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 Post subject: HELP!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 5:32 pm 
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Wild-Eyed Zealot
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I've been asked to GM a one shot of Dungeon Crawl Classics for a group of nine players! That's 36 characters! I'm a little paralyzed with fear about this.

A little backstory: My friend GMs a 3rd edition D&D game with 8 players up in the twin cities, and I live a 4 hour drive south of there in Madison, Wisconsin. He sometimes asks me for advice dealing with problem players, rules issues, or storyline help. Recently my advice has been more and more brutal due to my immersion in the OSR subculture and his game has been improving. I suggested he give DCC a try and he asked me to GM it, and after I said "yes" is when I found out how many players are in his group, and of course that he'd want to play too.

I've been toying with increasing the size of the introductory adventure with a few extra rooms and just running that. I also picked up Sailors of the Starless Sea and my regular gaming group has just started poking that adventure with their collective stick, meaning it would pretty easy to run that module as an introduction to DCC as well. But really, with that many players and characters I'm at a loss for what I can really bring to the table that will impress how fun the game is onto their memory.

So.

What should I do?

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"The Shamrock Shake is a frosty, minty symbol of all that we hold dear. It is shameful that we as a people cannot enjoy this proud, symbolic beverage any more than one week a year. Unless the British government loosens its iron grip on this most Irish of shakes, the streets will once again run red with English blood." - Gerry Adams, leader of Sinn Fein, the IRA's political wing.


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 Post subject: Re: HELP!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 5:40 pm 
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The other option would be to just go with everybody has two characters at 0-level... Slightly less ungangly at that number...

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Gnome Boy (a.k.a. "Jon") • DCC play-tester @ DDC 35, Feb 2011. • Beta DL 2111, 7:00 AM PT, 8 June 11.
Playing RPGs since 1977 • Quasi-occasional member of the Legion of 8th-Level Fighters - Holds the power to play gnomes at will!

Here Be DCC Monsters...

General Yoros, Warrior, Str 13, Agl 8 (10), Stm 17, Per 13, Int 11, Lck 8; Law, HP 39, AC 17, R+2, F+4, W+2, band/shld, warhammer, longsword, longbow, pitchfork

Han Dee, (Weaver) Neutral Thief, Str 10, Agi 13, Stm 11, Per 11, Int 15, Lck 14, AC 13 (Leather), HP 25, Luck Die d6, Backstab 3, Sneak Silently 10, Hide In Shadows 9, Pick Pocket 10, Climb Sheer 10, Pick Lock 9, Find Trap 9, Disable Trap 9, Forge Doc 10, Disguise 3, Read Lang 5, Handle Poison 3, Cast Scroll d14+2, birth augur (Born under the loom) +1 to all skill checks (including thief skills), Banepicks (auto pick lock/disable trap, but lose 1d3 random ability loss, if a 3 then 1 pt is perm)


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 Post subject: Re: HELP!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 5:53 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2011 9:43 am
Posts: 149
Location: Chicago
I just ran a zero level at gen con for more players than that.

advice:

1. Give each player two characters. If anyone has both of their characters die have them take one from another player there will be plenty of folks alive with a party of 18. The point isn't to knock the players out of the game so add new villages as needed. Many adventurers have something built into them; freeing captives is common.

2. Figure out who is loudest at the table and put them furthest from you. Put the most quite people closest to you. always do this with a mixed group of adults and children. It is only fair. Players sitting while the DM stands will also help him command the room.

3.Keep it moving and cut to the chase. If you keep your attention rotating around the room no one should feel left out.

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DOUG KOVACS
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http://dougkovacs.com
The Drain Chamber (Blog)
http://dougkovacs.com/dkblog/


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 Post subject: Re: HELP!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:25 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 01, 2002 2:41 pm
Posts: 2666
Location: San Jose, CA
Just kill off half the PCs in the first room. :)

Remember:

Initiative by PLAYER not character.

Marching order by placing character sheets physically closer to the middle of the table.

