The Players Speak: KpNooney-Claus

DCC RPG Rulebook Cover w-Headphones

Today’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.

Aaron plays KpNooney and Baptist in the actual play podcast. He joined the group a couple of weeks after the campaign started with a trio of funnel characters. Baptist was the survivor, though today Aaron writes about Kpnooney – the boom canon wizard!

KpNooney-Claus’s (the K and P are silent) Backstory

KpNooney was a share-cropping wheat farmer struggling to make ends meet, but he had a happy life. He enjoyed his work, had many friends and was married to a young woman that he adored. One fateful night, in the midst of a nasty violent rain storm his wife ,Haxinflaxin, went into labor. KpNooney was thrilled for the birth of their first child, twins actually. But the gods had other plans. A small chunk of meteor crashed through the thatched roof of the humble shack, killing Haxinflaxin and the twins instantly and setting off a fire that burned everything KpNooney-Klaus owned to ash.

This event lead the humble wheat farmer into a vicious spiral of depression, alcohol abuse and rage, alienating him from all his friends and family. KpNooney soon left the farm to wander aimlessly, angry at the universe. A chance encounter with a group of adventurers gave focus and direction to the would-be wizard.

“Those guys saved my life” – KpNooney-Clause

He quickly became enamored with the powerful dark wizard Meffridus, whose methods and madness struck a chord with the disenchanted, morose KpNooney-Claus. The cannibal thief Baptist Inklings, seeing the vulnerability of this young recruit, led KpNooney down the dark path of Malotoch, the carrion crow-Goddess.

“At first the kid was just along for the ride, he was like a lost puppy so we let him tag along. But he learned Magic Missile and now we rely on him when we get in a tight spot.” – Baptist

KpNooney found in the adventuring party a reason to live, a purpose and friendship. He is usually quiet and reserved, being a wizard of few words but real handy in a scrap. KpNooney-Clause believes that his two greatest achievements were venturing into the realm of the dead to bring back his mentor, idol and dear friend Meffridus (and that weird fella who thinks he’s a pirate, what’s his name….Gonlex the Hero Bard of Slither’s End) and spell-duelling to death the High Priestess of Mani when the group, successfully, took control of the Mani Temple in the Great CIty

One day KpNooney hopes to be as great a wizard as Meffridus and to have enough power to sacrifice his life saving “Satan’s Glee Club” from certain death..

The Players Speak: Patrice and Dandelion

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.

Kelly started out from the funnel days of the campaign with his characters described below. His characters make cameo appearances since he has returned to school during his breaks. Patrice and Dandelion make for an interesting lense to view this rather chaotic party from.

Kelly’s Characters

Jeffrey’s DCC Campaign was the second time I had played DCC RPG. I was introduced to Matt (Meffridus) through DCC and thus several of his friends including Aaron (Baptist), who I now game with regularly over Google Hangouts.

My three zero-levels were Patrice (Confidence Artist), Dandelion (Elven Chandler) and Delbert (Potato Farmer).  Delbert was by far my favorite, based on his ability scores alone. The others were to be my ‘throwaways” protecting my buff soon-to-be fighter.  Still, the DCC concept of the funnel made me build personalities for these lame ducks.  Delbert was just a dimwit. Gullible and sort of a ‘gentle giant’ type. Patrice I played like a reluctant adventurer. He was NOT used to doing things himself, rather tricking people to doing things for him. Dandelion I played like a teenage mall employee. I gave fantasy inspired scents to her special items (20 candles). She was pretty much disgusted by everything we encountered and tried giving Baptist mud facials and telling people they were ‘autumns’ and such.

Well, Delbert died. A victim of friendly missile fire (did I mention never fire into a melee?). I played the other two very conservatively, and grew a good HEALTHY fear of magic of most types. Both survived the funnel and Jeffrey allowed me to continue playing both characters.  I play Patrice as the classic adventuring thief now: Checking traps, backstabbing, etc. and he’s good at it. Baptist and he make a good working pair, we always have somebody finding the secrets Jeffrey has put in our path.

I play Dandelion as a support mage. None of her spells are damaging really (some could damage, if I roll right, but she is much better at boosting or assisting others and that’s fine). She’s saving up to buy a spa or salon and never cast another spell again, as far as she is concerned. Finding how to fit in a group that goes through casters and fighters pretty regularly, that is lead by a power hungry wizard and has a cannibalistic thief watching your back (and immediately devouring any fallen comrade) can be difficult. I like to think my characters bring an ounce of stability to the group. Patrice is all business, he avoids patrons like the plague (as he’s watched his partners grow roots, boils, and worse).

Memorable Moment

One of the most memorable moments for me was when we were investigating an odd swamp community within the Ooze Pits of Jonas Gralk and Patrice had gone into an enemy stronghold to snoop around. I had made all my sneak checks and such and was going to support from the opposite side when Meffridus decided to Spellburn all his stats in order to increase a spell’s result to a massive, building devouring earthquake that pretty much swallowed the keep and everything inside it. Jeffrey had me make several reflex saves. I made each one (with a little luck) and survived by the skin of my teeth.


