Shudder Mountain Theme Song

dcc_rpg_cover_smallThe new Dungeon Crawl Classics campaign kicked off earlier this week with my online group. We are starting out in the Shudder Mountains from the recently released Chained Coffin boxed set from Goodman Games. The set has plenty of great material to get the campaign rolling and we opened up with the 0-level funnel, Sour Spring Hollow.

Most of the guys from the actual play podcast are back together again for some DCC fun. Everyone was pretty excited and had characters generated well over a week ahead of game start time.

One of the players, Dustin Clark, has even gone as far to write and record a Shudder Mountain Campaign Theme Song! He unveiled the lyrics early in the week to our little community group. But then a few hours before game time we were treated to an actual recording!

And here it is!

Artist: Dustin Clark
Song:  Cross Your Path (Rough Cut)
*all rights are Dustin Clark’s

If you liked it, Dustin has some other songs out their previously released on Spotify:

Spotify – Dustin Clark


Shudder Mountain Campaign

chained_coffin_coverMany followers of the blog know that the Sunken City campaign from the actual play podcast wrapped up a couple of months ago. Our online group is flush with excellent GMs and the guys gave me a break from early September until now. We had some Swords & Wizardry, Labyrinth Lord, and Dungeonslayers at the table during the break. Then I warmed up with a Tomb of Horrors holiday campaign that went 4 sessions.

Now I feel rested and energized and ready to get back behind the screen. Polling the group showed they were ready for more DCC! Initially I was going to start the whole thing off with a 0-level funnel idea I had (and got partially through writing), but then I realized The Chained Coffin box was going to be showing up at my house any day! I pitched a campaign based on that boxed set and the idea was well received!

Shudder Mountain

While the boxed set is called The Chained Coffin, the mini-campaign setting is actually focused on a region called the Shudder Mountains. The vast majority of writing for everything in this set is Michael Curtis. The man was a machine turning out words for this setting! Steve Bean wrote a 1st level adventure included with the set. An owner of the boxed set gets a regional map, a 0-level funnel, 1st level adventure, 3rd level adventure, 5th level adventure, an almanac, and a companion guide.

The easiest way to describe the Shudder Mountains is to think of the forgotten hollows of Appalachia West Virginia. Hollows, creeks, forested, rugged land. Parts well isolated from “modern” times. Throw in some superstition and DCCify it a bit and you have a great place to start a campaign in!

Cool Stuff – Spoiler free

I have of course started prepping for the campaign (we start playing next week!). This is how more campaign settings should be written (mini or not). There is just enough information to save me a lot of work in coming up with, while leaving a tremendous amount of opportunities for me to expand on.

The history of the Shudder Mountain region stretches back a great many centuries. With two ancient races – one somewhat traditional for some fantasy worlds and the other definitely Appendix N style. This offers up a plethora of possibilities for the Judge to expand on either ancient civilization in their game.

I have several ideas already floating around in my head based on this history. Some to older modules (even some Forgotten Realms stuff I think) and some to some products from Goodman Games. All of this off what was essentially a pretty short read.

All of this feed into why the people of Shudder Mountains are they way they are. Many of these things make the region quite unique and interesting. There are lots of new things to toy with as a Judge to keep the players on their toes.

Campaign Start

I can tell my players are excited as I think all of them have already posted their 0-level characters to our G+ Community group. Usually a good sign! In a lot of ways I wish I had started the campaign tonight (as I write this), but it was my first week back to work after a long holiday break and I thought I’d be pretty tired already!

I will be launching the campaign with the 0-level from the boxed set. Looks to be much shorter than the 0-level I started them with, but potentially way more lethal! From there I will probably fall back to my listening to the players to see what “lead” they want to investigate. We shall see!

Actual Play Podcast?

At this point I am leaning towards releasing actual play episodes of this campaign. I have setup the computer I use for our G+ Hangout/Roll20 sessions for recording. Feedback has been positive on the release of episodes from the last campaign. And some have commented that hearing a campaign from the start would be even better.


