Giant Flying Spiders for Dungeon Crawl Classics

Picture if you will, a spider roughly the size of a horse with a massive skull on its back and wings like a locust. It paralyzes its victims with poison and cocoons them in a husk for later consumption in its lair. This carnivorous magical apex predator is a truly terrifying sight to behold.

Nightmare fuel, to be sure.

(More art to come.)

Picture if you will, a spider roughly the size of a horse with a massive skull on its back and wings like a locust. It paralyzes its victims with poison and cocoons them in a husk for later consumption in its lair. This carnivorous magical apex predator is a truly terrifying sight to behold. Worse yet, these arachnid beasts serve as consorts to the Spider Dragon.


Flying Skull Spider, Giant: Init +2; Atk bite +6 melee (1d8 plus poison)
or web (special); AC 14; HD 3d8; MV 30’ (climb any surface) or Fly 30′; Act 1d20; SP poison (DC 20 Fort save or lose an extra 3d4+4 hit points and 4 Strength temporarily; success results in loss of additional 1d4 hit points only), Web 1x/day (10’ range, DC 14 Ref save or –2 penalty on all actions until freed), stealthy (+10 to attempts to move silently); SV Fort +2, Ref +1, Will -1; AL C.

This creature is the unnatural fusion of demonic magic with an innocent forest arachnid. Afterward, nature took its course and a large clutch of baby monsters was born. Then they grew.

Raclings for Dungeon Crawl Classics

Small in size. Their fur ranges in color from grey to brown. They stand on two legs most of the time. They are adept swimmers and climbers. Their language is a series of clicks, growls, hisses, chitters, and the occasional laugh. Despite their reputation and mask-like markings they are not all thieves.

These adorable humanoid raccoons are fun to be around.

Small in size. Their fur ranges in color from grey to brown. They stand on two legs most of the time. They are adept swimmers and climbers. Their language is a series of clicks, growls, hisses, chitters, and the occasional laugh. Despite their reputation and mask-like markings they are not all thieves.

They are innately curious and highly intelligent. Their keen minds and animal senses are matched only by their dexterity. They do not cope well with captivity!

Raclings: SZ Small, Init +2; Atk dagger +3 melee (1d4+2 or 1d10+2); AC 15; HD1d8+2; MV 20’, Climb 25′, Swim 25′ ; Act 1d20; SV Fort +1, Ref +3, Will +1; AL C.
Abilities-
Infravision: Raclings are primarily nocturnal and can see in the dark up to 30’.
Small size: Raclings range from 2 to 4 feet tall. This small size allows them to crawl into narrow passages and through tiny holes.
Scamper A halfling has a base movement speed of 20’, as opposed to 30’ for humans while on two legs. However, a Racling with nothing in its hands can drop down to all fours and scamper at 30′.
Stealth: Raclings are naturally adept at sneaking around. They gain a +7 bonus to hiding in shadows and sneaking.

And other OSR compatible games.

More to come on these furry little guys. Possibly a full on class. Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you. Game on!

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7 Demon Chest for DCC RPG

Characters discover a chest that will unleash seven very powerful demons along with untold treasure if opened. What else is in the chest? Are the rumors true? If they find it, will they open it? The renowned Demonologist, Priests, and Monks who captured the demon constructed an elaborate shrine to contain the chest and educate all those who enter about the demons inside. Unfortunately, it reads like a treasure map.

This most cursed chest contains 7 powerful demons concealed away in a temple and believed to be sealed away for all of eternity.

A series of dungeons/mini campaign for Dungeon Crawl Classics.

Monks, priests, and other holy warriors fought and gave their lives to seal these most powerful demons inside this chest. The chest is sealed away in a forgotten shrine, bound in blessed chains and ofuda. Scrolls detailing each demon and how they were first defeated line the walls of the shrine.

There is a rumor that seven items of incredible power are also contained in the chest. Relics used by those who captured the 7 Demons are rumored to be hidden within the shrine. The good news is the relics used by the original captors are present within the shrine. The bad news is the items within the chest accompany the demons when they disappear.

Judge’s Synopsis: Characters discover a chest that will unleash seven very powerful demons along with untold treasure if opened. What else is in the chest? Are the rumors true? If they find it, will they open it? The renowned Demonologist, Priests, and Monks who captured the demon constructed an elaborate shrine to contain the chest and educate all those who enter about the demons inside. Unfortunately, it reads like a treasure map.

The good news is the demons can be returned to the chest with great effort. It will become the quest of those who foolishly open the chest to retrieve all of them. If any adventurer refuses the quests, their existence will be cursed and will ultimately end in woe.

Balor: True name hidden in the shrine. No one dares speak it.
Demo-Dragon. Maybe not the Demodragon, but definitely one of them.
Ghost of Summoner Sorcerer Yamada Daisuke: Servant of the Hidden Lord
Oni Lord Shoko O Futen. (Divine Wind of the Underworld.)
Osyluthe: aka Splintered Demon.
Void Demon: The Ghost in Darkness
Twin-Headed Hariti-Baku. Servant of Sezrekan.

*Judge’s Note: If/when the chest is actually opened, the priests that sealed the demons away used many scrolls and spells to assure the demons all return to their original lairs from which they were captured. Each tale of where they were found except the Ghost of Summoner Sorcerer Yamada Daisuke who is bound within the shrine. He will be the first challenge any group who opens the chest must face. He is also one of the scariest and most powerful outside the shrine.

