I was listening to the Fear of a Black Dragon episode for DCC’s #67 Sailors on the Starless Sea and planned on…
I was listening to the Fear of a Black Dragon episode for DCC’s #67 Sailors on the Starless Sea and planned on running it as a Funnel World one-shot this week. Then I thought, I wonder if I could skin SSS with Ray Otus’ Sinister Solstice? Some hours later, I made an adventure starter for this hybrid idea.
Some assumptions and changes I made to the original sources:
– This adventure starter assumes the GM is familiar with DCC Sailors on the Starless Sea funnel adventure, YMMV.
– I jump start the villagers to be already sneaking into Kringle’s Keep via a collapsed wall, rather than give them the option of how to enter the keep. This is a time saving measure.
– The beastmen have been re-skinned as ice elves, slaving away under the direction of the Clockwork Knight (replacing the Champion ambush).
– I kept the Well of Souls and gave it a custom move since it seemed to fit for both sources.
– The Tar Ooze almost became a Christmas Pudding, but since this is for a one-shot I decided not to include this side room to help w/ pacing.
– The goodies normally found in the Courtyard and Chapel should be left out in the Courtyard as part of many long tables where ice elves are making things.
– However the villagers make it past the Clockwork Knight, once underground they find a Hall of Wreaths, where the pool of water w/ floating skulls is replaced with a trough of iridescent coals, which will function the same as the skulls did.
– The golden censor w/ incense can be found in the Hall of Wreaths also, to help keep things more obvious for pacing to the end of the story.
– The Dragon Ship is skinned as a mystical wooden sleigh, and the Leviathan lives in an eerily creaking icy sea.
– The island becomes a Temple of Krampus, with Lord Kringle (an ice elf shaman) performing the ritual sacrifice of the villagers. Villagers should be pushed off a ledge into an icy water pit to be drowned one by one.
– If Lord Kringle throws the effigy into the water then the Krampus appears to torture, tease, and drown everyone.
I will run this on Thursday, so any comments/suggestions for a one-shot run of this are welcome.
Anyone else ever thought it was odd that nowhere in the DW book does it suggest that the GM should misdirect?
Anyone else ever thought it was odd that nowhere in the DW book does it suggest that the GM should misdirect? In my opinion this is a really good piece of advice that Apocalypse World gives to MCs and I’ve never understood why it didn’t make it across.
I am currently looking forward to playing in a game that takes place in the lord of the rings setting and was…
I am currently looking forward to playing in a game that takes place in the lord of the rings setting and was recently talking to another player about fairy tale logic. Why should a dragon or monster take the time to talk to an adventurer, why should it honor a promise or agree to a riddle contest. The short answer is probably because it is sort of cool and makes for fun stories. I generally run very brutal, slightly “realistic” Conan style games but I always love the idea that truly old and powerful creatures obeying obscure forms of etiquette. Maybe it’s just for their own amusement, maybe there is actual power in it. Maybe they are just so old and sure in their power that they feel they can hold themselves and their servants/quests/victims to a higher standard.
From a fairy tale perspective it makes sense as a method to teach kids to be polite and intelligent. It also helps explain why a couple of kids lost in the woods might be able to survive an encounter with an evil witch. Sure she could just turn them into animals and butcher them, but instead she is trying to lure them into the oven under the guise of a friendly lady who just needs some help with housework. They could confront her and probably lose an impossible fight. Or they could be smart and polite and trick her into the oven instead.
Finally, this sort of storytelling is a refreshing change of pace from the traditional, murder hobo games where you solve every challenge by attacking it, setting it on fire, and looting the remains.
Whatever the reason I decided to collect some custom moves here for dealing with magical / legendary creatures or great kings. A couple of these were originally suggestions for a monster of the week game but I have changed them all to use DW stats. Feel free to adapt and use them in any game to give it more of a story book feel.
When you confront a being of magic with evidence of a broken promise roll + WIS . On a hit the being is gravely weakened. on a 10+ the being is magically compelled to do one service for the wronged party. It may not avoid or delay this penalty without painful or even deadly consequence.
When you speak the full name of a magical being, imparting each syllable with magic, roll + INT. On a 10+, gain 2 hold on the creature. on a 7-9, same as 10+ but the creature also gains a hold on you. spend hold to:
*receive an honest and direct answer to any question.
*force the creature to return to its lair till dawn.
*force the creature to give you something of itself.
*force the creature to appear.
gain +1 on this roll if you willingly give the creature a hold.
When you challenge a creature of legend to an unwinnable contest, explain how you actually plan to beat it and roll + STAT. On a miss, in addition to the GM’s move, you are caught cheating. On a hit the creature is forced to admit defeat and will honor any wager they agreed to. On a 10+ the creature is also impressed, does not suspect any trickery, and will certainly not take offense at being beaten.
When you are allowed audience with a great king or legendary creature, the GM will tell you the rules of etiquette you must follow to stay in their good graces. As long as you remain a well behaved guest, they will welcome you in their home and listen to your petition. Roll + CHA, on a hit they will offer what assistance they can. On a 7-9 they will require something (evidence, tribute, or service) from you. On a miss, in addition to the GM’s move, you will have worn out your welcome.
When you begin a game of riddles with a creature of legend, decide who goes first (generally the guest or challenger) and roll + INT. The GM will roll the die of fate and subtract the result from your roll. On a hit, depending on whose turn it is, you correctly answer the creature’s riddle or manage to stump it. On a 10+ you also get a +1 to your next roll. On a miss, you either fail to answer the creature’s riddle or it easily answers yours. The game ends when one opponent cannot answer the other’s riddle. you may agree beforehand to play best two out of three. Aiding another player must be done covertly to avoid accusations of cheating.
