Brett Smendziuk, known to his friends as SmendzBee, is a Dungeon Crawl Classics gamer in Canada. No, he’s not just a gamer. He’s something else. Brett is taking the plunge into DCC—right into the deep end. This man is not just playing the game, he’s going for a full-back tattoo. The tattoo features Doug Kovacs’ cover art from the classic adventure, DCC #67: Sailors on the Starless Sea. SmendzBee has gotten the basic tattoo started and recently started a GoFundMe to help cover the costs of finishing it up. Here’s a little more background on this dedicated DCC gamer!
Okay, give us the basics: Who are you, where do you live, where do you game?
My name is Brett Smendziuk, or SmendzBee. I’m from Brandon, Manitoba, Canada. I also game at home, or one of my friends homes with my girlfriend of 4 years, Janelle, and my very dedicated group of friends: Eric, Trevor, TJ, and Sean.
How did you get into DCC?
I started tabletop gaming with a single game of 3rd edition D&D. at my city’s annual gaming convention, Prairiecon, probably 10 years ago. That was where I was hooked. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any friends interested in playing so I gave up.
Some years later I bought the 4th edition starter box and convinced a few friends to try it out. It was moderately successful and we played a single campaign for probably a month, which I DMed. Then in 2016 I discovered 5th ed and wanted to give it another shot. So I rounded up the group of friends I mentioned earlier and we played in a campaign I was making up as we went along, session to session, for about 6 months, probably 1 to 2 times a week religiously.
It was then when I wanted to immerse myself in everything RPG. I had found my games always ended up in dungeons and were very hack-and-slash style. I wasn’t much for RPing, but still managed to do a decent job at it—or so I’m told. So off to the internet I went in a pursuit to become a better DM. I quickly found Matt Colville’s YouTube channel with his Running the Game series and devoured every episode as soon as he made them. It still left me wanting more, so I perused the web and watched all the usual guys like Nerdarchy and Web DM.
I ultimately found Runehammer’s channel and he had a bunch of videos that I liked on terrain building—and then one video stood out to me. It was on the Dungeon Crawl Classics rulebook, specifically how he liked the mercurial magic system and the mighty deeds. So I did some more research on the game and found very little as far as videos go, but I did watch the whole YouTube series from Blind Wave where they played DCC. I was instantly convinced this was the game I was looking for.
I ordered a copy off eBay and devoured it. My group of friends were currently in a game of 5e where I was a player and Eric was the DM, so I set off to find a module of DCC to run when it was my time to DM. I figured I would be able to run a tournament at the upcoming Prairiecon and contacted Goodman Games to see if they wanted to sponsor it. They were more than happy to and donated multiple copies of the rulebook and modules including DCC #67: Sailors on the Starless Sea. This was the game I ultimately ran for my friends and at the con. Sadly, we were a few players short of enough for a tournament format style game. Everyone really enjoyed it, myself included. And now every 2 months or so when it’s my turn to run a game I always bust out DCC.
What made you decide to get a DCC tattoo? What made you settle on this piece?
I’ve always wanted a big back piece tattoo, and I wanted it to be special and mean something to me. I’ve played RPGs now steadily for over 2 years and decided that I wanted something with that theme. But I don’t enjoy the current artwork WotC produces. I much prefer the old school artwork from books back in the day. As soon as I saw the art style of DCC I was sold. And it ultimately came down to two pieces: either Sailors on the Starless Sea cover or the Frozen in Time cover. My artist—Scott Oldenburger of Blood and Iron tattoo—had drawn up 2 sketches and the Starless Sea won out.
How has the inking process gone so far?
Anyone who tells you tattoos don’t hurt is a liar. I’ve only gone for the first initial session because I ran into financial trouble shortly after that, but hopefully I’ll get more done soon!
Is this your first piece? What other ink do you have?
This is my first tattoo. Everyone at the shop said this was the first time they had ever seen someone get a full back piece for their first tattoo.
What DCC are you running/ playing these days?
I plan on running DCC #79: Frozen in Time early August.
Any message for the DCC community?
Go big or go home! I did and it turned out great! All hail The Dark Master.
If you want to help SmendzBee finish this amazing tattoo, check out his GoFundMe page and give him some help! Let’s show some DCC community love!