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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 5:29 pm 
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Wild-Eyed Zealot

Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2011 9:08 pm
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Location: New York
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
Glipkerio's Gambit
Fate's Fell Hand
and etc.

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:

TLDR Version: 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.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 7:11 am 
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Nice right up. It's always interesting to see the different experiences people have with Sailors on the Starless Sea. I've run it several times myself,and only once did anyone find the ring.

Also, good call on not leveling up during the game. I agree with that. There was a bit of discussion on that topic on another thread recently Here; http://www.goodman-games.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=60&t=46460 Since the topic is "running games at cons", it might have been hard to find.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 2:56 pm 
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Wild-Eyed Zealot

Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2011 9:08 pm
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Location: New York
I had an npc (Dorota of Charms, elf of Gnatdamp) tell the heroes that they needed to search everything, and they actually heeded the advice. This group was listening very intently, always looking for clues or tricks. It was pretty refreshing.

Good to know about the 0-level adventures!

I just prepared The Old God's Return for Monday. I added in the bonus "foreshadowing" encounter from Intrigue at the court of chaos. I'm a little worried that the creature is too tough. I believe it takes half damage from non-magic weapons. And this group has no cleric. I am thinking of having Dorota cook them up a healing brew for them, though it'd have a chance to make them roll on the minor corruption chart or something.

I also changed something from the final section. In the adventure, when the adventurers destroy Tjaptar's antlers, it frees the child souls and the whole floating iceberg starts to fall apart. It's "magic bindings" fly around like shards. If the PCs fall off the iceberg to ground hundreds of feet below, it is suggested they might be able to grab one of these shards to prevent plummeting to their death.

I am going to change it so that the child souls are rocketing around like comets, delighted to be free and getting ready to return to their bodies. So if a PC falls, a child soul-comet comes to try to help them. I had introduced a couple kids last adventure - Booger Neil and Bleria - so that they could be involved in this adventure. I'll probably have Bleria save a PC in soul-comet form if it comes to it.

I also read through Intrigue at the Court of Chaos and am pretty pumped about it. It is an extremely cool adventure, one I'd actually love to play in. I really like the encounter with the ox. There's just something really fun and original about it.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 24, 2014 8:24 pm 
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Wild-Eyed Zealot

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OK, had another fun night. These guys are just plain fun to play rpgs with. The full summary is here (just scroll down):

http://dungeoncrawlclassics.webs.com/volume2.htm

Short version: Town was attacked by blue gnomes, kids' souls stolen. Our heroes go to their floating iceberg lair and start hacking their way through it.... The party is almost slaughtered.

We started late, as everyone had to level up. For me as a DM, going in to a session, prepping at the right time is pretty important. If I prepare the adventure a few days' previous, I go in cold. If I go over stuff and make notes a few hours prior to the actual session, I am in the zone. For tonight, I sat down and made notes for leveling up during the day. It is really nice that the party only has 3 classes - Warrior, Wizard, and Halfling. Piece of cake!

Wizard is the trickiest class, but also by far the coolest one, imo. A few things that popped up to me in this prep was that only one halfling can be the "lucky" one for the party, and that a wizard can spellburn 20 points for an auto crit!

As for the actual session, the fights were either really easy or really hard. The heroes slaughtered the first batch of tontuu. Then, Sam the halfling went up on the iceberg all alone and was nearly killed by a lone tontuu. Then, the tontuu up in 1-2 were murderized by a Choke Cloud.

I inserted the Court of Chaos prelude encounter, with the Clutchculus. The players loved that monster. They were just blown away/freaked out... laughing and trying to figure out what it was called. I was worried that this thing, which took half-damage from non-magic, would be too tough... but a wizard almost single-handedly killed it with a good roll on magic missile.

Down in 2-1, with the trees linked to child souls.. well... there was a fire. Some kids didn't make it. Lawful PCs lost some luck, and characters' personalities started to develop in the ensuing argument.

Then came the ambush... 2-2. Yikes. YIKES. We were a hair away from a TPK! The players weren't using their sovereign fire (even after repeated blatant suggestions from me), weren't exploiting the Tontuus' vulnerability to fire, and were just using terrible spells. 2 PCs dropped below zero, and two more had 1 hit point left each, and still they were reluctant to spellburn and burn luck.

It's weird... 4 tontuus were no challenge at all. But 5 tontuus and a goat dude with a chain was an epic war. There were a couple critical misses and wasted turns (the one player is obsessed with force manipulation, which does a measly d6 damage to one target).

I am honestly not sure if the PCs can take Tjaptar. They are hurt bad. I did have Dorota give each PC a black lotus oil. That's d10 hit points, but after an hour you lose d4!

I guess we'll see. They really loved the game, so mission accomplished. Next time we'll finish this, then they'll spend a week casting their find familiar spells (I plan on using the chart extensions from the Crawl! Zine). And then we will begin Intrigue at the Court of Chaos.

This module, The Old God's Return, is awesome. It is lean and mean, and it gets right to the good stuff with no padding or BS.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 9:47 pm 
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Wild-Eyed Zealot

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OK another awesome one! Summary is here.

Short Version: We finished The Old Gods. They cast Find Familiar. Then they got through most of Intrigue at the Court of Chaos, which is absolutely awesome.

I was worried about the ice demon in 3-1. But, to my delight, the warrior rolled a critical and killed it in one shot with Molan's flaming flail.

The trees with the poison sap... they just walked right into it. They burned the trees.

And then... Tjaptar. I had toyed with the idea of just getting rid of the tontuu and the joulbok, but because they "one-shotted" the ice demon, I figured they'd be ok. They almost weren't! Catherine fired off a great shot with her band of fire scorching rays which are manifested as LASER BEAMS. That was so great.

Tjaptar came at our heroes. I allowed something - not sure if I did this right. I just though it was cool so I let it go. They used force manipulation to summon a floating disc, and then the halfling rode it (he weighs less than 100 pounds). That allowed him to get up by the antlers and use luck to make sure he hit the antlers and destroyed them.

They'd used so little sovereign fire that they all were able to fly down off of the crumbling iceberg.

Then they had some downtime in Gnatdamp. Both wizards wanted to cast find familiar. Poor Catherine rolled a one.. so she failed, has to wait a month to try again, and got a corruption result of "corpulent." She gained 36 pounds!

The other wizard fared better. He ended up with a floating skull (from Crawl Zine issue 3).

Then I sucked them in to Intrigue at the Court of Chaos, which I've been dying to run since its' cover first appeared on this site. The flavor text is good, but it is wayyyyy wayyyy too long. Luckily my players are very into the game and were attentive. I think most groups would have zoned out big time.

I don't like the tatterdemalian. He doesn't feel right. Not a big deal, but I'd have liked him to be a bit less like a guy from one of the final episodes the '60's show "the prisoner", if that makes any sense at all. A dude in a goofy costume. I'd have liked him to be weirder like the court of chaos.

Anyway... I know the module wants me to pull the players aside for their secret offers, but I am in a game store and i don't have the space to do so. Plus, i don't like having people sit around while i talk to just one person. So I just flat told them that their characters are approached with offers in their dreams, and that they needed to keep in mind that their characters don't know this. They are new to RPGs, so I took this as an opportunity to explain about the "evils" of meta-gaming.

