I've decided to let the readers of Tenkar's Tavern choose the winner of the July DCC RPG contest without me whittling down the entries. Remember, those entering were tasked to plot out a "DCC RPG Adventure Path" using at least 4 sources. No knowledge beyond the blurbs on the product pages were needed. Creativity sometimes works best the less knowledge you have ;)
There are 8 entries. Pick your top 3, in the order of 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice.
Casting a vote as a comment below will get you entered in a drawing for some random DCC loot!
Voting end the night of July 25th, so you have a week. I'll add up the votes and award prizes on the 26th.
Here are the entries - vote using the assigned "letters" ;)
A - "This could not go on...!"
The clueless party of 15 or so 0-level ditch-diggers, farmers, hafling traders and trappers have seen too many friends and family members disappear. They form a mob and will lead an assault on the ruined keep. Some will eventually become SAILORS ON THE STARLESS SEA(DCC 67)
The survivors decided that the adventuring life was full of promises of gold and glory, so they form a proper party and went to the neighboring village of Hirot, where the DOOM OF THE SAVAGE KINGS (DCC 66.5) terrorizes the area.
Having solved the mystery of Hirot, the party went on to bigger things and greater challenges. The burgomeister of the far away village of Grumm, having heard of their feats, called for help. That's how they came to the brooding citadel of THE EMERALD ENCHANTER (DCC 69)
Investigating a strange token found in the citadel, the party starts dreaming about the female figure on the said token, and eventually they will try to rescue a strange marine Imperatrix, leading to THE SEA QUEEN ESCAPES (DCC 75)
Following an ambush in Capital City the party get involved in the convoluted plot of EMIRIKOL WAS FRAMED! (DCC 73).
Now established heroes, the party are called by the land's beloved Monarch to investigate strange occurrences and disappearances in a remote village. They will then face mayhem, surprises and devilry in THE TAINTED FOREST NEAR THORUM (CRAWL! #4)
The party business with a certain demon is not over. They will have to go where no human (or halfling or dwarf) ever went before in a deadly FACE-TO-FACE WITH D.... (new DCC module coming in the fall of 2013!!!, following up the events of the TAINTED FOREST.)
B - The Thanes of Hirot
Since time immemorial, you and your people have toiled in the shadow of the cyclopean ruins. Of mysterious origins and the source of many superstition, they have always been considered a secret best left unknown by the folk of your hamlet.
But now something stirs beneath the crumbling blocks. Beastmen howl in the night and your fellow villagers are snatched from their beds. With no heroes to defend you, who will rise and stand against the encircling darkness? The secrets of Chaos are yours to unearth, but at what cost to sanity or soul?
A band of friends, family, and neighbors braved the Starless Sea. While many were lost, by lot or by fate a few arose to become true heroes. Tales of their deeds spread quickly and a plea from near Hirot is soon received.
High above the windswept moors and darksome woods, the village of Hirot is under siege. Each night, as the sun sinks beneath the western mountains and the candles burn low, a devil-beast stalks the village streets, unleashing its savage fury on the living. From warlord to pauper, crone to child, no one is safe.
Defeating the immortal hound will require more than mere blades or even spells. To slay the beast, the characters must delve into the mysteries of the land and its Savage Kings. Only then, armed with relics forged from a bloody past, can the most cunning and courageous of adventurers challenge the hound of Hirot!
Once defeated the heroes become Thanes of the new Jarl and awarded an Estate just outside of town. With a little effort the decrepit manor once again becomes the grand home fit for royalty. But the house has many secrets that obviously want told. Mysterious things happen in the cellar and a secret cache of aged silver is found in a secret hold.
The coins bare the image of a beautiful woman with an uncanny resemblance to one of the heroes! They soon find themselves cast upon a remote mountain facing the machinations of a power mad ancestor. Here strange hints of the ancient past propel the heroes to a final encounter with the very forces of the Abyss.
Reeling from this harrowing adventure the Thanes find themselves back at home. Plagued by strange and subtle events the heroes begin to realize that all is not well with their estate. But a larger menace descends on the darksome woods. A comet has appeared and a freakish blood-red light pierces the sky. Unnatural storms are gathering. Reports of a mysterious lake and tower where there was none begin to fill the taverns. The Thanes are sent to investigate.
From out of time, an archaic menace appears and seems to be drawing doom from the very heavens. The heroes brave the tower , thwart its master, and witness the return of an ancient explorer. From beyond the stars and through time immeasurable, what evils could lie in wait within the strange craft?
Back at home as the heroes debate this new threat, the house’s secret finally catches up with the present. Time once again unleashes an alien menace that may just be the undoing of the Thanes of Hirot.
