I’ve recently run a session of Romance of the Perilous Land, a fantasy OSR game. It’s basically a revised version David Black’s the Black Hack. There are a few small mechanical differences, the main one being the game’s magic users (called Cunning Folk) use spell points instead of the tradition method of memorizing spells.
What interested me about the game is more of the milieu than the the mechanics. It’s set in a world based entirely on British folklore. It’s going for more of King Arthur, Mythic Britain tone than most fantasy games. It’s intended that magic be a little mysterious and rare.
I couldn’t find any character sheets, so I threw together these.
Romance of the Perilous Land Character Sheet
Romance of the Perilous Land Character Sheet-Form Fillable
Romance of the Perilous Land Spell Sheet
Here’s the outline of the scenario I ran:
The Old Man of the Woods
The village of Loamwich, on the borders of Wishborne Wood has been the source of ill news and rumour.
Queen Eleanor, the Pearl Rose, has called upon her knights, and other loyal subjects to investigate.
A Bogie, disguised as an old man, has arrived in the village. He is using dark witchcraft to slowly drain the life out of the village. He stole this magic from Matilda Greyteeth, an old witch who lives deep in Wishborne Wood. Once he’s drained enough to heal himself, he plans to summon an army of Mock-Men and destroy the village.
When the players arrive in Loamwich, they will find the village in near-ruin. The crops are barely growing, and the livestock are slowly dying, and the people have nearly lost all hope.
The ‘ill luck’, as the villagers have been calling it, has been going on for a few weeks. Soon after it started, an old hermit, commonly known as the Old Man of the Woods was found hurt and bleeding at the edge of the wood.
The Old Man
The old man, who claims not to have a name, is staying with the village priest. He says that he is a simple hermit who lived peacefully in the wood for many years.
According to his tale, the witch Matilda Greyteeth drove him from his hovel with the help of some giant beast. He claims not to remember any details.
Anyone choosing making a Mind roll at a disadvantage will be able to detect that he’s not being entirely honest. If pressed, he’ll feign weariness and demand to be let alone.
The villagers are aware of the existence of, and are frightened by, Matilda Greyteeth, but they’ve never had any trouble with her in living memory. None of the villagers have ever met or heard of the hermit before.
The villages were loath to enter the wood before this trouble started, but they will absolutely refuse to go now. They will give the players directions to get the common game trails.
The Old Man’s Hut
The trail from the edge of the wood leads to this small clearing. The remains of a hut are scattered around. It was clearly smashed into pieces from above.
A trail of very large footprints leads from the ruined hut to much deeper in the wood.
The Witch’s Clearing
The trail opens up into a wide clearing, full of wildflowers. A small brook winds through the middle of the clearing. On the other side of the brook, an old woman can be seen hunched over, mumbling to herself as she collects flowers and herbs. This is the witch (ROTPL pg 45) Matilda Greyteeth.
Matilda isn’t actively hostile, but she is quick to anger. Any conversation with her, by any player, will require making a Charisma check at a disadvantage. On a failure, or if attacked first, she will call on her Red Ettin (ROTPL pg 44) who lurks just outside of the clearing. She will assist it with her spells, while it does battle with the players.
If the Red Etin is defeated, she will surrender rather than continue to fight.
If the players can talk to Matilda, before or after the combat, she will tell them she’s unaware of any curse on the village. She is aware of the Bogie that was rooting through her home snooping around her old spell-books. She sent her creature to destroy it in its hut, but it managed to flee the Red Etin. She thinks it might have stolen one of her old life draining spells, but she’s not sure what else he’s capable of.
Attack of the Mock Men
On returning to the village, the players will find it in chaos. A band of Mock-Men (number of players + 3) are running rampant through the village – destroying property, and attacking the villagers.
The Bogie discovered an ancient spell that Matilda had long forgotten about, that allows him to summon them. He is here as well, disguised as one of the Mock Men. He will actively avoid direct combat. If he is slain, the Mock-Men will be destroyed.
Attack: Weapon, Teeth
Special: Mock-Men take an extra 1d6 from fire damage.
Mock-Men are magical constructs made from sticks and straw. They often have pumpkins for heads, with horrific expressions and jagged wooden fangs. They are under the complete control of the being who summoned them and will fall to pieces if their creator is killed. They can use crude tools and weapons.
Once the Mock-Men and the Bogie are defeated, the village will slowly return to it’s former peaceful and happy existence.