From the Bar to the Graveyard and Back Again (Dungeon Crawl Classics Recap, 4-4-13)
The intrepid adventurers had just survived a slightly modified version of Perils of the Sunken City, and had then survived an attack by an all elf rival band of adventurers looking for the magical ring that Granshee is in possession of, which he first picked up way back in the funnel that started the campaign.
The mercenary captain that was in the employ of their old friend, the inquisitor, just happened to be in Mustertown betting on the noobs, and recognized Aelanthea, one of the two survivors from the original adventuring party, and offered to take them out to the best places to carouse in the entire Great City.
Thus began our use of the Carousing Rules. As a side note, the Carousing Rules were, in their initial form, created by +Jeff Rients, who also once ran his old school murderfests at Armored Gopher Games. So this was just like the rules coming home again. Thanks to +Jeremy Deram and +John Carr for modifying the rules for DCC. They can be found here:
As a result, two of the PCs ended up owing money to a dwarf crime boss that changed his voice mid dialogue from Marlon Brando to Robert De Niro (DeNiro is easier for me to maintain). Another PC woke up naked without any equipment to speak of in a temple of appreciative folk. Aelanthea ended up calling on divine favor and received a quest.
After the epic night of carousing, Brother Largen, of the Office of Adventurer Guidance and Procurement of the Greater Temple of the Lords of Order, approached their henchmen Undrel, who was himself too broke to be irresponsible.
Brother Largen’s job, in part, is to make sure that adventurers are gainfully employed in a manner that benefits society, so if they appear to be idle for too long, or to be causing too much mundane trouble locally, his branch of the Temple has the job of finding things for them to do that would be for the greater good.
In this case he offered them to either investigate a fortress near a village to the east which has been the source of mysterious disturbances, or for the party to travel much further to the north, to deal with the troubles facing the town of Hirot as it is stalked by a monster. Largen offered them more money for the fortress than for Hirot, so they assumed Hirot to be the easier job, but promised to take the other job as well and talked him out of the retainer for both jobs before they left.
Of course, Hirot was also further away, and thus afforded more chances for random encounters. The whole party was mounted, but it would still take them about two weeks to reach the northern town on horseback.
Keep in mind at this point the party is composed of a 1st level warrior henchmen, a halfling, a thief, and a cleric (all 1st level), and 2 elves (both 2nd level, and one of them not currently with the party). So 5 1st level characters and 1 2nd level character at this point.
The first encounter I roll is at dusk at the end of the first week, rain pouring down (-1 die to everybody’s action dice, even the bad guys), with a party of 10 orcs. What happens next I briefly felt bad about, until I used old school judge logic to absolve myself.
The 10 orcs take out all but one of the 1st level characters, and the elf manages to save the surviving two PCs with a maxed out sleep spell that Spellburns him to the max. All of the PCs that dropped, as well as Undrel, fail their “recovering the bodies” check, and die.
Now, I felt bad about this at first. Then I put myself back in my old school frame of mind. Most of the PCs acted first, and were mounted, and got off their mounts to attack a force that was larger then they were, assuming that they could “handle” orcs. It would have been fairly easy to stay on the horses and run from the orcs, but the group was sure about their ability to kill them.
So the session stopped for a surprisingly short period of time for the group to make up three more 1st level characters. Oddly, one of the players has a notebook filled with already generated new characters. Huh.
From here on be spoilers for Doom of the Savage Kings, so ye have been warned!
The survivors traveled to Hirot and only ran into some nomads in the meantime. I decided that the new PCs would be adventurers already heading to Hirot that just happened to arrive at the same time that the survivors got there. The PCs had barely begun to introduce themselves when a mass of people from within Hirot brought out a bound girl to tie her to a sacrificial altar.
The one of the new adventurers began to ask why they were sacrificing this girl, and when they were told that she might stave off the anger of the Hound of Hirot, the new adventurers were skeptical that a dog was that dangerous. After some heated words about hounds, dogs, and what constituted each, one of the new adventurers decided to decapitate one of the villagers.
The mob broke and ran for the town, barring the gates.
Initially the new adventures had thought to free the girl, but when she was upset over the death of one of the villagers that brought her out to the altar, it occurred to the new adventurers that perhaps she would be a really good decoy to bring out the Hound so that they could kill it. One of them was an assassin by trade, and hid behind the altar.
The surviving adventurers were staying a safe distance from the new ones at the moment.
The Hound arrived, didn’t look like a dog at all, and managed to kill the girl that they left on the altar. The assassin backstabbed it, and the Hound was killed, but then dissolved into a greasy smoke that the PCs lost track of in the forest.
The decapitating barber decided to demand payment for killing the Hound. At this point a discussion about the differences between a protection racket and extortion began, but the villager slipped up and mentioned that legend had it that the Hound could only be killed by a legendary spear in the nearby barrow mound.
At this point, the assassin pointed out that once they had the only spear that could kill the Hound permanently, then they might resort to extortion.
Fritz and Aelanthea (the survivors of the original band) reluctantly followed the new adventurers to the barrow mound, and when they arrived in the clearing, and approached the bodies of water that guarded the entrance, the assassin drove his dagger into the silvery water, having heard that silvery pools might be magical and give his weapon special properties or something like that.
A water spirit in the form of a snake attacked, and the assassin decided to try and use his blowgun to drink the corporeal form of the creature. I will fully admit that I lost all sense of reason around this point, especially due to the exact words used to explain the sucking attack that was attempted. The water spirit was eventually defeated, and we called it a night at that point, and my face hurt from the amount of laughing that went on.
Lest anyone get the wrong impression of the group, the horrible mishaps, like cutting off the villagers head, felt a lot more like a Cohen brothers movie than bullying, mean, villainous adventurers.