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DCC RPG Actual Play (8 weeks worth)

Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:19 pm
by mikeawmids
Started an 8 week rotation of DCC RPG on Thursday 03/01/2013, began with 6 players / 18 level zero characters on Sailors on the Starless Sea;

DCC RPG Session One (03/01/2013)
Sailors on the Starless Sea


BELDIN: nefarious rogue
MEL: irritating minstrel
ILLEDRAL: bookish Elven sage

BEDWIN: well-endowed monk
DERFEL: surly Dwarven blacksmith
MORDRED: opportunistic gravedigger

LORD CAMBRIEN: heroic nobleman
MR. THRUPP: fastidious tax collector
BRAN: concerned hunter

DRONGO PROUDFOOT: optimistic Halfling vagrant
LUCIUS: lonely alchemist looking for love
CORMAC: bushy-bearded hermit with a deep, booming voice

FARMER GILES: belligerent agriculturalist
HILDRISS: fair Elven forester
HORACE: righteous butcher

DULAS: scabby Dwarven ratcatcher
TARAK: unrepentant outlaw
TERIN: simpering Halfling moneylender

For too long, the bestial denizens of the old fortress have preyed upon the (relatively) good people of your village! Now a motley crowd of unlikely heroes muster before the pestilent keep, clutching whatever meagre weapons they've been able to lay their grubby mitts on.

Approaching the gatehouse along a broad and boggy causeway, the mob spot two bodies strung up beside the trail, a gristly warning to turn back before it is too late.... Edging closer, MORDRED THE GRAVEDIGGER is horrified to observe thick, green tendrils entwining the bodies, sluggishly burrowing through their dead flesh like carrion worms. Suddenly, a thorny vine slithers out of the first corpse's gaping mouth and scythes across the gravedigger's throat! As MORDRED stumbles away, hands pressed to his neck to staunch the pulse of blood from his lacerated flesh, LORD CAMBRIEN charges into the fray, brandishing his father's longsword. He had hoped the rest of the group might follow his lead, but most of them just shuffle their feet and try to look busy. Whilst the brave aristocrat hacks away at the first Vine Horror, LUCIUS THE LONELY ALCHEMIST douses the second creature in oil and sets it aflame! In its death throes, the flaming monster inadvertently decapitates DULUS THE DWARVEN RATCATCHER, setting his dirty beard ablaze as the severed head bounces off down the hill.


After burning their dead (and picking the sticky, mucus-like seed pods out of their clothes/hair), the horde forge on, undeterred by the ratcatcher's abrupt demise. Creeping through the crumbling gatehouse, the party are surprised when the rusty, iron portcullis suddenly descends with a shriek of tortured metal! Fortunately, nobody is pinned beneath the plummeting gate, but MEL THE MINSTREL and HORACE THE BUTCHER are trapped on the wrong side. A bell begins to peal - evidently the beastmen are home and are aware that they have visitors....

While TORAK THE OUTLAW climbs onto the battlements and helps haul MEL and HORACE over the wall, the rest of the mob wander over to the base of the tower, which is where it sounds like the incessant ringing is coming from. The only (ground level) entrance is barred from the inside. When they eventually get it open, a horde of fearsome beastmen surge out of the foetid darkness! They are led by a towering, axe-wielding figure with the head of a bull. HILDRISS tosses a net over this muscular brute - but it effortlessly breaks free of the entanglement and turns on the the Elven forester. HORACE to the rescue! Using TORAK's rope as a zipline, the heroic butcher descends from the battlements at speed and buries his bloody meat cleaver in the beastman's horned head. The champion falls!

Uninspired by the butcher's valour, the rest of the villagers fall into a disorderly retreat. LORD CAMBRIEN tries to marshal a counter-attack, only to be clubbed in the groin by ILLEDRAL as the cowardly sage scurries out of harms way. As the nobleman falls to his knees (nursing his bruised balls), one of the beastmen scampers over and runs him through!