I’ve returned to school to complete a degree and have had to drop out of the game, but I come back for cameo sessions. In the time I’ve been gone another friend Adam (Jargon) who plays in my Dungeonslayers game on Hangouts (along with Matt and others), has joined.  In my most recent return, Dandelion is pregnant. A festive and drunken night in the Great City with Patrice led to a bun in the oven. Patrice, not wanting to be tied down, has tricked Dande into believing the pregnancy was virgin birth, divine gift from her patron the King of Elfland.  They were both recently sucked back into the group and are experiencing a Planetary Romance type sci-fi adventure not unlike John Carter’s. I hope the arc finishes before I go back to school in February, and look forward to returning full time to “Satan’s Glee Club” in the spring!

The Perils of Cinder Claws

perils_of_cinder_clawsPurple Duck Games has just released The Perils of Cinder Claws by Daniel Bishop. This is a Dungeon Crawl Classics module ready for some holiday gaming! The product actually contains two adventures – The Thing in the Chimney and The Nexus of Yule. The module comes in at 32 pages with artwork from Jacob Blackmon and cartography by Kristian Richards.

The Thing in the Chimney is suitable for a wide range of character levels with the level appropriateness determined by the number of characters. Anything from 1st level to 4th level is covered. The adventure takes place on the shortest day of the year in the winter and starts in a great hall that can easily be placed in the middle of the wilderness or small village or town.

I do not want to spoil too much of the adventure, but suffice it to say that the adventure contains all types of holiday themed components. Fruitcakes, snowmen, reindeer, and more! All are blended in an interesting adventure that would play well as a one-shot or holiday diversion for your ongoing campaign. You just might get to meet Cinder Claws himself!

The Nexus of Yule is the second adventure in the product. It can be used stand-alone or as a follow-up to the first adventure, though this one is listed as being suitable for four to eight 3rd level characters. This is another easy one to bring a separated group of characters together as the characters are brought together in this Nexus.

Avoiding spoilers again, there are many holiday themed elements throughout. The adventure can conclude in a variety of different ways depending on the group’s or individuals desire to help Cinder Claws.

And finally the Appendix includes a Patron write-up for Cinder Claws, a Yuletide Spirit. Invoke Patron check results, Patron Taint, and Spellburn results are all included. The names of three Patron Spells are included, but the details of those are left up to the judge. The names of the spells should provide enough to convey a general sense of what would be appropriate.

While I have not had the opportunity to run the adventures in this product, they look like great choices for someone wanting to run a holiday themed DCC game. The product is available at RPGNow.

Review: Silent Nightfall

silent_nightfall_coverAuthor:  Daniel J. Bishop
Publisher:  Purple Duck Games
Art: Michael Scotta, Jacob Blackmon
Price: PDF $2.75 (sale) – RPG Now / d20pfsrd Shop / Paizo
Pages: 24 (incl. cover)

Campaign Elements

Silent Nightfall is the fifth installment in the Campaign Elements series from Purple Duck Games written by Daniel Bishop. The Campaign Elements line is designed to help a DCC RPG judge create a persistent campaign world and provide patron quests, divine quests, or any number of quests to help fill the “quest for it” vibe of DCC RPG.

The Campaign Elements series can also be used to provide a short side quest on nights you are missing a player. Or on an evening you need a short diversion from the main campaign events. The CE series is a very versatile set of adventures that easily drop into any DCC campaign.

Silent Nightfall

Silent Nightfall involves venturing into a nuclear power facility from a long gone era when magic was less prevalent. Since that era a new creature called the grallistrix has taken hold and is one of the creatures calling the facility their home. A mutated wizard also calls the area his home and even the energy of the remaining nuclear power can be used as a demi-patron for your Dungeon Crawl Classics campaign. If all the creatures inhabiting the area are not enough, a particularly sought after artifact is also located within the area.

While the location in this adventures fits in the vein of Appendix N literature, a nuclear power plant may not fit in with your campaign world. Daniel offers a couple of other options for a judge wishing to use this adventure but not use the previous civilization premise.

A background is provided for the judge to give him some information about the area. This is followed by a more in-depth description of the creatures within the remains of the structure, as well as the artifact lost within its depths. Before moving on to the encounter area descriptions a few ideas are presented for working the location into your campaign beyond just killing things and taking their stuff.

The included map covers the three levels of the structure. It is easy follow and for the motivated judge offers some room for expansion through collapsed corridors.

As is typical of the CE series there are several ideas suggested for “squeezing it dry”. These ideas help provide a judge with some suggestion on where the PCs can go from here after running the adventure for them.

Silent Nightfall is also full of several appendices that can be used in conjunction with the adventure or “stolen” for use in other areas of a judge’s campaign. These include a table of aberrations (due to the radiation, but easily adapted to be caused by something else). In addition to the table several specific creatures affected by radiation are included. The adventure also introduces the idea of demi-patrons. Demi-patrons are simply less powerful patrons that offer some assistance to characters but not at the capacity a full patron could. An expansion of the language rules is also included for judges wishing to use them.