They are very into this game and so they took this all seriously and with great interest... especially when I started rattling off the awesome items each of their characters was offered. I love lexaliah, too. What a cool character: A spy for Law with brass skin and silver hair. She is a very inspiring NPC.

Our heroes agreed to go to the plane of law, and there's so much i love about this. I love how you pluck the chaos rose to go home. I love the floating 500 foot tall diamond. I LOVE the name of it - THE CATAPHRACT! That is the best name for anything ever. I love saying it out loud. And I'm not sure why, but i love Taurziel the freaking 30 foot long ox. I died laughing as i read that when his 'curse' is lifted, he floats up in a golden sunbeam like a mote of dust. What a classic encounter. And the drawing of him is utterly fantastic.

The encounters inside the cataphract are more of a mixed bag. A couple felt a little limp. The one with the monster where you make sacrifices just didn't feel like enough. I felt like it was too abstract.

The room with the scales was great. The room with the dancers didn't do it for me. It was too tricky to point out the lack of shadows. Luckily, a players just on a whim decided to snuff out a candle, mostly because it's one of the only things to do in there. The clay was ok.

The pit room with the potions... that is just epic. My poor players, though, they failed their fort saves every time. There's this character who fell in the well of souls and got corruption, and now he's been further afflicted by these potions. He is Citon the 12 foot tall donkey-eared warrior who is covered in sores and sweats sunlight. I can not wait to get an art commission of this guy haha.

A player really came through in this room, realizing the solution was ROYGBIV. Came out of nowhere! I was starting to feel sorry for them. And man the description of crying rainbow tears that coagulate into a rainbow bridge... unreal. Just so creative, I really admire it. This adventure is so imaginative, it really is one of my favorites of all time. There's just so many cool, original moments and scenarios.

And the court itself! So many cool entities. It brings me to a question. Are these guys patrons? My wizards might want to use them. I don't blame them.. they're awesome. But I dread the idea of having to stat them. I'm not sure if i can do it right, or rather, do them justice. Has anyone statted these guys, or have any patron guidelines?

And what about the Scions of Law? Has anyone created them? What would they be like? I assume one of them would be made of crystal?

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 8:42 pm 
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Wild-Eyed Zealot

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Location: New York
We had a week break, but got back to the DCC RPG campaign on Monday. We are rocketing toward level 2. I think most of the party will level next week, and then I can start running the two World Tour adventures - Glipkerio's Gambit and Tower out of Time.

One of the players brought their 13 year old sister to the game. She had made a warrior named Faye. She seemed to enjoy the game. She is new to RPGs so she was a bit confused, but really it all boils down to "roll a d20 and see what you get", so she was fine.

We finished Intrigue at the Court of Chaos...

Our heroes fought their lawful duplicates and it was brutal. These players could not roll above a 9 to save their lives. They did not hit at all in the first four rounds! I was looking at a total TPK. Someone came up with a theory that if they left the room, their duplicate would vanish. I went with that idea.

One amusing part was where the Yokeless Egg is described as "twice the size of an ostrich egg". I thought that was funny because none of us knew how big an ostrich egg is. I assume it's kind of big?

There was a very intense showdown between the players. The guy playing lawful characters was willing to fight for the egg. He wanted to give it to Lexaliah. The other PCs eventually backed down.

Our heroes then had to fight the prism sentinels. I love how rays refract inside them. This whole adventure is very amusing. In fact, I'd honestly ay that this is one of my favorite adventures of all time. Faye the warrior rolled criticals left and right in this session (it's funny how that works with new players) and the sentinels stood no chance.

Then our stalwart companions returned tot he court of chaos and tried to hand the egg to Lexaliah. They had to wade through 4 of Dzzhali's undead grooms, but they were successful.

The Lawful PCs want Lexaliah as their patron. She is really cool.

Then the PCs hung out in town for 6 weeks, so the wizard could tr Find Familiar again. She got a pseudo-dragon and was very happy. The citizens of Gnatdamp built a new house for the 12 foot tall, donkey-eared, sunlight-sweating warrior. They also made him some clothes.

He desperately wants to be cured, so I dropped the Cave of Secrets hook on him from "The One Who Watches From Below". And thus we began that adventure.

I was stunned at how much time we had, and wasn't prepared to run more than the first 6 rooms of that module. But I had read half of the adventure, and was able to roll with it as our PCs made it deep into the second level.

I was worried about the curse in this. Spoiler alert obviously: A PC who touches certain gems becomes a pair of eyes separate from his body. Well, this worked out in a fun way. The PC who became eyes has a floating skull familiar. So he climbed into the skull's eyesockets. Awesome!

When reading this adventure, I didn't like the idea that the "eye" player had to hold up a sheet of paper with a hole cut out and use his eyes to communicate with his fellow players. I just felt like i would get old fast. So I didn't do it. But when I mentioned it and showed the players the sheet on the inside cover, they erupted! They loved the idea, every one of them. I guess what happened there is that I projected my own likes and dislikes on them. I should have had it ready, and allowed them to decline to do it if they didn't want to.

The heroes fought some mutant halflings and giant eyestalks, and got to the library and read about Shigulnazthrub (or whatever!). A party's wizard has decided that she wants Shigulnazthrub as her patron, so I'll have to sort that out.

We should finish The One Who Watches next session. If there's time, I want to do some stuff in town. I want the Court of Chaos to try to seek revenge, each in their own way. I want Noohl to approach the one-armed former town hero... he will give the town hero three replacement arms if he will subdue the heroes and bring them back to the Court!

I'm going to try to cook up a mini-scenario like that for each of the Court members, just to kind of impress upon the players that their actions have consequences. Lexaliah and the Scions of Law of course will help them. I am thinking of having Lexaliah grant the town a Prism Sentinel to keep watch and protect the people...?

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 1:44 am 
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Whoa. Sounds like an epic last session. I have some suggestions for taking on Shigazilnizthrub as a patron.

SOME SPOILERS BELOW




If the Book of Chaos was read, the PCs may learn that Shigazilnizthrub followers must cut out their own eyes and place them on the elder god's altar. One of those altars is in the Vault of Eyes in the Undertemple. Of course, all bets are off if the PCs touch any of the treasure in the vault. Shigazailnizthrub won't become a patron of anyone who steals from its vaults.

Shigazilnizthrub is of neutral alignment (like Cthulhu). Invoke patron and his spells should revolve around seeing remote things, domination/mind control, and being able to collect eyeballs - maybe even store them on the wizards body somewhere.


Here's a great template to help you write up your own patron if you take it that far.

http://thewizardsmisguidedapprentice.bl ... te_27.html


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 7:27 pm 
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Wild-Eyed Zealot

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Thanks for your help! I will see what the player thinks. I am guessing the problem will be.. if he cuts his eyes out, hes a blind wizard! Although he has a familiar, maybe we could say he sees through its' eyes. I guess he'd need to do like you said, graft the eyes of some poor sap to the wizard's body. Up until then, the familiar can telepathically help the wizard get around.

On a separate note... they found those fetus jars. Sheesh what a cool familiar one of those would make. We'll have to do something with one of those.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2014 6:22 pm 
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Wild-Eyed Zealot

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Just got home. We finished The One Who Watches From Below. This was a really special night in the campaign. I felt the group come together and gel. The best way to describe it is that the players are united in their enthusiasm for the game.

We had added a player's 13-year-old sister a week or two back. This time, another player brought his girlfriend. She just wanted to watch (which is something I normally hate). I could see as the game progressed that she was really into it, and she confirmed at the end of the session that she wants to join us.

