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 Post subject: DCC 51 and 51.5 Castle Whiterock
PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 3:22 pm 
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Ill-Fated Peasant

Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2008 5:33 am
Posts: 8
Has anyone used 51.5 to hook the players? Does it lead into the main event fairly well? How has it worked out for you and yours if you did?


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 Post subject: Re: DCC 51 and 51.5 Castle Whiterock
PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 8:18 pm 
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Cold-Hearted Immortal
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Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2006 3:46 pm
Posts: 2310
Location: Left Coast, USA
That's a good question, given that I have 51 but not 51.5 ...yet.

How strong of a hook is it? Better than going straight into CW, or just another option...?

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

Here Be DCC Monsters...

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

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


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 Post subject: Re: DCC 51 and 51.5 Castle Whiterock
PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 9:09 am 
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Cold-Hearted Immortal

Joined: Wed Sep 15, 2004 6:02 am
Posts: 1788
Location: On the run.
It's just another option. CW has plenty of strong hooks already, esp. if you are using Cillamar.

//H

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 Post subject: Re: DCC 51 and 51.5 Castle Whiterock
PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 9:44 am 
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Wild-Eyed Zealot
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Joined: Tue May 02, 2006 1:50 pm
Posts: 54
Location: Portland, Oregon, USA
I've run 51.5 with 51. You can read a detailed report in my campaign summary thread in this forum.

In sum, I ran 51.5 after they had done levels 1-2 of Castle Whitrock. This meant I had to boost a few things here and there, but not too much.

As an introduction to CW, I think 51.5 is a pretty tough adventure for first level characters. If they do make it to the end, you can expect them to be 2nd or maybe even 3rd level, which means they should have a relatively easy time with the first level, anyway, of CW. This could lead into a situation where they are always roughly 1 level higher than that needed for the level they are about to explore (a situation which my current group is in, as they are 6th level and getting ready to explore level 4).

Positives: 51.5 is a lot of fun, with interesting level design and fun traps and situations to puzzle out.

Negatives: A few things in 51.5 could have used improvement, and these are matters you should consider before running it, in case they come to the attention of your PCs. These include:

1. How do the sih'hel get from the bottom of the level to the top? The elevator room seems to be a one-way thing (see below), and it is unlikely they go through the owlbear lair, which makes accessing the surface difficult. I decided that they could exude a sticky substance from their fingerpads to allow them to climb the stone walls, or at least give them a good bonus on climb checks. The massive overhand near the bottom explains their need for the rope ladder.

2. The owlbear is effectively trapped in its room, with no way out. I ended up keeping it there. I figured the sih'hel trapped it down there, and it lives on rats and the occasional carcass or prisoner tossed down into the well room.

3. How is it possible to navigate the mine cart passage to CW, behind the big door? According to the description it is 2 feet square, which is too small for Medium creatures to squeeze into. I simply enlarged it to 2-1/2 feet.

4. The elevator room--can it be raised? Does it raise up on its own? Do the sih'hel ever use it? I put a lever at the bottom to allow it to go up, and decided that the sih'hel have used it before, but stopped after it started making all the noise.

As I recall, there's no duration listed for the effects of the squealing noise. I believe I made it last for the duration of the sound, plus 1d4 rounds thereafter.

5. The crushing walls trap in the secret room--this may have just been me, but I felt the portcullis/closing walls thing felt too easy to escape. You might consider increasing the depth of the chamber, to force characters to run FAST to try to make it out in time.

All of the above are fairly minor issues, but worth noting! One final thing--the sih'hel chill touch thing requires them to grapple, and they have TERRIBLE grapple scores. If you want to toughen them up a bit, you might make this a touch attack effect, or give them bonuses to grapple checks. I didn't do this, and the sih'hel were pretty easy for my group to kill off, even when I started adding class levels to them.

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Author: Mother of All Encounter Tables; Bits of Magicka series
Coauthor: Rappan Athuk Reloaded

Castle Whiterock Kills: Image x10


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 Post subject: Re: DCC 51 and 51.5 Castle Whiterock
PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 10:17 am 
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Cold-Hearted Immortal
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Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2006 3:46 pm
Posts: 2310
Location: Left Coast, USA
So, so far, the verdict is that if 700 pages of adventure is not enough, then 51.5 makes a good, but non-essential, addition.

And thanks for the 'errata' Mr. Bloodfeaster. Though I have to say, it occurs to me that a 2-foot square passage is nearly 3 feet diagonally. I could get through there easily enough. Of course, in armor and carrying equipment and rations, etc. etc. etc. ...maybe not so easy. :mrgreen:

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

Here Be DCC Monsters...

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

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


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 Post subject: Re: DCC 51 and 51.5 Castle Whiterock
PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 11:41 pm 
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Wild-Eyed Zealot
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Joined: Tue May 02, 2006 1:50 pm
Posts: 54
Location: Portland, Oregon, USA
One thing I'd add about 51.5: design-wise, it is a refreshing change from the layout of many of CW's levels, in that the dungeon is vertically oriented on several mini-levels around a central shaft. Descending deeper into the dungeon, either via the pit or by coming and going from side chambers, had a real visceral sense of descending into the unknown.

_________________
Author: Mother of All Encounter Tables; Bits of Magicka series
Coauthor: Rappan Athuk Reloaded

Castle Whiterock Kills: Image x10


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 Post subject: Re: DCC 51 and 51.5 Castle Whiterock
PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2008 6:01 am 
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Ill-Fated Peasant

Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2008 5:33 am
Posts: 8
I asked as I've ran 51.5 as a one-shot and liked some of it's traps and puzzles.

As far as levels... I'm going to have start off with a level of NPC anyway... maybe two if they're lucky. But, doubtful.

If I do give two NPC levels.. I'm going to use a slower xp progressions for the first five or so levels. - Which would fix the level jump.

My biggest concern I suppose was if they use area 8 to come out in area 4-6 would the group of shocker lizards be too much? Are they missing out on too much from not starting higher in the castle?


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 Post subject: Re: DCC 51 and 51.5 Castle Whiterock
PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2008 9:49 am 
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Wild-Eyed Zealot
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Location: Portland, Oregon, USA
My group was around level 3-4 as PCs when they went through to the shocker lizards. As I recall, I added one additional lizard, and came within a hairsbreadth of a TPK. But the lizards work really well together, since their electrical fields are cumulative, so playing it as is should not be as deadly. I wouldn't want to run it for characters lower than 3rd level as PCs, though, and even then they might have trouble if the PCs are poorly designed and/or the players are poor combat tacticians.

Are you planning on having them skip levels 1-3 of the main dungeon? It's certainly possible. If I were you, though, I'd design an NPC adventuring party for them to encounter, who plundered much of those levels to spare the PCs in having to. This would be a roleplaying opportunity to exchange information, and possibly swap loot. You could also have them leave certain areas unexplored for the PCs, like level 3A or the encounter with Nemoura the nixie (so they can acquire Aquilya).

_________________
Author: Mother of All Encounter Tables; Bits of Magicka series
Coauthor: Rappan Athuk Reloaded

Castle Whiterock Kills: Image x10


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 Post subject: Re: DCC 51 and 51.5 Castle Whiterock
PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2008 6:07 am 
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Ill-Fated Peasant

Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2008 5:33 am
Posts: 8
I'm not trying to bypass the first three levels. I wanted to know if groups that had started in 51.5 saw a way to go up and down.. if they chose to go up and explore for three levels... if they grabbed on to the stories.. if they missed anything.

The example you gave was perfect. I've not been reading straight through... I've been grabbing sections that grab me and start with those.


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