Episodic Adventures and Then Some

So it’s been a while …

As I mentioned over on G+, my wife and I are expecting our first child this June, and her first trimester wasn’t the easiest going for her. Compound that with my new position at work (started in August) starting to ramp up and the result is a lack of blogging.

That’s not entirely true, either, though – the blogging was also hindered by our group not getting together to play between July and late October. The unfortunate layover in actual gaming took some of the wind out of my blogging sails, too. Luckily, we’re back on a pretty regular schedule of roughly every 3 weeks on Thursday evenings, and the last few sessions have been a blast.

One of the PCs purchased an abandoned mine turned low-rent flophouse on the cheap, with an understanding that the place was recently infested by kobolds (at the time I thought the place would be a minor side note at best, and wasn’t feeling very imaginative). Once clearing the place out became a focus, the PCs discovered that the kobolds had dug their way up from a much larger goblinoid mine shaft with traces of sick rock and a few strange features – notably, a wide metal grate emerging from the stone at the bottom, and a pair of double doors beyond a carve bridge that the orcs had left unopened. Beyond that, the PCs found The Bone Hoard of the Dancing Horror, and on the far side of the Bone Hoard dungeon a chamber with a strange, Numenera-inspired obelisk portal leading to an alien world.

Thing is, even though we’re back in the groove now, there’s an inherent time limit on this campaign. I just don’t see myself having the mental wherewithal to run a game with a newborn, so Mike Schmidt is taking over GM duties in late May and I’ll start coming as a player once the schedule allows. Between now and then, I want to cram in as much fun and adventure as possible, so I’ve decided to take a more episodic approach to the game. The DCC modules lend themselves to this quite well, and in fact seem written with that approach in mind. My gaming history tends to be pretty far removed from this approach, though, and I can’t completely let go of some aspect of wilderness travel and complications back in town.

Below are a few things I’m toying with to help quickly fill in the space between adventures without sacrificing too much time.

Wilderness Encounters: Instead of playing out travel time, worrying about getting lost per hex and various hazard tables (card-based or otherwise), I’m just giving the PCs a rough idea of what they might know about the relative distance and terrain to get the next adventure, and then making a single d100 roll to determine if there’s an encounter along the way. Maybe a 5% chance per 6-mile hex involved, so 20 hexes equals 100% chance of an encounter. I’m making them choose what adventure they want to pursue by at least 2 weeks before a session, so I have time to prep this encounter, and I can just choose the most interesting terrain or point of interest along the way as a backdrop. Because there’s only one, I’ll very likely incorporate multiple hazards into the encounter, perhaps getting lost while trying to find food and a storm rolls in, bringing out thunder-worshipping frog-men.

Carousing: For this variation on the Carousing for XP rules, a PC only needs to have a minimum of 10 gp to Carouse rather than 100 gp, and each XP earned only equates to 10 extra gp spend (so 10-50 gp). However, there’s no chance for certain classes to double it, and the chances for downside on the table are higher. The revised table will be found in Downloads as “Carousing on the Cheap,” with a note that it is appropriate for more episodic DCC games.

Wizards & Corruption: For every noticeable corruption or patron taint that a wizard has, there’s a chance the caster will either get run out of town (along with any friends), arrested for practicing the dark arts pending some sinister punishment, or just downright hauled out for mob execution. Roll on the table below:

01-10: Burn the witch! The mob’s going for your blood.
11-25: Inquisition time! Hauled in by the authorities to answer for infernal crimes.
26-50: And the horse you rode in on! You’re not welcome around these parts.
51-00: All good.

+/-10% per point of Luck modifier
+10% per Wizard level — funny how no one wants to drown the archmage …
-5% for concealable minor corruption
-10% for noticeable minor corruption
-15% for semi-concealable major corruption
-20% for obvious major corruption
-30% for greater corruption
-10% or more for patron taint at judge’s discretion

CLARIFICATION: Only roll on the table if the wizard has at least one corruption/taint. Wizards not yet corrupted don’t need to worry about this.

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3 Responses to Episodic Adventures and Then Some

  1. Edgar Johnson December 17, 2013 at 7:51 am #

    I like the corruption table a lot. I’ll think about something like that for my campaign. Nothing better than villagers with pitchfork and torches. Come to think of it, aren’t those guys zero-level PCs just waiting to happen?

    • John Carr December 17, 2013 at 8:28 am #

      Thanks! And now I feel like someone has to write a funnel based on the angry mob with a witch in/near the village.

      Or maybe an infernal scientist with a castle above the village and his murderous flesh golem.

  2. Matt January 31, 2014 at 8:06 am #

    Nothing says old school gaming more than a discussion among pcs deciding whether or not to destroy the village,

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