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Zine Scene – Crawl 11 – The Seafaring Issue

May 22, 2016 Comments off

Screen shot 2016-05-22 at 3.14.30 PMMike and I attended GaryCon VII (2015) together, and had an incredible time. While I bought up just about everything I didn’t already own that Goodman Games has released, Mike had the forethought to take one look at the rack of zines available, and pick up one of each. Since then, he got in on the Zine Vault kickstarter and recently lent me his collection to become more familiar with the medium.

I have paged through several, but Crawl #11 caught my eye and I read it cover to cover. Included are rules for naval warfare and nautical mighty deeds by Bob Brinkman, Fantastic Forms of Sea Ship Propulsion by the DCC editor (and Crawl! creator) Rev. Dak J. Ultimak, The Deep Elders by Daniel J. Bishop, and Life Aboard by Sean Ellis.

The last big pirate RPG I had played was the Pathfinder adventure path Skulls and Shackles. This (like most of my Pathfinder experiences) started really well, but got a little ludicrous as the story progressed. In contrast, Bob’s rules about ships, cannons, and alternative weapons like chain shot and greek fire provide a canvas on which a flavorful, action-packed adventure could be painted! These rules hit all the right notes without getting too bogged down in mechanics. Tables for both crits or fumbles with cannons and fire-throwers ensure the need for the last table: brutal injuries! Also included are brief descriptions of special maneuvers such as boarding, crossing the T (coming across the bow and firing), as well as ramming. The naval mighty deeds are the icing on the cake, and include tables for boarding, cannon shots, and general piracy.

crawl11Fantastic Forms of Ship Propulsion detail eight alternative forms of naval locomotion. These range from the sun and stars, to creatures acting as the motor such as turtles and eels. My favorite is the skeleton crew, which is literally a necromancer’s ship with skeletons at the oars. Each include possible complications of the alternative power sources. These could work well on the Purple Planet, or any sea adventure that needs an interesting twist.

If you are looking to add some elder god flavor to your next oceanic excursion, The Deep Elders describe starfish like servants of Dagon that glow with blue, green or yellow light and possess sailors. Those enthralled become puppets of the deep elders and may only be banished with very strong magic. There are interesting rules about starting over as a 0-level and choosing an alternate, or gaining levels of your demi-human class once possessed.

Sean Ellis writes Life Aboard, which is a great set of tables to simulate days or weeks at sea. The Ship Morale table affects the subsequent Wind Speed and On-board Events tables, as the crew is either motivated (or not) to get the most out of the ship and the winds that day. The events are well thought out, but include the use of a d18, which is not part of the standard DCC chain. I love weird dice more than most, but even I draw the line somewhere. Since both 1 and 18 are non-events, you could substitute a d16 for a lively journey, or a d20 to include more non-event days.

Overall, this is an outstanding value in either print or PDF form. Since this issue is focused around this one theme, if you are looking to run a nautical adventure using DCC, Crawl! 11 is an outstanding resource. Even if you hadn’t considered it before, I bet you are now. Great work!

Categories: DCCRPG, Reviews, RPGs, Zines

Dungeon Lord!

November 23, 2015 Comments off

The most amazing thing about Dungeon Crawl Classics is it’s community… and two years in, that community has only grown. It seems like every couple months a new zine is being published or a new third-party adventure is being announced or released. My wallet may not love it, but my games do.

One the newest is “Dungeon Lord” and it really hearkens back to the old days when zines were printed by hand, the art and layout were raw and there wasn’t the polished look of a magazine with every publication.

The second issue has just been released and I am anxiously awaiting it’s arrival. In the meantime, they have the first issue still available… re-released as a reprint of the original one which premiered at the Alberquerque Zine Fest… now geared up for play with DCCRPG.

