Wednesday, June 8, 2016

DCC World Tour Report - Game 5 - The Walking Death

This past Saturday I went to micro-con event here in Rio de Janeiro called RPG na BPE. It's a weekly event in a Public Library where tabletop gamers (specially tabletop RPG players) go to play games, met new people, and get to know new games, be it one from the 1970s or one that was just released. I, as usual, went there to spread the word of our Dark Master, and prepared an special DCC RPG adventure using the Crawling Under a Broken Moon zine from +Reid San Filippo

The idea I had for the adventure was mainly based on an illustration I had recently done for the upcoming issue of CUaBM zine and one of my favorite DCC adventures, Doom of Savage Kings, by +Harley Stroh . The party was a group of adventurers and survivors fleeing venturing to the north in search of a ancient military base, supposedly with still functioning weapons and preserved rations. Basically, I changed the Hound of Hirot for a Cyber-Mutant T-Rex with Lasers and made the sorcerer aiding the Jarl the one behind it and controlling the creature, that most people called the Walking Death. The village witch, however, had been banished by the new Technomances aiding the Jarl and the adventurers would have to explore the Hypnotic Snakes Swamp to find her. So basically the group could deal with the Walking Death in 3 different ways. Finding the lost military base and get a weapon capable of destroying it, seeking the old tecnowitch in the swamp for help draining its powers, or finding out about the technomancer controlling it and stopping him.

In total, we had 7 players, with a 9 year old kid and his father controlling a human thief and, occasionally a robot that they would turn on or off as needed. The group make up was a biker warrior, a moleman (like a dwarf), a technodoc (like a cleric), a human sorcerer, a human thief, a mutant grasshopper and the robot that was on and off as needed. They were journeying north in their makeshift van searching for the ruins of an ancient military base, rumored to contain weapons and supplies they could use.

In their path, however, was a little village of survivors called Tori. In the night they arrived in Tori, the population was gathered in the central plaza where a old warrior leader with a mechanic arm was speaking. The situation was that they were being raided by a monstrous creature they called the Walking Death. This creature was apparently indestructible but a technomancer in the village was building prototype weapons to use against it. The problem was the town had been attacked so many times that it lacked enough forces to protect and combat the creature at the same time. Someone, a citizen, had to be chosen to try the weapon on the beast.

The party watched as the leader used an old mainframe computer to generate a name. A woman was chosen, the tavern keeper daughter. She was taken from his crying father's arms and carried to the fortified house of the jarl. Only when everybody left with grim faces and the father was the only one there, kneeled they approached. Carrying him back to his tavern, they talked about what was going on. As the talk progressed, the tavern keeper kept drinking, and soon began to talk more freely. They told the group he didn't believe in the "new" technomancer. The old technowitch was banned from the village because she contested him in the way they were going to combat the creature.

The group was quickly to theorize that the new technomancer would be the one behind the Walking Death, and told the tavern keeper about this. He, drunk, wanted to go confront the crazy sorcerer immediately, but was stopped. They needed more time.

The group decided to split up to cover more ground and gather information. Part of them went to where the creature was normally fought. There they found its trails and followed it to a rocky swamp where they found a huge hole in the ground, like a missile silo, there they saw the creature, apparently holding still, connected to various wires and tubes. It was a gigantic lizard with sharp teeth, a chainsaw arm, with tentacles and a bionic eye. They quickly returned to the base after that vision.

A second group went to the hypnotic serpent's swamp in search of the old technowitch that was banned there. The place was humid, dark and full of serpents. They were confronted by a gigantic cyclopean serpent that turned out to be the witch in disguise. Convincing her they wanted to help and taling about the tavern keeper daughter, she told them they needed to get an ancient power crystal from the crystalmen caves to drain the giant beast powers. However, one of them would have to become a crystalman to receive this gift. With that information, they also returned to inform the others.

The third group decided to try talking to the jarl and possible the technomancer. As that failed (the guards told them to return in the morning to talk with the jarl – the sorcerer would not receive any visitors though), they decided to distract the guards while the thief would sneak inside for clues. Inside, the thief did not find any sign of the technomancer or the girl, but found an old computer that he lowered down from the window to examine later in their van.

They all gathered back in the van to report each discovery and look through the computer files. What they found in there was a map of the complex and a command that would open a secret door to the technomancer lab, where they imagined they could find out how he was controlling the Walking Death and save the tavern keeper daughter.

With all that intelligence collected, they decided to act at once. The thief went inside to cause a distraction for the guards, and when that went south they all attacked. Combat ensued with them getting the upper hand using a gas grenade. Things started to look bad when the jarl joined the fray and they opened the technomancer lab door. The cracy sorcerer released mutants on them and activated his defense mechanisms, turning his wheel chair into a giant battle suit robot thing!

With clever ideas, like pushing the jarl into the savage mutant creatures the technomancer released and making the robot explode in a self destruction protocol (he spellburned everything for this flaming hands protocol), the party managed to kill the bad guys, but destroyed every computer with information on the Walking Death or the mechanisms to control it. The session ended with them trying to explain the population what happened, and assuring them the creature would not come back. We hit the time limit and that was it.

With mostly new players and a small kid, the session went very well. They had many options and no pre determined path to follow. This allowed them to choose freely what to do and made me improvise whenever necessary. It was a really fun experience and they all enjoyed quite a bit. We had a couple of deaths and many of the characters ended the game with just a few hit points, making their victory even more sweeter.