So lets lay this one on the slab and see what animates, shall we?
I'm very pleased with how this session went. I had three players, each with a backup henchman, except for the homanculus, who don't make friends easily. I guess he was planning to play the mule if it came to it, although the lightning based revivification worked quite nicely!
The cool thing about Ghoulardia pass is that it's kind of a mini-sandbox. I wrote the majority of the material for last year's session, and updated for this year based on what went before. Thus, the werewolf and his wife in the hunting lodge became fodder for the hideous wolf spider that appeared in this year's session. I was so psyched when the lycanthropy venom kicked in. Heh heh heh...
Also, the Iron Skull was the mortal remains of the late, hapless Grar the Barbarian from last year's party. His undead revival kind of felt like the sword battle in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Poor guy never could get an even break.
It was interesting that the group followed the same path through the dungeon almost blow for blow from last year. I think mostly it's a result of starting in the hunting lodge and finding the well in the pantry, although when they came to several crossroads they still seemed to choose places they'd been in a prior incarnation. (2/3rds of my players were returns from last year's game.)
I also got to try out a few house rule fundingys. I used Trollsmyth's "Shields Will Be Splintered"rule to welcome effect. I also was using Paul's Critical Hit tables, with some ghoulish additions to add more horror flavor. Instead of just Broken, Maimed, or Severed, the character's could also suffer body parts that were Severed & Vengeful (The crawling hand! The creeping eye! The ambulatory pancreas!), Attached & Vengeful (Think Dr. Strangelove's hand...), or face instant Zombification. Which is the source of Hamza's disgruntled shin. (Sometimes random tables speak with eloquent poetry, and sometimes they aardvark pothole lederhosen...)
The creme de la creme, of course, was the player's last minute decision to hang around disguised as the Count's doom guards and surprise him, after befouling his bed of grave earth with the corruption from the red floored room.
This was all improv, and it was such a bucket of hemoglobin flavored awesome that I couldn't refuse. With that sort of set up, you HAVE to roll with it. We were all starting to flag, but when somebody suggested this was the plan, we all kicked into high gear. I gave them the payoff of Count Lobovich gliding in and looking into his coffin as if someone had left a flaming bag of dog doo in there. Heh heh heh...
The fight probably should have been tougher, but I'd forgotten to write down the vampire's immunity to normal weapons in my notes and therefore went ahead without it, although I was using his regeneration. All told, I figure no harm no foul 'cos he was out and about in what was ostensibly the daytime, and it could be argued he'd be weaker. They "killed" him with magic, and the rules say they go gaseous and return automatically to their graves, but since the grave was gunked up with the vermilion earth I decided to end the Count with a BOOM, and it was sweet!
So yeah, a series of unscripted events played out into a real corker of a session. Which is old school play at it's best.
I had so much fun, that everybody should stay tuned for next week's shenanigans in SON OF CREEPY CRAWL.
Heh heh heh heh.