Wednesday, August 21, 2013

DUNgeon Crawl 3

I got this free copy of #3 of this Dungeon Crawl zine that +Wayne Rossi  puts out. I wanted to spend more time with it and maybe use some of it before writing this but it's clear I'm not going to have time do any of that for a while...

Most of the zine is by Wayne but there's a bit from +Zach Howard and a couple of other people.

1. It's really mostly tables and lists. This is ideal.

2. There is a d20 list of minor magic items to toss at new characters in a low-level, small party to beef them up a bit. They're mostly utility belt-style magic items, which are my favourite kind. And I love tossing one or two random things at each character at the start. Gives them something interesting to have or do that has nothing to do with their class. There is a lot here you could probably do with character creation, especially in iterative/meat grinder games. Everyone starts as a random level 1 with some random, cool item. This was my favourite bit.

3. There's an article on "Thinking Like a Fantasy Character," and it's a pretty good, short, look at ancient perspectives on the immanence of magic and divinity (it references a particular historical report of a Spartan army being delayed for religious reasons - I think this might be the same document detailing the delay of certain ancient soldiers that inspired Gene Wolfe to write the Soldiers of Sidon stories). Only a few pages long and might be useful to help create consensus around the table in re the setting's cosmology and its impact on daily life, especially if you've got newer players.

4. There are tables to populate empty rooms that have a lot of interesting options. Wayne (and Zach too, but these particular tables are Wayne's) is really good at populating tables with entries terse enough that you don't feel like you've got to do a ton of work to use the table, but also evocative/strange enough that it's worth using (like, we can all come up with "rotten, mouldy chairs"). My only complaint is that I wish there was a ton more of entries on each table.

5. There is a gonzo, pastiche dungeon that looks like it'd be a lot of fun. I kind of wished there was a bit more to tie it together, especially something in the way of an indication of what happens in the neighbouring rooms when you do something loud, like get in a fight. And there is a giant lobster and you can eat it but no butter is provided. Can you milk a goblin and get churn that into butter? Goblin butter is: 1. Gross, 2. Peppery, 3. Cinamonny, 4. Tastes like gravy, 5. Causes vomiting, or 6. Re-roll twice.

6. There's also a long-ish hex/exploration area that started out boring me to death and ended up being pretty interesting. It's packed to the gills with faction stuff and potential conflicts. Clearly a lot of consideration has gone into how this would be run, with the conflicts between NPCs and changes the players can affect to the area so even should you not use it, it's an interesting presentation of how to run a hex with moving parts. It's also generic enough that you can drop it in and out of any desert/badlands area and just file off the names/numbers that don't quite work for your campaign.

7. There's also a new class, some monsters, another magical item (that's pretty cool), and another set of tables on gas traps.

So there's a lot here. It's all clearly meant to be and is presented to be used easily and widely, which I really like and respect. To that end, I kind of wish something more was done with the layout of the hexbits and adventure that made cross-referencing a bit easier than flipping/clicking back and forth, but hey, this is a zine. 

Here are links.



Lulu (Print):


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