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.

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“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.