So the first level shenanigans started last Thursday. It was a packed house at Dice Age Games. We were the cool kids table, and everyone was jealous and wanted to be a part of our group… Or at least that is my interpretation.
What other reason could there be for people coming over and looking at this odd game where awesomely good and awesomely bad things happen to people rolling really weird dice?
DCC is like a few other games that mainstream RPG players know about, have heard about or maybe have no knowledge about “What do you mean, there is another game besides Dungeons and Dragons?”
There is a long list of really cool games that some people play, and many others would like to play… These include, but are not limited to:
- Dragon Age
- Dungeon Crawl Classics
- Shadow of the Demon Lord
- Savage Worlds
- Mutant Year Zero
- Rocket Age
- Amazing Adventures
- The End of the World
- Hollow Earth Expedition
- Call of Cthulhu
- Basic Role Playing
- Astanishing Swordsmen and Sorcers of Hyperborea
- The Laundry
- Spirit of the Century
- Monster of the Week
You get the idea.
There are a gazillion role playing games out there. Depending on your interest, there are RPG’s for medieval high and low magic, space, old west, My Little Pony (yes, there is a MLP plug in for Pathfinder AND a new one coming for D&D 5e… To each their own.), horror, and just about anything else you can think of.
I find that when I run some of these non mainstream games, there are a always a few people that come by and look over our shoulders. I typically run Call of Cthulhu, Savage Worlds and DCC. I also have run D&D and Pathfinder. But I also play in a group which other people run GURPS, Deadlands (the original version) and other games. People are genuinely interested in the things that they have heard about, but never played. I am always happy to talk about the games with them.
Thursday’s DCC game was more like a party than a standard RPG session. People were laughing, crying, having fun and carrying on. We were probably a little loud for Dice Age, because other RPG sessions tend to be SERIOUS. DCC (and Savage Worlds for that matter) tends to be rather chaotic, and have a lot of schadenfreude which results in lots of people laughing at the misfortune of others. The groups I play with also have some awesome people with amazing imaginations. This means that no adventure ever goes per the DM’s plan. It takes between 1 second and 10 minutes for the players to take the game off the rails. This makes the gaming fun for me as a DM, as I have to figure out on the fly what to do. The players also own much of the adventure, which seems to be more fun for them than following the script.
But anyhow, down to Thursday’s adventure!
There were a lot of people at the table. Mike brought Sue. Sue said that she wasn’t going to play, then she was, then she wasn’t, then she and Mike were going to share a character, then she wasn’t then she was, then she decided that Mike should play the character and she would observe and leave if she got bored. She stayed to the end, and laughed a lot.
There was also Loren, Matthew, Eric, Jason, Daron and Summer.
So I will attempt to describe the characters:
Mike/Sue – played Sam Minnella, a neutral cleric human who worships Cthulhu.
Loren played Lingra, a neutral Cleric, worshiping Amun Tor, the God of riddles and Mysteries.
Matthew played Mr. Plinket, a chaotic (or is he?) Wizard (or is he?), who has no god (or does he?) who speaks a lot of languages (or does he?) Mr. Plinket appears to be the Man of Mystery, who Matthew likes to play in one form or another… The Mr. was very important to Matthew. He did not like being called Plinket… Instead he responded like they call me Mr. Tibbs.
Eric Played Sybaros, a lawful thief. Now Eric had serious heartburn about losing Baa, in last week’s Savage Worlds game. He took to Facebook and railed against the injustice and cruelty of it all. So I provided Eric some bubble wrap for his character. I figured that he could use it to protect his character and dice.
Jason played Merch, a neutral rogue.
Daron played Cove Swillinger, a lawful warrior.
Summer played Steve, a lawful warrior.
So after some discussion to bring everyone’s character up to first level status, the party started the Well of the Worm. Another DCC Classic module for first level death, destruction, corruption and overall fun.
The party left their home town. There was some discussion about who, or what it was named. Eric / Sybaros thought it should be named Assholeville. The Party didn’t agree. They threw out a bunch of names that quite frankly, I don’t remember now, so let’s go with Assholeville. Sometimes the best name is one that is remembered, right?