The Chained Coffin Unboxing

The Chained Coffin was a Kickstarter Goodman Games ran to produce a boxed module set for the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG. That Kickstarter ended in early June and resulted in a boxed set containing The Chained Coffin module, a puzzle made of three spinning wheels, a gazetteer, and a couple of extra mini-adventures, and a mid-sized poster map.

There were also numerous stretch goals for this Kickstarter with some extras. These ranged from deals on existing modules, flasks, and more. I just checked and had gone in for the $30 backer level. It turned out to be an outstanding deal for me for the amount of material I received. This should easily be enough for me to base my next DCC campaign in this region.

There have been a few sightings of the boxed set arriving at various places in previous weeks. Mine arrived today!  What follows are some unboxing pictures as folks around the Internet wait for theirs to arrive!

Note: I have not included any pictures of the puzzle. I don’t want to spoil that for anybody, so you will have to take my word that it is cool and will be a great table prop! (too bad I will be running this online and not in a face-to-face game.)



DCC Actual Play Podcast Meta

DCC RPG Rulebook Cover w-HeadphonesAs I finish the final mixing of audio for Episode #21 of the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG Actual Play podcast I felt the need for a “meta” post. This covers some of the behind the scenes thoughts that happen in the campaign that don’t get recorded and get discussed in our community group.

Regular listeners know the group put their high level characters on a bit of a hiatus and picked up some lower level guys in the town of Cillimar. Some stayed in the town, others went back to the Great City and some went off into the mountains to seek keys to unlock great power.

The high level characters at the time had just come off a beating at the tower of Leotah. She had laid a gauntlet of sorts for them as a defensive measure. A measure that took its toll on the characters who ran it (Episode #15 if you are curious).

It was around this time they decided to get some downtime in Cillimar and take some new characters, lower level characters out for a spin. The next several podcast releases focused on those new lower level characters. A good time was had, but after awhile the players began to miss their higher level characters.

There was much discussion in our private community group and the decision was made to return to the high level characters. There were several plot hooks that were unanswered and as the time passed (real time) with the lower level group, the gang wanted to make a return to the Great City.

We’ve experimented a lot in this campaign with introducing new characters. I piloted a ‘cut-scene funnel’, i.e. running a funnel adventure with a whole new set of characters who could later join the main group as replacements. The trial in Cillimar was another such experiment.

With the decision made to go back to the main, high level characters I believe we have reached the closing phases of the campaign as a whole. There are several major plot elements to resolve, some of which continue to unfold in the as of yet released episodes.

In either case, the soon to be released Episode #21 marks the return to the characters affectionately known as Satan’s Glee Club.

Review: The God-Seed Awakens

The God-Seed Awakens CoverAuthor:  Paul Wolfe
Publisher:  Mystic Bull Games
Art: Doug Kovacs (cover), David Fisher, Jason Sholtis, Mario Torres, Jr.
Price: PDF $8.99 or Print $15.00 – RPG Now
Pages: 53

The Basics

The God-Seed Awakens is the newest adventure from Mystic Bull Games, written by Paul Wolfe for the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG system. The adventure is intended for four to six 3rd level characters.

The cover is graced with the wonderful artwork of Doug Kovacs. The interior has pieces from David Fisher, Jason Sholtis, and Mario Torres, Jr. This review is based on both the Print and PDF versions of the adventure.

A living seed has found its way here from a distant world. A seed from a world-spanning tree where its roots made their way deep to the underworld and branches to the sky above. With the growth of the world-tree unstopped it managed to breach the confines of reality and find ways to other worlds. Two of the creatures from the seed have begun to raise forces from this world to further their own interests.

The backdrop of this adventure is an area around Mount Welwood. A judge can easily drop this area into their existing campaign world or download a hex-map from the Mystic Bull website for new campaigns. Several rumors (including a rumor table!) and hooks are included in the adventure to help a judge spur the characters to action!

