Welcome to Ustalav!
Known officially as the Immortal Principality of Ustalav, it is a fog-shrouded realm of countless horrors, a once-proud realm that was shattered by the clawed hands of the Whispering Tyrant. It is home to numerous legends, dark folklore, and tales of hideous monsters, both men and beasts. Today, however, a strongly divided country, struggling to reclaim a semblance of its former greatness and burdened with a history of darkness few nations can equal. The country was recently fractured by two civil wars which overthrew the governments of three of the western counties, and a fight for royal succession after the last prince left no clear heir to his throne.
What this campaign is . . .
My primary goal for this campaign is two-fold: I would like to bring back the feeling of the “Old School” Dungeons & Dragons, where the focus was on brave and intrepid adventurers daring life and limb, as well as sanity, in pursuit of fortune and glory. I would like to combine this with some horror elements, to create an atmosphere of danger, one where the characters realize that no matter how powerful they become, there are things still more powerful, evil, and horrifying than they could ever imagine. Lovecraftian, if you will.
What this campaign isn’t . . .
For this game, I’m trying to avoid just a hack and slash with minimal role-playing. I would like everyone to be engaged and try to role-play. The horror and mystery elements only work if the players believe in the fantasy being created; it cannot come solely from the GM. As players, I’m not looking for you to play the standard class and race that you are most comfortable with, nor should you to pick something wild and crazy. I am hoping for character development, so think of your race and class as more than just states and blocks of description. This campaign will not be about just killing monsters and getting loot, so be prepared to make a unique and multi-layered character.
As a player, you’re likely familiar with many of the themes and allusions [of horror]. But that doesn’t mean your character has to be. There are many ways to craft a character of any type who can experience the terror you as a player may be too familiar with to be affected by. Whether creating a naive or superstitious innocent who discovers the evil of the outside world or a bookish researcher who digs into books not meant to be opened, consider building a character without all the answers. Discovering the truth can be the most exciting part of a lengthy campaign such as this, and you may just find yourself feeling a bit of terror along the way. [Advice from the Carrion Crown Adventure Path Player’s Guide by Paizo]