Sunday, December 20, 2015

Solo DCC Funnel for Fun and Practice

I wanted to run a funnel in some spare time, for practice. I really like using a solo engine to learn about a given system, and to suss out anything I'd want to change about a module in advance. Running a solo game gives me a better feel for the ergonomics of a module. It's not everyone's cup o' tea, but I enjoy it. There are some modifications to the rules, described below.

I snagged Kevin Crawford's wonderful Stellar Heroes. You can also use the more fantasy-oriented Black Streams: Solo Heroes. I use his model for damage, and fray dice. Each PC gets a 1d4 Fray die, and can use it the way a wizard in Solo Heroes would - so they can use it on any enemy, regardless of HD, as long as they could plausibly make an attack against said enemy. Once the PCs level up, they'll get whichever fray dice make sense for their class - for DCC, this is described best in Black Streams. Wizards get the 1d4, warriors get 1d8, everyone else gets 1d6. Elves pick between 1d4 and 1d6.

Level-0 scrubs are not experts in their fields, but I figure I'd give each one an auto-success per game on one non-combat check. I didn't use Defy Death at all, as it doesn't seem appropriate for a level 0 funnel. Really, DCC is supposed to be a bit more lethal, so I imagine I'm not going to be using it at all. I'm also not adhering as strongly to the idea that there can be only one PC - DCC really suggests at low levels that you have more than one character, and I want that kind of atmosphere.

For module running, I use the Scarlet Heroes General Oracle (a 'yes/yes, but/no, but/ no' machine) to see what the 'player' does. This way my knowledge of the module doesn't mean the PCs always do the Most Optimal Thing. Here's a free alternative oracle if you're curious. Really stupid things may be more or less likely, but I tend to go with Unknown for most of these questions, which gives 50/50 odds.

For the solo player in a funnel, you start with 4 level 0 PCs, randomly created. I gave them all 4 + Endurance modifier hit points; after first level, they'll roll to see how much they get as per normal.

With this, I managed to clear through most of Frozen in Time, with half . Two PCs died climbing the glacier, hilariously. I forgot about the noncombat auto-succeed, first time around, then the last person to climb fell and no one climbed down to check the body. No one wanted to risk the rope climb again. Of the surviving 2, one dropped to 0 HP fighting Robby the Robot, but recovered thanks to his decent luck score. My oracular rolling indicated the place blew up before my PCs could explore 5-1 or 5-2, which probably would've claimed one of the PCs, at the very least.

I did decide to throw in some extra swag - Zepes' shimmering bathrobe basically counts as leather armor, the plant pot in the hallway outside is room has a spare palm-key and copper nuggets in the bottom. I'd imagine his kitchen-area has a bit of preserved, emergency food, which the PCs will eagerly take back to their village. Zepes' right hand was clutched around a tiny crystal which, when held, plays La Vie En Rose. The PCs had to frantically leave things behind to climb out of the glacial base before it exploded, which is what I want to deliver when I run this for other folks.

What's next is filling in some adventures, running this module for some other folks, and probably using Scarlet Heroes to generate some dungeons and wilderness adventures. Definitely will adapt this adventure about cave people exploring a crashed star, meeting a telepathic future-human. Also working out random encounters for the Forlorn North for the hexcrawling.

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