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
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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.

Welcome to 2nd level

Character Portraits 2nd level.jpg

  • Pious Crickney is promoted to “Heathen-slayer” within the church of Choranus
  • Storg now thinks of himself as more of a “Brigand” than a bandit
  • Pog is a “Broker” of the Dwarven Brotherhood, able to recruit new agents to the cause of dwarven succession
  • Curwen has graduated to the title of “Enchanter” and shaved his head in mourning of his barbarian bride Shanra

New faces

Character Portraits second string

  • Chub the thief has discovered three vials of poison made of hairless cat vomit
  • Whipplestan Bearslayer esquire, the elf, was banished from the deep woods for the crime of ennui
  • Hot Dog the warrior, purveyor of fine troglodyte sausage
  • Ra’Lerl brings from the northlands the rites of her deity Amon Tor, god of mysteries and riddles
  • Sir Robin the halfling gypsy carries a hex doll nearly as tall as he

Elzemon and the Blood-drinking Box

Elzemon and the Blood-drinking Box is more of a horror module than an adventure module. There is no map to speak of, so no “mode of exploration”. Instead, the characters spend most of their time walking down a long, seemingly endless staircase. Cue death by boredom! This adventure is grueling and torturous, appealing to the DM’s sadistic side, and I enjoyed keeping the characters up all night with Elzemon’s powers of illusion. Unfortunately, our game had a 5 hour time limit, so the characters never got to battle the swarm of fangsights, which were the coolest monster here. By contrast, the giant hairless cats were slightly comical. Most of all, this adventure relies on the “mode of logistics” – Encourage everyone to bring extra torches, lest the second half will take place completely in the dark. I enjoyed this one as a departure from a regular map-based adventure, but I think something is missing if the characters are never faced with choices such as which door to open. The creepy setting was cool, but our party of adventurers made quick work of the hairless cats and of invisible little Elzemon since both clerics have the Word of Command spell. There were no major fatalities: Only a 0 level and the three hirelings died. Am I a bad person for wanting a higher body count? If only the fangsights had come into play, I’m sure we could have had our first 1st level fatality. Sigh.

Our heroes this time…

Pog with eyes2

  • Pog got his eyes back!  He now carries the “magic crossbow” found within the Ghost Ice.  He has joined the congregation of Choranus and is secretly an agent of the Dwarven Brotherhood, working to overthrow King Archie.
  • Pious the cleric has been tasked with bringing the head of Uldor Oryx to the nearest temple of Law.  He’s been given a small crystal ball with which to predict the whims of his disapproving deity, Choranus, lord of creation.
  • Storg the warrior wears a suit of full plate mail (Armor Class 17) and carries 6 magic coins which, instead of depicting King Archie, show a frowning wizard with a resemblance to Curwen.
  • Curwen the wizard has found his first scroll.  His ancestors continue to visit him in ghost form to warn him from the path of wizardry, and he has learned Sezrekan the wizard was his great great grandfather.

New additions to the party:

  • Whipplestan Bearslayer, esquire, (the elf) learns he was banished from the deep woods for the crime of suicidal thoughts, considered unthinkable to the immortal races.  His punishment was to be made mortal.
  • Chub the evil turnip farmer has given up honest work for the path of the assassin.  A turnip-based diet will do that to a guy.
  • The northlanders Ungal the Untamed (warrior) and Gak the fisherman (thief) now crave the metal weapons and gold of the civilized lands.
  • Ra’Lerl the northlander is ready to level up but has only a Luck of 3, making her prospects in the civilized lands seem dismal.  Being a thief would suck, but she might make a decent warrior or cleric.
  • While in the northlands, Pog, Storg and Curwen took barbarian brides (0 level hunters and gatherers).  Can the denizens of King Archie’s realm interbreed with the northland races?  Tune in next time to find out.

Frozen In Time

This module harkens back to ye olden days by evoking The Expedition To Barrier Peaks.  The sci-fi time-travel theme was pretty sweet, and the players really got excited by the “wingless dragon” and spent lots of time plotting how to avoid it whenever the force field eventually failed.  Luckily, they brought enough rope and were able to traverse the lift tubes after the power went out, managing to avoid battling the wingless dragon entirely.  Good job, lads!  There was a minimal bodycount this time, but a couple of deaths early in the game while scaling the glacier face put everybody on alert that the danger was real and low rolls meant an early grave.  I made a few changes to the printed adventure, using the naked man in the menagerie as our adventure hook, and adding a few different treasure items to the treasury room.  But most of all, I had to change the blaster rifle so it never explodes–That’s just too mean!  And I figured that anyone trained in crossbow could operate the blaster rifle with no problem.  For the finale of the adventure, I used a timer in an idea stolen from Bride Of The Black Manse: One hour real time after leaving the power plant, it explodes, putting the premises on back up power.  Fifteen minutes real time after that, back up power fails and all security shields go down, releasing the menagerie, the wingless dragon and the treasure plinths.  Other items on the plinths included a box of thin, colorful books (comics) and several figurines attached to colorful placards that could be read with Comprehend Languages to say “Stormtrooper”, “Snaggletooth” and the like.  Zepes Null-Eleven was just a collector nerd after all!

I also worked up my own random event chart for when the characters returned to the primitive village and found themselves stranded there.  Roll 1d6 for each week the characters live among the savages:

1 Mating Season: It is time for another inexplicable religious ceremony of these savage people. All characters roll under Personality for the option to marry a barbarian bride and roll a new 0 level character from the Primitive Occupations chart (p.13). Should this result be rolled more than once, the tribe practices polygamy.

2 Cannibals Attack: A foreign tribe of starving savages attacks the village with cannibalism in mind. Combat is required of all heroes. The villagers respond as well, leaving 1d3 cannibals per character for the heroes to battle. Cannibals (1d3 per character) : Init ­‐1; Atk club ­‐1 melee (1d4‐1); AC 10; HD 1d4; MV 30′; Act 1d20; SV Fort ‐1, Ref +0, Will +1; AL N.

3 Barbarian Festival: It is time for another inexplicable religious ceremony of these savage people. All characters of a randomly selected alignment receive +1 Luck. Roll 1d3: (1) Lawful, (2) Neutral, (3) Chaotic.

4 Food Shortage: The frozen lands are unforgiving. All characters are required to hunt for food instead of healing. Roll 1d20: A fumble is an injury that prevents participation in all future village events. A critical hit means your hunting prowess wins you the admiration of a new wife and you may roll up a new 0 level character from the Primitive Occupations chart.

5 Severe Weather: Blizzard or freezing rain catch you unprepared. All characters roll under Stamina or suffer frostbite (-­1hp damage and make DC 6 Fort save or lose -­1 Stamina permanently.)

6 Talking Wolves: The village is visited by a family of 2d2 talking wolves. They say “Winter is coming,” and “The book was better.” The character with the highest Personality may roll under Personality for the option to parley with the verbose beasts, otherwise combat is required of all heroes. In parley, the wolves will happily answer questions, but they know nothing outside of the frozen north and the George R.R. Martin canon. They speak Wolf, Common and Barbarian. Talking Wolves (2d2): Init +3, Atk bite +2 melee (1d4); AC 12; HD 1d6; MV 40′; Act 1d20; SV Fort +3, Ref +2, Will +1; AL L.