Some of the names and who they serve have been changed from my original adventure notes to reflect the world of DCC.
This series of adventures was loosely inspired by The 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo.

And similar OSR games.

A Short Scenario for DCC RPG

Sir Ernest will answer a few questions and explain that his men once unearthed an ancient mound containing a very old demon and managed to seal it way before it could get loose upon the world. However, it cost him his kingdom and his fortune to build the crypts and the doors to seal the cave. As they sealed the demon away, it spat one last curse upon him- the curse of un-life.

A side trek adventure for 4th Level characters


The group has accidentally stumbled into a long forgotten burial vault.What mysteries lay within? What treasure might they find? What’s buried down here?
Quest: Explore the ruins.
Quest: Prevent the demon from escaping.
Follow-Up Quest: What ever happened to Bertrus the servant?

In their travels through uncharted lands, the group discovers a semi-circle of stones in the brush leading to a cave in the side of a huge hill. On each side of the entrance to the cave is what appears to be an old mausoleum.

The one on the right has caved in and appears to be in a state of ruin. The door fell off years ago and dirt, brush and fallen chunks of the mausoleum show what is clearly a burial vault in the center. The lid appears to be intact.

The one on the left is slightly larger and appears to be in almost perfect condition. The door appears to be made of black stone. It has a single bronze ring and a key hole beneath it. If checked, the entire mausoleum radiates faintly of magic.

The cave entrance is sealed by years of dirt, brush and debris. A pair of stone doors similar to the ones on the mausoleum solidly rest locked in the path. Whoever or whatever built these doors clearly didn’t want anyone getting in or perhaps something getting out?

1-1 The Clearing:

The clearing itself is home to 3 magically mutated wild boars. It is clear some sort of death magic permeates this area as they appear to be gaunt, almost un-dead.

3 Ghoul Boars: Init +1; Atk bite +3 melee (1d4 plus paralyzation) or charge +3 melee (1d4) See DCC Pg 96 for details; AC 12; HD 2d6; MV 30’; Act 1d20; SP un-dead traits, paralyzation, infravision 100’; SV Fort +1, Ref +0, Will +0; AL C.

1-2 The Empty Crypt

The ceiling on this small, 15′ x 15′ stone crypt has long since succumbed to wind and weather. The door on this one and the very structure itself seemed to have been made from a different stone that the one still standing. Some investigation reveals a tombstone that says, “Here lies Bertrus, loyal unto death.” The casket is empty.

However, Bertrus concealed a small chest underneath his casket in a small chest. Inside the chest are some Cleric’s robes, prayer beads, and a holy symbol. There is also a book that contains ancient rites allowing one to seal doors to prevent evil from escaping. IF the group finds the book, they may make a DC 18 check to decipher the script for a proper incantation.

The book is called the Libris Daemonicum. It also talks about summoning rituals, but no banishment spell. It also details the confinement of demons and how to seal doors to prevent their escape. The book is written in an ancient elder language and will be very difficult to decipher.

The small chest is in a precarious position under the casket in the caved-in mausoleum. If the characters make too much noise or movement, the remaining bits of ceiling and casket might crumble and fall in on the chest.
Characters inside the crumbling mausoleum must make a REF Save or take 2d8 damage from crumbling debris.

1-3 The Sturdy Crypt.

This 20’x20′ stone crypt is locked with a solid obsidian door, sealed and locked. A Knock Spell can open it as a magically sealed door. A rogue may attempt to open the lock normally, at the risk of incurring a curse.

Inside the crypt is a sealed casket. If the characters disturb the lid, they will face Sir Marlin Hildebrandt. Please note he is wearing his +1 Half Plate and carrying his +1 sword. He will fight valiantly until destroyed and then rise as a Lawful Ghost.

Sir Ernest Hildebrandt, the Mummified Knight: Init +1; Atk choke +5 melee (1d4 / 2d4 / 3d4 /etc.) or +1 Longsword +4 melee (1d8+3); AC 17 (+19 with +1 Shield); HD 8d12+8; MV 20’; Act 1d20; SP damage reduction 5, mummy rot, vulnerable to fire, un-dead traits; SV Fort +4, Ref +2, Will +10; AL C.

Sir Ernest’s Ghost: Init +2; Atk special (see below); AC 10; HD 2d12;
MV fly 40’; Act 1d20; SP un-dead traits, immune to non magical weapons, 1d4 special abilities; SV Fort +2, Ref +4, Will +6; AL L. He will be grateful to have finally be free from the centuries old curse. He bears no ill will upon the party. He can grant a Boon of a +2 Dagger of demon slaying. upon a character he deems worthy. He was also buried with a small chest of 150 gold and a Cloak of Comfort. A Bowl of Porridge Conjuring, and A Ring of +2 Diplomacy 2x/Day

Sir Ernest will answer a few questions and explain that his men once unearthed an ancient mound containing a very old demon and managed to seal it way before it could get loose upon the world. However, it cost him his kingdom and his fortune to build the crypts and the doors to seal the cave. As they sealed the demon away, it spat one last curse upon him- the curse of un-life.

Bertrus, his valet and most faithful companion, was supposed to lock himself into his own crypt after Sir Ernest’s passing. He doesn’t know what actually happened since being sealed in his own tomb. It is possible Bertrus ran off in which case he could still be roaming the land as an un-dead.

