Since my last update on the topic at hand, the Ustalav campaign, my experiment in combining old school rules with new school adventuring material, has progressed rather nicely. We’ve managed a total of nine game sessions on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. I originally intended to have four players in the group, but as one of my intended players never managed to make it to a game session, we’ve had to make do with just three.
Here’s a brief recap of the first two game sessions:
Session 1: The characters’ carriage breakes down en route to the town of Ravengro, and they are forced to seek shelter from the ghastly weather. A weird old tosser living alone in a small house on a hill reluctantly agrees to grant them lodging.
In the darkness of the night, the restless dead rise from their graves, and come demanding their pound of flesh from the old tosser. The characters do their best to fend off the skeletal horde, but are eventually forced to ditch the old man, and make for the tunnel entrance under the house. The tunnel leads down into an old crypt, where the PC get to fight some more skeletons. They also manage to score some loot.
This game session was intended as an introduction to the rules, and the intended mood of the game. Worked out rather nicely, I’d say. The one-liner back story about the old man and the restless dead was nicked from an old issue of Creepy.
Session 2: The characters arrive in Ravengro, stock up on supplies, and head back to the old crypt. They get to fight some more skeletons, and manage to make it out alive, their packs filled to capacity with loot. Back in Ravengro, the town Sheriff grows a bit suspicious about this group of outsiders leaving for a day, and returning wounded and battered carrying heavy burdens. The sheriff’s investigation is cut short (heh, heh), as a ghostly horseman decapitates him while he’s wandering about on the moors.
The Headless Horseman is another classic of early horror literature, and deserves a place in a campaign such as this. The townies growing suspicious of the adventurers, however, is something rather rarely seen in D&D-type play, but it was well received by the players, who had a blast trying to cover up their grave robbing activities.
As evident to those familiar with Paizo’s Carrion Crown Pathfinder Adventure Path, the players have so far not even gotten to the actual contents of said adventure path. Not to worry, though. Old School play has a tendency to drag on a fair bit longer than the quite a bit more combat-intensive type III D&D the adventure path was originally written for. By my estimate it will take the group about 20 game sessions just to make it through the first book of the series. I’m, however, in no hurry whatsoever.
More on the rest of the game sessions later!