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Gencon 2013 Guide to DCC RPG

Event registration for The Best Four Days in Gaming™ is almost upon us. That’s right. You can sign up for Gencon games starting tomorrow, this Sunday, at noon Eastern, 9AM Pacific. Here’s a handy list of the currently scheduled Dungeon Crawl Classics.

Thursday

Title: The Black Manse
GM: Harley Stroh
Game ID: RPG1344545
Thursday 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM<

Echoes of ancient horrors stalk the forlorn halls of your ancestors. Can you solve the mystery before the Devil’s Masque? Or will Molloch claim his winsome bride? A mystery that will end in blood.

Title: The One Who Watches From Below
GM: Jobe Bittman
Game ID: RPG1349984 (Still awaiting approval)
Thursday 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Play the winning adventure from Goodman Games’ Mystery Map contest, “The One Who Watches From Below.” Tales of fabulous wealth lure you to an ancient temple, but things are not what they seem.

Title: The Croaking Fane
GM: Michael Curtis
Game ID: RPG1344549
Thursday 7:00 PM – 11:00 PM

For centuries, the Lord of Evil Amphibians carried out unspeakable rites in squatting temples far from civilization. Now his servants have vanished, leaving behind their fanes to molder in the marsh…

Friday

Title: Perils of the Purple Planet
GM: Harley Stroh
Game ID: RPG1344546
Friday 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Cast across the cosmos, can the PCs survive a forbidden planet and find their way back home? Alien technologies, savage foes, and an untamed world await.

Title: Frozen In Time (0-Level Funnel)
GM: Michael Curtis
Game ID: RPG1344551
Friday 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM

The great glacier is shattered! Smoking holes lead deep into its interior. The clan elders decide that YOU must venture inside to discover if the ice demons’ grasp over the region is finally broken.

Title: The Black Manse
GM: Harley Stroh
Game ID: RPG1344547
Friday 3:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Echoes of ancient horrors stalk the forlorn halls of your ancestors. Can you solve the mystery before the Devil’s Masque? Or will Molloch claim his winsome bride? A mystery that will end in blood.

Title: The Croaking Fane
GM: Michael Curtis
Game ID: RPG1344550
Friday 7:00 PM – 11:00 PM

For centuries, the Lord of Evil Amphibians carried out unspeakable rites in squatting temples far from civilization. Now his servants have vanished, leaving behind their fanes to molder in the marsh…

Title: The Eye of Obitu-Que
GM: Matthias Weeks
Game ID: RPG1340131
Friday 8:00 PM – Saturday 12:00 AM

It cannot be a good thing to be personally summoned by King Alric, especially at the point of pike! Bring your Zocchi dice and join the band! Characters will be provided, several may perish!

Saturday

Title: Frozen In Time (Level 1 Version)
GM: Michael Curtis
Game ID: RPG1344552
Saturday 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM

The great glacier is shattered! Smoking holes lead deep into its interior. The clan elders decide that YOU must venture inside to discover if the ice demons’ grasp over the region is finally broken.

Title: Perils of the Purple Planet
GM: Harley Stroh
Game ID: RPG1344548
Saturday 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Cast across the cosmos, can the PCs survive a forbidden planet and find their way back home? Alien technologies, savage foes, and an untamed world await.

Title: A Night on the Town
GM: Michael Curtis
Game ID: RPG1344553
Saturday 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM

The Necromancer is defeated by your daring efforts. But your success comes on the night when the dead walk the world. Can you make it home through the haunted city before the restless dead claim you?

Title: The Dragon-Wizard’s Gambit
GM: Unknown
Game ID: RPG1344964
Saturday 7:00 PM – 11:00 PM

The Dragon-Wizard’s magic backfires…and he faces a mob of outlandish peasants from a place called “Milwaukee.” Can these ordinary 1970’s citizens escape his castle and find their way home?

Title: The Eye of Obitu-Que
GM: Matthias Weeks
Game ID: RPG1341202
Friday 8:00 PM – Saturday 12:00 AM

It cannot be a good thing to be personally summoned by King Alric, especially at the point of pike! Bring your Zocchi dice and join the band! Characters will be provided, several may perish!

Sunday

Title: The Hangman’s Garden
GM: Unknown
Game ID: RPG1344965
Sunday 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Framed for murder, the heroes face a deadly trial to prove their innocence. They win freedom only by surviving the Hangman’s Garden, where they face the spirits of the justly executed-judgment awaits!

