Saturday morning I get up late. Well, not really. I mean, I'm up by 8 AM but we don't get moving fast and we've got to get some breakfast. So we run off to McDonald's and wolf down some crap. I talk to the kids and they want to get into Tavis' game. But we're running seriously late. I literally drive recklessly to pull up at the front door so I can get out quickly and get down stairs. I think I've mentioned, but if I haven't, our room was the second farthest (furthest?) from the front door...
So my wife graciously agrees to go back to the room and get me some cokes and take the kids while I get my ass to the DCC table and then get permission to go talk to Tavis about getting the kids into his game. Lo and behold, when I get to the table, there's nobody there. So ask the DM if he's OK with the kids joining and he says sure. I haven't seen Tavis' table and I'm assuming it is full - so I take him up on the offer, call the wife, and find out if the kids wanted to play. They are good to go.
So after a few minutes, My wife and kids join us and we all settle in. In the mean time, I'm joined by some more folks - jrients
, Chicago Wiz
, and then two more gentlemen with whom I played other games and in my current fatigue state can't recall names. All the while, Harley Stroh, the GM, is getting stuff ready and starting to hand out character sheets.
The wizard, which I was really looking forward to seeing and trying out, was already snapped up by the aforementioned esteemed gentlemen bloggers, so I took the Beserker Warrior. My daughter (Storm) took the Farmer Warrior. My son (Tiger) took the Noble Cleric. It is interesting because we didn't get into the first part of those descriptors much, but I could see how they could impact characters. I knew, for example, that my character was essentially a barbarian of some kind, while Storm's was likely a peasant or maybe even gentlewoman farmer infantry fighter. As I might have mentioned, there was also a Hunter Warrior which I could see being the Ranger archetype.
Now, let me say that I've been really lucky. I've played in....three play-tests; two last year and one this year. all of them were run by great GM's. I only dimly recall Mr. Goodman's efforts (because I have a terrible memory these days) other than the fact that we had a blast. Harley was magnificent. My wife, who stayed to support the kids, commented on what a great job he did, what a great storyteller he was.
He began the setup: one of us, a clergyman name Gaius, had a brother who had taken the family heirloom...a staff of some kind...and headed North never to be seen again. Gaius has hired us to accompany him to find out what happened to his brother. So we board the ship and start sailing. Harley is describing everything wonderfully...how the sea is turning cold, the icebergs start appearing, our breath is turning to icy crystals. We reach ice and have to break it up to keep moving - but finally the captain comes to us and informs us he can't keep going. We will have to disembark. So we lower the sleds and off we trudge...
OK...so I left off as we trudged north.
All was pretty good as we moved along...until a huge tentacle attached to some Creature of the Deep smashed through the ice flow we traversed. It tipped the ice flow up and caused people to start sliding down towards the icy depths. Peter Piper (played by my son Tiger) tried to Banish the creature; but his roll was...not so good and the spell fizzled. I acted next and because I was a Beserker I immediately did what I could to attack the foul creature. Since I was in front and nearest the break in the ice, had a really high strength, and was kind of playing Taz as a Northman barbarian, I think Harley kind of let me slide - no pun intended - on climbing the ice to attack. I sliced deep into the tentacle, but that only seemed to infuriate the beast. Meanwhile, Christina (played by my daughter, Storm) drove her spear into the ice and hung on for dear life, easily making her check against her strength to hold on.
I totally can’t remember what Gaius did. But being a Cleric, I’m guessing it was a protection from evil or something to that effect.
Now Tiny Tim, the "foundling wizard" played by Jeff Rients
, who was standing right behind Christina, started to slide down the sheet of ice, so he tried to grab on to her to avoid the icy waters. If I recall correctly, Harley had him roll using his agility, and he barely made it...so Harley described how he has trouble but in the end he is able to just barely grab hold of her boot.
Meanwhile, Carls Agan, the Elf Astrologer played by Mike Shorten
, slides toward the depths – and I think tried to call on his Patron, Copernicus. It fails, and he heads towards the drink….along with another Beserker Warrior, the name of whom I forget, played by Jeffrey Runokivi
, who throughout the remainder because some kind of player-fumble-DM-critical-hit magnet. And I swear to you, at one point out of about 5 rolls, I think Harley critted 3 of them and the others were above 17…it was nasty. Anyway, the Beserker, we’ll call him Krull, keeps his balance and is teetering on the edge of the abyss.
The tentacle attacked and knocked Krull into the water.
Peter tried to Banish again, and failed. Each failure for a Cleric decreases his next spell check by one. So at that point he was down to only a +2 (from +4) on his future rolls.
I announced an attempt at a mighty deed explaining that I will try to cleave the tentacle in twain. So, here’s how that works. The fighter’s, sorry, warrior’s bonus is not your typical +1 at first level, +2 at second, etc. Instead, they get another die. So at first level, a warrior gets a +1d3. You roll this along with your d20 and add it to the To Hit number. If you are successful, this result on the bonus d3 is also added to damage. And if you score a 3 on your bonus die, you are successful on your mighty deed. With the type of bonus die going up each level, you are more likely to be successful with any mighty deed you attempt as your level increases. For example, by level 5 your modifier is determined by a d7 (that’s right, I said d7 – one of the things about DCC is they like the strange dice). So your odds of getting a 3 or better have risen significantly.
OK. So I declared the mighty deed, but I just missed it – the hit was successful, but I only rolled a 2 on my bonus die. The damage roll was high, so Harley described how I definitely cut a huge slice into the tentacle.
Harley turned his attention to Christina. “Ok, Christina – Taz has just cut a huge slice into the creature. The ice flow is tipped up and you’re hanging on the spear you’ve driven into the ice. Tiny Tim is hanging from your boot and the weight of is making it hard to hold on. What do you do?”
“I take off the boot.”
The table erupted in laughter sprinkled with comments about being “stone cold.” Harley had Storm roll and add Christina’s Agility modifier to see if the warrior is able to slide the boot off while holding the spear – success! Everyone is laughing and hooting as Harley and Jeff described Tiny Tim holding the boot and sliding down the ice flow towards the water.
If I recall correctly, Gaius tried to help people avoid falling in the water. Tiny Tim slid and scampered trying to stay out of the water. Carls Agon tried helping Krull, but the weight is to great (he failed his Strength roll) and so he is pulled into the drink. Tiny Tim couldn’t quite reach as he precariously perched on the edge of the ice and so offers them The Boot to grab onto.
The tentacle came slamming in again and hit Taz – for next to nothing, a glancing blow at best.
It was about this time that Peter cast Banish…and rolled a 20.
The tentacle slipped back into the water and the ice flow returned to a more horizontal position. We pulled our companions from the icy water. Peter cast Resist Cold on the Barbarian. Christina walked up to Carls Agon, who now held the boot, and said, “Can I have my boot back now.”
Laughter erupted again. Carls and Christina strike a bargain and she gets her boot back with the promise that when the adventure is over she will buy him a pair just like it.
The light was beginning to fade, but we could see in the distance the black spires we set out to find. So we decided to keep traveling even as the already sparse sunlight diminished…