And finally, a new lawful organization called the Radiant Brotherhood is introduced. This organization could easily be used as part of this adventure or borrowed for other areas of a judge’s campaign. A level structure within the organization is defined and some stats for each of these ranks.

The Review

I find Silent Nightfall another great release in the Campaign Elements line from Purple Duck Games. The adventure itself is a great option for working into an existing campaign or as a side trek.

The inclusion of multiple new creatures is also sure to add to a judge’s stable of creatures to surprise his players with. They could easily be transplanted to a different scenario with ease if the main encounter area did not grab a judge for some reason.

The concept of a demi-patron is an interesting one. A judge can easily expand this to other niche areas of their own campaign with the framework provided. I am sure I can find use for demi-patrons in my own campaign.

I continue to find the Campaign Elements line an excellent product. They have so many parts that are usable in existing campaigns – either in whole or part. I have always been able to find ways to include parts or sometimes the entire encounter area in my own long running campaign. The ease at which one can drop bits and parts or the whole encounter area into an existing campaign makes the CE line a great resource!

Dungeon Crawl Classic Campaigns

DCC RPG Limited Edition CoverI have seen various comments and questions about campaign play in Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG. DCC takes its inspiration from Appendix N books and stories. And really, a lot of the Appendix N stories originate from short stories written for fantasy periodicals of the era. Short stories lend themselves to minimal periods of travel and whisking the reader from point of adventure to point of adventure. And sometimes there are unknown gaps of time between stories that are not connected in any one way.

Appendix N Foundation

For example, Conan stories cover very little travel. Conan is just in the country or situation the story merits. The action moves quickly and he is quickly embroiled in the core elements of the story with just enough setup to get the reader up to speed. In addition, going from one story to the next the reader is left not knowing what events have transpired between each story. This works very well for stories that used to appear in magazines over the course of several months.

Another component I have noted with Appendix N literature is that even when the book is a novel, things move quickly. In one 200 page book one can be taken from arriving at a new city, journeying off across the sea, getting stranded on an island with a gigantic creature, to getting rescued to learning more about the first city, to a daring raid on that city. All in 200 pages. Appendix N stories move fast, very fast. More major events can happen in one book than happen in some trilogies.

DCC Adventures

Back in the land of Dungeon Crawl Classics. A lot of the adventures that have been released are also self-contained (for the most part) adventures that setup the plot, and get the characters into it quickly. Compared to the favoring of Adventure Paths that are popular today, that seems a bit unusual to players and judges who have not formed their roots on joining disparate adventures or their own crafted adventures together to for longer running campaigns.

The nature of many of the DCC adventures seems to lead a lot of people to being curious about how DCC works for a longer based campaign. We’ve all heard the roaring success of DCC in a one-shot – either at cons or perhaps as a break for established gaming groups. But just how does a campaign work in DCC?

My Experience

I have been running a DCC RPG campaign online for well over a year now. Same core group of players and a continuing campaign. I have run almost exclusively published adventures. We have a mix of levels in the campaign now, 5th level being the highest and we had some hirelings level up to 1st level (I think one of the characters is amassing an army for an as of yet undisclosed reason).

I started with Purple Sorcerer’s The Perils of the Sunken City to kick the campaign off. It gave me a city to work with if the campaign stuck and a unique way to include a variety of adventures that might not otherwise fit together (for those unaware, the Sunken City has an interesting mechanism to facilitate quick and sometimes random travel).

Since then we’ve explored more portions of the Sunken City, the Great City proper, mountains off to the east and northeast and into the sea waters west of the city. I have not really had a specific path in mind, I’ve been letting the characters sort of take me where they want to go. Then I try to work in a lead-in to certain modules or look for modules that sort of fit what the group is up to at the moment. It seems to have worked out pretty well for us so far.

From my time judging I think the key thing to keep in mind going into it is – expect the unexpected. Trying to plot out a lengthy campaign arc all ahead of time is quite difficult in DCC. There is just so much randomness built into the system that trying to predict what your game will look like in three months is an exercise in futility. Embrace that and you are ready to run a DCC RPG campaign.

Spell corruptions, vengeful patrons, curses, and other afflictions all start influencing the characters from day one of the campaign. Even players that thought they knew how they wanted to see their character progress are thrown loops from the randomness of these events.

Bend your game to fit these random events and you will find yourself able to piece together a successful DCC campaign. Just don’t expect to go into it with the Adventure Path mentality (not meant in the negative, I’ve run and played in  my share of adventure paths!) and think you have the next 12 months of gaming figured out. You don’t.

By trying to remain flexible, saying yes to the character’s ideas, and molding the hooks for published adventures to the current state of the game it does not take much to weave a campaign together. Just some duct tape and baling wire!

Appendix N Kickstarter

On Saturday part of my Appendix N Kickstarter arrived in the mail. The printed version of Ruins of Ramat.

