Thursday, April 29, 2021

Lankhmar Bundle of DCC Holding

Continuing from where I left off, there is a BoH going through May 10th for the Lankhmar material made for DCC. TLDR is buy this. But let's get some words about why.

For all intents, purposes, and intensive porpoises, I consider DCCL to be DCC's second edition. Well, I say that, but you probably need DCC core rules to play it. Luckily, the quick-start rules should be somewhere in the bundle. Here are some interesting DCCL innovations:

  • Benisons and Dooms: Often, these pull you into the setting and give little tastes of it.
  • Languages: More world-building. Everyone at least knows pidgin Black Toga-ese. No more of PCs speaking generic monster languages in an RPG that was supposed to have only special monsters anyways.
  • Spell restrictions: Mercurial magic is often a bit too jarring, so having down to earth magic weirdness is a nice change of pace. Yes, that sentence was ironic.
  • Sing this new corruption to me: Our freak wizards are home grown. Man, there are a lot more of these than in DCC.
  •  Magic gets split into black and white (or just normal).
  • No clerics, hobbits, dwarves, or elves: PCs will be different thanks to their backgrounds, but these things are out, and it's kinda refreshing to have humans that either stab or get stabbed (that's what wizards are best at).
  • Healing without clerics. You use up luck to heal, but that's okay, because
  • Fleeting Luck and Carousing can keep your Luck tank full. Most of the adventures have luck rewards too.

Gosh, this is getting to long again I could have gone on. Anyways, it's a great take on DCC. I ran a campaign that took us to the desert, where a PC led a tribe of pillar men thanks to carousing too much.  We met Ningauble and Sheelba. Fun was had, and a lot of strange wines.

So, let's go down what the bundle has now.

  • The Boxed Set: This has a ton of DCCL books in it. I kinda question that some of it got split up into separate books, because there were a few times I was like, wait, what book from the three main ones is that rule addressed in? The group did play through the included adventure No Small Crimes, and it was pretty good for setting elements. You gotta see the map of Lankhmar the Doug Kovacs did.
  • Gang Lords: This low level adventure is good for learning how to slum it. I like how NPCs give information hoping to call in favors later and research is largely about greasing palms.
  • Land Of Eight Cities: Lots of good information on this area to the north of the usual adventures, but when running it I got frustrated that though the political leaders of the cities are described a bit, there is no information I could find on which cities are whose, but in retrospect I am kinda dumb and I think this was by design, to let Judges make it their own. Included is an adventure which had a fun, odd antagonist.
  • Dozen Locations: If your PCs need to hit up a temple, you can just pull out the temple from here and adjust a few knobs on the fly. The thing is filled with plug and play buildings, maybe even 12 of them total, but don't quote me on that.
  • The lower-level adventures: Are all new to me. I'll just say the authors are very good at delivering the goods.
  • The higher-level ones: Ditto. It seems there is a lot of fun to be had fighting glowing, undead things though. 

Well, I think the main takeaway it that I need to get another Lankhmar campaign going so I can experience some of this material. To add some ballast to this post, I should say some critical things. I found the original boxed set overall a bit rushed-feeling. I think the artists and writers worked hard to get that Kickstarter out the door, but it feels like it needed some playtesting, time, and room to breathe. And most of the art is not by my usual DCC favorites, but that's a pretty subjective opinion that doesn't affect gameplay at all. 

As long as I'm being honest, I'm gonna admit that--because I didn't feel confident running the DCCL modules without lots of mental prep and so needed some lazy Judge padding-- I pulled a couple of one or two page adventure ideas from the reviled TSR-era materials, specifically Wonders of Lankhmar. Michael Curtis will be pissed if he ever finds out about that.



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Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Hit boxes, not HP

Ran across this in a Roll20 note I made. I think it has great potential. I guess I was using it in my homebrew Quest Ferrit a few years back.

When you are hit, check off one of the following (replenish once per level each day, between fights):
☑You dead. Dramatically pulling the villain to hell with you optional.
☑Your shield is splintered.
☑Your armor, helm, or jaunty hat saved you this time...
☑'Tis but a flesh wound!
☑Monster rolls on a crit chart (you take injuries; ignore damage rolls generated by this).
☑Monster does something typical for its variety (melts your face off, burns you, ages you 7 years, etc.)
☑You roll your HD & armor die; not rolling a one on either of them means you survived this blow (everyone has at least a d3 armor die).
☑ You suffer an injury of the Judge's choosing.
☑ Lucky dodge! Your luck score goes down by one.