In addition to the adventure a full patron write-up is included, new spells, new magic items, and many new monsters.

The artwork is liberally spread throughout the adventure. When one faces lots of new creatures, the accompanying artwork is a very useful tool for the judge to help describe the creatures to their players.

The included maps are clean and cover the cave system within Mount Welwood and the Seed of the Worldbreaker.

My Thoughts

Mystic Bull Games went all out with the cover on this one! Awesome art by Doug Kovacs. I saw the original to this one at Gary Con when Doug had it with him. It looked great then and it looks great on the actual printed module. The beast on the front with the eyes and mouth of a starfield is an excellent touch. And something about the cultists on the ledge really appeals to me.

As I noted earlier in the review, the module has a good amount of art throughout. While helping avoid any “walls of text” the art is a boon to judges in describing the new creatures the characters will encounter in this module. A definite plus.

The module hits the DCC “feel” by having a dimension traveling tree spreading its seed to other worlds. Couple the very premise with the vast array of atypical creatures and a DCC judge is sure to keep his players on their toes. The beauty of it all is the hooks start with things such as glowing spiders, raggedly dressed people preaching of a new god, and such. Then the characters will find themselves at odds with the creatures of the god-seed. I really like the more “typical” setup that really leads to anything but “typical”!

I also like that a full patron write-up is included for Shaloth. My players have the tendency to pick patrons from various modules I run. Some only have the patron and no write-up to go with them. The full write-up for Shaloth would be of great aid should a character choose this patron. Or if I wanted to borrow it for my campaign even without running the module.

Wrap Up

The God-Seed Awakens is great add to the DCC judge’s bag of tricks. With the ease of dropping it into an existing campaign and the plethora of items to borrow for an existing campaign the latest release from Mystic Bull Games is sure to find some use.

Chained Coffin Kickstarter

Chained Coffin CoverMany of my readers have likely already seen the news about the most recent Goodman Games Kickstarter for the Chained Coffin. As some Kickstarters do, this was taken off and quickly grown to be more than just some perks for the Chained Coffin adventure and is becoming its own entity. This is important and the thing folks (DCC fans and campaign setting fans) need to take note of.

But first, for those that don’t know about the Kickstarter I will highlight a few of the initial selling points. If you already know all of these, don’t leave just yet – skip down to the Boxed Set section.

Chained Coffin Kickstarter

So – the Chained Coffin kickstarter was initially to raise some funds for a cool prop. A spinning wheel puzzle. The adventure is already written and coming out regardless of Kickstarter success. But the original $4,000 goal was to get a spinning wheel puzzle made of cardstock. A pretty cool player handout!

But then the stretch goals started.First it was some additional sourcebook material for the area, then it was more random encounter tables. Shudder Mountains where the adventure takes place is a decent sized area. Then it was some more player handouts with Doug Kovacs art.

As those stretch goals have been met, things began to transform from adventure to gazetteer style stretch goals. Digest sized pages to letter sized pages, and more to further detail the Shudder Mountains. Higher levels include an 11×17 poster and the top stretch goal is an actual full-color box set!

All of this for picking up the $30 Silver Foil limited edition version of the module.

Boxed Set Mini-Campaign Setting

Folks – this Kickstarter has turned into a boxed set mini-campaign setting. Not only that, but at a price point that is pretty darn incredible if the stretch goals are hit.

As a host of Spellburn we get a lot of email asking about campaign settings. Is there anything out there for people? What campaign setting do I use for my actual play? The questions pop up on forums and social media networks all the time.

Here is your chance to show Goodman Games a mini-campaign setting is what you want. Because if this Kickstarter hits the goal of $36,000 that is pretty much what you’ll be getting.

