So last Thursday’s gaming session started with two new players. Brian and Jeremy. Both have played RPG’s before, but never any RPG’s as chaotic as DCC. First they had to wrap their minds around the idea that just because they want to play a dwarf, for instance, they don’t get to, unless the random rolls support that. So Jeremy ended up playing a halfling… but he really wanted to be a dwarf… but he had to play a halfling… with only 2 freaking hit points… So he showed me, and used a dwarf mini to represent his halfing with 2 hitpoints.
Brian was OK with the randomness of the game. He seemed to actually enjoy the idea that you don’t get to min/max or create an epic character. You rolled up 3d6 right down the stat block, and being a weakling would have to play into the game.
I have been playing with Brian for years. He is a seasoned game player. I haven’t played as much with Jeremy, but have played before. He, was part of a Mathfinder game run by Loren, where my son, Gavin and I played in. It was awesome. Now as a side note, Jeremy killed my son in the Mathfinder game. Gavin and Jeremy were playing rogues. I was playing a pyromaniac gnome who had some serious social issues… but that is a different story. Anyhow, Jeremy had something that Gavin wanted. We were all 6th or 7th level characters. Jeremy found a corner of the dungeon to curl up in, an fall asleep. Gavin decided it was his turn to go and relieve Jeremy of the prize. Gavin sneaks up, and does pretty well on his stealth role. Then Loren asks Jeremy to make a roll to see if he realizes that he is being robbed. Jeremy rolls a natural 20, and adds something like 15 to it from his stat block, and knows what is going on. Rolling initiative brings Jeremy up first. Jeremy pulls out a dagger and snick, rolls another natural 20 and essentially guts Gavin. Now Gavin has two ways to play this. First is he can fight it out, or second, he can back off and try to convince Jeremy that it was all a big mistake. Gavin decides to fight it out. Big mistake.
Jeremy proceeds to eviscerate Gavin. It wasn’t pretty, but Gavin learned a significant lesson. Never try to steal from another player unless you have backup.
Anyhow, most of the other players were back. Loren, Jason, Matthew, Eric and Daron were all there. Summer was gone. Something about a long planned trip. I figure that she was actually going through Daron’s stuff, getting ready for a garage sale of his best things. Eric was back, after defending his stuff from his wife’s garage sale preparing. Eric said that he went to Hawaii, and snorkeled with the sea turtles, and had hours of GoPro video of sea turtles. I call shenanigans. First, he produced no such video. Second, he could take his GoPro camera to PetSmart and dunk it in the turtle tank, and get some pretty good action footage.
Now to add to this, Eric had a new story he told. He told us a story about how he had games that he purchased from Goodwill, and they were up for sale. Now that isn’t particularly interesting. Cycling through games could be a good outlet to this neurosis that we euphemistically call board gaming. What he said, which showed his true Doctor Evil side was he took the really cool d3 die out of one of the board games and sold it. That is a level of depraved horror that even I wouldn’t stoop to. Talk about a monster.
Now the photo above is of course, Doctor Evil. Who is “bald”. This actually fits Eric pretty well, since Eric came in with a serious buzz cut. If Eric had a bald cat on his lap, it would have been better.
So the party members helped Brian and Jeremy create characters. Normally, you put the character through a zero level funnel. I figured that it would be unfair to start out new characters as zero level, when every one of the existing party were ultra powerful 1st level characters. Now you laugh, but in DCC, there is a huge difference between the standard rabble of a townsperson with a pitchfork, and a seasoned 1st level warrior. So I had the new players generate one 0 level character, then elevate it to the 1st level. That worked out pretty OK for Brian, but Jeremy rolled low enough on his hit dice, and had enough minuses for his stats, that his 1st level character should have had 0 hit points. Now DCC is brutal, but it isn’t Traveler style brutal. I figured that he should have at least 2 hit points, one for his 0 level, 1 for his 1st level. Jeremy and the party were OK with that. He created a sneaky rogue, but a very delicate sneaky rogue. He would have to figure out how to play that.
Brian created a wizard. The wizard was an elf, and he was pretty darn weak, but at least he had more than 4 hit points.
So on to the adventure. I have blathered for about 900 words by this time, and nothing for the game.
The Party continued on. Eric, Jeremy and Brian popped into the game in the blood room. The party was in the large room where there was a fresco of a demon on the wall. The demon had a tongue that came out into the room landing in a pool of blood. Blood dribbled down the tongue, and occasionally a pretty good sized worm would flow out of the mouth, down the tongue into the pool, and join the other worms drunkenly swimming in the pool. The party was aware that whenever they walked across the room, and crossed the middle, a globule of acid was ejected and most likely would hit them, causing some nasty damage.
