Play Report – Castle of Horrors 1

We got in our first game of Castle of Horrors, a GURPS mash-up with modern day characters that get transported to a Dungeon Fantasy world. 

There are lots of house rules and altered point costs and stuff. I won’t go into that now – you can probably read all about them on +Mark Langsdorf‘s blog. The rules were arrived at more or less by consensus, in that Mark posted them, gave us time to offer objections or changes, and then locked ’em in. 

We were old friends from college, meeting on a big ranch in eastern Texas for a hunting weekend. In 2012, there was a Shadowrun-esque genetic expression event, so some of our party are non-humans/demi-humans. One troll-like creature, one dwarf, an Orc, I think. 

We started in the famous “you wake up from a night’s sleep” ploy (usually associated with bait-and-switch, but in this case, we were all forewarned, so booyah), and found ourselves in between a castle wall and its keep.

Initial exploration led us down a hallway, and it was spooky enough that all of us brought out weapons – especially after looking at what seemed to be bloodstained crossbow bolts embedded in a door. And the bolts were very organic-looking. Chitinous heads, some sort of bone-like or tube-like shaft, and freaking dragonfly wings for fletching. Looked grown,not made. So weapons out.

We were well provisioned, as one of the conceits of the campaign was that we were hunting deer, birds, and feral hogs, which are an agricultural pest. Ergo, some of us had fairly serious weaponry. My former Ranger, ex-Cop, current Private Investigator has a SCAR 17S, a Five-seveN pistol, with ammo. He’s also got a FN BAR .300 Win Mag somewhere – maybe “in camp,” but we were all in camp. So I might have it with me. He’s got a bunch of other stuff – like armor and trauma plates – in his car and trailer back at the ranch owner’s house. But not with him.

Anyway, we explore, we get shot at by a four-armed giant dude (!) with a crossbow. which strikes one of our NPCs in the chest, bringing him from 15 down to -13 HP in one shot. Roll for mortal wound, etc. We drag him out and close the door, and are not pursued.

Raleigh, who has always professed magic is real, mutters something in latin and removes the arrow and completely heals her boyfriend. Yowzers. We freak out even more. Well, except for Yousef ( +Nathan Joy ) and Neil (me), who are both ex military and were watching the line of approach of potential 4-armed bad guys. 

We collect ourselves, and as we try and leave. the statuary (four dragons) starts waking up. One tries to breathe fire on Ryan (our troll, played by +Emily Smirle ), who tries to step in and melee parry the jet (which means pushing the face in a different direction). That doesn’t work: he’s burned for 1 point of damage, but has DR 5 so mostly ignores it. 

We fight, and these SM -4 critters are easily slain at close range (just a few HP each) by our weapons. My first shot was 31 HP of damage with three single shots (one hit) with no time to Aim from my SCAR. Yousef pasted one as well, as did a shotgunner with a 3″ 12-gauge buckshot load. One of us got his face a bit flambe’d, but only minor damage and sartorial embarrassment. So we ran for the outer courtyard.

We huddled up, and decided to explore the outer area. We saw, through a gateway which featured a crane that had hoisted up a functional portcullis, a bunch of . . . well . . . gremlins? Yodas? Goblins? Hrm. Goblins. 

Ryan, being a friendly, non-shooty troll, waves. Neil, being less friendly, takes careful aim.

They wave back. Yousef, whose job in the army was as a translator and liaison type (maybe Special Forces?), muttered about not wanting to do this crap again which is why he got out, etc., and goes in to play diplomat. He does not manage to start a fight. We manage to not ruin his perfectly good liaising. We, however, look into a window and see a cool silver statue of a raven (Crow! Crow, dammit!) on an altar inside an obvious chapel . . . which seemed to be all blocked off as if to ward of a horde of zombies.

The hits just keep on coming.

Anyway, we decide to venture back in, and note that the dragon statues blood looked like actual silver. It was. Maybe a few pounds of the stuff, which was probably worth about $500. 

We decide to explore, just a little. We take down a door, encased in brass or bronze, by removing it off its hinges, and prop that against the entry beyond which was the four-armed creatures. We go down south again, and find a statue upon which is a suit of full-on plate armor. DR8, cheap, reinforced vitals, weak back and limbs, weighs about 55 lbs total . . . and only fits Raleigh. We suit her up (she’s got ST 11, Lifting ST 12, and HP 13 . . . so no wilting flower is she). 

As we all head back to the main room, which we called “the octagon,” (on account of its being shaped like . . . well, you know), the gargoyle statues in each vertex (eight of ’em!) start to writhe and wake up, as did the dragon statues in the prior room.

We end there . . . but it’s on. 


I’ll keep updating this with edits from the other players as they make them. I did not try and capture every detail, and I was having too much fun to capture screen shots.

Mark did a GM-view post on our first session as well, and it’s worth reading. He also links to the CoH Wiki as well as a list of house rules. especially his new fright check rules, which worked very well.

2 thoughts on “Play Report – Castle of Horrors 1

  1. So I'll add a couple of corrections:
    * Ryan didn't parry the dragonette; he got burnt for 1 point of damage but has DR 5 most of the time and ignored it.
    * Thomas took down the last dragonette with 2 rounds of 3" 12G buckshot, not birdshot. Birdshot would have failed to penetrate the critter's scales.
    * You've got the crow or raven joke backwards. Let me explain a bit. The name of castle is Crowspire (an obvious play off Ravenloft, I'll admit) and the bird related theme is crow. I have been very careful in identifying all the black birds you've been seeing as crows and similarly for any black bird art. Nate, on the other hand, kept calling them ravens. At first I thought it was confusion, and after the third time he did it I corrected him. And then after that he was definitely deliberately reversing the terms just to provoke me. So the line "a cool silver statue of a crow (Raven! Raven, dammit!)" should really be "a cool silver statue of a raven (Crow! Crow, dammit!)"
    * Minor nit: Raleigh has ST 11 and Lifting ST 1; Kevin said it wrong the first time so I'm not surprised you got it confused.

    Also, there's a couple of screen shots on my blog now if you want to borrow them.

    Pretty good write-up, and I'm glad you were too distracted and having too much fun to take better notes. Happy birthday!

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