Sailors on the Starless Sea
Doom of the Savage Kings
Mermaids of Yuggoth
The Tower Out of Time
C - It all started with a request to visit the village of Thorum. It was to be a long journey and not everybody were to make it. It started in mid-spring, the time when the land’s rulers and their men-at-arms go to war with their neighbors. Nearly every able person is already involved in such conflicts, or helping the remaining militia protect the local village, by rose hill, where the first adventure is about to start. At the same time panic is mounting in the isolated settlement of sagewood. There "walking frogs the size of men" is tormenting the populance. Our brave adventurers are not knowing about this tho cause the gamemaster choose to run "the ruins of Ramat" instead this evening.
Having killed all the clawed beast and returned a dog to a girl they continoue their journey towards Thorum. Walking along the southern edge of the stagnant marsh. Arriving at Brandy hollow the local leaders approach our heroes and offer them the mighty sum of 100 gold coins each in exchange for cleasing the Taramack Weald of whatever evil must dwell therein. "The Treacherous Cobtraps" is the adventure for the evening! A lot of spending well earned gold later they return to the path to Thorum only to Battle the savage Greyfolk, guardians of the Sacred Rock to reach the Lair of the Mist Men!
For the past 3 months, strange creatures known as Mist Men have plagued the next village , striking without warning or apparent purpose, only to vanish into the mists from whence they came. After their latest raid, however, they left something behind: a talisman found by a farm boy that will guide them to their hidden lair. Finally, questions will be answered, and our heroes will on behalf of the village have revenge! ("Lair of the Mist Men")
With lots of gold and experience they are still stalwart even though only half the company is intact and new heroes have been picked up along the road; now they were to learn that not all mountain passes are lonely. Yes, only in the high pass will they discover what the Black Goat truly is. A few hours later they know what Mahmat Troth is and what they adore.
And so they finnaly arrive at Thorum. the riverside village with its hidden secret, a dark forest with an extraordinary dragon and a dungeon with a sinister evil. Will they survive? (from crawl fanzine #4 The tainted forest near thorum)
D - The Funnel
While trying to find a lost sheep, one of your neighbors found himself in the ruins of an ancient temple to a profane eldrich God. Among the tumbled idols and altars, there was a strange metal tablet, inscribed with dire prophesy and blood-curdling horror. Believing it the false words of a dead cult, he brought the timeless artifact to the tavern, and regaled the townsfolk with chill tales spun from the contents of that accursed font of doom. It was a well-remembered night of drinking and jollity, and the shepherd enjoyed many evenings being bought drinks by those wanting the thrill of hearing of the end of the world.
A fortnight ago, he was found with his skin, eyes, and tongue removed. Ten nights ago, something began killing livestock, leaving terrifying tableaus of bone, muscle, and sinew. Four days ago, crops began wilting and dying. One old timer, who came from far away lands, says he'd seen the same thing when he was a soldier, and the tyrant he worked for would salt the fields of those who displeased him.
Your village is in danger of starvation, or worse. You and a mob of other youngsters have decided to investigate the ruins yourselves, and see if you can stop the slow strangulation of your humble community.
In this portion of the meander, a group of 0-level peasants risk life and limb to investigate the ancient ruins of a dead cult. There, they find a passage into crumbling catacombs, where traps and monsters hinder their efforts to find a way to end the terrors being inflicted upon their village. Deep under the overgrown ruins, they find a vast underground lake, which they must cross to find their answers. They are assaulted by strange amphibious creatures during their sojourn across this empty expanse of stale water. Those who survive to learn the truth of their plight find a passage out of the depths. But they don't have the luxury of a long rest...
With the trauma of their recent expedition fresh in their souls, a small band of villagers focus on preparing themselves for what they are calling "The Teeming". They do not socialize, nor do they even take the time to explain themselves. They simply return to their preparations.
Late one night, the entire village is wrenched awake by the sonorous bellow of an otherworldly creature. Peeking out from behind hastily shuttered windows, they see the small band of survivors arrayed in the garb of warriors and wizards. They stand ready to defend their neighbors and family as strange shapes begin to appear from the darkness...
After defending their helpless village from an attack of the strange amphibious creatures they encountered on the underground lake, the band must return to that dark emptiness to ensure that the danger is truly halted. Upon returning to the depths, the newly-minted adventurers find that the creatures are coming through a mystical portal, and they must find a way to close it. After closing the portal (if they survive that long), they find evidence of a more sinister sequence of events unfolding. The creatures were trying to find the very prophesy found by the dead shepherd. Upon closer inspection, and deeper study, they find that the creatures are working to end the world! But there may be a way to stop it...
