Thursday, April 28, 2016

DCCRPG World Tour 2016 - Tower of the Black Pearl at Phantom of the Attic

DCC RPG Pittsburgh at Phantom of the Attic, Part Deux

This past Sunday I was back at it again, running Dungeon Crawl Classics alongside the incredible Judge +Michael Bolam at Phantom of the Attic in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania!  After an unforgettable experience running Sailors on the Starless Sea last month, I couldn't wait to return to Phantom's tables.  To change things up, Michael suggested that we run 1st level adventures for the players this month.

Boo yah! 

0-level funnels are often a player's first experience into this weird and wild role-playing game, but I'm a firm believer that it's upper-level gameplay that makes +Joseph Goodman's creation truly shine.  Spellburn and Corruption, Disapproval and Mighty Deeds, these iconic mechanics of Dungeon Crawl Classics just ooze wicked flavor and flare.  

Picking a 1st level adventure for this month's session was a no-brainer.  Last month, right after wrapping up Sailors on the Starless Sea, I took a few minutes to browse the Phantom of the Attic's shelves.  Geoff keeps an incredible stock of RPG products on hand, including a very healthy Dungeon Crawl Classics stash.  Michael said "1st level", and sitting right there on the shelf was +Harley Stroh's Tower of the Black Pearl, just waiting for someone to pick it up.  

[Judge's Note:  As of Sunday's game there was still a Jeff Easley cover edition of the DCCRPG rulebook.  So if you are on the hunt for this rare and hard to find collectible you need to rush over to Phantom of the Attic pronto!  For your sake I hope it's still there!]

Session Notes

With an adventure title featuring the words "Black Pearl" I was practically required to throw in as many Disney references into this game as possible.  I started by dressing the part.  I showed up at Phantom of the Attic wearing a classic Disneyland "D" hat, a Disney World 40th Anniversary hoodie, and a Big Hero Six/Star Wars mash-up shirt titled "Big Boba Six." 

My wife bought me the shirt from for Gen Con 2016, and the print is still available if you want to go check it out.

Along with the general Disney-theming, I wanted to change up the Adventure Hook and use something more outlandish.  I still love the old Dungeons & Dragons Cartoon, and watch it regularly.  Perhaps I could use the cartoon's opening intro for my own game...

... the 80's D&D Cartoon meets Disney meets Dungeon Crawl Classics... now THAT would make for a radical Sunday afternoon game! 

Adventure Hook

Recently Goodman Games partnered with Disney World to create an exciting Dungeon Crawl Classics attraction at Epcot Center in Orlando, Florida.  The ride was to be a thrilling and educational virtual journey beginning in a starless sea and ending on the wastes of a purple planet.  

Unfortunately something went wrong!

The guests on this particular ride ended up getting stranded within a Dungeon Crawl Classics campaign setting come to life, with only the Dungeon Master from the old 80's D&D cartoon as a guide...

... he'd been unemployed for quite some time, and really appreciated the work.  

Only four Disney World guests and a stray cat survived the "real life" funnel, to become a troupe of 1st level heroes:

  • Old Zeke the Dwarf, played by Jordan
  • Bob the Cleric, played by Randall
  • Nobody Unknown the Thief, played by Sam
  • Elvira the Elf, played by Heidi
  • Satan Sadie the Wizard/Anthropomorphic House Cat, played by Miriam

[Judge's Note:  I should point out that for three of our players (Jordan, Sam, and Miriam) this was their first journey into the gonzo world that is Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG.  Always great to get first timers to the table!]

Dungeon Master kept promising the surviving heroes that he just needed a few artifacts to return them to Orlando.  Unfortunately, each time the lost adventurers returned with some hard won fantasy swag, Dungeon Master would just direct them to another object.  This time, it was the Black Pearl, a mystical stone located within an underwater tower only accessible during the lowest tides.  If Old Zeke, Bob, Nobody, Elvira, and Satan could return the Black Pearl to Dungeon Master, he could most likely teleport them all home...

... with Fast Passes.  