Just last week I was singing the praises of the Dwarven Forge kickstarter for delivering on time, providing some extra customer service along the way and being at the top of the chart for Kickstarters I have backed. Appendix N is a little different.

Appendix N was a Kickstarter from Brave Halfling Publishing that raised $18k+ for a short series of adventures for the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG. The prime price point for the kickstarter was $20, which by the end was supposed to get you four adventures (I think, in all honesty, I have sort of lost track) in PDF and in printed form. That’s right – printed form. This Kickstarter was very popular with the DCC RPG crowd. Estimated delivery for all of this was July 2012.

Suffice to say, here it is October 2013 and I’ve received the first print copy of the adventure line. John Adams, the gentleman behind Brave Halfling Publishing has had a pretty rough year with a variety of maladies on the personal front delaying things. In my opinion he has been pretty up front with his communication about these things.

So while this Kickstarter is probably the latest one I have been a patron of, I still can’t call this one a failure really. In fact, this is more like what I thought being a patron was all about. Throwing some money to a small publisher to get out a product they thought was cool. I tend to go into my Kickstarters expecting delays.

In the case of this Kickstarter, I’ve received all four PDFs of the promised adventures long ago. In fact I’ve run at least one of them and read through the others. So while the print copies may not have reached my hands, I’ve had access to the material to run them. I think that is one of the things that has kept me very patient on this Kickstarter – the fact I’ve had electronic access to the adventures and have only been waiting on the hard copies to arrive.

But – the reason for this post. Ruins of Ramat in print form has arrived! Here is what was included in the package:

  • The Ruins of Ramat (in both 0-level and 3rd level form)
  • Inspirational Module Map (printed inside the cover)
  • Set of six illustrated player handouts, on card stock material
  • The Green Orb add-on adventure, with map on card stock
  • The Gifts of the Only add-on adventure

The product is pretty sweet. A small adventure with an awesome map and art to go with it. Quality handouts. And two mini-adventures to go along. The product itself is of great quality, I’d almost call it boutique quality.

Below are pictures of what I received. I have obscured the map just a bit, as I am not comfortable revealing the whole map in a public environment.

Review: Blackguard’s Revenge & The Iron Crypt of the Heretics

The Blackguard's RevengeThe Dungeon Crawl Classic line has of course become its own RPG and a personal favorite of the owner of the Iron Tavern.  It started though as modules for d20. While I never got the chance to run or play in most of them they are still very much a go to source for adventures for me.  They are usually short and to the point dungeon crawls.  They offer a variety of locations, clever encounters, the occasional trap and riddle, and plenty of danger.  I made it a point to get a copy of each of them, though not all of the special releases and limited titles.

The Blackguard’s Revenge and its sequel The Iron Crypt of the Heretics are the twelfth adventure in the Dungeon Crawl Classic line.  The Iron Crypt of the Heretics is number 12.5 and even though it is by a different author it makes for a good sequel adventure.  They are written by F. Wesley Schneider and Harley Stroh.  Neither is very large the first being forty pages and the sequel being twenty four.  Blackguard’s Revenge is pretty easy to find for under five dollars, but Iron Crypt of the Heretics looks to be harder to find and can go for as much as thirty dollars.  Both are out of print but can be purchased as PDFs for around seven dollars.

The Blackguard’s Revenge is a different kind of dungeon crawl.  It is a rescue mission to aid a group of Paladins in a cloister that is under attack.  There are a few moving parts the GM can have fun with.  There are plenty of different creatures to fight and in this kind of module I usually increase the numbers a little and add or enhance the main bad guy some just to make it a bit more challenging on the PCs.  I also wanted it to feel like time was of the essence so some of the bad guys would purposely try to slow down the PCs so they would be too late in rescuing the Paladins.  This kind of adventure can also raise ethic problems.  There is a good amount of treasure here to be found, but most of it belongs to the cloister, so the PCs can look like the bad guys by looting the place.  My group didn’t care, they were ready to pry gold symbols off the wall and pack up the Holy paintings.  The Paladins when rescued do need the PCs help so there is plenty of reason that the PCs will get rewarded and aided for the next adventure.

The Iron Crypt of the HereticsThe next adventure being the Iron Crypt of the Heretics.  The adventures are written to link together but they do not have to.  They can easily be run separate or with other activities in between. What I like about the Iron Crypt is it is a change of pace.  Where Blackguard’s Revenge is mostly combat and heroics of rescuing Paladins the Iron Crypt takes a slower approach and has a lot more traps, riddles, and puzzles for the PCs to deal with.   It is a challenging module but not so much so that the players get frustrated.  Basically the place has been raided and it let out an army of undead that attacked the Paladins in the first module.  Now the PCs need to break in and reseal the place.  The two modules make for a good back to back series of adventures offering a good variety of encounters and problems.

Blackguard’s Revenge and Iron Crypt are two good modules early in the very successful line of modules.  They are easy to convert to other games and Blackguard’s Revenge even has a 1e version of it that Goodman Games published.