Sir Ernest thanks the group and departs for the afterlife.

1-3 The Burial Mound.

The doors embedded in the side of the hill are solidly bricked in by whatever stone was used in the mausoleums’ construction. The doors are the same unearthly obsidian material and the locks require a Knock spell or a DC 20 lockpicking attempt. Even if the mundane locks are opened, a STR check DC 20 or found the book Bertrus stashed under his casket.

Torches line the walls of this deep cave. Two braziers filled with thick oil sit in the center on each side of a sacrificial altar. The air smells of moisture and decay. The ceiling is about 16-20′ high and covered in stalactites. Faintly glowing symbols surround the altar in a summoning circle. It is clear at a glance whatever ancient rituals took place here were for evil purposes. Small piles of bones litter the floor outside of the circle. It is clear several humanoids perished while worshipping something in the cave.

1-4 The Pit.

Farther into the room is a deep pit. It’s deep enough that something with wings would have no trouble escaping, but adventurers going down into the pit would need to tie multiple ropes together to safely reach the bottom. Around the pit are some markings similar to the ones around the circle with the glowing runes. Observant characters will also notice a circle of thick salt around the pit. IF one of the characters (accidentally) breaks the circle, the demon will be free.

The Pit Fiend– Type II Demon: Init +2; Atk: Claw +10 melee (1d8+3) crit 19-20 Rod +10 melee (1d6+3) and Paralysis ; AC 18; HD 8d8; MV 30’ Fly 40′; Act 1d20; Immunities: Immune to non-magical weapons or natural attacks from creatures of 3 HD or less; half damage from fire, acid, cold, electricity, gas. SV Fort +1, Ref +1, Will +4; AL C.

Anyone hit by the Rod must make a Fort Save or be paralyzed for 1d4 rounds.
The Fiend may expend an action to raise 1d10 Skeletons 3 times per day. The Rod is rendered inert if the Fiend is killed.

Skeleton: Init +0; Atk claw +0 melee (1d3) or by weapon +0 melee; AC 9; HD 1d6; MV 30’; Act 1d20; SP un-dead, half damage from piercing and slashing weapons; SV Fort +0, Ref +0, Will +0; AL C.

1-5 The Treasure Alcove.

The cultists left tributes near the pit in a small alcove just inside the salt circle. There is a pile of 78 gold coins around a small chest. Inside the locked chest is a +1 Shortsword, a +1 AC Ring of Withered Healing that restores up to 1d8 hit points per day but drains 1 Permanent Stamina each time used (If a character dies from this Stamina drain, they become Un-dead and under the control of the Judge.) a +1 Cloak that grants an additional +1 magical bonus to Hide in Shadows and Sneak Silently checks. and a Circlet that grants +1 AC if no other headgear is worn and makes the wearer invisible to Un-Dead.

Suitable for use with OSR games.

Doing What I’m Passionate About.

I still love Role Playing Games wholeheartedly. I love writing. I like money, but we’re still working on that part. But a friend reminded me once that joy is a way bigger priority than money.

When last we left our hero…

July 19th was kind of a rough day. The day before was challenging because I went round with Imposter Syndrome yet again. I’ve had a bit of time to process. I’ve also had a TON of loving input from friends and and a certain amazing mentor.

Also, a huge shout-out to Space Freighter One on Twitter. He’s been encouraging the heck out of me before I’m even awake most days. I think it’s the benefit of being a sentient starship. Thanks!

Thanks always to Laura DiBenedetto as well. Without The Six Habits, I probably would have lost my marbles completely during the year that was 2020. Thanks for keeping me sane and reminding us it is possible to find joy. Laura on LinkedIn. If you ever need a Life Coach or just a good friend who’s unafraid to give you a swift but caring kick in the butt when needed.

Laura jumped right in with all kinds of suggestions and helpful ideas. I keep forgetting to mention, I own my failures. My successes I owe largely to The Six Habits and lots or great advice from its author.

I still love Role Playing Games wholeheartedly. I love writing. I like money, but we’re still working on that part. But a friend reminded me that joy is a way bigger priority than money. That feeling of being in my own zone every day is worth a million dollars and then some.

I knew it would be less than a day before I became inspired again.

Laura responded to both of my prior posts that went to LinkedIn.com. This amazing, talented, CEO with God-knows-how-much going on took time out to respond to my posts. Knock me over with a feather. Holy crap.

I watch a lot of YouTube when I’m not doing anything else. Or at least listening to podcasts while I’m in the shower. I shave my head while listening to Russell Brand talk about how messed up the world is or my friend @jedion357 talking about Star Frontiers and old D&D. Tom’s YouTube Channels are Table Top Taproom and Star Frontiers Gamer.

The thing I admire most about Laura, Russell Brand and Tom (aka Jedion) is their passion for what they do. Admittedly, Brand has something akin to 5.7 million followers. Tom has maybe 135 total? But regardless of follower count both of these talented and passionate individuals put out phenomenal content almost every day.

Tom is especially passionate about Star Frontiers and just listening to him talk about the game makes me want to run it. He’s been into the game a very long time and I admire his dedication to what is definitely considered part of the Old School Rules family. If he can stand so firmly behind this older game, I can certainly write about/run/play Dungeon Crawl Classics.

Let’s talk about Old School Rules.

