Why so much hate?

A trend has arised in the gaming community, one that we could label as "orthodox", as time passes since the launch of the DCC RPG; a trend that encompasses players and Judges alike, who spurn the non-human races and focus all their gaming and creative energies in what it's called "anthropocentrism", that is, milieus where most of the population, or at least where the population that matters for the purpose of tale- and adventure-making, are humans. There's a frontal rejection towards elves, dwarves, and halflings, and in some extreme cases, towards the clerics, because they aren't considered to be part of the Appendix N canon, the body of fantasy and sci-fi novels whose tone the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG tries to emulate.

Why so much hate? What's the real problem with these humanoid races? In my opinion, said problem is not with the races themselves, but with the ever-present Tolkien canon. With his novels, the guru of fantasy literature laid the foundation for everything that came after (be it to follow that canon or to break free from it): the halflings are joyful and brave, the dwarves are dirty and troublesome, and the elves are mystical and detached. This served mightily well Gygax and associates to craft the first roleplaying game, but clashes headlong with the tone that DCC RPG has adopted until now.

But, why do we hate and take them away when we could adapt them?

If Conan was best pals with an elf, you can, too 
If Conan was best pals with an elf, you can, too

Don't you like elves? That doesn't surprise me, neither do I, but let's make the most of their traits to better adapt them to the tone of the game. The picture that depicts their class is the reason behind the general dislike towards them; according to the class' description, I think that they're closer to Moorcock's Melniboneans than to Tolkien's elves. The elves are defined by their immortality and their relationship with a patron. Therefore, it wouldn't be unreasonable to think that such immortality could be the result of a pact made by the first generation of elves with their patrons, that still today an elf must follow. This should split their society in two castes: those who have an intimate relationship with their patron (level 1+) and those who don't (level 0). Moreover, the different elvish communities should be defined, above all, by the patron they serve. Thus, apart from the typical wood elves who swore an oath with The King of Elfland or The Horned King (from DCC #72: Beyond the Black Gate), there'd be sand elves, favored by Azi Dahaka; swamp elves, allies of Bobugbubilz, etc. Being immortal, the elves would be cold and distant beings devoid of emotions, or at least those emotions that a human being could understand.

The merry life of a dwarf 
The merry life of a dwarf

As it happened with the elves, the dwarves made a pact with some supernatural patrons but, unlike them, they broke it and had to hide deep under the earth to run from their wrath. They spent several centuries in their tunnels until they managed to placate their patrons' ire. They were pardoned in exchange for their skills as smiths and jewelers, that could be required at any time, no questions asked. Thanks to that, their lifespans are quite long, but they don't enjoy the elves' immortality. They dwell in the deep and toil. They don't like the world above and, although they can endure the sunlight, they loathe it. They prefer to sleep during the daylight hours and live during the nighttime and, when they can't help it, they'll wear a pair of smithy goggles to protect their eyes from the bright sunlight, and sunshades or parasols to shield their skin from the rays of sun. Every now and then they hear a call that forces them to make a pilgrimage to a precise place to take part in the creation process of an artifact requested by one of the supernatural entities they're in debt with. Many dwarves sport burns on their bodies, because of the time spent in the forges, or a chronic cough, because of the time spent in the mines.

"What's for dinner? Not halfling again, please!"
"What's for dinner? Not halfling again, please!"

Finally, we could rule that the halflings were the creation of the serpent men or some other ancient race. Let's say that in the beginning of it all the serpent men ruled over the planet and fed on humans. However, the humans were too big, too unwieldy, and sometimes even rebellious, and that's why they modified them with magic and alchemy to create a race intended as food: small, easy to transport and to store and able to withstand even the hardest life conditions. So they created the first halflings, docile, manageable, and with a love for food, so they could get fat fast. And with really big feet, because feet are the tastiest morsel. The halflings lived for generations as trading goods and cattle. When the serpent men's empire fell and their race devolved, the halflings, now free, formed tight-knit communities. This is why they don't like being apart from each other and that, every time a serpent man or another reptilian being comes across one of them, it'll immediately salivate and try to eat the halfling.

These are just a handful of ideas, but you get the drift: demihumans could be aliens trapped in this planet, a mad god's creation, beings from another dimension or time... possibilities abound. It's up to you to make them fit in your milieu.

We'll deal with the cleric later, you whiners.


For a handful of dungeons

The RPG Free Day came and went, and indeed we played RPGs, and indeed some people got them free, and indeed it was a great day!