Chris Gath.  I’ve been gaming since 1980 playing all kinds of games since then.  In the past year I’ve run Pathfinder, Dungeon Crawl Classic, Paranoia, and Mini d6.  My current campaign is mini d6 and we are using that for a modern supernatural conspiracy investigative game.  On some forums I’m known as Crothian and I’ve written a few hundred reviews though I took a sabbatical from reviewing for a few years as it burnt me out.  I was also an judge for the Gen Con awards (ENnies) six times.  Jeff, the owner of this blog, is one of my players and a good friend.

DragonCon DCC RPG Road Crew Report

A cautionary tale of pushing your limits…

Brandon Goeringer’s Dragon Con report where he ran 7 sessions of DCC RPG.

Let me first start by letting you know that I have never run a game at a convention. I’m a “home role player”. That is probably pretty common with a majority of people. Well I just ran some sessions at Dragon Con in Atlanta Georgia – 7 sessions to be exact – all in 3 days. This is my tale of pushing yourself to the edge for the hobby you love, and almost tumbling over the cliff for the entertainment of strangers and yourself.

I’ve been to Dragon Con a few times before and I mainly go for the RPGs, which many people will tell you are sadly under showcased for a convention of such large size. The first year was simply a scouting mission. I didn’t sign up for any games, I only watched people play various role playing games and attended some panels. My goal was this, “let me see how other GMs are at running games to see if I have the chops to jump in”. My conclusion was these 3 words, “I got this”.

I know that many DMs, GMs, and Judges think they are the best at what they do, and I also have a high opinion of myself in this regard. I would like to explain that I put my all into a game I am running. From speaking loudly with conviction, expressions, voices, energy, and excitement. I am a theater troupe, storyteller, and mime all in one. All of this effort to stand out, to please, to build excitement, champion the system, hobby and product were probably the things, in the end, that took the most toll on me. While exhausted in the “mustering room” before a session began on the final day, I stated to those that saw me slumped in my chair, “I just put so much into it.”

I had seen Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG at my FLGS and was instantly amazed by its old school vibe and artwork. It brought me back to when I first got into this hobby. After purchasing the tome I decided I would look into the games community and while on the Goodman Games site I saw the Road Crew Events. Fantastic, I would run this new RPG at Dragon Con, hand out a bunch of cool swag, and show players what I offer as a Judge and challenge myself to step out of my box after all these years. Certainly I would be the talk of the convention and people would be singing my praises to all that would listen. After much work on my part trying to communicate to the director of Non-Campaign RPGs (a whole other story unto itself) I finally made my sessions on their site, had my swag from Goodman Games, and slots were beginning to fill. “I got this.”

This was the schedule:

  • 7 sessions
  • 2 on Friday and Saturday; 3 on Sunday
  • 4 hour sessions; 28 hours total
  • 0-level character funnels
  • 112 characters used
  • 5 players maximum; each player would have 3 characters.

Yeah, that is a lot. Especially for someone who has never run a game at a convention.

Friday Session 1: The Portal Under the Stars 1pm-5pm

Bob, “Jim Carrey from Kick Ass 2”, “Sleepy”, “Quiet Guy”, Jason

Bob, “Jim Carrey from Kick Ass 2”, “Sleepy”, “Quiet Guy”, Jason

Positives: Bob and Jason were like life long buddies around the dining room table, very friendly and excited to be playing. “Quiet Guy” was fine, he was just that player that seemed to speak the least. They all loved the swag. Adventure and system well received.

Negatives: “Sleepy” did just that. He fell asleep within 2 minutes of me explaining the game. Even though it was incredibly rude he WAS paying to play ($3) and I didn’t let it bother me. Still though, I HAD SOMEONE FALL ASLEEP DURING MY FIRST SESSION! He said he had a hard night and I did call him out on it in front of everyone. He was much better after that. “Jim Carrey” had to leave a little bit early but no big deal, his loss at not experiencing the end of the adventure.

Conclusion: I felt good about the game and was heaped with praise from the players for my effort in making the game exciting. I was even asked if I worked for Goodman Games.

Friday Session 2: Attack of the Frawgs by ( 6pm-10pm

 Bob, John, Jennifer, and Joe

Bob, John, Jennifer, and Joe

Jennifer and Joe had a no show from the Judge that was running their game so I sold them on DCC RPG and they bought the pitch.

Positives: Bob again (yay!). Hilarious comedy from just about everyone. I was on a roll with jokes and had them laughing pretty much through the whole adventure. The adventure was well received and the last encounter was just side splitting with some sexual humor. John said he was sold the moment I said Gygax and he felt that the game was exactly what he was expecting and how I described it.

Negatives: None.

Conclusion: I was relaxed and getting into the zone earlier in the adventure and with more control.

Saturday Session 3: The Portal Under the Stars 1pm-5pm

Pierce, Tony, Amanda, Monica, and Rob

Pierce, Tony, Amanda, Monica, and Rob

This was a group of friends that all knew each other. Monica and Rob were married and Rob told me that he was his group’s DM.