Disclaimer: I want to clarify this is not about a specific product, but a category of RPG products. OSR and OSRIC are a line of RPGs that closely mimic rules of original fantasy and other games from the 1970’s, 1980’s and early 1990’s. Dungeons & Dragons is the main focus of many of these games, but not the only one.

My goal in life is not to refresh the infamous Edition Wars of D&D past. Some of us are very passionate about games gone by. Whether it’s Basic, B/X, White Box, 1st Ed AD&D, Star Frontiers, Gamma World, or even something slightly more obscure- you can still find a solid fan base for it somewhere on the Internet.

The #RPGTwitter sphere covers all sectors of the RPG spectrum from OSR to 5E, and more Indie designers that ever. Unfortunately, a lot of the OG, Old Grognard, bitterly jaded, spiteful OSR crowd lurk all over social media. On any given day it depends on who you run into as to the reaction you might get. Some of us are pretty darn friendly.

Huzzah!

I’d run AD&D 1E or Basic from the Rules Cyclopedia tomorrow IF I had players and those players had a copy of the rules. Obviously a fresh 5E PHB is much easier to pick up. But, Dungeon Crawl Classics is firmly rooted in the OSR tradition and it is widely available.

I’d love more opportunities to run DCC. The potential for unexplored territory and old school huzzah! moments is great. But, I ran into my fears of imposter syndrome at the sheer amount of material that exists for this game already. Goodman has been going at it steadily since the 1990’s. Third Party publishers who came over from D&D 3rd Ed or Pathfinder 1E have been putting out their own material almost as long. How can anyone compete?

Competition.

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This is also why I’m not trying to cash in on the D&D 5E market. Yeah, it’s hot right now. But that’s also why some third party publishers are selling at $.99 or less. Many times it’s Pay What You Wish. Or even free. I can do free here on my blog. Easy.

I firmly believe there is still plenty of untapped potential in DCC and OSR in general, really. Sure, there’s plenty of well-trodden territory out there. But, I think I have some things that maybe haven’t been done as much in mind.

There’s a well known Law of Attraction saying, “There’s no such thing as competition.” I’m a fan of the saying, “There’s plenty of room for everyone.” Quips aside, I believe it’s possible to still create even in a crowded market as long as I’m having fun. The goal becomes having fun. Money is a very welcome side effect.

With that having been said, I’m going to keep making DCC stuff here on my blog for sure.

Love you, Family!

I’m going to stop looking at other third party publishers’ material, though. Just because someone else has done a thing, doesn’t mean I can’t do it differently or maybe better. Right now I just want to have fun with it and strive for personal growth.

Would I like to be the next Gygax or Arneson? Yes and no. Popular to the point of other writers and game designers quoting me regularly- heck yeah! Would I like to be dragging around some serious ethical and philosophical baggage long after I’m dead? Aw hell naw!

Update: New avenues of discovery.

After conferring with some very wise people, I’m going to start looking at >gasp!< non-TTRPG work again. Like it or not, my skill set does apply to more that one occupation. Now if I can stave off sheer terror and existential anxiety, I’ll be fine. Keep on keepin on til then.

Thank you for being here on my journey. I’m staving off the imposter syndrome again. Folks like Laura, Russell Brand and Tom have inspired me to keep going. I am grateful to all of you every day.

Does OSR Create Imposter Syndrome?

I mean, nothing new here, right? The RPG industry isn’t the first to run into this particular dilemma. How many truly original plots are there for movies, TV shows, YouTube podcasts, video games, comic books, and cartoons can there possibly be? The RPG industry is just one of the fresher faces on the block compared to other print media, radio, movies and TV.

Man, I thought this was going to be a gaming article.

Looking at the many various websites that have converted the old D&D material into Dungeon Crawl Classics (DCC.) I was looking for old D&D modules from B/X and AD&D 1E that had been converted to DCC. I was also on my side quest for OA material that had been converted to Old School Rules. Turns out there’s a LOT of stuff out there. Like, a shockingly large amount out there.

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I’m just wondering what am I even doing here any more? OSR already felt a bit like we were reinventing the wheel. Now it’s more like I’m trying to reverse engineer a Lamborghini. It’s like I’m way in over my head AND it’s all been done before only better. I feel like I showed up late for the game, in the wrong season, for the wrong team, not even the same sport.

I get that the definition of “retro clone” means it has been done before.

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But, I was really digging DCC RPG anyway. I still do. I will probably even put some stuff up on the site here. But getting paid for it?

I feel like I’m barking up the wrong tree, in the dark, in the neighbor’s yard, three blocks over, and I’m a canary. Imposter syndrome? This is like a whole freaking plague of imposterism. Imposterishness? Imposteritis? Imposterior?

The idea was simple at first. Find a game I like. Find an OGL I can work with. Create material. Put material up for sale. Advertise and promote the material. Get paid, even if it’s a pittance in credit on DriveThruRPG. I mean, I can still do all of that, I guess.

I don’t remember the part where I discover new information, and then mentally trip, fall, stumble, and hit my head on the wall repeatedly.

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I mean, nothing new here, right? The RPG industry isn’t the first to run into this particular dilemma. How many truly original plots are there for movies, TV shows, YouTube podcasts, video games, comic books, and cartoons can there possibly be? The RPG industry is just one of the fresher faces on the block compared to other print media, radio, movies and TV.

