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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 3:47 am 
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Started my DCC campaign yesterday. 5 players, so I had them roll up 4 characters each. (Maybe 3 would have been enough.) The players opted not to choose names, instead referring to them by their occupations... I didn't really like that too much but didn't press the issue. It's probably not a big deal. And I suspect many other groups will probably do likewise when running through a funnel, particularly if they're old hands at D&D or RPGs in general. Among the more memorable characters: a noble with 3 Personality, a con artist, a halfling fisherman (was mariner but my campaign is semi-desert, so no ocean nearby), a woodcutter, and a ton of elves, surprisingly. Plus the odd smattering of other things. Strangely, only ONE farmer (with a duck).

Campaign specific tweaking of the occupations table is probably in order.

Anyway, off they went. The con artist deciphered the constellations business while an elven sage could not (sage w/ 5 Int, heh), but before he told anyone someone tried to pry out a gem and was killed by the searing light trap. That sort of set the tone for the evening. They then slowly trickled into the next room, after 3 or 5 characters made it in without incident to inspect the statutes, they all sort of mobbed up, and the con artist started fiddling with the spears, which set off the trap. 2 more dead, impaled by spears (con artist had a 16 Stamina and started with 6 hps, and walked away with a minor cut from the spear on his hand).

They passed out the scale mail and distributed the spears then opened the next door. The con artist slowly walked into the room with a torch and examined the statute. After a few more characters walked into the room, the statute started to swivel, following the biggest grouping of characters. This pretty much freaked everybody out, so the large majority of the characters stayed in room 2. Finally somebody opened a door, and 2 more characters (including the lone farmer) were killed by the flamethrower. The farmer's duck fled down the hall towards room 4 (with the snake).

Several rounds of pure chaos ensued, and the halfling fisherman was memorably hit by the flamethrower but survived and immediately put out the flames before running down the hall towards room 4. An herbalist followed him. A group of others, including the party's only dwarf and the con artist, fled to room 5 and awoke the bones.

The bones are kind of deadly, actually, if the rolls are high... I kept rolling high to hit and 3 or 4 damage. The dwarf bought it here, but the remaining characters rallied and were able to smash the skulls (although the con artist is somewhere around 1 hp at this point).

They were terrified of the statute at this point, so nobody else went into room 3 for a good long while. Meanwhile, the halfling opened the door and woke up the snake, who attacked but only hit for 1 hp as the halfling turned and fled; the herbalist wisely followed. There was a strange muffled quacking noise and the duck was never seen again...

The demon snake was scarier than the statute, so the halfling and the herbalist ran through room 3, the halfling running straight across to room 5 and the herbalist bolting back out the front door to the big mob of characters in room 2. Some discussion ensued, and I think they finally figured out the statute wasn't going to keep flaming them at this point (5 rounds were up), so they slowly trickled into room 3 and then one of them (a female animal trainer, her pony was outside the dungeon) got bored/brave and went and opened the door to room 6 and nearly fell into the pool. Another of the player's characters came up with a torch and they saw the crystal statues coming towards them, so they bolted. Slowly the statutes followed and the party attacked them. I was trying to drop hints that they weren't aggressive, had a butcher try to form tackle one and knock it over, but he failed and just bumped into it, but apparently didn't notice that the thing didn't attack him back. And I made sure to keep saying that, too, "the statute attacks so and so BACK," but they didn't catch on. It got late here and we had to stop, so we'll pick it back up in a couple weeks.

I have strong concerns that they're going to TPK, heh. It's highly likely that they start prying gems out of the pool, but when they see the water draining, they'll probably stop. I guess we'll see what happens. They might know enough to go after the main guy, but...

Some thoughts on running the game itself:

1. Initiative. I didn't bother with this to start with, too many characters I think. I mostly just played in old school OD&D with one side goes, next side goes, and so on, typically by who was clustered in a room. It worked okay but I think once the party size is winnowed down a bit and we get some level 1s, I'll start using initiative.

2. It's going to take a while for people to get the hang of the system and the style. My players seem to want to wait and see who's going to go first, and then mob in behind that guy. Very little leadership, but I guess that builds over time as people get to know each other (this was first time for everyone at table to play together, only one person had played with me before).

3. The animal trainer kept trying to persuade a deceased herder's dog to run one way while she ran the other through the statute room. She kept failing, and didn't seem to understand when I was like "what the hell? How are you expecting to get a dog to follow that command?" That's definitely a legacy of other games where animals are "Pets" that you can order to go do stuff. I hope she didn't get too annoyed when I wouldn't let her do what she wanted to do.

4. One guy lost three of his four characters about 30 minutes in. And his remaining guy was probably his worst, stats-wise (not that he's terrible, just average). People kept saying "oh he's got a 12 he'll never be anything" so that will take some time to grow out of, too.

