Sunday, July 15, 2018

Eastern Forest Campaign - Sky ov Crimson Flame - Session 1

As Will would say, you can't get any more METAL than playing Dungeon Crawl Classics at The Games Keep in West Chester, PA. I'd like to further offer that there is no adventure more absolutely gonzo-metal as Sky ov Crimson Flame by Thorin Thompson. In fact, if you don't own this adventure, and you have an unquenchable thirst to totally jack with your players' psyches from start to finish, you need to purchase this adventure.

To quote one of our players, Ryan, when the troupe came across yet another horrific possibility:

"I don't even want to find out what that is." 

If your players are making statements like that, you as a Judge are winning. You are winning hard. Sky ov Crimson Flame lets you win all day. 


Before I start talking about our game, I need to share my three favorite things from this module:

  1. The Meat! This is a 60 page adventure that also acts as a sourcebook for the Eastern Forest. You get an action packed adventure that'll take at least two sessions to properly flesh  out, as well as a mini-campaign setting with six additional locations to visit in a true hex-crawl fashion
  2. The Art! Stefan Poag, Jordyn Boci, and Nicolo Maioli really knock this out the park. Love Stefan's flying baby-headed bats. Jordyn's cartography is top notch and super evocative. Just wonderful. 
  3. The Handouts! I love when you get to hand players actual items and artifacts to the game. Thorin does a great job giving judges a lot of stuff to share with their tables. From a love letter connecting one of the PC's to the adventure, to grand scenes of horror, there's a lot here.

This is really the closest I've come to writing a review in a long while, but I felt obligated. This adventure is just so, so good. If you love Evil Dead and all its incarnations, this is the adventure for you. If you love horror adventures, this is the adventure for you. If you love Dungeon Crawl Classics, this is the adventure for you.

Pretty much, this is the adventure for you. 

Cast of Characters

To help connect my players with their characters, I allowed everyone who survived last session to level up their chosen 0-level characters to 1st level. Cody and Evie were both short of characters, so I let them play their choice of character class. We spent the first 30-45 minutes working through character creation, class descriptions, and magic selection. 

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

I've only been in a handful of games with one dwarf, so having two was a real treat. Our party was fairly combat heavy too, given the pair of dwarves and a warrior. No thieves, which was a shame. 

I should note that we had a pair of 0-levels in the game following the unfortunate demise of Evie's Elf:

  • Buena the Mendicant
  • Bartholomew the Locksmith 

I'm going to let Evie pick one of the Crawl! Zine classes for her next character. She's decided to level up Buena as a Bard. 

Campaign Background 

  • The adventure begins in the village of Reed, located at the edge of the Eastern Forest.
  • In my ever-growing DCC uber-setting, the Eastern Forest is located to the east of the Shudder Mountains, southeast of Frost Fang Mountain, and northeast of the Sunken City and Great City. 
  • The entire party is a mix of Earth-natives from the last session (Turd Fergeson, Tonya, and Lars) and fantasy world natives (Perrin and Txunamy).
  • Steve James is sort of in a class of his own, as he is the grandfather of Will's former character Steve James III, and is a wizard of some renown in the land. All of Steve James' magic is fish-related. As Rob stated earlier to describe Steve James spellcasting style, "I think what we've learned so far is that there is a fish for every problem." 
  • Only two weeks had passed in-game between the inaugural session and this adventure. For those earth natives, they learned the ins and outs of their new classes by montage. 
  • Perrin the Dwarf is the lover of Belesa, one of the villagers who had gone missing, thus prompting the adventure. 

Adventure Overview

  • Upon learning of the stolen villagers of Reed, Steve James the Wizard teams up with Perrin the Dwarf to journey east to the Ancient Keep. The party is accompanied by a quartet of commoners driving a wagon heavily laden with supplies.
  • En route to the Ancient Keep, the party is beset upon by crazy, raving villagers. One of these villagers, Biff, was friends with Txunamy. The Elf was horrified when her dear friend was slain, but there was no apparent way to save him. 
  • Approaching the Ancient Keep, the party found a pair of crucified villagers being devoured by fat bats. When attacked by the flying creatures, the party saw that they were not bats, but instead they were human heads with bat wings capable of going super-stabby with their dangling spinal cords. Eww!
  • After crossing the stone bridge to the Ancient Keep, the party took the path to the right of the keep to sneak into the structure from the side.
  • The party's two dwarves found a hidden entrance to the side of the keep's basement. In this crypt the party recovered the powerful enchanted long sword "Silvallum." This lawful blade rejected the party's chaotic and neutral adventurers, but found Perrin's strong and courageous dwarven hand as its new home. 
  • Moving on, the party found the keep's ancient library. Not the best room for Perrin or Txunamy. While searching a box, Turd Fergeson found the face of Belesa, and when Perrin saw it he went mad! 
  • Txunamy found an ancient scroll, but after opening it the words turned the poor elf into a desiccated mummy. 
  • I should note that Evie's second character, Buena the Mendicant, tried handling the scroll as well. After she described handling the scroll with her toes, I made her reenact the scene with her actual feet. It was amusing.

  • Peaking into the bedchamber below the Keep, the party saw a weird shuffling mass of flesh that was the size of a man. Nope. Tonya pushed one of the book shelves in front of the door, cutting it off from the library. 
  • The party also initially "noped" the balcony that led outside from the library, even though there was access to another level by scaling the side of the building. 
  • Wanting to explore a bit more, the party headed into the lowest level of the keep, coming across a series of prison cells. It was here that they found the tongueless  locksmith Bartholomew. Bartholomew didn't remember much of his capture, but after Turd Fergeson healed his mouth, he was able to share a few details.
  • Eventually the party decided to battle the shambling flesh husk in the Keep's bed chamber. Between the cleaving might of Tonya and Perrin (along with a little fish magic from Steve James) the fight was fairly one sided. 

Open Story Points
  • Weary of Amon-Tor not answering his prayers, the Cleric Turd Fergeson seemed ready to give up his faith for another deity... or perhaps another profession?
  • Turd Fergeson had possession of Belesa's face and scalp, but after careful examination, prayer, and meditation, knew that the soul of Belesa still existed somewhere on the Prime Material Plane. Perhaps there was still a way to save Perrin's lost love? 

Character Crematorium 
  • Txunamy the Elf, slain by reading the wrong scroll, instantly becoming mummified. 
What's Next?

We shall be continuing Sky ov Crimson Flame! 

1 comment: