First Road Crew 2018 of 2018

Yep, Goodman Games Dungeon Crawl Classics Road Crew 2018 started off on the first Thursday of the year and will continue every Thursday at Better World Books, Goshen, IN @ 6 pm.

The three players who where there for the last Road Crew of 2017, were there for the first game of Road Crew 2018. The finish of “Not in Kansas Anymore”. 

Cam, Anita and Greg brought 0-level & 1-level characters to the table.

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Here is where there might be spoilers…..

Cam’s PC, Vance had the bird whistle. He would enter the each room, discover what was there, and at an opportune time blow on said whistle. Sometimes it worked and at other times, it didn’t benefit the PCs.

As there were 9 PCs who entered the last few rooms only 6 made it out alive. There would have been none had it not been for the blowing of…

As we finished around an hour early, the group spent time leveling up their PCs for the next adventure in The Shudder Mountains. We will spend time in the ’70s at the movies in “Beyond the Silver Scream” by Forrest Aguirre.

I would be interested in writing my own module adventure. I am pondering several ideas. We shall see…

My table is always open. My grandmas told me… There is always room for [one] more.

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Two FLGSs keep me hopping

[SPOILERS BELOW]

There is nothing more fun than having fun with friends! And of course, when you are running Dungeon Crawl Classics at TWO FLGSs, friends begin to come in abundance.

My tables are filling up, therefore, I’m finding myself in a quandary.

  1. What to run each time (there usually are one to two new players)
  2. Whether to limit the number at the table (sorry, I can’t turn people away)
  3. How to start and run a campaign with 8+ people at the table. (this is at one of the stores presently)

Just as much as I enjoy this quandary, I’m also not enjoying it. You see, I’ve not been running DCC RPG for even a year yet. It has been just over a year ago that I started playing DCC RPG. And in having so much fun with it, I thrust myself into judging.

With judging Goodman Games World Tours Road Crew 2017 games, I found myself at GenCon 50 in Indianapolis having won one of three spots in a Road Crew judges contest. What a thrill that was! You know, it’s the kind of thrill that you have to keep pinching yourself to see if it is real. And now, I’m going to Gary Con in March. I’m going as a gamer. I want to learn as a player what a good judge needs to know in order to provide adventures that keeps players coming back for more.

Well, this blog started out to share my last two Road Crew 2017 games. Not to talk about cons.

On December 14, at Better World Books in Goshen, IN there were three returning players at the table and we visited “Not in Kansas Anymore” by Dieter Zimmerman with Mark Sprengeler. On December 16, at Secret Door Games in Elkhart, IN there were seven returning players for “Sailors on the Starless Sea” by Harley Stroh. Two of which had been new to the game a the week before. One didn’t make it out of the store without purchasing a DCC RPG corebook. Both returned with their own set of strange shaped dice. dnddice

With three players, at Better World Books, having a total of 12 PCs they take a time traveling trip from the Shudder Mountains back to the 1970’s. “Not in Kansas Anymore” isn’t dull. The PCs find themselves no longer meager peasants with occupations of cheese maker, baker, and candlestick makers. Semi-truck driver, lawyers, waitress, etc. are trying to escape the threatening lava of a volcano. Along the way they have gotten some jewels and coins mound of treasure and defeated a poor young sky lizard. Really, what did it ever do to them? Its mother had died a cruel death prior to the PCs ever finding it. With yet more to come, Greg, Cam, and Anita have some exciting adventuring to do and figuring out what purpose the enchanted coins have in escaping the volcano.

“Sailors” has gotten itself into its third session with seven players having a total of 20 PCs among them. I am hoping that it will conclude when the group can reconvene after the holidays. Or maybe and all day/night pre-new year’s eve event. The group has made its way across the starless sea with Jacob’s chaotic beadle Image result for Beadleand his holy symbol jumping into the sea to appease the beast. And the PCs are now disembarking the ship for the island with the ziggurat. My players are Marlene, Kelly, Jocelyn, Matt, David, Isaiah, Jacob and Ben. Not with me, at this time, are the names of their PCs. But I can truly tell you that these characters have come up with amazing character names for their PCs.

For those of you that DM, GM or Judge RPGs, please leave a comment below. The subject: The *stress* of preparation for a rpg game and the relief the running of the game to find that it ran better than you’d ever planned for.

