This year I decided to step up and DM a campaign, mostly to give my friend Matt a break from DMing, but also to try a non-WotC campaign setting for a change.
The DCC line appealed to me conceptually, but I knew that if my players started out at first level that they’d eventually want to take their characters all the way to epic level (most of them are power-gamers who are in it for the long haul). So I tried to string together a bunch of DCC titles that would take them as far as 16th level before I’d have to start designing my own adventures:
DCC#28 1-3 Into the Wilds
DCC#36 3-5 Talons of the Horned King
DCC#23 5-7 The Sunken Ziggurat
DCC#19 7-9 The Volcano Caves
DCC#12 9-11 The Blackguard’s Revenge
DCC#12.5 11-13 The Iron Crypt of the Heretics
DCC#31 14-16 Golden Palace of Zahadran
Matt had been DMing “Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil,” and we’d been walking around this immense caldera of caves and abandoned mines for months. So I wanted to mix it up a bit, try out some different terrains and environments. So I steered away from “Idylls of the Rat King” just because the cover blurb included the words “abandoned mines” on it. NO MORE MINES!
I had about 3 months to prepare, so I went the extra mile and created my own campaign setting called "The Temple of True North." It's geared to treat each DCC sort of like a Stargate SG-1 mission where a temple built by a forgotten race at the North Pole is basically Stargate Command. The underlying premise is that much of the world was depopulated by some sort of cataclysm and the Temple of True North has been taken over by a contingent of Lammasu trying to get to the bottom of what caused the “Great Catastrophe.” So they send out adventuring parties to remote locations of the world to explore, establish new trade routes, and search for clues as to what brought a former high-magic civilization to its knees. The Temple employs Divine Oracles (from the Complete Divine supplement) to go on vision quests for roads and rivers that might lead them to formerly inhabited areas.
I treated the Wildsgate
adventure like a recon mission to discover the ultimate fate of a former adventuring party of the True North Trading Co. which had never returned from its initial expedition into the Wilds (eaten by cannibals, as it turned out). I like the idea of a largely unexplored world with very few large cities struggling to re-establish themselves. The True North Trading Company offers monetary rewards for completing successful missions, and sends along Divine Bards (Unearthed Arcana variation) to act as the party scribes (and to bring along free teleportation scrolls to help low level characters get back to the Temple after the adventure is over).
I just ordered the Aereth Gazetteer from Amazon.com, so maybe from now on the PC’s won’t have to guesstimate their proximity to the North Pole each time they teleport.
My game borrows heavily from WotC’s Unearthed Arcana
UA pages 18 thru 19 - Reducing Level Adjustments
UA pages 47 thru 64 - Variant Character Classes
UA pages 86 thru 91 - Character Traits / Character Flaws
UA pages 94 thru 97 - Weapon Group Feats (all)
UA pages 111 thru 112 - Armor as Damage Reduction
UA pages 115 thru 118 - Vitality and Wound Points
UA pages 152 thru 153 - Spontaneous Metamagic
UA page 40 - Skilled Half-Elves
UA page 64 - Spontaneous Domain Casting
UA page 153 - Daily Spell List
UA page 73 - Fractional Base Bonuses
We also started with these WotC books as core material for extra feats and prestige classes:
All Player Characters are limited to 3 total Character Classes until Epic Level (21st). The 2 point bonus on strongest base saves (Fort / Reflex / Will) granted at first level is only counted once per save. (i.e. - bonuses granted for the same save type at 1st lvl. via Multi-Classing will not stack). Without these limitations my power-gamers would go nuts and multi-class upwards of 6 prestige classes.
I’ve seen them do it in Matt’s game. Also, no Bloodlines allowed.
After the end of each adventure, the party has a chance to nominate and vote in a new supplement. The first addition to the core book set was The Book of Exalted Deeds
. The PCs also have their eyes set on the Complete Champion
and the Magic Item Compendium
We have embraced 3.5 wholeheartedly but have had a surprisingly difficult time finding adventures that aren’t set in some completely wacky campaign setting. Why doesn’t WotC release straight-up Greyhawk adventures like they did during the 3.0 release? Goodman Games has been a life-saver in that regard! My players really enjoyed the Wildsgate
adventure and I even received compliments such as: “the most fun adventure I’ve played since 3.5 came out.” (though one should bear in mind that they could just be trying to butter me up so I’ll keep DMing for them.
I started out with four players but now I have six loyal DCC fans who don’t show any signs of loosing interest any time soon. If GG keeps on releasing ‘em, I’ll keep on running ‘em! Cheers!