I now have a situation where, if each player has 2 PCs, I am looking at a party of 10 characters. That's pretty big..! Maybe too big?

Last time we played, I was not properly prepared. I made extra-sure I was ready this time. I made my handy outline that I like to have of handwritten notes on each room. And I drew a map of the final room. I was blown away at how awesome that final room is - I couldn't wait to run it.

Here's a basic rundown of what happened:

- The flying book fight was a bit intense. I really didn't want the PCs to take much damage because I knew the final room was going to be extremely rough.

- The heroes dropped down into the fetus-production facility and had a couple fights. They decided not to enter the glowing pool/pyramid room when I described blindness to them (I was going to go with the lesser blindness from the mighty deed of arms: -4 to hit).

- Katherine the wizard wanted The One Who Watches as her patron. I couldn't believe this... one player had taken some eyeballs from a vat (the vat was a way for The One to communicate with the fetuses!). Katherine traded the BAND OF FIRE for the eyeballs. I have never seen a player hand over a major item like that, in any game, ever. The player explained to me that from what he understood, The One wouldn't want his wizard to have possessions anyway. I was blown away. The band of fire is now in the possession of a non-spellcaster.

- They kept away from the acid worms.. wise choice! They left the eyeless gorilla alone.

- The negative ring..! I couldn't wait for them to find this. When reading it, I felt it had too much of a Lord of the Rings vibe. It's such a cool item, I didn't want it to be reduced as a prop for jokes. So I re-flavored things slightly. Citon, the donkey-eared, 12 foot tall warrior who is covered in sores and sweats sunlight went in and got the ring. Everyone loves that character except for his own player, who desperately wants to rid him of the corruption.

- We got to the final room, which I was worried that I would mismanage. There's a number of elements to keep track of. I know this isn't in the tone of DCC RPG, but I go soft on these guys. Some of you GMs might be appalled! These players are so new, and I really don't want to slaughter them when they're having so much fun learning.

So what I'm trying to say is that I hinted incredibly strongly to take the wheelbarrows. I also made sure they could see Sparklefang and the blue wand clear across the room. And when the stuff hit the fan, I did not have the wall of eyes chase them. Once they got out of the room, they were safe.

What a great encounter this was! I don't think I can possibly say enough about it. I really loved the rules on how much treasure could be taken. I think a lot of adventures would have left it vague, and it would have caused a lot of DM headaches.

Basically what happened was that the heroes entered the room and spread out, in awe of all the treasure. Katherine walked up to the altar. Our heroes began to loot. Cue tentacle monster and eye rays shooting off left and right. I cringed every time our poor heroes got hit - I kept rolling frost rays. I was worried about a TPK.

Our heroes snatched up piles of loot and ran. As soon as Faye the mysterious amnesiac warrior (the 13-year-old's PC) saw Sparklefang, she had to have it. I had read a review of this adventure where the reviewer hated the name of the sword. I had considered changing the name, until I realized that this weapon would likely end up in the hands of a 13-year-old girl's character and that she would probably have no problem at all with it. And in fact, I was right. She loves that sword so much.

Faye grabbed Sparklefang and didn't care about anything else. She ran, got hit by a beam and was turned into... a pony! She was so happy. With Sparklefang in her teeth, she galloped her way to freedom.

As the chaos ensued, Katherine went to the altar and used her pitchfork to gouge out her own eyes to offer to The One Who Watches! She wanted to graft the eyes that she'd traded for onto her body. She felt her head fill with ancient eldritch power - the sounds of screeching monkeys and broken glass. She made no attempt to loot or flee, merely offering herself to The One Who Watches.

Everyone else made a mad dash for the exit, brimming over with loot. Much luck was burned, and I'm talking permanent luck points. Titus the halfling "died", but was scooped up in a wheelbarrow and later was rolled over - he made his luck check.

The heroes escaped as the place collapsed. Outside the place, Katherine was found eyeless and safe. The One had "saved" his new follower. Perhaps in time she could replace Whateley. Maybe Katherine can earn the power to change into an eye-headed sorcerer like the dude on the cover.

- Here's even more of my softiness: When I had looked over the magic items and saw that they were mostly potions, I decided that I wouldn't roll - each coffer/bag/chest would automatically have a magic item to be rolled for! I know, I am Monty Haul re-incarnated. But I didn't see the harm in it. And I felt like the PCs deserved a reward for putting themselves in so much danger for a plot hook that didn't pay off (They originally came to the cave of secrets looking for a cure to Citon's corruption).

- We finished just before the store closed. The 13 year old wants to add a second character. She wanted to run an "alternate timeline" version of her character, Faye! That works out so great for this campaign, as the forest they live in is full of weird reality warps (due to the three-way wizard battle which will fully play out once we go through Fate's Fell Hand!).

So alternate universe Faye will be "old". 'How old?', I asked. "26! And she'll have scars and stuff". How awesome. And Becky the girlfriend will jump in next time as well.

I decided, considering we have another new player, and that half the group is level 2 and the other half is level 1, that I'd run another level one adventure. Next week we are going to do Frozen in Time. I'm going to be super-careful that they don't see the cover of this adventure. I want them to be surprised by the robots and lasers. They love the weirdness of this game and I think they are going to really enjoy it.

- I am going to have to cook up The One Who Watches as a patron. I am terrible at this sort of thing. I will use Jobe's advice as a guide and hopefully I can come up with something serviceable. Any help is appreciated!

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2014 7:01 pm 
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Although I painted it , I agree with you on the cover for frozen in Time. Maybe you can show it if they get to the Robot room.
I was just talking to somebody the other day about how my mind was blown when I was kid going through Expedition to Barrier Peaks the first time. I must not have seen the cover.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2014 8:00 pm 
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We played through Frozen in Time tonight. We are on quite a roll! The group continues to really enjoy the game.

I hid the adventure in a folder so I would not spoil the premise. It was very effective. The module is written in a way that the players slowly realize that they are, in fact, dealing with 'modern' technology.

One thing I like about this adventure is that there's not a lot of combat. It's more about about exploring and pushing buttons. That's tricky, though. Some groups will get bored. As a DM you really have to know your players and control the pacing. For me, tonight, this adventure worked perfectly and was a nice change of pace.

What I am realizing is that a lot of times, my own enthusiasm determines how well the session goes. When I am genuinely excited, it seems to transfer over to the players. I couldn't wait for them to grab that blaster rifle.

Here's the main notes:

- Katherine the wizard successfully bonded with The One Who Watches. I have not yet made a full patron entry. I'm trying to take the stuff in the module and apply it in a way that is logical. So, to do the ritual, Katherine had to make a pool with pyramids at the corners (like in the halfling hybrid area). Eventually she'll need to dig a pit, put pink stones in there, and start growing hybrids in jars.

My working idea for the spells is for the level one spell to involve animating eyes,allowing the wizard to send them off and see through them. I really like the idea of the level two spell allowing her to turn herself into a LASER HARPY, but I'm a bit concerned that the power of flight might 'break' some of the pre-published adventures.

- The new player, the girlfriend of the guy with the two lawful characters, made an elf. She decided she wanted a patron. She wanted... The Court of Chaos! I have two reactions to that. One: Awesome! Two: Wow, I have to try and cook up material for that. Not my strong suit. But I love the court of chaos, and I love the idea that she has to deal with all five of them jockeying for position (especially considering they hate the PCs for handing the Yokeless Egg over to the Scions of Law).

