Stuffed on the Starless Sea
Following her incredible Dungeon Crawl Classics debut at Gen Con 50, Judge Evie went on the hunt to run another game as soon as possible. We talked about letter her run events at our local game club, the Norwin Game Knights, and agreed that it would be the perfect venue to let her build up her DCC Road Crew street cred. I thought it would be really cool if she gave +Harley Stroh's Sailors on the Starless Sea a try, as it's a great way to introduce the game to new players as well as new Judges.
This wasn't Judge Evie's first time enjoying Sailors. Back in the summer of 2015 our family mashed Disney and DCC for the first time using this module. But it had been two years, and Evie never tried reading the adventure until this week.
I have to admit it: the kid was really dedicated! She packed the adventure in her school backpack through the week, reading and studying during her breaks and on the bus. I even caught her earlier today laying in bed, napping with the book draped over her face. With this much diligent research and study I was pretty sure that we would get an experience faithful to the original spirit in which the adventure was published.
I was so wrong!
I knew there was going to be trouble when I looked at her setup. She packed a bunch of extra stuffed animals in her game bag, along with her iPod, her Kindle, and four small tubs of homemade green slime. Looking at her quizzically I asked, "what is the slime for?"
"It's for a certain part in the game," she replied. "It's also a prize."
I shuddered in terror.
We had five total players for the event. Six if you count Evie's friend who showed up late but got in for the final boss battle.
I ended up with a decent set of 0-level characters: a Mutant Scout, a Robot Wanderer, and an Elf Armorer with a pair of sixteens. We were using the Crawling Under a Broken Moon pre-gens for the most part, but my special stash of 0-level characters in our big 0-level box is so mishmashed. You never know what you're going to get.
I named my Robot Wanderer 12345 (alternatively spelled I II III IV V). The Mutant was Trevor Buttz (named for one of player Michael's US Army basic training buddies) and my Elf was Sabra.
None survived the evening.
Judge Evie made sure to come to the event decked out in her finest DCC Judge Swag, including her special shirt.
Evie was very clear that the stuffed animals had a critical roll to play in the adventure.
That pink stuffie in the picture? That was an actual stuffed animal in the game that attacked us before we even started the adventure. It was brutal too! Pretty sure it took down the first player character.
There was a small greenish dragon that she put in front of the player with the lowest Luck score. I'm quite proud, as she got this from me! I've used the "Unlucky Dog" and the "Unlucky Squirrel" and she caught on.
There was also a white owl that appeared mid-game just to indirectly cause carnage. The Owl had a 15 armor class and would sit on players' shoulders asking to be friends. I don't think it ever attacked anyone... at first... but we were pretty intent on killing it ourselves. Unfortunately we never managed to beat it up long enough to drop it down from the 20+ hit points my kid gave the jerk.
Wait... you don't recognize the pink stuffed animal or owl on the shoulder from Harley's original adventure? Let's cover a few of the other modifications Judge Evie made to this game:
- The vines that attacked our player characters as we entered the keep had a lingering curse on the players. Anyone who hit them eventually had vines erupt from their body. After that first encounter Judge Evie set a timer on her iPod. After an hour of gameplay one of the PC's had their chest explode. Then another. The vines then took control of the PC forcing them to attack their friends.
- Oh, that last scene wouldn't have been so hard if Judge Evie hadn't turned the owl against us at the same exact time.
- When I tried removing one of the Beastmen banners down from the outside of the keep, Judge Evie ruled that there were jellybean colored termites waiting behind the fabric. They ate my character through the hip, and chased the rest of the PC's into the keep.
- In the original module there is a small, burned down chapel on one of the keep's inner walls. On the outside there is a sign that says "Repent." Evie decided that this sign actually said "PAIN" and that there was a "Welcome Mat" on the floor just outside. When one of the PC's lifted the mat and saw a big red button, she pushed it. This caused the PC with the lowest Luck score to just explode, even though they were nowhere near the button.
When we were running low on time and characters, Judge Evie pulled out the rest of the stuffed animals and declared that the Cult Leader was the big, pink, bear-unicorn. The rest of the stuffies were cultists. Within ten minutes the entire party was dead.
No punches pulled. No quarter. No relief.
Here's our pile of the damned. I'm starting to think that DCC Inferno Road had a lasting impact on this kid that the Norwin Game Knights is going to feel for years to come.