So it happened! We had session 1 of Paranormal Cowpunch. The brief synopsis is as follows...
The intrepid crew (Prospector Billy and Ripley) left El Dorado City and headed out for El Dorado County. They traveled as part of the crew for a regular stagecoach, staying a boarding houses and ranches on their way out of civilization. During that time they picked up some rumors. Turns out there is a strange mist that descends from time to time even though the climate doesn't sustain that much moisture. Also, some people noted seeing a stranger who seemed to smell faintly of salt water and fish, which is also strange since there is no ocean nearby. Some of the ranches appear to be closing as well for unclear reasons. The party is heading out to spend the season at the Lazy J Ranch outside of Gordon. People expressed interest and relief to learn that its proprietor, Dame Edna, is doing well after her husband dies a couple years back.
Anyway, they head out on the last leg of the journey. Their stagecoach if full. Among their companions are the driver, 15 year-old Reginald Weems, and two cowpunchers named Alice Rollinger and Lester Jenkins. There are also a number of more gentle passengers, including a charming gambler, an older couple, and two women who never quite got as fleshed out. They were two days out of Burned Bush Wells and then an indeterminate distance to Gordon. Some time in the afternoon they, too, experienced the mist and then found themselves in a running battle with red-eyed Dire Wolves. They and their companions made a break for a hill to take a stand there. Chaos ensues, Prospector Billy and Alice both get mauled but manage to hang on. Reginald also gets bitten but not nearly as badly. Ripley and Lester patch them up and--with Reginald bandaged and driving, make for the Cross Y Ranch where Alice works.
Before they leave , a number of them see a figure in the mist that looks humanid but seems to be made entirely out of writhing snakes. In their delirium after being bitten, Billy and Alice both have visions of this figure as well.
So this was the first actual battle that the party encountered. Last session we tested the archetype mechanic and the "Hero Dice" but this was the first time using the old Boot Hill mechanics and the result was...mixed. Prospector Billy is played by a teen who became bored with the amount of rolls necessary. I mentioned in an earlier post but there are three rolls; one to hit, one for damage location, and one for damage. All of these use percentile dice (2d10 with one representing the "10's" place to generate a range of 1-100). The game these days move faster but that may improve with some practice. However, the location roll really helped with the storytelling. I liked that there was an actual location for me to work with that the other players could also recognize as having a generally agreed upon in-game effect.
Otherwise everything move right along. Our sessions, however are much shorter than what is considered conventional for most people...about 75 minutes. The reasons are solid. We play on Wednesday night. We have school and work the next day. Also, attention spans are short at times. I have seen one livestream that is about this length--Oblivion Oath on Paizo--I have been impressed by how much they get done in a short amount of time. would it be fun to play longer? I am sure I would like it, but I know to stop when I see the players fading a bit.
Anyway, that is all. Next week we should have two more players. That should be fun...