Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Dungeon Crawl Classics + Creatures of Chaos

Happy Camper Lewis. Our DM.
Thanks to Lewis, our group had it's first foray into the depths of Dungeon Crawl Classics on Monday night. Each player rolled up some decidedly old school D&D characters and we launched straight into the adventure funnel; basically the old 'zero level' idea of earning your way from peasant (apprentice, neophyte or squire) to 1st level in a character class.

Blair, Dave and I had four characters each. This is part of the funnel experience. So who did we have in this party of ruffians?

Alys the Jeweler
Farold 'the Blessed' Winterborn
Bryndwr the Elven Forester
Lucky Brolt the Gambling Man
John the Trapper
Herbie Sweetleaf  (a Herbalist)
Megan Fox the Elven Sage
Honesty Jones the Merchant
Irasmus Oggon the Locksmith
Chuu Murcot the Cobbler
Enion Gug  (a Farmer)
Eibur Japthon the Jester

All the characters were created following the following steps.

1. Roll ability scores (3d6 each) and Hit Points (1d4)
2. Roll for Birth Auger (Luck Table)
3. Roll 1d30 for zero level occupation
4. Roll 1d24 for extra item

Four characters on one sheet.

Of the character list above, the first four were mine. Unfortunately, having rolled poorly for the luck attribute on all their sheets, a random gift from the glorious luck table during character generation provided no bonus except an opportunity for backstory (a reward in and of itself). Oh well, better luck next time?

For example, Lucky Brolt has 7 Luck and according to his augur, was conceived on horseback. Due to a low Luck score, he will receive a penalty when riding. With an Intelligence of 5, it's more likely he fell from a horse as a baby. Already this guy has chutzpah! Even his grating 8 Personality doesn't stop him from being a lovable rogue, born under a bad sign!

I have always found the most important stat on a character sheet to be Hit Points. These determine the sliding scale between life and death. Hey, I even named this blog Hits To Kill! Given that zero level characters have 1d4 hit points, death is only going to be a hit roll away. This is truely old school gaming. This is how we roll!

So let's get to the game then! A random rumor table at the local tavern catapulted the party off to a nearby castle ruins in search of missing villagers. There were warnings about a 'well of lost souls' and such, that were obviously magnets for our intrepid (or tepid?) explorers.

Look at the hand drawn map. Miniatures for party order.

Lewis put pen to paper, drawing a map as he described what our characters discovered as they explored the ruined stronghold. No stone was left unturned or fallen foe unsearched. Anything not tied down, even somethings securely fastened, were looted. Sigils and runes were examined and speculations made. Problem solving by trail and error. This was theater of the mind stuff. It took me back to my first games of Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon Warriors, Rune Quest and Warhammer (Fantasy Roleplay) when I was a younger seeker of adventure.

I don't want to give away too much but a semi-sentient black goo and broody miasma were never far from our characters. Oft times too close for comfort. Farold was burnt to a crispy, toast-like death in the roofless temple while trying to best black tendrils with his flaming torch. Irasmus found a censer, which when refreshed with a new lit cone of incense, proved to be a bane against the goo.

We also found the missing villagers, now marked by Chaos and rather more bestiary versions of their former selves. Oops. That was a major spoiler. Perhaps the wonderful and varied beastmen we encountered had merely eaten the villagers and donned their clothing?

Elven Gymnast?

Each battle was a terror to behold, as can be expected with non-skilled combatants. Alys went down suddenly and hard, losing her solitary Hit Point to a spear wielding, parrot-headed humanoid. More horrific was the immediate hurried looting of her sputtering corpse by her own party.

This was a fun game. Lewis is a professional storyteller by trade (when he's not gaming). One of his loves is the fabled Minotaur. So when Honesty John, purveyor of fine wares, opened the door to a snorting bull-headed axeman with mighty thews, a cheer went up from the players!

Previous victims of the beastmen,

A sliver of light sped from Lucky Brolt's left hand, over Honesty John's merchant cap, leaving Alys' dagger deep in the bull-man's neck. 20! A grevious wound! Like a bolt of lightning, Bryndwr hurled a spear from across the room. Fatality! With a mournful moo, the horned beast fell, clutching at the spear protruding from his chest. The menagerie of beastmen routed. Huzzah!

This encouraged the party even more than the destruction of the well and the slaughter above the gatehouse. They descended the stairs with grim determination. The players (and the DM)? Grinning from ear to ear.


  1. I haven't had much chacne to play any DCC but every time I read a game report I get a feeling of nostalgia. This looks like a lot of fun.

    1. I believe the players make the game. Never let the rules get in the way and remember the spirit of roleplaying games is to be creative and have fun! Dungeon Crawl Classics provides plenty of random tables to help enable a good time and keep things old school. It really is jam-packed with all those ideas from legendary science-fantasy authors and classic roleplaying games from the seventies and eighties. Think D&D House Rules where the roof is on fire.