
  • Chaotic humanoids populate these caves, including women and children type humanoids. (I presume this is intended to present some sort of moral dissonance.)

Tonight I entered into the Caverns. I explored the Keep a bit, wandered through a few passages, and killed six goblins. Don’t spoil it for me, please. Please don’t correct my misapprehensions.

As I’ve asserted before, this game is a lot of fun. No matter how run-of-the-mill the referee or how clueless the player, the fun of game still manages to shine through.

I had planned to run Stargazer tonight, but decided that the poor turnout would not best show-off the adventure. One of my players (in fact—on this night—my singular player) volunteered to run me through the Keep.


Gavin February 5, 2011 at 3:24 AM

What a pleasure it must be to have some run KotB for you for the first time!

I’ve never played it either (though I had a copy as a kid and read it lots), and would love to, especially from the point of view of a player as opposed to DMing it.

Paul February 5, 2011 at 3:34 AM

I’ve never played it either (though I had a copy as a kid and read it lots), and would love to

Do you want to join me? Our play schedule is sort of up in the air at the moment and we’re mostly an in-person group, but I could certainly send out an IM or email invite when we get together again. We could probably accomodate 1-2 VOIP players.

Paul February 5, 2011 at 3:39 AM

I should add that this isn’t some super-secret D&D grognard cabal; it’s just a couple of dudes playing B/X. Still… Keep! Anyone?

The Jovial Priest February 5, 2011 at 3:43 AM

Tonight I will DM KotB for my very first time to a group of aged D&D novices. I haven’t DM’d for 17 years. I think I will need more luck than you. I hope everyone enjoys themselves and comes back for more!

Paul February 5, 2011 at 3:53 AM

It will be fun, priest!

Aberrant Hive Mind February 5, 2011 at 4:00 AM

Solid! I have yet to play any classic. My childhood dnd experience was limited to an unknown module in 2nd edition run by my cousin. After my mom found out what we were playing insta-ban. She was an avid dateline follower along with what seemed like the entire island at the time. We ended up switching to marvel superheroes which was rad, but we mostly created characters and beat the crap out of each other(in game) comic book style. I’ve only really gotten into dnd over the last few years as my wife’s friends brought me into their group.

Game on!

C’nor (Outermost_Toe) February 5, 2011 at 6:10 AM

VOIP? Yes, yes my netspeak is lacking; I’m sorry, I’ve been focusing on learning Finnish (so that I can read the copy of the Silmarillion that I got from bookmooch - I figured I could just hit a web translator and go ahead, but good Finnish translation is, it seems, rather rare…)

Carter Soles February 5, 2011 at 8:18 AM

I played “Keep” many times – it came in the Holmes boxed set that was my first intro to D&D. But I could name many other classics I never played: X1 Isle of Dread, the whole A1-A4 series, T1 Village of Hommlet, S3 Barrier Peaks. All of us have these “embarrassing” gaps – and at least you’re getting a crack at it now!

Jagatai February 5, 2011 at 11:42 AM

I have never played the KotB, but I have DMed it many times over the last 30 years. Curiously, I don’t think anyone in any of my groups has ever completely finished it.

Telecanter February 5, 2011 at 10:31 PM

I’m in a similar boat– I own almost every TSR module but have avoided reading most in the hopes of someday playing through them. I don’t think I ever played through Keep, I do remember reading it over and over trying to figure out how I might DM from it.

Gavin February 8, 2011 at 4:34 AM

Hey Paul, I’ve been thinking about it, and, call me a traditionalist but somehow I don’t really fancy the idea of playing D&D over Skype… :) Thanks a lot for the invite though, and happy continued adventuring!

Paul February 8, 2011 at 7:49 AM

You too.

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