Highlight Reel

  • Discovering three drunken pirates sleeping on the highest level of the tower (the part accessible from the party's boat), Old Zeke climbed up the wall and approached.  Unfortunately the dwarf was not very stealthy, and he woke one of the pirates.  No matter, for Old Zeke had a fantastic plan!  He convinced the pirates that he and his adventurers were some kind of piratical concierge service, and offered to return with food.  Bob used Food of the Gods to fill the pirate dingy with chow, and once the pirates were aboard, Nobody cut their lines so that the boat drifted out to sea.
  • In the second chamber of the tower, the party came across hundreds of lit candles, and a book listing the names of all of the living lawful adventurers in the land.  Nobody Unknown found out that there was a candle for him in the room, but it quickly snuffed out on its own when the Thief started scratching away the names of other adventurers.  This call from chaos turned Nobody into a minion of darkness, drastically shifting his alignment.  
  • After using the dragon portal to gain access to the subterranean levels of the tower, the adventurers found themselves beset upon by pirates!  During the melee a pirate landed a death blow via pommel strike to Bob's skull.  While the Cleric lay dying, Elvira the Elf used her Invoke Patron spell to ask the King of Elfland to send her back in time.  She was able to warn Bob of the strike, and change the very fabric of time and space!
  • It should be noted that during this first pirate battle Satan Sadie learned that her spellcasting luck was in very short supply.  None of her spells seemed to be working properly!  
  • After boarding a boat skippered by an unearthly ferryman, the party was transported to the opposite side of an underwater lake.  On the shore, standing before a great iron doorway, was the dastardly Pirate King known as Savage Quenn [played by none other than Willem Dafoe.]  Savage Quenn wanted to parlay, but Old Zeke would have none of it... the concierge service was closed!  During this encounter everyone witnessed the devastating might of an 18 Strength Dwarf wielding weapon and shield!  When he attacked Quenn, he just bore through the poor Pirate King in a single round, exploding out from the other side of his back.  
  • During the battle, Nobody earned Savage Quenn's sword, Whiskers.  The mad blade made several attempts to force Nobody into attacking fellow party members, but failed on each attempt!  
  • Eventually the party found the sarcophagus of Sezrekan, and debated at great length the perks and cons of opening the tomb.  Despite Nobody's repeated requests to excavate further, Satan the cat discovered that there were ruby gemstones on the exterior of the coffin negating the need to disturb the body.  The gemstones would grant access in the portal room to another chamber of the dungeon.  
  • After using the final portal in the dungeon, the party found itself in a great chamber, surrounded by water.  On the far side of the chamber a stone dragon clutched the Black Pearl.  It would've been easy to just swim to the other side of the room, but hundreds of sea snakes lurked in the waters.  Wanting to play the obvious hero, Satan Spellburned herself into near oblivion, drawing enough power to don an incredibly lizardlike Ekim's Mystical Mask.  Old Zeke then attached rope to Satan, and she waded through the waters undisturbed by her fellow reptiles.  Once at the statue she tied the rope around the pearl, so that Old Zeke could yank it free.  Of course, this caused all the water to crash around the weakened wizard, but she managed to hold on to the rope!
  • As the tower crashed and flooded around them, the party quickly made their way to the top of the structure.  They were all almost on the boat when Nobody turned around and went back into the second chamber.  The Thief wanted the magic book with the lawful names!  Sadly, he was not a strong enough swimmer, and the undertow dragged Nobody to his watery grave.

Join Us!

If you live in the Pittsburgh area and this event sounded like fun, you should come check out the DCC RPG Pittsburgh group on Facebook.  

Also, if you're reading this prior to International Tabletop Day 2016 (Saturday, April 30th), there will be an opportunity to play more DCC with +Michael Bolam, me, and other judges at the Norwin Game Knights event in North Huntingdon, PA from 10am to 6pm.  

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Numenera Crawl Classics - A Weird Occupation List

Outlandish & Weird

I love inter-RPG-system cross pollination!  

Last month, during our regular Cypher System Fantasy campaign, I got the urge to run Sailors on the Starless Sea, which is a Dungeon Crawl Classics adventure.  I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to convert one of my favorite adventures "on-the-fly."  It was a fantastic showcase of how easy it is to run just about any adventure with the agile Cypher System.  

But this got me thinking.

The Cypher System can certainly run a DCCRPG module...

... but can Dungeon Crawl Classics run something from the Cypher System?  

I decided to test out this theory by creating a basic model of rules to run a classic DCCRPG 0-Level funnel in the Ninth World of Numenera!

For those of my DCC readers who may not be familiar with Numenera, it is essentially a science-fantasy setting produced by Monte Cook Games set one billion years in the future.  It's got a wickedly tight dice mechanic, and some really innovative rules that I've come to adore over the last two-and-a-half years of constant gameplay.  Heck, even if you don't want to pick up any new rules, the corebook is jam-packed with cool setting material that could make its way into just about any game...

... even a DCC game.

So, just for a taste, I've decided to deliver a full list of Numenera-inspired occupations and starting equipment so that folks can essentially run a full Numenera 0-level funnel with the DCCRPG rules.   

Please, don't take any of this too seriously, its all in good fun.  Think of it as a light-hearted way to try something different this upcoming weekend.  


I need to thank all the amazing folks from Facebook and Google+ who assisted with this short little project.  I asked for occupation ideas, and you all really came through!  So I made sure to give a nod each contributor on the list.  You'll find those nods below.


This is going to be really easy!

First, you'll need a copy of the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG, either print or in PDF.  Next, you'll need a copy of the Numenera corebook, either print or in PDF as well.  