So the intrepid party leaves their home town of (not) Assholeville. They came across a lot of expensive and valuable stuff like gems, fancy weapons, and other stuff. There was no market in (not) Assholeville for this type of stuff. Obviously, they need a larger town or city that has some ability and overall economy to accommodate the influx treasure.
No member of the party had ever been more than five miles from their hometown, (not) Assholeville).
Come to think about it, I am not sure if Sybaros meant “Assholeville” or “Ass-Whole-ville”, as in the bunghole itself, or the entire ass, butt cheeks and all. But then, I digress.
So the party leaves all that they know behind and venture out on the only road out of town, hoping for adventure, and riches.
After full day of walking the party leaves the forest and finds themselves entering a large valley. At the bottom of the flood plain, they see the remains of an ancient battle scene. The bones are bleached, armor and weapons are rusting. There is a large area where the battle has taken place where nothing is growing. No weeds, no Scotch broom, not blackberries, nothing. The players, coming from Western Washington are amazed, since they are used to seeing blackberries and Scotch Broom growing along all State highways and grow no matter what poison has been applied. The ground is an unnatural brown color. Somehow, the wise people here have figured out how to eradicate blackberries and Scotch Broom… The locals are wise people indeed, who must be respected and revered.
The party looks for anything which may be of value. It looks like the equipment has been out in the weather for a decade or more, so there is really nothing of value. Also, it looks like the battle scene has been picked clean.
The valley with the bleached bones and horrors of war also has no living thing here. There are no birds, no visible mammals, they hear no insects, nothing. It seems as though the place might be cursed. Maybe it is just a battle field, maybe worse.
As the party exits the plains of the valley, they continue up the hill and enter an area where people are farming. The poisoned fields of battle become hay fields, fields with cattle, fields with orchards, grapes, grain, and vegetables. There are some farm houses and barns sprinkled throughout the fields. Eventually, the party sees a town. It is a small town. It has a sizable inn, a small group of houses, a shrine, a grainery, a mill, and an unusual number of smiths. Normally a small town would have one smith. The smith would likely also need to have other jobs, such as being the tanner or maybe the priest to make ends meet.
This town has five smiths / armorers who have a very good stock of armor and weapons for sale. The prices are outrageous.
So the party eventually makes it into the inn.
The inn is very nice. There is a roaring fire in the fireplace. There are a few people enjoying their food and drink. The Party figures out pretty quickly that this is a very high quality place. There is no peeling paint, the woodwork is not rotting in any way. The doors close easily. After a while, Daron / Cover Swillinger looks around and realizes that there are some spy holes in the walls and paintings, where the people can observe the inside of the common room of the Inn.
They are offered rooms at the Inn. A single room for the night is 3 silver, but the key for the room is another silver… but the room includes a very nice meal. Tonight is roast lamb with a nice cranberry glaze, complete with new red potatoes, lightly mashed with butter, and a nice foccacia bread, and two steins of ale, or two glasses of wine or mead.
Other offerings include 5 copper to stay in the barracks, but the meal is not included. For those who wish to be thrifty (cheap), they can sleep in a horse stall outside for 1 copper.
Sybaros is upset. He feels that for that price, there should be unlimited drink. I point to his bubble wrap.
Sam Minella decides to pray to his god, Cthulhu, to create food. There is no reason to pay for food, if the food can be generated by divine favor. Well, that didn’t work so well. Instead of channeling food, Sam channeled poo. Lots of poo, right in the middle of the barracks. It was stinky poo. And the other residents of the barracks were not pleased.
The party asks what is up with the battlefield in the valley. The innkeeper responds that about 30 years ago, there were two kings who came every spring, after the plantings, and battled back and forth in this valley of Barrowdown. Every year, one king would win, and slaughter the opponents, and then salt the earth. Then the next year the same thing would happen. This went on for 20 years until both kingdoms were weary of twenty years of war, had ruined their kingdoms, ran through their coffers of money and then were conquered by another king.
The town has made a very good living of going onto the battle field and removing parts and pieces of armor and weapons, then reworking them into usable, sellable fashion to passing adventurers. The prices are outrageous. Cove Swillinger wants a shield. The shields cost 10 gold, to which Cove feels is outrageous.
