Sunday, October 23, 2016

DCCRPG World Tour - Beyond the Silver Scream

Yes... THE Bruce Dickinson

"I hate things with curves." - The Nerd Girl Margaret Miller, a Wizard and Initiate of the Dimensional Dogs

Some Stranger Things

After binge-watching Stranger Things on Netflix back in July, I went on the hunt for a Dungeon Crawl Classics adventure that could deliver some of the same, nostalgic 1980's "feels."  My quest did not take very long!  After scrolling through some of the offerings on DriveThruRPG, I discovered Beyond the Silver Scream by +Forrest Aguirre.  The description featured was perfect:

"Players begin as high school kids in the mid-'70s - early -'80s who go to the local seedy theater to catch the premier of the new horror flick "Screaming Sorority Girls from Planet Playtex."  But the horror isn't confined to the screen!  And the special-effects are all-too-real.  So take a seat and brace yourself for an adventure where the director isn't the only one doing the cutting!"

That was all I needed... SOLD!

Beyond the Silver Scream is a fast and fun 0-level funnel adventure that starts in a modern world, but quickly takes players into a strange underground cultist lair.  Along with the module itself, the product features some terrific bonus content:
  • An occupation list fitting for the '70s and '80s.
  • A full patron write up for The Dimensional Dogs, a weird and bizarre "elder god'ish" entity.  
As we got closer to October's DCCRPG World Tour event at Phantom of the Attic in Pittsburgh, I got the urge to run this adventure.  Teaming up with Judge +Michael Bolam, I ran Beyond the Silver Scream as part of the DCC RPG Pittsburgh Halloween Horror Hoopla!  Michael ran The Sinister Sutures of the Sempstress by +Michael Curtis.  

To make things interesting I decided to beef up Behind the Silver Scream and turn it into a 2nd level adventure.  My last two Road Crew events at Phantom Games were both 0-level funnels (The Museum at the End of Time and Escape from the Purple Planet), and I wanted to seem some Spellburn and disapproval!  

I had some tweaking to do!

Adventure Adjustments

Once I start tinkering with an adventure I can get a little carried away.  Here's what I came up with to make Beyond the Silver Scream my own:

  • I totally jacked up the plot of this adventure, injecting both Dungeon Master and Venger from the Dungeons & Dragons Cartoon, as well as a ton of Blue Oyster Cult references.
  • My plot went as follows:  
    • Venger from the D&D Cartoon, in a quest to gain power, created a ritual to gain the power of The Dimensional Dogs all for himself.  He had collected an entire village worth of souls to use for one aspect of the ritual, including the band Blue Oyster Cult, and needed to make one more sacrifice.  
    • Hoping to thwart his nemesis, Dungeon Master would recruit some brave heroes from Earth and set them on a path to intercept Venger.  
    • Not wanting to give their power over to Venger, The Dimensional Dogs would also try to sway the new heroes to their side, giving them access to the blessed Blade of Bruce Dickinson.  
  • Since there is a point in the adventure where the PC's can either head towards the weird village of time dilation or the scene of the cult sacrifice, I decided that either could be where we ended the quest.  Either way, the PC's would somehow get contacted by The Dimensional Dogs, be given the opportunity to take them on as a patron, and be granted the beloved Blade of Bruce Dickinson.

  • I started all the PC's as 0-level characters, generated using modern-day characters.  Although the adventure features a 0-level occupation list, I used the "Teens out of Time" list on Purple Sorcerer.  This saved me from having to write too much out by hand.  
  • Each player received just one 0-level character, but early on in the game I had Dungeon Master upgrade everyone to a shiny new 2nd level character!  
  • We only had three players, so I let everyone play a pair of characters.  
    • Chris
      • Margaret Miller, the Nerd Girl Wizard
      • Ron Englehart, the Undercover Cop Warrior
    • Christopher
      • Eddie, the Metalhead Warrior
      • Stacy, the Overachiever Girl Elf
    • Richard
      • Mark Marnie Smith, the Kleptomaniac Halfling
      • Amara Jackson, the Chess Club Girl Thief
  • Sadly, three of our PC's didn't make it.  Stacy, Ron Englehart, and Eddie all fell battling evil.  RIP.  

Rules Tweaks
  • To set the adventure up for 2nd level characters I made some simple changes to most of the encounters.  
    • For difficulty classes, I added +2 where it deemed fitting.  So DC 12 instead of DC 10, etc.  
    • The cultists are tough already, with decent HP.  I just boosted their AC's, gave them some additional attack modifiers (another +2 to hit) and some more gear.  
    • I tried making their gear extra creepy.  For instance, the guards in area 18 I had their flails be actual biting human heads on chains. 
    • I substituted randomly generated Type I demons for the Devilspawn in Area 5.  I rolled up a Hyena-Turtle Demon that was quite fitting. 
  • The Abomination in area 25 needed some big-time beefing up!  
    • I went with 50 HP, and another +2 to all saving throws.
    • I also gave the Abomination a Caustic Spew, requiring a DC 14 Reflex Save or suffer 2d6 damage and get blinded for 1d6 rounds.  
    • This Caustic Spew automatically activated in a 20' detonation once the beast was killed.  Pop!
  • Venger!  Since he was featured so prominently in my adventure, I had to give him a write-up.  (Init +4; Atk Sword of the 9 Hells +4, 1d8+3 dmg; AC 15; HP 50; MV 20, 50 Flight; Act 2d20; Spellcasting +8, access to all 1st and 2nd level spells.)
  • Blade of Bruce Dickinson:  Yes.. THE Bruce Dickinson!
    • +1 Long Sword
    • Alignment: Chaotic
    • Intelligence: 5
    • Communication: Simple Urges
    • Bane: Venger 
    • Power: Wielder gains infravision 120'
    • Power:  The sword causes an additional +3 damage if another player spends their entire action drumming.  +5 extra damage if using a cowbell. (I added a cowbell in one of the cultist's closets for just this purpose.)

Richard, Christopher, James, Chris

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