So a bunch of us gathered again at Dice Age Games to play DCC again. Loren couldn’t make it. Now that had three issues. First, I like gaming with Loren. She exudes snark which fits in well with the group, and my sense of humor. Secondly, She has two copies of the DCC book. That rounds out the table to five books on the table when she is there. That is important, since the book is integral to playing as well as running the game. Third, she plays a cleric / healer. This is very important to the party, since bad things tend to happen to the party.
Now the party has another healer, Mike, but Mike has a habit of rolling poorly. He keeps playing with the same set of dice, refusing to bring a second set, to switch out the badly rolling dice. That’s OK, I get it, his dice are pretty, kind of an atomic meltdown green / yellow, but sometimes, if the dice don’t work, it is time to trade them out for the trusty white ones with black numbers which roll better. Dice shaming is an important thing.
As an aside, when we played Car Wars on the following Saturday from the DCC game, Mike once again, insisted on using a group of dice which didn’t allow him to shame them. In that case, he used the four d6’s that came in the box. They are nice d6’s, I guess. They were 15 millimeter white dice with black pips. The problem was that he had two dice that were good for GURPS (always rolled low) and two dice that were good for Car Wars (always rolled high). Since he only had four identical looking dice, he couldn’t figure out which pair to roll of the four. As such, horrible things happened, like his vehicles going into a spin onto spikes and mines… His heavy lasers doing 6 damage on a 4d6 damage roll (heh heh heh)… Sorry Mike, but that was awesome for me!!!
Anyhow, I am rambling again… but isn’t that the role of a DM?
So anyhow, we met and started back in the petting zoo. The party was pretty battered, and not having a great time. They didn’t find what they were looking for in the Tunnel of Love last week… The petting zoo turned out to be a little different what they expected.
The party leaves the dead two headed goat behind, and starts going to the next room. This room seems innocuous enough. It is a large room, that includes one side having a wall of pretty colored bunnies.
Every color of the rainbow. Now the bunnies are in a pen, and ready for anyone to buy them on the honor system. Brian, Mike and Robert all pay 10 copper per bunny and take them. Robert actually buys two. Now the rest of the party doesn’t know it, but these bunnies are lucky bunnies. Having a living bunny adds +1 per bunny to their luck roll, as long as the bunny is living. If the bunny dies, well, that is something that they Party will have to experience.
Brian selects a blue bunny. Mike selects a green bunny. Robert selects a black bunny and a red bunny. These little guys are pretty cute. They are tiny, and fit easily into your hand. They are affectionate, and want to nuzzle against the necks of the owners. Sweet, nice, furry, bunnies.
Eric was having a problem with this. He observed 40 copper from the party, along with another 5 or six silver worth of other money in the open box that you paid on the honor system to, to get a bunny. Eric was having serous thoughts about stealing the money. This part of the adventure would have been awesome, if he had. Since no one stole money, nothing happened. If someone stole a bunny or the money, then it would have been the attack of the killer bunnies. All of the bunnies. All 20 of them, including the 4 cute ones which were paid for.
But, since no one stole bunnies, or money, nothing bad happened.
So, having a bunch of 30+ year old men at the table, with no women present to counter their libido, too many of the players swapped over to their smart phones and started looking for pictures of their bunnies. I won’t say who did it first or if more than one player did it,
because the first rule about DCC is we don’t talk about DCC, err too late… Anyhow, someone came up with a cute picture of the appropriate color bunny. Then quickly it turned to a scantily clad woman wearing a playboy bunny outfit, followed by a lecherous smile with “This is MY bunny!” then a Pepe Le Pew type sound indicating “RAWR”. Once the conversation turned to the players desire for bestiality with a small furry creature, the phones got put away, most of the players refused to make eye contact and no one talked about it any more.
So the party goes onto the next room. As they enter, they see that two walls of the room have 5-ft stacks of chicken pens. The pens are about 1-ft cube, and there are hundreds of chickens in pens, one per pen. As they move closer, they see that all of the chickens have had their eyes cut out. The chickens don’t seem to be in any pain, but they are spooked by entry of the party. Now for some reason, this raises alarm flags with the party. Like, they won’t believe that somewhere in this hell of a place there wouldn’t be a good spot to rest. The party goes forward and checks out the chickens. No, there are no golden eggs. No, there are no deep fryers nearby.
As they look around, the mound of hay in the middle of the room explodes and a funny giant (well, 4-ft high) chickeny thing pops out and attacks.
I show this picture to the party.
Matthew immediately says “oh great, cockatrice – Don’t look at its eyes”. I ask them all, would they have ever seen this type of creature before, and would they know about it? Robert, being Loren’s foil, and flying solo on the snark tonight lives up to his potential and says “I make a knowledge nature roll”. (For those of you who don’t know, that is from Mathfinder, not DCC). Good try, but no. The party talks for a second, and figures that as 1st level characters, coming from a small town, on their second adventure, they probably wouldn’t know to not look. Now this is where playing with seasoned gamers is fun. They realize that playing the character without meta knowledge can be more interesting than forcing their meta into the character.
