We had a great time last night in our first actual session of our Castles & Crusades Far West campaign. We had done character generation as a group at I guess what you'd call "Session 0", two weeks ago.
I'll get more into describing the characters and whatnot in future posts, but I thought things went pretty well. We got in some good old-fashioned overland exploration (our group's cartographer is using the original D&D tile symbols for his mapping), and I thought it was cool how the group had to decide between finding a civilization and the urge to explore the more wild areas.
Our party was part of a grand expedition to this mythic land to the west when a massive storm scattered the fleet and sunk the ship they were on. The group in their small, leaky, ship's boat made it to the shore of this strange new island. They were wet, uncomfortable, and hungry.
The group managed to purify some water and hunt down a scrawny deer on the coastal sand dunes that seemed to stretch on for a good distance. The first night, the group was woken by (an interesting random encounter!) beautiful singing coming from near the shore. It was a sea nymph; the druid in our party managed to glean the possibility of a city of men to the southwest before she fled.
The party set off again, the coastal dunes soon turning into seaside crags and hills. They found an odd natural staircase leading up to a rock inscribed with the Royal Seal of the legendary Elechor II, who supposedly led the refugees from the Kingdom of Man to this land 1000 years ago.
The hills soon gave out into grassland. The nights were a bit chilly, due to it being early fall, but the party would soon have something to keep them warm! They were attacked in the night by a small party of what appeared to be larger, more muscular orcs. This was a race previously unknown to the party, but they were dispatched with some handy use of magic missile, sound burst, and good old-fashioned sword work.
Later that night, some sort of large humanoid shook the ground as it passed. No one got a clear look at it, but the druid casting an obscuring mist helped ensure it didn't get a look at them, either.
The next day, the group entered the woods to their west. Their time there was largely uneventful, though they did note some of the trees in the forest were cut down, possibly signifying civilization nearby.
They trees soon gave out in favor of a clearing; the party saw a half-harvested field of wheat, and what appeared to be a small homestead on fire! Drawing closer, it appeared that 3 humans were being attacked by a party of those same "great orc" creatures from earlier. I can honestly say it's at this point the entire party shined in combat. I believe everyone had at least one great moment, from a brutal, slaying arrow shot to a lethal magic missile placement to a stern and bloody usage of the warhammer.
We ended the session there, with the attack on the homestead having been successfully rebuffed.
We were a couple of players short, but our group is big enough we still had 5, and I think it felt comfortable. The group was a lot of fun, didn't take things too seriously, but still paid enough attention to the game where it wasn't a total, continual distraction. I was very pleased.
I should also add I believe everyone "supercharged" one roll with the d30 rule. I can't tell you how much fun that is!
I also gave out a blank journal--my hope is that it's filled with notes of exploration, sketches of new creatures, etc.
Again, I can't say enough good things about our host, Saltire Games. If you're looking for a Friendly Local Gaming Store in the Indianapolis area, this is the best one I've found. They were great hosts, they knew their games, the place was clean and comfortable, and they even gave our group some free dice! I was particularly impressed by their nice selection of smaller press games. We have one of the private gaming rooms reserved for the next two sessions already, and it's nice to have a FLGS to support.
We'll play again in 2 weeks, and should have a couple more players.