On ghouls and abandoned mansions

That Souragne feel

We had a good session today, the 3rd in order playing the Ravenloft module “Night of the Walking Dead” with the OpenQuest/Renaissance rules. All players except one was present and in for gaming.

The session started with a recap that I wrote yesterday, mainly to remember what has happened this far. Last time, we left off just after one of the players had witnessed the bizarre funeral with the chained coffin. After that, he went to the Vodoun church to take a look and met a strange three-eyed raven…

I thought that this session would be mostly investigation in the village, but the characters went to (a) the blacksmith, to buy weapons and (b) to the general store, to buy adventuring gear and new clothes. Our Caliban “Dashing Rogue” took the role-playing prize by burning all his meagre funds on foppish clothes. From the blacksmith’s wife they learned that her son had been missing for five days, after never having returned from his work at the d’Tarascon plantation.

After walking through abandoned sugar cane fields they arrived at a silent mansion with dark blinds covering all windows. The locks were too powerful to pick, but they climbed to the second floor and smashed a window. I hadn’t planned for this, but had a cool mansion map prepped just in case (aenglum.blogspot.se, see oldest post in the portfolio). I saw a perfectly good horror scene here, so I went with the flow. The dark, eerie mansion with all the rooms and doors really made the players up their paranoia, and I threw in strange sounds just to keep them nervous. It worked 😉

Then on the second floor, they heard a gnawing sound behind a door. Two of the characters stormed in, to witness a woman in a maid’s outfit sitting over a very bloody week-old corpse, feeding on the dead flesh. Two missed sanity checks. Two massive sanity losses. Two temporarily insane characters.

With some crossbow and machete work they managed to defeat the evil ghoul maid, but they were really shaken. That’s when sounds of lots of shuffling feet started to emerge all over the place, and a panicky scramble to get out started! No more combat, but I must say that the scare factor was high!

The characters went back to the village to speak to the Constable, but managed to aggravate him to the point of nearly being thrown into jail on account of being “foreign troublemakers”. They also learned that the d’Tarascon family have a townhouse in the village. We left off outside the townhouse, when they after several missed lock-picking attempts started to work at the front door with a crowbar, and the Constable along with two deputies arrived in a really crappy mood.

I must say that my OpenQuest/Renaissance amalgamation works really well with the Ravenloft setting. One thing however, is that the standard D&D trope of attacking head on is ill advised with these rules. Bodily harm and insanity will follow, and much faster than with D&D.

Awesome game today. And I will prepare the townhouse as well as some weird red herring stuff in the village. This adventure can be expanded a lot without damaging the “core story”. I’ve decided to go with the flow here and spin on the players’ ideas. Great stuff for stories!

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