Free RPG Day!

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Raven_Crowking
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Free RPG Day!

Post by Raven_Crowking » Fri Jun 20, 2014 11:34 am

At the very last minute, I am going to run Elzemon and the Blood-Drinking Box, a level 1 adventure by Terry Olson, at Dueling Grounds in Toronto, starting at 11:00 am on Free RPG Day.

Dueling Grounds is located at 1193 Bloor Street West, at the corner of Bloor & Brock. I already have 3-4 players confirmed, but there are seven pregens, and I am willing to work in more players if they show up. No one will be turned away!

Some form of swag and/or prizes will be available.
SoBH pbp:

Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.

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Pesky
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Re: Free RPG Day!

Post by Pesky » Fri Jun 20, 2014 12:36 pm

Raven_Crowking wrote:At the very last minute, I am going to run Elzemon and the Blood-Drinking Box, a level 1 adventure by Terry Olson, at Dueling Grounds in Toronto, starting at 11:00 am on Free RPG Day.
Cool! I wish I could be a fly on the wall; I'd like to see how you run it. I hope everyone has fun!
Terry Olson

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Re: Free RPG Day!

Post by Raven_Crowking » Fri Jun 20, 2014 4:50 pm

Pesky wrote:
Raven_Crowking wrote:At the very last minute, I am going to run Elzemon and the Blood-Drinking Box, a level 1 adventure by Terry Olson, at Dueling Grounds in Toronto, starting at 11:00 am on Free RPG Day.
Cool! I wish I could be a fly on the wall; I'd like to see how you run it. I hope everyone has fun!
I'll let you know!
SoBH pbp:

Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.

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Re: Free RPG Day!

Post by Raven_Crowking » Sat Jun 21, 2014 1:03 pm

An enjoyable game. Four players (3 of my regulars made it and we were joined by a community member who will surely have his own comments and maybe even a picture). This is a fun adventure, and you should be proud. Only one fatality (and that due to an attempt to open the box), but several "death's door" moments and more than one character well below the desirable threshold for Luck.

Spoilers below. If you haven't played through this one yet, don't damage your own fun!

I said it was a two day trip to the site, instead of a three day tip, but only because I relied on an aging memory.

An overall feeling of disgust and dread is well set by the tigrefarbs and the (seemingly) endless stair. The barftigers on the stairs were very effective, especially as I rolled two "20"s on their attacks. Actually, another "20" with the swarm as well. The imp's tactics on the stairs prevented anyone from gaining any benefit from rest.

They burned Luck to cross the mystic bridge without falling, and they crawled, so I let them roll on 1d30. I have these moments of kindness...actually, fairness, as it made sense that crawling would be far safer than walking. Even so, lots of Luck burned.

They had no thief, so they got into the guano mound by using a rope and grappling hook to create a recoverable ranged bludgeoning weapon, but not before one PC took shard damage. Within the mound, they found the dying victim, recovered the box, and failed to look for secret doors.

Outside, they split up to draw their invisible assailant first, and were attacked instead by the swarm. Fun times. At one point, the halfling and the unconscious (dead?) human warrior hung on either side of a rope wound around the mystic bridge, and the halfling had to kill a colossal leech that said hello.

Burning pretty well all their remaining Luck, the PCs escaped to the stairs, and the swarm went back to the guano mound. Perhaps my taking it easy on them, but it seemed to me that the things would not leave the large chamber. Of course, the two remaining tigrefarbs and more imp tricks awaited them on the steps. When the imp pretended to be the cleric's god, demanding that the PCs open the box, we had our sole true casualty due to party in-fighting.

Up top, the cleric was the last PC standing as the other two characters were both paralyzed for 2 days. Good saves, and good Turn the Unholy checks, won out. The PCs helped the NPC cleric take the box to his temple, earning potential fallout that would be fun to play through in actual campaign play.
SoBH pbp:

Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.

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Pesky
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Re: Free RPG Day!

