It’s the APRIL LAN. We played a lot of Quake last night and Starcraft (now free with the latest update) which ended in the only outcome that could have happened in a FFA: a zerg rush by scooter.
Today we got in some HELLDIVERS and Ultimate DOOM, which is one of the best FPS games ever STILL for gameplay.
This is a precursor to a couple of brewing posts about our Scenic Dunnsmouth run about a month ago. We used the Dungeon Crawl Classics magic system along with LotFP.
First, I recommend trying this out if you don’t mind a bit more chaos in your magic to a more cartoonish, gonzo level. DCC takes the spirit of LotFP’s beloved Summon spell and applies it to everything. The system reminds me fully of Warhammer Fantasy Battle 8th edition’s magic system, which is fantastic and dangerous and explosive.
The biggest differences are:
Overall, we muddled through and our GM was very enthused about it until there was a Cleric in the party, then Steve was not too happy. It does spin the Gygaxian dislike of spellcasters off into the ether and you have to be cool with that.
I was waiting for the Dark Elves to come out before picking up Warhammer Total War and… they aren’t ever coming to that game; instead they are doing a Warhammer 2 in order to add the new races that are flagrantly missing (High Elves, Dark Elves, Lizard Men). While called “2” this is in effect a stand alone add on in as you can have WTW 1 and WTW 2 and play on a huge campaign map with all races.
I’m still addicted to Attila Total War which is right now my favorite of the series by far, and haven’t purchased the older Warhammer game to even try it out. While it’s sort of odd that it’s already Warhammer 2: I’m really glad the Dark Elves are finally coming out and will likely wait until 2 comes out to pick up 1 and 2 together.
This is a unique little Con as it harks back to the era where Wisconsin was ground zero for all D&D stuff, with THE DUNGEON shop (basically the D&D store with the TSR office upstairs), the qtip factory, etc. all around Lake Geneva, where some of these TSR guys still live and still show up to Cons!
So if you do not know, Garycon is a small con at a very cool location, the Grand Geneva Hotel, at it’s worst point in the turn of seasons (end of March) when the snow is gone and the warm weather (even for hiking) isn’t around yet. 40’s and rain is what we got again this year, unlike Game Hole Con which was absolutely gorgeous out all weekend in November! I think that Game Hole and Garycon bookend each other quite nicely at their times of the year though, where, typically, you ain’t going outside for summer or winter sports at all up here.
This is an OSR con, which means Dungeon Crawl Classics, Swords and Wizardry, Lamentations of the Flame Princess, Into the Odd, Trampier art, Castles and Crusades and a lot of old dudes. One of the guys I was with mentioned that the demographic was, for the most part, 20 year-olds and younger, and late 30’s and older with the entire millennial generation not even there.
That said, while all about OSR, DCC dominates this con as far as I can tell. They have a huge booth in the small exhibitor hall and while there were tons of people playing 5E, there were also many DCC tables everywhere. I think one of the reasons DCC does so well here is that a lot of the old Wisconsin/Northern Illinois TSR designers are involved with Goodman games (and now even WOTC with their partnership announcement this weekend on the old school modules). Goodman does judges guild reprints AND their own Californicated OD&D DCC stuff, they do a rebirth of Metamorphosis Alpha AND their own Mutant Crawl Classics. So they are pushing ahead with their own games while at the same time not only bringing back some of the oldies, but adding new content from the original authors. This makes the OS (without the R part because they likely never stopped themselves) happy.
We got to play DCC twice with Daniel Bishop as the Judge. For our first game our gang of freaks was nearly half the players there, which was totally awesome. I had run a funnel and read modules, but never played the ‘leveled’ version of the game before and I am quite impressed with the rules in play. I played a warrior, Sensless played a magic user with all BUFF spells and Maat played the only thief, bowers another Wizard. The game is dominated by the magic users for the most part (which is very anti-vancian/gygax), but they destroy themselves to pull off what they do and still have to rely on the dice–nothing is every certain no matter what you spellburn. What it comes down to is trying to maximize chances of a certain spell result using spellburn, corruption, the halfling luck power and personal luck. How it works out in play is basically full on gonzo, where the GM can lay heavy stuff on the players and they can come back from the brink with clever luck/burn/corruption usage — but it’s very costly. In a CON game Wizards are not going to hold back on the burning for results, so shit will get crazy.
Fighters are awesome however. They take a beating as expected, but instead of flat bonuses, they get a DEED die with which they can declare a heroic deed, like pushing someone to the ground or dry gultching them if the die comes up 3+. This allows a lot of creative play for what is normally, even in 13th Age, a bit of a boring class outside of Runequest/Mythras.
My second game I coached my kid through and it was great with a very strange premise in a deathtrap dungeon, which he had never experienced before. I talked to him after about how the horrifyingly deadly traps were telegraphed by the description of the area, and the non-telegraphed ones were fairly easy to get out of. Unlike the funnel games, leveled characters in DCC are difficult to kill off as long as the rest of the party is around– but his party had nearly all the spellcasters drop to zero at least once and I would have loved to see some of their character sheets to see how bad their stats were with all the spellburn and voluntary corruption!
Other stuff I saw and did:
It’s been a fucklong time since I posted stuff. Was in Colorado, played Lamentations for about a week (will post about that later), then we had 13th Age and got in as a player in an ACKs game as well.
But this weekend is OSR madness with Garycon. I’m looking forward to playing some DCC and lugging my huge book around, looking forward to my kid meeting the makers of DCC and having a go at the strongest judge contest (with the enormous judges guild book). Pic unrelated.
