Sunday, August 19, 2018

Xcrawl - Dungeonbattle Delco



Xcrawl in Delaware County!


When it comes to legendary 1980's cinema, you can't do any better than The Running Man. Dystopian future meets gory game show meets Arnold Schwarzenegger. Damn... it's just so good! But did you know that you can have that same feel at your gaming table? Well, if you are a Dungeon Crawl Classics gamer, I'm sure you know all about Brendan LaSalle's Xcrawl!

I fell in love with the Xcrawl universe after running Dungeonbattle Brooklyn as a fund-raising event for Lawful Good Gaming. Putting on my best Richard Dawson impersonation, microphone in hand I ran my players through a invigorating evening of deadly game-show antics! Ever since, I've had the itch to run more Xcrawl, and perhaps even write my own Dungeonbattle. 

Behold, it is complete.

I really wanted to run Dungeonbattle Brooklyn for some of my friends here in the Philly area, but I thought that a 0-level funnel would be easier to start them into the world of Dungeon Crawl Classics. But there aren't any 0-level funnels for Xcrawl on the market. I needed to make one. 

So let's do this.


My Favorite Dystopia


I should note that I tend to inject a ton of pop culture into my games. Well, I'm not stopping with this adventure! Granted, feel free to run this using the standard setting out of Maximum Xcrawl, but if you want to run this adventure MY WAY, here's some fun tidbits to add:


  • The game takes place 1d3 years from now. So right now its 2018, which means the adventure takes place between 2019-2021. Just roll. 
  • Whatever year you roll, whatever outlandish newfangled technology you think is going to exist by then (iPhone XV, Gluten Eradication Rays, Universal Healthcare), go ahead and give it a 1980's spin. I mean, its the future, but just a future that would've been imagined in 1988. Go watch Total Recall if you need some help. Or Road House. 
  • Replace Emperor Reagan with Emperor Drumpf. I mean... it's pretty much the way things are headed, right? 
  • 80% of the backstories of the following movies/TV shows have actually happened:
    • Bright
    • Blade Runner
    • Best of the Best 2
    • Robocop
    • Escape from New York/Escape from LA (but with 300% more demihumans in LA)
    • Dirty Dancing
    • Snowpierer (no need to have all the snow, but maybe just the train?)
    • SeaQuest DSV
    • Red Dawn (but with Orcs or something)
    • The Fast and the Furious
    • Whatever else you want to add
  • Players who show up to the table eating food that is clearly from Wawa gain 1d3 points of Luck. 


Dungeonbattle Delco


Dungeonbattle Delco is a zero-level or first level adventure set in the Xcrawl universe. For those unfamiliar with the term, "Delco" is short for Delaware County, located just southwest of Philadelphia. It just so happens that this is where our family moved a couple of months back, and we are acclimating to the area and learning all the lingo (and the accent!). What better way to fulling immerse ourselves in the region than by setting our next adventure right here! 

To make this Dungeonbattle a fully Philly experience, I decided to throw in a ton of local references. Feel free to use what I've got here, or toss in some of your own favorite hometown features. 

Dungeonbattle Delco, also known as the "First Annual Wawa Classic Hoagie Classic", is a Division IV, non-lethal event that takes place in the brand new Xcrawl Semi-Pro Event Center (XSPEC) in the Springfield Mall next to the Target. DJ (Dungeon Judge) Pat Fiorino, a prominent Philly native and popular restaurateur, opened the Dungeonbattle Delco recently as both a sporting complex and dinner theater. Kind of like a Medieval Times, but with much more violence. DJ Pat dreams of running Division III, full-lethal events at the Springfield Mall, but for the time being he's only sanctioned to run amateur, college, and semi-pro level Xcrawl events. 

The Xcrawl complex has done well over the last few months, and DJ Pat saw an opportunity to really kick the experience up a notch with outside corporate sponsorship. Wawaand to a much lesser extent Scott Kia of Springfield, have all teamed up with DJ Pat to make the First Annual Wawa Classic Hoagie Classic the best Division IV non-lethal event ever. 

If all goes well, perhaps the Second Annual Wawa Classic Hoagie Classic will be full-lethal!