Post by Pesky » Sun Jun 22, 2014 12:09 am

Raven_Crowking wrote:An enjoyable game. Four players (3 of my regulars made it and we were joined by a community member who will surely have his own comments and maybe even a picture). This is a fun adventure, and you should be proud. Only one fatality (and that due to an attempt to open the box), but several "death's door" moments and more than one character well below the desirable threshold for Luck.
Thanks for the session report and the compliment! I like your use of the d30; I tend to think more in terms of bonuses for the d20, but I should be thinking more about the die chain. I'm glad to hear about the party in-fighting. It may be somewhat sadistic, but I try to put PCs into positions of having to make meaningful decisions that naturally divide the party in some way (morally, division of wealth, etc.). It's usually fun for all involved...except for the one who died, in this case. :cry:

My session included 3 players, one of whom had showed up to host a Pathfinder FRPGD game. He had no takers, so I swiped him 8) . All of my players were new to DCC, but experienced with RPGs, so starting with 1st level PCs wasn't too big a deal. I bought a DCC rulebook from the store (supporting making FRPGD profitable) and then gave it as a prize to one of the players at the end of the session. He was soooo stoked! Hopefully I made a DCC convert. I'll comment on your spoilers below and add my own.

Spoilers Ahead! Please don't read ahead if your haven't played the DCC Free RPG Day adventure, Elzemon and the Blood-Drinking Box...



Kudos to your players for the clever use of rope and grappling hook. That is awesome. It's funny that you rolled three crits, because I rolled three fumbles. One for a tirgefrab (who "broke his weapon" and could no longer barf), one for the swarm (which I ruled as becoming disorganized with the PCs gaining +2 to hit for a round), and then one for a minor servitor (who as a laughing stock among the other servitors).

My party also burned most of their luck. I tried to impress upon them that if this had been a campaign, rather than a one-shot, that they might not be so liberal with the luck burning.

Amazingly, and seemingly psychically, the Thief announced he was going to search for traps right before I was going to announce the trap on the stairs. Then he rolled a 17. Amazing.

My party found the secret door, and had the great idea to use Nekros' plans for the "plumbing" to negotiate a higher award from Rhalabhast.

I love that your party split up when they left the guano! That must have been worth a chuckle. My party got hammered pretty hard by the fangsights. Two people went down, but the cleric was able to get to them. By the way, the cleric never got a full night's rest, so his Deity Disapproval was at 7 by the end of the adventure. He ended up with permanent -2 to spell checks unless he did devoted meditation (which he, of course, could not do during the adventure).

I like that your cleric was the last PC standing; that's an epic way to end. For my party, the minor servitors paralyzed and dropped two of the PCs, but the cleric again was able to save them in time. A paralyzed halfling burned 6 points of luck to give the cleric a fantastic turn result, and 5 of the baddies lost their will saves. My party had a huge debate (lasting about 20 minutes) about what to do with the box. Warrior wanted the armor; wizard wanted a spell. They finally decided to cast a sleep spell on the acolyte of Choranus and then leave him to wake a few hours after their departure. Most of them were neutral, and an angry Choranus seemed less an immediate treat than an angry Rhalabhast.
Terry Olson

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Raven_Crowking
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Re: Free RPG Day!

Post by Raven_Crowking » Sun Jun 22, 2014 4:24 am

I had a fumble too, with the swarm.

In any event, the player whose PC died was not at all unhappy, so no worries there. :D
SoBH pbp:

Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.

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Re: Free RPG Day!

Post by Bean965 » Sun Jun 22, 2014 7:49 am

Thanks for the reports! I'll be running Elzemon at GenCon in August so it helps to hear how things went for the FRPG runs.

About egregious luck burn: I noticed the same thing when I ran my zero-level DCC game at Kublacon - players burning A LOT more luck than would be practical because its a one-shot and they have no future investment in their character(s). I see it as less of a problem at zero level where players are trying hard just to get one viable character to survive the funnel, but at 1+ level it seems like it really messes with the challenge level/balance of the adventure.

Has anyone experimented with a one-shot rule that limits the amount of luck people can burn? Maybe its good that players at convention games burn a lot of luck to increase their rate of success with the adventure? Does success increase the likelihood that newbies will want to play more of the game?

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Doug Kovacs
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Re: Free RPG Day!

Post by Doug Kovacs » Sun Jun 22, 2014 8:16 am

I don't think there is such a thing as egregious luck burn. It's fun to burn luck that's why the rule is there. If anything, you should probably focus on awarding more luck in a con game or one shot because XP is meaningless in that context.

