First Time Judge

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Riposite
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First Time Judge

Post by Riposite » Sat Jul 16, 2016 7:01 pm

So tomorrow I will run my first game of Dungeon Crawl Classics. I have had a bit of hiatus from RPGs (a few years) but got the bug again and with some careful nudging from Mike Curtis who may have killed off several of my characters in my long forgotten youth, decided to try DCC as I have fond memories of the old school and the more recent incarnations of D&D (exempting 5th which I have not tried yet) left me feeling a bit hollow an a bit that the game had become WoW on paper.
I have a party of seven players who range from zero experience to have a spouse that played, to have played a 3.5 and 4rth edition D&D. I whipped up a custom funnel, but I also have Sailors on the Starless Seas ready to go as well. They seem interested in the new Experience but not so cool on the funnel -it seems the 0 level doesnt appeal -so I figure i can run the Sailors for 1st level if i need to.
Any advice or tips?
I am really looking forward to this, in particular the changes luck will add to the game :)

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Raven_Crowking
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Re: First Time Judge

Post by Raven_Crowking » Sun Jul 17, 2016 10:56 am

Have fun, don't worry about making mistakes, and have print-outs of important charts handy!
SoBH pbp:

Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.

Riposite
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Re: First Time Judge

Post by Riposite » Sun Jul 17, 2016 2:51 pm

thats good advice-spell effects seem to slow things down the most-going to photocopy those pages for the spell casters so they dont bog down next time

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Raven_Crowking
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Re: First Time Judge

Post by Raven_Crowking » Mon Jul 18, 2016 4:28 am

You can get single-sheet spells from purplesorcerer.com, and you can get ready reference sheets from People Them With Monsters.

http://purplesorcerer.com/grimoire.php

http://peoplethemwithmonsters.blogspot. ... dated.html
SoBH pbp:

Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.

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Re: First Time Judge

Post by finarvyn » Wed Jul 20, 2016 3:01 am

Raven_Crowking wrote:Have fun, don't worry about making mistakes, and have print-outs of important charts handy!
This is the best advice. Keep in mind that you will probably get a rule wrong or somehow mess up something, but try to keep the action flowing. If you discover a rule you missed later on you can always explain to your players how things will work next time, but don't stop in the middle of the game to figure out rules. When it doubt, wing it.

Also, if you have a trustworthy player who is familiar with the DCC RPG rules, don't hesitate to use him as a resource.

(Oh, and Riposite you might give 5E a try. It's a great system as well. Much better than 3E and 4E, in my estimation. Goodman Games has several enjoyable modules for 5E for you to try.)
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Riposite
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Re: First Time Judge

Post by Riposite » Fri Jul 22, 2016 2:17 pm

Raven_Crowking wrote:You can get single-sheet spells from purplesorcerer.com, and you can get ready reference sheets from People Them With Monsters.

http://purplesorcerer.com/grimoire.php

http://peoplethemwithmonsters.blogspot. ... dated.html
thanks for the link -that purple sorcerer site is going to be a big help

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Raven_Crowking
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Re: First Time Judge

Post by Raven_Crowking » Fri Jul 22, 2016 4:38 pm

Riposite wrote:thanks for the link -that purple sorcerer site is going to be a big help
You're welcome. The Purple Sorcerer online tools are a real critical hit.
SoBH pbp:

Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.

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Re: First Time Judge

Post by sillywilly4 » Fri Jul 22, 2016 5:43 pm

I haven't judged DCC yet, but I have run a bunch of other games.

Don't forget that you are playing too. You should be able to have fun like everyone else. You're not an entertainment monkey, you're a player too.

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Re: First Time Judge

Post by Riposite » Sun Jul 24, 2016 12:48 pm

so first question=-the party ended up running two clerics, and so far it feels as if the multiple healing makes them a bit more invulnerable than I'd thought. Now it may just be a case that the clerics haven't rolled poorly enough to start building up those disapprovals ( the poor mage by contrast has yet to successfully cast a spell and is already facing his first taste of corruption -he
s trying to avoid spellburning but I think next session he will give in to the urge), but so far it feels that I may need to up the threats and damage they are facing to raise the stakes a bit.
Is this common or am I missing something?

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Raven_Crowking
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Re: First Time Judge

Post by Raven_Crowking » Sun Jul 24, 2016 1:28 pm

It will fix itself in the long run.

