Swimming in armor

I've been obsessed with the "swimming in armor" rules for a while. Every system has a say on it, with varying degrees of complexity, but none of them really strike home with me. They run the gamut from the not-very-realistic to the not-realistic-at-all. With Dungeon Crawl Classics they just didn't want to tackle this issue, I guess because of the inherent difficulty. Finally, inspired by the extraordinary Fire and Brimstone! A comprehensive guide to lava, magma and superheated rock (Link!) I think I've managed to design an elegant yet simple rule that  can be used not only with DCC, but also with any Dungeons & Dragons clone or iteration:

If you fall into water, you're completely covered by it, and you're wearing armor, you'll sink to the bottom and you'll drown. Yes, that's right, even if you've got Strength 24. If you get out of the armor before drowning maybe you'll be lucky enough to survive, but don't count on it.

That's the only armor you're allowed to take into water

What's nice about this rule is that it can also be applied to characters wearing heavy backpacks, cement shoes, or handbags with a brick in them.


Coming soon... The Vertical Halls

Who can kill a dwarf?

A week ago, there was a tremor near Shadypass. Not long after, the first cases of a strange disease appeared – a disease that is becoming an epidemic as days go by...

The Vertical Halls is an adventure intended for a level 2 party that takes the characters from the village of Shadypass to the very top of a crazed, yet long-dead, scholar’s demesne. In a race against the clock, they must find a cure for this mysterious ailment.

And remember: only one week remaining for our Table contest! Send them in! Our cellar is huge! (You don't want to disappoint Bobugbubilz, do you?).

(And yes, that is a small piece of the gorgeous art featured inside the adventure...)


What's in a name?

Shakespeare wrote in "Romeo and Juliet": "What's in a name? That which we call a 'rose', by any other name would smell as sweet". But I say: "Yeah, but it wouldn't be the same". Well, yes and no. Let's call it 'chufli' instead of 'rose' and, although it's still the same thing, it's not. Take as an example "Here, my love, a bouquet of chuflis", or "But he who dares not grasp the thorn, should never crave the chufli". It's the same thing, yep, a red flower with a thorny stem; but it doesn't convey the same stuff.

O Romero, Romero, wherefore art thou Romero? Deny thy zombies and refuse thy name

The power of names can't be denied. A name tags and sums up the nature of what it defines. In DCC RPG's Appendix S the question Juliet asked herself in Shakespeare's play is also posed: "What's in a name?" Although in this case, the answer is: "The start of an interesting encounter". They're right, so use names. To start with, explore the vast world of titles and sobriquets. The titles in the different class charts are there to be used. Why being "Valbroso, level 3 neutral cleric" when you can be "Valbroso, the chronicler of Amun Tor?" Your attitude is not the same when you bear that title. On the other hand, you don't have to use those exact titles. There's a heap of sobriquets in Appendix T for each class, or you can even make up your own personal title or nickname. But taking Valbroso as an example again: it's such a different matter that if instead of calling him "Valbroso, the chronicler of Amun Tor" you go for "Valbroso, Pontifex of riddles". Sometimes, nicknames come up during adventures, and they can be used in place of or as well as the character's title, such as in "Valbroso, Pontifex of riddles, Goat Slayer". If you wanna foster this nice practice amongst your players, you can use the usual tools at your disposal, like threats or blackmail:

a character recovers one Luck point at the end of a session where she lived up to her title or sobriquet, or where she used it to impress a bunch of gullible villagers or a band of petty enemies.

Now with magic. Jack Vance is one of D&D's biggest influence, and by extension, DCC RPG's as well. One just needs to read one of the first short stories from his The dying earth, Mazirian the Magician, to find the magic system that has shaped D&D's magic not only from the beginning but also to this very day: the so-called "Vancian magic", where spells are learnt and forgotten once they're cast. However, something got lost on the way: proper nouns, as a result of making and organizing a list of spells.

Mazirian the Magician, trying to pick a stranger up

Being as it is as close to the Appendix N source material as possible, DCC RPG states that, like in The dying earth, there's a finite number of spells (716, more than enough); that wizards keep jealously their secrets; and that every one of them casts and writes them down differently. That's why we're invited to rename each spell, so our wizard makes those spells her very own. Rules like Mercurial magic and Spell manifestation are crystal-clear clues to the uniqueness of spells. According to those two rules there shouldn't be two Magic missile spells alike, because every spell is just a blueprint from which to build up our personal spell. In other words: a Charm person manifested as a black cloud that also scares animals is very different to a Charm person manifested as a musical murmur that leaves the magician craving for food, and it should show. "Vapors of supremacy" has nothing to do with "Melody of the consuming allurement". Names evoke a certain atmosphere and a tone, and they help making every magician unique through her studies and creations. One-of-a-kind and inmortal, Alcémides the Warlock will die in a horrible and violent way and he will be certainly and completely forgotten after a few years, but his spell formula "Vapors of supremacy" will be sought-after by many wizard's apprentices. Once again, to help your players adopt this lovely habit, use blackmail:

a named spell gets a +1 bonus to its spell check.

This isn't a bonus to get crazy about, but knowing how mean roleplayers can be, they'll surely won't let this opportunity slip by. Go for it! Spice up your game sessions!


Ain't got enough tables

Yes, that's right, there'll never be enough tables for the DCC RPG, so that's why we thought that we should ask you, the fans, for more. Need a little motivation? How about a copy of The chained coffin? (The module, not the boxed set) Why not a Table contest?

Rules and conditions

Never enough

- The table's topic must be Appendix N - related. A list of rare ingredients for a ritual, the secret name for a summoned demon, the effects of that drug that someone slipped in your drink... are good examples.

- The submitted table must be in a editable-friendly format: .odt, .doc, .pdf...

- The table can have as little as 2 entries and as many as you like. We reserve the right to be partial to tables that use one of the fabled zocchi dice: d5, d7, d14, d16, d24, d30, d666...

- The table can be sent via homing pigeon to phlogistonbooks at gmail dot com, or to the Table Contest shelf in our bookshop.

- You can send as many tables as you want. The more, the merrier!

- The tables can be sent in English or Spanish. Hey, no complaints here: that's more than half of the world's population (we're working hard on our Chinese). Tables written in English will be translated into Spanish and vice versa.

- The tables will be "published" under a creative commons license, either here or on a 'zine. Yes, that's right: if we get a decent amount of tables, we'll put them together on a 'zine, lavishly illustrated and expertly laid out. Or at least we'll try.

It exists, here's proof

- The board of judges is formed by this roster of DCC RPG experts, handpicked by myself: Alberto, Cronista, Sergio, Terrax, and Velasco. Bribes are accepted and encouraged.

- We'll send the adventure anywhere in the world: the shipping and handling are, of course, included in the prize. Regrettably, we currently don't serve other planes of existence.

- The deadline for this contest is April 26th, 2015. Five days after this, we'll announce the winner on this same bookshop. Yep, on the First of May of 2015: Sword and Sorcery never rests.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Post them on the comments, please!

May Bobugbubilz be with you!