- The players threw me a curveball. Some of them wanted to switch in some of their 1st level PCs that survived the funnel! And as it turns out, the halfling actually died in the final encounter of the last adventure... so his player rolled up a cleric. I was hoping he'd choose Loptir, Lord of Flames as he'd been established in the campaign, but instead the player chose a lawful god i knew nothing about.

- As I've mentioned, the 12 foot tall donkey-eared warrior who sweats sunlight wants to cure himself of his corruptions. So he cashed in his favor from Lexaliah, Scion of Law. He sweated sunlight, which projected an image of Lexaliah's face on a wall, who spoke to him. She explained that there was a "silver ball of knives that spoke with blue light" in the frozen north that could cure him.

What this means is that the medical drone in Zepes Null-Eleven's chamber can cure him. It has 5 doses of healing in it. Each dose can cure one corruption with a healing injection.

- I tried to get "Torp!" over as a catchphrase. I had the tribesmen use it as a word, like how the smurfs say "smurf" all the time. It worked to a degree.

- The heroes kept messing with the buttons in the power room. They actually came back to it. I felt a little bad for them, as there was only negative results to be had. There was a hilarious scene where the donkey-eared guy cured himself of all of his corruptions at last by letting the silver ball drone inject him. Then they went back to the power room, he pulled a lever, and gained a major corruption (his skin is now deep blue). We died laughing. All that work! And now he's corrupted again!

- I prepared perfectly for this. But I had a hard time keeping the map straight. I got through it ok, but it got a little hairy there for a second. I almost accidentally mixed up two gravity tubes.

- Another thing I was a bit concerned about was the items behind force fields that there was no way to obtain. The petrified wooden plank, the enigma machine, etc. On one hand, I felt like it could potentially frustrate them. But on the other hand, I know I've been real soft on them, and this was a nice way of kind of re-inforcing the notion that I am not always just going to toss them items like they're candy.

- I loved the yeti. The PCs healed him and he followed them. He quickly became the party's buddy.

- The party has a pile of familiars/pets. There's a floating skull, a pseudo-dragon, a cobra, and a falcon. The heroes kept sending them up ahead to scout. One player had the idea that it would be cool if i made some kind of animal adventure for them. I immediately started to turn it over in my head - maybe not a full adventure, but a scenario where the pcs fall into a trap and the pets have to save them somehow.

- I loved the blaster rifle. I was a bit bummed that it only had five shots. So I placed a ray gun - from Crawl! Zine #8 - in a holster on the body of Zepes Null-Eleven. A wizard has it. He loves it.

- The new player got the blaster rifle. She was very clever. She had cantrip, a spell that I would think sucks, and she used it constantly to great effect tonight. As the heroes were trying to escape, they ran smack dab into the T-Rex. She opened fire on it with the blaster rifle... she hit the T-Rex, but the blaster exploded! Two PCs went down! They survived and our heroes escaped...'

- I asked them if they want to do another level one adventure before we jump into the "special" level two adventures (Tower out of Time and Glipkerio's Gambit), and they do. This works out because I have a pile of level one adventures sitting around to choose from... though I am not sure which one to use. I'm going to have to do some reading. I am kind of thinking of doing Well of the Worm.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 8:02 am 
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I ended up running Tower of the Black Pearl last night. The group is totally into it. I was worried that the adventure would be too short to fill a 3 hour session but we actually didn't finish.

- The cleric is lawful, and had to lay on hands on a pair of lawful PCs who had almost died in the previous adventure. It is hard to decide how much disapproval to assign. It is also difficult to figure out how much disapproval the cleric should receive if he continues to heal these chaotic PCs over time.

- I ran a special short thing for them involving an alternate universe. One of the players wanted to run an alternate universe version of her character. So I had her current character go to this alternate universe which is like hers except it's a few years in the future. The chaotic entity Ith-Narmant (from Crawl Zine 7) is in the process of dimming the sun and the alternate universe version of our party is leading an army to try to stop him. It's a long story, but the purpose was basically to introduce the new character and to debut the Shadowsword of Ith-narmant - a weapon that could destroy the world. I also foreshadowed stuff from future adventures, including Mythender from Glipkerio's Gambit and the weird ship at the end of Tower out of Time.

- Khymie the Elf had chosen the entire Court of Chaos as her patron. I decided that she would have her choice of five different 1st level spells, one linked to each entity. Once she picked, that was the only one she could use. The idea is to simulate how the court are all playing against each other, trying to get the PC to choose them for their own nefarious needs. I am thinking that maybe the elf will need to actually serve in the court with the other weird people at the feet of the giant entities. What do they do there, exactly?

- Our heroes found out about the tower and headed out. They got inside and left the law candles alone, to my surprise. They battled some pirates, leaving the female pirates alive. This happens so much in my games - the female players are dirty! The female players wanted to keep the sexy pirate ladies for.. well, we were in a public setting so we left t at that. Of course, the problem is that these pirate women hated the PCs. The elf cast charm person on one. The other was killed.

I didn't have a name ready, so it was suggested that her name was Salty Samantha. That worked for me. Salty Sam proceeded to be kind to the elf, but cruel to everyone else. She mocked and insulted them in pirate style. Finally, a PC had enough and pushed Salty Sam off the bridge at area 10. Sam plummeted to her doom.

- I had foreshadowed the shadowsword of Ith Narmant in my little alternate universe scenario. The PCs ran into Savage Quenn at area 7, and guess what he was wielding? Dun dun dunnnnn! Yes he has a demonic sword that could destroy the world. What do the PCs do? Kill Quenn and argue over who gets to use it! Very amusing.

- The sarcophagus at 11 was opened, and Sezrekan was none too happy. A party wizard swore fealty to avoid his wrath.

- They figured out how to get to 12. They had a heck of a time trying to cross the water. Patrons were invoked. The warrior used the negative ring (which is probably my favorite magic item in this game so far). Two PCs crossed the viper-filled water. They argued over who got to snatch the black pearl from the statue. The warrior did it. The viper water immediately same down on them. We rolled initiative. Two PCs, underwater, against 25 vipers!

Unfortunately it was 9:05. The store closes at 9. We had to stop there. The young player of the warrior was freaking out, worried his character was going to die. He probably will! The snakes go before he does! We'll find out next week.

- We're going to do another level one after this. They'd like all their level ones to be level two before we start level two adventures. Makes sense to me!

- Tower of the Black Pearl is a very god adventure. It is a little weird to have multiple hints of dragons, but no actual dragon in the adventure.. but that leads me t0 an idea i had...

- In the adventure, it says that the pearl attracts the attention of creatures levels 5+ within a 5 mile radius. As in, the creatures come after the person with the pearl, drawn to it. Welp, Near the town is Hargn the river dragon (from Crawl zine... four... i think). So that means, if our heroes get the pearl and bring it home to Gnadamp, then the dragon is going to attack the town and we are going to have an epic session!

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 2:35 am 
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We missed last week and got back to it tonight. We finished Black Pearl and got through most of Well of the Worm.

