Gamer Lit: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Posted by Labyrinthian in ,


A while back I read through Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. What can I say about this short story? Let me start by saying that it is bad. Why this story has endured is beyond me. Ichabod Crane, the story's main character, is a lanky jackass who doesn't endear himself in any way to the reader. The story itself is short, and yet manages to move painfully slowly. When the end does come it offers up the only interesting aspect of the story.

Gaming Inspiration
For those who have not read The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and want to, please stop reading as I am about to ruin the end for you. At the end of the tale the fate of Ichabod and the real events that took place the night he was riding home are left ambiguous. Was it really the specter of the headless horseman who attacked Ichabod? Was Ichabod killed, or did he simply run away, so scared that he never returned? The author gives both a lucid accounting of what probably happened, that Ichabod was simply scared away by a rival suitor and was so ashamed and never returned, and a fantastic account that is taken up by the people of Sleepy Hollow, that the Headless Horseman killed Ichabod and carried him away.

That discrepancy between the practical and the fantastic is the interesting part of the tale, and one that would work well in a game. Consider a group of PCs being called to the town. They have people essentially telling two tales of what took place, but they are not sure which to believe. There is evidence to support both theories, but they won't be sure which is correct until they get to the bottom of it. Perhaps they believe that Ichabod was driven away by the rival suitor only to find in the end that they are facing the terrible ghost of the Headless Horseman!

This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at Tuesday, September 29, 2009 and is filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

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