Okay, so updated when you least expect it, right? Been over a year, so it seems like a perfect time to post something!
I’ve really gotten into solo-RPGing (as in tabletop roleplaying games like Dungeons and Dragons), which kind of sounds like a loserly thing to do, but honestly it’s fun and it’s really no more loserly than reading a book or playing a video game by yourself. I usually just sort of make a character for whatever system I feel like playing with at the time in a notepad text on my phone and use random generators (especially the Adventuresmith app) and sort of make a half-assed scenario to frame some dice rolling and play out battles. I don’t really keep any record of anything while I do this aside from little things in the text file. It’s for fun, it’s for me.
However I’ve gotten a lot of enjoyment out of reading others’ logs and “actual plays” on the Lone Wolf G+ Community and figured maybe I’ll share some of my own. I really like it when people include visuals and details into the process, so I’m including map screenshots and character sheets with my play notes. Hopefully there are others like me who get a kick out of all that. Oh, and a note on my notes: They’re half-narrative, half-shorthand. Throughout the game I got into moods where I wanted to be more detailed and others where I didn’t. I honestly didn’t care to do a whole lot of editing either, so I didn’t, lol. Just keep that in mind, these are very much notes and is not meant to be fancy prose.
So, this will be the first in a little mini-series (probably only two or three posts) of my recent solo play of a Dungeon Crawl Classics funnel. I thought it might be fun to include the map and my character’s movements across the dungeon, so hopefully the added visuals help communicate the story/events to everyone. I guess I’ll get into this, right?
First off, here’s the “tools” I used for the game:
The Story Cubes were used for story/content inspiration/generation. If I wasn’t sure about what a room held or what a thing was and I wasn’t coming up with anything cool on my own, I’d roll 3 dice randomly chosen from both sets and interpret. If I had multiple options and wasn’t sure what to pick, I used Miso to make the choice. GIMP was used as a virtual tabletop of sorts, where I used layers to have things move and change on my map. Paint was for easy character sheet management. The sheets were generated by Purple Sorcerer, which is an AMAZING resource for DCC players. The Crawlers' Companion app is also amazing for mobile. Anyway, the whole game was done on my junker laptop.
The Desert was spreading. For as long as memory, it was only a small region, a patch even, surrounding an old ruin. Supposedly it was a cursed tomb, but it was really so old that it had been repurposed for different uses throughout history, none of them all that wholesome. So the land around it was dead, sandy, and arid. People stayed away from it.
The village of Oldtree subsisted a couple days’ travel northwest of the ruin. Over the last year or two the desert has spread out from the cursed place. It’s reached Oldtree. Crops are withering. The grass has browned. Water from the well is sour and leaves a film in the mouth. Something has stirred the evil in the ruin and is cultivating it. Something has to be done. Most of the would-be capable people in the village are sick, weak, and malnourished. The militia is reduced and doesn’t have enough to spare on could be a suicide mission. The elders have had the remaining able-bodied people draw lots to determine a group that would investigate the old ruin and if possible put a stop to the spreading desert. Should they not do something, the entire village would have to permanently evacuate. But if the desert continues to spread, how far can they run, and for how long?
A group of eight was selected: Royden the Blacksmith, Elisha the Locksmith, Bazel the Minstrel, Lewis the Boatswain, Oscar the Jester, Franklin the Armorer, Chastity the Barber, and Agnes the Outlaw. Character sheets: Group1 and Group2. They packed what the village could spare for provisions and set off towards the desert ruin.
Now, after two days’ journey they have come to the epicenter. The Desert stretched out nearly as far as they could see in all directions from this spot. The entrance was a half-buried stone archway of strange design. Ancient stairs led into the darkness. As a group, the villagers descended.
I liked the idea of having fog of war for the adventurers on the map. I just used the first letter of each character’s name as their “mini.”
So they’ve entered the dungeon. There’s a giant, roaring fireplace. Strange and unidentifiable carvings cover the walls. Suddenly…
A roll of Story Cubes gives me a box truck, a running person, and an explosion. Hmm, okay.
I interpret the results as a group of enemies arriving in an explosion, from the giant fireplace. But what should it be? I decided to replace a Story Cube with a d6 to determine just how many of whatever shows up, shows up.
Clayface, a Bat-Fist, and there’s 5 of them. I’m thinking Flaming Rock Golems?
BOOM! An explosion from the fireplace leaves the group face to face with five large monstrosities, burning rocks in the vague shape of humanoids. Their large fists look ready to swing at the villagers.
The rocks represent the Golems, if it wasn’t obvious.
Group 1: 13
Group 2: 4
Lewis attacks a golem and crits a crack to the head! Royden runs and hits one, as does Elisha, but a different one. Bazel decides to help the girl.
Agnes is pissed, runs up and stabs the one Lewis is fighting. Franklin doesn't trust Agnes, runs up to help in the attack, misses. Oscar moves forward, takes aim and throws his dart, causing the golem Elisha and Bazel were fighting to collapse into smoldering ash. Chastity, being injured, falls back to the steps.
Lewis' golem fights back, punching Lewis in the head, sickening crack of his neck as he dies. Royden's golem attacks but misses. A golem still emerging from the fire a moment ago swings at Bazel but misses. Another golem from the fire punches Elisha, half decapitating her; dead.
