Introducing two more players to the game, I decided to go with Small But Vicious Dog this time, a B/X & WFRP 1E mash-up featuring very fun descriptions and a few interesting rules for handling disease, fear, insanity and other niceties that I like in all of my D&D games, really.
Snori Durak, the Dwarf-at-Arms
Carina aka "Karla Liedeburg", the Trapper
Maltael the Elf Outrider
and Furanzel the Hobbit Rustler
• Last time, we stopped with the party reaching Altdorf's Koenigsplaza and meeting a pair of weird dudes. That's where we started after some chargen (went well, explained why Sephiroth wasn't an appropriate name for any character but no hiccups overall).
• It was decided that the Elf and Hobbit had been traveling together for a while, and that the Hobbit was an old friend of the Dwarf. Thus, the party met and roleplayed for a while, reminiscing about the good old times, introducing each others and establishing some character relationships (elf haughty, dwarf hates elf, hobbit nice, etc.) until Josef the Boatman, Carina's brother arrived to the scene and happily dragged his sister and everyone around to Der Reich Adler, a nice and cozy inn by the docks.
• The party was first interrupted by Max Ernst, the infamous protagonist, but kept their cool. Two young noblemen accompanied by bodyguards harrassed them, one of them puking on the elf, to the great joy of the dwarf, and Max's insistance eventually led to a brawl, ending with the protagonist fleeing the premise and the nobles leaving with a hearty laugh at a nice, if surprising, spectacle. Josef feared Max might come back with friends, and suggested the party leave to rest at his river barge, the Goldfish. He also mentioned needing guards to escort his boat alongside the Reik up to Bögenhafen, he's current destination.
• On their way to the Goldfish, the dwarf noticed they were being followed - everyone hid after turning a corner and waited to see who their enemy was, but they instead heard bolts being loosed, body falling and glimpsed at a runaway, broad-shouldered man in the distance, who left them with two suspicious corpses: those were the weirdoes from before! And, as Carina suspected, they bore the same purple hand mark as the corpse of the real Karla Liedeburg. After looting the recently deceased, they dumped the corpses into the river and went to bed on the boat, having accepted Josef's proposition since it meant reaching Bögenhafen faster and being paid for it.
• The next morning, Josef informed the party that he was leaving early with them in the hold as the watch was looking for them - one of the noble from last night had been found dead, and adventurers are a suspicious lot. Luckily, there was no problem with getting out of Altdorf, and the roadwardens the party crossed later on had no idea who they were. Considering the justice system is more about finding someone to punish than figuring out who's actually guilty of a crime, the heat should die down in a few days.
• Before reaching Bögenhafen, the boat had to make a small pause at Weissbruck, a tiny fishing village, where the party noticed the broad-shouldered, crossbow-wielding man again. Some "negotiation" with the locals revealed that he was Adolphus Ksutsos, a bounty hunter of some renown, and had rode from Altdorf last night. After some snooping around, the Dwarf overheard their hunter preparing an assault on the party at night with a bunch of hired thugs, so the group warned Josef and they left Weissbruck earlier than expected, reaching Bögenhafen a day earlier than predicted, and evading the Bounty Hunter's wrath...for now.
THOUGHTS & STUFF
• I had been considering using Bloodstone, but it turns out that I just really like the simple fun and familiarity of D&D over any other systems, at this point. SBVD is good, but it's B/X, so I'll probably cut down on some of the crunch to have its interesting house rules apply to a 3LBB base instead (the PCs probably won't notice).
• I'm particularly interested in seeing how crazy the exploding damage dice might get, although we didn't make use of it this session, all fights being "harmless" unarmed brawls.
• Nothing much to see here, t'was as regular as gaming sessions can be.
• So I've read Shadows over Bögenhafen, and like: ok, it's a fun adventure, but 70 pages, for what it has to say, is a lot. My initial idea was to just make shit up based on the elevator pitch, and frankly it'd result in more-or-less the same stuff as what's written down in that book. Maybe it's its age that's showing, or maybe it's just that modern OSR modules are just so much better in substance and presentation, that there's really no need for the old stuff unless you're in dire need of inspiration or somehow completely genre-blind regarding fantasy tropes. Death on the Reik is the next Warhammer book I read, and if it's as disappointing, I'll just stick to homebrew stuff or adaptations of LotFP modules and setting-appropriate ventures.
• Also, more of my Castle Redvald campaign this saturday - looking back at my dungeon maps, I kind of want to make another, better built dungeon though. These super-duper-old-school maps are terrible to describe, and the getting lost part of exploration isn't actually that fun.