You can get up to the minute updates of DCC RPG games at Gencon by logging into gencon.com, then clicking the following link.

https://gencon.com/events/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&event_type=&commit=Search&game_code=&keyword=&title=&game_system=Dungeon+Crawl+Classics&wed=true&thur=true&fri=true&sat=true&sun=true&hour=

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One Page Dungeon 2013

I’ve put off entering the One Page Dungeon contest for years, but I finally got my act together. My mini-adventure is called “Into The Demon Idol”. The adventure is based on the Trampier cover of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook. The famous demon idol is cast as a giant robotic death machine created by cultists who have since fallen out of favor with their demonic masters.
You can download my entry here:
Let me know what you think!
Demon Idol
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“Hot Guys Making Out” Review

Last year, I was walking by my friendly local gaming store and stopped to look at the window display. The proprietor of the shop often positions new releases in the window where you can see them from the street. On this particular day, a obviously homemade booklet was given a prominent position. The booklet has the intriguing title, “Hot Guys Making Out.” Looking closer, I saw it was written by Ben Lehman. I’ve been a fan of Ben’s games since reading Polaris. His game mechanics are clean and he writes in an engaging literary style. I was sure I’d be entertained by whatever was inside. HGMO

“Hot Guys Making Out” is a role-playing game that recreates the stories of yaoi manga, a homoerotic sub-genre. Interestingly enough, the audience is primarily female in Japan. The game is set against the backdrop of the Spanish civil war. Players have the choice of taking on the roles of Gonsalvo, the decisive nobleman, Honore, an introspective orphan under his care, Maria, the maid, or Olivier, the butler. Gonsalvo and Honere are the main characters while Maria and Olivier are supporting characters. The story revolves around the Threat, an event that comes between the protagonists. The Threat puts a strain on the main characters relationship, but should eventually bring it into focus. The game is played with a deck of playing cards. The Aces drive the threat forward and different face cards allow characters to activate special moves.

“Hot Guys Making Out” does well in the niche of short format romance games. I never thought the subject matter was a gaming itch I would want to scratch, but it was fun. If your gaming group likes playing many different games, a one shot of this game will definitely leave an impression. It all depends on your gaming group though.

I recently was given a review electronic copy of the full version of the game. There are quite a few differences between the preview and final editions though none involving game play. If you have the preview edition, your essentially have the full game. The final edition does add quite a bit in terms of layout and presentation. The most noticeable difference is a full color cover and black and white interior art. The cover art is evocative. It should be easier to find on my bookshelf once I pick up a physical copy. The rules are also much better organized. The sections seem to flow much better. The game steps and actions are broken down and explained much better for someone new to gaming altogether. The book also contains a few pages on creating your own characters and hacking the system to tell romantic stories in other settings. There really isn’t anything in the game design that forces you to tell love stories though.

My one minor quibble with the game still stands. The book never says to shuffle jokers into the deck when you start the game. I think most people’s default mode is to not shuffle jokers into a deck unless the rules call for it. The first time we played, we had to restart when the player of Olivier realized he couldn’t perform his support action without a joker.

My friends still laugh about the first game of “Hot Guys Making Out” we played. We had just finished a large game of Fiasco and people were starting to leave, but four of us weren’t ready to go. I had just the thing – a copy of “Hot Guys Making Out” in my backpack. My buddy Chris was pretty uncomfortable with the concept of the game. He looked really nervous and kept protesting, “I dunno, guys. This seems pretty weird.” No one was willing to let him off the hook though. I grabbed Gonsalvo, Nick jumped on Honore, Damon fingered Olivier’s character sheet, and Chris snatched Maria ostensibly because she was the character with the least chance of having a homosexual encounter. We played the default Threat: “Maria is jealous of Gonsalvo.” Maria started the game with an ace and made Gonsalvo look foolish in front of Honore. Oliver took the bags while Honore took Gonsalvo on a tour of the grounds. Eventually, the nobleman and his ward ended up inside, warming themselves by the fire and flirting. Chris had managed to draw every ace in the deck within 3 rounds. Now, Maria was ready to sabotage Gonsalvo’s chances with Honore. Maria snuck behind Gonsalvo and pulled his pants down to his ankles revealing Gonsalvo had a vagina. He was a she! Honore promptly lost all interest. The entire game only lasted 15 minutes.