The biggest chunk of this zine, which weighs in at a respectable 24 pages is a level 1-2 DCCRPG dungeon crawl titled “The Caves of the Sacred Seven” and it’s awesome. If you like cavemen, lizard men, mirror dragons and primordial slime, then this adventure is for you. You could plop this down on the Purple Planet, deep in the Shudder Mountains or right up wherever you were “Frozen in Time” and not blink an eye.

It’s also chock-full of awesome in other, little ways: a random elevation table, a blank map you can use and fill-in on the fly, ash spirits, spine rats, mirror dragons, slime yeti’s… there is literally, something for everyone. Also included is another full dungeon titled “The Tomb of Zarfulgar the Lost” which takes the barebones approach and describes the rooms and let’s the GM fill in the blanks.

24 pages of DCC-style goodness for $6? Yes, please!

QUICK REMINDER: If you are new to DCC or have not heard, Goodman Games has a great Kickstarter that is reprinting their one and only rulebook that is ending soon! Check it out today!

Categories: DCCRPG, Zines

Patron-Age: Time with Two Ladies – Myassari and Urhatta

August 31, 2015 Comments off

MyassariI have said this before and will no doubt say this again: but one of the very best things about the Dungeon Crawl Classics community, something I see in absolutely no other game system, is the creativity of the fans and player base. As a whole and as individuals, the members of the community have created some amazing add-ons to the basic game.

One of my few issues with the DCC Core Rulebook is that the patrons section is very light. There’s full write-ups for three patrons, a few that are a little more fleshed out and some only have very basic information. This was a great opportunity for the community to step up and pitch in with some additional patrons to fill any perceived voids in your games.

Two of my favorites are Myassari, The Patron of Birth and Decay and Urhatta the Worldwalker.

Myassari is a harpy-countenanced being with a penchant for the passage of time and the secrets of the flame. One of the best spells I’ve seen is a patron spell from Myassari called “Healing Womb” — with a high enough roll, your target can be enveloped in a “fleshy amniotic sack” in which your targets can be healed… with some side effects, of course. Who wouldn’t want that? Written by Clinty Bohaty and Julian Bernick with art by Trevor Hartman from Order of the Quill, the PDF is available for download at RPG Now.

Urhatta was written by Eric Hoffman at Stormlord Publishing, and is currently available as a free download direct from their site. A “time-traveling, space-warping, energy breathing patron” — Urhatta is described as an ancient and powerful djinn who exists in several dimensions and timelines simultaneously. All of the patron spells are great, but the Invoke Patron results are really spectacular. I would have loved some artwork to go along with the great patron write-up. Maybe we could get that an option in a future Kickstarter?

Both of these patrons have concerns with time and with space and with energy… but they couldn’t be more different. While both would fit in any DCC (or MCC?) scenario or campaign: I can definitely see Urhatta striding the space lanes as the patron of a futuristic broken world crawler or of mutated wizard-warrior in a forgotten city, whereas I see Myassari more as the secret patron of an old blind witch deep in the Shudder Mountains or of a trio of flame-haired hags.

Check them both out for yourself and let us know in the comments what you think. Have some more patrons we haven’t seen yet? Let us know that as well. I have plenty of space left in my Zine Vaults!

Categories: Books, DCCRPG, Reviews, Zines

Zine Scene: Special Box Edition

May 25, 2015 Comments off

In the last installment of Zine Scene, I mentioned my love for Stormlord Publishing’s Black Powder, Black Magic… and the authors have started a new Kickstarter near and dear to my heart: The Zine Vault. Described as “A better way to store, organize, and transport your growing zine collection, plus dice, pencils, and more.” File this under: Why Didn’t I Think Of That?! Currently at 65% of it’s goal, I have no doubt it will finish strong and with my growing collection of zines it is going to make life very easy. Right now my zines are scattered hither and yon on my gaming bookshelf, tucked in wherever there is room. It will be nice to have a separate stand-alone ‘vault’ to protect them.

