Yesterday I mentioned that I have discovered the joys of Castles and Crusaders and that I actually got to play it on Sunday.
The session went for roughly 4 ½ hours (with a quick Chargen).
Tomlin- Human Cleric of the God of the Harvest and Farming- level 1.
Fletch- Tiefling Fighter- level 1.
The Set Up
I’ve always liked the set up that Tim did in Return to Northmoor (which is an awesome Podcast, btw- I really recommend checking it out). I decided that I wanted to take the theme from that opening session and change it up slightly.
Like Northmoor this adventure takes place in a bog where people are farming for peat and relics of civilizations past. However I went with the moreLouisianastyle bog. Hot, murky, and oppressive.
The players had, until a year ago, served as conscripts at East End Outpost which rested at the eastern most point of the bogs peninsula. This place served to protect the trading outpost of Saltmarsh (from DnD 3.5 DMG II with my own variations) as well as watch the ocean for pirates and any type of smuggling activity that may happen in the bog.
After being released from their duties the characters traveled out of the bog and hadn’t been back for a year. Three weeks ago the characters received a note from their mentor and sergeant that something was wrong at the outpost and he needed their help.
Our adventure (again like Northmoor) began with the characters on a barge floating through the murky waters heading from the trader town to the outpost.
Starting Things Off Dangerous
Aside: My players really haven’t been introduced to that Old School feel except for what I’ve been doing lately now that I’m really getting back into it. They are used to large sums of HP, higher saves, and a cushion under their butts, should they fall, that came with 3.x/Pathfinder.
I emailed them the Old School Primer awhile back and asked them if they had read it.. Yeah.. That was a no. Oh well.
Anyways, I knew I wanted to start things off with a bang and wanted to A) show the theme of this dangerous bog. B) Try out C&C combat to see just how fast it flowed. C) Highlight the differences between Pathfinder combat and the more deadly combat that will be seen here.
The group started out on a barge being steered by a human man, mid forties, by the name of Gregory and his son Thomas. Accompanying the players were two city guard from Saltmash. A Dwarf named Furful and a human by the name of Benjamin.
I gave a quick description of the area and then had the characters make Intelligence checks (which the both spectacularly failed). Water exploded around them and two rotting creatures landed on the barge. They were emaciated and had sagging skin that was water-logged, clumps of hair were missing and their eyes were sunken in and shriveled. A blackish green substance was dribbling out of their mouth. The creatures hissed and charged at the two city guards as another one started clambering up the boat.
Gregory the boatman started shouting, his voice high pitched, “Bog Witches! Bog Witches! Gods no!”
I couldn’t have hoped for a better first round of combat. Furful the dwarf fell hard under the onslaught of the first Bog Witch (Ghoul) while Benjamin was able to repel the second.
I had a fourth Bog Witch pop up behind the son, Thomas, and rolled to hit. I got a 20. Crit. The Bog Witch grabbed the kid and I started screaming high pitched and begging. Then I described Gregory as going frantic and attempting the hit off the creature with an oar. There was a wet snapping pop and Thomas went limp and twitched.. Then the creature pulled him into the water. Then Gregory last it and started sobbing and crying, watching over the boat as blood started to plume up from the depths.
The next two rounds Fletch and Liam rolled really well and were able to dispatch the three remaining Ghouls before Benjamin could be taken down as well.
I think Fletch got hit once, but other than that they sustained no damage, but it was a nice wake up call when 2 NPC’s die in one round.
After the battle the group, through a well placed Charm Spell by Fletch, managed to calm down Gregory and pushed on to East End, but not before cutting off Fulfur’s head and dumping his body overboard.
East End Outpost… Anybody Home?
TheEast Endoutpost showed no signs of distress or structural damage from far away. However once the group got close they say arrows stuck into the wooden archways, the main gate was open, and in the promenade they saw two statues facing the open gateway. One had a look of shock and terror and the other, his spear drawn, a look of determination.
Fletch: “Oh fuck.. We’re gonna fight a Medusa.. Son of a bitch.”
Me: Not necessarily. It could be a basilisk or a cockatrice.. (It’s a Medusa).
The group began to poke around the promenade, looking for clues. They could see that heavy things were hauled out of the area and into the swamp. As they approached the building a clanging was heard and a high squeal and cry.
Coming out of the doorway was a goblin who was crying and scrambling around blindly because he had a cooking pot stuck over his head. Behind him was another goblin that was hitting the cooking pot with a sauce pan, “Stinkily, smellily, fat, disgusting, stupid Stinky!”
The goblins saw the players and freaked out, calling them Tall Ones, and that they didn’t break the place. They found it this way.
This was a fun part. I played my part well and both Fletch and Liam seemed to enjoy the comic relief of the Goblins and weren’t honestly sure what to do with them. The goblins told the players they were told by Mama Jamba, queen of the swamp, to come check out why the outpost was so quiet.
The players finished checking out the outpost and then asked to be taken to see Mama Jamba.
The trip to Mama Jamba’s was quiet. I rolled a random encounter. There was a Dryad sunning herself, naked, outside a Weeping Willow, but by the time the players got done arguing about whether or not to talk to her they had already passed her by.
That was honestly hilarious. When I explained to them that they missed their chance..
The meeting with Mama Jamba was good and the players gained information on the Queen of Serpents, the Medusa.
After a sumptuous meal the players rested and were set to head back toEast Endin the morning to see if they could find a trail.
That is where we left off for the evening.
Both of my players liked what I had set up so I’m happy about that and they seemed to like how quick and easy the system was to comprehend and use. We’re role-playing this weekend but I’m not sure if we will be playing Vornheim or this.
I’m excited to get to know C&C better.