My comment is this: I have anticipation anxiety in preparation for a game. Then during the game, I relax and find the players give me the joy and the fun of getting to the end. Sometimes we get to the end quickly and at other times (I know that I’m doing a lot for them to get the clues – not always the best judge’s feature) it goes slow.

I’m constantly looking for ideas, suggestions, and feedback. Positively put, criticism is accepted.

May your holidays be filled with crits.

Return to DCC Road Crew 2017

[Insert UGH here. As this was to post 9 days ago].

It has been a few weeks (since October) that I’ve been able to judge DCC at my two FLGSs. It felt good to gather around the table last evening. Road Crew 2017 got back on track last evening at Better World Books in Goshen, IN. We headed to The Shudder Mountains.

After the wedding at “Sour Spring Hollow” with nary a survivor from the Hobb’s Farm adventure, the party has come to an end. Filled with food and dancing all day, the PCs realize that the day is moving into dusk and the guests have all packed up their potluck dishes and dancing shoes, and are now headed for home.

BUT WHICH WAY is home in The Shudder Mountains? What did that ginger’y tasting witch liqueur do to our brains?

The group decides to follow the only obvious road out of the Hollow. As they moved along the road, dusk is becoming darker. The PCs are losing daylight. They come upon a sign in the fork of the road. One direction says “Sour Spring Hollow Lower” and the other “Moonricket Hollow”. The PCs decide that they will go in the directions of Moonricket Hollow. This is where they come upon Moonricket Bridge and encountered a ghostly adventure.

This Level 1 adventure in “The Chained Coffin” set does not disappoint and can be run within a 3 hr time frame. Adding more to the encounters offered in this part of the modules, will add more suspense and death of PC’s.
In last evening’s adventure, we had a PC paralyzed and another who made his stealth check but then got entangled in his blackjack by throwing a “1” and fumbling on his attack. He was entangled for 10 minutes as the fighting kept on. No one could roll adequate numbers, not even me…the judge.
The group came to the end of the adventure with fuzzy feelings and the reward.

*“The Chained Coffin” boxed set by Michael Curtis DCC83

After the wedding in “Sour Spring Hollow” – A DCC adventure

The ‘Mountains’ are ‘Shudder’ing as a few residents of the Shudder Mountains take to  adventuring in “The Chained Coffin” set by Michael Curtis.

The adventure began when we visited a wedding in “The Woeful Tale of Sour Spring Hollow”. Those PCs  who drank the gingery drink at the wedding are thought of in the past tense. (It was a TPK – total party kill).

As only one bottle of the special brew had been discovered, those wedding guests who were not fortunate to be served the gingery drink are now on their way home. They have gathered up the meager leftovers which was not much and are setting out on the only road out of Sour Spring Hollow.

It is dust as they leave the hollow. What the PCs failed to remember until now was the legend of “Moonricket Bridge”. During the day and it’s light, the bridge is safe to cross. But when dusk and night falls, there is something to be afraid of in crossing the bridge.

As I am discovering, Michael Curtis does not disappoint in this set. Mr. Curtis has not laid everything out in strict fashion. You, as the judge, can fill in ‘folklore’ adventure as you guide the PCs through the Shudder Mountains. The boxed set gives you the funnel and can take your group all the way to Level 5 adventurers.

Last evening, the PCs felt a ‘shudder’ and experience a rot coming from beneath a ruined keep they stumbled upon. Recognizing the banner, the PCs realize that in this area of the mountains there have been villagers disappearing at a surprising rate. The PCs find themselves standing in front of this ruined keep and are compelled to investigate.

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My regulars keep bringing newbies to the table. Welcome Jacob and Ben!

Thus they entered Harley Stroh’s “Sailors On the Starless Sea”. Yes, it is another 0-level funnel but even a Level 1 can find themselves at death’s door quickly.

What is under the hill which the keep is set upon may just be the beginning of a love affair with what is found in The Shudder Mountains. The PCs may find they are “Frozen in Time” by Michael Curtis or looking up and seeing a “Hole in the Sky” by Brenden LaSalle. A portal may take them somewhere truly unknown for that split second they may take their eyes off the road.