Mid Levels & Side Quests
Determined to save the world, our brave young men and women must gather together the ingredients for survival. The warriors search for legendary weapons and armor, while the wizards and clerics spend untold hours in prayer and research, striving to expand their supernatural powers. There is time, but the stars will align, and the danger will manifest, and the world will die...
A series of shorter adventures are presented for the PCs to expand their abilities and stretch their skills. Included are adventures to recover arcane weapons and shimmering armor from the clutches of the vile creatures, and scenarios for acquiring the spellbooks of ancient (and hopefully dead) wizards, meeting powerful patrons, and for performing great feats in the name of the Gods. Wizards can learn new spells from the Squid Sorcerer (preferably from his spellbook, after prying it from his dead hands/tentacles), clerics can curry favor with their deities by defeating a variety of unholy menaces, and warriors can find legendary weapons in the depths of the Breathing Mountain. Will they survive the trials in time to halt their impending doom?
Ready or not, the saviors must return to the depths where they first got a taste for adventure. They must reactivate the portal, and journey into the unknown to stop the rituals and prevent the ultimate destruction of the world. Facing insurmountable odds, they must use their wits and weapons to undo the machinations of the bloated Frawg-Queen and her cult of Urstah. If her plans come to fruition, the ancient demon Urstah will be unleashed to devour the stars, and plunge the world into a darkness it cannot survive.
The party will face not only more Frawgs and their minions, but the ripples of decades-long rituals being performed to bring about the coming of Urstah. They must use their wits to avoid being completely overrun by the slimy cultists and their queen. If they are lucky, they can disrupt the rituals, and force Urstah to wait another ten thousand years for the stars to align again. If they are unlucky, the rituals will be completed, and Urstah will be released to devour the stars again.
This Delving Meander was the product of my imagination, sparked by the titles and descriptions of various published adventures as noted in the Inspirations section. It is meant as a background arc for an entire campaign and the full life cycle of the adventurers. By the time the party defeats the Frawg Queen, they should be nearing 10th level. It is deliberately paired with a lengthy timeline to allow for additional adventures to be had. In fact, even if Urstah is released, it will take centuries for the effect to even be noticeable, and it will be eons before the world truly falls into darkness. Surely enough time for a stalwart band of experienced adventurers to find a way to imprison Urstah again. If not, other people will find portents and prophesy that will lead them into a lifetime of danger and adventure...
Funnel - Sailors on the Starless Sea (Goodman Games)
Early Levels - Attack of the Frawgs (Thick Skull Adventures)
Side Quests - In the Prison of the Squid Sorcerer (Mystic Bull Games) & White Plume Mountain (TSR)
Upper Levels - Stars in the Darkness (Purple Duck Games)
E - Patron Path 1: Three Trials of Bobugbubilz
Prologue – You Killed My Frawgs! (Level 0) – Attack of the Frawgs – Thick Skull Adventures:
Trapper in the village of Sagewood has been severely wounded by man sized frogs, who captured his partner when they were trapping near the Dead Goblin Lake. With no shining knights around, mob of peasants picked up their torches and pitchforks and headed to the lake to save their fellow citizen and slaughter the demonic man-frogs.
After defeating the man-frogs the mobs celebration/funeral of the fallen is cut short when different kinds of frogs start to rain from the sky and croak in cacophony “I’m Bobugbubilz, Lord of Amphibians, and you just killed my FRAWGS!”
Bobugbubilz curses the mob and every villager (probably the livestock too) in Sagewood with bad luck and mutations (-3 luck and three rolls on Patron Taint: Bobugbubilz. If the characters want to appease the great demon lord, the frogs tell them of three trials that would lessen Bobugbubilz wrath (+1 to luck and removal of one patron taint per trial). Of course some taints are pretty sweet, even if socially awkward, so PCs and individual villagers can choose to keep them if they want to.
Trial I – Frog Food (Level 1) – Appendix N Adventures #2: “The Vile Worm” – Brave Halfling Publishing:
Deep within the Sagewood (the forest, not the town that’s been named after it) lies an ancient oak, that has grown huge, twisted and evil. Below the oak is carved out chamber where worm godling called the Vile Worm lives. Because divine worms are Bobugbubilz favored food, killing it will make a worthy first trial for the PCs.
After killing the Vile Worm frogs start to crawl out of the PCs clothing. After devour the worm they’ll croak in cacophony “No worm godling can stand before the might of the Lord of Amphibians!
Trial II – Offender’s Legacy (Level 2) – AL1: Bone Hoard of the Dancing Horror – Purple Duck Games:
Dellspero the Philosopher’s dancing horrors offended the Chaos Lords (Bobugbubilz included) and it wants them destroyed.