The Party knew that there were three exits from the room. First was the one that they entered from. There was one across the room, where they would have to cross the acid spit path, and the third was a large rock that appeared to be a very poorly constructed secret door.
So Matthew tried to pull the rock back. No dice. Literally, no dice. The Party needed at least a 15 on a strength check, and several party members tried. They used picks, shovels, crowbars, and nothing. Daron even broke a nail. It hurt, a lot.
Then Loren says “I will try to open the door”. And she makes the roll.really well. So of course Loren comes up and pulls the rock back with her pinky. Showing the male characters how to do it. Of course Loren was having none of the idea that the men softened it up. It was all Loren, all the time.
Behind the door was a dark hallway. The hallway was a natural stone fissure in the rock, and was very cramped. Daron enters. After all, he wants to become a Paladin of Cthulhu. Let’s ignore that first, there is no Paladin class in DCC, and second, he is Lawful, where Cthulhu is Neutral in DCC. That doesn’t matter, I will give it to him. It is a fantasy RPG you know.
Daron enters. Eric follows. The corridor is so tight that they have to single file it. As they enter, they hear, smell and sense more than see something feral moving in front of them. Daron is attacked by two feral creatures, they snarl, bleat, snort, and scratch at him doing damage. Daron whiffs his return strike. After taking damage, Daron decides that it is better to live to fight another day for Cthulhu, and retreats, bravely leaving Eric’s halfling rogue to battle the beasts in the dark.Eric gets seriously harhed. Eric keeps asking “what are they”. Now being a good DM, I decided not to explain that they were townspeople who were stored here for sacrifices who wanted to get the heck out of here. Instead, I explained that they were feral beasts, with long claws, wearing rags. They made unearthly grunting, snuffling, squealing sounds and are trying to rip him apart in the narrow hallway. Eric takes damage, and retreats back into the room. Now the rest of the party doesn’t know what is going on. They hear a cacophony of sound, see Daron come rushing back out of the fissure, hear Eric screaming, and then Eric comes running out.
Now is Brian’s turn to shine. He decides that he is going to color spray the monsters in the passage. Only it doesn’t work so well. Brian rolls a natural 1. We consult the DCC tome. Brian then rolls to see what nastiness happens to him. He gets a major corruption. He turns blue. Now Brian thinks this is pretty OK, since he can say he is an aquatic elf. The rest of the party disagrees, and starts comparing him to Avatar, and Smurfs.
As far as a major corruption goes, this one isn’t too bad. Brian will need to role play it though.
All of the other party members stand around, blocking the exit. So the feral beasts come pouring out of the fissure, and then attack the party, since the party is in the way.
The Party gets their first good look at the beasts. They are wild humans, desperate to get by the party. They attack the party. There are 8 humans trying to get back. Finally, the party figures it out, and moves back to let the feral townspeople out.
Now this is where I don’t understand players. The room is cramped, and there isn’t much space to move in, without crossing the line where the fresco spits acid. Every time a party member says that they are going to move, I ask if they want to move to the side of the room that has open space, requiring them the cross the potential acid spit range. I am trying to be helpful, but instead, I get this harsh stare with an emphatic “no”. I don’t get it.
Anyhow by this time, three party members (Jeremy, Jason and Matthew) are on the other side of the acid spit zone, with the cave exit. The other party members are on the first side of the acid spit zone, where they could continue through where the feral villagers came out.
So Daron and Mike continue down the cave entrance where the feral villagers came out of. Daron leads the way. They find that the feral villagers had a cave that branched off in several ways. The first is the entrance where they came from. The second goes down a short hallway and there is a rockfall that blocks the exit. The third ends at a strong iron gate. The fourth is an underground lake. The underground lake has a lot of blind cave fish swimming around in it, along with a lot of fish bones near the shore. I tell Daron that he might be able to pick the lock of the iron gate with a fishbone… an inside joke, based on his DM’ing of a Mathfinder adventure that he tortures us with occasionally. 🙂
As Daron looks into the water, almost mesmerized by the swimming silver fish, something grabs him and pulls him into the lake. It is a huge snake biting, constricting and trying to get him into the lake. Daron botches his rolls, so the snake pulls him under, wraps around him and starts to squeeze and bite.
Now the rest of the party hears a “Oh Sh” followed by a kerplunk, like something large went into the water. The pond is 15 ft deep, so by the time that Mike comes to investigate, all he sees is still water with fish swimming around in it.
