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.

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.

Winning a contest…

What? Winning a contest? Well, this is a never done thing. How did I do that?

Running Goodman Games Dungeon Crawl Classics at a local FLGS. Goodman Games

It all first started a few months ago when I was asked if I’d like to try a new RPG. The first time I played it, I was not impressed. I think it had to do with not understanding the fragility of the 0-level characters. But it also has to do with the fact that I’m relatively new to RPG gaming, so I lack the OSR background. Fantasy role-playing isn’t something I did as a kid. I had and have a good imagination, but I have lacked practicing my imagination over the past 20+ years.

I enjoy reading books. I’ve tried writing a novel and have one in an unedited state. I love the imagination and the freedom to create stories. As I come across RPG gaming, I’m excited. I’m in the process of writing an adventure module. But, probably, like my novel, it will stay in an unedited state. Yet, I’ve introduced the first part and have players who have really enjoyed it. So, on to developing it more.

Goodman Games has World Tour 2017 and asks for Road Crew where you can order free swag to hand out at your DCC RPG sessions. They also posted a contest for GenCon 2017. All you needed to do was to schedule and report on DCC RPG sessions at your local FLGS. This is what I did and sent an email that I wanted to enter the contest. Nothing lost. Nothing gained. 

I gained! I recently heard that I was one of three contestants that won the GenCon 2017 package! With the package, I will get to run two DCC RPG sessions for Goodman Games. I’ve never been to GenCon. I have friends that are drooling over my win. And I have friends that have been there and are going again this year. I have lots to learn before I get there. This is so exciting!

Now back to studying and planning!

Just off the press! Goodman Games World Tour 2017 Contest drawing.

Session report for June 4

I arrived at Secret Door Games in Elkhart, IN for the 4th session of Goodman Games World Tours 2017 to find I had eight RPGer eager and ready to play.

I’d planned that we take around 30 minutes to do some learning on how to roll up 0-level characters. We made it through by creating 24 0-level characters. There were two returning players who had 0-levels ready for the game. 

As there were three returning players, and two of them had played “Portal under the Stars”, I asked them if they wouldn’t mind if we’d go through it again for the sake of the six brand new players. They were fine with that. And in the end, they had a great time going through “Portal under the Stars” again.

Our players for this evening: Cam adventured with Markus, Marin, Barkley, and Morton; Marlene adventured with TomTom a navigator, Etsy a merchant, Chefaine, and Dikon a radish farmer; Kelly adventured with Johan, Sawyer, Cherry a cobbler, and Lunella; Ben adventured with Trying, Shako, Egan, and Richie a banker; Gretchen adventured with One, Two, Three, and Four (she said that she’d name the ones that survived. I guess giving them names was getting too attached to them); Dave adventured with Bumbag a farmer with a mule, Chick Chop a chicken butcher, and Roman Meal a wheat farmer; Matt advetured with Peter G, Joe S. Cleveland, and Glen C. (all baseball players, I believe).

Spoilers:

They managed to get through the portal and the first door without castualties. Entering the first room, though, two of the four spears shish kaboobed Markus. The rest of the group, shocked to see the first fallen, were cautious about enter the room. Torches were lit and one at a time peeked through the door to take a look at the iron statues that just disarmed their spears.

Finding that these iron statues were no longer dangerous, they plundered the four iron statures of their armor, helmets, and the spears. With no regard for Markus, two the the adventurers grabbed the spears out of his bloody dead body without much of a whimper or “Ugh, that’s gross.”

Off they went to the next door. Opening it, the see the marble floor. This room proved to be quite the challenge for them. The first to go through was trying and got a bolt of flame and lie smoldering on the floor. Again, the group began to look closely around the room inspecting what they could from the door. Roman Meal threw his goose in and they watched as the goose got fried. Wood pieces were thrown one by one into the room as the group tried to figure out how to disarm the huge statue of it’s ability to throw flames from it’s finger tip. After some time, without the group figuring it out, the flame throwing finger died out.

Roman Meal the wheat farmer had made it to the door on the west wall. He was the only survior from using he door as a sheild to protect from the flame throwing finger tip. He unfortunately met with the snake and died of a snake bite. As the group was looking around the room and trying to climb the 30 ft granite flame throwing statue, the snake made it’s way into the room. After it attacked Four, the group turned on it and killed it. Not sure who ended up with it’s horn as there was a huge luting spree going on of the dead.

The group made it to the east door, but once the door was open and they found it to be a crypt with bones, skulls and burial masks, they quickly closed the door and headed to the north door.

Once in the north door they found the pool with the glimmering light coming from the crystals on the floor of the pool. They quickly discovered that the crystal statues posed no danger. There were adventurers seeking treasure and began to take crystals from the bottom. As the bubbles came more and more, they left the pool to investigate the door in the corner of the northeast. 

To not give more away from the adventure, I will stay that this group work well together to get to the end of the module. 

In memorioum and may they RIP: Etsy; Dikon; Johan; Sawyer; Lunella; Markus; Trying; Richie; Two; Four; Limb; Roman Meal; Joe S. as they all went down seeking treasure and heroism.

Play testing for DCC RPG

Last evening I was part of a play testing group for a Level 2 module. We were told from the start that we would be play testing as our judge had been asked if he would do it with our group.

Now our group has one regular player…me. A returning player (he had not played the last 2 weeks), a returning player for the last two weeks, and two new players to DCC RPG.

Our judge has his own WordPress site, so you may read past game reviews here: Take on Rules and his other insights on gaming.

My take on play testing: Well, it was going pretty well, except that rough draft for this play test was really rough. The map and the directions on the map made sense. BUT…the directions in the module did not, at all, coincide with the map. We were really direction turned. Poor judge! We needed to end the adventure early because the module was so wordy and confusing.

So, our play testing was a module from Pathfinders being adapted to the DCC RPG rule set. “Purple Mountain II: Ruins of the Dwarven Delve” I believe this is the module. Yes, overall, I think that this module could be fun, but disappointed that the rough draft was way rougher to decipher for play.

I like traps and tricks, but this was so full of traps that adventuring was pushed back to almost nothingness. Where is the story-line for role-playing. I did like the gremlins and their descriptions, but what more is there?

If you have played “Purple Mountain II: Ruins of the Dwarven Delve”, what are your comments?