There are probably over 100 different fantasy RPGs alone. Sci-Fi RPGs, Supers, Cyberpunk and Post Apocalyptic games are not far behind. I really feel sorry for folks operating in the Horror genre in any medium, much less RPGs. (Horror- literally competing with campfire stories in verbal tradition since man began creating stories. Yeesh.)

Retro RPGs are not entirely new, either. GURPS and Mythras are two examples of games born from much older roleplaying engines. GURPS isn’t new, either. The RPG industry is chock full of examples of people taking older games and repurposing/rebranding them to make money for themselves. D&D itself was an outgrowth of the miniatures wargaming hobby.

Disclaimer: I want to clarify this is not about a specific product, but a category of RPG products. OSR and OSRIC are a line of RPGs that closely mimic rules of original fantasy and other games from the 1970’s, 1980’s and early 1990’s. Dungeons & Dragons is the main focus of many of these games, but not the only one.

So, why am I here, exactly?

I’ll be in a better mood later.

The whole thing makes me wonder what do I have to offer? Like, at all? Should I go back to mopping floors or pumping coffee? (My back can’t really handle either, but sometimes I speculate. ) I’ve been at this for almost a year now. The self doubt has gone from creeping in to a flash flood. I just don’t know right now.

I’ve been posting daily to this blog in one form or another for almost six months solid. I’m not making a ton of money off of it. (Read: none whatsoever, much to the chagrin of my missus.)

Do I stop writing material for RPGs and about them? Do I just go back to running a game or two on the weekend for a few close friends and family members? It’s frustrating, it’s uncomfortable, and it likely means positive growth is coming in some way, shape or form.

Tonight, I’m upset. Tomorrow, I’ll meditate and be in a better mood. My inspiration will return. It’s just a small setback.

Back to the original question.

Why do we have OSR, anyway? I mean, I know a lot of well-meaning Old Grognards have a hard time accepting new editions of D&D. Okay. Back when reprints weren’t as commonly available, I can see that. But now? I own originals, reprints, pdf printouts, and digital copies of lots of old rulebooks. I also have a ton of bookmarks to sites that still rock the old game.

So, why is OSR a thing? It’s much the same idea as a throwback basketball jersey or reproduction Air Jordans. The idea is to take an old concept or product and alter it slightly and sell it for money. In RPG terms, same old rules, same old game, new title, art, and trade dress.

Where does the creative license come in?

Where’s the creative freedom in copying/rewriting the same old rules and slapping a new coat of paint on it? People like classic cars, too. I’d drive a rebuilt 1984 IROC-Z if I could. BUT… I wouldn’t be able to haul my family in it. In RPG terms, many of us run a current system/ruleset because it’s more widely available, popular and accessible to find a game.

If I walk into a FLGS on a Saturday and say, “Who wants to play in my 5E game?” I’m far more likely to get some takers than if I walk in and ask, “Who wants to play Tunnels & Trolls?” Many times, old fashioned bulletin boards or online groups/apps will help someone find a game for a specialized RPG such as Lancer. Likewise, it’s easy to walk into a club meeting full of Old Grognards and find a AD&D 1E game, Castles & Crusades, or White Box Swords & Wizardry, because those guys probably won’t need any explanation.

Why do I love DCC so darn much?

I chose that particular retro clone of D&D because it’s flexible, reminds me of multiple editions, and is a lot of fun to run. There’s nostalgia, cool dice, and lots of fun charts for everything/anything. It’s like Warhammer Fantasy and Rolemaster had a love child.

I love DCC because I can (re)create classes and concepts that I used to love. I can pump out new and different monsters or port them over from other games, D&D editions, etc. I own a sickening number of old monster books, especially from D&D 3rd Ed. They happen to work very well with DCC/MCC. So does Gamma World, strangely enough.

I’ll admit, I also have a strong sense of nostalgia and that’s present in DCC more than other games. I would still run Basic D&D per the Rules Cyclopedia if I didn’t have to come up with 5 copies of the game to distribute to my players. DCC is relatively cheap and easy to find, so is D&D 5E. Either works. One is easier to explain thanks to Critical Role.

The “Old Grognard Effect” does more damage to new players than Matt Mercer ever could.

Old Grognards of the world, OG roleplayers of the world, hear me please. There is a very ugly tendency amongst older gamers to exclude or act as gatekeepers to the hobby. The ugly act of discrimination affects the gaming table the same as anything else. Simply put- please treat people with kindness and understanding?

I hear a lot of stories about OGs gaming in public. Why do you go play at a game store with the same old group and the same old game if you’re not going to let other people join or even watch? Go hang out in the DM’s mom’s basement for five hours and continue to ignore the new players entirely.

Part of the appeal of D&D 5E is its current popularity. Please, let them learn about the “good old days” elsewhere after they’ve had a few sessions under their belts. Keeping new folx excluded from the hobby is ultimately self-destructive toward the hobby and industry. Please, don’t do it. Gatekeeping is unnecessary and kinda stupid.

The homebrew factor.

People have been hacking the rules and creating their own material for games since the dawn of D&D. B/X and AD&D 1E were a glorious and wonderful proving ground for funky new game mechanics, previously unseen or unheard-of monsters, and freakishly cool magic items. Some of us feel like D&D 5E is tied very heavily to the rules, even when they’re broken and dysfunctional.