The party overhears some discussion by the locals about people who are missing. Loren / Lingra asks “like ‘hahah, and we kidnapped them’ or like “Bob is missing, and we don’t know where he went'” It was more like Bob is missing.
The party listens and asks for more information. It seems that something has been happening, where people are coming up missing, and no one knows what is going on. It seems that over the last few months, several farms are missing people. Entire families are missing. Depending on who you ask, it is “several” or “a lot” of farms are missing people. Now, last night, one of the houses in town was broken into and everyone who lived in that house is now gone. The house door was bashed in.
The Party asks to investigate. Sam Minella, Sybaros and Cove go to check out the house that was broken into. As they approach in the daylight, they see that the door to the house has been broken down. Parts of the door, and the floor are covered with a thick slime, that has green and red sparkly stuff mixed in it. The slime has the same consistency as snot. There is no slime trail to follow away from the house, it appears that either the slime began at the house, or maybe it breaks down in the sunlight.
Inside the house, there is much more slime. There are no clues. Just missing people. Cove notices that the house is full of arms and armor. So Cove, being a Lawful warrior decides to acquire a shield. Now being lawful, somehow Cove convinces himself that he is not “stealing”, rather somehow it is correct to acquire the shield without paying for it. It could be that Cove believes that since he wants to be a devotee of Cthulhu, and there is no shrine to Cthulhu, acquiring the shield from the missing, presumably dead, people is acceptable to the god he wants to revere. After all, the purloined shield may help him figure out what happened to the missing / dead people, and his acquisition of the shield will help find them or avenge their deaths?
Situation ethics are very hard to understand. Maybe, this is part of Cove’s long slide into Neutrality?
The party goes back to the inn, with no better clues.
The Party goes to sleep. Cove, Steve and Sam Minella all stay in the barracks. The rest of the party retreat to their private rooms. The barracks are nicely situated near the feed lots and the slaughter houses.
In the middle of the night, there was a scream. Everyone in private rooms heard it. The people in the barracks didn’t. Presumably because all night, they kept hearing the lowing of animals in the feed lots, and finally dropped of in exhaustion.
Lingra, Mr. Plinket, Syboros and Merch all went out to see what was going on. Several townspeople were comforting a small girl. She was very upset, since she woke up in the middle of the night, and found these ugly slug things killing everyone in her family, she ran from the house, screaming, knowing that her entire family was dead.
Lingra, Mr. Plinket, Syboros and Merch all went to investigate. They decided that Sam, Steve and Cove all needed their sleep.
At the house, there were slime trails everywhere. Inside the house the father, mother, aunt and brother were all lying in bed, drained of blood. Slime was everywhere. It was a horrific massacre.
The slime trail left the house and headed out of town. The Party went to talk to the small girl. She was about 12 years old, and was sleeping when she heard noises. She came out of her room and found beasts that looked like big slugs with tiny arms, lots of tiny arms, maybe they were tiny legs, and what looked like a human face drinking the blood of her family. She ran from the house, screaming.
By the time that she got into the center of town, neighbors were running out of their homes to see what the commotion was.
The girl’s screaming awoke the party members in the front of the house, but not the members who were in the barracks.
So the party members investigate the home and find that the family members are all bled dry. There is little blood on the sheets, but a lot of slime with green and red glitter. Sybaros did want to see if there was anything in the house worth “acquiring”. He found a laundry hamper filled with dirty underwear. Rolling a 1 is never good, but can be fun. So Sybaros decided to take the dirty underwear. All of it.
The party members went back to the Inn, and woke up the sleepers. Then they headed out to follow the slime trail. After about a half mile, they came across a large well. The slime trails went right into the well.
Mr. Plinkett decides to drop a rock in to see how deep the well is. It is really deep. Really deep. Steve takes out one of the skulls with the glowing eye sockets and shines it down into the well. The well is about 8-ft across, and she sees a reflection of water, a long way down. The sides of the well appear to be mostly stone, but some of the stones are missing.