There’s a number of stretch goals associated with different types of art to be put on the boxes you order, and as it says in the video you can ‘mix and match’ from whatever is unlocked and have a blank one, a fantasy one, a weird west one, and a sci-fi one… or more! Two of each! Three blanks and three western! A great feature. I’m in for 8, figuring with the way the zine scene is growing there will be a need down the road for more.

As if that weren’t enough, all pledges will include a PDF of a new short adventure “The Vault of Pasha Kalthraga” and the higher tiers get both the PDF and a printed version thereof. Perfect for you to start your zine collection if you haven’t already got some. Check out Carl Bussler and Eric Hoffman on their Kickstarter video and store your zines safely!

All. The. Zines!

All. The. Zines!

 

Zine Scene: Black Powder, Black Magic

April 27, 2015 Comments off

One of the amazing things about Goodman Games and Dungeon Crawl Classics (and there’s quite a few amazing things) is the way they embrace third-party publishers. As Kevin said in his review of the newest DCC module ‘Hole In The Sky’ when he and I went to GaryCon I bought some zines while there. Okay. Some. ALL. All. The. Zines!

All 10 issues of Crawl! …

All 6 issues of Crawling Under A Broken Moon …

All 3 of Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad… and #3 was, I believe LITERALLY fresh off the press …

Jobe Bittman’s Into the Demon Idol module …

Hack! by the Reverend Dak Ultimak (with a great way of using Firearms in DCC) …

And one lonely little module called “The Well of Souls” by Stormlord Publishing.

We returned from GaryCon and a few weeks later our group decided to give Deadlands a play. It’s our “off” week and when we’re not ankle-deep in the moathouse of the Temple of Elemental Evil we switch it up. I always vote for DCC, but was outvoted and figured that Deadlands would be a good break and it’s always fun to try something new.

Little did I know that I could have had both.

When I got back from GaryCon I noticed that Stormlord Publishing was pitching a new product: Black Powder, Black Magic: A Zine of Six-Guns and Sorcery. Having read through and been thoroughly impressed by “Well of Souls”, I quickly sent away for my copy and coincidentally got it back the same day we were to begin playing Deadlands.

 

BPBMFeatured

It’s fantastic. The end. That’s all you really need to know. If you like DCC. If you like Deadlands. If you like the “Weird West” anything… you need this product. The fact that it is “Volume 1” and they plan on doing more fills me with glee.

BPBM contains pretty much everything you need to begin a 0-level funnel set in an Old West where magic, demon ore, firearms and cowboys all meet in a town called Brimstone. There’s some great choices available on the new profession tables – who doesn’t want to play a druggist with a big needle and vial of morphine or a housekeeper with some Sundy linens? I can also see an Infantryman with a civilian rifle (which does d12) as the new “farmer with a pitchfork” – and cheers for a good roll. There’s great choices on the new name tables for both men and women – everything from European-sounding names, American Indian names, something for everyone and a great way to instantly add some dimension to your character beyond being a random farmer. As well as a new Mighty Deed for firearms, hints of a patron… this zine has it all. A great addition is the Tokens of the Past table (ticket to the Ford Theater!?) and the Motivations for Heading West table “You are wanted for train robbery.”

Sample character: Benjamin, a paper-hanger with a paper-hanging stick (1d4) and a pot of glue, carrying an ace of spades with a name written on it who has come to Brimstone seeking to unravel the mysteries of the universe. All kinds of great roleplaying opportunities with just a few rolls of some dice!

You could definitely run the funnel as it is presented, and scattered throughout are numerous ‘hooks’ for increasing the world. More patrons, secret organizations, a cursed book, an old miner with strange powers… and more. The writing by Carl Bussler and Eric Hoffman really shines… there’s a four-page story at the end which I hope is setting the tone for Volume 2. The illustrations by Todd McGowan are all spot-on.

I really cannot wait to start exploring Brimstone.

Categories: Adventure, Books, DCCRPG, RPGs, Zines