We never needed a “Rule of cool” back then because all you ever needed was DM approval. It was the DM’s table, his rules. (I use male pronouns because unfortunately ladies were rare in the hobby back then.) Likewise, DMs could cook up some new, weird idea for a class, spell, magic item, or monster they could run it. If it flopped, it could be gone the next week or revised.

Heck, back then we didn’t have “Based on X Edition” mechanics. If someone built a game based on D&D, but set entirely in space? It was a “NEW” game. Most designers had the sense to rename the attributes, classes, abilities, magic and add spiffy rayguns. They wouldn’t rip the game off directly, but they could definitely steal concepts to make money. Sounds like what OSR games do. Hmmm….

Plenty more to discuss next time. Thanks for letting me rant. Feeling better now. Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you.

Otterkin for DCC RPG

These small creatures average 2-3′ tall. They are extremely nimble in the water and have keen senses both underwater and on land. In general they are kind and gentle in nature. They do not seek encounters with other creatures unless they appear friendly or playful. Their first reaction in most other situations is to flee to the water immediately.

This was inspired by a meme on Twitter.

I love otters!

Here’s the pic.

The Otterkin:

Init +1; Atk tiny staff -2 melee (1d3); AC 11; HD 1d4; MV 20’ Swim 30′; Act 1d20; SP infravision 100’ Keen Smell; SV Fort -2, Ref +0, Will -2; AL N.

Their native language is a series of squeeks, whistles, and chirps. Their mastery of Common is quite good in many cases even though it is rarely ever spoken above a whisper. They also have an affinity for communicating with other aquatic mammals.

These small creatures average 2-3′ tall. They are extremely nimble in the water and have keen senses both underwater and on land. In general they are kind and gentle in nature. They do not seek encounters with other creatures unless they appear friendly or playful. Their first reaction in most other situations is to flee to the water immediately.

Otterkin are often found in pairs, families of 3-7, romps of 6 or more, or villages numbering in the dozens.

Each village is led by an elder (Same stats as above except +2 Init; HD 1d6; SV Fort +0, Ref +2, Will +0)

Each village has a wise otterkin. (Can cast 1 Level 1 Cleric Spell. Heals as a Level 1 Cleric.)

Generally these creatures are non-violent and try to get along with everyone. They are extremely playful, especially in the water. Generally they wear minimal clothing and usually only trade for food and shiny trinkets. They are generous to a fault and will always attempt to accommodate friendly visitors to their tiny warrens.

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DCC or any other OSR compatible.

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you!

DCC Catacomb of the Wolf Lord Room: 2-2

The floor inside is grassy, covered in autumn leaves in many colors and shapes. The room has a warm, homecoming feel to it. The group is flooded with happy memories of warm meals and family at home. It’s as if they were being welcomed back after a long voyage.

You’ve faced the trials in the Happy Hunting Grounds, and now you emerge back into the hallway as if you had never left.

There remains about 10′ of dusty hallway before a tall stone arch decorated with faintly glowing blue arcane symbols all the way to its point. The room beyond appears a bit hazy, but parts of a very large skull can be seen in the room lying on the floor.

As the group approaches the arch, the runes glow a little brighter. No one has disturbed the dust on the floor in centuries.

Note to the Judge: the runes are intended as a red herring. At your discretion, there could be a force field barring the entry of the impure, but if they survived the trials of the Happy Hunting Grounds, then they should be allowed access. The mundane explanation for the runes is that they were part of the ritual allowing the body of the Wolf Lord to be entombed.

(Map to follow)

As the group passes through the archway, the room is illuminated with the warm glow of autumn dusk.

The room lights up and the bones of an enormous wolf lay in front of what appears to be a gigantic tree on the back wall. Puzzling, because there is no tree on the surface that corresponds with the roots/trunk.

The floor inside is grassy, covered in autumn leaves in many colors and shapes. The room has a warm, homecoming feel to it. The group is flooded with happy memories of warm meals and family at home. It’s as if they were being welcomed back after a long voyage.

There is a great deal of open ground in front of the party. In front and to the right are the bones of the Wolf Lord’s corporeal body. To the left are the bones of a human skeleton dressed in ceremonial robes. A grimoire and a journal lie next to the body, along with a medium sized chest.

Before the group gets a chance to investigate the body, a portal opens on the left wall. 5 large, snarling, hideous, frightening werewolves led by some sort of huge wolf demon burst through it!

Demon Werewolves: Init +7; Atk bite +8 melee (1d8+2) Claw +6 melee (1d6+2) ; Crit 19-20; AC 16; HD 4d6+4 ea; MV 40’; Act 1d24+ 1d20; SV Fort +6, Ref +6, Will +5; AL C. Infravision. Return to home plane when destroyed.
Immune to non-magical weapons or natural attacks from creatures of 3 HD or less; half damage from fire, acid, cold, electricity, gas. Vulnerable to Magic Weapons, Silver, Cold wrought Iron and wolfsbane.

Being bitten by one of these creatures causes a debilitating form of Lycanthropy. Fort Save DC 15. If afflicted, the character will rise on the next full moon as a minion of the Werewolf Lord under the control of the Judge. A meal of raw meat must be consumed each time the character transforms or lose 1 point of Stamina each night and transform again each night regardless of the moon until such a meal is consumed. The character’s alignment will also gradually change to Chaotic if it wasn’t already. The disease can be cured by the Remove Disease or similar higher level spell.