Steve found that when he looked into the well, it was foul, evil and horrific. Something down there is evil… err Chaotic – this is DCC after all.
Sybaros decided to climb in. As he climbed over the top of the well and started down into the darkness. Sybaros climbs about 30-ft down and is next to one of the areas that is missing rocks, and three basset hound sized bodies lurch and jump out of the clay soil where the missing rocks are and attack him. Two miss, but one latches on and tries to suck his blood. This thing is a horrific green slug thing with lots of small legs and a voracious appetite for Sybaros’ blood.
This is where Cove shines. Knowing what must be done, he picks up a rock and tries to drop it onto the beast. He misses, and Sybaros yells up to Cove and tells him to stop helping. Cove doesn’t pay attention. His friend is in dire danger, and needs help.
Sybaros climbs for his life, up the well, and comes out over the top, with the critter playing chewy chewy on him. Cove drops and other rock. When Sybaros gets to the top, Sybaros is finally able to attack the thing that is sucking his blood. He gashes it with his axe, and the critter dies, but a bevy of little wormlike things gush out of the critter onto Sybaros. They are all wiggling and trying to get into Sybaros… the only problem is that there is a thin layer of human skin between the worms and their goal.
Sybaros is able to stick one with his ax, without cutting himself. One falls off when Cove tries to use another rock to smash the critter. Then Steve comes to Sybaros’ rescue. Steve takes out his longsword and mashes it against one of the bugs. It pops like a zit.
Now Sybaros understands that there are bad things down the well. The Party asks questions like “who in their right mind would leave an abandoned well out here?” and “is there anything to cover it with, like some wood?” Of course there is no wood. The dead critter has no answers for the logical question of who would leave an abandoned well open to the elements. Sybraos comes up with a good idea. Sew together the dirty laundry and make a cover for the well. Cover the well, and come back tomorrow when they can have some rope and climb down properly.
So the Party goes back to town and sleeps the rest of the night, knowing that whatever is down the well is trapped by the dirty underwear quilt.
The next morning, the party asks about the well. They are told that the well used to provide water for the town, but after a long series of droughts, the well went dry, actually, the water level went so low that the town couldn’t draw water any more. Now the town has a different well, on the other side of town. The question is raised again, why did the town leave an open well. Comments were made about Lassie, and Timmy falling into the well. The townspeople essentially said “we all know that it is there, and nobody goes near it, so what is the big deal?”
So the party obtains a large length of rope and goes back to the well.
They tie the rope off in two places, drop both lengths down into the well, and descend by twos. The first two get to the bottom of the well, and find a cave entrance, about 90-ft down, the water level is another 10-ft below that. Feeling safe, the next two go down. Merch gets about 70-ft down and is next to a hole in the rock lining and three buglike creatures jump onto him. One hits, two fly by. Merch realizes that he can’t fight the critter on his neck while on the rope, so he drops off the rope, 30-ft into the water. Merch takes some pretty significant damage from the fall, but the bug thing is killed.
While Merch is in the water, he ingests a small amount, and feels very ill from the water. But something is calling to him at the bottom of the well. Merch dives and finds something. Something good… real good. I can’t speak of it here, as the rest of the party would be aware of it. Just rest assured… It is good.
Merch climbs up the rope onto the ledge with the tunnel.
The rest of the party also climbs down. And they are all looking down into the darkness.
After a short walk, they enter a cavern which is slime covered. The slime is all over the walls, floor and ceiling. There are seven corpses stuck into the slime. A circular section of the slime covered floor appears to be breathing. A slime bubble rises and falls almost like it is breathing.
As the party is looking at the rising and falling of the bubble, they decide that there must be nasty things under the bubble. Then Lingra turns around just in time to see three of the corpses behind the slime have come out and are grabbing Steve from behind.
In a scooby doo type of combat, Mr. Plinkett performs a rope trick magic feat and binds all three zombies. The DM forgets that the zombies can spit acid, and the party slaughters the three zombies. As the zombies died, they spewed out more wormlike critters that tried to bore into the skin of the party members. The Party members tap dance over the critters and they are all squished.
And that was the end of Thursday’s game.