Current players of DCC know the game has a regional feel to it. It doesn’t work under the assumption of needing a continent spanning area, a region can be the start to a very long running game. The Shudder Mountains is this regional setting.

More Kickstarter Info

Goodman Games has provided several ways to help them meet this goal. $30 gets you the silver foil limited edition. There is also a limited edition gold foil for $60. They are also selling print modules at a discount, so increase your pledge and help fill out your DCC adventure collection while helping to get us to that $36,000 stretch goal.

Now some links in case you want more info.

The Kickstarter:

Spellburn Talks to Michael Curtis About The Kickstarter and The Chained Coffin

Michael Curtis’ Blog – Your Fantasy Appalachia Campaign in a Box

Dungeon Crawl Classics Kickstarter

The folks over at Goodman Games have a Kickstarter running to help fund the swag for the World Tour 2014. What is a World Tour?

Last year Goodman Games offered some promo items for folks running Dungeon Crawl Classic games open to the public. The judges running the game could sign up to receive some swag in the form of bookmarks, buttons, con ribbons, mechanical pencils, etc. When the game was complete the judge could submit the event to Goodman Games and receive cooler swag for themselves. T-shirts, transfers, the infamous belt buckle, and a secret prize if you hit nine games or more.

The World Tour is in effect for 2014 as well. Word is a certain Spellburn acolyte already has 5 games under her belt! To help fund the swag for this years World Tour Goodman Games started up a Kickstarter. From the blurb:

Send DCC RPG on a 2014 World Tour! Fund swag, travel, and games across the known universe, including the epic Wizard Van!

The goal here is to get enough orders for various swag items to bring down the manufacturing cost to allow the production of more items at about the same cost. Most folks know the more you make of something, the cheaper it gets. So while an order of 100 might cost $100, an order of 1000 might only cost $120 (I made these numbers up to make the point). If Goodman Games gets the order quantities up for a lot of these items, that lets us get some cool swag and helps them be even more generous with it during the World Tour this year.

The Kickstarter page has the full list of items, but they have everything from buttons to bookmarks to mechanical pencils to pads of 0-level character sheets, and more.

Stretch goals range from sweet blacklight posters, custom character sheet pads, to a Wizard Van for Goodman Games.

To help out the effort Purple Duck Games has contributed Bone Hoard of the Dancing Horror, The Falcate Idol, and The Perils of Cinder Claws. Folks that pledge $25 or more are eligible for these PDFs.

So swing on over to the Goodman Games Kickstarter pickup some swag for yourself and help Goodman Games with World Tour 2014! You have about 10 days left!

The Players Speak: Tsanth

DCC RPG Rulebook Cover w-HeadphonesToday’s post is part of an in-between DCC RPG Actual Play session postings to provide a little more insight into the cast of characters and players that make up the campaign.

Dustin plays the character Tsanth. Dustin has been with the group from the start of the campaign, though Tsanth made his appearance a few sessions in. This week Dustin provides fans of the podcast with some insight behind Tsanth.

Human Male Cleric of Mani

Tsanth came to the initially-named Grand Charter Company of Mustertown during its transition into Satan’s Glee Club, and joined the group shortly after their adventures in Slither’s End. Incidentally, Tsanth began working miracles in Dark Cthulhu’s name, manifested as turning demons away, healing the party, and throwing darkness at weird birds that attacked us. It was a grand time.

As the group became more chaotic, Tsanth found Cthulhu answering less and less of his calls for aid. Before long, even healing the group and ordinary spells became difficult. This became a greater problem when the group faced off against death. Needing the artifact-sword the Argent Falx, the group raided the Temple of Mani and stole the sword. Later, after the group retrieved Gonlex and Meffridus from Death, they adventured in the Sunken City to an abandoned Temple of The Harrower in order to “save” the Argent Falx and turn it into the righteous instrument of badassery it should be.