Another beastman impales CORMAC THE HERMIT on its nasty little spear, but the indomitable shaman defies death and caves in the wretched creature's misshapen head. (I missed Paul in the initiative order and killed one his characters as a result, which hardly seemed fair, so CORMAC suddenly 'got better' to atone for my mistake.)
BELDIN THE ROGUE falls in the savage melee, but there are no other casualties after that and ultimately the party emerge victorious! Huzzah!


MEL THE MINSTREL very almost suffered a fatality after fumbling an attack roll - natural 1 on a D20 - and falling off the battlements. It was at this point that I remembered players can burn their Luck points to prevent stuff like this from happening and Andy was able to (temporarily) preserve the life of his most useless character.

Searching the tower for valuables, TORAK and DRONGO PROUDFOOT chance upon a small fortune in silver and gold coins, which they quietly split between themselves - before MR. THRUPP tries to tax them on their windfall. The intrepid treasure hunters also find a masterwork elven blade, which they give to HELDRISS. (I did say at the table that this weapon would not provide a bonus in combat, but in retrospect it probably should, so +1 to attack & damage.) Meanwhile, TERIN THE HALFLING MONEYLENDER is negotiating the release of three prisoners chained (upside down) to the interior wall of the tower. They are BOB THE WOODCUTTER (Eomak), TOM THE MERCENARY (Gary) and DORIZAN THE WIZARD'S APPRENTICE (Andy) and they all gratefully join the quest!

Before descending into the bowels of the keep, the party have a poke around the burnt-out remnants of the ruined chapel. Upon crossing the threshold, the temperature increases almost unbearably and crackling flames can be heard. The party conclude that the chapel is likely haunted, but MR. THRUPP THE TAX COLLECTOR doesn't credit the existence of ghosts ("they don't pay taxes") and saunters in for a closer look. Beyond the squat, stone statue of a grotesque toad (black slime dribbles from its maw into a shallow pool at the statue's base), the prissy bureaucrat spots the golden glimmer of undeclared income! Attracted by the promise of epic loot, the rest of the party crowd in after him. Approaching the statue, an amorphous blob of foul, black ichor bursts from the profane fountain and engulfs MORDRED. To add insult to injury (or rather, injury to injury), the slime subsequently bursts into flame and flash-fries the poor gravedigger into a charred skeleton!


The allure of gold is suddenly a lot less compelling, now the party know their prize is guarded by a malevolent slime monster. Noting that the murderous goo is dripping from the mouth of the stone toad, TORAK hooks the statue and hauls it off its plinth, shattering the evil sculpture into a thousand tiny fragments. More black ooze spills out across the floor of the chapel. The slime does not spread beyond the chapel and the survivors decide to leave it (and its treasure) well alone.

As darkness descends upon the ruined citadel, the party retire to the gatehouse to rest overnight, resuming their explorations at dawn. The night passes uneventfully.

Descending a steep, spiral staircase beneath the tower (formerly) of the beastmen, the party reach a long, subterranean chamber dominated by a pool of brackish water. Bobbing in the dark water are a multitude of grinning, human skulls, their sightless eye sockets aflame with emerald green fire. Both CORMAC and FARMER GILES feel compelled to claim one of the leering skulls as a souvenir of their grand adventure.

Continuing their descent, the party find themselves standing on the sandy fringe of a vast, underground lake (the starless sea). While most of the gang watch a sinister longboat glide towards the beach with mounting trepidation, both ILLEDRAL and DORIZAN examine the tall, stone menhir overlooking the water. The chaotic runes carved across its surface are utterly alien to both scholars- and yet strangely compelling....
A somewhat effeminate shriek rings out, as ILLEDRAL and DORIZAN grab MEL THE MINSTREL and cut out his beating heart! Gibbering in an unfamiliar tongue, the wizard's apprentice chucks the bloody organ into the dark water.


