As I reported two weeks ago, I finally ran Dungeon Crawl Classics. Now I won’t move it up to my #1 OSR slot, but it definitely played as fast-and-loose as I was hoping for, and it was a kick to be watch characters explode in such a bloody fashion throughout the game.
It took us two sessions to run through DCC35A – Hall of the Minotaur. I converted it on the fly from the D&D3.5 adventure to a DCC version (which mostly means slightly lower armour classes as far as I can tell).
3 players / 12 characters. Chargen was done in half an hour, and then in was time to immanentize the eschaton.
The first fight was a riot. Three hungry mongrel dogs vs 12 peasants (well, 8 peasants, a moneylender, a lay priest, a merchant and one who probably got kicked out of town for being a witch). A dogpile ensued and all 12 walked away feeling much more confident.
Which ended at the next encounter. By the time they had entered the dungeon proper they were down 2, and they lost two more when the priest screamed that they had to destroy the giant thatch idol which promptly toppled on both the priest and another 1 hp character. This pair of deaths was the highlight of the game session, really. They had made it into the dungeon, had already killed 7 little humanoids, a big humanoid and 3 dogs… Only to be slain by a fallen idol.
Half-way through the adventure now and we’re down to 6 characters. But those six are now wearing armour, have some decent weapons, and they may even have a magic item. I expect that if we finish the adventure we’ll be down to 2-3 by the end. Or none. A TPK is still in the cards.
The two that died fighting the humanoids was awesome. The best weapon in the team was a pitchfork (d8 damage! SWEET) so when the little villain killed one of the two rutabaga farmers, the little beast stood on the back of the farmer, raised the pitchfork over his head and yelled “I leveled up, suckas!!!” and was promptly killed by the con man (who’s name changed every combat round) for possession of said pitchfork.
The second session had them explore some more, rescue three townfolk from the kobold king, and make it up from the dungeons to the spire where they were seeking to confront the beastlord. The first half of the session went by without a single fatality, and I had swollen their ranks by 3 extra characters because the DCC conversion I read for the module suggested 16-20 characters and we only had 12.
A big-assed bird took care of that for me, actually EXPLODING the head of one character with a 16 point critical hit… there were jeweler brains EVERYWHERE.
Now heavily armed and armoured (two of them wearing mithril armour, some wielding outlandish weapons), they finally confronted the beastlord who managed to tear one character in half with a single blow, and then found himself ground to a halt because the average AC of the party had changed from 10 to 16 from the beginning to the end of the adventure. And the dogpile that ensued didn’t last long. The poor horned bastard was then dragged down from the towering fortress to be served up as a feast in town, the mob of peasants now ready to seek out their fortune elsewhere.
One of the tips I was given was to allow the players a lot of leeway when they describe why their occupation gives them the ability to do something skilled – mostly because players rarely stretch their creativity that way. Well, obviously the person giving me this advice has never played with my groups. The beggar in the group has every skill on the planet, effectively.
- “Anyone here have the right skills for diplomacy?”
- “Dude, Pedro manages to wrangle coppers out of people all day, every day, he’s a diplomat.”
- “Anyone have survival skills?”
- “Dude, Pedro is homeless!”
- “Spotting poisonous foodstuffs?”
- “Homeless beggar!”
- “Breaking and entering?”
- “Gotta get food somewhere when the begging does pan out…”
- “First aid?”
And the Con Man was even better. That guy just kept pulling new cons out of the air. (Well, this one time I had to pretend to be a hunter…).
So it is time to print out the full-sized character sheets instead of the level zero half-sheets. Who knows when I’ll get back to these crazed “adventurers” – we’ve agreed to pull out DCC whenever we’re short a player from our 3.5 game.
Did I mention it was fun as hell?