After a painful wait, I got a massive amount of Dungeon Crawl Classics stuff after backing the “4th Printing” of the game The book is huge, it has two cloth bookmarks! It has astounding art everywhere. Even if you never play, the book is definitely worth having.
I planned to send out a big email to a bunch of friends and get a funnel game going, but instead I just did it with the kids, or that was the intention anyway. The DCC funnel is a mass of 0 level characters way over their heads in an adventure where nearly all are summarily destroyed, leaving a mere few left to graduate to leveled play.
Instead of a bunch of kids that were all over, it ended up being my brother, the wife, my son and the mom of my daughter’s BFF. Why? Character creation. When you play with kids, you need to get to the action right away (or to the choices they can make anyway). While it takes just a little bit to make a 0 level DCC character, it takes a long time to make four, and with 6-10 year-olds, and parents, and lots of noise it’s even longer. Once the characters were made, just before getting stuck in, two of the girls slinked off to go play other things in the furthest room from the one we were playing in. Still we played on!
We had 16 characters for this adventure, most of which are totally unimportant because they died, but there were a few notables. First Chuck Schick, a halfling-mariner named after a character in Caddyshack, had a theme song written, performed and auto-tuned about him by the end of the night. It was slightly sad when he was nearly instantly killed, but in retrospect, hilarious. My son had a character with ridiculous stats, including one 18. He died. Last of note was Britta the needlessly defiant, and I’ll talk about what happened to her below.
I ran the very interesting funnel module: Prince Charming: Reanimator. Not an official DCC module, but quite good nonetheless. The characters were gathered by Prince Charming and his Baliff to head into a ruined castle where Sleeping Beauty was supposedly located. Why didn’t the Prince go himself? Oh yeah, the castle is either haunted or really dangerous, so the peasants are tasked to go in first. Lovely.
The characters wandered around and found an area where they got some buffs (all except Britta the needlessly defiant who defiantly wandered off on her own and was killed and eaten). Then, the characters, nearly by accident managed to B-line it to the “final boss” skipping 70% of the adventure and then… nearly all died.
Frankly I could run the adventure again based on the volume of content that they missed. After the final battle and denouement, only three of the sixteen characters were left and only because they chose to run away at a specific point in the story (after the climax).
The funnel was good fun, with characters dropping like flies at the end. The DCC rules are fairly simple, having less complexity for 0 level characters than LotFP or LL. The book is gigantic for leveled play due to the random charts, but for 0-level, the rules could probably fit on about 6 pages. The method for getting XP is a bit odd as it’s about surviving encounters, not succeeding at anything. This could lead to some formulaic: encounter, run, encounter, run scenarios, yet running full tilt away from something in this adventure will lead to a quick death.
Other advice about DCC: Even though I’ve seen claimed otherwise around the internets, If you are going to play DCC, you must have funky dice, even for the 0-level funnel. The tables to build characters use the D30, D14 and a D24. These are not too hard to acquire, but someone needs to have them or you’re looking online for a roller or … drawing fucking CHITS like we used have to as kids when TSR ran out of dice for Holmes Basic.
Don’t worry about the characters dying. This is a big one for GM’s new to the DCC system. You can easily get a TPK if the players are stupid with all of their characters, but chances are they are going to be smart with at least one of them. If they all die, just roll up new ones and go in again with the added bonus of the new characters finding the old ones dead on the ground.
LORDLOBO captured our Brutal Doom play from a couple nights back. These guys have done amazing, amazing work on this mod.
I put together a Lamentations of the Flame Princess pocketmod character sheet based on the Dyson Logos pocketmod for B/X D&D (and with strong influences from the Badmedo character sheet for LotFP).
I built this out mostly because I wanted pocketmod character sheets to play with my kids and the Dyson Logos sheet (while awesome for LL and B/X) just wasn’t quite cutting it with the LotFP rules. LotFP has no THACO, and has very unique rules for skills and encumbrance. So, this one has the pages and info needed for LotFP AND it has what most modern character sheets are sorely missing: a space to draw a character picture.
I realize that the encumbrance item page is after the ‘encumbrance level’ page, this may seem out of order to derive encumbrance, but it is more important for the encumbrance rank to be found earlier in the booklet during play.
After reviewing online pocket mods that weren’t Dyson Logos B/X one for ideas and finding that the rest were totally function over form (especially the soul-less 5E one), I did the first layout in, gulp, MS WORD. I don’t have indesign or photoshop handy any more, and just ended up starting in Word to see if I could do it. To give it credit, Word has gotten a lot better in the last few versions to do fairly simple layouts like this and it looks like the original lotfp sheet was built using it. The shape tool helped a lot, as well as tons of text boxes everywhere.
After layout was done in Word, I saved as a PDF and then used the pocketmod creator to parse the 8-page PDF into a pocket mod. If you notice, the Dyson Logos B/X sheet was laid out by hand on the pocketmod format that he himself built, doing it his way means margins are more controlled than the ones parsed out by the pocketmod program. After many tries, I couldn’t fix the fact that the pocketmod parsing program skewed the whole layout unbearably going from a PDF to a the pocketmod format. If you are making a pocket mod with your notes from school, the pocketmod program is great, if you are actually trying to control exact placement and margins, it’s not worth bothering with.
I have some of friends that are pro designers and one of them (Jenica!) generously said the equivalent of —fuck let me do that shit for you– after seeing what I was doing in Word, and so she did. The result is FAR better than my MS Word original. I recommend this approach, but the exercise of doing it first in Word helped me really see where everything would be on each of the new pages and whether I could fit all the things. That prototype helped the designer’s job to do the real deal.
A guy named Whidou Whadou hooked me up with a vector-based dead sign for the spell page.
Anyway, enjoy! Now who’s going to do one for MYTHRAS?