by Ramanan Sivaranjan on October 26, 2012
I’ve been reading through my DCC RPG adventures recently. I’ve been buying them as they come out, mostly for the covers, but there is probably some aspect of comic book collecting at play. Each adventure is titled with a giant number indicating where it fits in the sequence of DCC RPG modules. There’s probably something deep in my subconscious that makes me want to buy DCC 68 because I own DCC 67, and then buy DCC 69 because now I own DCC 67 and 68. So it has gone for the last few months.
In Sailors of the Starless Sea (DCC 67), an abandoned keep sits atop an ancient underground sea, where beast men attempt to summon their demonic god. Next we have People of the Pit (DCC 68), in which mutant cultists worship a tentacled Cthulhu monster that feeds on fair maidens. This was followed up with a raid on a wizard’s home in The Emerald Enchanter (DCC 69): a bright green wizard communes with dead sorcerers, uses imprisoned demons for power and resources, and spends his spare time building emerald golems–sometimes out of innocent villagers.
I think it’s fair to say that all of the plot hooks in these modules are pretty fantastic. The adventures are very pulp-fantasy. I could picture running these modules in the world of Carcosa or a game set in the Land of a Thousand Towers just as easily as I could in a more typical fantasy game. For the most part each modules is a well realized set pieces.
There’s a lot to like in these modules, though they all share a very linear structure and a combat heavy focus. To be fair, this is more or less how the adventures are billed by Goodman Games themselves.
Remember the good old days, when adventures were underground, NPCs were there to be killed, and the finale of every dungeon was the dragon on the 20th level? Those days are back. Dungeon Crawl Classics don’t waste your time with long-winded speeches, weird campaign settings, or NPCs who aren’t meant to be killed. Each adventure is 100% good, solid dungeon crawl, with the monsters you know, the traps you fear, and the secret doors you know are there somewhere.
All the adventures end with a ‘boss fight’. Regardless of how messy the maps might look they can often we unwound into a series of rooms the players have to walk through. After reading through modules with more interesting layouts the DCC RPG dungeons can feel a bit lacklustre.
The modules themselves are well put together. They’re 8’x11.5’ softcover books. They have thick glossy covers and paper the modules are printed on doesn’t feel flimsy. All the modules feature fantastic covers by Doug Kovacs that are worth the price of admission alone. Each module is about $10. I’m pretty sure if I wanted to buy a glossy Doug Kovacs print it’d cost me more than $10. The fact the covers come with adventures is a nice bonus. The interior art for each module is just as strong. As objects the modules don’t disappoint.
The Emerald Enchanter is my favourite of the first three modules from DCC RPG, but they are all enjoyable reads. I feel like you could turn them into something more open-ended if that’s the sort of thing you like, and they each have some interesting ideas to steal.
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