So, that opens up the question: what do we play next, then? I've tossed out there the concept of playing some shorter, old-school retro games; something between a one-shot and a mini-campaign, based on various older modules: B2 Keep on the Borderlands, N1 Against the Cult of the Reptile God or U1 Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh. Possibly, if we're still up to it, to be followed by X1 The Isle of Dread. I might even play using the B/X rules, but probably not, because I don't remember them very well and I'm not very interested in figuring out how to play them again, honestly. We're all very familiar with d20, and it seems to be the group's favorite, so most likely it would be via that system, were we to play this.
On the other hand, that doesn't get us very far, even if that is what we play, and most likely folks will be in the mood to start talking about campaigns again. There was a thought many months ago that a Horror on the Orient Express campaign. Two guys in the group contributed to the kickstarter, and although I haven't heard that it actually delivered or not, it's something that we had at one point all agreed to play, at least.
And finally, if old-fashioned D&D is our goal, I'll offer to run a modified and truncated or redacted version of The Carrion Crown; the early Gothic horror themed adventure path from Paizo. Mostly, I'd want to make the whole thing shorter and eliminate almost everything that looks even remotely like a dungeoncrawl.
In fact, ideally, although I don't know if I can convince the guys to ditch their beloved d20, I'd run an abbreviated Carrion Crown, with the serial numbers filed off, using my own version of m20. There's no reason I couldn't go ahead and use the corner of Golarion that these modules were originally meant to be played in, and there's no reason why I couldn't simply play it using locations and cultures from my own DARK•HERITAGE setting, but I'd actually want to do neither; I'd prefer to take the basics of Ustalav, at least the parts necessary for this series of modules, and rename to file the serial numbers off of them, rearrange them with a new map, etc. Just basically simplify and genericize the modules even more than they already are. And make them shorter, as well--my experience with Paizo adventure paths is that they turn into a Death March long before you're done with them, and I want it to be fast-paced and fun.
I created a new tag, CULT OF UNDEATH in which I'll actually go through the process here on my blog. The end result of all of the posts with the tag will be:
- A generic mini setting element that I could use anywhere, which is not connected to nor meant to interface with my main setting, but which is meant to be a more generic sword & sorcery vaguely D&D-like setting.
- A slightly modified version of my m20 rules, but probably without the setting specific races, and with a few more "standard" generic fantasy races added in instead.
- A framework for each of the modules in the adventure path on how exactly I'd modify, truncate and redact them into an experience that is, at most, half the length of the original.
And because I like to recycle artwork that I find here and there on the internet, I'll tag this post with a picture of Nagash from the recent End Times event in Warhammer, who will stand in for whatever I end up calling my "genericized" version of Tar-Baphon, the Whispering Tyrant. Hey, maybe I'll even borrow Corey's Barsoom version of the same concept and call him the Tyrant's Shade? Or maybe I'll go more classic and call him the Witch-King? I dunno. Plenty of time to figure that kind of stuff out later.