Thursday 31 January 2013

DCC "World Tour" Toronto

Image copyright Goodman Games and is used without permission

As part of the DCC “World Tour”, I have decided to run a minimum of nine adventures in Toronto over the course of the spring and summer of 2013.  These nine adventures will be run in game stores, and, with luck, at OSRcon in August.

I will be running three 0-level funnels, three 1st-level adventures, two 2nd-level adventures, and one 3rd-level adventures.  Part of the idea would be that, if you play in one game, your survivors can automatically “move up” to one of the next higher-level games.  For example, if you have one or more survivors of a funnel, you can then automatically reserve a spot in a 1st-level game.

Last year’s Free Role-Playing Game Day developed a hitch because of the lack of preregistration.  Duelling Grounds in Toronto doesn't normally have registration for events, and, as a result, some people didn't want to make the trip for a game they maybe could play, and maybe could not.  Therefore, I am going to run these with at least “partial registration” – holding a number of spots open for the curious or the odd off-the-cuff gamer, while allowing some folks who know they want to be there to preregister.

I plan on running nine adventures which I wrote, plus any others provided by Goodman Games or other sponsors.  Once the nine adventures are written, they will be distributed to some colleagues for further playtesting, and anyone who plays them at the events will be given a form in order to supply feedback and get a playtest credit.  At the minimum, a name for the credit will have to be supplied.

I still need to flesh out the adventures, contact potential gaming sites, and get scheduling information to Goodman Games.  It should be fun.  My nine adventure ideas are

1.  Nightmare of the Dreamer (Lvl 0) – The sleepy fishing village of Red Bar is threatened by a terrible curse, which can only be lifted by Argos the Dreamer.  But Argos the Dreamer is in a prison of his own devising….can a group of villagers rescue him before it is too late?

2.  Four Orbs in a Garden (Lvl 0) – Every 10 years, Waterhall has a contest to see who can deliver the four crystal orbs from the Garden Labyrinth of Challak Ru.  The prize?  Weapons and armour of ancient dwarf-make.  Only four of the townsfolk can win, and many will enter.  Will they work together?  Or will they slaughter each other amid the greenery?

3.  The Blue Flame (Lvl 0) – Of old, the corsairs of the Morgac Isles were a scourge upon the eastern coast.  Who dares enter the decaying keep where the corsairs once reigned?

4.  Marsh Lights (Lvl 1) – That the Pellmire was once the site of a great civilization none can deny, for do the ancient ruined towers not glow there at night, beneath the moon?  The Lady of Red Bar was taken to the Clock Tower of Pellmire three nights ago.  Dare you win fame and fortune by winning her release?

5.  Waterhall is Sinking (Lvl 1) – The storm of the century is brewing….but what does it have to do with the Veiled Blades of Waterhall?

6.  The Slithering Ruins (Lvl 1) – Immortality is the prize for those who explore the last citadel of the Serpent Lords, and who return to tell of it.

7.  Challak Ru Must Fall (Lvl 2) – the Serpent Lords are long dead, but their deadly god yet remains.  Unless His unholy servants are thwarted, the entire eastern coast will be swept beneath the writhing amber tentacles of Challak Ru!

8.  Stronger Than Love (Lvl 2) – When the Veiled Blades of Waterhall meddle in divine politics, do you dare to stop them?  How far are you willing to go?

9.  Beneath the Ancient Sea (Lvl 3) – Beneath an ancient desert seabed, the fate of a world rests on one last battle against Challak Ru. 

Everyone Else X: Sepulcher of the Mountain God

Paul Wolfe’s Sepulcher of the Mountain God was the second of the Dungeon Crawl Classics AL Series of adventures for Purple Duck Games, and (I believe) Paul’s first published adventure.  

Now, this is one that I have a hard time writing about for a few reasons.  First off, I playtested it.  Second off, I helped with the editing.  Third off, I have been involved with Paul on other projects, such as In the Prison of the Squid Sorcerer and Angels, Daemons, & Beings Between.  Finally, I have been involved with the publisher on other projects, such as Bone Hoard of the Dancing Horror and Through the Cotillion of Hours.

