O'er Windswept Golden Fields Play Report: Into the Crack in the Cemetery Wall

 So I've run my second playtest of O'er Windswept Golden Fields. I considered doing a play report of the first one but now it's not fresh in my mind so oh well. These will also be important because these will serve as session summaries because I have started something of a West Marches style campaign with Golden Fields to limit my prep load. So I will be doing play reports of these games. I've done sort of a wilderness dungeon/point crawl thing for this and you will see how this works for a Golden Fields game. I would hope that this would be the adventure I package with the game should it ever become a thing I can sell to people.

The Players: 

HDA playing Billy, a junkyard boy wearing a barrel and a cardboard box, and wielding a bb gun and Grandma's Blanket.

7th playing Sally, an ethereal girl with a fatal illness, wearing a flower crown and wielding her Pocket New Testament.

Alistair playing Mick, a lanky, self-conscious boy in a baseball uniform, wielding a Map of His Favorite Hidey Holes.

Dan playing TAG KING. He has never been it. He is lanky but confident and fast, wielding the Crown of the Tag King!

The Set-Up: 

There is a Crack in the Cemetary Wall. It wasn't there before. To stay in the local cemetery overnight is a rite of passage for the children of Pleasant Hill. Jimmy was going to undergo that same rite when he discovered the Crack. He went in and didn't come out for days. When he did finally come out, he had no memory of where he had been and had a silver key in his hand, decorated with a raven.

Now our intrepid adventurers from the Pleasant Hill Adventuring Club have gathered after nightfall to brave the Crack and see what lies beyond. As they began crawling, the passage beyond was longer than it should have been. The stone wall isn't even a foot thick yet they had to crawl for around thirty seconds to get out. What they saw on the other side seemed to be a strange overgrowth of the cemetery. Graves spilled out haphazardly, lacking their usual even rows, instead, they are scattered amongst the lumpy uneven earth. Tall black trees stick out of the soil like broken ribs.

They were presented with three paths. One led to the north where they could see ravens taking flight. The eastern path snaked between mossy stones marked with faded ancient symbols. Distant violin music could be heard down the western path.

They chose the eastern and found themselves at the entrance to some kind of tomb. Large bricks like stone henge make up an archway which gives way to curved stairs, spiraling downwards into blackness. Within each of these great stone bricks are skulls surrounded by carvings of coiling serpents.

They lit Sally's candle and proceeded downwards. After a long walk down, they found themselves confronted by the blue semi-transparent image of a wild-haired man, his skin covered in strange markings, wearing odd armor like knit together bones, his eyes glowing with a baleful light, wielding a savage, chipped sword. He cried at them: "Flee from this place! Do not make me vanquish you! Flee!"

By Friendly Boojum

Sally tried to engage him in conversation and quickly found that he seemed to just be spewing a handful of doom promotions every thirty seconds, not even looking directly at the kids, but looking in their general direction and making no move to stop their advance. They passed right through him and arrived at the bottom of the stairs at a rectangular room with a silty trench about its edge. The walls were carved with the image of a serpentine ouroboros and three objects lay on the ground: an iron ring, a wide-bladed obsidian dagger, and a ruby which seemed to house a tiny white snake.

As soon as they stepped foot in the room, they immediately felt a cold slithering presence about their feet though they could see nothing. A voice that sounded like many voices said: “Leave this place. There is doom in this place for you. Do not challenge the gods.”

By Friendly Boojum

Sally proceeded to ask this creature very directly what was going on. That and other questions from the party produced the following information:

  • The Guardian was once many creatures but was made one long ago. They may have been prehuman or protohuman creatures who were destroyed by the coming of humanity proper. Or maybe an ancient tribe that was destroyed by conquerors.
  • They have been tasked with guarding the iron ring which is of great ritual significance. They say if they take the ring, it will be forced to cause them grave misfortune.
  • The other two objects are traps of a kind or distractions, meant to attract the hands of thieves away from the iron ring.
  • The obsidian knife shows things as they truly are in the reflection of its blade. Sally catches a glimpse of the Guardian's true form in the blade and is deeply terrified.
  • The ruby is another kind of trap. If anyone takes it, the Guardian can be present with them communicating with them and springing out to scare them, but if the Guardian is friendly it can advise and be used to frighten enemies. This it promises to do for the party's politeness and conversation.
  • Death has been imprisoned in this place. The world beyond the crack is a result of this after a fashion. Unnatural things roam here and the dead walk. Death must be released to reinforce the natural order.
  • Someone is digging up the graves, always shoveling, always searching for something. The shoveling began when Death was locked away. Beware the shoveling.
The party returned to the surface and took the north-western road which was choked with fog and many densely-clustered gravestones. They saw some skeletons rising from their graves at a distance, looking quite confused. Mick tossed a marble against a gravestone to draw them away and they snuck past to see that their graved had been deliberately dug up by someone else.

