Dungeon Crawl Classics: The Arwich Grinder

Whoa, what a day yesterday! I found out some freaky personal news less than an hour before running Daniel J. Bishop’s The Arwich Grinder at the Brooklyn Strategist for the DCC NYC Meetup group. (Super short version is I found out someone is posing as me online with the expressed intent of defaming me. Very weird and scary stuff…) Although it was very upsetting, and it still is as I work it out, it was awesome that I was forced to set it aside for four hours and do what makes me happiest… GAME!

And game we did!

The mob of Arwich villagers marched over to the Curwen family farm and discovered they had neglected to bring what any good mob of angry villager needs – torches! So once they found the dungeon, they had no way to see in it, except for the four halflings.

So these four halflings braved the dungeon on their own and scouted ahead. (I was like, YES!, if you want to split the party you have my full support!). Soon two of the four halflings were dead, the other two retreated back above ground and thus their presence was announced to everyone down below before anyone else had even had a chance to go down (!).

They bravely faced many heroic challenges: like killing hungry wolves distracted by food, killing a terrified pig running past them, killing an old man with one leg who had fallen on the ground, killing a deformed giant man wordlessly begging for mercy, and killing a naked mentally ill woman screaming about her baby. Nope, this isn’t Pathfinder! We didn’t have no Tiefling Shadowdancers engaging in political intrigue with Air Genasi. Instead we had frightened villagers reading blasphemous tomes by candlelight, lowering themselves down wells in bloody buckets, and exploring shacks filled with the bits and pieces of human and pork floating in barrels.

They spent almost the whole session above ground in the house and by the time they managed to actually penetrate the dungeon, there was only 20 minutes left. Usually I’m good at editing content and keeping folks on track so that we can finish the story in the four hour slot, but I was more distracted than usual (see first paragraph) so the last five minutes of the game was spent with me very quickly wrapping up the story. (The store closes at 8pm so we have a hard out time.)

Given the circumstances, it wasn’t my best performance as a judge, but I have no regrets! The adventure is scary, sick, and horrific. The players had a ton of fun. And I did too. As a bonus, we now have some rad zero-level characters leveling up. I call that a success all around.

Our next DCC NYC Meetup group game is Claytonian’s Wizardarium of Calabraxis on Sun Mar 12 (https://www.meetup.com/DCCNYC/events/237571600/). I’m also running that at Gary Con on Fri Mar 24 at 10am. There aren’t any seats for that left, but there are still seats available for Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells: Beneath the Comet on Sat Mar 25 at noon. It’s the first Con Game of Diogo Nogueira’s Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells gaming system and I’ll be using the amazing module by Jeff Talanian for AS&SH. Hope to see you at the table!

Dungeon Crawl Classics Lankhmar: The Madhouse Meet

Today was Road Crew 2017 Session #3 for DCC NYC, and the poster for the group is hanging proudly in the window of the Brooklyn Strategist!


We had all seven slots RSVP’ed and five people on the waiting list but then only three folks showed up. LAME! But I can safely say that was the ONLY disappointing part of the evening.

We played Michael Curtis‘s The Madhouse Meet and added in sections from The Masks of Lankhmar to beef it up to a full four-hour session. It was a blast! We didn’t play it true Lankhmar-style (our Cleric of Bobugbulbilz was still calling upon the swampy chaos of the frog god) but we did play with the fleeting luck mechanic and had fun using that.

Volrath prayed to Bobugbulbilz and asked who he should deliver the Black Feather Blade to (the cost of carrying it was too great!) and the frog god told him to travel to the Great Salt Marsh and to deliver it to Sheelba of the Eyeless Face. The robed arm of Sheelba took the blade from the walking hut, and asked if he would do another favor and fetch a mask it wanted. Volrath agred. Meanwhile, Lyr had taken up work as a hired sword for the Temple of Justicia and Gowen had been taking on some stonemasonry gigs.

Next thing they knew the three of them were waking up shackled to the wall of a dungeon. Volrath managed to best the jailor and make an escape using a clever combination of Tadpole Transformation, Paralysis, and Darkness and free Lyr and Gowen. They managed to relocate some of their missing gear and sought escape from their captors. In doing so, they slew a bunch of crazy hairless albino cultists with overlong fingers. Gowen shoved the face of one such cultist into a vat of boiling water, and later, with Lyr, the two decapitated three in their sleep and kicked their heads at three playing dice. They clearly captured the wrong folk!

They eventually encountered the sorcerer they dubbed Fingers, and with the Divine Aid of Bobugbulbilz, Volrath was able to defeat the sorcerer while the warrior and the dwarf tackled the army of guards.