Bazel is horrified by Elisha's grisly demise and adrenaline forces him to jump over her corpse, climb over the ashes of the destroyed golem and stab her killer, severely injuring it. Royden weakly swings his hammer and makes another small chip in his opponent.
Oscar runs to help Royden and smacks the golem with his lantern, turning it to a pile of ash. Franklin crits to avenge Lewis, smashing the golems legs out from under it as the rest of it collapses into ash! Agnes swings and misses. Chastity decides to help her fellow woman and comes from hiding swinging her chain. She manages to lasso the golem and drag it the ground, only lightly damaging it but causing it to be defenseless.
One of the remaining golems, the one by Royden and Oscar, decides Oscar is the greater threat and punches Oscar's spine thru his back; dead. The one Chastity chained manages to struggle to its feet as the chain falls to the ground.
Bazel, in a fit of fear, instantly stabs the rising golem with his dagger, destroying it. Royden steps over the ashes of a defeated golem and crits on the remaining one! His hammer goes right into its eyes, destroying it!
Bazel collects Elisha's belongings, Royden grabs Lewis'. Agnes strong-arms her way to collect the coins and fine clothes that were Oscar's. They throw the bodies in the fire, which immolates them all too quickly. They decide to try and smother the flames with dirt and rubble from the cave in nearby. They cover it up, and it seems like it's dying down, but some glow can still be seen.
Chastity makes her way back to the stairs, the others slowly follow. When it seems like she's ready to leave, Agnes grabs her by the arm and convinces her that they should continue exploring. Surely those were the guardians of this place, and they defeated them, right? Besides, Franklin thinks he hears water down there and is thirsty.
I didn’t take notes for this, but there were Personality checks involved between the characters here. Agnes succeeded.
They enter a large chamber, dimly lit, although the source of light is unseen. There is a pool taking up most of the middle of the cavern. Franklin, thirsty and dumb, runs to the shore of the pond and begins to drink... He makes his Fort save.
Hmm, what kind of encounter can we have here?
Money bag, bat plane sub thing, and cop car…
I decide the money represents, well, money, the bat vehicle will be some mutant manta beasts in the water, and as for the cop car… I think I need some replacement 0-levels. These ones are not going to get very far. I generate a sheet of 0-levels from Purple Sorcerer, but based on the cop car, decide they will all be town guards from another village and edit their sheets. Character sheet: Guards. The group will find them soon. Back to the action:
As Franklin drinks the group notices that the light is coming from within the pool, countless coins litter the bottom of it, and they are glowing.
Chastity, seeing no harm come to Franklin and all the money, decides that Agnes must've been right and begins wading into the water to collect herself some coins so that this trip and her injuries aren't for nothing. She's waste-deep, dips down and gets a handful of coins. Then, suddenly...
1d6(4) giant manta beasts emerge from the depths of the pool!
Group 1: 20
Group 2: 9
Manta Beasts: 20
Chastity screams and Bazel runs over and chucks Elisha's dagger at one of the beasts closing in on Chastity. FUMBLE! His grip is bad, and the dagger falls, almost stabbing his own foot. Royden runs over to the manta beast near Franklin and takes a wild swing with his hammer that misses.
From the north side of the chamber, voices can be heard. "Let us out, open the gate, we'll help you!"
The beasts make their move. The one closest to Chastity makes for a bite but misses. Another one next to it, however, is successful and bites the poor barber girl in half; dead. A third manta manages a bite out of Royden wading in the water, and the fourth devours Franklin head first as he was drinking. Now he's dead.
Agnes runs over to where she heard the voices calling. There's a large porticullis with what appears to be 4 town guards trapped on the other side. They look ragged. Despite her poor relations with the law, she figures they need all the help they can get and quickly finds and begins turning the crank to open the gate.
Bazel picks up the dropped dagger and shouts, "ROYDEN GET OUTTA THE WATER MAN!" as he runs to help Agnes. Royden follows his advice and makes his way to the porticullis as well. Agnes continues to turn the crank.
Two of the mantas, to the group’s horror, begin to emerge from the pool, but moving very slowly on the cavern floor. The other two stay in the pool, munching on the dead.
At this point the porticullis is lifted enough that the group of guards can duck under and they emerge, swords brandished and advance on the crawling manta beasts.
Nathaniel is the first guard out and stabs at the manta coming to finish off Royden. He misses. Marcellus comes up beside him and scores a solid stab on the beast. Next, Enoch charges out and stabs the other manta crawling across the floor. Finally out comes Prudence, the one female guard. She goes to aid Enoch but her strike misses.
Royden, already severely injured, decides to fall back behind the porticullis. Bazel is feeling a little bolder and goes to aid Marcellus and Nathaniel. His dagger strikes true and the manta beast deflates in death. Agnes decides to help the other two guards and kills the remaining beast on land.
The other mantas, having finished their meal and seeing their brethren slaughtered, disappear into the depths of the now bloody pool, not wanting to meet the same fate.
Introductions are made as they pile the two manta corpses near the water. They go into the chamber where Royden had run to and the guards came from. Agnes stayed outside with the guards, chatting.
How did the guards come to be locked up?
Find out next time for Part 2 of desert crawling villagers getting killed!
If you’ve read all this, thank you. I welcome any feedback, let me know what you think. I’ll post Part 2 in about a week. Again, thank you for reading, hope to see you next time.
RPG materials & musings, along with some fiction, poetry, & other randomness. Updated when you least expect it.