Characters


Fair warning: I'm going a little crazy with what I'll be allowing in this Xcrawl campaign. I wanted to use not only the core DCC classes, but also the Mutant and Manimal from Mutant Crawl Classics and the Athlete form the Goodman Games Gen Con 2016 Program Guide

All characters roll for both occupation and race. 

Philly Occupation List

Roll 1d30Occupation
1Possessed by the Ghost of Ben Franklin
2College Dropout
3Acme Deli Employee
4Wawa Clerk
5Colonial Reenactor
6Action News Reporter
7SEPTA Worker
8Amtrak Cop
9Ballroom Dancer
10Bookie
11Mob Collector
12Museum Curator
13Full Time Sports Fan
14Cheese Steak Artist
15Roadside Pretzel Vendor
16Cab Driver
17Historic Carriage Driver
18Tourist
19University Professor
20Hair Stylist
21Sleazy Lawyer
22Local Theater Celebrity
23Haunted Prison Guard
24Casino Host
25Car Salesperson
26Has-Been Boxer
27Dive Bartender
28Swim Club Lifeguard
29Former Eagle
30Friggin' Asshole

PC Starting Race

Roll 2d6RaceClasses Allowed
2ManimalAs per Mutant Crawl Classics
3ManimalAs per Mutant Crawl Classics
4HalflingAs per DCC Corebook or Crawl!
5DwarfAthlete, Cleric, Ranger, Thief, Warrior, Wizard
6HumanAthlete, Cleric, Ranger, Thief, Warrior, Wizard
7HumanAthlete, Cleric, Ranger, Thief, Warrior, Wizard
8HumanAthlete, Cleric, Ranger, Thief, Warrior, Wizard
9ElfAs per DCC Corebook or Crawl!
10OrcAs per Crawl! 5
11MutantAs per Mutant Crawl Classics
12MutantAs per Mutant Crawl Classics

PC Classes


ClassSource
AthleteGoodman Games Program Guide 2015
ClericDCC Rulebook
DwarfDCC Rulebook
Dwarven PriestCrawl! No. 10
Elf DCC Rulebook
Elf RogueCrawl! No. 10
Halfling ChampionCrawl! No. 10
Halfling Burglar Crawl! No. 10
ManimalMCC Rulebook
MutantMCC Rulebook
OrcCrawl! No. 5
RangerCrawl! No. 6
ThiefDCC Rulebook
WarriorDCC Rulebook
WizardDCC Rulebook


PC Actors

As per the original Xcrawl rules, every player should choose an actor or actress to play their character in the game. Should the player choose a famous actor from the Philadelphia area, they get +1 Luck. Should they pick Bradley Cooper they get +2 Luck. 

Don't tell the players about this until after they've all selected their characters. Also, it only counts before anyone knows the rules. But if someone thinks that they can game the system, and finds out about this prior to the adventure (spoiler alert not given), they get -1 Luck. -1d7 Luck if they try to pick Sylvester Stallone hoping to game the system. Stallone may have been Rocky, but he's from New York. 


Dungeonbattle Rules


DJ Pat and the sponsors for the Springfield Mall XSPEC event have collaborated in coming up with fun and exciting rules for this event, even if there would be no "planned" lethality. 

Division IV Non-Lethal: This event is a non-lethal, semi-pro/amateur event. Weapons are limited, and killing blows are not condoned. Should a PC, NPC, or intelligent monster be reduced to 0 hitpoints, a medic will appear from a No-Go door and make an attempt to administer first aid in the form of a healing potion. In addition, only the following weapons are sanctioned:

  • Blackjack 
  • Club
  • Nerf Bow (Like a short bow, but Nerf. Seriously, it does no damage. In the hands of a warrior or dwarf with a deed die, or on a critical, it could come in handy)
  • Sling
  • Staff
  • Unarmed

It should be noted that the event is nonlethal for both PC's and NPC's, and that includes any Kobolds. Killing of anyone will involve in immediate disqualification. 

Splash Zones: DJ Pat's event maximizes the use of water elements called "Splash Zones." Should a PC find themselves submerged in a splash zone they have a 1 round to remove themselves (typically a DC 10 Strength check to climb out) or they will be disqualified. Zero level characters are out of the event. 1st level characters can return to the next area so long as the team makes it through.