These Large werewolves are led by the Demon Servant of the Werewolf Lord. Their sole purpose is to prevent the reawakening of the Wolf Lord. The Demon Wolf servants of the Werewolf Lord are larger than average wolves with thick black fur, red eyes and sabretooth fangs.

Alpha Servant of the Werewolf Lord: (Type III Demon) Init +7; Atk bite +10 melee (1d10+2) Claw +9 melee (1d8+2) ; Crit 18-20; AC 17; HD 6d6+6; MV 40’; Act 1d24+ 1d20; SV Fort +6, Ref +6, Will +5; AL C. Infravision. Return to home plane when destroyed. Immune to weapons of less than +2 enchantment or natural attacks from creatures of 5 HD or less; half-damage from fire, acid, cold, electricity, gas; Vulnerable to Magic Weapons, Silver, Cold wrought Iron and wolfsbane. Being bitten by this creature applies a debilitating form of lycanthropy. (See above.)

This Huge beast has been sent to kill anyone attempting to awaken the Wolf Lord from his slumber at any cost. He appears similar to the Large members of his pack, but more horrible, frightening, and hunched over.

*At the Judge’s discretion, the werewolves may teleport away at 3/4 of their starting hit points, choosing to face punishment at the hands of their master.

After the battle, the Wolf Lord appears.

Read aloud:
As soon as the last of the demons falls, they all vanish into dust. The Wolf Lord appears as a light blue, glowing ghost of his former self.
“Thank you for coming to me after these long years of rest. Unto you I will bestow a few humble gifts. After you return to your world above, please spread the word of my return to the forests and hills of my home world. You are akin to my pack now. I will forever be in your debt.

The group will have the opportunity to speak to the Wolf Lord and ask as many reasonable questions as they like. The Judge is free to fill in the details. The Wolf Lord is benevolent and considers the group to be his new pack.

The Wolf Lord will allow the survivors to speak with fallen members of their group. He would be able to revive a fallen member of the group if they request it. Otherwise, fallen PCs may be resurrected as wolves or allowed to return to The Happy Hunting Grounds if they wish.

Loot: The sword Wolf’s Fang will be awarded to whoever carries the wolf’s tooth. The cloak will be awarded to a suitable roguish type. The Grimoire that explains the Wolf Lord’s Coven and benefits of converting to being one of his followers. Finally, the witch’s journal details 3 new spells specific to the Wolf Lord and those who follow him.

Once the group is done collecting their loot, a portal appears in the tree roots behind the wolf bones. It leads back to the surface above. It closes once everyone steps through.


Let’s Talk About: More Classes in DCC RPG.

Here are some classes I’d like to see come into DCC RPG. Please remember Races have their own class in DCC, just like Basic D&D and some other OSR games. Some classes deemed mention in order to be ruled out or suggested as variants within preexisting classes.

One of the few issues I have with Dungeon Crawl Classics and some other OSR games is the lack of variety in the character classes/races.

I know. I know. It’s the Interwebs. I’m sure if we can think of it, someone out there has already done it or something similar. With enough time and digging, I’m sure I can find the magical answer to the question: Has this already been done? I will do that digging later. Then again, “Do yer research,” has some people believing the Earth is flat, so…

Here are some classes I’d like to see come into DCC RPG. Please remember Races have their own class in DCC, just like Basic D&D and some other OSR games. Some classes deemed mention in order to be ruled out or suggested as variants within preexisting classes.

Let’s start with some of the classes from AD&D:

Acrobat: They’re nimble, dodgy and athletic. They may excellent second story burglars. This simple adaptation of Thief would focus on Strength, Agility and mobility in combat.

Assassin: I feel to properly capture this class it would need to be a blend of Warrior and Thief. The variation on this would be Ninja, much as Samurai are an adaptation of Warrior.

Barbarian: Is pretty much just a Warrior with a gnarly attitude and usually some sort of large weapon. Strictly a roleplaying choice unless the Judge wishes to modify it.

Cavalier: Cool as it might be, this class would only be a fit for certain campaigns and maybe be better relegated to a variation on Warrior. Originally I did consider it.

Druid: I have two schools of thought on this and the Shaman. One is they’re just dressed-up Clerics. The second one is, heck yeah. Separate class! Shapeshifting, different spells, different social orders, exciting spellcasting restrictions. Let’s do it! Druids are in tune with nature more than their gods. Maybe they would require a different casting table with new and exciting consequences?

Monk: This is somewhat the Mystic from D&D Rules Cyclopedia. It’s a freaky cross between the Shao-Lin tradition and like a Benedictine monk. I think it has a place in DCC. I suppose an argument could be made for making them a roleplaying variation of Warrior or Cleric. I would give them a little of both.

Paladin: Again, seemed like a cool idea at first, but maybe not. This can be played as a slightly holier-than-thou Warrior or a zealous, more aggressive Cleric. Probably not a good basic OSR choice overall.

Ranger: As I love this class is other games, I’m really tempted to convert this. But, it could just be a very woodsy Warrior or Thief. Again, somewhat like the Mystic from D&D Rules Cyclopedia, living alone in the woods, studying Wizard spells while practicing with a bow and two-weapon fighting, stealth… Yeah. This one has the potential to get out of hand real quick, so probably no.