Remember that to be "same", a PC has to be of the same alignment and religion. It should be fun to set up a rivalry between the two clerics. Also, regardless of the roll, you can up Disapproval for "sinful use of divine power", which could include a Lawful cleric healing Chaotic PCs (or vice versa).

Remember that Disapproval increases by 1 for each failed spell check of any type. When a character rolls a natural roll within that range, the check automatically fails, and Disapproval is triggered. Even if the character could succeed with, say, a "6", due to his bonuses, that is still a failure....and 6d4 on the Disapproval table.

In any event, all that healing just means that you can throw bigger and badder things at them. Sooner or later, the dice will even things out.
SoBH pbp:

Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.

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Re: First Time Judge

Post by Raven_Crowking » Sun Jul 24, 2016 1:36 pm

BTW, it is okay if they are feeling pretty invulnerable and cocky now. Compared to much of the DCC world, even 1st level characters are pretty tough. There are definitely adventures that can whittle away that feeling of invulnerability. In particular:

The Revelation of Mulmo
The Tomb of Curses
Wrath of the Frost Queen
DCC #68: People of the Pit
DCC #69: The Emerald Enchanter
DCC #71: The 13th Skull
DCC #80: Intrigue at the Court of Chaos
DCC #82: Bride of the Black Manse
DCC #84: Peril on the Purple Planet
DCC #87.5: Grimtooth's Museum of Death
DCC #90: The Dread God Al-Khazadar
The Wizardarium of Calabraxis
Age of Undying
Theater of the Hammed
The Vertical Halls
AL 1: Bone Hoard of the Dancing Horror
AL 5: Stars in the Darkness
CE 1: The Falcate Idol
CE 5: Silent Nightfall

I am sure that there are tons of others as well.
SoBH pbp:

Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.

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Re: First Time Judge

Post by GnomeBoy » Mon Jul 25, 2016 1:30 pm

Raven_Crowking wrote:Remember that Disapproval increases by 1 for each failed spell check of any type. When a character rolls a natural roll within that range, the check automatically fails, and Disapproval is triggered. Even if the character could succeed with, say, a "6", due to his bonuses, that is still a failure....and 6d4 on the Disapproval table.
This can't be emphasized enough. Every spellcheck failure bumps up the Disapproval range for the day, making further casting riskier and riskier... A hot run on the dice can happen, and that's fine, because the cold run is going to happen soon enough...
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Rick
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Re: First Time Judge

Post by Rick » Tue Jul 26, 2016 5:30 am

Jobe Bittman's Into the Demon Idol. I've run it twice, both TPKs.
Raven_Crowking wrote:I am sure that there are tons of others as well.

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Re: First Time Judge

Post by Riposite » Mon Aug 01, 2016 4:31 pm

Raven_Crowking wrote:It will fix itself in the long run.

Remember that to be "same", a PC has to be of the same alignment and religion. It should be fun to set up a rivalry between the two clerics. Also, regardless of the roll, you can up Disapproval for "sinful use of divine power", which could include a Lawful cleric healing Chaotic PCs (or vice versa).

Remember that Disapproval increases by 1 for each failed spell check of any type. When a character rolls a natural roll within that range, the check automatically fails, and Disapproval is triggered. Even if the character could succeed with, say, a "6", due to his bonuses, that is still a failure....and 6d4 on the Disapproval table.

In any event, all that healing just means that you can throw bigger and badder things at them. Sooner or later, the dice will even things out.
aah i may have not been quite as vigilant on the disapproval ratings, though no one except the poor mage has cast too many spells.


