Monday, August 31, 2015

There's Apparently a Level 1 in Dungeon Crawl Classics

After a couple of funnels ending in hilarity, we finally breached level 1 in rushputin's run of Escape from the Purple Planet.  We used the Purple Sorcerer Games funnel generator to make Earthmen of the Purple Planet, because if you're doing the John Carter thing, you might as well go all the way.  As is standard, most players experienced a reckoning of their 0-level PCs, although one of our players only lost his first character as we successfully escaped the prison complex.  He lost the street urchin, but still has a talking cosmonaut chimp, Pope Innocent XIII, and Rick Springfield Greenfield.

Here's my rundown:

Horatio duBois, displaced sailor from 1812, was frequently at the front, which meant he was the first to be captured and killed by the Maur.  Which is a bit unfortunate, as he grabbed one of the two suits of chainmail we found in the pits.  Oops.

Pop star Rebecca Black had a collection of wigs, a mace, and 7 hit points, but was unfortunately too slow to successfully avoid the rampaging strekleon in the control chamber.  She was impaled by quills multiple times.  She will look forward to no more weekends.

Mirabilis the Magnificent also met his end at the quills of the strekleon.  He bashed it with his mouldering old tome, which unfortunately found him close enough to get tangled in the beast's quills, like some sort of infomercial gone horribly wrong.  Proof that would-be wizards should stay out of melee combat.

The sole survivor from my four 0-level PCs was the British expatriate school teacher from turn-of-the-century Germany, Samantha Parkington.  She managed to acquire scale mail and a great glaive, cementing her transformation from school teacher to 1st level Warrior:

Monday, August 17, 2015

Review: Black Sun Deathcrawl

This is the bleakest setting I've ever had the pleasure of reading.

Black Sun Deathcrawl is a Dungeon Crawl Classics setting by James MacGeorge.  Imagine the unforgiving world of Dark Sun, the bleak pulp atomic horror of Carcosa, the dark fantasy of Dark Souls, the existential dread of Wraith: the Oblivion.

Black Sun Deathcrawl is worse than all of them.

Many years ago, the apocalypse happened.  The evil Black Sun became ascendant, turning the world to waste.  Its merciless rays have worn the world smooth and featureless.  Its wicked thoughts have taken shape as monsters that harry the few survivors, and push forth with the rays of the Black Sun.  The few survivors became the immortal and mutated Cursed, forced to eternal mutation under the harsh rays of the Black Sun.  The apocalypse was so total, even the gods have fled this landscape.  The only respite from the Black Sun is to dig.  Dig far underground in the hopes of escaping.

Of course, to dig means allowing the rays to penetrate the ground and eventually corrupt the entire planet.  By saving themselves, they doom the world.

It's a short zine, so you get only the barest flavor of the setting.  Fortunately, this means it does not stay overlong nor become tiresome.  Characters start as first level Fighters, but have already gained mutations from the Black Sun's corruption, and will gain more as exposure continues.  Death is not permanent, as characters return from the grave (bearing additional mutations!) within a round.  (Characters can die permanently if they run out of Hope, which replaces the Luck stat — committing suicide might be the only way to "win" at the setting.)  The only hope spot of the setting is that the Black Sun's gravity will eventually pull in existence around it and end its evil.  That's certainly small comfort to your PCs, of course — it could be millennia before that happens.

The zine ends with a sample adventure — the PCs dig into a city of dwarfs, but they bring the corrupting influence of the Black Sun with them, and are forced to flee deeper into the earth.  It plays a lot like the horror-march of Heart of Darkness or Apocalypse Now — you'll see a lot of horrific tableaus, some of which you can rage against but cannot fully stop.  Maybe you can save a life or two, but eventually, everyone becomes Cursed under the rays of the Black Sun.

I absolutely recommend it.  If any of the above sounds like something that interests you, get the pdf or pre-order from the next print run.

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