Home brew – Gygax’s ’83 Red Box – Bargle, the renegade wizard.

Hello, I’m Judge Joan (of Arc). I’m a judge for Goodman Games World Tours 2017 DCC RPG.

This past Saturday, my Goodman Games World Tours 2017 DCC RPG event had five players show up. All females! This judge was in a rare moment. How many all female RPG player groups do you know? I’m nuts about Dungeon Crawl Classics! And hosting DCC RPG events are causing more players to fall in love with the game. DCC RPG is an awesome rules set. “Get ready to play like it’s 1974!”

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Jocelyn, Hope, Judge Joan (of Arc), Kelley, Marlene, Mandy

What am I running? Well, before I’d learned of and played DCC RPG, I was introduced to D&D 3.0/3.5. It got me curious to read about the origins of the game. So I picked up a used “1983 Dungeons & Dragons Red Box Basic Rules Set 1” on eBay. redbox83I’d read through the Player’s Manual and then the Dungeon Master’s Manual. In the DM’s manual there is a group adventure. As I read it I thought, “What fun this would be to run with Dungeon Crawl Classics rules.”

This introductory dungeon adventure fits really well as a DCC RPG 0-level funnel with the possibility to develop more dungeon levels. So, I began developing a home-brew “Qnight’s Haunted Quest”.

On Saturday, August 26, 2017, I introduced the second level to an all women’s DCC RPG group. Some had gone through the 0-level funnel and had one or two survive. They now had leveled them up. A new player to the this adventure was given four 0-level PCs. The returning group recruited more peasants to help them avenge for death of the town’s cleric, Aleena. We lost a couple of 1st levels and several 0-levels to the dungeon during this session.

NOTE SPOILERS coming up:  Recount of the session provided by Marlene (Peach the Cobbler Warrior and Bonefish the Halfling mariner)!

“We found out our kobold heads on spikes worked like a champ but it emboldened us a little too much and made us forget caution.” [The PCs suspected that putting dead kolbold heads on posts in the courtyard, just outside the castle entrance, would deter the kolbold guards from protecting their treasure. They encountered three kolbold guards that took their guard serious enough to hide in the shadows just off the front corners of the castle. One PC asked to take a dead kolbold’s arm to carry around. Ruled “Ok, you have a kolbold arm.”]

“We tried to open a talking crate for twenty minutes to no avail. Eventually Bonefish tried to set it on fire and just managed to burn himself. Peach re-bent her newly repaired pitchfork tine in the effort. (I sense a pattern emerging.)” [Yes, the PCs had gone back into town after the 0-level session. First, to rest and heal from wounds taken. Second, to get more supplies, and third, to repair damaged implements. Peach the Cobbler, now turned warrior, had a tine or two on her pitchfork bent and needed repair. Unfortunately, the peasants in town didn’t understand that it was to be used against monsters and not against hay. Peach may want to look into another type of weapon.]

“We met resistance on the stairs. A kobold arm was thrown and subsequently charred by a Molotov cocktail. (Need help with names.)” [My groups at GenCon 50 will recognize the throwing of a lit oil flask down the stairs and the effects of such. Flash of flame. Smoke. And burn. In the end, this group managed to defeat the kolbolds.]

At the bottom of the stairs the PCs “found a statue of the good wizard, [Gygar]. There was an inscription about an orb that will help in our quest.”

“OhMy! was eaten by rats and it took us an embarrassing amount of time to defeat them. One was splattered with Jarlesburg’s war hammer. Peach speared one on the end of her pitchfork and subsequently named her new pet Pit.” [Yes, four small dire rats. I guess the dice were not with them. As a judge, I found this encounter hilarious for the antics that the PCs tried in defeating the rats and ultimately finding some treasure.]

“Peach took up the fallen lantern and spotted something shiny. Charged forward into the darkness without it to find the shiny which turned out to be a scowling crystal statue of Wizard McMeanpants [Bargle]. In a rare instance of a display of good judgment, she didn’t touch the statue, which looked, disappointingly, too heavy to carry. She proved herself to be an unreliable purveyor of recon information.” [This truly is my favorite paragraph! The players during this session came up with the most interesting phrases, accents for their PC’s, and backstory for each PC.]