So, I have some slight bias.  And by "slight", I obviously mean "quite large" or even "too large to fairly review".

Finally, if you are like me, you find yourself needing more 1st level materials for Dungeon Crawl Classics as you lead various groups through various 0-level funnels.  In a persistent game world, you don’t want to simply re-use the same adventure multiple times.  Having more low-level material is definitely a boon.

Basic Fantasy Appreciation Day

From the website:

The Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game is a rules-light game system modeled on the classic RPG rules of the early 1980's. Though based loosely on the d20 SRD v3.5, Basic Fantasy RPG has been written largely from scratch to replicate the look, feel, and mechanics of the early RPG game systems. It is suitable for those who are fans of "old-school" game mechanics. Basic Fantasy RPG is simple enough for children in perhaps second or third grade to play, yet still has enough depth for adults as well.

Basic Fantasy RPG is an Open Source game system, supported by dedicated fans worldwide who have contributed hundreds of pages of rules supplements, adventure modules, and other useful and enjoyable game materials as seen on our downloads page. We'd love for you to join us on our forum where we discuss the game as well as creating new materials for it.

Curious? Take a look at the sample character sheet (click here). Or, read the introduction story, collected from the rulebook.

Back when I thought that writing my own system (D&D Mine, if you would, or Raven Crowking's Fantasy Game if you would not), there were three major influences on my writing:  Labyrinth Lord, OSRIC, and Basic Fantasy.  For some reason, Basic Fantasy doesn't get the attention it richly deserves.

This is a game with a lot going for it.  If I was going to play any published fantasy game, right now, apart from Dungeon Crawl Classics, it may well be Basic Fantasy.  Of course, since the engines of those three influences are relatively close together, you can use adventures and even supplements for one with any of the others with only minor tweaking.  Likewise, the available Basic Fantasy adventures can be used with other game systems, such as Dungeon Crawl Classics.

If you haven't checked out Basic Fantasy yet, please download it and give it a look.  If you like what you see, consider putting a little coin in the coffers by buying a print version.  EDIT:  See comments below; the print version is "at cost"; this is done for love of the game alone!  How can you not support this?  And, finally, if you do check it out based on this recommendation, please leave a comment to let me know!

Thank you, and I hope you enjoy the first annual Basic Fantasy Appreciation Day!  Kudos to Erik Tenkar, over at Tenkar's Tavern for suggesting it!

Wednesday 30 January 2013

Dungeon Crawl Classics on Hardway Mountain

 My weekly Dungeon Crawl Classics game was switched from Thursday to Tuesday to accommodate a player who, once more, didn’t make it to this week’s game.  Hmmm.  On the other hand, Tuesday also accommodates his roommate, Phil, who is a really great addition to the game.

After finishing off one of the mini-scenarios for In the Prison of the Squid Sorcerer, we introduced Phil’s new party of four 0-level characters.  It is a testament to the strength of the DCC system, by the way, that 0-level characters can contribute to an adventure in a fun way, while other characters in the same adventure are reaching 2nd level.

The group joined a caravan headed east, and then found themselves attacked and carried aloft by a pair of rocs.  (Some funny confusion/conversation about “rocks” and “rocs” ensued.)  The group was deposited in a nest atop Hardway Mountain, and the rocs flew off. 

Some of you may be familiar with UK5: Eye of the Serpent, and can envision the module given a DCC twist.  It is remarkable how easy it is to convert the old TSR modules – generally, it involves flipping the AC, deciding what attack bonuses and saves should be applicable, and in the case of some monsters, upping hit points.  In this case, a +10 hp bonus is generally sufficient when needed.

The highlight of the game was when the characters found a glowing egg guarded by an ice demon.  First off, when the demon was killed/shattered, one of the PCs decided to collect some of the ice shards in a vial.  You never know when demon water might be useful….and, in DCC, it actually might be!  The freezing PCs dragged the egg out of the pool that was keeping it cool (and thus preventing its hatching).  The egg, being warm, gave them a chance to heat up….but it also hatched out a creature they first thought was a dragon.