Daron on the other hand is not having a good time of it. He repeatedly fails his strength checks, which means that the snake is making constriction damage on him. Daron is able to smack the snake several good hits with his sword. Eventually, after chumming the water with snake blood, along with lots of Daron blood, Daron is able to get away from the snake and swim for the surface. Sometime in there, Mike enters the water, and then decides to get the heck out of there. Both Eric and Mike make it back to the surface, and swim to the shore, and leave the snake be.
Now Mike has done a lot of clerical stuff so far in the adventure. He has really amped up his ability to bork his rolls. He needs to do something that will help him heal Daron. So I tell him that if he cuts off a pinky, and offers it as part of the spell, that I will let him add 4 to his roll. Done. Mike is now 9-fingers Mike.
It works, thankfully. Daron is healed up. Daron thinks about going back into the water to take on the snake. After all, if Mike is willing to offer up fingers to guarantee healing, that seems pretty reasonable for a paladin, right?
Now as an aside, I came home, and my wife asked me how the gaming session went. I explained that it was a lot of fun, and described the sacrifices that Mike made, and her expression told me that she thought that was awful. Then she told me that was awful. Really, she enters PVP in WOW, and plays Overwatch. She regularly kills and is killed in these games… and she thinks an RPG where people can use blood magic is awful?
So Daron rethinks going after the snake, and they proceed through the tunnel to the iron gate.
For some reason, Jason, Jeremy and Matthew decide to split the party, and proceed down the tunnel, leaving the rest of the party to their fate.
Eric picks the lock on the iron gate and enters the room.
In front of the party members is a large room with a huge piglike worm creature, who turns and snarls at them.
There is also a Frankenstein ogre inside a subcavern, with an iron gate keeping the frankenogre away from the party.
Behind each of the groups of split party appears zombies coming out of the walls. Behind the unfortunate group that is in the feral party member are three zombies along with a shriveled man.
Now things look dire. The zombies attack. In the ensuing chaos, Eric is charmed by the shriveled old man. Horrific damage is done to the party.
Then Loren turns undead. A lot of undead, and most of the threat disappears.
Several things happen in quick succession. First, the worm queen turns and charges at Matthew and Jason, and between spitting acid and a rushing charge, knocks both of them down to less than 0 hitpoints. Eric goes and gives the shriveled old man a bear hug. Then Brian summons a giant rat and has the giant rat attack the old man. Daron tries to attack the old man, but has troubles doing it while Eric is hugging the old man. For some reason, the tight confines of the cavern complex along with a party member bear hugging the bad guy creates a challenging situation for a fighter.
Anyhow, as many rounds as this went on, ultimately the old man / wizard was killed off by Brian’s summoned giant rat.
Then there was the sad story of Jason and Matthew. The huge worm beast spit acid then slammed into Jason and Matthew, essentially killing both of them.
With Jason and Matthew down, and Jeremy right next to them, this was time for Jeremy, the rogue to shine. He could do the courageous thing, and pull one of the bodies away. He could fight the worm. He could even loot the bodies, then run away. Nope, knowing that he only had two hit points, Jeremy slinked away trying to put as much distance between him and the monster as he could. I think we now know what sort of rogue Jeremy is. Let them die, survive the encounter, come back after the dust has settled and fill up your pockets with the loot of the dead.
Not judging here. Just noting.
Well, the two clerics, seeing this decide to save the day. Mike rushes forward, knowing that Cthulhu approved of the finger chopping off, decided to cut off pinkie #2 to get extra help in the spell check. I decided that a second finger loss in under 10 minutes deserved a better modifier than the first. So I gave him +6 to his spell roll, given his second blood sacrifice.
Then Cthulhu laughed. Mike rolled a 1.
Mike cut off a finger for nothing. And then Mike lost his connection with Cthulhu, and he needs to spend several days in prayer and atonement to make up for this.
As bad as that was, Loren saved the day. Forgetting her own safety, she ran into the monster and laid hands on Matthew. Matthew pops up, and proceeds to charm the worm thing, making her his friend for at least 30 days, before the monster gets another will save. Loren then saves Jason. Jeremy is upset, since the party members he planned to loot later were revived.
The party hears silence, except for the Frankenogre in the next room. It is behind a metal gate that it can’t break, but it wants out. It wants to kill. It demands to fight. The party ignores it. There is plenty of treasure lying around. No need to deal with the Franenogre.
The session ends with Matthew Muad’dib riding his new worm friend out of the dungeon in glory.