Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What Have You Done With The Caves of Chaos?

As much praise as B2: The Keep on the Borderland gets, it's actually my least favorite of the four modules I've selected. That's not saying there aren't caves I really like, such as the Shine of Evil Chaos and the Ogre's and Bugbears' lairs. But there are some that just don't have much character too them and need some spicing up, the gnoll caves in particular.

Aplus at People them with Monsters wrote a fantastic reworking of the Kobold caves--another that I don't find particularly compelling. You should really check it out.

The main thing Aplus has done is added an Abandoned Mine section to the kobold lair. Within the mine is a pool, in which there is a Amphibious Kobold Mutant. The main treasure in the lair is now a bundle of copper nuggets, but not only are they copper nuggets, but copper nuggets that mutate the their possessor. Nice, hu?

Yesterday, I took the time to copy out the Caves of Chaos onto a work processor. I haven't gotten around to modifying anything, and, honestly, I don't plan on changing all that much, mostly just adding a little more character to some of less interesting caves (the gnoll and orc caves in particular).

So here's what I want to know: what have you done to make the Caves of Chaos just a little more unsettling and/or interesting?


  1. Imagine...

    (a) The 'crowded' Caves are that way because the Clerics in the West are 'organizing' an attack on the Keep. The seemingly overcrowded caves are temporary - barracks.

    (b) Characters have only a few days to wreak as much havoc as possible to thwart or (better yet) confuse the attacking force, perhaps pitting the factions against each other. (The 'factions' are, of course, the different humanoid races, excepting the Clerics in the West and the Minotaur who's been living in these caves for a while).

    (c) At the end of the time limit, the Clerics in the western caves rally the humanoids to march on the Keep.

    It's adjustable by changing the time limit (a week or only two days).

    The outdoor scenarios in the vicinity can spice things up (i.e. Seeing a large group of humanoids marching towards the Keep opens an opportunity for the Lizardmen to join in the attack or to gain favor with the Keep's occupants by joining in Defense, etc.)

    I had sketched out notes for it, but never gave it a full write up. Never had a chance to run it...

  2. I've had similar thoughts. I don't plan on setting a timeline--I would like the players to have a little bit more freedom and allow them time to explore the other adventure sites--but we're definitely thinking in the same direction.

    I'm thinking that the Caves of Choas is not the sole conspirator - it's bigger than all that.

    What I'm not sure about is whether to make the cleric in B3 an ally or enemy of the Caves.

  3. I've mixed B2 with hackmasters version and isomorphic map! And run it using Labyrinth lord at several conventions FLGS to great success. Several B2 Caves of Chaos blog posts

  4. In a session last year I ran I made the whole hillside containing the Caves a mist enshrouded outbreak of Chaos that characters needed a special amulet to navigate. Otherwise they would get lost within and have to fight multiple random encounters. The turncoat priests in the Keep and the bandit camp leader had amulets the PCs could loot. Made the whole adventure more fantastic at the same time giving more weight to the Law vs Chaos relation.

  5. There's nothing wrong with wanting to make areas sound more interesting, but remember that the players will often take care of that for you during play anyhow. One of the more memorable/talked about games among my group took place in those kobold caves, and I didn't alter a single thing from the way it's presented in the module...