NIGHTWICK ABBEY: The Purple Eater of People Session 43


We are back in (hex crawling) action in the Dark Country. The party is on a mission to Lychgate to save the good name of Lady Ilg:

Ilg, the lady of Nightwick (wife of Lord Eckhard) has indeed recently given birth to a healthy baby boy who now stands to be heir of the village's manor. However, the midwives reported to Roderick that mere hours after giving birth she seemingly began showing signs of pregnancy again. Roderick fears that this child might be a changeling or, even worse, a devil-man. 

Now certainly the good Lady would not find herself in this situation due to a lapse in judgment, so it must be an affliction brought by close proximity to the fiendish Nightwick Abbey. 

The cleric Sotar will no doubt recount the details of the party's wondering here at Mycelium Mischef, but I think there is one encounter from Mayfly's perspective worth telling.


After moving on from helping a group of van Toad froglings break camp, the party's scout Blossom* almost runs right into an old woman by the forest edge. The woman is described as very crone-like, tall, and has a feel of something odd about her. Surprised pleasantries are exchanged. And quickly the conversation toward trading.

Mayfly is brought into the conversation when the subject of soul stones is brought up:

"Do you have stones?" the witch says now drawing herself up to her full height and adopting more vulture-like features.

"Yes. Do you have instructions on the production of conflagrations as distances (aka Fireball scroll)?" asks Mayfly.

Rummaging through her bag, "Ah right here. And do you have 5 stones?"

"Right here. But is that truely the scroll I want?"

"Of course. You can trust me."

"Then, yes, this bag has the 5 stones you want." Mayfly lies. There are only 3.

An exchange is made. Mayfly greedily glances at the scroll's contents. A cry from the witch, "Oh you think you can cheat Goodgallows? You'll pay for that soon enough!" And at that, the witch jumps in a coffin hidden in the tall grass a flies off.

The very next thing the party encounters is a band of the Bishop's men, fully plated, but dead and all of them have had their genitals ripped off. A misfortune often associate with the witch Mayfly just cheated.

The consequences are for another day. The party scavenges enough plate to make 2 sets (2000sp!)

And continues to Lytchgate.


(PC NOTE) I almost asked just for Web instead of Fireball because I knew a lower-level spell would be easier to obtain and therefore safer. But (1) Mayfly again has high INT (+2) but low WIS (-1). He is too focused on gaining power to really weigh the consequences. So shooting low and safe feels out of character for the almost level 4 MU (9000/10,000 XP).

And in terms of being a player, where is the fun of playing it safe? Classic-play really hits its stride in calculated risk. I think OSR play will be boring if players don't engage in such risk-taking at frequent points during their play.

It usually does precede a hilarious death, but I think also fist-pumping reward as well. The line between "Oh fuck!" and "Fuck yeah!". And often both are linked. Either way, these are the high points of campaigns that make them memorable to the player. It's the counterbalance to the careful weighing of which direction to go, the checking of arches before walking under them, and/or the looking but not touching the statue, before touching the statue, and the attention to encumbrance and party ranks. All the stuff OSR play gets dinged for.

And another thing about Mayfly's exchange with the Witch, it was a combination of player action and player equipment (those stones were gained all the way back in session 12) There was no skill roll. No dice were involved in this fun exchange. There was also no diplomacy mechanism employed other than the DM and player knowing how to make a deal with stated and unstated (but obvious) conditions.

* Blossom is THE OG of the group having survived since the 1st session.


  1. That transaction is much more interesting than "Do you have the correct payment? Yes. Here is your item." would have been. Although I do fear for Mayfly's continued safety!

    1. Maybe it will help that Mayfly can point out the vvitch did try to previously trick us. So Mayfly thinks its a real tit-for-tat situation.