After the dancing horrors have been destroyed frogs start to burrow from the ground and croak “That’s what happens to those who try to deny Bobugbubilz’s might. Well done and only one trial awaits.”
Trial III – God’s Hammer (Level 3) – AL4: The Waystation – Purple Duck Games:
God Upan has been a thorn in Bobugbubilz side for too long and it’ll want to send him a message. The PCs are to retrieve mystical hammer named Stone Fist from fallen dwarven settlement of Upanesh.
After they’ve found the hammer a toadfiend will appear (now would be a great time to congratulate the player’s for unleashing a type III demon, especially if they aren’t loyal to Bobugbubilz) and if some of the PCs have taken Bobugbubilz as their patron it’ll tell them that Bobugbubilz is pleased and the curse is lifted and as a reward they can keep the Stone Fist, otherwise it’ll swallows it.
The toadfiend stays in Upanesh and radiate Bobugbubilz power that’ll draw other servants to the settlement where they’ll build a (un)holy temple to the Lord of Amphibians.
F - From Swamplands to Starfields
After exploring The Ooze Pits of Jonas Gralk and continuing on to Lair of the Mist Men (which are already linked by the titular Mist Men appearing in Jonas Gralk), the brave explorers go back into the swamp to dig up a treasure they discover on a map.
Around this time, the first lucky star goes missing.
They encounter The Folk of Osmon in the swamp. Other stars disappear from the night sky, and the group is drawn to aid the Sea Queen as she claims in dreams that she knows what is making the stars disappear.
As the group makes its way to the coast, a servant of Bobugbibilz urges them to solve The Croaking Fane, in return for which its master will give them news related to the disappearance of the stars.
What the party learns from Bobugbibilz’s servants and The Sea Queen Escapes leads them to the Ronti Islands, where they encounter Stars in the Darkness, and either restore their Luck or die trying.
G - 0-funnel ("portal under the stars")
Our party enters the secret dungeon by the hill, searching for glory on the word of an dying old man.
When emerging, they find that their village has been attacked! They need to move fast and track the culprits to the old ruined castle in the next valley. There, what they thought was a regular rescuemission turns into "sailors on the starless sea". (DCC 67)
Somewhere in there, they find out correspondence to the evil shaman that more human specimen are needed for the experiments and for the sacrifices in the great pit of power they're building in the next county. This correspondence comes with a name : "Emrikol"
Hell-bent for revenge, our heroes grasp their weapons and depart to solve their issues with the "people of the pit". (DCC 68)
While in that adventure, where they realize that most of their townfolk have been hideously murdered/sacrificed/transformed into cultists, they happen upon some curios emeralds and more references to the name "Emrikol"... Upon researching these emeralds and the name "Emrikol", they happen upon the town ravaged by the "emerald enchanter". (DCC 69)
In that adventure, they stumble upon the supposed whereabouts of emrikol, which should be in Punjar, the pearl of the east, and they happen to involve themselves in a ruckus concerning the "Jewels of the carnifex". (DCC - 70)
After this concluded adventure, they happen to be contacted by a sorceress who knows the means to get to Emrikol, and she suggests a heist to his tower for getting revenge, and mighty tomes of power. The heroes gladly accept.
This is it. This is the time to take up arms and chant ignominable utterings in the dark. This is for Edward the baker who never fulfilled his dreams of becoming a mighty fighter, or Horak the beggar who wanted nothing more than become a godly man in these ungodly times. This is for all those fallen and left behind.
Emrikol was framed? No, Emrikol must Die! (DCC 73)
For the encore, the party can find clues to how they possibly can travel to deaths domain, now when Edward the baker is avenged, it it time to bring him back from the great beyound. Destinies unfulfilled must be allowed to blossom once more, run heroes, to where no man has entered and left before, take up your blades against death! (DCC 74)
H - Level 0-3: Doom of The Savage Kings/Sailors on the Starless Sea/Perils of the Sunken City/Frozen in Time supermodule.
A creature stalks the Northern Province of Gammin, ravaging the land. The beast is seemingly invulnerable, slaughtering the Province's soldiers and feasting on their flesh. Every week a village falls, it's only a matter of time before the Province crumbles completely.
There are tales of weapons that can defeat anything, once wielded by the savage kings that ruled the land. The weapons are at their greatest when united, and thus the kings massacred each other in the distant past, covetous of each other's artefact. Those who recover each will not only be able to save the province, but also be a force to be reckoned with.
Your clues have led you to the village of Hirot, the resting place of the final king. From there the adventure leads all across the province, in search of the other Dooms of the Savage Kings.
Will you save Gammin from the dark fate that awaits it? Will you instead use the artefacts for nefarious purposes?
Or will you perish in the lightless tombs of the Kings, with no one to mourn you?