As you may already know, Goodman Games offers a free license for creators to self-publish their DCC creations, and this month we spotlight community members whose DCC creations have added great new options for players and judges alike. If you purchase any DCC RPG product this month, you’ll get a free DCC guitar pick. This time up, we’ve got James MacGeorge of Aleph Null Publishing, talking about Black Sun Deathcrawl!
“You are The Cursed – remnants of life in a universe of decay. Cannibalistic parasites, you suck a meager existence from the corpse of a long dead reality. No names, no races, your only goal to dig deeper into the earth to escape the rays of the Black Sun that will eventually extinguish what little remains.”
In this setting supplement for the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG, the apocalypse is not merely nigh, it has passed, the world is over and all that is left are the crumbling ashes of the ages before and the Cursed survivors who have yet to succumb to the soul-obliterating rays of the Black Sun. Make what you can of the little time you have left before the Black Sun renders your efforts meaningless. Weighig in at 64 pages, it’s available in pdf and print
It was written by James MacGeorge, with art by Gustave Dore, and cover design by Doug Kovacs.
Black Sun Deathcrawl was born out of insomnia, depression and coffee. I was feeling isolated and alone, and was unhappy with my gaming group. I threw some half-baked ideas into a blog post, called it “Crawl: A Nihilistic RPG” and forgot about it, until the 2015 Gongfarmer’s Almanac came along. I was going back through my old blog posts trying to find something I could turn into a contribution and thought, what the hell. Reading through it, I found it resonating with me, and felt it deserved to stand on its own, so I pulled it back from the project and started reworking it in earnest. I typically sleep about four to six hours a day, and ended up hammering much of it out in two hour sessions at 3am, then going to work and thinking about it all day. It sort of consumed me for awhile, until I realized I was just tinkering around the edges with something that was really about as complete as it was going to get. There was never any real playtesting that happened – I didn’t even really think of it as a gaming project, more of a writing exercise dressed up like a game.
The rubber met the road at Gen Con 2015, where I ran an off the books session in the Embassy lobby. Alex Mayo set the tone early, grabbing a dwarf child, ripping it in half and bathing its blood. The table was silent for a moment, and someone whispered, “Holy shit.” It only got worse from there. I had pictured the game as a nihilistic contest of wills between the GM and the players, but instead it turned into a bacchanalian revel, as the players tore through NPCs with wild abandon in their panicked flight from the Black Sun. As I recall, one of the PCs ended up trapping the others in an unbreakable box, and nobody won – a perfect way to end it.
Black Sun Deathcrawl is bleak. If games were colors, Black Sun Deathcrawl would be achromic. If they were music, it would be white noise, if they were food, it would be gruel. If I were to condense it into two words, they’d be, “Fuck it.” It’s designed to challenge expectations of what a game “should” be, strip it down to its bare essence, and see what you find. Maybe that appeals to you, yeah?
People saying stuff about Black Sun Deathcrawl:
“Post-existential apocalypse Sisyphean roleplaying.” – Adam Muszkiewicz
“This is not awesome, it is pain and sorrow and the unending darkness of being.” – Wayne Snyder
“This game is literally hell.” – Jeremy Whalen
“This isn’t a character funnel, it’s a player funnel.” – Joe Weisman