Tuesday, October 31, 2017

MCC: A Fallen Star For All


We continue our adventures in Terra with A Fallen Star For All, a level 1 adventure by Tim Callahan.
From the cover:
A meteor strike in the taboo crater country opens up a huge chasm in which lies a largely intact city of the Ancient Ones.
The resulting mad, mad, mad land rush to go claim the newly available cache of ancient artifacts draws interested parties from all over Terra A.D., and at the direction of your tribal elders, that includes you and your Seeker team!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

MCC: Assembling an Apocalypse

Welcome to Terra AD.  While Dungeon Crawl Classics had a lot of implied setting baked into it, Mutant Crawl Classics has gone further and explicitly named and presented some facts about the base setting.  The great disaster the resulted in its current state is left unanswered, but a hothouse climate and a world of overgrown jungles filled with mega-fauna and glowing deserts beset by raging storms is described in brief.
Aside from the bestiary, which includes mutated dinosaurs, intelligent cyborgs, alien dimensional travelers, and enough other weirdness to populate your world, the Archaic Alignments probably offer the most setting information.  These alignments are factions operating in the world of Terra with their own rules for joining and their own conflicting goals.  The Gene Police work to eliminate mutations from Terra while the Children of the Glow actively seek out radioactive areas in order to accelerate their mutations.  The Curators worship ancient technology, the Chosen of Zuu believe manimals to be the next stage in evolution and humanity to be a dying breed, while the Clan of Cog - the default starting faction - believes in respect and cooperation between all sentient beings.
Patron AIs also provide a lot of insight into the world of Terra AD, both past and present.  The AI descriptions give the original intent of each entry - including a security protocol for gaming networks, monitoring weather systems, galactic invasion surveillance - as well as their current goals in the post-apocalypse world.  These entries actually give the most firm view of the world prior to the Great Disaster and generally describe a world not unlike our own in some sci-fi future.
Outside of the MCC rulebook, backers of the Kickstarter have already received 8 supplements - mostly adventures - which give additional information about the setting.  I intend to run through all of these adventures with my game group (we ran through Hive of the Overmind recently and have begun A Fallen Star For All).  I wanted to craft my starting village to be consistent from the start.

Spoilers follow.

Monday, October 9, 2017

The Weird Lore Found in Books

I've never felt compelled to build a setting from the ground up.  I like drawing maps occasionally, but actually thinking about the borders of countries, the rulers of realms, the pantheon, the lay of the cosmos, it's all kind of boring to me until I need it.  This is why I like gazetteer style setting books like Matt Finch's Borderland Provinces.  It gives me all that background detail with nice bits like the emblems of each province and the religious heresies operating in the region, while leaving plenty of space for me to develop.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Stonehell Wrap-Up

I've decided to put away my Stonehell game for a while.  I recently moved from Kansas City to Atlanta and had to put the game on hold for a few weeks, after which I didn't get much response on starting it back up.  I think that after eight sessions there may be a feeling of futility in confronting the dungeon.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

AS&SH Google Drive Calendar

I love campaign calendars.  The more detailed, the better.  AS&SH has a pretty unique calendar, with a 13 month, 13 year cycle with seasons spanning years and daylight ranging from complete darkness to total illumination at the extremes of the cycle.  If you're tracking weather as well, the Appendix B has a table for seasonal modifiers based on the year.  Festivals and moon cycles are also noted on the calendar.  With dual moons having very different patterns, you get the occasional night with both moons full, which begs for adventures in lycanthropy and witchcraft.
Gary Gygax wrote in the 1st edition Dungeon Master's Guide that you cannot have a meaningful campaign without keeping strict records of time.  This is obvious when you're in a dungeon where the players can turn over every stone if you aren't tracking time and checking for wandering monsters.  Outside of the dungeon time often gets abstracted in a way that ends up hurting the game.  Managing down time activities and traveling between locales becomes less meaningful without the pressures of time, and players cannot be expected to weigh their options if those time pressures get handwaved away.
The more I run games the more the importance of a good calendar becomes self-evident.  I prefer a spreadsheet to a pdf so that I may store notes on it as I go.  I can also roll up the weather for a couple weeks ahead and have that ready to go so that I don't have to choose between slowing down the gameplay or losing out on an important aspect over wilderness adventuring.  I recreated the AS&SH calendar in Google Drive for this purpose.  Hopefully others can get some use out of it as well.

MCC: Hive of the Overmind



Put my usual DCC campaign on hold last night to run through Hive of the Overmind for Mutant Crawl Classics.  This is a 0-level funnel adventure released as one of the first stretch goals from the MCC kickstarter.  Written by Julian Bernick of Spellburn fame.

From the cover:
Younglings on their Rite of Passage are shocked to regain consciousness with no memory of how they came to be in a gigantic insect hive so far to the north of their homelands, laboring as drone-slaves of the savage ant-men.
In a land where an "insect revolution" has taken place, the PCs must contend with insectoid mega fauna and a maze-like underground installation before facing the ominous Overmind: a building-sized insect queen cybernetically linked to an ancient Chaotic AI.