Cosmology of King Archie’s Realm

KAR Planes

At the beginning of time was the great God War that shook all existence and broke the universe into four planes:

  • Lawful Plane—Home of the Lawful gods, Lords of Law, and their angels
  • Chaotic Plane—Home of the Chaotic gods, Lords of Chaos, and their demons
  • Physical Plane—Home to men and monsters and the chess board of the gods
  • Neutral Plane—Home of the Neutral gods, also called The Underworld, where the souls of men go upon death to await the end of time

Our Heroes This Time

  • King Archie announces his new flag design:

flag1

  • 5 new Barons of North Port have been announced:

Baron Pious

Baron Storg, Iron Tooth

Baron Pog, Hammer Face

Baron Bill S Preston, Wanderer

Baron Curwen, Son of Nurwen

  • Curwen the wizard & Bill the elf now both cast the Enlarge spell and have used it to make mince meat of King Kong
  • The clerics Pious & Ra’Lerl have built competing shrines and begin to collect followers
  • Pog the dwarf & Pious the cleric have invested in Curwen’s scheme to build an armory in North Port
  • Ungal the Untamed craves the frozen airs of the northlands from whence he came
  • Chub the thief is now a 2nd level Murderer
  • Storg the warrior is now a father
  • The last of the dog-faeries have been exterminated

Moon-Slaves of the Cannibal Kingdom

Moon-Slaves of the Cannibal Kingdom is probably the worst title for a DCC adventure, clunky, over-written, and inaccurate, but once I saw the map/diagram on the last page I couldn’t stop wondering what it was all about.  This module is a tantalizing play-environment in the form of newly-discovered islands in need of exploration.  It evokes The Isle of Dread with steamy jungles ruled by dinosaurs, King Kong with a ginormous ape character, and A. Merrit in the form of flying, sentient metal blocks that can coalesce into various forms.  What this adventure did right was give meaningful player choices.  At the onset, there are many ways to approach the mysterious islands.  Our team ignored the caldera and maze of sunken ruins, both super-cool features, and instead landed on the peaceful beach with no opposition.  This adventure also had lots of cool NPCs to tussle with, and by a luck of the wandering monster dice, they met the ginormous ape depicted on the cover for an epic battle.  I was pleased to see that some player choices could result in extremely dangerous encounters, while other choices could take you quickly to the story’s heart.  Our party suffered casualties from random spider-men, yet conquered the Undying Queen post haste with a cleric’s paralysis spell.  There was so much crammed into this module it becomes muddled at times, but there is so much excellent possibility unleashed that I experienced the “mode of exploration” myself–I really didn’t know which way it would go, what would happen next, or where the real threat lay.  Like most DCC modules, the Kovacs cartography is superb and the Poag title page is lovely.  And to the players’ surprise, unlike most DCC modules, there is an infinite amount of gold to be found!  I give this one two thumbs up.

 

Our heroes this time…

Our heroes this time

  • The bandit Storg has got himself some new silver teeth
  • Ra’lerl, Pupil of Amon Tor, is now a 2nd level cleric
  • Curwen the enchanter lost 8 inches in height thanks to a magical mishap
  • Ungal the Untamed, wilding of the northlands, put his new battle axe to good use
  • Bill S Preston esquire, the elf barrister, kicked ass with his Enlarge spell and faithful familiar, a giant beetle called Reggie
  • Pog the dwarf has found a curious monocle and set of lenses
  • Chub, thug of the Assassin’s Guild, keeps hanging around looking suspicious
  • Pious Crickney, heathen-slayer of Choranus, saved many souls from Bleeding Out
  • Stranded and doomed at the base of the wicked-evil ziggurat, the elf Whipplestan Bearslayer esquire saved the party by convincing everyone to commit suicide and escape into the immortal lands, thanks to a favor from the King of Elfland

Blood for the Serpent King

Blood For The Serpent King is only about four rooms long, but our party of fierce adventurers was nonetheless forced to their wits’ end and the very limits of their capabilities. This module has a solid Mayan snake-guy theme, a puzzle element, and a couple of killer combat encounters: Our party never made it up the ziggurat thanks to the giant sea serpent. And lets not forget the terror and awesomeness of the finale location. The map is worth copying for player view—You have to see the art to understand the wickedness of the ziggurat and black storm. This short adventure is an add on to Bride Of The Black Manse and escaped my scrutiny at first, but level 2 comes before level 3, so…

This was the game our group really started to feel their Mighty Deeds and Spellburn. Mighty Deeds is a great mechanic because the players can just make it up on the spot. Spell casting is much more complicated, to the point of uselessness unless every wizard, elf and cleric has a copy of the rulebook to scrutinize. Thanks to People Them With Monsters for providing spell sheet downloads, bcuz having a handout for every spell is the only way to for new players to know their powers. The Enlarge spell totally kicked ass and somehow gave better Armor Class bonuses than the Magic Shield spell. A maximum spellburn by Whipplestan the elf to summon aid from the King of Elfland was the party’s only hope for survival after the giant water serpent wiped out the rope bridge. Several characters were killed and brought back from 0 Hit Points in the nick of time, adding an immense tension to the game, and the party’s inability to reach the top of the ziggurat and “finish” the adventure made it all the more powerful in the imagination. The sense of wonder and satisfaction was great! All thanks to the Dark Master for making possible such a fine Saturday afternoon!

Our heroes this time

storg-teeth

  • Storg lost 8 teeth and died for a moment before being brought back by Ra’lerl
  • Ra’lerl, Witness of Amon Tor, now has a Luck of 2 thanks to the curse of Palimdybis
  • Sir Robin the hobbit is more than a lucky token now with his dual daggers
  • Hot Dog the warrior wears the ring of Elzemon under his troglodyte skin gloves
  • Curwen the wizard lost his pupils in magic corruption and is now plagued by nightmares
  • Gak, Zealot of Malotoch, was slain twice and left for dead deep inside the dungeon

The People of the Pit

I bought People of the Pit but then set it aside for a long time: I had two other adventures with a tentacle monster, so this one seemed unnecessary. But in playing the other two adventures, the tentacle scenes ended up getting cut. Since there aren’t enough 1st level modules, I dusted this one off and gave it a try. This is a solid adventure module with a great Lovecraft-inspired tentacle-theme. Whereas modules #67 and #81 used a tentacle monster for the finale, People Of The Pit made use of tentacles all the ways: Cool combat spell, form of transportation, inspiration for a maze, and other weird crap. Like the eyeball adventure (#81), this one plays its theme well for an unforgettable environ to explore and unforgettable foes to slay. It had more treasure to be found than most of the other 1st level modules, much to the relief of the impoverished characters (Armor is so expensive in DCC!) In our five hour game, the party only got to the temple on the second level, about halfway through the map, making this module a real all-you-can-eat suitable for all-night play. Too bad we’re all old now and start to nod off as soon as the sun goes down. My theory is that clerics are the most powerful DCC class because of the rules for Bleeding Out. Our party suffered two deaths in the fifth hour, both saved by the two clerics in the party, but once they lost one of their clerics irrevocably it was time to turn tail and escape with the gems. It would have taken a party of all clerics to get to the bottom of the fourth level, but I was disappointed with the finale—You just kill the lead cultist and the cavern collapses. I’m glad Goodman Games has ‘banned’ any more tentacle-themed releases, but could The Dark Master please consider banning the ‘collapsing finale’ that ends so many modules? Every time the dungeon collapses in the last scene, I think of Tango & Cash, not Gygax & Arneson.