Commercial Breaks: For my event, I prepared a list of great commercials to show on YouTube. I was inspired by Judge Michael Bolam's use of a commercial break at Gen Con. If you want to use my commercials, here you go. Just follow that link and enjoy! For best effect, run 3 commercials after each Area.

[DJ's Fun Fact: Wanna make this event more lethal? Like Division III? Just go and electrify those pools of water! DC 15 Fortitude Save or take 3d6 Stamina damage? How does that sound?]

Sorry, this is as good as I get with mapping.

Area 1: Kobold Alley 


After field reporter Katie Lynn interviews the PC's in the green room, its time to get started. The adventurers walk into a 100' by 50' arena, surrounded by spectators eating their dinners. That's right, it's dinner theater time! A miniature castle is situated on the far end of the chamber. This opening scene separates the heroes and monsters from the spectators by just a thin net. Fortunately, there's not much danger ahead, but a lot of opportunities to test some basic skills.

Before the scene, DJ Pat accounts the PC's, and thanks the Media, PA based Media DelKobold Club for creating this very first challenge. He also reminds everyone that this is a non-lethal event, and that goes for the DelKobolds as well. 



  • A small troupe of DelKobolds defend the miniature castle on the far end of the room. Unlike typical Kobolds, DelKobolds are shorter, feistier, and capable of hurling vicious insults. They specialize in guilt trips.  
    • DelKobold: Init +2; Atk club (+0 melee, 1d4 dmg) or sling (+1 ranged, 1d4 dmg); AC 12; HD 1d4; MV 20; Act 1d20; SP infravision 100'; SV Fort -2; Ref +1; Will -2; AL N.
    • DelKobold Boss: As DelKobold, but with 3d4 HP.
  • 8 DelKobolds guard the castle, with a DelKobold Boss at the very top armed with a sling. The b
  • There are 3 tiers to the castle, each approximately 5' high. So the top is only 15' off the ground. 
  • A buzzer is at the top, guarded by the boss. On the second tier are 4 of the DelKobolds armed with clubs. On the third tier (closest to the ground, are another 4 DelKobolds.
  • The PC's start unarmed, and unarmored.
  • The goal of the room is to make it to the top of the castle, and hit a buzzer. This opens a door in the side of Kobold Alley, to break room and another pair of doors, one to Area 2, the other to Area 3.
  • In the break area, the PC's can select a club, staff, or Nerf Bow if they haven't grabbed one already. They also get a Wawa iced latte that heals 2d5 HP when they drink it. 

Area 2: Hang the Soul (by Scott Kia in Springfield)


Much like the famous TV show Climbing for Dollars, Hang the Soul requires a great bit of hanging... and climbing. It also features really angry bats! The room is a 50' wide, circular chamber, with a pit of wooder (water) at the bottom. A small ramp leads the PC's to a series of 10 ropes. At the top of the 40' high chamber there is an Xcrawl Edition Kia Soul hanging from the ceiling. 



The goal of the Area is to climb up the ropes and get into the car, turning the ignition. The first to succeed wins the car.




  • This sounds easier than it is. To get to the car requires 2 DC 5 climbing checks up the rope. Failure means falling into the water below, which could be a disqualification (although getting out of the water is pretty easy, given that the ropes are dangling above, only a DC 5). 
  • Once a PC reaches the Kia Soul, a whole mess of endorsement covered bats fly out from above the vehicle, harassing the PC's. Treat as a Bat Swarm from the DCC rulebook, page 396.
  • First person to startle the bats needs to make a DC 12 Will save. 
  • Attacking the bat swarm is hard while climbing ropes. -1d to any attacks with one handed melee weapons. Using a two handed weapon is next to impossible (-3d). 
  • Once in the car, the PC's need to find the key fob. They can look in any area of the car that they want, each search requiring an action. Keep things in initiative order.
  • The key fob is located behind the left passenger seat, taped to the upholstery.  
  • After 2 rounds of searching, the car will immediately drop into the water below, and will start flooding with water. 
  • Note: There could be random sweet swag at the bottom of the water. 
  • The PC's will need to act quickly. After another 2 rounds the car is flooded, and the players are at risk of drowning! 
  • Fortunately there are scuba diving dolphin manimals who can assist before anyone dies, but being saved by scuba dolphins means disqualification). 
  • First PC to turn the ignition wins the car! 