Positives: A BOX OF WINE. Real easy going group that only got looser as the game progressed, and they all seemed to really love my style and excitement. Monica was the super roller at the table that seemed to be doing all the killing, which made it cool to see her embrace those moments. Pierce hadn’t played in years he said but DCC RPG felt great to him and he liked it a lot. He also came up with a cool trick to foil a nasty monster.

Negatives: Tony had to leave early which kinda stunk, but he did have to go get William Shatner’s autograph. I made a few mistakes with some minor rules stuff, but nothing crippling.

Conclusion: A very memorable group and maybe even my favorite. From what I gathered Rob had “taught” his wife Monica how to be a good player and it showed, very cool. They really got into the game and I felt their energy as a Judge and that only made me try harder.

Saturday Session 4: Attack of the Frawgs ( 6pm-10pm

Perry, John, Jason, John, and Pete (blue shirt)

Perry, John, Jason, John, and Pete (blue shirt)

Positives: Jason was back. Fun group of players that really enjoyed the adventure. Pete knew some of the system and had the book which was extra points. John in the orange shirt was having a ball, laughing hard and really embracing the characters he was playing. He actually said that he enjoyed Attack of the Frawgs more than “more deadly adventures”. The adventure ended in some great hooks for further exploration and the “acting” I did with one of the last creatures was hysterical.

Negatives: None.

Conclusion: Fun time had by all. I was starting to get pretty tired at this junction. I knew the next day was the adventure packed day and I was starting to lose my voice a little bit.

Sunday Session 5: The Portal Under the Stars 1pm-5pm

Rich, Kenny, Michael, Buddy, Chris, and John

Rich, Kenny, Michael, Buddy, Chris, and John

This one was bumpy.

Positives: John, Rich, Kenny, and Michael all seemed to be having a blast and told me it was great. Buddy was the “Quiet Guy” but he said he enjoyed himself. John told me later that he really enjoyed the effort and he would use my techniques in his upcoming games.

Negatives: THEY SPLIT THE PARTY 3 WAYS! Splitting the party tested me to the fullest and I had to think fast as well as keep it going smoothly. Chris was in pure survival mode and looked around the doorways with a mirror on a stick. Every room was meta-gamed to a high degree by Chris. Now I must say that if that is his style that is his style. It may not embrace the “feel” of DCC RPG but that is how he wanted to play his characters. None of them died and none of them lived if that makes any sense. The other players became frustrated with this “tactic” and the party was split. Characters died alone and information from one character to another was non-existent. I took major mental fatigue from this game right at the start it seemed. I hate that some players might not have had a better time due to one players inaction but I let people play how they want to some extent. There was an extra player due to Judges not showing up to run their own games though not a negative because I could handle it, just more work.

Conclusion: A very tiring game for it to be my first game of the day, and with 2 session left it damaged the soft matter between my ears. Again I must stress that I put everything I got into these games. I found myself standing up, acting out character attacks and deaths, and really using the space.

Sunday Session 6: Perils of the Sunken City ( 6pm-10pm

Bob, Lisa, ???, Pete, Jereme, Kelsey

Bob, Lisa, ???, Pete, Jereme, Kelsey

Positives: Bob was back and brought his wife Lisa. Pete was there too and its nice to have people that know your style and how you run things. Jereme and Kelsey were a couple and that’s always cool. Lots of deaths, which was fun and exciting. Perils is a brutal adventure and it didn’t disappoint in that regard. Opossumen characters were cool and fun to describe and act out for the players. They loved the swag and were very vocal about how much they enjoyed my style. Very clever ways of getting past “traps”.

Negatives: I forgot one guys name. Not that he was quiet or didn’t stand out, I just couldn’t remember it or to write it down and I was really exhausted at this point. They really didn’t “get” the last area of the adventure and that was disappointing for me as a Judge.

Conclusion: I still brought it 100% even though I was hitting a wall physically. The adventure didn’t go how I would have liked, but it was the first time I had ran it. I learned a lot about how to run the adventure the next time. I was lightheaded after this game and needed a boost.

Sunday Session 7: Perils of the Sunken City ( 10pm-2am

Player X, James, ???, Perry, Player Y

Player X, James, ???, Perry, Player Y

I normally don’t drink energy drinks but I was looking for any help I could get at this point. I was simply exhausted. It looked like I had 2 black eyes and was punch drunk like a boxer. I was so tired in fact that I forgot to take a picture…or maybe it was because I was about to run a game from hell. It was the latter.

Positives: Perry from my earlier game was there and he is a good guy.

Negatives: I will try to not make this too preachy but the tale must be told. I hope those reading this will learn something to look out for and maybe avoid it if you can. Player X and Player Y were quite simply the worst type of player you could possibly have sit at your table at any time of day. I instantly got a bad vibe as I got my stuff ready and was handing out materials. Player X was standing up a lot and was distracted by unimportant stuff. Player Y was slow to get a sentence out and showed up late. Both of them were playing 0-level characters and were “Role” playing them like a 15th level year long campaign character. Instead of being a group of peasants who worked in the same town together, they were out for themselves, especially Player X. Player X did pretty much the opposite of all the other players. He began sighing heavily at times. Along with him slowing the game down, he interrupted me every time I was reading block text from the adventure, which had me saying “let me finish!” in a stern voice. I’m talking he did it the moment I revealed some terrible monster or horrible revelation, my patience was out the window. I was moments away from kicking him out of the game. Player Y on the other hand would halt the game to a crawl with simply talking so slow and dragging out banality that it became infuriating. He would often stop the game to make a roll and then slowly debate in his mind if he should tell us what it was for, he didn’t. After a hour of game time we were at Area 2 of the adventure and I had to tell them to speed it up.