Luck score guides monster decisions. PC with the lowest Luck gets charged by the monster / gets hit by the arrow trap / whatever.

And most of all: have fun!

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Goodman Games
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 Post subject: Re: HELP!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:51 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2012 1:24 am
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Location: Madison, WI
Doug Kovacs wrote:
1. Give each player two characters. If anyone has both of their characters die have them take one from another player there will be plenty of folks alive with a party of 18. The point isn't to knock the players out of the game so add new villages as needed. Many adventurers have something built into them; freeing captives is common.

Nice! Good advice, thanks!

Doug Kovacs wrote:
2. Figure out who is loudest at the table and put them furthest from you. Put the most quite people closest to you. always do this with a mixed group of adults and children. It is only fair. Players sitting while the DM stands will also help him command the room.

I've never stood around the table before, but since I'll be the only one with the rulebook that will help.

goodmangames wrote:
Marching order by placing character sheets physically closer to the middle of the table.

Their character sheets will be 3x5 index cards so that shouldn't be too hard. :wink:

goodmangames wrote:
And most of all: have fun!

Oh, of course! :D

_________________
"The Shamrock Shake is a frosty, minty symbol of all that we hold dear. It is shameful that we as a people cannot enjoy this proud, symbolic beverage any more than one week a year. Unless the British government loosens its iron grip on this most Irish of shakes, the streets will once again run red with English blood." - Gerry Adams, leader of Sinn Fein, the IRA's political wing.


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 Post subject: Re: HELP!
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 12:18 am 
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Hey nerdwerds, please post how it goes. I've never GM'd that many players before and at first read it sounds like the potential for mayhem is large :D . That being said, it looks like you got some great advice here, and I hope it ends up being a blast. Good luck!


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 Post subject: Re: HELP!
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:27 am 
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goodmangames wrote:
Luck score guides monster decisions. PC with the lowest Luck gets charged by the monster / gets hit by the arrow trap / whatever.


Oh, I need to start using this more. I always feel like it is so arbitrary when we have so many characters and deciding which one the critter attacks. This would help me apply some logic or explanation as to why a character gets attacked in that initial round or two.


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 Post subject: Re: HELP!
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 1:37 pm 
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Pesky wrote:
Hey nerdwerds, please post how it goes. I've never GM'd that many players before and at first read it sounds like the potential for mayhem is large :D . That being said, it looks like you got some great advice here, and I hope it ends up being a blast. Good luck!


I ran the introductory 0-level adventure in the back of the rulebook since I've GMed it twice before and was familiar with it. It was a very uncharacteristic session as very few deaths occurred along with some unexpected actions by the players.

The group of players showed up sporadically and I started off by creating characters with people as they showed up at the table. There was some speedy character generation happening as I owned the only d30s, and I was using the Alternate Occupations pdf by Steven Bode. I allowed everybody to roll up 4 characters and then pick 2 to enter the dungeon, if a character died then they would bring in their 3rd or 4th character. I could tell during character creation that a few people were turned off by the exclusion of classes and the apparent weakness of characters. Once everybody was done making characters I explained a little bit about the OSR subgenre of role-playing starting with OSRIC and how it led to Labyrinth Lord, Swords & Wizardry, ACKS, and other OSR clones, and then how DCC RPG tries to emulate Appendix N literature giving a brief summary of how Jack Vance, Robert E. Howard, and H.P.Lovecraft helped shape 1st edition D&D. Then I began introducing the adventure.

The very first trap only dealt 1 point of damage, which was disappointing because three characters had worked together to push it open. The four spear-throwing statues were approached warily but managed to strike only one character with one spear and didn't roll enough damage to kill them. One player decided that his 'main' character would try to remove the enamel armor from one of the iron statues and wear it. I decided to use the stats for Plate Mail, but I reduced his speed by -20' and I increased the fumble die to d20, always emphasizing how heavy his armor was.