Meanwhile, ILLEDRAL menaces HILDRISS with his bloody dagger. The fair Elven forester notches an arrow and warns the manic sage that she will fire if he does not desist immediately. ILLEDRAL lunges for her throat and HILDRISS shoots him in the chest.


Everyone else piles on top of DORIZAN. HORACE knocks him out cold and carries him away from the strange obelisk, praying that by putting some distance between him and the source of his murderous rage might allow the unconscious apprentice to recover his wits.

To be continued....

Re: DCC RPG Actual Play (8 weeks worth)

Posted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 5:51 pm
by Relaxo

Re: DCC RPG Actual Play (8 weeks worth)

Posted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 10:08 pm
by modemaus
Awesome! I didn't catch the reason for the removal of a characters heart - were the players just bloodthirsty?

Re: DCC RPG Actual Play (8 weeks worth)

Posted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 2:27 am
by mikeawmids
They failed their WIL saves when studying the chaos menhir and were driven to sacrifice an ally to the dire thing lurking in the depths of the starless sea (who we will see more of next session). :D

Re: DCC RPG Actual Play (8 weeks worth)

Posted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 6:16 am
by mikeawmids
Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG / Session 2 / Part One (10/01/2013)
Sailors on the Starless Sea


HILDRISS: fair elven forester, recently came into possession of a magical elven blade
HORACE: ham-fisted human butcher
GILES: long suffering human farmer


DORIZAN: chaos tainted apprentice wizard


MR. THRUPP: fastidious human tax collector
BRAN: concerned human hunter
BOB: burly human woodcutter


BEDWIN: well endowed human monk
DERFEL: grumpy dwarven blacksmith


FLYNT: reasonably loyal dwarven bodyguard of…
ARCTURUS: mysterious elven wanderer


TARAK: retired human outlaw
TERIN: simpering Halfling moneylender
TOM: grizzled human mercenary

Having dragged DORIZAN back up to the surface, the party gather around the unconscious apprentice with weapons ready, waiting to see if he wakes up strange…. When he comes to, it would seem that his wits have returned, though he has no recollection of his murderous actions while under the influence of the infernal monolith. But a brush with Chaos is not something to so lightly dismiss….

Meanwhile, a mysterious elven wanderer (ARCTURUS – which we learn is more a title than a name) and his (reasonably) loyal bodyguard FLYNT the dwarf approach the ruins on business of their own. Mysterious business. The portcullis is still blocking the entrance to the courtyard, but the newcomers capture the party’s attention and TARAK lowers his rope for them to climb over the wall.

After regrouping, the mob head back down into the dungeon. Several more characters pluck glowing skulls out of the brackish pool and MR THRUPP grabs one of the fashionable robes hanging from the wall (chaos worshipper is in the ‘in’ look this season). ARCTURUS discovers that he is able to hear a rambling cacophony of disembodied voices originating from the skulls, but he is unable to make much sense of their ghoulish whispers.

Heading down to the shore of the starless sea, DORIZAN warns everyone to stay well away from the menhir. Egged on by the ghostly voices in his head, ARCTURUS sidles closer to the towering obelisk and notices a steep staircase winding around the outside of the monument. Ascending, the elf finds himself atop a ledge overlooking the dark water. A solitary candle stands alone upon a stone altar. The skulls encourage ARCTURUS to light it and he complies.

Meanwhile, BOB THE WOODCUTTER swims out to the ominous ghost ship wallowing 50ft off shore. Something not unlike a tentacle (ok, it’s a tentacle) harasses him when he tries to return to the beach, so he decides to stay put and wait to be rescued.

When ARCTURUS lights the candle, all of the grimy lamps aboard the ghost ship flare into light and the ancient, dragon-prowed vessel floats closer to the shore, close enough for everyone else to pile on after BOB. Exploring below deck, TERIN discovers row upon row of headless spectres manning the oars. It’s not until ARCTURUS lights the candle in the captain’s cabin that the spooks begin propelling the ship across the vast underground lake. They leave CORMAC, LUCIUS and DRONGO PROUDFOOT (Paul’s characters, as he is absent this week) on the beach.

