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DCC Campaign Journal #2: Peasants become Heroes!

In the most recent session of my Dungeon Crawl Classics Campaign, my friends and I got together and finally got their characters out of the 0 Level “starter dungeon”, and set them on the road to being 1st Level characters!  They managed to lose only seven (7) of the eighteen (18) 0-Level characters who entered the dungeon – which I think is quite an accomplishment given that a single hit from a trap or monster caused instant death!

And some of the players fared better than others in keeping their characters alive, although none of it was due to foolish play – plain old bad luck and being in the wrong place at the wrong time were the swift and certain killers in this adventure.  Two players emerged with only a single character left, while one player never lost any of his.

Incidentally, I’m also happy to report that the cheesemonger Emmett and his cheese named “Geoff” emerged unscathed!  Sadly, Geoff disappeared during the post-adventure revel and feast, rather mysteriously.  Halflings were reported to have been seen in Geoff’s vicinity just before vanished…

Brave New Heroes

Now, of course, the players had to decide what classes their 0-Level peasants would become – well except for one player who only had a Halfling survive, so the decision was pretty much made for him.  After some discussion, the final adventuring group ended up with the aforementioned Halfing, a Warrior, a Thief, a Wizard, and two Clerics – one of Law and the other of Chaos.  I’m anxious to see the roleplaying interaction between the latter two characters, given that one worships the overlord of the pantheon, while the other worships on of the Great Old Ones! (Huzzah for tentacles!)

Although DCC does not mention this as a requirement, I felt that for continuity sake the peasants should depart for about three years to seek their fortune, attending a temple, academy, or guild in order to become 1st Level in their Class.  By using a large cosmopolitan city-state as the launching point for the campaign, I could pretty much guarantee that there would be any number of guilds, organizations, schools, and temples for the players to choose from for their character’s training.

Once they emerged from their training period, they would gather for a reunion celebration to commemorate their victory over the dangerous dungeon where many of their friends were killed, and regale each other with stories of their training.  From there, I left it up to the player-characters to decide what they would like to do.

Of course, I didn’t leave the “newbie” heroes without ideas for adventure (i.e. hooks).  I gave each player two rumors that they picked up toward the end of their training time, and suggested they use G+ to consider and discuss which rumor they wanted to pursue.  More rumors will be added to the “Rumor Mill” over time, and dropped on the adventurers at random intervals.

I’m rather excited to see what the players to decide how their characters will use the rumors.  Some of the rumors are “wild goose chases”, but the vast majority will lead to some kind of adventure, and offer the characters a sand-boxy setting to play in!

Now I just can kick back, watch the discussion, and create the adventure my players want to experience.  I have no plans to introduce an super-meta-adventure-arc or an über-quest-campaign-series for this group, but instead I’ll just let my friends tell me the story of their characters adventures, and “wing it” as we go along…

World Building Notes – Shared Creation

The World of Eosha setting is actually turning into a compilation of ideas of my own, as well as input from the friends I have playing in this DCC campaign.  I had this idea of asking the players to get involved in the creation process in order to promote a sense of investment in the setting.  So once they had finished creating their three 0-Level peasants, we had a spin session where each of the players would create one land or country where one of their characters might hail from.

It turned out to be a great session, and each of the players readily gave me a starter seed for the lands surrounding the environs of the city-state I would create to be the “center” of the world.  Some of them actually riffed off each other’s concepts, and before long a very interesting setting began to emerge.

Once I got the kernel of six lands and my city-state, I went over to the MapGen Project to create a nifty looking continent to put them on.   A little work with Photoshop, and I was able to get a map put together, and get some geography done at the same time!

Varthos and Nearby Lands websized

So far, I’m happy to report that my progress is going along well to create a Gazetteer of Eosha, a unique calendar system, and a pantheon of gods to watch over the world.  I’ve even got some of the cosmology and ancient history hammered out, but those topics to be discussed in more detail as this blog series rolls on.

So until next blog… I wish you happy gaming!

Previous journals in the series:

DCC Campaign Journal #1: Bad Scores Build Characters!


About The Author

Editor-in-Chief
Michael is an Adept of a Secret Order of Dungeon Masters, and dwells in a hidden realm with his two evil cat-familiars, deep within the Vale of Wolverines, called by some "Michigan". He has been esoterically conjuring D&D Campaigns for nearly a Third of a Century, and has been known to cast ritual blogs concerning Dungeons & Dragons every few days with some regularity. Michael has freelanced for Wizards of the Coast, and writes reviews of D&D and other Role-Playing Game products on EN World News.

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