This thread will chronicle what will be a DCC campaign held in a game store in upstate New York which I hope to run at least for a few months. I just started running the D&D Encounters stuff on Wednesdays after taking a year or two off, and I poached a few players to play DCC RPG on Mondays.
Right now my plan is to start in Gnatdamp (the town from Gygax Magazine #1) and run:
Sailors on the Starless Sea
The Old God's Return
Intrigue in the Court of Chaos
Maybe another level 1, not sure what yet
Tower Out of Time
Fate's Fell Hand
So last week I went in. My plan was to sucker them in with a fun game of D&D, and then while they're drunk with treasure, see how many will sign their soul away with some DCC World Tour shenanigans.
The D&D Encounters adventure, Legacy of the Crystal Shard, is pretty cool. It's not like the 4e encounters though. You can't sit down with your free complimentary module (that you can then sell for around $30 on ebay) and in 10 minutes be ready to run that week's session. Now you have to buy the module (for about $30!), and get ready for some serious cram sessions prior to playing.
You have to read a 30 page adventure book. And a 60 page campaign guide. And download the 25 page stat book (of either 3.5, 4e, or D&D Next rules, whatever you're running).
I swear, I spent probably 7 hours reading and taking notes (8 pages of handwritten notes) and I only got through the adventure book.
I had been warned that the group was full of "kids" and that they were annoying. Distressing news! These were the people I was hoping to wrangle into the DCC game, after all.
It turns out that they're really fun. A mix of high school and college kids, along with one "grognard" and two guys who are around 30 years old. These people are all really new to the game and have tons of enthusiasm. I have the opportunity to give them those sessions that they look back on forever, the ones where everything is new and crazy - where you realize how much is possible and you get to try it all out.
It took a few weeks, but at last I was able to begin the DCC RPG game last night. It's me and three players. Two are around 30 years old, and played a lot of D&D when they were younger. The third player is a high school kid who is new to the hobby.
I ran Sailors on the Starless Sea. I know on the Spellburn podcast this adventure gets a lot of praise, but I prefer Portal Under the Stars. I internally debated whether or not to run "Portal" instead. But I'd already run it in my game world, so it just doesn't make sense to run it again. I think Sailors went off pretty well.
The full summary is here: http://dungeoncrawlclassics.webs.com/volume2.htm
: I took it easy on them. Out of 12 0-level guys, only 3 died. Two fell in the misty pit, and one was killed by the beastman champion. The scything trap almost killed one, and good rolls saved another 0-level guy from the Well of Souls.
It's funny, the character who fell in the well was a "junk" character, but after he survived he became the player's favorite.
I definitely played real soft with these guys. With only three players, I was worried this would be too difficult. None of them have played much of any RPG, so I want to kind of wean them in and give them a lot of leeway until they understand how everything works. I want them to have the time to get used to the style of the game, and my style of DMing.
They had a weird problem in that they couldn't agree on looting procedure. I told them most of my groups split everything evenly and give items to the character that could best utilize it, but this group seemed inclined to try to hoard things. When they began to butt heads, I told them they could just roll off for disputed items. They took the suggestion.
The high school guy was a bit upset that the band of fire was "too powerful". He felt like the guy who had it (not his character) was going to slaughter everything and he'd be useless. I explained to him that the PC had taken the risk (he freaking willingly pulled the plug in the pool of skulls, got sucked down the chute and burned luck to survive) and therefore reaped the reward. He seemed to understand it when I explained that. I should have told him that everyone will end up with good stuff as we go.
In my DCC beta campaign, I did not know that PCs were expected to hit level one during the 0-level adventure. I learned this when listening to the Spellburn podcast. But what happened when I ran this was that I wasn't sure when XP should be awarded and thus my PCs didn't level. I'm not sure if I want them to level - we have to stop the game and share one rulebook to level up to 12 characters..? That completely kills the flow for me. Plus, it is a time-suck.
I couldn't tell when I should give out XP and when I shouldn't. So it went like this:Wall Collapse Trap
: triggered by one PC (Do I give XP for this? I thought No)Frosty Tomb
: door trap avoided, tomb avoided (No XP? 1 XP for cleverly avoiding the door trap?)Well of Souls
: 1 PC fell in and survived (No XP..?)Tar Ooze
: Warded off with Incense (2 XP? 1 XP?)2 PCs fall in Misty Pit
: and both die, nobody else goes near it (No XP?)Fight with Beastmen
: (2 XP, maybe 3? One guy died)Scything Blade Trap
: One dude lost a finger (No XP?)Pool of skulls
: Drain "trap" that one PC willingly triggered (XP for that one PC?)Warding off the tentacles with the incense
: (2 XP?)Defeating Molan
: among the beastmen (2 XP?)
So I felt like they wouldn't have even leveled until the end anyway. And I really don't want to give out individual XP in this case, as then I have a situation where one PC levels, so I stop the game to level him, then start again, then stop again to level someone else!
Next week we're doing The Old God's Return. It looks really awesome. And I'll use the promo bonus encounter for Intrigue at the Court of Chaos, which is an adventure I am extremely excited about running.
The players really loved it and are very excited to play in a campaign. We are off to a great start.