here is the current party composition:
Tovanni -Female Lawful Cleric of Justica -currently trying to balancing being compassionate without healing the chaotic party members -her solution so far is to demand an immediate good deed from them
Blight -Male Chaotic Mage -this poor player rolled penalties for every stat except agilty (no penalty) and Intelligence (13) -probably the reason he is avoiding spellburn his stats are already low; also his poor dice rolling has continued he has failed to yet cast a single spell successfully. He has had a few lucky rolls with a bow though. Also he's correctly called the few traps they faced and was able to smugly tell them he told them so
Brahm Woogins - Male Chaotic Warrior -he's sword and boarding it and is the brick (also the most experienced player of D&D type games)
Zoso -Male Chaotic Cleric of Fenrir (in house god of beasts, monsters, hunting and murderous rages) -has a tendency to run at any shiny and fall into every trap so far (also he has no real rpg experience but played WoW and JRPGs and is shocked the local peasants don't have chests full of healing potions and gold in their huts lol)
D'mx -Female Neutral Halfling - despite being the good luck charm the only person to fumble so far and multiple times at that
Dragon -Male Lawful Warrior and wielder of a battle axe -he had amazing rolls for stats, +1 or +2 bonus on everything until it came to hit points despite having a +2 con bonus and rolling 1d4 in addition to 1d12 for the 0 level hp for the total -he only has 8 -though he still acts pretty heroically -but that has brought him near death several times



Everyone except the fighters are pretty much new to role playing outside computer games or that one time at their weird cousins house freshman year , but they seem to be enjoying it

The Warrior players seem to really enjoy the mighty deed mechanic even if it doesn't always work, but it does seem to be encouraging them to get into character and describe clever strikes and strokes; but they are also the two most experienced Rpers so we will see if everyone else warms up to it. The warriors are kind of funny, they don't blink at angry natives or giant hyenas , but show them an empty corridor or an eerily quiet glade and they start shaking and imagining traps everywhere and no longer wanting to lead :)

We have another player who has missed both our first two sessions, everyone hopes they will play the thief because the find traps slot is a big hole for them. Also one of the players's wives might join as well (which will make it the biggest group i ever ran). She'd be a newbie too but hearing we had a few women playing already she seems interested (as opposed to when she thought it was just a man cave thing ).
And maybe another player as well, a spouse of a coworker might join

So far they are just running something i cooked up, in time i hope to get them to do some of the shudder mountain adventures and the purple planet (which are both awesome but for higher levels), and i do have a hook in this story that can lead into sailors of the starless sea -probably the next thing we do-my plan is do somethign original than a module as a palette cleanser then back to original etc.

I also have a long term goal of running a modified White Plume Mountain as that is one of my favorite adventures of all time

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Re: First Time Judge

Post by Raven_Crowking » Mon Aug 01, 2016 5:18 pm

I have to say, it sounds like you have a fantastic group.

You'd better get working on your modified White Plume Mountain; you could easily make that a 3rd level DCC adventure. Or a 2nd or 4th for that matter....

:D
SoBH pbp:

Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.

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Re: First Time Judge

Post by Raven_Crowking » Mon Aug 01, 2016 5:25 pm

Remember also that a halfling using two weapons only fumbles if both d16 come up "1"!
SoBH pbp:

Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.

Riposite
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Re: First Time Judge

Post by Riposite » Mon Aug 01, 2016 7:09 pm

Raven_Crowking wrote:Remember also that a halfling using two weapons only fumbles if both d16 come up "1"!
both times it was with a short bow :)

she does have two daggers for two handed fighting but she got the lucky weapon roll and decided to make it the short bow which makes the fumbles that more hysterical :)

she's a first timer and she seems to be having a blast so that is a good sign


***
on the white plume mountain- is the power level that different that a 3rd level party could handle a 7th level adventure (well it was 5-7 so i was thinking around 4rth and 5th in dcc)? the healing is huge difference as I am learning, and I'm sure the wizard will be powerful (if he ever makes a spell check) but is it that far?

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Re: First Time Judge

Post by Raven_Crowking » Tue Aug 02, 2016 8:22 am

Riposite wrote:on the white plume mountain- is the power level that different that a 3rd level party could handle a 7th level adventure (well it was 5-7 so i was thinking around 4rth and 5th in dcc)? the healing is huge difference as I am learning, and I'm sure the wizard will be powerful (if he ever makes a spell check) but is it that far?
It depends upon how you do the conversion. But remember that warriors do extra damage as well as special effects, using Luck thieves are better, and the wizards and clerics you know can do far more. PCs in DCC can dish out, and take, a heck of a lot more than their AD&D counterparts could. But, of course, they are still vulnerable to the hits and crits of the opposition.

If I was converting White Plume Mountain, I would be looking at 3rd level PCs, personally. But in DCC, it could be converted into a funnel, or into a 10th level adventure, if you really wanted to do so.

http://ravencrowking.blogspot.ca/search?q=conversion
SoBH pbp:

Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.