Now, in the module, if this creature hatches, it immediately attacks.  But DCC has a strong vibe of letting the PCs try crazy things right from the get-go.  And, naturally, one PC attempts to befriend the creature by feeding it.  It eats six days’ worth of rations, and some canned meat, and nearly doubles its size.  The creature is described as having insect-like compound eyes (they cannot tell easily what it is thinking) and wings that form a cobra-like hood around its head when upset, rather than allowing flight.  There are several rolls to train this thing, all of which (through rolling or spending Luck) are very high.  Sometimes it pays to have a “halfling keeper of the hounds” in the party!

At the same time, as the evening winds down, they discover that the creature dislikes heat, that its back can now glow cherry-red from its own internal heat, and that they are not altogether certain how this strange alliance will end.

Fun times.  What a great game DCC is!


(1) Lots of fun with folks jumping into icy water to attempt to recover treasure.  I made use of Fort saves to avoid temporary Stamina damage, both from normal exposure, and moreso from leaping in the water.  The bonfire-like heat of the hatchling mentioned above was used to remove these penalties.  The basic set of DCs (5/10/15/20) works amazingly well for quick adjudication.

(2) The module suggests that you determine, as the DM, what pathways are open, based upon what encounters you wish the PCs to have.  I suggest that you determine, as the judge, what the DCs and consequences are of some pathways, rather than having them be "closed".  Of course, this is based upon my idea that you should avoid railroading players.

(3) Based on the idea that you should avoid railroading players, I let them know upfront that the rocs were a set-up; they would not be instantly killed.  I could have run this differently, but I thought that the players would enjoy the adventure, despite the inherent railroadiness of its set-up.  So far, this has proved to be an accurate prediction!

Tuesday 22 January 2013

WotC Opens the Vaults

If you haven't heard yet (and I cannot actually believe that you haven't heard), Wizards of the Coast has made a slew of older edition materials available again.

Therefore, some open comments to Wizards of the Coast:

Well, good on ya, WotC!  You have made yourself relevant to many gamers once more, gamers you had previously lost.  I even appreciate what you are trying to do with D&D Next (i.e., 5e), although Joseph Goodman has already taken your place in the "go-to game" department with Dungeon Crawl Classics.

I am old enough to have picked up most of the TSR modules in print, Lo! these many years agone, and I don't really need electronic versions of them now.

So how can you get some of my hard-earned gaming dollars?

I note that there is an intention to include new material with an A1-4 compilation.  Have you considered expanding B4: The Lost City?  I1:  Dwellers of the Forbidden City?  I would buy those.  Have you considered writing new adventures for classic editions, or (better) taking submissions for the same?  Pick authors that are known and trusted, particularly through the OSR movement, and I would be giving you more of my money.  A good adventure can be adapted to any rule system.

But, even if you do not do these things, and even if I already have all the older TSR materials that I currently want - thank you for doing this.  It's good for other people, and it is good for those just getting into the hobby.  It is good for us all.

This is a big step toward restoring my faith in you.  Keep it up.

Tuesday 15 January 2013

Patron Project GO!

Angels, Daemons,& Beings Between is now live on DriveThruRPG.  And on RPG Now.

I cannot tell you how proud I am of the work the team did, or how happy I am with the responses we've received from supporters so far.

Patrons, more than just mere supernatural benefactors, are schemers whose plots set the world in motion. They are beings who amuse, enthrall, and terrify the mortals who dare to bargain with them.

You, dear reader, will find thirteen fully developed patrons to use for the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG.

This product includes 40 new spells, monstrous minions, and new spell burn and Patron taint tables to use in your DCC games.

If you purchase this book, please be so good as to let me know what you think of it!

Video Review

Sunday 6 January 2013

Excellent Post Alert

Talking about what the OSR is about....a blog post I am in full agreement with.

(And which is, therefore, suspect!)