Area 3: Cross the Crick 




The PC's face a chasm with a great, bubbling river running down the middle. Immediately across the chasm, the PC's see another door. Unfortunately the gap is over 30' away. There are several raised platforms in the room as well, each holding wonderful prizes! Unfortunately, a great mutated calamari slime lurks in the river, and it is quite irate. 





  • First let's talk about the two raised platforms. Each is 20' high, greased with olive oil, and very hard to climb (DC 20 without some kind of assistance). The check is required for both the climb up and the climb down, and falling is a serious risk.
    • The northern platform has a front loading washer/dryer combo from Best Buy.
    • The southern platform has a six-pack of Wawa brand Healing Seltzers (1d6 HP).
  • The doorway leading out of the chamber is also raised, but not greased. It's just a DC 10 to climb up.
  • The river is quick moving, but situated in the center is the great calamari slime. Anyone entering the 10' river will be attacked by the slime's tentacles automatically. Battling the slime is difficult, but possible. Crossing the river without attacking the slime would be easiest, but requires some kind of teamwork.
    • Calamari Slime: Init +0; Atk tentacle +3 melee (1d3 damage); AC 15 in the water, 5 out of the water; HD 5d8; MV 30' in the water 5' out of the water; Act 5d20; SP slime has a Strength of 18 (+3) and will try to drag PC's into the water. As per the Dungeonbattle rules, the victim has 1 round to get out of the water. SV Ref -1; Fort +3; Will +0 AL N

Area 4: Pick a Prize by Wawa




Just a really nice place to take a quick break and win some fabulous prizes! Katie Lynn shows up and interviews each of the PC's to see how they are enjoying the events so far. Also, they are asked if they want to say hello to anyone back home on the AVS (arcane video screen). Once the pleasantries are done, there is a word from the sponsor, and then the PC's get to choose to open one door each (or opt not to). 





  • Door #1: a hot Wawa chicken sandwich, served by an irate Wawa clerk who wanted to be on the show. Her name's Tina. When the character tries to take the sandwich, she punches him in the face (Atk +2, she's strong! 1d3 damage). She's kicked out of the show, but the damage remains. The sandwich grants 1d5 hit points.
  • Door #2: $500 in cash!
  • Door #3: Trap! The door doesn't open easily, but when the PC tries to pull a second time (or mess with the door) it falls on top of them. DC 12 Reflex Save or get crushed for 1d4 damage. While the door is on top of the PC, Katie Lynn stands on top of the door (another 1d2 damage) and does a word from a sponsor of choice (let one of the players pick... heck, let them do the commercial if they want!)
  • Door #4: $500 of free play at Harrah's Casino Philadelphia in Chester. 
  • Door #5: Trap! It looks like a gift wrapped box from Hot Topic, but when the PC tries to open it, they find that it's an explosive filled with thumbtacks! DC 10 Reflex save, or everyone behind the door (Katie Lynn is not standing nearby) takes 1d3 damage. 
  • Door #6: Free Wawa Coffee for a whole friggin' year!
  • Door #7: Looks like a barrel of pickles, but actually a barrel of giant rats! 2d4 Giant Rats appear, out of the DCC rulebook, page 424. 
  • Door #8: A Sam's Club. Great club (2 handed) that causes 1d10 damage, but is covered in corporate logos. 

Area 5: Sk8 Or Die




The next room is a big, circular, concave, ice covered surface. Kind of like one of those donation jars you see at a mall where you put a coin in the slot and it rolls down towards the center. But in the center there is only pain. On the opposite side though is a way out, to the final Area. The only way across is to skate... or die...



... well not "die" as this is non-lethal, but pretty much the closest thing.



