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  • I’m rather excited to run a Dungeon Crawl Classics game in a couple weeks. I’ve been making some mini-adventure cards to have on hand for inspiration. After trying out a couple of card sizes I think I like the 5inx7in format the best.

    Journal page with 5in by 7in rectangle containing an adventure concept and map for a Dungeon Crawl Classics game.
  • I’m looking forward to family game night tonight 😁

    Tabletop game - dungeon crawl classics
  • My son is getting ready to run his first d&d campaign with some friends so I’m spending the afternoon helping him scale and print out maps. He’s responsible for all the cutting and taping together. 😁

  • Session One - Portal Under the Stars - 1.1

    This contain spoilers for the Dungeon Crawl Classics level 0 funnel adventure The Portal Under the Stars by Goodman Games

    To go to the start of this adventure visit my post - Dungeon Crawler Classics - Solo Play

    Session One

    portal in the trees during a starry night with a doorway

    Being a peasant is hard but maybe your luck is about to turn around. The stars have aligned in a strange pattern and that old tale you heard so long ago maybe wasn’t as foolish as you thought. Sure enough there is a shimmering portal right in front of you, just outside of town near that old and strange rock formation. There are riches there, you’re sure of it. And you’re not so sure it’ll still be there if you take the time to wander back home and grab more supplies. It’s been a hard and long winter and didn’t the tale promise vast riches inside? You decide it’s time to take a chance and make it big. So you step through the strange bluish light and to your utter astonishment it looks like a good dozen or more of the town’s folk had the same idea as you. You shuffle closer towards them into the stone hallway and unconsciously group up next to some familiar faces. At least you don’t need to ransack the crazy war-wizard’s hideout alone.

    The Not So Brave Adventure Party

    With some hushed arguments and a fair amount of shoving all sixteen brave-ish souls eventually formed four groups and one “lucky” soul was picked to march in front. You did notice that the crafty and more persuasive folks weren’t the ones out in front. They made themselves cozy in the back of their groups. Also, there were a few animals milling about as well. Who ever heard of a cow brought along in ransacking a dungeon? And was that a falcon on the elf’s arm? You grip your own “weapon”. It was better than nothing, and from the sounds of it your group was ready to begin exploring this hall and the strange door at the end of it.

    Group One Group Two Group Three Group Four
    Caravan guard
    Dwarven miner
    Dwarven miner
    Halfling chicken butcher
    Turnip farmer
    Rice farmer
    Dwarven miner
    Elven artisan
    Halfling glovemaker
    Wheat farmer
    Elven falconer
    Wizard’s apprentice

    Area 1.1 - The Portal Entrance

    While you waited for anyone to do anything, you appreciated how the entrance faded from the stone ruins you came in from to seamlessly becoming solid flagstones under your feet. Even the starlight filtered in from behind you. Down the hallway you could see that there was a large solid wooden door. It appeared to be banded with iron and was decorated with jewels in an odd assortment of star shapes and some unreadable inscription. You’d need to get closer to the door to figure out if that pattern meant anything. Your group came up with a plan and from the muttering around you it sounds like the other groups did as well. Even though you all had a rough game plan, nobody wanted to take the first step further inward. Eventually Gared, leading group two began heading to the door.

    Group Initiative Action One Action Two Action Three
    One 17 inspect the entrance go to door inspect the door
    Two 18 go to the door look for traps try and open door
    Three 4 study the star shapes on door inspect the hallway check back on entrance
    Four 16 check hall for traps inspect the door open the door

    You watched as he jostled the door handle. Locked. Another group attempted to find hidden clues around the entrance, but came up empty (DC 14, rolled 5). There were no traps in the hallway, group four deduced this fact given that the second group waltzed right over to the door. But they double checked it anyway. The last group sent their best and brightest to decipher the meaning behind the door’s inscription (DC 20, rolled 13) but even they couldn’t make any sense of it. So everyone tried again, each replacing each other and trying anew. But once again all failed in their endeavor.

