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Crag Mouth Draft
A 44-Year-Old Role Playing Adventure Reconstructed
© 2023 James LaFond
NOV/8/23
Copyright 2023 James LaFond
A Crackpot Book
Lynn Lockhart: Publisher
Dust Cover
In Washington, Pennsylvania, in June 1979, a 16-year-old boy, who had been playing Dungeons and Dragons for three years, was asked to design an adventure for a group of players he did not know. He was driven to a large house with a long narrow kitchen where the game was played while parents were at work. The upper middle class boys that had invited him were by turns offended, horrified and disappointed by his working class adventure.
James was not invited back. But one of the players, Randy, much approved of the adventure and continued to game with the role playing pariah for a decade, even conducting an interactive story by mail when James moved to Baltimore.
In Portland, Oregon, in March 2020 James introduced two preteens to role playing. As poor eye health prevented him from running games through 2021 and 22, the boys took over moderation duties. In March 2023, his eye health improved, James was asked to run an adventure. Busy with two novels, the aging gamer decided to reconstruct the adventure he had run in his own youth.
Crag Mouth is an old man’s recreation of a youth’s idea of an adventure. The research I have done on social conditions for people living outside and before the industrial age, being essentially the iron age, has been used to flesh out the frontier setting.
Crag Mouth has no gaming stats and shall be compatible with any gaming system. The author’s own systems Triumph and Grog are compatible with the style of adventure presented.
Also includes Dive Bar Denizens, an adventure source book intended for adventure role playing in modern and post modern settings, suitable for use with the author’s Street Scene RPG.
In Memory of Randy Boyer
Play Testers
1979
Randy Boyer, Orl Phane the Assassin
2023
Tony, Orbitus the Astrologer
Felix, Amon the Rogue
Dominic, Keptis the Barbarian
To the Reader
This setting describes a region meant to be compatible with games set in an ancient, medieval or early modern technology level.
The unique and supernatural beings presented are taken from my novel Slave, set in the alternative world of Elder Earth, a catholic America of 2031, at the end of an alternative historical trajectory in which there was no Protestant Reformation. These aspects of that fantasy setting are not important to the structure of this adventure. The saintly and angelic shrines and chapel appearing here, would, in the typical polytheistic fantasy role playing setting, be the sanctuaries of minor local deities, which indeed many Christian saints descend from.
The standard Tolkienesque demi-humans of Fantasy Role Playing convention are absent, though such might be included without corrupting the story arc.
I hope this setting is enjoyable and useful.
James, Tuesday, March 21, 2023 Portland
-1. Overwatch Fief
-2. Barrier Town
-3. The Front Tier
-4. Willow Hamlet: Stockade
-5. Willow Hamlet: Camp
-6. Weeper Bog and Cedar Forest
-7. The North Track
-8. Crag Mouth Heap
-9. Stonish Dens
-10. Silver Gate of Wormz
-11. The Keens of the Scarlet Kells
Note to Players
Realistic human social interaction in the shadow of horrific supernatural happenings are central tot his adventure. As such the non player characters, as with the horde of NPC that afflict us in real postmodern life, offer by turns the building blocks of success and the back breaking sticks of social entanglement that might make or break the player character engaged in piercing the evil that separates society from mystery. Each player should keep a brief sketch of each NPC he interacts with. The name, station, and a brief on the information imparted by and about that NPC, may, or may not aid a character in his quest to explore the Scarlet Mountain.
Legend of the Scarlet Mountains
It is said of old that a heap of stone, tended by giants of stony hide, known as Stonish Giants, named Crag Mouth, bars the stairy approach to a Silver Gate. It is supposed by a certain unnamed learned one, that such unseen gate keeps from men the very Organ Pipes of Time upon which a Godly hand might reverse an up-welling of evil into the World of Man.
The poetical tradition of the bards hold that behind said Silver Gate keens a harp that has sung down through the ages and holds the secrets of the Medicine Kells, a source of power only accessible in times fraught with tribulation and stalked by what issues up from the Nether Hells.
Such are the two tales that might lure certain souls along an uncertain trace.
Note to the Moderator
I sketched numerous maps by hand for this setting and adventure. However, I lack the means to reproduce any of these electronically or in print. They are most crude and ugly besides. You are left to decide on the means of mapping, which I think is best left to the players.
The setting of Overwatch and the adjacent Front Tier of civilization has been rendered as socially authentic for the Iron Age technology level and feudal hierarchy supposed by the boy who made the adventure in 1979, who knew little of such things. The work of presenting this creation from my youth has been chiefly to couch the adventure I remember in a more realistic social setting than could have been managed by a 16-year-old fantasist.
The supernatural elements are drawn from my fictional mythos of Elder Earth, rather than from standard role playing convention. The social setting is drawn from my research on Plantation America. Crag Mouth was always conceived as a frontier adventure of a medieval kind. Plantation Culture in Ireland, Virginia, Maryland and New England in the 1500s and 1600s were enterprises taken under feudal auspices, with no technological or industrial means of supporting these ventures that were not available to the manorial cultures of Late Medieval Europe.
To be specific, the technology level is the same as that supposed for the original Chain Mail pamphlet that Dungeon & Dragons was based on, as well as that of the English offering of the game War Hammer: renaissance, including firearms and not excluding alchemy.
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