Rolling Solo with The Green Cave Comrades

This is the start of solo adventures after an introduction in A Basic Start. A brutal start using Basic D&D Red Set.

Tools and Characters

For session 1 and staying screenless I was using

  • Dungeons and Dragons Basic Edition (1981 Red Box, from a car boot sale)
  • A7 Cards for recording characters
  • Random tables from Ultimate Toolbox [UT] (I had the physical book version)

Rolling up I had

  • Charlie (Str 13 Dex 11 Con 12 Int 10 Wis 10 Cha 11), female fighter, HP 3 (plate,2h sword, raised in the wild,megalomania)
  • Vincent (Str 6 Dex 11 Con 10 Int 7 Wis 13 Cha 8), lawful cleric, HP 3 (plate, dead-ogre, phobia of snakes)
  • Sekai (Str 7 Dex 7 Con 6 Int 10 Wis 11 Cha 7), lawful mage, HP 2 (read magic, ancestor created a potent weapon, nightmares of suffering a wasting disease, silver dagger, lots of food)
  • Margaret "Marge" (Str 12 Dex 8 Con 9 Int 10 Wis 6 Cha 9), neutral rogue, HP 3, (runs with merc and beastmaster, makes it back to keep, obsessive about certain foods, hobby of gardening, leather, silver dagger, longbow, rope, 1 weeks rations, sword)
  • Eraral Deathflame (Str 14 Dex 9 Con 14 In 8 Wis 9 Cha 10), chaotic dwarf, HP 4 (lots of languages, plate, superstitious and always watchful for omens, uses coarse language)

With names and extra details provided by UT. It's unintentionally a classic grouping of fighter, cleric, wizard and thief, plus a dwarf.

Those stats aren't the best but more disappointing was the hit point rolls. Using the option to re-roll 1s and 2s, every character had 3 on their roll!

Keeping on with the basic theme I'd only be adding details as needed.

Road to Adventure

"The adventurers met on the road and decided to seek their fortunes at the Keep"

"Entering the keep, the group bought supplies and heard several rumours. One warned of a mad hermit in the woods but others talked of caves where trouble and treasures lay"

Since it fit the vibe and in Basic Charisma influences number of hirelings I rolled for who was at the keep using UT.

"Talking to the locals they found several looking for work. Eraral hired a mercenary and a few pitched in for a beastmaster with an ape. They discussed hiring the guide and decided they could find the caves themselves. The seamstress and actor they left at the keep."

For the mercenary I used the stats of a Bandit and a normal human for the beastmaster. For the creature I flicked through the book and found a large ape (a rock baboon I think), completely missing the animals section.

A Brutal Beginning

"It took a couple of days through woodland and hills to make it to the caves. They chatted among themselves and Eraral tested Milo, his mercenary hireling. Kasia kept apart with her ape, Star. On the third day they looked down into the canyon full of cavemouths"

The module says that they have no problems getting to the caves so that's what I stuck with. They had at least one week's rations each so nothing to worry about there. I decided they would pick a cave mouth at random to keep things moving. They chose Cave D.

"Choosing a likely looking cave near a copse of trees the group approached without problem. Marge snuck into the cave while the others waited quietly outside the cavemouth, staying vigilant. Taking the left at a junction, she snuck up on some voices. Sadly she kicked a rock and was seen by a short humanoid who started screaming in a gutteral tongue"

Hide in Shadows and Move Silently is low in Basic for a thief.

"Hearing cries inside, the group rushed inside, leaving Kasia and Star to guard their exit. They met Marge with three goblins in pursuit. A brief fight ensued with another goblin joining. Charlie and the dwarf in the front line with others giving ranged support where possible. Two sentries fled after the others fell, but Eraral the dwarf took a blade to the chest and went down. Worst was to come as a bellow emerged from a towering figure."

The initial rolls weren't great for the party but sadly for them the latecomer had gone to fetch an ogre who acts as a mercenary for monster groups. I was using option of unconscious at 0 hit points and also made a morale check for Milo (as his employer had fallen) which he failed

"Marge watched as the giant's club smashed down Vincent and Charlie, and she fled outside alongside Sennai, following after Milo, where Burt waited"

"Her hopes rose as bellow was matched by roar and Star met the monster as it emerged behind them. Desperate to help, she and Sennai stabbed at it from the sides."