    At last Gared attempted to pry open the door with brute strength. As a caravan guard one would think he could handle breaking open a door, but alas, his muscles failed him. He made a good show of it to impress the others (DC 15 STR, rolled 3) but his terror at what might lie behind the door caused him to falter in his task. While the groups wandered about the hallway and argued over who should try forcing open the door again, Walter, once again near the entrance, had a sudden flash of insight. The stars on the door were constellations! And in fact, in just a couple of hours the sky outside would probably match that pattern.

    You’re not sure whether Walter convinced the others to wait the couple of hours to try opening the door, or if it just took that long for Gared or anyone else to overcome their fear enough to try and break the door open again. But either way, when Gared finally grabbed the door handle, the door swung open effortlessly and beyond it lay another dark hallway.

    Wearing my DM hat: Mon did I roll poorly for the characters. But luck saved the day and they got through unharmed by the trap on the door, which would have triggered if it had been forced open. The poor peasants have gained 1 XP. Below are the notes I took as I was working through

  • Dungeon Crawler Classics - Trying Out Solo Play

    I haven’t played a good table-top, dice slinging, rpg game in about six years. So the urge to play has been building for a while. But my schedule is absolutely packed to the brim and my old game friends also have schedules that are equally packed. There isn’t a way to fit in a gaming session with any regularity. Then Wizards of the Coast pissed off a huge portion of the D&D community with some rumored changes to their OGL and I decided to look around and see what else was out there. I came across several new-to-me rpg systems and I wanted to give them a try. Could I somehow play one by myself? Turns out many others have had the same thought and there are quite a few different ways to go about it.

    I could look for a system geared towards solo play or pick up an indie pdf that “solo-izes” a typical group play system. There are also random tables galore on the web that I could roll against and techniques of using dice to answer “yes/no” or likert scale questions to try and run my own campaign… with myself.

    But what I wanted was to play Dungeon Crawl Classics with the free pdf lite rules and the little adventure printed in the back. I did see another blog post of someone else trying this out. You can see it here Portal under the Stars – DCC RPG but I didn’t read much of the post since I didn’t want to spoil the adventure.

    So I’m gonna give it a shot and jot down how I’m approaching solo play and what’s happening to my poor party as they enter the dungeon.

    Solo Play Approach

    • Dungeon Crawler Classics uses a dungeon against a randomized group of level 0 peasants to generate characters. This process is called the funnel. I used the Purple Sorcerer - 0-Level Party & Tourney Generator to roll up 16 characters and then used a random fantasy name generator to give them names. Any character that makes it out alive can become a proper level one character and is ready to have more adventures.
    • I kept my characters grouped as they were on the random generator printout, which printed them out, four to a page.
    • I’m printed out the adventure and covered it with sticky notes. The only thing visible to start is the italicized player introduction text.
    • My initial approach is to write down a series of actions (max 3) for each group that they would do based off of the introduction text/room text. I’ll also roll and record the initiative at the group level.
      • I determined the marching order for each group and assumed that the one in the lead is the one taking point on any action that is happening. I also am assuming that my group remains clustered together as they explore.
      • Then I’ll reveal the next paragraph of text and try to resolve it with the actions I already planned out.
      • Combat will interrupt my table of actions and take precedence. Based on what they characters were doing I’ll know if they are surprised or not (at the group level) and I already have initiative. If characters needs to make a decision, say to run one way or another or to attack back, I will roll a dice to determine what they do.

    Session Play Logs

    I expect this adventure to take me a bit to finish. Both because I’m juggling 16 characters and because I’ll probably only be able to fit in 20-30 minutes of play time here and there.

    When I finish a session I’ll post them and then update this section with a link.


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I'm a senior web developer doing non-profit work in juvenile justice, a tai chi teacher in-training, and a homeschool mom to a couple of wonderful children.

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