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DCCRPG Hole in the Sky review

April 13, 2015

GMG5087CoverLargeIt has been a long wait for another official funnel after the now classic Sailors on the Starless Sea, but I’m here to tell you, Hole in the Sky does not disappoint. I had the fantastic fortune to land a spot in the author’s game of this during GaryCon, which was an awesome and unique experience. He had been running it off of notes in a notebook and illustrations off of his phone for several sessions, and our game ended up being the first time he had seen it in print. If you ever see Brendan LaSalle running games at a con near you, fight tooth and nail to get in to at least one.

Nothing beats having the author of the adventure run it for you, but this adventure stands on its own. I’ll try not to get too crazy with the spoilers as I’ll likely run this for some locals who may be reading this, but the adventure summary hints at the very coolest feature of this 0-level adventure:

“…the Lady offers a reward beyond all the riches of the world: the chance to change the very stars these peasants were born under, and thus change their destiny.”

What this ends up meaning is that the survivors get a chance to spin the “wheel of destiny,” which ends up mechanically being a table that has modifiers applied to it based on the actions of the individual PCs during the adventure. Depending on the result, they may get the chance to re-roll their birth augur, re-roll an ability score, chose a new starting occupation, or be completely written out of history. This feature came out of discussions with players going thru the DCC funnel that got a birth augur that does nothing for their character, and the disappointment that comes along with that. I know I’ve had that discussion with many new DCC players, and Brendan decided to do something about it. It makes for a really cool and dramatic ending to the funnel experience, but what about the beginning and middle?

Each scene in this adventure is both fantastically memorable and original, and somehow just what you would expect from the DCC line of adventures: outlandish, deadly, and something you won’t soon forget. The design principles of DCC have matured and evolved in a way that steps out of the shadow of Tolkien-rooted fantasy rather quickly and creates unique encounters that keep characters guessing. Hole in the Sky is an excellent example of this.

carlosOne of my favorite parts of this adventure is when the party meets up with another group of survivors being led by a dwarf named Karlos. I gained a point of luck for recognizing the Freaks and Geeks reference at the table. If you guys don’t get it, I would highly encourage you to check out the show that first brought James Franco together with Seth Rogen. It has a great cast, and a lot of fantastic moments, not the least of which is Franco’s character getting introduced to D&D.

The only slight disappointment was that the cartography is not done by Doug Kovacs. I really got in to buying DCC adventures from the cartography. It’s not that Mark Allen didn’t do a fine job, but he has some huge shoes to fill. The picture of the titan in the map is really cool, as is the illustration in the back to the titular Hole in the Sky. Thankfully, as usual, we get to see Kovacs illustrate a member of the band meet their grisly end. The art throughout is excellent and features a lot of DCC regulars like Brad McDevitt, Steven Poag, William McAusland and Michael Wilson.

This 0-level adventure would make for a memorable introduction to DCC for new players, as well as a fresh take on the funnel process with a nice twist at the end for DCC veterans. This one should be in your collection.

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