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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

My Games at GENCON 2016 and some thoughts on 1930s Fantasy Pulp DCC!

Peter Mullen's artwork showing a
convention of extraplanar monsters
I live in far of Brazil, in a land almost without gaming conventions. GENCON to me, when I went in 2014, was something completely out of my world. I went crazy last year when I couldn't be there. This year I decided to go again and have my shots at judging some tables with the Goodman Games crew. I signed up for 5 games! 4 of those are Dungeon Crawl Classics games, half with published modules adventures, and half of them with adventures of my own making. The last game is going to be a Jim Wampler's adventure for Metamorphosis alpha.

Below you will find the link to the specific events on GENCON website and a brief description of each game.

DCC RPG – The Ball of Lost Souls - Thursday from 9am to 1pm.
This is a level 2 Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG adventure for 5 – 7 characters set in a sword and sorcery setting written by me and that is in the process of being published (well, that's what I hope). The idea is that a group of adventures end up in the ruins of an  old palace, where a people of sorcerers lived, in search of treasure and other valuable things. However, what they find inside the ruins will affect their own existence. The blurb for GENCON is this one:

In search for lost treasures and knowledge rumored to be buried beneath the ruins of an ancient mansion in the Old City, a group of adventures find themselves sent back in time to the very night hell broke lose on earth and demons captured the souls of hundreds of mortals. Will the PCs share the same fate as those in the mansion centuries ago? Or will they find a way to stop the madness and escape their fates?  

DCC RPG – The Lost Idol of the Cyclopean Ape - Friday 2pm to 6pm.
This is a 1st level DCC RPG adventure with a 1930s fantasy pulp twist. The characters are people from our world that find a path to the center of our planet and guess what? It's hollow! This is going to be and adventure with all those cool elements of pulp adventure mixed up with fantasy. There is going to be sorcery, secret societies, nazis, dinosaurs, atlanteans, giant apes and such. I will be covering some of the preparations I am making for this game here in the blog (like new classes, modifications, monsters and other stuff). The blurb for GENCON is this one:

In the Amazons lies a lost city rumored to contain the treasure and secrets of a pre-Colombian civilization believed to have achieved great wisdom and knowledge. Recently, an aircraft got a glimpse of it's possible location and a race to reach the fabled city has begun. The PCs group was assembled by the League of Discoveries to be the first to get there and recover it's treasures before anyone else. But there are others with more sinister plans for the city. 

Metamorphosis Alpha – The Captain's Table - Saturday 9am to 1pm.
My third game will be a one-shot session of Jim Ward's Metamorphosis Alpha first edition, republished by Goodman Games last year. This is an awesome gonzo science fantasy game set in a giant colonization space ship that is lost in space after a cosmic accident. The human population has lost the memory of it being a actual ship and now roam it's decks with primitive tools, facing mutants, robots and all other types of problems. The adventure itself is set up as a quest sent by a "deity" to a primitive tribe. The adventure blurb is the following:

Among the descendants of the original passengers of the Starship Warden, a spiritual belief system has flowered that began as a form of ancestor worship. So when an unexpected holo-egg projects a larger-than-life vision of Captain Jameson - one of the five original captains of the Warden - the rag-tag assemblage of humans and mutants are sent on a mission that’s more than just an adventure or a meal ticket. It’s a holy quest to the bowels of the cargo decks, where the lucky will find ancient technological marvels beyond imagining, and the unwary will find a killing field 34 miles wide. 

DCC RPG – Hole in the Sky - Saturday 2pm to 6pm.
One of my favorite character funnels for the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG by Brendan LaSalle. A group of common folk that dreams about a different and more fulfilling life receives visions from an charismatic entity offering them the chance to change their future. When they follow these visions, they end up on a journey through a hole in the sky, into another dimension, facing weird and terrible creatures, risking their lives for a small chance of escaping their dull destiny. It's just awesome! The adventure blurb for GENCON is this:

The Lady in Blue, a mysterious figure of cosmic power, enlists a band of simple peasants for a strange task. They are to follow an invisible bridge until they arrive at a hole in the sky – and then jump through. Death awaits all but the bravest, strongest, and luckiest, but the Lady offers a reward beyond all the riches of the world: the chance to change the very stars these peasants were born under, and thus change their destiny. 

DCC RPG – Tower of the Black Pearl - Sunday 9am to 1pm.
An awesome Harley Stroh adventure for 1st level characters where they venture to a legendary tower in the middle of the ocean to plunder the riches and treasures hidden there by Szerekan, the Ancient One. The adventure has some very good encounters, requiring the players to think hard, negotiate with NPCs and solve puzzles and other problems with more than just a simple dice roll. Finally, the adventure blurb is this:

Once every decade, the tides of the Empyrean Ocean recede far enough to reveal the highest eaves of a mysterious undersea tower. Long ago this was an eldritch fastness of Sezrekan the Elder, the most wicked wizard ever to plague the Known World, but now the tower is known simply as the final resting place of the fabled Black Pearl – an artifact rumored to bring doom upon all who dare to posses it. Tonight the moon nearly fills the sky, and the tides have already begun to recede. Adventurers have eight short hours to explore the tower before the dark waters return. The fabled Black Pearl will be theirs for the taking...if they can survive the Pearl’s curse. 

And, as promised...

Thoughts on running DCC RPG with a 1930s Fantasy Pulp Setting 

I've been thinking about this for quite a while. Why not have a setting for DCC RPG with a 1930s background in a "Lost World" kind off land, with all that Indiana Jones feel, fantasy elements (like sorcery, monsters, fantastical races), dinosaurs, mythos elements and a lot more? Lost civilizations! Atlanteans! Ape-men! Serpent-men! Secret Societies! Time travelers! Psionics! Super science! Hollow World! It all screams DCC RPG to me, with chaotic adventuring, ancient ruins, terrible monsters, ancient sorcery, great treasure!

The normal classes could have a nice twist to fit the setting. Warriors could be turned to Soldiers easily, adding fire arms, explosives, and artillery to their repertoire. Thieves could be Spies, Scoundrels or Assassins, depending on their alignment. Wizards could be occultists that studies ancient texts, Atlantean sorcery. We would get rid of clerics and put the Mentalist in their place, with psionic powers. A Scientist class could be inserted, letting it research all kind of artefacts and simulate spells and such but with more limited use (Super Science ain't that reliable). The Elf class could basically be turned into Atlanteans that live in the Hollow World. The Halflings could be a new race of monkey man. The dwarves could be turned into Mole-men easily. But I would still want dwarves in the setting, but different ones, made of stone, that consume gems and metals, and that keep getting stronger and harder the older they are. Lizardmen, Apemen and all other kinds of races could be turned in to classes too.

Adventures could be centered about finding lost expeditions, searching for legendary places, recovering mystic artefacts, finding the mysterious Fountain of Youth, stopping the nazis before they find the ancient Atlantean war machine and so on. The possibilities are enormous. In their way the adventurers could face nazi soldiers, secret societies of occultists and mentalists, rich evil doers trying to acquire something they shouldn't have, crazy emperors of lost civilizations, ancient gods awakening, dinosaurs, androids from outer space, aliens...

The adventure "The Lost Idol of the Cyclopean Ape" is one of my first attempts to emulate this scenario of DCC and it has been a great fun! I will be posting the development of this adaptation on this blog and, maybe, in a zine format in the future!