"The ogre staggered from blows and started to slow but a cracking sound crumpled their ally. Marge had had enough and fled, hearing Sennai's scream as she tried to scramble away. Breathing hard after running alongside Kasia, there was no sound of pursuit as they paused in a small wood."

So that was the brutal start. Two hirelings and one thief escaped.

"Shaken and traumatised, finding Milo nearby, , the three returned to the keep in a haze, glad only that no others had chased them. Marge was all that was left of the five who met on the road"

The Green Cave Comrades

So I still had time to game and wanted to continue. Clearly Marge would need to have a motivation or reason why she should keep adventuring. She doesn't know if her allies are dead or captives but she's going to need new allies.

After consulting tables it turns out Marge is in debt or owes a debt. We'll find out more if she survives!

"with nightmares of the caves haunting her, Marge knew she would return there when she was ready. Maybe the fates would be kind and some she could rescue at least one." "For now her fear was too strong and she needed new allies capable of the feat. They would have a name to remind Marge of her eventual return." "She spent a few days finding new members for the Green Cave Comrades."

Going to the tavern in the Keep, Marge put together a group of adventurer to follow a rumour about a hermit, who might have more information about things in the wild. And give a chance for them to bond in less dangerous surroundings

They were...

  • Synnal (Str 8, Dex 9, Con 6, Int 15, Wis 9, Cha 10), neutral magic-user with detect magic, HP 3 (part elven, sweet tooth, loves sweet treats and drinks and makes a meal of sweets)
  • Eileen (Str 8 Dex 11 Con 12 Int 7 Wis 12 Cha 15), lawful fighter, HP 5 (dead-lion, hairy arms, birthmark of crossed swords, leather and longbow, 3 retainers with shortbows)
  • Nathifa (Str 12 Dex 11 Con 6 Int 7 Wis 10 Cha 9), chaotic fighter, HP 7 (chain, dead-lion, famous ancestor, liar and cheat who diedna pauper, afraid of crowds)
  • Lesedi (Str 9 Dex 10 Con 3 Int 11 Wis 11 Cha 11), lawful cleric, HP 3 (dead-hermit, leather, sling, sicky, damage another's reputation, likes making miniatures)
  • Alonso (Str 11 Dex 14 Con 11 Int 6 Wis 7 Cha 8), neutral halfling, HP 3 (motivation reclaim property, inherited a few servants who looks after)

And of course their intrepid leader.

  • Marge (Str 12 Dex 8 Con 9 Int 10 Wis 6 Cha 9), neutral rogue, HP 3, (obsessive about certain foods, hobby of gardening, sworn to return to the Green Cave. leather, silver dagger, longbow, rope, )

It was late so kept details basic. But these seemed more promising than previous group...

Into the Woods

"With Alonso the halfling scouting ahead, the group ventured into the woods north of the cave. On their second day they met the hermit, a dishevelled but friendly man who have the name of Allston. He shared their food and offered to guide them to old ruins in a forest clearing." "It sounded promising and they accompanied Allston through the forest for a couple of miles. Until they met a lion and the hermit turned on them in a mad frenzy. In a chaotic fight among the trees half the party fled and half fell to their foes."

Lack of details as it was late but Marge, Synnal and Alonso (who climbed a tree and hid) made it out with Lesedi backstabbed by the hermit and Nathifa and Eileen falling to the lion.

"Breathing hard Marge looked at her surviving companions, three of them escaping once more. Was she cursed...?"

Did they blame marge? Will she want to continue?

It's time to migrate them over to Knave and find out!

Aftermath

Well with 8 characters down it's a harsh start for Solo gaming.

Take Homes - I'm fine with Morale - Remembered why I'm not a fan of Basic D&D in particular - Marge is a survivor, with a deep drive for adventure and knows of an ogre with potentially treasure and possibly a spellbook. - Need offline prep or some kind of deck

Possible tools to make or find - A tavern of adventurers for this initial old school style - tools for making decisions - A hirelings available to hire tool

Finishing Up

If you have your own advice or solo gaming suggestions, leave them in the comments or on my Discord server