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DCC LANKHMAR!

March 30, 2015 3 comments

Do you love Fritz Leiber‘s Lankhmar? Do you love Dungeon Crawl Classics? Then prepare to get your mind blown…

Goodman Games announced at GaryCon that through the Fritz Leiber estate, they have acquired the rights to publish a new way of playing Dungeon Crawl Classics, with the world of Nehwon as it’s setting: DCC Lankhmar.

I was fortunate enough to get in on one of the first official playtests and I have to say it was downright amazing. Michael Curtis and Goodman Games have seamlessly melded the two properties into one. I really don’t want to spoil anything, especially considering that it is still a work in progress, but I think I can go over a couple things that I don’t think will change too much:

  • Gongfarmers No More: Unlike regular DCC, you don’t start as a level zero character. You are a hero! Act like one! Go forth, get money, spend that money, get more. Wealth is temporary but adventure is continual!
  • Mercurial Magic Minimized: No more Mercurial Magic effects. While you still may not know whether your fireball spell will give you a puny puff of flame or a massive blast of fire decimating the countryside until you roll… the side effects of magic will not be as pronounced. No rain of frogs, no gender swaps, and so on.
  • Characters First: There are only three classes: Wizard, Thief and Warrior. However, those classes are not ‘pure’ as in contemporary DCC. You may have a thief who has dabbled in sorcery and is able to cast a magic missile every so often. You may have a Warrior who can sneak and backstab. You may have a Wizard who is so good with his quarterstaff he is capable of Mighty Deeds. A great combination in every character and they have added a new series of quirks to characters that broaden everyone’s horizons.
  • Less Is More: Since there are less classes, and the classes available have some overlap, DCC Lankhmar may be ideal for game days when you only have a few around the table.
  • It’s Only A Flesh Wound!: Only three classes means no clerical magic to heal you. Are you lucky enough that the blow which you thought was so severe is actually not that bad? The mechanic for this still seems to be a work in progress, but it’s a great amount of fun as it is.
  • Do You Feel Lucky? Speaking of luck, there’s more to be had out there! Get luck, spend luck, recover luck and more! Great deeds are not done by just hoping they happen… you must go forth and find your adventure… maybe even go down and carouse the bars a bit and see what happens.
  • Pleased To Meet You! There will be new patrons, and new ways of patronage. Ningauble is discussed as a patron in the first release. I can imagine Sheelba will be the second, but there are many others out there as well. Perhaps not a god or powerful sorcerer or thing from beyond: maybe just a crime boss or powerful noble? They are examining new ways of handling patronage and it looks amazing.
  • THIS IS NOT A NEW GAME: There is no need to panic. This is NOT DCC 2nd Edition or Advanced DCC. This is the same DCC we all know and love, just kicked up a notch (or five) and re-skinned with some great new setting ideas, great new effects and great new ways or playing and of looking at things. Save the pitchforks for your potato farmers.

Cannot wait for more information to come out and to start my own players off in the “City of Adventure” but I will have to. They will be having a couple more “supplements” like the one pictured and then a box set down the line. I expect an amazing Kickstarter to be launched some time in the future. If you can’t wait and want to do your own, you can get the supplement “Through Ningauble’s Cave” which details a way to get your current players over to Nehwon though the “Gossiper of the Gods” mysterious cavern. It’s chock-full of adventure ideas and encounter samples as well as a patron write-up for Ningauble and a (partial) map of his Bottomless Caves.

Another home run for DCCRPGIMG_1416 and Goodman Games!

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DCCRPG – What’s in the box – Chained Coffin Review

January 13, 2015 Comments off

IMG_0002I recently had the pleasure of playing a game of Shadow of the Demon Lord with the creator of the game, Robert Schwalb. He is planning on kickstarting that system in March, and we were talking about RPG kickstarters and stretch goals and I mentioned how pleased I was with the box set from Goodman Games. He responded, “Yeah sure, but then it’s shrink-wrapped there on the shelf and everybody wants to know, what’s in the box?”