They proceeded along and found themselves in a small graveyard surrounded by an ancient low stone wall. There is a grave there which looks almost melted, like it had been split by lightning. A red light was coming up from the pit in front of it and in front of the pit were three fist-like creatures, tightly balled together and fighting and bickering over corpse-scraps.

Tag snuck up on them, seeing a few things: their wrinkled skin in spoiled fancy dress, a mockery of royalty in each, their teeth sharp, calling each other: "Your Excellency," "Your Presedentialness," "Your Khanness." One wearing a tipped over stovetop hat had a silver key with a raven on it on its lapel.

They heard a twig snap under Tag's foot and looked around: "Who dares approach the three exalted ones?" Tag remained very still and quiet. "Alright, you two go and spread out. I'll stay with the loot." "Why do you get to stay with the loot?" "I know you'll snap it all up the moment we go away!"

They began fighting and tussling, easily allowing the rest of the party to sneak to the northern path. As the party walked down this path, day began to rapidly dawn as a town, like a german town but with red roof tiles. As they approached they could see an iron archway with: Welcome to Knot Town!" on it. Children played in the streets and an old woman swept her front step. All of them wore clothes that entirely concealed their bodies and wooden masks over their faces.

From Over the Garden Wall

Sally approached the old woman and asked her if she had seen a prison anywhere around here. The old woman, her mask green with a long nose and a surprised expression said: "Ain't no prisons in Knot Town, darling, but look at you... you're naked! Why don't you come on in here and we'll fix you up with a proper mask and clothes!" She went to grab Sally who pulled away with the help of Tag using his yoyo to knock over a flower pot on the window sill.

Reconvening, Billy planned with everyone about how they might deal with them seeming to need masks to get through this town. Tag suggested they could use their yoyo string, cut up his cardboard box into masks for all of them and blend right in.

They did so and made their way through to the center of town where a crowd of these masked strangers had formed before a pyre and a stage where a man in a smiling red mask and a wide-brimmed hat with a red feather, wearing a silver raven key like a symbol of office. A prison cart with figures bound in burlap sacks wriggling within was parked next to the pyre.

The man proclaimed: "People of Knot Town! We only got one rule here don't we?"

The town responded: "Yeah! Always be happy!"

"No the other only rule!"

"Oh! No running 'round naked!"

"That's right! We are decent folk and we run a decent society! All everyone has to do is follow the two rules, but these folks wanted to run around bein' indecent! So we are gonna have to show them what we do to indecent folk! Billy Bob! Bobby Bill! Bring out the prisoners!"

Two lanky figures in straw hats and orange masks, one smiling, one scowling. unlatch the cart and began to pull out the prisoners. Mick had the idea to set a building on fire so Sally got her matches out. Tag and Billy went to crawl under the crowd to position themselves when the time came to free the prisoners.

Billy's blanket got stepped on unknowingly by a townsperson, forcing him to rip open his poor blanket, almost totally ruining it to remain undetected. The two made their way to the cart as Mick yelled: "Fire! Fire!"

"Call the fire department!" Someone in the crowd yelled and Billy Bob and Bobby Billy jumped into action to put out the fire, leaving their prisoners behind.

The Mayor said: "Now who is settin' fires in my town! There is no arson in Knot Town! Ougtta make a new rule! Always be happy! No runnin' 'round naked! And no arson!"

Meanwhile, Tag and Billy let out the prisoners who turned out to be skeletons and ran with them out of the north road out of town, Billy letting down bouncy balls behind him to trip up a pursuing Mayor.

They made friends with the three prisoners: Bob, Jeanine, and Garry and Bob pointed out that the key Billy was holding was like the Mayor's key but the teeth were different, revealing that the keys they had been seeing were indeed different along the way. This new possibility opened, we ended the session.

Sally was awarded Peacemaker. Billy was awarded the Friend Patch. Tag got the Braveheart Patch. And Mick got the Thinker Patch.

I'm really pleased with the game thus far and it seemed the mechanics were working in the game's favor which is always good. I'm still waiting to see how the Signature Items really work out, but I think that the thematic elements of the game are on point. I do think that I am turning away from 1 Stamina damage as a usual penalty. I think it is good for some things, but I prefer to offer a hard choice or a meaningful consequence like endangering their inventory or their signature items.


  1. It certainly all flowed well in play from my perspective. The sorta point crawl thing worked well too, and i think this would make a good adventure to package with any game that results because it really gets the feel of the setting across.

    1. You are very kind! I do think this adventure has been quite fun. I realize I might be pulling fairly directly from some sources so the final draft may need to shake things up a little more but like you said I feel like it has been great for getting the thematic elements across.

  2. 7th (Sally) also has a blog: https://youonlyneed6es.blogspot.com/


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