It was there that the group first met Jargon, a larcenous halfling. Tsanth suffered the disapproval of Cthulhu within the temple when he donned a temple robe as a disguise. By the time the group reached the idol of the temple and made their request to solidify the Argent Falx blade, Tsanth was nearly irate. Cthulhu was answering less and less. As an attempt to appease his uncaring, dead and dreaming god, Tsanth ripped a large emerald from the idol of The Harrower.

The theft of the emerald triggered the collapse of the temple. Most of the group escaped and returned to the Great City, where the group was attacked by mercenaries hired by the Temple of Mani. Satan’s Glee Club quickly dispatched the mercs, then turned the their attentions towards revenge. After hiring some additional muscle, the group holed up for the night in the chapel of Cthulhu that Tsanth had lovingly restored within the city. There, Tsanth made fresh sacrifices to his tentacled god before the big showdown with the followers of Mani.

The showdown was intense. Satan’s Glee Club approached the temple directly, where they battled more mercenaries on the steps of the giant ziggurat. There at the front of the temple, mighty Jargon fell. Tsanth attempted to heal him, but Cthulhu would not answer. Failing in two attempts to reach his god, Tsanth reached down deep and sacrificed his own blood to save Jargon. As part of this “sacrificial life burn,” Tsanth’s holy tentacle glowed red hot, and pressing it deep into Jargon’s chest, the burning fire of Cthulhu rushed into the halfling, scarring him for life but saving him from death.

The bloodied but victorious group pushed their way into the temple, and facing more eunuchs and handmaidens, the group took an early beating. One of the group’s mercenaries turned back time and saved the party, and armed with what MIGHT happen in the future, the group turned the tide of the battle and began to slay those servants of Mani, and seemed poised to wipeout the temple.

But Mani had other plans in mind. Sending a colossal Moon Dragon avatar, Mani began smiting the Glee Club members. Warrior after warrior fell. Soon, only a small retreating group remained while KpNooney-Klaus and Tsanth remained. While KpNooney rained fiery missiles on the Moon Dragon, Tsanth drained all of his remaining power to call upon Cthulhu. With a desperate prayer, he attempted to wrest control of the spirit avatar away from Mani. But Cthulhu did not answer.

With the group smashed and broken, Tsanth turned away from Cthulhu and offered the last thing he had to Mani, this angered Goddess of the Moon – his service. Bargaining for the lives of his friends and companions, Tsanth threw off the yoke of an uncaring and silent god and accepted Mani into his soul. With this, Tsanth promised the restoration of the temple under his influence and supervision, which Mani surprisingly accepted.

Tsanth now serves Mani devoutly. While he initially was cautious, knowing the severity of his and the groups transgressions and fearing dark reprisals from the Moon Goddess, Mani has been close to Tsanth since the transformation – even answering his prayers during his recent adventures with Satan’s Glee Club on another planet. Now, his devotion is approaching zealotry. He now leads preparations for the next Ceremony of the Moon at the temple, ready to bless a new Handmaiden and signal the coming of a new age of Mani within the Great City.


The Players Speak: Jargon

DCC RPG Rulebook Cover w-HeadphonesToday’s post is part of an in-between DCC RPG Actual Play session postings to provide a little more insight into the cast of characters and players that make up the campaign.

Adam plays Jargon the Halfling. Adam joined later in the campaign, but several of us knew him from another online game and meeting up at Origins 2013 and knew he would fit in with the group. Adam writes today about Jargon.


I was fairly late to joining the DCC campaign. I was introduced to Jeffrey and Matt from the early beginnings of a Dungeonslayers campaign. My first actual game of DCC was during Origins 2013, when I got the chance to meet up with Kelly, Matt, Jeffrey, and another gaming friend. A few more one shot sessions were held, and I was hooked. So much so that I bought my first set of Zocchi dice from the man himself on the convention floor.

My playstyle has always been “damage from a distance”, though initially I was not sure what I wanted to play in the campaign. Having a chance to see the player make-up, a Halfling was the only thing missing.