I'll admit, this list is sort-of designed for folks who are a little familiar with both (and I know you exist, I can see your posts in both fandoms!) but if you have one but not the other, at least grab the PDF and give it a read.

If you don't have either, you've got a lot of reading to do!

Okay, got your books?


Just follow the rules in the DCCRPG rulebook for creating a 0-level character, but use the occupations provided below.  Also, make sure to give each character an Oddity out of the Numenera corebook (pages 314 -316).  Some of the occupations already get an oddity, but since I don't have any conversions for Cyphers, these little tidbits of the weird will have to do.  

0-Level Ninth World Occupations

(roll 1d100 to select your starting occupation)

Occupation Starting Weapon Starting Gear Contributer

8th World Conspiracy Theorist Tiny Projectile Launcher (1d4 dmg) Nanite-infused VHS copy of the X-Files Marc Plourde
Abhuman Flesh Harvester  Cleaver (1d6 dmg) Abhuman meat chunks Andreas Walters
Aeon Priesthood Initiate  Walking Stick (1d4 dmg) Initiate robes, fine belt

Aneen Courier Spear (1d8 dmg) Aneen  Dreik Broodraven
Aneen Wrangler Whip (1d3 dmg) Silk lasso

Angulan Squire Short Sword (1d6 dmg) Shield

Anti-Moisture Farmer Staff (1d4 dmg) Really dry pants Christopher Henry
Artifact Sage Thin pointer (1d3 dmg) Book about one artifact Dreik Broodraven
Automaton Fortune Teller Automaton Fist (1d4 dmg) Incense

Automaton Mechanic Wrench (1d4 dmg) Tool kit Christopher Henry
Awoken Cryosleeper Shard of Glass (1d4 dmg) 2 bags of saline solution

Beyond Beyond the Beyonder Short Bow (1d6 dmg) Binoculars  David Howard
Bioforge Escapee  Severed Limb (1d4 dmg) Keycards

Biorectifier Tongs (1d3 dmg) Sack of pre-rectified selections Robert Rosenthal
Black Riage Barbarian Mace (1d6 dmg) Furs David Howard
Boulder Herder Shovel (1d6 dmg) Remains of a naughty boulder Robert Rosenthal
Cavot Farmer Walking Stick (1d4 dmg) Cavot Eric Fields
Chirurgeon Scalpel (1d3 dmg) Herbs

Churn Layer Shovel (1d6 dmg) Jar of churn

Cloned Copy of Marc Plourde Sack of d4’s as caltrops (1 dmg) Fedora, useless Chromebook

Coherer Vacuum Tube (1d3 dmg) Weird Radio-like device Robert Rosenthal
Convergence Apologist Dagger (1d4 dmg) Notepad with smart comebacks

Cypher Analyst Staff (1d4 dmg) Busted cypher Robert Rosenthal
Cypher Junkie Blowgun (1d3 dmg) Used cypher David Howard
Data-God Devotee Mace (1d6 dmg) Holy symbol

Descendant of Ruk Spine Lance (1d8 dmg) Umbilical 

Devola Groupie  Spear (1d8 dmg) Nagaina Defender parasite

Draolic Duelist  Rapier (1d6 dmg) Sash David Howard
Dreamsmith Wand (1d3 dmg) Glasses Robert Rosenthal
Drit Sifter Rake (1d4 dmg) Bucket Robert Rosenthal
Dritfarmer Shovel (1d6 dmg) Sack of rich drit

Explorer of the Beyond Short Bow (1d6 dmg) Map case Dreik Broodraven
Gastric Juice Addict Really Sharp Straw (1d3 dmg) Gross cup Eric Fields
Icebound Fisherman Hook (1d4 dmg) Block of ice David Howard
Immortal French Scotsman  Claymore (1d10 dmg) Kilt Marc Plourde
Immortal Scotch Egyptian Spaniard Katana (1d10 dmg) Red foppish outfit Marc Plourde
Interdimensional Gatekeeper Polearm (1d8 dmg) Gate key Dreik Broodraven
Iron Wind Forcaster  Short Sword (1d6 dmg) Notebook

Iron Wind Survivor Tentacle Arm (1d4 dmg) Mirror

Lattimor Partners Counselor Axe (1d6 dmg) Box of tissues

Lattimor Storyteller Walking Stick (1d4 dmg) Story book

Lattimor Street Thug/Pacifist Synth Knuckles (1d3 dmg) Universal Symbol of Peace

Light-thread Dancer Sharpened Shoe (1d3 dmg) Great outfit Robert Rosenthal
Living Artwork Tattoo Gun (1d3 dmg) Paint

Living Flora Shepherd Rake (1d4 dmg) Comb Dreik Broodraven
Machine Healer Wrench (1d4 dmg) Oil can Robert Rosenthal
MCG Intern Keys on a Lanyard (1d3 dmg) Signed Numenera Corebook