Even if you already own the preview edition, you should buy this book. The rules are better organized. There’s a surprising amount of depth in this little game.

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Getting Started With DCC RPG

Everywhere I look these days, people are talking about my favorite role-playing game – Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG. While it’s great to see more and more people talking about the game of love, I’d rather see more and more people playing the game I love. Hopefully, I can help jumpstart a few new players’ journey into Goodman Games’ masterpiece.

If you haven’t heard of it before, DCC RPG is fantasy role-playing game with an intense old-school aesthetic. It’s not a retro clone, but it does riff heavily on earlier editions of Dungeons & Dragons and other darlings of the OSR. There’s a healthy disregard for game balance. Players will need to use their wits as well as their weapons to survive.

 

dragon

 

There is a high degree of randomness in the game. Critical hits, fumbles and spell effects are determined randomly – even spell manifestations. When you cast magic missile, you roll a die to see what you magic missiles look like. It can be anything from a meteor to a screaming eagle claw to a force axe. Every spell has a table of effects as well. Rolling low holds the possibility of misfire and losing the spell for the day. The higher you roll, the more epic the spell effect. For example. a spell check of 34-35 for the fireball spell has the following effect:

The caster calls down a fireball from the heavens, targeting a point up to 500’ away and doing 14d6 damage. The caster can choose an area of effect ranging from a single human-sized target up to a sphere of 30’ radius. Instead of projecting from his fingertip, the fireball falls from above like a meteor strike, exploding in a fiery burst. The caster must have line-of-sight to his target, but he can cast around obstructions in this manner. For example, he may be able to view the target through a periscope or via a crystal ball of some kind.

So why aren’t you playing this game right now?

Some people are put off by having to acquire new and hard to find dice. While not absolutely required – you can simulate the rolls with standard polyhedral – Zocchi dice are highly recommended. A set of Zocchi dice consists of a d3, d5, d7, d14, d16, d24, and d30. I love new dice. I’ve had a blast tracking down mine. At 0-level play, you don’t even need them.

I’ve found that many people are intimidated by the size of the DCC RPG core rules book. There is no denying it. The book is enormous weighing in at over 460 pages in length. However, there is nothing to fear. Hundreds of pages are dedicated to spell tables, patrons, monsters and other things that you do not need to read to play the game. The amazing artwork and layout takes up half the remaining space. The art is just gorgeous. I keep the rule book by my bedside and flip through the art at least once a week. I’m always finding new details in the art I didn’t notice before.

Running Your First Game

In the core rulebook, Joseph Goodman strongly recommends starting with a “character creation funnel.” Each player rolls up of two or more 0-level characters. All stats are rolled randomly and in order. Every character gets an occupation and one piece of random equipment. For example [gets out dice], I just rolled a halfing vagrant with a club, begging bowl, a crowbar and 3 hit points. After everyone generates a handful of characters each, you throw your band of ill-equipped commoners into the cauldron of battle. The lucky ones who survive go on to level 1.

When I first read the rules, I thought the 0-level funnel was not for me, but I was so wrong. The funnel is essential for any gaming group new to DCC RPG. 0-level play uses a smaller set of rules so it helps teach the game to new players. It also helps undo some of the expectations that modern RPGs have instilled in players. Your characters are not nearly invincible sacks of hit points with super powers. If you meet every enemy head on, you will end up dead or with severe ability point damage.

You can run a 0-level game with little to no preparation. You only need to read a few sections of the core rules: Chapter 1: pages 16-27; Chapter 2: pages 66-67; Chapter 3: pages 70-73; and Chapter 4: pages 76-96. The core rule book is extremely affordable. The first printing retails for $39.99. I’ve seen it as low was $20-30 on Amazon and eBay. The PDF is available at RPGNow for $24.99.

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the rules, you’ll need an adventure to run. The core rule book comes with a functional funnel adventure, “The Portal Under The Stars” by Joseph Goodman. It’s deadly and simple to run. You can easily read through it in 15 minutes or run it on the fly. If you want something with more depth, I high recommend Harley Stroh’s “Sailor’s On the Starless Sea.” I’ve been a fan of Harley’s adventures since I first discovered the Dungeon Crawl Classics line of adventures, and this adventure is no exception. The adventurers battle hordes of beastmen in an underground stronghold. This would be a tough adventure even for level 1 characters so expect the body count to be high. Fortunately, there is a story-driven way to introduce new characters if the party takes heavy losses.