Upon escaping, Volrath spotted the tower that Sheelba had wanted him to fetch a specific mask from. After some time passed, they regrouped and tackled the tower. They fought flying robes and managed to use urine and the Food of the Gods spell to get through a potentially poisoned room. Ectoplasmic cobwebs made Gowen overwhelmed with the desire to possess Lyr’s Demon Blade and we had some PVP wrastling until they found themselves fighting off a horde of flying psionic masks. Volrath found the one he wanted and again called upon the frog god for divine aid but this time he was laughed at, for the frog god wanted to see the chaos that would erupt from the masks getting lose in the city. Much to the frog god’s disappointment, they destroyed them all before that could happen… all but the one Sheelba wanted.

Volrath brought it to the swamp and Sheelba was pleased. After spending a week in the swamp attempting to bond with the alien wizard, nothing happened. Volrath was fine though. It’s better his attention is focused on the swamp lord alone.

Oh, and Volrath is now our first third level character!

Next up:
– Sat Feb 25 – Appendix N Book Club: L. Sprague de Camp: The Complete Compleat Enchanter
– Sun Feb 26 – Dungeon Crawl Classics: The Arwich Grinder
– Sun Mar 16 – Appendix N Book Club: Robert E. Howard: The Horror Stories of Robert E. Howard

Our DCC campaign got together for session #3!

Borlace decided to investigate the disappearing of Snorri, the town drunk, and crawled through his hovel on the outskirts of town, tracking in mud and pig shit. He discovered that he had carved hopeless messages into the walls of this haystack begging to be left alone. The newly-minted wizard tested his new-found skills in battle, bravely stepping up to face a pack of snarling hyena-men. His first spell didn’t go off but it did summon a face to appear from his chest, so he tore open his tunic, the face spoke another spell, which also failed and caused the caster’s ears to grow into huge, deformed, pointed monstrosities. Later he cast Ekim’s Mystical Mask, knowing that it would cause the death of someone he knew. That night he saw the ghost of Tamura, the town taxidermist, in his dreams. When they returned to town they discovered she had not opened her shop that day… His powers came to good use when it burned four hyena-men to a crisp in a single blast, and then he encircled the heads of giant rust beetles with toxic clouds and they retreated into the hills.

Gloria, the pious cleric of the Mountain God, used her power and position to undermine the current High Priestess in hopes that she can one day take her place. She prayed to her god asking for insight and was told to travel ahead for all was safe. Then after heeding her god, she found herself facing a pack of snarling hyena-men, where she nearly died after running in with her pitchfork ready to draw blood. Her god failed her, then demanded humility! Instead of feeling abandoned by her god, Gloria decided that she needed to pray harder to seek the good favor of her deity. Then, in the circle of standing stones atop a plateau, she commanded a door in the ground to open, and her god came through, opening their way!

Palant decided that with an absence of a constable in town, it was time that he step up and take the position, and he found himself in the lucrative (2sp/week) and demanding position. First he tried to subdue a brightly-robed halfling who was trying to break into the taxidermy shop but the little fellow got away. Later he hired Voldar to take over as Deputy Constable while he followed a treasure map to the north. His badass sword skills were put to good use when they encountered a pack of snarling hyena-men. His new-to-him scale mail, taken off the corpse of a dead adventurer, was saved from the bellies of the giant rust beetles by the magic of his companion.

Midhat made some coin after spending a few weeks performing controversial comedy pieces at Pembrooktonshire’s enchanted statue to the Mountain God. When three riderless horses came trotting into town covered in the blood of their previous riders, he was able to claim Shadowcat, the swift black mare he’d seen one of the members of the town’s previous adventuring gang riding. He accomplished quite a bit of looting while his companions were occupied with healing. In doing so, he managed to secure enough coin to score a longsword (later eaten by a giant rust beetle), a garrote, a blackjack, leather armor, and a treasure map leading to a circle of standing stones 20 miles to the north of town. He also secured himself the assistance of Gooch, an over-paid hireling.

Rupert Smallfellow used his skills as a dyer to make a lovely cloak of many colors to brazenly wear during his attempts at stealth. He began his career by attempting to break into the home of Tamura the Taxidermist to brighten her animals (that have been disappearing) but ran afoul of the new town constable. Upon hearing of more adventuring opportunities, he left town upon the back of Chumley, his hireling. He descended alone into Devil’s Pit and swam in an underground pool where he was pulled under by something from within the depths. Chumley ran screaming into the hills when they encountered three giant rust beetles. Later in the Crypt of Ildana he scouted ahead and taunted the screaming goblin faces adorning the walls by jabbing them in the eyeballs. He then sacrificed his technocolor dreamcoat to Ildana the Undying to grant the party access to the inner recesses of the lair.