Riposite
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Re: First Time Judge

Post by Riposite » Sun Aug 07, 2016 2:11 pm

I've upped the threats to what I would have considered 2nd or 3rd level and it seems to be working better, fight has some more stakes. They seem at level 1 to have a tendency to glass cannon-they can do lots of damage but are fragile on the return, especially if a cleric goes down.

The original adventure should finish up in our next session (though it might not be for two weeks before we meet again), I am wondering if I am rewarding them enough, its been very magic light (a +1 shield made of layered flayed human skin which will lead to negative reactions and an armband called Luck Eater that functions as an old school +1 ring of protection but prevents a character from benefiting from luck bonus or points -no one has chosen to wear it yet even though they don't know what it does). I went very magic light compared to old school D and D adventures as unique to the setting type items should be rarer and that is what DCC encourages, but I am not sure if it will feel like enough of a reward.

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Re: First Time Judge

Post by Riposite » Sun Sep 04, 2016 1:33 pm

Ok so the first adventure is done.
No one died, though several party members are scarred, and I might have been to nice when hinting to one player to spend enough luck on a failed save ( How do you all normally handle that?).


Our mage seems to have fallen off ( he has two very young twins so its hard for him to get out); but we did pick up a thief (one of the player's spouses), which leaves us with two warriors, a thief, a halfling, and two priests.

Probably a favorite moment for me was when the chaotic cleric had incurred a ton of displeasure for attempting (and failing) to heal the lawful party members, that he was pretty much forced to sacrifice his entire share of treasure. The look of angst when he realized he was giving up his ill gotten haul ( he had been hoarding what he found unlike the lawful characters who were open and sharing) so he could heal the rest of the party, was truly amusing.


Everyone seemed to have a good time except now I am stuck crafting a second adventure.
*****

some general questions for people
1) Magic items-Im not 3rd and 4rth edition so I don't expect them to be assembly line, but I do like creating some for the players to find- how do you balance that ?
2) luck -do you find that players burn through it at lower levels and it becomes less of a factor or do i need to plan on characters being able to be super human and give them slightly tougher challenges?

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Re: First Time Judge

Post by Raven_Crowking » Sun Sep 04, 2016 3:07 pm

Riposite wrote:No one died, though several party members are scarred, and I might have been to nice when hinting to one player to spend enough luck on a failed save ( How do you all normally handle that?).
There are two schools of thought. One is that the judge says nothing, and the players must decide when to spend Luck. The second, and the one that I subscribe to, is that the judge gives hints (or even strong hints) about the consequences of failing a save. Of course, I am notoriously soft-hearted.
Probably a favorite moment for me was when the chaotic cleric had incurred a ton of displeasure for attempting (and failing) to heal the lawful party members, that he was pretty much forced to sacrifice his entire share of treasure. The look of angst when he realized he was giving up his ill gotten haul ( he had been hoarding what he found unlike the lawful characters who were open and sharing) so he could heal the rest of the party, was truly amusing.
Yes. Disapproval is a fantastic mechanism.
Everyone seemed to have a good time except now I am stuck crafting a second adventure.
Stuck? Nay. Privileged, my good judge.

If everyone seemed to have a good time you were Doing It Right.
1) Magic items-Im not 3rd and 4rth edition so I don't expect them to be assembly line, but I do like creating some for the players to find- how do you balance that ?
Those of us who started with earlier editions have the advantage of already having made them up out of whole cloth ourselves. Or, some of us have, anyway. And that is the best thing you can do. Decide what the item does, and then figure out how to express that in game terms.

Remember that Luck can be reduced by carrying potent magic items, and minor "balance" problems are eliminated. My favorite method, though, is to make potent items into "Devil's Bargains" - the cost of using them is high enough that you don't do so without really stopping to think about it. But the benefit of using them is high enough that you are tempted anyway.

Make stuff up. Don't be afraid to unbalance the game. DCC isn't about balance.

If you wish, consider making some of the items limited-use while you practice, so that no matter how potent you make them, they only affect a few (or one!) encounters.
2) luck -do you find that players burn through it at lower levels and it becomes less of a factor or do i need to plan on characters being able to be super human and give them slightly tougher challenges?
Some players burn through it. Some do not.