 

GMG5066CoverLarge

Game Aids

There are a ton of fan-created tools out there. The resources at People Them With Monsters are indispensable. Print out the Reference sheet booklet front and back, fold in half and staple. Don’t forget the cover. If you want to save time creating 0-level characters, I also recommend using the 0-level character generator at Purple Sorceror Games. It prints 4 characters per page. I usually print 10-20 sheets at a time and cut them up. Let your players pick through the stack for characters at the game table.

 

Dice, rule book, and reference booklets

Final Thoughts

Welcome to the club! Check out the DCC RPG forums at the Goodman Game’s website. Make sure to introduce yourself on the “Join the band” thread. The DCCRPG community on Google+ is a hotbed of discussion as well.

 

cute

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Fanfic: a storytelling game about making bad fiction

I recently created a storytelling game based on the premise of creating awful, erotic fanfiction called Fanfic. The rules PDF is now available for free at game’s website, http://fanficgame.com/. My biggest influences were Ben Lehman’s “Hot Guys Making Out” and Atlas Games’ “Once Upon A Time.”

From the introduction:

Fanfic is a game for collaboratively creating erotic “fan fiction,” naughty fan-created stories inspired by existing works of fiction, and it aims to do it badly. You will explore the deepest sexual desires of characters from your favorite books, television shows, movies and video games. Fanfic strives to emulate everything that is quirky and ultimately endearing about fan fiction: bodice ripping; stilted dialogue; awkward turns of phrase; and improbable coupling. What better way to learn to do it right than to do it oh-so-wrong?

Feel free to share the game with anyone you like. My only request is if you play the game, please send feedback to feedback@fanficgame.com. You can purchase printed copies for $5 with amazing cover art by Wendy Morthorpe (http://mwaters.deviantart.com/gallery/) by sending email to orders@fanficgame.com.

Happy Gaming!

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PAX 12 Tabletop Talk: The D&D You Never Knew with Luke Crane

Here’s the last talk I recorded before my recorder inexplicably stopped making recordings – “The D&D You Never Knew” by Luke Crane. By some stroke of luck, my recording device lasted exactly until the end of the talk then locked up. I apologize for missing the first 30 seconds of Luke speaking. You can hearing him making some jokes at my expense as I retreat to the back of the Raven Room. A slide deck went along with the talk with art from different editions of D&D. I emailed Luke hoping to get as link to the slides. I’ll post it if I get it.

Download: PAX 12 Tabletop Talk: The D&D You Never Knew with Luke Crane

 

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PAX 12 Tabletop Talk: D&D vs. Story Games

I caught another excellent talk last night in the PAX 2012 Tabletop talk track, “D&D vs Story Games,” hosted by Ashley Cook and starring Wolfgang Baur, Chris Perkins, Ben Robbins, Jonathan Walton and Erik Mona. The talk was full of great moments, but I’ll never forget Erick Mona’s “moon gun” anecdote. Give it a listen here.

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PAX 12 Tabletop Talk: Old School RPGs With Modern Design

My first stop at PAX this year was the Tabletop talks on the 3rd floor of the Red Lion Hotel. The talk was entitled, “13th Age, Dungeon World and More: Old School RPGs With Modern Design” and featured Rob Heinsoo, Wade Rockett, Sage LaTorra, Adam Koebel, and Logan Bonner. I grabbed a front row seat and recorded it all for posterity. Right-click here and save the file.

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#1 Gencon Travel Tip

I love Gencon, but I hate getting there. Layovers, cramped seats, screaming babies and the boorish passenger in the next seat all conspire to crush my will to game. But I discovered a little secret that makes it all just a little more bearable.

First Aid

Did you know you can bring your own booze on a plane? Yes. It’s true. TSA regulations state that you can bring liquids in containers smaller than 3.4 ounces or 100ml as long as they fit in a 1 quart ziplock baggie with your other toiletries. Luckily, mini bottles of booze are 50ml. Cram as many as you can in your ziplock bag. Even better, most airlines offer free mixers and cups of ice. Now I’m not saying this is entirely legal. In fact, don’t tell me if you know. Ignorance immunizes me from prosecution. That’s a legal thing right? Happy travels!

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Rejection Letter

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