  • When the PC's first get in this area they are required to take their shoes or boots off and put on ice-skates.
  • Skating to the other side of the chamber requires a trio of Agility rolls, at an easy DC of 5. Pretty simple right?
  • Failure moves the PC one step towards the center. It should be noted that a PC has only 2 failures allowed before they fall down into the middle chamber.
  • So essentially, the player gets to make as many rolls as they want, needs to get 3 successes, and can't have 3 failures. Super easy.
  • For a DC 15 check, a PC can attempt to skate straight towards the hole, and then fly up the other side. 
  • Let's add skating Slushdroids. Essentially slushy covered bots that come out of the walls on skates. 
    • Slushdroid: Init -2; Atk ice fist +0 melee (1d3) or spray slush +0 (1d4); AC 11; HD 1d8+1; MV 40' (skates); Act 1d20; SP immunte to mind-altering spells; SV Ref +1; Fort +3; Will +0 AL N
  • One slushdroid appears for every 2 PC's on the ice. 
  • PC's actively engaged in combat with a Slushdroid must make their Agility checks for skating at a DC 10 (not 5).
  • A PC that falls into the central hole is disqualified from the event or area (depending on if they are 0 or 1st level.) They simply drop into a big cushion, and are interviewed by Katie Lynn who appears.
  • Once on the other side, the PC's may realize that they still have their skates on. If they don't, don't tell them. 
  • The first PC to the other side wins a free 1 week vacation in the Poconos, where they will get a hotel room with a wine glass Jacuzzi, and a private concert featuring Boyz 2 Men.
  • Remaining PC's who make it across wins $150.


Area 6: Lair of the Eagle




The final chamber! Here, the PC's will face off against Super Bowl LII champion and 2nd level wizard Nick Foles! The party enters through a doorway into a big square room, 60' across. On the northern end is what looks to be a cave. There are onlookers all about, watching through glass walls. This is totally right out of the Colosseum from Best of the Best 2. Most notably, there is a Gnome watching on a pedestal, standing next to DJ Pat, holding a wand. 


DJ Pat announces the final chamber as the Lair of the Eagle, and everyone starts to cheer. A four (4) pro-wrestler looking orcs (DCC rulebook, page 423) emerge from the dark cave, followed by Nick Foles! 

Nick Foles is wearing a Philadelphia Eagles Wizard's Robe, and is clutching a staff with a football on top. 


  • Here's the deal: the floor in this chamber is partially illusion, but also partially solid, with a watery pool underneath. Rather than picking which parts of the floor ahead of time, Gnome gets an action during combat to open up 2d8 5' segements of floor each round. The Gnome always goes first.
  • You're going to want to map this out for your players, and miniatures or tokens may be helpful.
  • Oh, if the PC's still have those skates on, they roll 1d16's for everything (-1d) until they come off. That takes an action. Hard to walk in skates! If they don't specifically mention taking them off, they haven't taken them off. 
  • The orcs are unarmed, and will always try to do opposed strength checks to push PC's into the watery openings, or just pin them. 
  • If the PC's are 1st level, add 2 orcs and give them clubs. 
  • Nick Foles is a 2nd level wizard... and all around sports hero...
    • Str 15, Agi 16, Sta 13, Per 13, Int 12, Luck 3 (burned it all down during SBLII)
    • Atk football staff +2 melee (1d7+1 dmg) - possible prize!
    • AC 16 (Magic shield cast, for 7 total rounds, AC 12 after)
    • HD 3d4+3 (15 HP)
    • Ref +3, Fort +1, Wil +2
    • Spells Known
      • Magic Shield (already cast)
      • Force Manipulation (go to attack spell)
      • Enlarge (will cast on orcs)
      • Animal Summoning (always an eagle)
      • Cantrip
Once Nick Foles and the rest of the orcs are either unconscious or in the water, DJ Pat announces the victory! Time for prizes!

Fabulous Prizes


Besides getting selected to go pro, a team of adventurers who defeat Dungeonbattle Delco gain the following awards:

  • $1,000
  • +1 Outback Steakhouse BoomerAxe (magical +1 Handaxe, can be thrown but then returns to the PC's hand)
  • Siptopia Wawand (Fires 1d7 damage ice bolts, unlimited range, unlimited charges, can be used to create ice cubes for drinks)
  • Wawa Endorsement for Division III 

At the end of the adventure, for a special touch, have Wayne Brady show up as a celebrity to give out the prizes.