We played in a dungeon. Try to beat that

We at Phlogiston Books are up to the challenge of spreading the DCC RPG amongst heretics non-believers those who don't know the beauty of its rules and the certainty of its heritage. A dozen of brave souls answered the call and took part in The Ecstasy of Gold, a funnel created by the razor-sharp quill of Velasco, and The Hypercube of Myt, the merciless tournament adventure penned by a team of devious and imaginative DCC writers.


As Velasco himself wrote,

The folk at Shadypass are an enterprising bunch; they've decided to expand their economy by getting into mining, although the only miner in town is a newcomer who assures he's being into it in the past. Some weeks ago they found a vein of coal in one of the nearby mountains and started to dig it out. Unfortunately it came to pass what it could be expected: there was a cave-in and some miners got stuck inside the mine. Time's not on their side. The mayor has gathered a group of brave locals to make a rescue team.

"I reckon we're enough to tackle this". Poor soul... 
"I reckon we're enough to tackle this". Poor soul...

This was a 0-level game, so you know what to expect: high death rates and mayhem. Here are some highlights:

- A petty thief stole a shepherd's bag while he was trying to rescue the miners. Big haul.

- A dog called "Paella" was key to find the survivors amongst the debris. He met a miserable death. And his owner, as well.

- The rescuers used canaries to detect noxious vapors. Even though, some of them died after inhaling poisonous gases. The ways of the adventurers are inscrutable.

- The best warrior was a glassblower, who killed a giant bat with the swing of a spade.

20 went in, 4 came out. That's what I call a funnel...

Tombstones. Made of paper, mind you. 
Tombstones. Made of paper, mind you

Regarding The Hypercube: chaos incarnate. This crazy successions of bizarre encounters is great to test the resolve, wits, and luck of the players. And oh man, were they tested...

- Some strange knights dressed in huge armors went about talking about something like "a breach in the hull" and "xenomorphs on the loose". Some bold villagers managed to befriend them, and were lucky to have them around during some combats; they were horribly corrupted in the Library Dementia. They now serve some Egyptian-called dude.

- The curator managed to hire some of the villagers. Too bad he fell under a demonstration crowd soon afterwards (these vassals know their rights).

- The sticky stick, very real and present in the table (I ruled that the player who found it had to have it in his hands until he died or passed it along), made it to the very end, in the Arcane Arsenal...

- ...which really was the royal rumble I was hoping to see. Myt was reborn after one of the lowly peasants got all the artifacts together. And there was a survivor...

All in all, the players were too nice to each other, considering that it was a tournament, for Bobugbubilz's sake.

A sheep. A giant stone head. Space marines. What could go wrong? 
A sheep. A giant stone head. Space marines. What could go wrong?

The winners got a copy of The Vertical Halls in Spanish, and a wall from the amazing and incredibly useful Instant Dungeon, the same one I used during the game; Javier, the mastermind behind the project, attended the event and showed us some of the new pieces for the crowdfunding that went live some days ago. Check it out, it's an amazing product!

To keep it short, we'll not bore you with further details. We've posted more pictures on the Goodman Games forums and G+, though.

And next... the Tierra de Nadie Con in august. We can't wait!


The Vertical Halls

Yes, the time has come! The Vertical Halls, a level 2 adventure for DCC RPG is now available on Drivethrurpg!

One of the myriad ways to enjoy this adventure

Although this is an Appendix N adventure (of course!), you can bring your elves, dwarves, and halflings along so they can suffer a horrible yet imaginative death at the hands of the various monsters and traps that populate The Vertical Halls. There's never enough demihuman fodder!

But wait, 'cause there's more. Somewhere in the adventure there's a prop for a crucial puzzle; when you see it, you'll know what we're talking about. Once you know, get back here, and try to find the hidden instructions to make the most out of that prop...

...and this is only the beginning...


It's almost here... The Vertical Halls

The babies, resting on a worthy "blanket"

Here's living proof of it! Yeah, literally speaking: the proofs arrived yesterday. It's a lovely A5 book, with 42 pages full of superb writing (Velasco's our personal Shakespeare), amazing illustrations and maps (Valen's the perpetrator), all put masterfully together by Diego, and edited and corrected by the amazing Tim Snider!

The adventure starts in Shadypass, a town better described in this extract...

Shadypass is a small settlement, the last one before the trail wanders crookedly into the Hungrymoon mountain range.

That's Shadypass. Ain't it lovely?

Due to its situation under the mountains’ shadow, Shadypass doesn’t get many hours of daylight. However, in its public square, unsurprisingly named Plaza of Shine, a peculiar occurrence takes place; every day, the plaza is illuminated until dusk because, somewhere on the nearby peaks, the sun is reflected on a bright surface...

The Vertical Halls will be available in pdf and POD+pdf in DriveThruRPG very soon... we'll keep you updated!