Halfway across the watery expanse, the ship drifts to a stop…. Many writhing tentacles - thick as three trunks – break the surface, probing the sides of the boat, expectant…. DORIZAN suggests that the beast beneath is waiting to receive a sacrifice, but is unsure how he comes to know this with such certainty. Perhaps a small splinter of chaos has been left embedded deep within his soul…. As there are no volunteers, FARMER GILES reluctantly throws his faithful chicken overboard. This (rather meagre) offering – in addition to the minstrel’s heart – is (barely) sufficient to satisfy the leviathan’s hunger. The tentacles withdraw and the ghost ship continues its voyage.

The boat moors alongside a sunken ziggurat, only its top three tiers are still above sea level – and those three levels are jam-packed with beastmen! Those that aren’t busy herding a line of terrified prisoners (the poor folk abducted from your village) toward the zenith seem possessed of a religious fervour. The skulls inform ARCTURUS that the beastmen are preparing a ritual to summon the chaos lord MOLAN (one of the two evil brothers that once ruled the fortress above) from the Other Side. After some brief discussion, the group decide that this sort of antisocial behaviour is something they should probably try to discourage.

While the rest of the party peek over the sides of the boat, MR. THRUPP THE TAX COLLECTOR dons the robe he found earlier and infiltrates the horde of howling beastmen. They don’t pay him much mind, until (after rolling a Critical Failure on his Personality check), someone steps on the trailing edge of his disguise and reveals his humanity. The beastmen do not react well to this unforgivable trespass on their (un)holy site…. The rest of the party are beginning to worry, when they spot their beloved tax collector returning – or at least, some of him. A mob of bloodthirsty beastmen charge up the gangplank and onto the deck of the ghost ship, they have mounted MR. THRUPP’s severed head on the point of a spear.


While the heroes and the beastmen clash, ARCTURUS spots an even larger wave of hairy monsters approaching at speed. Fearing his new allies will be overwhelmed, the elf lights the captain’s candle and the ghost ship begins to glide away from the ziggurat, before any more beastman can leap aboard (several make the attempt - and end up splashing around in the dark water). Remarkably, the party dispatch the beastmen without incurring any friendly casualties! TOM THE MERCENARY even manages to subdue a couple of the loathsome manlings, with which to placate the chaos leviathan on their return trip. Paul’s characters are surprised to see them return so soon. Sparing no time for explanations, the party immediately head back towards the ziggurat.

Again, the ship is waylaid by tentacles. The party sacrifice one of their two prisoners to the hungry beast below the surface. Then DORIZAN has the clever idea of tipping some of the dead beastmen over the side, creating a sort of floating buffet for the aquatic horror to snack on at its leisure. The apprentice magician is feeling quite pleased with himself - up until the point the infuriated leviathan grapples the ghost ship and begins to pull the boat apart!

To be continued… in Part 2!

Re: DCC RPG Actual Play (8 weeks worth)

Posted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:03 pm
by mikeawmids
Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG / Session 2 / Part Two (10/01/2013)
Sailors on the Starless Sea

As the leviathan tears the ghost ship apart, most of the party decide to abandon ship rather than try to fight off the tentacular horror. Tentacles snatch BOB THE WOODCUTTER and BEDWIN THE MONK off the sloping deck and begin to squeeze…. Rather than escaping with everyone else, HILDRISS heroically lingers long enough to attack the tentacle crushing the burly lumberjack within its rubbery coils. BOB is dropped into the water with a splash, but it is too late for BEDWIN, the leviathan pulls the monk towards its gnashing beak, his frantic prayers for divine intervention end abruptly as the dark water closes over his head.