Our Playtest


I ran Dungeonbattle Delco as our very first role-playing event in our new apartment in Glen Mills, PA. It had been just over two months since moving in, and it was about time for us to roll some dice. We had six wonderful players, a terrific mix of folks I've played with for years, and new friends that we've just met in recent months here in the Philly area. 

Our group of Xcrawlers included the following PC's:


  • Hawthorne Gold, Warrior, portrayed by Jessica Lang, played by Shannon
  • Hans Carter, Manimal, portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger, played by Cody
  • Pontius Bagbeaner, Halfling Burglar, portrayed by Danny DeVito, played by Cone
  • Snow Huntsman, Manimal, portrayed by Robert De Niro, played by Randy
  • Keanu Reaves, Cleric, portrayed by Keanu Reaves, played by Elizabeth
  • Clark Kled, Dwarf, portrayed by Ronda Rousey, played by Andreas



If I had any takeaways from running the game, it was how competitive the group was during certain scenes. They really fought for that Kia Soul! 




Hats off to Judge Evie for doing an EXCELLENT job playing Katie Lynn, the field commentator for the Dungeonbattle. Her Philly accent was awesome!


Monday, August 13, 2018

Monday Night Hero Quest



It was one of those adventures where I knew within three minutes that everything was going to end badly.

Super excited about the current Dwarven Forge Kickstarter, I wanted to do a little miniatures gaming with the wife and kiddos. We weren't ready for Frostgrave, and I'm the only one in the house who knows Mordheim, so we opted for the ultimate family-friendly dungeon hack. 

Hero Quest!

It's been at least five years since we've played this game, mostly because I sold my last copy, only to regret if a few years later. So earlier this past spring I had to go on Ebay and reacquire the game from my childhood. 


Unfortunately Hero Quest has a bit of a learning curve.

You know what? for an introductory adventure, The Trial always used to kick our butts as kids. That last room with the Chaos Warrior and Gargoyle, along with a pair of Orcs, is a nightmare! But if I had to learn Hero Quest with this adventure, so would the rest of my family. 

Cooper had first pick of characters and went with the Barbarian. Carrie then grabbed the Wizard, and Evie took the Elf. Mom (Jen) was left with the Dwarf. She wasn't pleased. 


Things started off easily for our band of adventurers. A lone room with a single closed doorway. 


Here's where we learned that things were going to go poorly. Cooper's Barbarian opened the door to the first room, saw a pair of Orcs, and kept on walking...

... and walking...

... and walking... 


... until he found himself trapped in a room with a pair of Chaos Warriors. This didn't go well for our Barbarian friend.


So the Barbarian died, and the team polished off the Chaos Warriors. Actually, the Wizard polished them off with a little help from her Dwarf friend. Unfortunately it cost Carrie all of her offensive spells. They kept moving forward. 


Then they split up and started opening up the doors.

ALL THE DOORS!

The Dwarf headed east, while the Elf and Wizard went west. The Dwarf hit the jackpot, opening the door to the Gargoyle and pals. The Elf and Wizard just found more Goblins and Orcs.


Take a look at this conga line of death. After opening the door, Jen's Dwarf started running away, only to be pursued by EVERYTHING from the central room.


Here's a great shot of Carrie's Wizard opening up more doors.

#MoreDoors


Evie's Elf ran back to help the Dwarf after slaying a pair of Goblins, only to be beset upon by the Gargoyle an Chaos Warrior. Then the Wizard got flanked in a hallway! 


A Dwarf with 2 Attack Dice doesn't stand a chance against a Gargoyle with 5 Defend dice. But still, Jen's Dwarf managed to cause 2 hits on the creature before falling!


Evie's Elf was killed by the Chaos Warrior. RIP, dude!


The game was not completely lost, however! Using one of his few remaining spells, Carrie's Wizard passed through stone and made his way back to the stairwell. At least he would live on to share the tale of his team. 


I'd say they were so close... but they weren't.

Fun game. Fun evening.