Devise the challenges as you see fit, and then let them decide what to do. In the end, it will even out, and you will have some great stories to tell.
SoBH pbp:

Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.

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Re: First Time Judge

Post by GnomeBoy » Sun Sep 04, 2016 8:42 pm

Riposite wrote:1) Magic items-Im not 3rd and 4rth edition so I don't expect them to be assembly line, but I do like creating some for the players to find- how do you balance that ?
In what sense? Whether or not the items are 'too powerful'? Whatever you come up, just play off the consequences. If the thing turns out to be insanely powerful, just think of the rumors that will spread and how that will make the PCs' lives difficult. If they are under-powered, that just keeps them looking for something better. You literally can't lose with this game, if you just react to what's going on.

Riposite wrote:2) luck -do you find that players burn through it at lower levels and it becomes less of a factor or do i need to plan on characters being able to be super human and give them slightly tougher challenges?
In general, I can't get players to spend Luck, but I haven't been able to run a game consistently, yet. But they want to hang onto it, because I do make use of it as we go along, and they don't want to be disadvantaged by spending it. Then again, one character did spend himself down to 3 to make a spell more powerful because the consequences if he didn't were too much to bear...

But I don't think you need to *plan* for their burning Luck. It can be a get out of jail free card, but then it's spent and it won't be coming back as fast as it went out... They'll be without it for a short or long while (well, not with none, but with less). It's self regulating. Just keep throwing challenges at them, and it'll be both useful to HAVE and useful to SPEND. They can make their own call when to do what...
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Re: First Time Judge

Post by Riposite » Wed Sep 07, 2016 4:02 pm

GnomeBoy wrote:
But I don't think you need to *plan* for their burning Luck. It can be a get out of jail free card, but then it's spent and it won't be coming back as fast as it went out... They'll be without it for a short or long while (well, not with none, but with less). It's self regulating. Just keep throwing challenges at them, and it'll be both useful to HAVE and useful to SPEND. They can make their own call when to do what...
My fear is that the luck might be making some of the challenges too easy -its a nice valve when it lets them have an out to a real bad saving throw; but when they cut and slice through minions...ehhh not so fond of it

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Re: First Time Judge

Post by Riposite » Wed Sep 07, 2016 4:03 pm

Magic Item -here is one of my first magic items

"Luckeater" -a silver arm band that gives +1 ac and to saves, but eats 1 pt of luck every time the user spends luck (or has spent on them)

Riposite
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Re: First Time Judge

Post by Riposite » Wed Dec 14, 2016 12:11 pm

So i'd figure I'd check in -it's December and the game is still going strong though the party has shrunken a bit -the current regulars are
2 warriors, a priest, a halfling and thief. The thief is new from the original group, the other 4 are from the original set. We still have a 2nd cleric who is sporadic, and a 2nd thief who is our main priest's spouse and only plays when it is hosted at their home .

The party has chugged its way into 2nd level and seems to be enjoying themselves -though the experienced from DnD 4th e players bemoan the lack of healing potions ( i just think they need to be more cautious).

One of our warriors is re-rolling as a mage so we will have one and that will balance the party out.

Everyone seems happy except the halfling-who likes her character but seems a bit disappointed she doesn't have the direct impact on fights (sure the luck is helpful but she'd like to contribute more directly). I am thinking i am going to see if she wants to try an elf-that way she gets a bit more to do.(she's trying the two weapon fighting but she put her low score in strength so has penalties). She seems to enjoy role playing the character; its just the direct combat contribution seems to be getting her down (compared to two fighters she doesn;t do much in melee).

I am still getting used to the damage output the party can put out (a few blessings from the priest, two warriors etc); -the party can chew through low level monsters easily. They still seem a bit weak HP wise; so I am loathe to up the challenge too much.
Lately their biggest threats have been the traps :) -they know better and check stairs and doors but minute they see a chest or a golden statue-they all run over the thief to open it first and keep setting them off.

I am thinking it might be time to up the enemies at least Hp and AC wise, maybe keep them with low damaging attacks (except for the occasional boss or special monster).


I am also a bit magic stronger than the game encourages-just because they are happy when they find a magic item (latest one a ring that once per day lets you pass damage to a fellow party member -if they fail their save-but you can only do it to a person once and they know it came from you :) )


Any advice on how to balance the challenge?

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