Sunday, September 11, 2016

DCCRPG - The Ooze Pits of Jonas Gralk - Part Five

Basic Castle Management 101

I don't know if I'd call last night's Dungeon Crawl Classics session an "adventure."  To be fair, it was much more of a basic castle maintenance lesson and real estate transaction simulation.  Back when The Free Company liberated what would become Castle Bellows, they didn't quite think through all of the responsibilities that come with owning a castle.  Maintenance, income, protection, the life of a petty lord is fraught with management issues.  

So when our group of players decided to spend the game working out some of these details, I needed to go outside of the DCCRPG rulebook, and call upon one of my favorite RPG supplements for assistance:

If I were stranded on a desert isle with only one role-playing supplement to my name, chances are I'd grab... well... the Dungeon Crawl Classics rulebook.  But if I had the choice for a SECOND book I'd take the Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia.  This book is chock full of so many great details, some of which involve higher level campaign management.  That means castle and fortification prices as well as prices for hiring NPC's.  We had a chance to break out those charts last night.  

In the end, the party chose to part ways with Castle Bellows for a hefty lump of cash... but I don't think we've seen the end of castle management with this group.

The Great SCOT Continues

The Free Company, our adventuring party happily enjoying the Great Sunken City Omnibus Tour, completed Perils of the Sunken City and last month moved onto the The Ooze Pits of Jonas Gralk.  If you're interesting in starting this story from the beginning, here are the previous tales:
This is an open door campaign, so we can always have new players join our group.  Here are our only rules from game to game:
  • Schedule five players for each event
  • Hold a sixth seat free for last minute additions
  • Players who complete an adventure have "dibs" on joining the next adventure
  • Players can bow out, and rejoin later with living or new characters so long as there is a open spot at the virtual table

As always, Die Rodney!

The Free Company Roster

The Ooze Pits of Jonas Gralk, Part Five

After returning to Castle Bellows, The Free Company takes a look around and realizes that they need to to address some of their new responsibilities.  The fortress is in poor physical condition, with little ability to generate income save for a single potato garden.  The Free Company discusses taxing those that use the river for travel, but Castle Bellows lacks strength in soldiers and arms to deal with raiders.  The party comes up with two possible ideas:

  • Rent Castle Bellows to Eraskus the ferryman as a base of operations.
  • Solicit peasants to leave Slither's End to work the land surrounding Castle Bellows.'''
The Free Company arrives at the docks adjacent to May & Rosie's tower, and finds Eraskus working on his barge.  Ichabod Crane offers Eraskus the opportunity to give up his bootlegging operation in favor of a distillery located in Castle Bellows.  Eraskus seems interested, but doesn't believe that the castle is sturdy enough to fend off attackers.  He agrees to finance the operation, but only if The Free Company could prove that they've made adequate upgrades or hire the right guards.  

Needing to unload some of their recent finds, and purchase some equipment, the party heads into May & Rosie's Tower.  Ichabod offers to sell the women all of their newly discovered eggs, including five snapdragon eggs and four type I squirrel demon eggs.  The women want proof that the type I squirrel demon eggs are what the party says they are.  Ichabod cracks one open, and a full size type I squirrel demon appears.  The squirrel demon quickly attacks and opens one of the other eggs on the counter, and then the next squirrel demon cracks open the third before Ssof Rehtaf snatches up the fourth.  The battle is swift, with Ssof's hammer Fairystomper and Watson's death eagles (magic missiles) causing the most damage.  

At the end of the battle, Ichabod demands that the women pay for the broken eggs.  The women refuse, and Ichabod insults May.  May, a spellcaster herself, casts lightning bolt on Ichabod, nearly killing him.  Against his deity's wishes, Ssof restores the health of his fellow Cleric.  Ichabod turns to May & Rosie, his hair still sizzling, and agrees to the original offer before leaving.

The Free Company heads south to Slither's End in order to recruit some guards and possibly entice a few peasants to come work their land.  After meeting up with Mayor Manse, the team learns that soldiers aren't cheap.  Simple guards would work for 2 gp per month, while archers would require as much as 5 gp per month.  Sure, they could hire some peasants with pitchforks for a single piece of gold per month, but you get what you pay for.

Then came the confusion over bringing farmers back to Castle Bellows.  Mayor Manse states that there are several dozen farmers who would love the opportunity to work the fertile land near Castle Bellows.  Ssof Rehtaf thought that the peasants would pay to work the small piece of land inside the castle walls.  No peasants seem at all interested in that deal.  

The discussion moves to a sale of Castle Bellows.  Mayor Manse seems particularly interested, and offers The Free Company 15,000 gp for the castle "as is."  The Free Company's counter offer lets them keep a single tower in the castle as a base of operations.  

No deal.

Mayor Manse counters with 17,000 gp and the deed to the Gralk Family home by the cemetery in Slither's End.  


The next morning, Mayor Manse delivers 100,000 sp and 7,000 gp, coinage weighing in at nearly one ton, to The Free Company's new home.  Not knowing any way to keep the money safe, the party creates a secret chamber in their basement and protects it with Imric's Ward Portal spell.  At the conclusion of a short spending spree in town, the party hires four guards to protect their home.  

Adventure Notes

  • I noted the D&D Rules Cyclopedia as the key sourcebook for coming up with prices and costing for castles and NPC's, but I should also note that I dipped into the AD&D 2nd Edition Castle Guide.  I don't think we needed all of the details, but perhaps some day in the future.
  • The Type I Squirrel Demon stats can be found in the last play report.
  • Given the old-school nature of this RPG, after handing out 17,000 gold pieces worth of wealth, I thought it appropriate to have the PC's deal with all the associated challenges.  How to carry the cash, where to keep it when not on the road, and how to keep it safe.  Although it was a pain in the butt at the time, I now fondly look back at the time when my AD&D 2nd Edition party (I was the Mage) defeated a dragon and had to drag all the loot home over the course of several play sessions.  The peril that came with accumulating that much wealth made for some awesome gaming!


"I'm not a user, I can quit anytime I want!" - Paul about being a magic user.

"Death Eagles... is that a band name?  It could be!" - Marc commenting about Craig's Magic Missile spell.

"If a keep was taken over by a bard before, we need to make sure that doesn't again happen." - Marc speaks wisely about Castle Bellows' fortifications. 

"Pretty soon there are going to be foundation problems, then we'll have to replace the pipes. It'll just be a mess." - Andy knows a thing or two about castle maintenance.  

"It's now my holy quest... to destroy the potato of Cthulhu." - Ssof Rehtaf is on a mission.

"Honestly, this is sounding kinda expensive.  Is there any way you could just buy the keep?" - Ichabod Crane to Mayor Manse.

In Memoriam 

  • None

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