Thursday, October 6, 2011

Wet Ladies and Foolish Knights

I've recently started an adventure inspired by Russian folklore. I blame a friend for giving me a copy of Nikolai Dante and myself for going over my photo album from my last trip to Russia. Also, I wrote the Russian chapter for ZSP's excellent Rituals from the Other Side: Spirit Magic. Also, I was born in Russia.

Not this Russia...

There's something about the pristine vastness of mythical Russia and the rawness of its villages, people and spirits that suits my current inclination as well as the gaming pace favored by this particular group. The closest Western folklore is probably Celtic, but whereas the Celtic forest is teeming with magic, passion, dance and song, the Russian forest is lyrical, sleepy and bittersweetly melancholic. Watch Petrov's Rusalka to see, or rather feel, what I mean.

But this Russia...

Coincidentally, the first encounter the kids had, after their shipped had crushed on my Russian planet, was with a Rusalka (in a wet bridal gown) who was very cold and allowed people to cross her river only in return for 50 hp worth of body warmth. Now, the group consists of eight 1st level characters (25 average hp). Thus, if anyone volunteered around 6 hp, all would be well. If the group, with its paladins and avengers, attacked the malignant spirit it would be well too. If the group found out what drove the poor girl to undeath and released her from the curse, it would be grand too. If the group decided crossing the river is not THAT important, it would be sensible too.

Instead, the strongest paladin selflessly jumped into the river. And we just finished rolling the bloody character two sessions ago!


Anyway, if you're interested in a taste of proper Russian adventure I cannot recommend highly enough the wonderful folk tale of the warrior princess Marya Morevna. It's got a typical Russian heroes, male (lazy, stupid but well-meaning and lucky) and female (noble, wise and with a soft spot for idiots), helping animals and spirits and features two of the most iconic villains of Russian culture; Baba Yaga and Koschei the Deathless.

Also, it's very fun.

Who knows what dark secrets hide in this rustic village...? I do. None.

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