The player that I couldn’t remember his name seemed like a good guy until at the end of the adventure when he just up and left the table without a handshake, thank you or other acknowledgement of my hard work. I found that quite shocking to say the least as it was a first for me at the convention. Player Y preceded to tell me all the stuff his 0-level characters were thinking and doing after the adventure while Player X wanted to return to the deadly arena and reclaim peasant weapons lost in the fighting, all while I was trying to pack my stuff up, it was 2 am. I was dumbstruck by these two. I found them both to be socially inept in all regards. They simply only cared for their own enjoyment of the game and everyone else was forfeit to listen to their sputtering gibberish. James was tired of these two as well and Perry made the best of the situation. Unfortunately I had to cut out a few rooms because of the time we had lost.

Conclusion: Nightmare. I went to sleep with twitching muscles from exhaustion thinking of writing this report absolutely amazed at what I had just been through. I say to those out there that might play in a convention, try to think about others for a change. Its not all about you. Other people paid money to have a good time and you should make sure that your actions don’t take away from others. I am not your friend, nor have I been playing at your kitchen table, running games to suit your personal rpg needs. We only have 4 hours to get something accomplished that I have worked long and hard. These types of gamers hurt the hobby for others and Judges like me from returning to run something again in the future.

Overall I know that I had a lot on my plate and I accept that. I made the schedule. I won’t have those 2 players ruin what I worked so hard to accomplish. It was a fun experience and a positive one. I learned that I am a good Judge and my self esteem has been boosted from the endeavor. I made some new twitter friends and they still are thanking me for my effort. I love the hobby and will continue to run adventures at future conventions. I hope you have enjoyed this tale and I want you to know that there is a happy ending. Not only did I do what people have labeled me as “a machine!” but I had a belt buckle waiting for me at when I got home thanks to Joseph Goodman.

“I got this.”

“I got this.”

Brandon Goeringer is a 36 year old stay at home dad, living in Mauldin South Carolina. I first experienced role playing games with Steve Jackson’s Car Wars and soon after with AD&D 2nd. Edition and Twilight 2000 when I was 10 years old. Fighting Fantasy books scratched my itch when I was alone and once I was able to get a job and some money, the games I’ve played exploded. This made way for MERP, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, Star Wars D6, L5R, Call of Cthulhu, White Wolf, and D&D 3.0/3.5 to more modern games such as Pathfinder, Scion, Dark Heresy, Dragon Age, and my extreme love of Savage Worlds. While I own many more games yet to be played I look back on my history and am amazed that I’ve been playing for over 2 and a half decades. Continuing to play the best hobby in the world today, Dungeon Crawl Classic RPG brings me back to those days as a child, looking at the art of Jeff Easley, Brom, and Elmore and being lost in imagination. (Twitter @SavageGM)

Review: The Seven Deadly Skills of Sir Amoral the Misbegotten

The Seven Deadly Skills of Sir Amoral the Bastard CoverAuthor:  Daniel J. Bishop
Publisher:  Purple Duck Games
Art: Michael Scotta, Gary Dupuis
Price: PDF $3.00 – at RPGNow / at /
Pages: 13 (incl. cover)

The Seven Deadly Skills of Sir Amoral the Misbegotten is the fourth release in the Campaign Elements series from Purple Duck Games. The Campaign Elements series helps fulfill the ‘Quest for It’ element of the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG. The products in this series are perfect for use as divine quests, patron quests, or simply when you as a judge have a DCC RPG character that needs or wants to accomplish some task.

This fourth release is written by Daniel Bishop, just as the previous three releases were. The cover illustration was done by Michael Scotta and interior art was done by Michael and Gary Dupuis. The PDF is 13 pages long including the cover and page of OGL information on the last page. An area map is included, as well as encounter descriptions for each location of the ruined Gryffon Keep. Numerous new monsters are included, either to be used for this adventure, or “borrowed” by creative judges for other areas of their campaign. Several ways to introduce this area and Sir Amoral himself are also in the adventure, along with the ‘Squeezing it Dry’ section for getting the absolute most from this scenario.

The primary component to this adventure is the ghost of a once powerful warrior. This warrior knew many fighting techniques that could prove advantageous to other warriors or those interested in pursuing a special fighting technique. In life Sir Amoral was stingy with this knowledge, but in the afterlife he seeks to pass this on to others – if they are worthy.

