Finished up running another session of West Marches. The players finally defeated the substitute boss of the Caves of Chaos, Daggertooth the Troll (also a 6th level Cleric). He and his army of thouls are wiped out. The gnoll cave was never explored (or just the first room maybe), but every other cave has been cleared. So I declared the gnolls vacated.
Finally, after I don't know how many sessions spent in the Caves of Chaos, we're done with it. [If I hadn't taken in a lot of new players, and hadn't created Daggertooth to take over after Warduke was slain, they would have moved on long before.]
It's pretty amazing how much use I got out of dropping B2 in the West Marches. Sure, they've explored quite a fair amount of the map near Silverwood, the home town. But multiple iterations of the group have explored the caves, little by little. Sometimes they'd leave it for a while, going to explore other areas. But they kept coming back. And finally, their persistence has paid off.
Daggertooth made for a good villain, too. He never showed up until the final fight, but they kept hearing about him, how he was more powerful than a regular troll, how he carried a sword on his back but never used it (it's an intelligent Lawful sword, that's why...yes, the party got it identified, and the Lawful Fighter was the one to test it out on a poor unsuspecting random encounter baboon so no surprise shock damage...the sword did send a strong dislike emotion regarding the fighter's other magic items).
Oh, and so that's finally a thing in the campaign! They discovered the first intelligent sword! Always fun. Dean's fighter has good intelligence and wisdom, though, so he's likely to retain control except in extreme circumstances.
Anyway, once again thanks to Gary Gygax! The Caves of Chaos have definitely been a hit, and all the players new to them in this campaign will be able to share in a bit of the D&D zeitgeist that I never got to when I was young and new to RPGs.
13 minutes ago