“We came across a room with the skeleton of an elf and a cryptic warning about yellow mold. Kelley’s elf (Inlë?) did some inspecting.” [Creepy.]

“We backtracked to the hallway we had previously passed rather than venture down further flights of stairs. Came across a room with four kobolds firing slings from behind an overturned table. Peach [using a Mighty Deed and rolling a ‘3’] launched herself and her pet rat Pit over the table and skewered the head of a kobold on the end of her pitchfork. The other kobolds fled in a panic, slamming the door as they went. Peach noticed that one of them dropped a small flask. She popped the seal while inspecting it and vanished from sight. Though a vapor, she could still communicate with the party. She charged the group with looking after her best friend Pit and her goat Cheddar and seeped through the crack in the door to scout ahead.” [This Mighty Deed sure rocked it! But the aftermath of popping the seal on the flask … well…]

“The next room held a cooking fire manned by two kobolds. Peach let out a stream of shrieking gibberish which panicked the cooks and they fled. She sounded the all-clear and the rest of the party joined her in the room.” [And this, my friends, is where our adventure in dungeoning ended… to be continued.] Thank you, Marlene for the notes you took and helping with the session write up.

Addendum: I was able to run my home-brew 0- level “Qnight’s Haunted Quest” at GenCon 50 for two Goodman Games events. After the second event, I was talking to another judge and was encouraged to continue to develop the original adventure. I came home to discover that in 2007 Jason Bulmahn created “Kill Bargle!” Mr. Bulmahn took the original adventure and developed the story for the second and third level dungeon in D&D 3.5. It was printed in the last Dungeon Magazine, Issue 150. Taking the module from the Dungeon Magazine, I am reading through it and hoping to adapt it to DCC RPG rules.

“The Woeful Tale of Sour Spring Hollow” [test run for GenCon 50, Aug 2017]

Last evening was the test run/practice session at my FLGS for GenCon 50 of “The Woeful Tale of Sour Spring Hollow” by Michael Curtis from The Chained Coffin box set published by Goodman Games for their Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG. 

My DCC RPG table is an open table. Meaning that anyone can come and play. I just love teaching new players! And of course, my FLGS loves me introducing new players to the game.

Last evening, Aug 12, 2017, I had 10 players come to the table. Yes, I know, the table is best at 5-6 players. But I can’t and won’t turn away new players. Five were brand-new to DCC RPG. I LOVE when new players come. I get so excited to teach them how much fun DCC RPG is! I’m a new Judge and player myself, so I look to learning from the group also.Image result for Sour Springs Hollow

In last evening’s episode,  40 PCs were rolled up. I could have given them pre-gen characters but really, what fun would that be for new players wanting to learn how to roll up new  PCs? I just love rolling up new PCs!

I was not going to let them bring all of them on the adventure. Twenty-eight PCs are plenty to try to funnel through in 2-4 hours. So, I allowed them to use three of their four characters. BUT…I did NOT let them choose which three to keep or which one to leave behind.

I had two ways to determine whom they would get to keep and which one they would have to kill. I gave them two choices. 1) Number their PCs from upper left to right and then lower left to right; OR 2) Number them how they would like to. They choose … randomly. I then threw a d4, it landed on “3” and whichever PC had the number “3” marked by it was DEAD!

My group loved this! I heard groans and I heard cheers. Some obviously lost what they thought was going to be a great PC and others were glad that their unlucky PC was out of the game before it started.

With 30 PCs now ready to go, we set off to join the wedding party.  The marriage of Ivy Newscombe and Tum Dankers with their families and invited guests proved to be a joyous occasion celebrating the union of two Shudfolk of the Shudder Mountains. The party afterward was even better than the wedding according to most of the attendees. It was a foot stomping, toe tapping wild wing-ding. Son Carver and Clim Wills worked hard at dishing out heaps of food and poured drink from jugs of good, strong stump whiskey. One swig from a particular odd colored jug, did the group in. It burned straight down and left a taste of ginger lingering in the mouth.

This is where I left the players and their PCs. I told them that their PCs find themselves lying face down in dried up brown grass. Monica, Lucia, Harold, Spad, Sped, Spid, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter (named by an 11 yr old), Shackleton, Yarlesburg, Podrick, Clarence with Billy the goose, Chuck, Job, Raven, Telly, Karen, Stalord, Zantz, Demize, Eustice, Turk, Durk, Paul, Elija, Harry, Frances, Harriet and Truman raise their heads and looking around, they find that they are no longer at the wedding. Heads feeling a bit awash, and nothing but old run down log cabins, a dried up corn field and a dense forest surround them.