- We left off in the final room. A wizard and the poor corrupted fighter, Citon, Were in water holding the black pearl with 25 snakes. The wizard climbed up the dragon statue, out of the water. The snakes swarmed Citon and killed him - they each do 1 point of damage and drain 1-6 STA with their poison! A skull familiar snatched the pearl and the wizard escaped on a force manipulation floating disc (not sure if it can hover over water or not but I let it happen). Our heroes had quite a bit of trouble crossing the broken stairs, but they escaped the tower before it completely filed with water.

- After resting in town for a bit, and more patron spells (the party is slowly loading up with wizards). We have four now. The patrons: The One Who Watches, The Court of Chaos, Sezrekan, and The Three Fates

- The Black Pearl draws the attention of powerful creatures within 5 miles. I had previously established that a river dragon lurked to the west. He is Hargn from Crawl Zine #4. He is powerful! AC 23! I originally intended to have the heroes hear about the dragon and wayyy down the road, they could try to kill it. Reading the entry, the dragon is playful, not necessarily murderous. I had Hargn show up at the town, not slaughtering, just curious. The PCs were very unsure of what to do and just kind of stood there, gawking. Shockingly, the new player immediately realized that it was drawn to the pearl (she's one of those smart ones). The dragon breathed sleep gas on the PCs and not only put them to sleep, but all within 40 feet! The dragon took their stuff, any shiny magic. This includes the pearl, a wan, Sparklefang and the Shadowsword! Our heroes were bummed to say the least. As the session wore on, there were rumblings of going to get that stuff back...

- WAR WORMS attacked the nearby serpentman village. A serpentman came to Gnatdamp and begged our heroes to help. The heroes did.

- At the well in the barrowdowns, a familiar was sent down the mucus well and was destroyed by falling war worms. I had a hard time finding where the rules were for what happens when it dies, remembering only what happens in D&D.. I found it now, by doing a search on the pdf. It's in the spell entry! He loses double the hit points he gained, and has a -5 spell check til the next full moon.

- The heroes fought some war worm zombies (serpentman style). I had considered adding a zombie or two, because the party has 10 characters, but I decided against it. It worked fine, not too easy.

- The portcullis room was good... the old "portcullis-dropping" trick to split the party always spices things up and keeps it interesting.

- The fight on the catwalk over the maggot pits was very cool. This dungeon is very concise. Each room has a cool idea in it. There's no junk/useless rooms. I like that.

- Our heroes decided they wanted XP. So... they decided to kill ALL THIRTY war worms. I warned them that they wouldn't XP if there was no danger. So they shrugged and JUMPED IN. An epic war worm war took place. Our heroes were victorious.

- We had to stop there. By the end of the session, the group had made a decision. Next session, once they finished with the war worms, they are going out into the swamp to find the dragon's lair and to steal their stuff back! I warned them... this dragon is very, very powerful. They are aware of this.

A wrinkle here is that the pearl draws the attention of high level creatures. It's possible that some other monster may come to the lair, too..!

I have some work to do. Seems like a small swamp hexcrawl is in order. If I put the thought into this, I sense we could have a classic session on our hands next week.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 7:00 pm 
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Our reavers completed their annihilation of the War Worms this evening. After slaughtering every maggot in the maggot pits, the adventurers mauled their way through the rest of the adventure.

I felt like I should have spiced it up a bit more. At points the session turned into a bunch of back and forth rolls with no flavor.

The party is too big in my opinion: 10 PCs! And they are rotating certain PCs in and out depending on the adventure. If I add more monsters to compensate, then the battles are going to be that much slower.

That's not a big deal though. Overall they continue to enjoy the game. Another familiar went down, this one at the hands of the legless ogre zombie. The players don't seem to be learning that it is usually a bad idea to send your familiar off alone in a room full of monsters!

RIP Noxia the pseudo-dragon.

With that done, the adventurers rested up for a month in Gnatdamp. Then they went out to find Hargn the River Dragon's lair.

I took material from a few different sources to make this. I used Secret Santicore 2011 - a free pdf full of various D&D ideas and Green Devil Face #4 - which is a Lamentations of the Flame Princess product. I got to use some of the monsters I most like in the DCC RPG book - Hollow Ones and Dimensional Sailors.

The swamp was the "Dream Swamp" from Santicore, where anyone who dreamed in the swamp would find their dreams being re-enacted elsewhere in the swamp from then on. This allowed me to give the PCs insight into the other creatures in the swamp and what their deal was. The dream-images worked great.

Our heroes fought some dimensional sailors and interrogated them. Then they found the dragon's lair, a magic secret chamber near the river. It had been a hideaway of the wizard Al Hazred (from Fate's Fell Hand, which I try to foreshadow as much as possible even though I'm not sure if I'll be able to pull that module off).

The whole thing boiled down to the PCs figuring out when the dragon went out to hunt. They bumped into some Hollow Ones, who were drawn to the black pearl in the dragon's horde. A fight eventually broke out, and the players were quite freaked out when the tentacles spilled out of the hollow skin-suits.

They let a tentacle monster take off with the black pearl - they didn't want it. They wanted all their other stolen stuff.

Then they explored Al Hazred's chamber/the dragon's lair. They answered a riddle and a thief was killed by a dart trap. It's funny, I consider myself a ridiculously lenient DM, but PCs and familiars are dying every single week lately.

They met an NPC based on this ridiculous drawing from the AD&D 2e Campaign Sourcebook & Catacomb Guide. She's Al Hazred's cousin, a weird 6-armed woman with greenish-blue skin. He'd imprisoned her there.. long story.

I was wary of handing out more items as I think that this is frowned upon in DCC, so what I did was to grab some interesting but not overly-epic items from Green Devil Face 4. Basically, I took the ones that I found the most amusing:

Staff of Life Transference: One PC can lose 2 hit points to heal another for 1 hit point, or lose 4 to heal 2, etc.

Elixir of Fleeting Love: Give it to someone to make them love you forever (but it ages them 1 year older per month!). The love potion was popular.

I put in something I made up called: "Emerald Iron". It's kept in a lead box. It's literally kryptonite for elves. If an elf is near it, they turn green and go weak. I thought it might come in handy and was just a fun idea.

Cloak of Many Fashions: A cloak that could change into fur, or a ball gown, or sleep wear, or whatever. A magic change of clothes, basically. I was bowled over by how much everyone wanted this one.

The Book of UNSPEAKABLE SHAME: It takes two months to read and then a saving throw is made. Fail means you're feebleminded and forget everything. Success means you gain an INT boost, but in 2d4 weeks demons come after you for the forbidden knowledge rolling around in your head. I picked this one mostly because the name cracks me up.

I had them find some notes on the Deck of Fates from Fate's Fell Hand. I have flipped through that module a few times. From what I can tell, the Deck does special things in the demiplane. But what the heck are its' powers in the real world? I couldn't seem to find any info on this.

I think what I will do is say that the hollow ones and the dragon will go to war over the black pearl. I'm not sure where the hollow ones live or anything like that. But this will explain the dragon not immediately going on a rampage in search of the thieves of the vast majority of its' horde. The pearl is what it's drawn most to, and it can sense the location.

Maybe I'll have the dragon snatch back the pearl, and each session the PCs will learn of some new entity that has come and fought the dragon for the pearl.

Overall it was a very good session. Next week we at last begin the special modules.. I think Tower out of Time will be first!

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 12:55 pm 
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The hollow ones are similar to the cultists from the People of the Pit module.
You might look into that if you haven't yet, for a big easy block of pre-made adventure setting.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 6:03 pm 
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I do have people of the pit.. I will mine it for material! Thanks!