Jargon was born from the need for a Luck battery for the party, and as it would seem, was the best choice. His given name is Loford Underfoot, though due to his mushed words as a child, and blatant disregard for repeating himself, the nickname Jargon was given. Through the years, he eventually enjoyed the name and took it as his own. He is an odd little thing, neutral in temperament, though tends to sway easily in the direction of his peers.

Years of ridicule have made him want to be generally accepted by those he holds in high regards (for one reason or another, he looks up to Baptist, no pun intended). As such, he walks a fine line between the neutral and chaotic temperament. He has a secret Napoleon complex, in that he wants to be in charge but only by being a logical voice of reason. He relies on sarcasm and snide comments to make the best of a situation in which he feels he is better than…which happens to be most of the situations in which he finds himself. He is primarily fixated on amassing treasures and riches, and will do whatever he can to ensure he continues growing his own personal coffers.

Combat wise, I play him a bit cautiously and know full well he is a bit squishy. I gained this knowledge during one of the Origins games where I had a Halfling get one-shot and leaving me bewildered at how easily it was accomplished. I prefer the sneak and stab method…or the “shoot the hell out of that short bow” method if the situation can allow it.

Most Memorable Moment

It is hard to boil down just one of the most memorable, even in the short(er) time I have been playing with this group. I would have to say it was the moment Tsanth turned a spell result from himself, and placed it on Jargon. Jargon was dead, as it happens in this session. Fortunately, Tsanth was willing to give the little Halfling a hug of love from the Great Cthulhu. The spell result required Tsanth to brand himself, as opposed to doing so, he placed the brand on Jargon’s chest. It is the first time something like this has ever happened to my characters, and I feel like the snide little remarks that reference the event whenever possible, really play into Jargon’s personality.

Mini Review: The Stars Are Falling

The Stars Are Falling CoverPurple Duck Games has taken some of their earlier adventures and combined them to form a short campaign arc for Dungeon Crawl Classics. The product was released as The Stars Are Falling and is written by Daniel Bishop, Paul Wolfe, and David Pryzbyla. The compilation includes the following previously released adventures:

I have reviewed each of the above products separately, except for Sepulchre of the Mountain God, here at The Iron Tavern. The links above will take you to the Iron Tavern review.

And though I have not done an official review for AL2, I have run that adventure. It was a great time for the group I ran it for and provided us with a lot of fun. So though it lacks a review here at the Tavern, it is no less great than the other adventures above.

The Stars Are Falling brings all of the above adventures together in one product – available in PDF or Print format from RPGNow,, or

Two pages have been added to provide a campaign framework for linking all of these adventures together. The suggested order to run these is slightly different than their release order – AL2, AL1, AL3, AL4, AL3 (optional), and AL5.

A 0-level funnel does need to be provided by the judge running this. Portal Under the Stars from the core rulebook is a great candidate for this as a particular event that happens in that funnel can be tied to The Stars Are Falling with minimal work. If your group is already familiar with that funnel, some suggestions are made on how to strengthen ties from whatever funnel you choose to the theme of this product.

The remaining portion of the framework chapter review each component of the compilation and what changes need to be made to tie them together into one campaign arc. These are usually 2-3 bullet points, map adjustments or how to tie legend from one adventure locale to another. These are all easy modifications and do a lot to give the compilation a cohesive feel.

While I have not run these adventures tied together I have run all of them but the finale at some point. They are all great adventures, several of which my players still talk about or haunt them in some fashion. By turning them into a compilation a DCC RPG judge has a great resource they can use to jumpstart a DCC campaign up through 3rd level or so. In addition a great many events will have been set into motion that ideas to continue the campaign should be abundant.

The Stars Are Falling compilation is another great release from Purple Duck Games for the DCC game. Whether you missed out on some of the adventures as they were released or you were looking for a mini-campaign product in adventure path style you will want to take a closer look at this release.