Any of you still playing Hero Quest? Thinking of taking it to Gary Con this year. 






Sunday, August 12, 2018

Eastern Forest Campaign - Sky ov Crimson Flame - Session 2



Sunday meant another Road Crew event at The Games Keep, in West Chester, PA, with our party finishing Sky ov Crimson Flame by Thorin Thompson. Pretty sure this is going to go down as one of my favorite adventures that I've ever run for Dungeon Crawl Classics. 

Not even exaggerating. 

I think it was the blood & flesh magic that really sealed the deal for me. So many opportunities for fun gross-out moments. Great players really helped. Especially young Will.

Keep casting those fish themed magic missiles, buddy! Steve James the Ichthyomancer will never be forgotten. Can't wait to see where this goes in future adventures within the Eastern Forest!

UPDATE: Okay, this is a "version 2.0" edit of this blog post. I totally forgot to mention how there was a group of D&D 5.0 folks kind of pissed off that we grabbed our table. They were like "what game are you playing?" I responded "Dungeon Crawl Classics." Kind of a dumb question, since both me and Judge Evie were wearing our hats, and pretty much everyone at the table had a corebook. Well, it was around that time that Ryan started sass talkin' the D&D players. I thought we were gonna throw down. Pretty sure I said something like "are we gonna have a dance off, bro?" Crap was tense!

I may have also commented as to how our book was a LOT bigger than theirs. 




Cast of Characters

A few quick changes to this week's lineup. First, we were joined by Cody's friend Shannon who brought a trip of 0-level characters into the Eastern Forest. Second, Evie decided to level up Bueno the Mendicant as a Chaotic Cleric of Bobugbubilz.. 

  • Turd Fergeson, Cleric of Amon-Tor, played by Ryan
  • Perrin, Dwarf, played by Cody
  • Steve James, Wizard, played by Will
  • Tonya, Warrior, played by Robert
  • Lars, Dwarf, played by Rob
  • Bueno, Cleric of Bobugbubilz, played by Evie. 

Shannon had a full deck of 0-levels:
  • Twiget the Corn Farmer
  • Larkin the Elven Glassblower
  • Mallin the Beadle

Adventure Overview

It's always a tough balance: take better notes during the game session so that I can have a more descriptive play report, or run the best game that I can. Honestly, I don't think I can do both, so lately I've been leaning on the latter. But even still, there were some great bright points during this session that I need to cover, and I want to make sure that I jot down enough of "what happened" so that the players can refer to this report later in the campaign.

Honestly, that's about 95% of why I write these things. Even back before I was blogging I wrote dozens and dozens of session summaries. For one campaign alone I've got well over 120 pages written, that I have no plan on ever posting. So if you find any of this kind of sloppy I apologize, but you may not be the designated primary reader. 

Here we go.

Continuing form our last session, the party was in the middle of debating how they were going to ascend to the next level. To put a little "bait" up there of them, I placed all three of Shannon's 0-level characters in the room directly above an already explored balcony. The whines and moans of the poor souls lured the party to climb up and investigate.

The room where Twiget, Larkin, and Mallin were discovered was also the lair of a terrible creation known as a Cherub Fusion. This massive, centipede-like, string of winged baby heads had already devoured three of the room's occupants while the remaining villagers listened to the agony. Tonya wasn't about to let the terrible creation eat any more villagers, and she initiated a dramatic battle that ended in sort of a stalemate. The party didn't defeat the Cherub Fusion as much as Bueno cast it away using a Word of Command. Knowing that they only had about an hour before it returned moved the party along.

The party mimicked the Cherub Fusion's voice to lure a singing torturer to the locked door. As soon as the torturer was at the door, Tonya and Perrin burst through. The next room was full of agonizing displays. Three villagers shackled to a wall with most of the skin on their legs dangling off. Stacks of skin on a table. A pair of servants armed with knives. The torturer had been dazed by Tonya's door-destruction, but was soon cut down by the warrior as the rest of the team flooded the room. The servants didn't last long either.

It should be noted that Bueno cast Food of the Gods during the battle, summoning a giant pile of cooked skin for everyone to eat. I don't think anyone else ate the skin. 