A couple of my players are moving away soon. I have concocted a scheme to "write them out" of the game. There is an NPC in town who is from 1986 New York City. I am thinking some of the PCs will somehow end up taking him home and getting stuck in 1986 with him.

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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2014 5:56 pm 
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A couple players couldn't make it tonight. I ended up with only 2 players and 4 characters for Tower Out of Time. I scaled it down... one spitter, 2 apes/leeches... no apemen in the flower room... easy to scale back and it worked perfectly!

- The spitter paralyzed one pc and was dropped.. The cererbraleeches are really cool and made for a good fight. It seems like the current trend in rpgs is to not include monsters that stun, as that results in players sitting there and becoming bored or unhappy. In DCC the players have multiple characters, s it's no big deal if one is stunned for a round. Also, DCC rounds move fast so not a big deal.

- The rounds are fast, but we definitely had some chart issues tonight. A couple clerics have been added, which meant I had to look up disapproval charts, cleric spells, and I had to look up lay on hands. It can be hard to find things in the book. Heck, the index isn't even all the way int he back, you have to flip back a bit past a pile of pages. I wish it was right by the back cover so I can flip right to it. Also, some pages don't have page numbers which complicate things a bit. Chart-organization wa the downfall of my beta campaign. This time around I am better prepared, but there were three or four times tonight when the game grinded to a halt while I tried to find something.

- The hallway trap/puzzle is cool. I'm not a big puzzle guy, but this one wasn't too complex.

- I love the room with the flower. It's just.. awesome. I pre-rolled the serpentman sorcerer's spells earlier. I rolled a natural 20 on mirror image which meant he had images that would take the hits and vanish automatically (kind of like old d&d stoneskin)! The battle was insane. The PCs kept rolling ones and fizzling their spells while my magic missiles hit over and over again. Two PCs went down. I had to make a tough call. Does choking cloud take out mirror images? Mirror image says something about taking damage from range attacks. It was late and they were dying so said yes. Don't know if I made the right call or not.

We had to stop there as the store was closing. We may miss a week or two coming up, but we should get Glipkerio's Gambit in before the month is up.

This was a good adventure. It felt short when I read it, but somehow it filled 3 hours and then some.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2014 3:46 pm 
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After a bit of a break we got back to the campaign last night. Last week, completely unsolicited, I received a bunch of World Tour stuff in the mail! It was awesome. I especially like the bookmarks (they have a "character sheet" on the back) and the stickers. I handed the stuff out last night. One sticker was immediately applied to a laptop.

Unfortunately there is some real life stuff going on with this group that overshadows everything else. I want to respect people's privacy so I can't really say much. Frankly, it is very depressing.

We played through Glipkerio's Gambit, which has a very cool premise. I love how short it was. It's a full module, but Jobe Bittman used as few words as possible. I greatly appreciate this. I prepared the whole thing in about an hour (I make hand-written notes of each room and stuff I need to remember). It filled a three hour session. I loved the stairs of fate, the final battle, and Glipkerio - though I didn't quite understand Glipkerio's story completely.

One player brought along a new 1st level thief, but the thief was murdered by snow apes. This player had a total of three characters, which IMO was just too many. I think I'm going to declare that nobody can have more than 2 PCs. When there's 10+ characters, rounds take forever and the battles are too easy. The cat-headed giant rolled really low on initiative (i think it was a -1!) and the party had pretty much slaughtered him before he even got to go once.

The players became alarmed in the final battle. They'd kill one Glipkerio, only to find that another "fresh" Glipkerio appeared to replace him. I was able to kind of narrate that the Glipkerios became more haggard and nervous with each "death" to stave off mounting frustration.

They actually found the magic sword Mythender through careful study of the stairs. They use Force Manipulation all of the time, and it helped them avoid stepping on trapped stairs.

I have this NPC in the town who is from Earth circa 1986. He has a walkman, a shirt and tie and black curly hair. He got sucked into this world through a magical vortex during a spell duel. We did a thing where the characters of the players who are moving away went to find the portal to bring the NPC back, but they ended up getting tricked to go through the portal as well by The Court of Chaos. We threw around some ideas, and thought it might be amusing to have Noohl try to overthrow Ronald Reagan or something.

Someday I'd like to have the heroes go to 1986 Earth... there's this old basic D&D module, The Immortal Storm, where the heroes go to Earth and get in a fight with a gang on a subway. It's ridiculous, but fun. I really like the idea of trotting out a bunch of 80's movie cliches and throwing them at the PCs. Who knows, if these players ever come back to visit, we may do that.

I have no idea what adventure I am going to run next Monday. Two players are moving away this week, so I'll have one new player and I may recruit one or two more. There's one guy I have in mind who would be a great addition, but he is a teacher and has a baby so I'm not sure if he can make it on Monday nights.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 7:57 pm 
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With two players gone, we had 3 tonight - one new guy. His character: Jamal Colorado.

It is almost time to run Fate's Fell Hand. But that adventure is complicated, and I'd like to run something else first so the new guy can get his footing. I have incorporated Fate's Fell Hand into the backstory of my game from the start, so it should feel like a big deal when we finally get to it.

I decided to run The Emerald Enchanter tonight. I've run half of it before in D&D Next. I really like this adventure. It's full of "different" stuff. Here's how it went down:

Entrance: They mauled the two eidolons. A gem was used for Monster Summoning. I was worried that having summoned monsters would make the encounters too easy. But I quietly decided we'd just let it play out and see what happened. It turned out that the summoned eidolons did not unbalance things too much.

Tile Golem: Awesome monster! It was no match for the party, to my surprise. I love it's tile powers.

The Enchanter's Cameo: I love the idea of having the bad guy pop up early on, but I felt I didn't get the most out of it.

Hall of Anguish: This hallway, with the ebon spirits, nearly killed the whole party. Part of the problem was a spell misfire that trapped the party wizard in a globe. It was truly hilarious. To make things worse the party was frantic to get out of the hall and ran into the next area - and fell right into the pit trap. Poor bastards.

The Book Podiums: I got a kick out of this room. I would have liked it if the books had something cooler in them.

7 Eidolons: Rough fight! The party is so quick to run out in the open and get surrounded. Multiple PCs went down and nearly died.

We got to the "zoo" room and stopped there. I like this adventure, and when I am into it the players can tell and seem to enjoy themselves more. We should finish this one next time.

They asked me if they could go to the city soon. They want to buy things and get some item looked at (can't even remember the details right now. It was some item from an adventure that a city wizard can activate, or something), I'm going to dig up the adventures in cities (I think there's one called "The Jeweler That Dealt in Stardust" that might have some cool stuff in it) to help detail the place and make it interesting.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2014 3:49 am 
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Wild-Eyed Zealot

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We finished this adventure Monday night. I really liked it but wow was that final fight too much for them. Since I started running game store games in '08 I have learned that there is a very large segment of the male gamer population that cannot control their anger when it comes to deadly fights and bad dice rolls.

Tomorrow (Saturday) is Free RPG Day. If I can get one more player to show up, I will run the DCC RPG "Elzemon and the Blood Drinking Box" adventure. If not, I will run it Monday night. I have my fingers crossed for tomorrow, I'd really like to run it on Free RPG Day.