Mime Ball (1d3 dmg) Facepaint David Howard
Mind-Recovery Undertaker Cleaver (1d6 dmg) Brain in a jar Christopher Henry
Mlox Astrologer  Spear (1d8 dmg) Orrrery 

Moss Covered Monk Fists (1d3 dmg) Polished stone

Mutant Ex-Slave Staff (1d4 dmg) Canteen

Mutant Freedom Fighter Mace (1d6 dmg) Camouflage clothing David Howard
Mutant Innkeeper Broom (1d4 dmg) Room key Dreik Broodraven
Nano's Apprentice  Dart Thrower (1d4 dmg) Extra random oddity

Nanospirit Breeder Staff (1d4 dmg) Microscope Robert Rosenthal
Naharrai Native Spear (1d8 dmg) Playful Corra Bird David Howard
Naverene Venture Capitalist Machete (1d6 dmg) 15 shins David Howard
Near-Meat Peddler  Cleaver (1d6 dmg) Sack of bloody organs

Nibovian Cousin Fists (1d3 dmg) Postcard from a family member

Nightcraft Stowaway  Dart Thrower (1d4 dmg) Deed to a pulsar

Octopi Servitor Chain (1d4 dmg) Collar

Oddity Appraiser Short Sword (1d6 dmg) Extra random oddity

Oddity Polisher Sandpaper (1 dmg) Extra random oddity David Howard
Order of Truth Copyist Quill (1d3 dmg) Set of writing tools Michal Chyczewski 
Organic Stone Harvester Pick (1d6 dmg) Hunk of organic stone Dreik Broodraven
Outlaw Broadcaster Antenna (1d4 dmg) Power supply

Part of a Hive Mind Mandible on a Stick (1d4 dmg)

Prior World Televangelist Replicant Polearm (1d8 dmg) Prior World holy book Eric Fields
Pytharon Pugilist Bare Hands (1d3 dmg) Sack of opponents’ teeth David Howard
Qi Street Urchin Synth Knuckles (1d3 dmg) 5 shins

Queslin Retiree Really Bad Attitude (1d4 dmg) Jar of salty slugs

Red Fleet Boatswain  Belaying Pin (1d4 dmg) Tricorn hat

Reglae Gatherer Machete (1d6 dmg) Reglae leaves

Second-to-Last Castoff of the Changing God Axe (1d6 dmg) Change for a shin Eric Fields
Sentient Cypher Amalgamation  Broken Cypher (1d3 dmg) Towel

Sentient Potato-Couch Chair Leg (1d4 dmg) A bag of nails and a carrot Marc Plourde
Seskii Trainer Whip (1d3 dmg) Seskii Pup

Shin Counter Hammer (1d6 dmg) 10 shins

Sky Crystal Miner Pick (1d6 dmg) Sky crystal shard Dreik Broodraven
Slidikin Dentist Sharpened Tooth Brush (1d3 dmg) Floss David Howard
Snowloper Groomer Trident (1d6 dmg) Grooming tools

Solid Light Sculptor Knife (1d4 dmg) Chunk of golden sunlight Dreik Broodraven
Solid Sound Musician  Conductor’s Wand (1d3 dmg) Chunk of tunes Dreik Broodraven
The Nalurus with No Name Staff (1d4 dmg) Heavy robes David Howard
Thuman Breeder Club (1d4 dmg) Thuman

Translated Estate Agent 9mm Glock (1d8 dmg) Estate Badge

Trapped SATI Researcher Bowie Knife (1d4 dmg) Cute dinosaur pet Christopher Henry
Ultraterrestrial Breeder Spear (1d8 dmg) Something living in a cage Dreik Broodraven
Urvanus Native Punching Dagger (1d4 dmg) Map to a portal home David Howard
Varjellen Caravan Guard Longsword (1d8 dmg) Fancy hat

Varjellen Merchant Crossbow (1d6 dmg) Scale

Victorian Time Traveller  Spanner (1d6 dmg) Pocketwatch 

Visitant Inspector Strong Magnifying Glass (1d3 dmg) Notebook and pen David Howard
Volunteer Sustenance Fork (1d3 dmg) Dinner plate Robert Rosenthal
Vralk Spy Blowgun (1d3 dmg) Dark clothing

Wandering Walker Cane (1d4 dmg) Really nice sandals  David Howard
Westwood LumberJack Axe (1d6 dmg) Culova repellant 

Wild Machine Hunter Short Bow (1d6 dmg) Automaton hand Dreik Broodraven
Wind Taster Whip (1d3 dmg) Samples of wind in a jar Robert Rosenthal

So how did we do?

If you liked our selection, plan on using these in an upcoming game, or even if they just gave you a chuckle, please make sure to share it amongst your friends!  Also let us know if you DO manage to throw together a game.