Well I can do you this service for those curious about the first box from Goodman Games. I still haven’t explored every piece of it to the very last detail, but it is too awesome not to write about. I recently received my DCCRPG Chained Coffin Mini-Campaign setting box set from one of the recent kickstarters. Really there isn’t much “mini” about it. The actual module itself, which would likely serve as the climax of the campaign is a whopping 40 pages! It is filled with awesome content from Michael Curtis, and art from Doug Kovacs, Stefan Poag, and Mike Wilson. Also included is a 2nd level bonus adventure by Steve Bean: The Rat King’s River of Death, which is just 6 pages out of the 40. I was one of the few that ponied up for the blindingly awesome gold-foil cover edition of the module, and I’m glad I did since the regular art for the module is used on the box itself.

IMG_0004The main impetus for launching the Chained Coffin as a kickstarter was to see if there was enough interest to justify the expense of producing a high quality code wheel for one of the final puzzles in the module. The kickstarter really picked up steam, and the stretch goals got more and more elaborate, until finally there was enough material to turn it into a box set campaign setting in which a party could spend months adventuring! The puzzle wheel itself is printed on cardstock, and all three wheels are printed on the same material. The back features the art used on the silver and gold covers. Towards the back of the module, past several awesome full page handout illustrations are 5 alternate uses for the wheel: Multiplanar Amulet, Talisman of Monstrous Summonings, Orrery of Fortuitous Evocation, Construct Activation Code, and Catastrophe Timer. Just the titles alone get my creative juices flowing! Each has a paragraph description with some details about how they can be implemented.

Unlike the Purple Planet stretch goals that were written by a small team of writers, every book in this set is by Michael Curtis. There is an 11 x 17 map of the Shudder Mountains, complete with hex grid and several notable locations. Many of which are detailed by the Almanac, others are left up to the GM’s designs.

IMG_0008The Almanac of the Shudder Mountains weighs in at 12 pages (if you include the cover) but those pages are put to great use. I would suggest reading this first to get the background and feel of the setting. As I make my home in the very region this setting is based upon, it feels very close and accessible, as I can stare out my window and see a ridge of very old mountains. Much like Gary Gygax using the midwest as inspiration for some areas of Greyhawk, this feels like adventuring in my own backyard. The almanac details a brief history of the mountains, as well as an overview of the shudders as they currently are. The next section goes in to places of interest in the mountains. It details various geographical sites and some descriptions and rumors about them, as well as towns and villages, each with their own description and adventure seeds. Finally there are a few secret places and mysterious ruin descriptions. Easily enough to adventure for many sessions. The second part of the almanac is about the people of the Shudders, as well as life in the mountains, customs and superstitions, and the option to either include or exclude the demi-human classes of elf, dwarf, and halfling for the purposes of having a human-only campaign consistent with the source material the setting is based upon.

Next is the Chained Coffin Companion, another 16 pages (including the awesome Kovacs cover), detailing the magic of the Shudders and the awesome magical chaos of Spoils. I won’t go in to too much detail to avoid… err… Spoil-ers, but they exist in locations that may have had some magical importance at one time, but due to cataclysmic events detailed in the almanac, have become twisted. They are also used as a source for brewing witch liqour, which has it’s own awesome table of possible effects. The Companion also gives more background into relgion, curses, and folk magic. It also details some magical songs, and mentions if you allow some flavor of optional bard class, they may be able to learn a song per level. There are few magic items particular to the region: hex signs, snake sticks (with a tie-in to Tower Out of Time), and witch liqour. The last section provides details for a new patron: Modeca, The second of the three (Ol’ Blackcloak), as well as some unique creatures and additional random encounters. Many of the encounters feature the new creatures, but some reference more traditional baddies in the core rule book.

TIMG_0006he last two books in the box are adventures! A 0-level funnel Sour Spring Hollow, and a 3rd level adventure The Woeful Caves of Yander Mountain (which sounds like a bluegrass song). Both have Kovacs maps on the back, and cover to cover are only 8 pages long. Once again, these additional books are more quality than quantity, but once you add them all up, you could spend years adventuring in the Shudder Mountains. The funnel involves a wedding, and witch liqour, so you know that is going to be a heck of a way to start a campaign, and the 3rd level adventure would be a typical cave delve, if not for the twisted setting in which the cave exists.

This box set provides all the tools to build an awesome campaign, and creates a vibrant, breathing, almost pulsing setting unlike any other RPG setting I’ve read. Now you know what’s in the box. It starts at $39.99 MSRP. What are you waiting for? My name has been on the dotted line of old Blackcloak’s contract for months! See you in the mountains!