It's the job of the DM to deal with games at the table. If you really want to tool it back for some reason, just reduce the luck of the pregens before the game, but if the players are creating their characters 3d6 down the line and surviving a funnel, they probably have the luck they deserve. Players having the upper hand in a one shot isn't really a bad thing,. I would only start thinking about changing things if for some reason you are doing repeated one shots with the same group and things seem to be going the same way every single time,but maybe not even then.


One last thing : try to stop talking about balance. Ya I know that sounds dogmatic. try not to fix whats not broken. Some of the most intelligent people running DCC understand that and run great games. My experience is that something resembling balance will come in the long run when you roll enough dice. That's another pillar of DCC.
DOUG KOVACS
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Re: Free RPG Day!

Post by jozxyqk » Sun Jun 22, 2014 9:53 am

Doug Kovacs wrote: One last thing : try to stop talking about balance. Ya I know that sounds dogmatic. try not to fix whats not broken.
(Sorry for the slight thread jack, though I think this one's already a bit off the rails with the whole luck burn conversation). Philosophically I agree regarding "balance" -- it bugs me to no end that players, trained through years of 3.5 and pathfinder, hurl themselves at any foe that comes along because they cannot imagine a DM would put something in front of them that was not at an appropriate "challenge level" (or whatever the term is). Though I have never made a true effort to run a "balance free" game.

My question, however, is this: DCC RPG adventures always list a level for which they are intended ("A Level 2 Adventure for DCC RPG!"). What's the deal with that? How is that not exactly the opposite of what you are saying? Do you totally disregard the "suggested" level? If so how does that work out?

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Re: Free RPG Day!

Post by darjr » Sun Jun 22, 2014 11:03 am

Ran the 2014 Free RPG Day adventure for 4 people then two more jumped in later. Lots of luck burned, lots of mercurial magic, lots of fun.

Running Elzemon was great! The Cleric keep trying to banish him just to shut him up!

Lost four poor souls that dreadful day.

Muwahahahahha!

Though that one darn magic user, who started as a zero level a few months back, and survived at 1st level back then only because of his Luck roll after dying, did it again!

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Re: Free RPG Day!

Post by Doug Kovacs » Sun Jun 22, 2014 12:35 pm

jozxyqk wrote:
Doug Kovacs wrote: One last thing : try to stop talking about balance. Ya I know that sounds dogmatic. try not to fix whats not broken.
(Sorry for the slight thread jack, though I think this one's already a bit off the rails with the whole luck burn conversation). Philosophically I agree regarding "balance" -- it bugs me to no end that players, trained through years of 3.5 and pathfinder, hurl themselves at any foe that comes along because they cannot imagine a DM would put something in front of them that was not at an appropriate "challenge level" (or whatever the term is). Though I have never made a true effort to run a "balance free" game.

My question, however, is this: DCC RPG adventures always list a level for which they are intended ("A Level 2 Adventure for DCC RPG!"). What's the deal with that? How is that not exactly the opposite of what you are saying? Do you totally disregard the "suggested" level? If so how does that work out?
I think of suggested levels as a bit fuzzy and a artifact of what's expected in game modules. This is just me talking, Joseph may say something else and Harley another. like a lot of things in DCC it could have been done one way or done another, neither which would be " wrong". The adventures are play tested at a certain level so there's that at least to consider for a starting point. I take it with a grain of salt though and think most DCC people understand that too. They usually aren't play tested with minis, so that could actually change the whole dynamic. If someone's players don't know how to run away or the Dm doesn't know how to give the players another way around what might be killer encounter it can change things too. The levels can probably be adjusted up and down fairly easily. I'm prone to do a lot of estimation on the fly in specific encounters. For instance if its the end of the night and I want to get to the end of the combat, there is no reason to just go by what is written. When players (not characters) are tired things can get more deadly on that fact alone. I might lessen the number of oppenets or something like that.

There is no way writers can anticipate every particular Dm's cadence in running games. No way for them to make an encounter that is perfect for all situations. That said I think we all know the value of having something to start with rather than making everything up from scratch as a DM every time. Listen to Jeff Tadlock's actual play podcasts for examples of good improv skills on top of running existing published work. I'm pretty sure he used Emirkol was framed for slightly higher level characters.