5. The converse of number 4 is that a couple of players had some really nice characters, stats-wise (one with a 17 luck and 14 agility, a squire with two 15s and a 14 (luck, strength, and intelligence I think). Those characters tended to be at the very back of the line, trying to stay out of the line of fire, especially once the screaming and the dying started. Heh. Unfortunately this module doesn't have wandering monsters and at this point it'd probably just kill them all, so I guess we'll just have to see if that tactic works out for them in the end.

6. On this module specifically, it doesn't say that the snake stays in room 4, but I made it stay in there. If it had slithered out, it would have probably killed 3-5 characters at least, they were so scattered and unprepared. Plus, it seemed to fit that the demon snake would stay in that room, since that's what it's supposed to be guarding. I have a feeling they're going to leave it alone and never go back to that room, heh.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 5:03 am 
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Nice write up!

We had a similair situation with leadership. From the player's point of view, to be fair, roleplying zero level characters seems to imply zero leadership. I never made such an assumption, but it was definitely an issue with us too.

May I ask how many charges you gave the flame throwing statue? I sort of misread the adventure and it wasn't until the seveth gout of flame that I realized that it didn't have infinite charges.

Interesting that you kept Sisssurragggg in his room. I did the same with the bone piles. My logic was that they were bound to their crypt room. In hindsight, I think thst I was rationalizing pulling a punch to aboid an outright TPK.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 5:30 am 
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jonchappellnow2 wrote:
Nice write up!

We had a similair situation with leadership. From the player's point of view, to be fair, roleplying zero level characters seems to imply zero leadership. I never made such an assumption, but it was definitely an issue with us too.


Thanks! Yeah I think there's an adjustment period until things shake out and character personality develops and people naturally start to form relationships, etc. While it might seem kind of brutal and gonzo, it's actually probably a good way to start, given the "adventurers are forged, not born" theme of DCC.

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May I ask how many charges you gave the flame throwing statue? I sort of misread the adventure and it wasn't until the seveth gout of flame that I realized that it didn't have infinite charges.


The module says 5 rounds, so that's all I gave it.

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Interesting that you kept Sisssurragggg in his room. I did the same with the bone piles. My logic was that they were bound to their crypt room. In hindsight, I think thst I was rationalizing pulling a punch to aboid an outright TPK.


The snake's pretty deadly. My players were actually hoping it'd chase them out and get flamed by the statute, but it was out of gas by that point, heh. So that might have also motivated me to keep him in the room... as soon as I didn't have it chase them I decided he would stick to guard the throne, which is what he was summoned to do. Maybe they'll get a chance to interrogate it from the doorway, but it likes to attack through the open door. :-)


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 5:27 am 
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We finished up the module last night, with 7 survivors out of 20 0-levels. Ended up with an Elf, two Thieves, two Warriors, a Cleric, and a Halfling. A pretty nice party mix, frankly.

When we resumed play, they were fighting with the crystal statues, and after a few minutes they finally figured ou that the statues weren't aggressive and were just interested in the torches they were carrying (this, of course, was after they'd killed one statute and I think two characters got whacked by the statues in self-defense). They had the bright idea to lure the statues down the hallway to the snake room, toss the torch inside the doorway and run past. I allowed a reflex save to slip by the statues, who went inside. But I didn't make the snake attack them. It seems like it would be too smart for that. Anyway, they just left it alone after that.

They figured out pretty quickly that the water was draining from the pool, but that scared them away from prying up a lot of gems, so they wandered downstairs and found the clay soldier room. Seeing the water dripping down through the ceiling they figured out what was going on, so they raced back upstairs and got to work prying up more gems, well about half the characters anyway. It took them too long, though, and several of the statues made it up the stairs and started banging on the door (which they barred with a crowbar). At that point they started to panic, and several were about to run, when one of the characters jumped into the pool and started whaling on the bottom with a club. That did the trick, and the whole thing broke, eliminating most of the clay statue threat, although the warlord was still active as well as the ones on the stairs.

They used a grappling hook and some rope to quickly rappel down into the mud below, then engaged the warlord, ultimately winning but not without some more losses. They searched around the throne and found the secret door, and the soon-to-be thief took the orb and put it into the depression. It's not clear from the module whether the alien presence should be heard by all or just the one person who placed the orb, so I made it audible and visible to everyone.

They all seemed to think "Okay we got a quest now." This puzzled me a bit. I mean, if a demon face just appeared in a crystal ball and told me to go burn the wood of a dryad's tree in a brazier to see the location of the other half of a rod of rulership, my first instinct wouldn't be "Sure that sounds reasonable."

We then spent about 40 minutes leveling up the characters and stuff. I think I accidentally gave the Elf one too many spells, though... since I had him randomly roll then he studied the tome and got another. Oops. Oh well.

I can definitely see how the game gets more complicated after you level up, so I need to get a better grasp on all the level one stuff like MDoA, spell casting checks and whatnot, etc.

But next adventure is: Sailors on the Starless Sea!
People of the Pit after that.


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