This morning, my wife was asking me about the small hoard of DCC books accumulating in various places around the house. When we met, I had been over RPG's for a couple years, and she only occasionally asked about my greatly diminished collection of "nerdy" boardgames and books which were tucked away in a forgotten corner, collecting dust. I explained that DCC was like those other games, just a little newer. To my surprise, she wanted to know more, so I explained that it was essentially a choose-your-own adventure book that you play with others, and each "module" was a different adventure. Being a fan of Nancy Drew adventure books, she got the concept right away, so I offered a tentative "would you like to try it?" Surprisingly, she agreed to give it a spin, and we sat down for a quick demonstration. I picked the free RPG day adventure "The Jeweler Who Dealt in Stardust" and let her look at a small pile of my old TSR/Grenadier miniatures. She picked a fat, bearded Dwarf wielding an axe (who she prominently declared was a female named Axey) and a female barbarian (who she named Guila—she sometimes calls me guilo, or "white devil" in Chinese
I knew I had to keep it simple, so I quickly jotted down these stats:
Guila the Barbarian (30 HP, AC 15, Init +3, Atk 1d20+1d5, Damage 1d10, Mighty Deeds, Strength Checks +3)
Axey the Cat Burglar (15 HP, AC 15, Init +3, Atk 1d20+2, Damage 1d8, Sneak +5)
I let Sneak count for any thief checks and cut down the number of monsters to give the intrepid bandits a chance (one Spider in the garden, three upstairs, everything else as-is). I set the stage and began the duo in the shadows of the street corner adjacent to the crime boss' manse. Avoiding the patrols, they scuttled across the rain drenched street and tried the side window.
"Axey is too short to reach it," I explained, placing the miniature on the picture to show her.
"Guila helps me up!"
"Ok, it's locked."
"I hit it with my axe!"
After realizing the windows were bricked up behind the wooden shutters, Axey and Guila quickly decide to try the front stone wall (my wife was especially amused when I put the Dwarf model up on the top of the wall and the barbarian model down by the street, watching out for incoming patrols—the scale was perfect). Axey passed her sneak check to scuttle up the wall, and gets a good look at the scene in the garden before dropping a rope line to Guila (at this point I realized that I hadn't given them an inventory, so I gave a standard array of rope, lockpicks, candles and flint and tinder). Not trusting the spooky terrain below, they give one last unsuccessful attempt to open a second floor window from the height of the wall, before descending into the garden.
As they approach the side door of the house, a black silhouette drops from the eave and turns to face the intruders. In the ensuing skirmish, Axey fumbles and embeds her axe in the tree trunk (I made up fumbles on the spot) and Guila impales the creature as it hops at her, knocking them both to the ground with the momentum. With the creature skewered in the air on her sword point, Guila uses her free legs to kick the Spider back up into the air and over the garden wall! Recovering quickly, Guila uses her Strength to free Axey's signature weapon and the two run indoors and bolt the door behind them.
They manage to loot the lower floor quickly, with greedy Axey barely grabbing on to the edge of the pit trap after the floor gave way. Descending down into the basement, Guila uses her Strength to snap some rusty iron bars and Axey examines the "anchors" and cuts one down (I ruled this was sufficient to destroy a Spider upstairs). Returning to the first floor, the duo finish clearing out the level and then advance up the stairway.
On the second floor, Axey finds notes that translate the strange writing on the bandages in the basement and picks up an unknown magic scroll. The next room (with the candle) was comical but gave the pair a very difficult time, as their shadows kept returning after they had slain them. Hilights from that battle include Guila getting freaked out by the sorcery (typical barbarian), Axey fumbling and embedding her axe in the wall (while her Shadow does likewise, both took two turns to retrieve their weapons as well!), Axey casting the scroll (creating a "Fire Baby" that danced around and shot gouts of flames from its hands) and finally Guila and her Shadow making a headlong charge to see who would get to the candle first.
Even with one Spider down, the next fight was very close. Instead of slaying the Spiders, Axey cast her scroll again successfully and held them off (taking a bite in the process) while Guila charged at Boss Ogo and wrestled the crystal from his hands. While Guila smashed away at they gem, the crime boss got in a stab with a poisoned dagger before the battle ended. Having ended the supernatural threat, the badly poisoned Guila and wounded Axey stumbled upstairs, broke into the office, safely found the secret chamber and then sprung all the traps therein before discovering the true treasure cache. With bandits breaking in on the ground floor, Axey smashed open the top floor window and the two swung out, Tarzan-style, into the house across the street (sneaking past the slumbering occupant before making good with their getaway).
It was a fun, quick game with only a few pauses. We let the dice fall where they may and it was very close at the end (which made it all the more exciting).