So, there is so much dependent on play style and how a DM runs his/her table that can shift intended levels. I was just in a game where we had a hell of lot harder time fighting four guys than something like seven of the same type right after that. The game can swing a lot in individual encounters just based on the die rolls. The style of a game on top of this is what makes it fun. If all the encounters are super hard but everyone has fun , the actual intended level didn't matter as much as the delivery of the experience.

I personally wouldn't run a 5th level game for 1st level characters unless it was some kind of fun experiment and everyone knew what they were in for. That certainly could be more fun than running 5th level guys through a 1st where they just mopped everything up. But, yes I think your observation is correct. You might just look at them as Low, Medium and High level.

I think it's healthy for you to constantly be questioning the design of a game you play if it does not suit you, but to be observant about how much can actually be designed in the writing. Like in art I can paint a bad asses picture of a unicorn but if you are dead set against unicorns before i come along , there isn't much i can do for you. In an rpg I think the "feel" of it is much more important than minutiae. Every game becomes a whole other thing in it's performance and that performance is out of the writers hands. Even the Dm doesn't always dictate how well a game will go, but I think that's what we all like about RPGs too. The unknown and unexpected.

One final thing to consider is stuff that typically kills with one blow regardless of HP. In a way, in a zero level funnel those things are less of a threat to the party as whole. For instance the begining of the people of the pit can end up as deadly with 1st level guys as zeros In which case it might be better to lose a couple of zeros than the prized 1st level character who just survived a whole other funnel. This doesn't make the module written badly in any way, but could be handled s differently depending on a DM's play style.

That was a bit of ramble, but hopefully it covers what I ,at least , think about the level thing, and can be useful to you.
DOUG KOVACS
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Re: Free RPG Day!

Post by Pesky » Sun Jun 22, 2014 9:37 pm

darjr wrote:Ran the 2014 Free RPG Day adventure for 4 people then two more jumped in later. Lots of luck burned, lots of mercurial magic, lots of fun.

Running Elzemon was great! The Cleric keep trying to banish him just to shut him up!

Lost four poor souls that dreadful day.

Muwahahahahha!

Though that one darn magic user, who started as a zero level a few months back, and survived at 1st level back then only because of his Luck roll after dying, did it again!
Cool darjr, thanks for the report! I'm glad you had fun! Would you mind sending me a PM (or use spoiler white text) to say what killed the four poor souls? If it's too much trouble, no problem.
Terry Olson

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Re: Free RPG Day!

Post by Pesky » Sun Jun 22, 2014 9:42 pm

Doug Kovacs wrote:In an rpg I think the "feel" of it is much more important than minutiae. Every game becomes a whole other thing in it's performance and that performance is out of the writers hands. Even the Dm doesn't always dictate how well a game will go, but I think that's what we all like about RPGs too. The unknown and unexpected.
Yes! Well said!
Terry Olson

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Re: Free RPG Day!

Post by Raven_Crowking » Mon Jun 23, 2014 3:08 am

Doug is not only a great artist, but a wise judge. :D
SoBH pbp:

Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.

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Re: Free RPG Day!

Post by Raven_Crowking » Mon Jun 23, 2014 11:36 am

Image
SoBH pbp:

Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.

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Pesky
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Re: Free RPG Day!

Post by Pesky » Mon Jun 23, 2014 2:54 pm

Cool; thanks for posting the pic, Raven! +2d to you for having a 50/50 gender split among the players. I've never been able to get that at my table. Of course, that could say something about me :oops:
Terry Olson

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Re: Free RPG Day!

Post by Count Fosco » Mon Jun 23, 2014 5:35 pm

D'oh. I am a local and did not make it. Do you often run games there or was that a one-time thing?

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Re: Free RPG Day!

Post by Raven_Crowking » Tue Jun 24, 2014 6:43 am

I have three games that I will be running at Fan Expo, and I have run several games at Wizard's Cache, through the aegis of Hairy T, and at Dueling Grounds. Keep an eye on the blog, and here, and you'll get another chance!
SoBH pbp:

Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.

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Re: Free RPG Day!

Post by Count Fosco » Tue Jun 24, 2014 3:21 pm

Raven_Crowking wrote:I have three games that I will be running at Fan Expo, and I have run several games at Wizard's Cache, through the aegis of Hairy T, and at Dueling Grounds. Keep an eye on the blog, and here, and you'll get another chance!

Most excellent. Thanks.

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