When you are within their power and appeal to the vanity of a great king or creature of legend, roll + CHA. Chose two on a hit, but on a 7-9 you are prevented from leaving and must continue offering compliments.
*You have their complete attention. They will not take any notice of your allies unless they directly attack or cause a great disturbance.
*They will not directly threaten or further entrap you. Some creatures like to talk to their prey while they ensnare it, luring it in close or cutting off its escape. Some creatures are just inherently dangerous to be around unless they are content to sit still and talk.
*They will answer a question or give you good advice. Such creatures are often ancient and know much hidden lore.
Warning, anyone who is frightened by concepts of possessed media (The Ring) or creepy-pasta might not want to read this. Part of me thinks this is a great example of the nature of the human brain and the power of collaborative storytelling. Another much smaller part of me hopes I can save myself from the curse by spreading it to a bunch of people on the internet.
So I had the privilege to join a game of Dungeon World with David LaFreniere, Jason Tocci, josh gary and +Simon Landerville. We were playing in a setting called “Cold Ruins of Lastlife”. I was coming in late in the adventure and David was nice enough to meet me online to handle character creation and sum up the story so far. I have a distinct memory of our conversation while I skimmed through the setting book and looked at the artwork for inspiration. The very first part of the story David told me was the other characters meeting a creature called the Librarian. I don’t remember his exact description but I quickly found it depicted early in the book.
Right before the end of our adventure, Jason’s wizard summon an invisible monster. David described it tidying up messes, attacking demon possessed characters and “yelling from a chest with no mouth”. After the game I asked what the deal was with this creature and found out that the other players recognised it as the Librarian or the same type of monster. Apparently you can’t see them unless you already know what it looks like. While we were talking about this I opened up the setting book and started flipping through the pages looking for the remembered art. Apparently several of the other players did the same.
After a few minutes we all sort of got frustrated and it was soon discovered that none of us could find the picture to show the others. David and I both went through the PDF page by page to the end multiple times. We started wondering where the picture had actually come from and searched other documents in Davids google drive. We also tried google image search for the picture. Nothing even close.
Josh pointed to another drawing of a different creature and reasoned that maybe we had all assumed this was the librarian because it had multiple hands (which is a common motif in the book). But none of us seemed willing to accept that because we had a clear memory of a very different scene.
We all used the term “Pan’s labyrinth guy” to describe what we thought of when picturing the librarian so David reasoned that we all just connected with this idea so strongly that we created the picture. But the strange thing is that we all remember the picture in the very distinctive black and white sketch style of the other artwork.
Finally there is a page in the pdf with the caption “Closing Thoughts” that has a border and a smokey background but is otherwise blank. It is the only page like this and it really looks like there was meant to be artwork there.
As a rational skeptic who was never really bothered by movies like the ring and various creepypasta I can intellectually accept that we all generated a clear idea, in sketch form, of what was described to us. We used the pieces available and came to something similar. The world is large enough and the human brain is amazing enough that this isn’t impossible or unlikely. In fact, chances are that if we all really sketched down our memories and then viewed them objectively, we would quickly notice differences.
But as a human who spent a long time pouring over a PDF absolutely certain that something was missing (something described as invisible unless you can see it??!?!), I can’t help but wonder in the dark. Maybe I will try to put my mind at ease by giving it something else to think about. Maybe I will get comfortable and sit in my bean bag chair with a used hardback science fiction book. As I open it to the marked page there is an illustration. Oh wow is that where the memory came from? No, wait, it’s on every page! Getting larger. I throw the book down as the music ramps up and the pages turn as if blown by a strong wind. The effect makes the librarian appear to move and reach out…. Later the Houston gauntlet members see my name on the news. Another overweight office worker dies of a heart attack. But the tarp slips off as there moving my body and you can see the sheer terror frozen on What is left of my face…
Anyway, fun story, Big thanks to the other players for a fun adventure. Tell me what you think. Does this sort of thing freak you out or make you marvel at the nature of the human brain? Also here is my best sketch along with some materials I think may have been unconsciously encorporated.
Just a little flavor to add to an item that generally does not get a lot of focus. We all know what lock picks look like and how they work. Mostly they are a single line in the inventory of one character and only mentioned when lost. These are some stranger variants that might be especially interesting to parties without a thief. Maybe a cool gift to searching characters when you had nothing specific planed. Feel free to post your own lock picks or other generally uninteresting bits of gear.
Elf-pick (DoF uses)
Apply this bulb to any wooden door and it will quickly take root and flower. The wood of the door shrinks rapidly as it feeds the new plant. Locks and hinges fall away and the door drops out of its frame. Roll a die, on a one the plant dies before producing another bulb.
Dwarf-pick (slow, reload)
When jammed into the stone frame of a locked doorway this device will begin to drill. It crumbling stone around the door until it falls free and the passage is opened. Rewinding the Dwarf-pick requires several hours of strenuous effort.
Orc-pick (loud, 1 use, dangerous)
In its inert state the orc-pick appears to be a pourase brick of clay. When moistened (traditionally with blood or spit) it can be molded into a sticky mass that becomes highly volatile. Carefully applied to a lock or thrown against a barricade it will explode on impact with a low thump. The sound is bound to draw attention unless covered by noise of combat or celebration.
Monster-pick (dof uses, dangerous)
A seemingly delicate feather-like appendage kept in a wooden box when not in use. Any metal lock, hinge, or door brushed by this device will quickly rust away. Extreme care must be taken to avoid unintentional contact and the effects eventually weaken.