The big ugly chicken attacks. Through the fight, several things happen. First, the party figures out that the bite isn’t that bad. The problem is when they look at its eyes, bad things happen. Jeremy has his right leg (the entire right leg) turned into granite. This may be a problem for a halfling. Now if he were actually a dwarf like he really wanted to play, the dwarf probably would have thought this was pretty cool, but as a halfling, that kind of sucks.
Mike also has a problem. Mike looks at the big ugly chicken’s eyes and his right arm turns to granite. From the shoulder down. Mike is not particularly happy about this. Then Mike needs to do some healing, and his healing rolls suck. He has botched so many rolls so far, that if he rolls a 5 or less on the dice, he critically fails. I tell him that Cthulhu will allow Mike to add to his roll, based on how much of his granite arm he shatters. To make it fair, I tell mike to roll a d20, and that d20 will be his add to his spell roll, and the d20 times 5 will be the percentage of his arm that is broken off. Mike goes for it, and rolls a 5. OK, so he loses a quarter of his arm, just above the wrist, but that 5 is enough to roll awesome on his spell.
Now Mike is in a quandary,. He has a granite stump which has lost his wrist and hand in a shattered mess. I ask Mike if this is Cthulhu’s way of giving him a quest to find a way to turn the granite stump into a tentacle.
Mike’s eyes light up. He smiles and loudly proclaims “YES!”, and pulls out one of his minifigs, which is a cultist whom he cut off his hand and had glued a tentacle to the right arm… It is almost divine providence (can Cthulhu fulfill divine providence?) Anyhow, Mike is happy. He has a granite stump, and a mission. That roll player now has a mission for his character.
Then things got weird.
Matthew decided that it was time to leave. He backed up into the pen where the dead two headed goat was, and started counting his treasure. Eric opened up a bunch of pens to let chickens out to distract the big ugly chicken. Then Robert stepped in. He was going to save the day with a sleep spell. “WAS” is the key word here. See, Robert uses Mercurial Magic. He botched his sleep spell. Natural 1. He put his party to sleep instead. Robert could put to sleep 1d4+1 party members due to the botched sleep spell. Wouldn’t you know it, he rolled a 4, which put 5 party members into a natural sleep, which was the entire party within the room. Matthew wasn’t affected because he was in the next room counting treasure. The botch also triggered his mercurial magic. Now normally, any time Robert uses Sleep, the mercurial magic turns one thing of small value to gold, and another thing of small value to lead. I decided a botched roll which put all party members to sleep deserved something better than a “small” item. Jeremy’s granite leg and Mike’s granite arm seemed like a good thing to play off of, since they just had a “magical” attack from the big ugly chicken. I told Jeremy that the marrow inside his leg and foot bones turned to gold, but no one knows about it, but his leg is now worth about 300 gold, if the marrow were extracted. Even though “no one knew about it”, I explained it in front of everyone, which requires people to separate their meta knowledge from their character knowledge. Mike’s entire granite stump was turned into lead.
So everyone was out, snoring. blind chickens were running around. Things were a little weird. Matthew had to make a hard choice. Should he walk away, or should he enter into the fight, alone against this awful chicken?
Matthew decided to fight for the party. Now, he didn’t just do it. First, he had to tell the people at the table “This is too weird, I am out of here”, then a smirk, and he turned around and decided to make his next move truly count. He spellburned enough power to add 20 to his roll. This created a natural crit for Burning Hands spell. Now, Matthew burned 20 points of strength, agility and stamina to get there, so after this spell, he is pretty well wasted. But it was worth it. Matthew popped around the corner, and released his flaming hands which outright turned the cockatrice and about 40 chickens to true Cajun barbecue.
Now the place smelled like burned feathers, burned meat, burned beaks, burned chicken feet… It was pretty nasty. The party woke up and decided that they should gather as much of the eggs as possible, along with seeing if there was anything that they could do to find some cooked chickens, at the periphery of the burning hands spell.
Matthew woke everyone up, and the party realized that the short nap wasn’t long enough to rest them completely. Bummer. The busted sleep spell put the party into a “natural sleep”, just not long enough.
The party searches the room, and finds a beautiful chicken egg shaped and sized emerald. Great. another expensive bauble which can’t be fenced in a small town. Another reason why the Party needs to find a decent sized city.
The party decides it is time to move onto the next room. They go down a long hall, then turn, and go down another long hall, and start smelling nasty poo. The townspeople have been around pigs enough that they know that this is either pig poo, or something equally nasty.
They round the corner, and find pen with several sows, and a very tall man laying in with the sows, gently stroking their ears saying things like “Tonight, Dixie, I will be all yours”, then when one of the sows he is stroking grunts in anger, he says “now Coconut, you had me last night”
With some slight revulsion, the party awkwardly stands back at the entrance, hoping that they won’t be noticed… But they are. The sows sense the party, and they flee in terror, squealing and churning up the mud and filth. Now the man looks angry. He rises up to his full height, and the party realizes that this is no man, it is MAN-PIG.
OK, now that is just weird. But then I didn’t make it up. Also, I didn’t have to find it. The party members looked online for a descriptive photo, and this was what Mike found.
