it was the second session of my new game, & i think it went fairly well. it began with our gore soaked heroes (only cow guts!) setting out to follow the curlicue tracks across the pampas grasslands of the upper malake region. they spent a wretched night in a flattened clearing of elephantine reeds (three ells high!) in a shelter made of bound together stalks & a tarp; the ghoul laid on open earth, but his striped horse was happy for the cover, as it is the rainy season, & rain it did. as the monsoon came down, there started a...singing. a mumbling, whispering sussurus. there was the requisite freaking out, & they found that the haunting sounds were coming from their metal; swords, chain shirts, what have you. they prayed for a while, & eventually fell asleep despite the sounds, sleeping through the cloud-covered day. come the night, they set out again, following the spiraling path, till they came up against a local jungle, but!
they were stopped at the edge by a patrol of aristocrats: two cavaleri & two citizens. the nobles questioned the party, & it was discovered that the jungle was the exclusive property of the baroni, & that trespass was strictly forbidden. they party, seeking to follow the tracks into the rain forest, elected to go with the four, into the town of rose cross. the majority of the people in rose cross belong to the religio-ethnic group called the rood people, who dress plainly, wear turbans or snoods, carry swords, & all around seem half quaker, half sikh. the baroni, don corvulus crucius, his two wives, seven sons, & two daughters all set out to make the party feel welcome, though don corvulus, with his golden bird nose held on by a leather strap & his wife the baronessa carmilla with her glass eye, seemed a little off. our friends, the stars of the show, were bathed & treated to civilized life in their manse. to prove their worth to enter the baroni's land (to which he seemed to harbor esteem & suspicion, both) the guests had to engage in tests of their mettle: for damocles it was stare downs & fencing; for lorelai it was a triathlon; for gaspar it was a spiritualism test with wiggly lines, triangles & crosses (which he failed, but then, his true talents were found as he identified some pickled organs); & for balthazar, hand crossbow shooting, blindfolded & again with feet in boiling water. having shown the strength of their characters, they were granted leave to enter the jungle, but were cautioned to adhere to the better part of valor by the crippled baroni.
the jungle! creeping drakes! flickering fireflies! banyan trees with tall roots! crocodile morass! yes, they carefully tread, sneaking, until...they came upon the glad, a-haunted. they snuck forward to see the wheel of a penny-farthing bicycle sticking out. then further again to see...a gentleman in plague doctor garb, sitting atop the bike with an umbrella, in a ring of toadstools. damocles, missing an arm, felt the situation to be amiss. they tried to speak to the creature. it beckoned to them to step into the circle. they refused. it tried to hex them, to charm them into the circle. they ran, & balthazar...threw a bomb in. gaspar swung him up onto his striped horse & they made great haste, chased by the moon. the moon, getting bluer & larger, big in the sky as a circus tent, spinning. dancing ahead of them. till at last they got to open water, running water, the river, under lorelai's direction, & swam. knowing that nothing wicked could cross running water. balthazar was last, not wanting to get his brimstone powders wet, & he was left, collapsed, on the other bank, the soles of his boots burned clear through. then, once they wrestled the dagger out of damocles' hand (he was trying to cut into his stump), they fell asleep, all back to back.