In the third chamber there was a lot of experimenting with the statue as it turned to point at different characters who entered the room, eventually they decided to open all three doors at the same time and I decided that the statue would just start shooting out flame and spin around the room potentially hitting everybody around it, but only one character died at this point. It was at this point that the characters split up and I began taking turns detailing what was happening in each room, it was also at this point that two of the players (whom I found out later were a couple) decided to go outside for a cigarette and then never came back because they decided to watch TV instead. Their characters stayed in the third chamber cowering in fear for the rest of the game.

One of the players decided that it was very important to smash all of the bones in the Cheiftains' burial chamber, and he and two others looted the axes and chainmail from the destroyed corpses. A group of six characters warily pushed over the crystal statues in the gazing pool room, but everybody was very paranoid that the water was deadly or did something horrible, so nobody ever entered the water. The character wearing the enamel armor found the throne room with Ssisssuraaaaggg and fought him, almost singlehandedly killing him, but was joined in the last round by three others, and one more character got killed. The armored character became obsessed with the snake and the starlit door, and so he wanted to take the corpse back to stuff it (he was a taxidermist) and he also wanted to take the starlit door off of it's hinges and drag it back to town - his character effectively was no longer involved with the rest of the party, and that player's other character was a sheep farmer who became obsessed with the strategy room.

And speaking of the strategy room, the players' first reaction to seeing the clay miniatures was to smash all of them, but then the sheep farmer I mentioned before began to believe that they were magical, he would place miniatures on the table and speak the names of people he knew, thinking the clay armies might come to life. Most of the remaining characters peered in at the final room and roused the warlord, who bellowed out his prescripted challenge. One player believed the glowing orb needed to be destroyed and kept shooting arrows at it (her character was a forester who had started with a bow) and the rest of the party charged along the sides of the room and engaged the warlord in combat. One character used the spears he had collected from the guardian hall against the ceiling, thinking he could smash the floor of the pool and crash the water down onto the army. I hinted heavily that it would be easier to smash the floor from above, but nobody took alternate actions. They managed to kill the warlord just as the clay army was coming to life. One of the players decided to search his throne and found the secret passage, and once I described the treasure I concluded the adventure.

I think everybody who stayed had fun. One player was forced to leave because he had to go to work and one of the nine players never showed up. I personally had fun but this wasn't a convention game and I couldn't account for everybodys' tastes and dispositions. Two players, including the same one playing the taxidermist, were very taken with the game and asked lots of questions about it afterward. I directed them to the goodman games website, I also told them about the 0-level character generator. I think in retrospect I shouldn't have used 0-level characters with this group, but maybe should have had some pre-generated 1st-level characters and run them through Sailors of the Starless Sea. If the regular GM of the group ever decides to take a week off again I've been told (by those who played) that they would be up for playing it again.

Also, I forgot to take pictures of the game itself, but here are some pictures of the map I drew and minis that were used.
ImageImage

_________________
"The Shamrock Shake is a frosty, minty symbol of all that we hold dear. It is shameful that we as a people cannot enjoy this proud, symbolic beverage any more than one week a year. Unless the British government loosens its iron grip on this most Irish of shakes, the streets will once again run red with English blood." - Gerry Adams, leader of Sinn Fein, the IRA's political wing.


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 Post subject: Re: HELP!
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 2:21 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:21 am
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Thanks a lot for posting your synopsis, nerdwerds! It sounds like you did a great job.
nerdwerds wrote:
I explained a little bit about the OSR subgenre of role-playing starting with OSRIC and how it led to Labyrinth Lord, Swords & Wizardry, ACKS, and other OSR clones, and then how DCC RPG tries to emulate Appendix N literature giving a brief summary of how Jack Vance, Robert E. Howard, and H.P.Lovecraft helped shape 1st edition D&D.

That sounds pretty cool. I would have liked to heard that as I'm sure I'd have learned a few things.
nerdwerds wrote:
The armored character became obsessed with the snake and the starlit door, and so he wanted to take the corpse back to stuff it (he was a taxidermist)

That is awesome! :D


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