Sir Amoral knows seven special fighting techniques that one can learn. To be worthy one must pass one of his seven deadly tests. Even succeeding at that means the one seeking to be taught this technique must accept a quest on Sir Amoral’s behalf.

The scenario includes the mechanics for these seven bits of knowledge and seven new creatures Sir Amoral can summon to determine if one is worthy of instruction.

The Review

The scenario rests in a specific area, the ruined Gryffon Keep. Most likely the characters will seek the place out in search of Sir Amoral to teach them new weapon techniques. A creative judge can come up with any number of ways to learn of Sir Amoral, but the most attractive appears to be the characters having met someone who had received training on their adventures. This person could be an ally or rival depending on which fits your DCC campaign the best.

There are some additional hooks noted for drawing characters to the area. And several opportunities exist to expand the adventure site to further work the area into an ongoing campaign.

The seven techniques provide mechanics to do things like increase initiative, increase armor class, introduce a form of attacks of opportunity, and similar mechanics. There is a sidebar that states the seven deadly skills are not supposed to analogous to feats. I still have a hard time shaking the feeling that they feel a little like feats to me.

They are certainly much harder to obtain than a feat in d20 systems and it does come with a price to learn them. But as I read them I feel like they will get recorded on my character sheet in a very similar manner as feats. My initial reaction is lukewarm to these mechanics.

I think when I use this scenario in play I would still have the seven deadly skills, but possibly swap in something of my own creation. I think. We will see what happens when the time comes though. In either case – a neat scenario and idea and certainly workable even if I tweak it from how originally written.

The scenario does include 7+ new monsters. Many of these are for use with the seven trials, but a judge could easily “borrow” some of these for use anywhere in a campaign.

The location itself is also interesting and has at least one area that just calls for a judge to expand on it a bit and really work it into their campaign.

Once again this release in the Campaign Elements series has lots of useful parts in it and ideas to “borrow” for an established DCC RPG campaign. Used in whole or in part this is another strong release from Purple Duck Games and Daniel Bishop. It is a welcome addition to my collection.

Review: The Folk of Osmon

The Folk of Osmon CoverAuthor:  Daniel J. Bishop
Publisher:  Purple Duck Games
Art: Gary Dupuis, Luigi Castellani
Price: PDF $3.00 – at RPGNow / at /
Pages: 14 (incl. cover)

The Folk of Osmon is the third, and as of this post, the most recent release from Purple Duck Games in the new Campaign Elements line. For those unfamiliar with the Campaign Elements line, it is a new series of products written as short scenarios ready to be dropped into an existing campaign. The scenarios offer possible questing locations, side treks, or possibly a place for a wizard to gather a new spell component. So far each scenario has offered several ideas as to how to work it into a campaign.

The module is written by Daniel Bishop and illustrated by Luigi Castellani. The PDF comes in at 14 pages including the cover and OGL license information at the back. A map of the area is included, as well as a couple of art pieces, one of which is in color. Several new monsters are presented along with a random encounter table for the area. Four scenario possibilities are at the end of the adventure to help a busy judge jumpstart some ideas on how to incorporate The Folk of Osmon in their home campaign.

The Folk of Osmon is intended as a hazard area and is located in a mire. This helps make it relatively easy to use in most campaigns. The four suggestions at the end of the module are helpful for judges having a hard time determining how to introduce their players to the area. For Purple Sorcerer fans, this particular Campaign Element screams to be dropped into the Sunken City area!

Hooks into the scenario range from simply passing through the area, rescuing an NPC from a sacrifice, finding possibly hidden treasure, to encountering a ritual in the swamp, or any number of other possibilities a creative judge can come up with. By aiming to be a hazard area with some interesting traits and occupants the transportability of the adventure has few limits.

The Review

The Campaign Elements series continues to deliver with this third installment. Given I have my currently running campaign based in a city bordered by an expansive swamp to the south, it makes it exceedingly easy to drop this one into my game. So far that has been the case for each of the Campaign Elements series released, I have no trouble thinking of places I can use them.

The adventure includes four more creatures that are apt to be found near the area. One called a Pallid Thorn has an interesting attack that is sure to play with player’s minds. The other creatures easily fit into a swamp environ and will certainly see use in my campaign.

The actual encounter area has five areas within a set of ruins is described. I find the number of areas described enough to give the judge a feel for the area without being enough to side track a party for too long if the area is dropped in as a place the party is just passing through.

The inclusion of four ways to drop this encounter area into your campaign is a nice touch. The hooks here are more than just a one or two liner, but several paragraphs worth of setup to help make the area even more interesting or tied to the characters.

I noted above one of the pieces of art included in the adventure was in color. That was a nice touch for the module! I am used to the black and white pieces in a lot of the Purple Duck Games releases for DCC. It was good to see a little color in there.

The Campaign Elements line continues rolling on strong with this third release. I feel like with a collection of these I can always have something ready to run for my group or something to pull out when they need to quest for something. With an easy to use hazard area, new monsters to drop into any swamp in your campaign, and several suggested hooks to use this area of ruins, The Folk of Osmon is another excellent addition to a judge’s collection.