Emerald Ogre: Wow did this thing do a lot of damage! 2d8+4! We are having an issue where there are so many PCs that not everyone even gets to go before some fights are over. I suppose the answer is adding more monsters, but I can't add a second ogre, the whole group would get slaughtered.

Moon Devil: They freed him. One player is very excited about his Chronomantic amulet. We worked out a thing where, once per day, he can literally reverse time back one round. I'm going to let it play out and see how it works, because it seems really fun. Once it gets into lame or abusive territory I'll add some hideous twist, like each time it is used he attracts time-travelers or something. Maybe... a young Glipkerio! That might be awesome. Maybe the amulet slowly warps him into Glipkerio, or replaces parts of his body with Glipkerio's? I dunno. Or maybe it has an effect like it did on Glipkerio - it calls forth a future or past version of the PC.

Anyway, they decided to free the moon devil, and if it was a bad idea they'd use the amulet to reverse time. The moon devil is cool. While I like the Mullen depiction of it, the Kovacs version of the face on the map is much more awesome.

Emerald Statue: More and more I am appreciating monsters that get multiple attacks. Sometimes, they come off as much too weak.

The Emerald Enchanter: This is a fantastic final encounter! Women in cages that are slowly being lowered into steaming vats! Bat-winged skulls, animated statues, and the wizard with a round-by-round plan and pre-cast spells. The pre-cast spells were essential IMO because he could have been dropped very quickly without them. I pre-rolled his invoke patron... Azi Dahaka summoned a storm on the PCs that did d8 per round! This was utterly devastating. We were looking at a complete TPK.

This was just too hard for them. They don't think tactically at all and were completely overwhelmed. The mood soured and at that point I just wanted to go home. I know that this game is deadly and that sometimes TPKs should happen, but I am not interested in throwing the whole campaign in the garbage over this. I think that mentality goes against the spirit of this game, but hey that's my choice. Sometimes a TPK is a major twist that reminds the players that anything can happen and leads to an exciting "what now?" situation. Other times, it makes for a great natural stopping point to play some other game.

But for this group, all a TPK does is make for an annoying hurdle to overcome. Basically, unless there's a situation that comes up that works for whatever reason, individual PCs may die, but I will not have the entire group perish. I should probably cook up some contingency scenarios for when a TPK happens, like:

The Scions of Law pluck them from their situation at the last possible moment. Now that they've saved the PCs, they need the PCs to do something for them.

Or maybe they do die... they appear in the afterworld with all of their stuff... and they have to fight their way out! Actually that would be awesome. I think I might do this...

Anyway, I love the adventure but unfortunately it didn't go as well as it could. I guess that's how it is sometimes.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2014 5:09 am 
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Nice write ups. I really like hearing how existing published adventures can bleed into one another, and Obviously I know them all pretty well ,so there's that too.

I get what you are saying with tactics and players getting themselves killed. I've been playing and DMing lately and I'm repeatedly surprised at how often even veteran players run right into bad situations. I'm starting to chalk it up to real world variations on players moods, or ability to pay attention, or just energy on game day. We don't have much control over that stuff other than to try to run a smooth game and not add stress to peoples lives through unfun games.

As a player I sometimes intentionally role-play bad tactical choices, but I figure when the rubber hits the road and the adrenaline kicks in its within the bounds of most characters to prefer living to dying. Last night I found myself repeatedly talking out of character from my 5 INT wizard because I felt like the party was approaching situations with a bit of recklessness. Sometimes a well placed NPC 's comments (when DMing) can do something similar . As a DM I try to point out what the players did wrong after the fact, so they at least get reminded of how the trouble started or for newer players certainly so they can learn. "I clearly described a bunch of arrow slits facing on the open ruined courtyard, in a area you guys knew was hostile, running right out into the courtyard was a bad idea. There is a reason things are constructed how they are, and a reason why they are called "defenses" and you walked right into it."

Personally when playing I'm finding the deadliness of DCC to be a lot fun because of the shifts between laughing and joking fun to "oh sh*t we are all going to die" and then back again. When the death of a character I'm fond of finally comes I just see it as a opportunity to make another one.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2014 7:35 am 
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Wild-Eyed Zealot

Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2011 9:08 pm
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As far as player tactics, for a very long time I took the attitude of "They will make this mistake and learn from it". But what I've found is... they never learn. They don't learn even when I point blank tell them what would have worked better.

I have this kid in my Wednesday Encounters game. He is really nice, a really fun player. But he does the exact same thing every single encounter: run into the room alone and start hacking. Every single time he gets swarmed and killed. He spends most of the fight on the ground. He gets healed, gets up, and is dropped again the next round. I've told him it would be better to wait for allies or to draw the enemies out into the hallway. He just doesn't listen. He even tried to say that the party cleric was a "bad healer" because he went down all the time. I was appalled and we had a lengthy discussion. The end result was that he no longer blames the cleric, but he still mindlessly rushes everything.

As for character death... OK. I, as a player, don't care if I die. I would love nothing more than to play through the tomb of horrors, to brave death traps. It would be so fun and scary. And if I died, I would just make a new character. Sometimes in a game, I will pull the DM aside and ask him to craft a death scene for my guy, as I want to make a new one.

So, since I have that mentality, I at one time assumed everybody feels like this. They do not. Some players have literally told me they don't want to play in a game where they die. They see their campaign as a novel, and the hero of the novel does not die halfway through the book.

To me, if there is no threat of death or failure, why bother playing? You're just sitting around waiting for the end of the campaign where you achieve your final objective which took no real thought or effort because it was going to happen no matter what.

But they don't feel that way. It's still fun for them. I would say most people I play with feel like this - they don't want to play in a game where they might die.

That has made DCC RPG a tricky proposition. I had to sell it to my beta group, of which about 3 players were of the mad-at-dice-rolls/don't-ever-want-to-die mold. As the beta went on, I could sense the tension building. Each deadly blow alarmed and irritated them.

In this current campaign, the players are open but definitely not thrilled with the idea of their character dying. I understand this to a degree - some of these characters have been through a lot - the player has formed a fondness and a bond for their PC. Which is good! I want them to care. But this brings up a sticky point: DCC is a swingy, deadly game. Do I cheat to keep certain PCs alive?

Honestly, I do. One skill of DMing, I think, is creating the illusion of danger. You want your players to feel like they may die or fail, but most of the time, the DM is lurking there behind the scenes making sure they don't. A campaign is pretty nonsensical if the "stars" die every other adventure to a random pit trap or an avalanche. But you cannot let on that you are doing this. I have played in games where you can tell the DM is fudging in your favor. At that point, the game goes flat. Your actions don't matter. You are safe no matter what you do.

Once in a while, the dice tell the story. Events and rolls conspire to create a crazy deadly situation that was completely unforeseen but fits into the story in a fun way. In those cases, I might let a PC die. I mean, there has to be some chance of death. I will allow that if it should happen.

I will be running the free RPG day adventure tonight. My PCs are levels 2 and 3, and this is a level 1 adventure. I'm inclined to just leave the monsters as-is and just bump up their hit points to max and see if that is challenging enough. I don't want tonight to be deadly, but i do want it to feel just challenging enough to not be a cakewalk. I am going to try and focus on threats to the PCs which don't involve their hit points, but rather more minor things like losing an item, or getting a scar, that kind of thing.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2014 3:13 pm 
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Netherstorm wrote:
I will be running the free RPG day adventure tonight. My PCs are levels 2 and 3, and this is a level 1 adventure. I'm inclined to just leave the monsters as-is and just bump up their hit points to max and see if that is challenging enough. I don't want tonight to be deadly, but i do want it to feel just challenging enough to not be a cakewalk. I am going to try and focus on threats to the PCs which don't involve their hit points, but rather more minor things like losing an item, or getting a scar, that kind of thing.