With the first surprise of the Hobbs phantoms, Job, Harold, Spid, Telly and Raven hqdefaultsuccumbed to the deadly grasps. All of the other PCs ran to the closest log cabins for cover.  Six PCs: Eustice, Elijah, Karen, Harry, Shackleton and Lucia enter what they thought was a safe haven and immediately succumb to death by the most horrific of acidic juices.

There is always one in the group, who likes to take off on their own, but stay within ear shot of the group. I did allow this, but of course, in the end, the PC succumbed to death. But not after he had another PC join him for one last “Hurrah!” What was hilarious of this attempt to be heroic was the fact that neither one of the players could roll any DC checks. One attempt to discover something really cool was met with the other PC standing in the middle of the burial ground clapping their hands. For what reason is anyone’s guess. But it left 10 players roaring with laughter. To me…this is Dungeon Crawl Classics!

As I do not want to give too many spoilers, I will come to the conclusion.

  • I found that with a group of 10 players, it was a handful to keep track of who died. Keeping track of who died is pretty important in this game module. It affects certain appearances of ‘monsters’.
  • With more than 5-6 players, pre-gen characters are preferable. Yes, players do want to learn to roll up characters and I do like teaching this mechanic. But I’ve learned, the next time I see more than six players coming to my table…I will pull out the pre-gens. Purple Sorcerer, here is to you!
  • For the new Judge, I’m giving myself grace and find that my players are great at helping me along.

And last, it is always fun to hear “My favorite part was…” And each player had their favorite part. When you can do that in a game, you’ve done it right.

Writing for a DCC module to be run at GenCon 50 in August.

“Qnight’s Haunted Quest” is a home-brew based on the original D&D Red Box adventure.

I started playing RPGs in my fifties. I was in drama club in high school and loved it. I have, for years, wanted to try my hand at writing a book. In 2012, I found NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) which is November. I wrote over 50,000 word novelette in 25 days. “The Pretzel Twist” has yet to edited.

As I look back on that, I see that within that mystery story, I am ripe to be a DM with a story to guide adventurers through.

So, with that, I move on to developing “Qnight’s Haunted Quest” for GenCon this year.

Goodman Games has Dungeon Crawl Classics (DCC) RPG. DCC RPG takes you back to gaming as Gary Gygax wanted us to play D&D but with the D20 system that has developed over the years. Gary Gygax took math to the limits of the 12 yr old and some beyond. DCC RPG brings the math to a simpler level and lets us do more role-playing. But you can’t leave the older D&D Gary Gygax & Dave Arneson modules behind!

A few years ago I purchased a used original Dungeons and Dragons Red Box set off of eBay. The box was pretty well worn, but the contents are pristine.

Having started my rpg gaming with D&D 3.5 and my curiosity for how the game began, I wanted to “test drive” the original D&D. Wow, did I get bogged down!

It was through the local book store and their Thursday evening game nights that I was introduced to DCC RPG. Initially I disliked it as all of out 0-level characters were destroyed. (I have a soft heart for having, at least, one PC make it through to the end alive.

It was several months before I agreed to play it again. The DCC RPG judge (DM, GM) was in at the store wanting to try it again. We had a discussion regarding how the first game session went. He was very open to hearing my thoughts, so I was open again to try out role-playing this interesting rpg that starts out with 0-level PCs. To my amusement, I had a blast.

Now I’m a judge for DCC RPG’s Worlds Tour 2017.

Want to play like it is 1971? You have got it in Goodman Games Dungeon Crawl Classics! Want to learn more about DCC RPG? Well there are podcasts and websites. Join Google Plus or G+ and look up DCC RPG. Or maybe you will be at GenCon this year in Indianapolis, IN. Look me up. I’ll be wearing “Judge Joan of Arc” name tag. Come to my sessions late Friday and Saturday to play “Qnight’s Haunted Quest”. But be prepared, you will need more than your pitchfork, dagger, shovel, and sling to get you through this adventure.