I think a good case could be made for less powerful versions of the Ranger such as Scout, Archer, or some sort of Dual Wield specialist. It’s ultimately up to the Judge as to whether or not to allow a class to make Warriors almost completely obsolete overnight. Maybe it is best left as a simple roleplaying variation on Warrior, Thief, or Elf.

Shaman: “But Jeff, that’s just another Cleric!” Yes, it could play out that way. But I think it’s a very viable class. For those who remember 2nd Ed AD&D, there were some pretty cool Druid and/or Shaman spells. Shaman would also tap into the spirit world a lot more and their spell table would reflect it. It seems a very viable option to me, but could be a roleplaying variation of Cleric or maybe even Wizard.

Porting a couple of classes in from video game land.

I’d like to see a few classes brought over from newer editions of D&D and/or a couple of my favorite video games.

Necromancer: I would dare say there are a fair number of players from Everquest, Diablo 2 and 3, as well as other games who would eat this up as a class beyond Wizard. A similar argument could be made for Enchanter/Artificer with automatons or suits of magic armor.

Warlock: Take the magic table and make it super harsh. Have some sort of Void beings, Fell hounds, Succubi, or other nasty demons as servants. (*ala World of Warcraft.) Give them supernatural patrons that would make the player’s skin crawl a bit. With great power comes great sacrifice. Maybe not quite so evil, just creepy.

Things I think would be fun to bring in from Blizzard properties:

(Oh don’t sue me. Please don’t sue me…) I would like to see the Diablo 2 AD&D magic item tables converted for DCC. I think it would be fun to give players the Wailing Fiery Broadsword of the Whale, as a made-up example. That way if they find a really cool item, they know it’s legendary. I might work something similar into my game. I also like the idea of using green, blue, yellow, purple, and gold sticky notes with the items on them to denote rarity. Could be fun.

I also think it would be cool to bring in a lot of the spells from both Diablo games and WoW. They’re mostly quickly cast offensive spells for Wizards. The only downsides I could see to this would be failed casting checks and the poor Wizards wearing out rapidly from repeated casts.

“Third wizard this week that had to be put down because he sprouted extra tentacles and an eyeball in the middle of his forehead.” –Bob, Warrior Extraordinaire

I’m sure there could be cases made for bringing in all kinds of things unofficially from other RPGs, video games, and even movies/tv. (Krull’s spiky blade thing, for example.) I’m also giving thought to making my own campaign world where I can slip in a bunch of these character concepts, spells, and items.

Next time, I’ll cover races and possibly a few other class options that might be fun. I appreciate you! Thanks for being here!

Artifacts of the Wolf Lord DCC RPG.

These items will be available after the final boss fight in Room 2-2 in the Catacomb of the Wolf Lord to be released soon. It’s not as easy as one might imagine to obtain one of these items.

I make no aspersions about game balance. Use at your own risk.

These items haven’t been fully tested in DCC. The items are built around the two base classes of Warrior and Thief but could be used by Dwarf, Elf, or Halfling. Please also note the wielders of these items won’t know immediately what they are capable of. Some trial and error may be in order.

These items will be available after the final boss fight in Room 2-2 in the Catacomb of the Wolf Lord to be released soon. It’s not as easy as one might imagine to obtain one of these items.

Both items can easily be adapted to other RPGs, especially OSR games.

Fang of the Wolf Lord:

This sword is forged from the physical fang of the Wolf Lord. It is granted by him to a wielder who he deems worthy. If the owner of the sword dies, the sword magically returns to the Wolf Lord in 1d6 days.

The sword is a short sword, long sword or two handed sword depending on the owner’s preference. It can be stored in the sheath of a dagger when it is not in use. It grows to the full length chosen when drawn.

In any form, it is a +2 Lawful 10 INT, 3 Banes, 3 type 1 powers, 1 type 2 power. 1d12 Special Power. Empathy.

Bane 1: Lycanthropes. +1 Damage Bonus.
Bane 2: Un-dead: +1 to hit and damage
Bane 3: Demons: +1 to hit and damage. (This is not listed in the DCC book.)

Special Purpose: Protect the Weak
Power 1: Detect Evil 1d4x10’
Power 2: Detect Invisible 1/day.
Power 3: Gives the owner Infravision 120’.

Special Power (Not listed in DCC.) Summon Spirit Wolf 1/Day:
Init +5; Atk bite +6 melee (1d6+2); AC 14; HD 3d6 (18hp); MV 40’; Act 1d20; SV Fort +4, Ref +4, Will +3; AL L. Always appears with Max HP. Will follow the instructions of the wielder as long as the Purpose and Banes of the sword are being followed. Disappears for 24 hours if destroyed.

May be summoned again IF the sword deems it necessary.

(Artwork to come)

Cloak of the Wolf Lord:

Granted to a roguish servant of the Wolf Lord. Upon declaring allegiance to the Celestial Pack of the Wolves, this items attunes to the person to whom it was granted. Wearing the Cloak bestows the following:

+3 AC or acts as +3 Hide Armor if none is worn (AC +6, 1d8 Fumble, No Movement penalty.)
+2 to any check involving smell or hearing while the armor is worn.
+2 Sneak Silently
+2 Hide in Shadows* Hide and Sneak bonuses also apply in woodland surroundings with sufficient cover.
Wearer will automatically be regarded as friendly by regular wolves.

More to come! Thanks for stopping by!

Items for use with Dungeon Crawl Classics and other OSR games.
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