Cool! Please let us know how it goes. I've been enjoying your write-ups so far. I'm probably too late to respond, but I have a handout for one of the areas that may be helpful and save you some time. If I'm not too late, please send me a PM with your email and I'll send it to you.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2014 3:36 pm 
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Wild-Eyed Zealot

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Compliments on these wonderful write ups -- long may they continue (they have actually been very helpful in planning my own campaign using many of the same modules)


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2014 7:30 pm 
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Wild-Eyed Zealot

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Cool, thank you guys! I appreciate it. I ran The Blood-Drinking Box tonight, we didn't get through the whole thing but I am not sure if the handout can be used now.

Tonight was really fun. It was interesting. The players have never rolled worse, ever. It was natural 1's all night long. But because this was a less deadly scenario (they are 2nd and 3rd level, and this is a 1st level adventure) they didn't get too stressed out. It also helps that a lot of the corruption and misfire results are almost beneficial!

We had 3 players and a total of five characters:

Fighter
Evil wizard lady who is devoted to her patron, The One Who Watches
Cleric who became a cat-man after mixing potions in the Emerald Enchanter's laboratory
Wizard who has the miniature woman of extraordinary beauty
Cleric who heals a lot

Our heroes spent 4 months in their home town of Gnatdamp, healing up and learning spells from The Emerald Enchanter's spellbook. Then they took a boat to the city of Rakewight. Along the way, Katherine the wizard was attacked by her new nemesis (the player asked for an arch-enemy last week, so I cooked this up). Basically, the deal is that there's this cleric of Gorhan who found a crashed spaceship full of androids. The cleric made the ship his temple, and can control the androids via a joystick and monitor on the ship. He can even speak through the androids' voicebox. The cleric wants to wipe out the One Who Watches from the face of the planet. Katherine is closely tied to The One, and thus we have our feud.

I cooked up Rakewight by using the entry in the old 3rd edition Known Realms boxed set, and then added in city material from the DCC RPG adventures that I plan on using. I opened a pdf of an adventure I've barely looked at - Emirikol Was Framed. This thing looks epic. I decided to replace the wizard in Elzemon and the Blood Drinking Box with Emirikol. Ralabhast of the Many Eyes is a cool name, I'll probably use it down the line, but I loved the idea of the PCs getting to go to Emirikol's tower, see some of the rooms, and even meet his girlfriend Leotah (who, in Emirikol Was Framed, becomes his jilted lover). Flanked by 8 iron sentinels, the PCs sat in Emirikol's "cranium room" (full of magic skulls that hold valuable information and spells) and worked out a deal.

The PCs loved Emirikol and wanted to buy some spells and potions off of him. Emirikol said he'd give them the stuff in exchange for the box. A three day trip into the forest and our module is activated...

Waterfall: I was stunned. A player figured out to roll the bodies over right away. Was quite proud!

Stairs: Both wizards tried to create floating disks with Force Manipulation. I guess they thought the disks would help them get down the stairs? Both of them rolled a 1 on their spell checks! One wizard's result was corruption, patron taint AND misfire! His patron taint for Sezrekan ended up being good. He saw a vision of Sezrekan. If he immediately began to study, he could learn a new spell of his choosing! But it would take four days. The wizard decided to take this opportunity. So he went out by the waterfall to study (which will be interesting when the servitors show up). That means that the wizard sat out the adventure to gain a spell. The player ran just his cat-man cleric for the remainder.

The heroes were attacked by the Tirgefrabs, who I had given max hit points. The tirgefrabs puked all over the PCs. The PCs missed them over and over, and one PC got hit with a critical and retched for five rounds. The tirgefrabs left and Elzemon began to tease the heroes. I have an imp voice I do for my D&D Next game that these guys haven't heard, so I teed off and they got a big kick out of it. I was originally going to have Elzemon swoon over the wizard's miniature woman of extraordinary beauty, but she was out at the waterfall studying with the wizard.

Guano Walkways: Vastly amusing. A guano building and bridges over pools of golden liquid. A PC fell in and got leeched, and the party most unwisely fired range attacks, hitting the PC and not the leech.

Guano Room: They got the box, came so close to looking for secret doors... I really bit my tongue. I was going to just hand the secret room to them, but I figured maybe this time I'll let them miss it and see how it feels. I kind of hate it when PCs miss out on treasure, but in this adventure they'll be getting some cool stuff at the end.

The Epic Swarm Battle: Two PCs were carrying the box together. I told them it was only 30 pounds... I don't know why they did this. A swarm of pink bat/eye things attacked. The heroes needed to cross three thin stretches of bridge (DC 13 REF or fall in to the "golden liquid"). The heroes kept trying to run while in the swarm, but the swarm can knock you prone when they hit you.

What ended up happening was that the wizard used a spell to get far away (she can turn into a laser harpy from The One Who Watches From Below for short periods of time). The two guys holding the box together ran... one fell into the golden liquid... with the box. The guy who fell in was wearing his freshly purchased half-plate mail! That is a -7 to swim checks. He was going to have a tough time just treading water!

The other guy who had been holding the box just ran, making it across the other two gaps. A second cleric was stuck in the swarm, getting knocked prone over and over.

Our guy in the golden liquid was about to drown... so he called on his deity for aid in his time of need. Spellburned like crazy to be risen out of the liquid with the box over to where his allies were. His god is Cthulhu, who from what I recall is completely indifferent to the plight of man. I wasn't sure how to handle/flavor it in the heat of the moment but I figured that the guy spellburned and rolled well, so he gets out through some kind of magic.

This left one cleric, all alone in the swarm, with just a couple of hit points left. Now here's the thing about this poor cleric - he's the only lawful member of the party! Without him, the PCs have no hope of putting lawful blood in the box each day!

He too decided he would have to call on his deity. At this point, the store was closing, so we stopped there. Next week we will finish. I had paused the game when the first cleric called on his deity so that I could look up Divine Aid to make sure I got it right. I don't normally do that, but it was too important to risk getting it wrong. Divine Aid, from the DCC RPG Book:

"....This extraordinary act imparts a cumulative +10 penalty to future disapproval range. Based on the result of the spell check, the judge will describe the result. Simple requests (e.g., light a candle) are DC 10 and extraordinary requests (e.g., summon and control
a living column of flame) are DC 18 or higher."


So now, assuming our heroes get to the stairs and somehow either defeat the swarm or evade them, they have to go up and be harassed by elzemon and the tirgefrabs (who are barely hurt!). And then they have to go outside and face the lesser servitors. This is going to be tough!

I originally had put two regular Servitors out there with 6 lesser servitors, but I think I'll change it. This is a level one adventure and it just teed off on these guys big time. It was mostly due to bad die rolls... and I mean really bad.

But the players really enjoyed it (to my relief). It is a great adventure. It's not just rooms full of monsters, it has a whole progressive feel to it. The whole thing unfolds. And it's only about 8 pages long!

Next time we'll finish The Blood-Drinking Box and hopefully, finally start Fate's Fell Hand.

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