Session Report: 94% Casualties (Dungeon Crawl Classics)

While in my heart I am a Lamentations of the Flame Princess guy, I love some DCC. It was one of the options I presented to the players of my weekly game, and though they ended up choosing LotFP because their souls yearned for metal, I kept DCC as an option for nights when we didn't have a full group. We ran our first session the other night, the 0-level funnel Sailors on the Starless Sea.

Our brave 0-level mob began in Krälberg, a tiny town of mudfarmers who had suffered too long from poor harvests and harsh winters. The players had decided that their community had rallied together into a communist collective with an all-for-one, one-for-all mentality as a response to their hardships. Disappearances had been occurring lately, and Old Pete*, Krälberg's resident wiseman, shared a story he had heard long ago, of two chaos lords, brothers, who had nearly destroyed the forces of order and were barely defeated after an epic siege. In all likelihood, said Pete, it was their doing, an omen of their return or attacks by the remnants of their beastman horde from so long ago, which had been rumored to inhabit the castle of the chaos lords ever since.The next morning, Pete was found, dismembered and neatly sorted in a line.

*Old Pete is not of the venerable lineage of the Peters True, I-XXVII. His origins are unknown, and possibly nefarious, the players suppose, what with his detailed knowledge of the chaos lords, his apparent grisly demise notwithstanding.

Image from Zagreb-Dubrava on DeviantArt
Our noble communist heroes rallied their forces, bound by their one-for-all oath. Setting out with the usual assortment of chickens, hatchets, barber's shears, stinky cheeses and of course a pitchfork or two, the mob followed the road to the chaos lords' keep. Arriving, they chose to climb the crumbling outer wall, which promptly... crumbled. Rolling Reflex saves, 6 of the 16 level-0's were immediately crushed by rocks of cyclopean proportions. Many precious things were lost: silk clothes, a farmer's goat, a shoehorn, and a Halfling hex doll among them.

The mob carried on, reaching the top and discovering that the rockslide they'd triggered had revealed an intricately carved stone door, rife with runic script. Working together, they pushed it inward, revealing a frozen chamber with a burial dais in the center. Everything was coated in a thick layer of ice, and the air itself was as viciously cold as any winter any of the Krälbergers had experienced in their lives. Moving into the room, they investigated the dais and found the body of a large man grasping an even larger axe, frozen beneath an inch of ice. Whilst slipping and falling in heaps with every move and succumbing to the early stages of hypothermia, the mob eventually managed to break the axe and then the body free, dragging them outside to thaw. The great axe was wielded by a Halfling, the only mudfarmer strong enough, to the party's amusement.

Moving on, they entered the keep's courtyard, where they observed a gatehouse and decided to investigate. After a perception roll, one of them heard the sound of a snarl from above. Despite this portent of danger, they chose to advance up the stairs into the midst of two prepared beastmen. The first one to stick their head in was quickly grappled and shoved head first through one of the tower's murder-holes, causing them to squeeze like a tube of toothpaste, head falling off, and tumbling down the rocky path of the keep's front entrance. Undeterred, the rest of the rabble engaged the beastmen with their shears, shovels and other assorted makeshift weapons. After one further casualty, they were able to kill the abominations and seize their spears. Now better armed, they searched the room, finding nothing, but deciding to ring the large bell as loudly as possible, for reasons unknown to the Ref. As a result, they heard howls in the distance and the Ref noted that every. single. beastman. was now fully aware of the intruders' presence.

The remaining 50% of the mob headed through the courtyard to the watchtower, presumably because they estimated it to be the structure most likely to be full of beastmen ready to annihilate them. They were given pause outside a pair of great bronze doors when they spied an ugly gargoyle overlooking them, and took some time to throw rocks at it, breaking off a big chunk of its face. Satisfied it wasn't an animated statue ready to ambush them, they entered the tower, full of beastmen, ready to ambush them.

A half-dozen of them, led by a mighty beastman champion, were stationed within, in a room filled with the decomposing scraps of abducted townsfolk and animals. It stank terribly, giving one of the heroes the idea of using fire to light the methane in the room. They attempted to start a fire, failed terribly, and caused a flare up on themselves, but also succeeded in catching 2 of the beastmen in the flames as well. Each round hence, a comedy of errors ensued as the mob chipped slowly away at the beastmens' superior hit points whilst being butchered in novel fashions. Eventually, 2 beastmen and the champion remained, while a single level-0, an Elven falconer with prodigious stats, faced them down. At this point, the Ref took a moment to talk some sense into the player, who eventually listened to reason and retreated while using his falcon to harry and distract his pursuers.

This is where the session ended, to be continued another time when attendance is low and the remaining citizens of Krälberg are feeling brave or desperate enough to journey on in memory of their comrades.

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