It is much too far to swim back to the beach and they can hardly tread water forever, so the survivors paddle for the distant ziggurat, clinging to the wreckage of their vessel. Fortunately, the leviathan does not give chase, it is too preoccupied dragging the doomed ship down to the bottom of the starless sea. The remaining beastmen are waiting for them, they demand that the sodden heroes surrender their weapons and submit to capture. The party are having none of that and swarm the lowest tier of the ziggurat. TERIN THE MONEYLENDER and TOM THE MERCENARY are both killed in the initial assault, but their sacrifice enables the rest of the party to carry the fight. Even before the final beastman falls, TARAK is plundering the dead halfling’s pockets.



Climbing to the top of the sunken ziggurat, the party confront the beastman shaman and his three zealous acolytes. They are busy throwing prisoners into a bubbling pit of magma and displeased by the interruption. HORACE THE BUTCHER grapples with one of the robed beastmen on the lip of the pit, hoping to throw the brute in after his last victim – but the acolyte is stronger than HORACE anticipated (someone had their Weetabix that morning!) and it’s ultimately the butcher who falls screaming into the lava.


TARAK throws his grappling hook and inadvertently snags the shaman, wrenching him off the top tier to land awkwardly on the next level down, he is butchered as he tries to rise. Having defeated all of the beastmen, the party release the sacrificial victims. How they intend to escape the ziggurat poses a puzzle, as the ghost ship sank and it is much too far to swim. ARCTURUS and FLYNT linger at the apex, the elf bickering with the ghost voices in his head, while his dwarven bodyguard crams his backpack full of gold. A towering figure encased in a hardened shell of molten rock rises from the pit! The crust fractures, revealing the reanimated figure of the Chaos Lord MOLAN in all his dark majesty! He is clad in a suit of black, spiky platemail and swings a black, spiky flail. Black and spiky seems to be MOLAN’s theme. The armoured giant gloats for a bit, then hits ARCTURUS hard enough to send the elf’s broken body sailing through the air.


While DORIZAN hurries the villagers away from the Chaos Lord, the rest of the party do what (little) they can to slow him down. MOLAN scarcely even notices DERFEL hacking away at his armoured shins – but he DEFINETELY notices HILDRISS after the elven forester fires an arrow into his one, huge, cyclopean eyeball! Roaring with rage, the blinded Chaos Lord staggers after her, crushing FARMER GILES underfoot as carelessly as anyone else might step in dog sh*t.


TARAK pulls his rope taught, creating a tripwire that he hopes will topple the Chaos Lord into the lake. DORIZAN urges the panic-stricken peasants into the water. A middle-aged woman thrusts her infant child into the apprentice’s arms and begs him to save her baby. As MOLAN chases HILDRISS around the ziggurat, DERFEL notices a glowing fissure in the Chaos Lord’s armour! The dwarven blacksmith strikes the weak spot with all his might! MOLAN's legs crumble as though the dwarf were smashing a statue fashioned of molten rock - a second, devastating blow from DERFEL's trusty hammer shatters the Chaos Lord into one thousand fragments of burning rock! The heroic dwarf claims the spoils of battle for himself: the Chaos Lord's black, spiky armour/weapon.

Suddenly, the ziggurat erupts (like a volcano), MOLAN’s screaming façade appears momentarily in the bubbling lava! While everyone else throws themselves into the water, HILDRISS alone stands defiant in the face of the Chaos Lord’s wrath. A curtain of magma falls across the brave forester, cascading down the sides of the ziggurat and into the lake.

RIP: HILDRISS (or is it?)

As the cavern tears itself apart with the Chaos Lord’s vengeful death throes, a huge wave sweeps up everyone in the water and dumps them unceremoniously on the beach (even DERFEL, who is now wearing a full suit of platemail). The whole dungeon is still in the process of collapsing, so the heroes pick themselves up and flee, carrying any villagers not able to move quick enough on their own. Fortunately, CORMAC, LUCIUS and DRONGO PROUDFOOT have raised the portcullis, facilitating an orderly exodus from the ruins - and everyone (of importance) gets out before the entire keep falls into the gaping sinkhole.

To be continued....