Two of the shackled villagers remained alive until Bueno the Cleric tried using cheese dip as a salve on one. The remaining villager was healed by Turd Fergeson. Glenn the Miller became Turd's henchman.

There were three ways out of the torture chamber. 

The first was a door to some sleeping cultists' quarters. After nearly disturbing them, Tonya tied off the handle to the door so none of them could flee.

The second was another door, leading to a giant egg. The egg had been formed from flayed human skin, and inside was a thin membrane covering a soupy mess of developing winged baby heads. Perrin doused the egg with oil and set it ablaze. 

Heading down the last remaining hallway, the team eventually found itself in the castle courtyard. Atop a nearby tower, a skinless witch with a villager's face sewn to her own was initiating a ritual, calling down red-blood fire from the skies above. In the center of the courtyard, eight cultists cut their own throats and fused together as a Shambling Flesh Mass.

Immediately the party split up. Steve James and Turd Fergeson hung back while Tonya, Lars, Larkin, Twiget, and Bueno went for the Shambling Flesh Mass. Realizing that the skinless witch was his Belesa, Perrin ran up the tower stairwell hoping to save the woman he loved.

The Shambling Flesh Mass had nine fearsome attacks: eight were whipping, regenerating intestine tentacles, and one was a bite. Tonya's two-handed sword, and Lars' axe/shield combo did great work on the mass, although the latter almost fell to the beast's wicked bite. Twiget wasn't so lucky. The Shambling Flesh Mass devoured the poor Corn Farmer, turning Henson the Hen into an orphan. 

While Belesa continued her ritual casting, she kept an eye on the party below. The blood witch, peppered by Steve James' fishy magic missiles returned fire with her own coagulated balls of rage. Steve James was felled by one of the bloody blasts, but Bueno's healing game was on point for the battle.

Unfortunately, there was no amount of healing that could fix Perrin's broken heart. When the dwarf reached the top of the tower, he was struck down by Belesa's blood magic. The dwarf collapsed, muttering a few last words before he died. 

Once the Shambling Flesh Mass was destroyed (Lars got the last hits), Tonya turned her attention to Belesa. The warrior lobbed a grappling hook up onto the tower, catching the witch in the shoulder. As Tonya pulled the witch against the edge of the tower, Turd Fergeson made it to the top and opened up the box containing Belesa's original face. The face flew out of the box, replacing the dead villager's face mask on the witch's head. Immediately Belesa's skin began to grow back. She regained some of her memories and was confused. Utterly confused. What had happened? Why was she hear? Why is there a grappling hook in her shoulder?"

At that point, just as Belesa stopped resisting, Tonya gave one final yank, pulling the woman from the top of the tower and into a forty foot fall to her demise. As she rolled over, the body of Perin slipped from the tower as well, landing right next to his lost love. 

The party took what they could, gathered up the few survivors, and headed back to Reed. 

Quotes

"Magical eels though." - Steve James doesn't need to cast his fish-based, Rope Work spell, but the allure of the eels is just too strong.

"How sticky is my cheese dip?" - Evie ponders using the congealed substance as "skin spackle" to heal one of the flayed prisoners.

"That's good, he almost croaked!" - Rob goes for the amphibian one-liners to describe Bueno's frog-based healing of Lars. 

"I'm breaking up with you." - Perrin's last words, as he was shot down with hardened blood bolts by Belesa. 

"There's always gonna be a face-off." - Ryan had a ton of these one-liners today. This one perfectly described the visage ripping theme of Sky ov Crimson Flame.


Open Story Points
  • With Belesa the blood witch dead, what other threats lurked in the Eastern Forest?
  • What were Lars' plans for Atma-khanjr, the demonic bone dagger that the dwarf had taken from Belesa? 

Character Crematorium 
  • Twiget, killed by the giant fleshy, intestine-tentacled mass in the center of the castle courtyard.
  • Perrin, nailed with a hardened blood bolt, cast by his lost love Belesa, blood witch of the Eastern Forest. 

What's Next?

We're either going to explore more of the Eastern Forest within Sky ov Crimson Flame, or perhaps, The One Who Watches From Below.