☑ (hobbits only) Another PC you name jumps in to save your bacon .
☑ (fighters only) The pain helps you focus; +1d to your next to-hit roll.
☑ (dwarves only) The foe tosses you into your allies, who toss you right back.
☑ (elves only) Demoralizingly deft dodge and dudgeon. +1d to next intimidation or taming check.
☑ (barbarians only) Rage! +1d to damage and crit charts this fight.
doesn't usually have one.


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Jump on the DCC Bundles of Holding while you can

Bundles plural. There are two bundles, so I'll talk about what I know about each one.

The DCC bundle has the core rule book, Thakulon, a Judge's Screen, and Sailors.

  • Core rules: For 15 bucks, the core rules alone are a bargain. If you have only ever played 5e, you need to give DCC a shot, and this is a good way. Since this version has a funnel (zero level adventure) called Portal Under the Stars, I recommend you break yourself into the game on that one.
  • Thakulon the Undying: Has a couple things going for it: Harley Stroh is involved and he is one of the best DCC writers. The set up of three levels for the three DCC alignments seems it would be a good way to see how DCC handles this DCCism differently. I recommend getting ahold of Court of Chaos (not in the bundle) for alignment shenanigans as well. Anyhoo, I'mma run it instead of a funnel the next time I start a DCC night, which is, thanks to the Bundle, very soon.
  • Judge's Screen: I mean, better to have printed on cardboard somehow, but okay.
  • Sailors on the Starless Sea: The most famous funnel. I've run it once, but do prefer Portal. It's pretty good, but very lethal, so prepare your players with warnings.

All that is worth the money. Then you have the extras for basically doubling your donation. Are they worth it? Let's see what you get (the three low level adventures are described first):

  • Moon Slaves of the Cannibal Kingdom: This is a good one to push the gonzo, one of DCC's best merits. This is science fantasy elfgames complete with a talking ape and three moons. Looks promising, but have not played yet.
  • Queen of Elfland's Son: The DCC take on faerie folk. I dunno, it includes goblins and most of the monsters have that unjustified (?) D&Dism where elven creatures are immune to sleep and charm, which is a bit bog-standard DCC for me, but it does have some new, weird fey and a monster unicorn. I think this one may be a good way to get PC wizards interested in getting patronage from the King of Elfland. Patrons are one of the best things about DCC. Oh, and it has a curse. Curses are a cool part of DCC that don't get used enough.
  • Star Wound of Abaddon: Science fantasy and Clark Ashton Smith gets a name-drop, so I'm pretty interested. And you gotta do this point crawl to experience the Cosmic Perversion table. 
  • Beyond the Black Gate: The rumors tables for this one are very nice, as they are different for each race/class. Also, they don't do that BS where they tell you which rumors are true or false (let's find out together, yo). This one explores multiversalism, which is another important aspect of DCC. Also, there is a bonus adventure with a crashed spaceship in there.
  • Emirikol Was Framed!: The eponymous wizard calls the party imbeciles and whoresons. I like this guy. Seriously, looks like a good fun-house dungeon module.
  • Imprisoned in the God-skull: This one has a lot going for it, what with ancient, epic history of a wizard so badass he had to be sealed away by a god's sacrifice, and wormwood aliens. Very much want to run this one.

So I think the takeaway is this is well worth the cash. You have years of gonzo gaming potential here. I've run DCC since the beta days and even written a third party adventure for it, so you know I'm a fan. Heck, some would say these books are worth it for the art alone. I'd say the biggest strike against the bundle is that it doesn't include Courts of Chaos, but jump on the bundle while there is still time!

 This has run long, so I'll cover the second Goodman Games bundle in my next post. You can still check it out though: DCC Lankhmar bundle.

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Saturday, April 17, 2021

Charismatic Party Leaders Houserule

Who's in charge here?

This idea might be best introduced in session 0 or one.

The PC with the highest Charisma or Personality score is the natural leader of the group, and should be role-played  as such. Maybe even have them be the one that recruits the other PCs.

If two people are tied for highest score, let there be a friendly rivalry. Emphasis on friendly. Maybe one should get the edge for achieving a heroic character arc.

If a new PC comes along with a higher score, there can be tension there too, but eventually, the lower character should realize that the new guy or gal is alright and cede the position (their player will probably like a break from the mental exhaustion of leadership around this point as well).

This is just the musing of someone who has seen a lot of TV shows and movies.

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