Anyhow, I understand how a mule is made. A donkey male and a horse female.
I never understood where centaurs came from.
Now the man-pig, well, that is something that is too awful to consider. But I didn’t come up with it, the authors of this adventure did. So, here we go.
The battle was short, and brutal. The Man-Pig charged and proceeded to punch the party members along with vomit spit at them. The acid vomit spit missed every time. The Party ended up killing off the Man-Pig, and it was brutal. Mike had to heal some of the party members. Now by this time, the healing was starting to be problematic. Mike was nervous about healing without resting first, since he could really have bad things happen.
You see on a critical fail, of a 1 the cleric must roll a d4 on the crit fail table. Then the cleric critically fails on a 1 or 2. If the cleric fails again on a critical fail (1 or 2 on a d20), then the cleric rolls again using 1d4 if he rolled a 1 on the d20, or 2d4 if he rolled a 2 on the d20.
Now Mike had 5 critical fails. If he fails on a spell, and rolls a 5 on a d20 for failure, he rolls 5d4 for his critical fail. The critical fails for clerics go from bad to absolutely nasty as the number goes higher. 5d4 could end up in something which is permanently crippling, where 1d4 is likely just something which is a PITA nuisance.
So Mike had good cause to not want to do any spell healing. He had already spell burned in earlier parts of the adventure to cut off two pinkies, and he spell burned this week by shattering his arm which had been turned to granite. Things were not looking good for Mike.
Luckily for Mike, he didn’t roll a critical fail, and was able to heal without causing problems.
Panting, tired and weary, the party left the petting zoo. A little richer, a little more hopeful for simple pleasures like a good ale.
They were hungry, so they headed off to the Feat For Kings tent.
They entered the tent, and found that it was a large tent, Inside the tent was a an enormous woman on a dais. On the left side of the dais were 12 emaciated men working hard to make food, and serve it to the enormous woman on the dais. To the right side was a long table with a bunch of chairs.
As the Party entered, the woman calls out to them to come forward and play in a game. They don’t notice it at first, but the tent closes behind them, leaving no apparent escape.
The woman beckons them forward, so that she can see them better. They notice that the 12 men are scurrying around feeding her, and she gobbles up the food as quickly as they provide it. The men are quick and nimble, and act as though if they get their fingers too close to the maw of the huge woman, that she will bit the fingers off in her flurry of eating.
As the party comes closer, she waves off the help, and wipes up some gravy off her dress and slurps it down. She says, Guess my weight, and if you are correct, then I will give you a prize. If you don’t, then I will take my favorite weapon from you.
The party isn’t really sure what to expect. Jeremy comes forward and guesses “170 pounds?” No, much more than that. Jeremy must give the woman his paddle ball bat. Now that doesn’t seem like too much, but the paddle ball bat toy is Jeremy’s most successful weapon. He can’t hit the broad side of the barn with his dagger or short sword, but the paddle ball bat consistently hits.
Brian comes forward and guesses, to no avail. He must give up his favorite dagger.
Mike has a moment of clarity. He still has the green milk from the transparent cow… when he drinks the milk, he can ask any question in a drug addled state, and he will divine the answer from that… He drinks the milk, and asks his mind, what is her weight. 1,100 pounds exactly.
He swaggers up to the woman and whispers the weight into her hear, and is rewarded. She rolls around, and pulls back a large roll of skin and fat and gives him a bottle of perfume. It has some other benefits, but then, I can’t give that away here.
Mike goes and whispers the proper weight to each of the remaining players, who in turn go and whisper it to her, and she rewards them with small baubles which are of significant value. Great, more stuff that can’t be fenced in a small town. They are getting rich, but can’t do anything with it, because the individual value of each of these items is too high.
She then tells them that they are welcome guests in the Feast For Kings. The party wants to make sure that this is FOR kings, not something else…
OK, maybe that is too obscure.
Nope, it is the “FEAST FOR KINGS”. As they sit down, the emaciated help comes over and gives everyone wine to drink. The wine is good. Really good.
The emaciated help primps the party, and pretty much helps them into their seats, some odd pinching occurs.
Everyone rolls an intelligence roll, and only Brian makes it. So I pull him aside, and explain that the 12 cooks / waiters all are emaciated, looking very excited, and all of them have a crown with 12 points embroidered onto their shirts…
Brian asks “what does that mean?”
I explain that he needs to decide for himself.
He goes back, and of course, he decides that it means bad things. An intelligence roll never ends up with something good, right, it is always to spot something bad. Or so Brian seems to believe.
He whispers over to Robert that something is funny. He explains the crowns, and wonders if the feast is for the helpers who are “kings”, and maybe they are the main course?
Then the emaciated help attacks. They are cannibals, and they are hungry. The enormous woman cackles, laughs, screeches in pleasure as mayhem ensues.
It ended up turning into a bad thing for the party. I needed to scale down the bad guys because they wiped through the party with awesome rolls, while the party was making poor rolls. In the end, only two party members survived with more than 1 HP, and they had to drag the rest of the party out.
Then the Party decided that they should leave for the night and get a good nights rest before continuing.