Saturday, 30 April 2016

A Year Later

A year ago today, I was off doing my own thing - actually, running a game for my older daughter and her friends - when my nephew committed suicide in Wisconsin.

The time you lose doesn't take away the time you had, and I know that he had good years as well as bad. In the end, though, the Wisconsin "justice" system became too much for him to bear. 

He was found guilty for a non-violent felony crime, with no actual evidence, and under circumstances where it is nearly impossible that the prosecution and officers involved did not know that he was being scapegoated.

It is almost impossible to overstate the loss. Not only for my sister and her husband, or for my niece and all of his friends, but for himself, and for the people he might have known.


People get busy. It always seems like there will be more time, or another opportunity to spend time together. But eventually time runs out. We do not always know when that will occur.

Wally, you are missed. You will never be forgotten.

To my readers:

You matter. Your lives matter. You have intrinsic value no matter who you are. The world would be a sorrier place without you in it. Whether or not we have ever met in person, I would be sorry if you were gone. 

The other people in your life - make time for them while you still can.






Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Dalek Crawl Classics 1: The Hartnell Years (3 of 3)


The final Dalek story with William Hartnell as the Doctor was the sprawling epic, The Daleks’ Masterplan, and its prequel episode, Mission to the Unknown. Although audio, reconstructions, a two-part Target novelization, and (apparently) a graphic novel of this story exist, the story itself still has several missing pieces. Both the story’s length and relative obscurity mean that potentially game-able elements are not going to make it into this entry.

Masterplan Dalek: Init +1; Atk plunger arm +2 melee (1d3) or energy weapon +5 ranged (1d6+3) or flame thrower +2 ranged (1d6 plus catch fire); AC 17; HD 1d12; MV 30’; Act 1d20; SP long-range communication, flame thrower (Ref DC 15 or catch fire, 1d6 damage per round until save succeeds); SV Fort +12, Ref +0, Will +7; AL L.

Black Dalek: Init +3; Atk plunger arm +3 melee (1d4) or energy weapon +6 ranged (1d7+4); AC 19; HD 4d12; MV 30’; Act 1d20; SP long-range communication; SV Fort +14, Ref +0, Will +9; AL L.

Dalek Supreme: Init +3; Atk plunger arm +4 melee (1d4) or energy weapon +7 ranged (1d8+4); AC 21; HD 6d12; MV 30’; Act 1d20; SP long-range communication; SV Fort +18, Ref +0, Will +12; AL L.

The Daleks in The Daleks’ Masterplan, like the Daleks in The Chase, have advanced time travel technology. They do not seem to have the same ability to levitate, although the judge may decide that this is simply not seen on-screen (or referred to in the novelizations). They do have a new arm, which is used to clear vegetation in the story, but which would make a devastating weapon – a flame thrower that affects all targets within a 5º arc up to a range of 20’.

Other Critters & Beings

Beaus

Persuaded to join with the Dalek Alliance by Zephon, Beaus was a tall humanoid wearing an armoured survival suit. He had a dark visor, and apparently breathed chlorine gas, making his features difficult to distinguish. His helmet had an antenna at the top for long-range communication. Should his helmet be breached (8+ damage in a single blow against AC 20 or a Mighty Deed result of 5+ against AC 15), he takes 1d4 damage each round in a standard atmosphere. During this time, he also has a -1d penalty on the dice chain to all rolls.

Beaus: Init +0; Atk buffet +1 melee (1d3); AC 15; HD 3d8; hp 16; MV 30’; Act 1d20; SP long-range communication, chlorine-dependent; SV Fort +4, Ref +0, Will +5; AL L.

Celation

The Master of Celation was a hairless humanoid covered in black spot-like patches. One of the more powerful of the delegates in the Dalek Alliance, Celation goes on to form a Galactic Council with the other survivors of Dalek treachery. While this was certainly a setback for the Daleks at the time, the Time War in new Doctor Who suggests that the Daleks surmounted it.

As an interesting side note, “celation” literally means “concealing pregnancy or delivery” – perhaps the “spots” are actually some form of reproductory organ? If Celation were semi-aquatic, they could be ducts for egg-laying, or they could be areas where the species can reproduce via budding. Very little is known about the species in The Daleks’ Master Plan.

Celation: Init +2; Atk buffet +0 melee (1d3); AC 10; HD 1d8+2; hp 8; MV 30’; Act 1d20; SV Fort +2, Ref +1, Will +6; AL N.

Gearon

Little is known of Gearon, a humanoid with an egg-shaped head whose features were hidden by a visor and a silver or black space suit. He arrived in a huge space ship, making it likely that the strength of his people was in their fleet, rather than in individual prowess.

Gearon: Init +0; Atk buffet +0 melee (1d3); AC 15; HD 1d4; hp 4; MV 30’; Act 1d20; SP space suit offers +5 to AC and Fort saves (already included in statistics), visor grants immunity to gaze or sight-based attacks; SV Fort +5, Ref +0, Will +4; AL L.

Malpha

Malpha was a  humanoid creature whose pale skin was covered with a patchwork of dark “veins”.  Like all of the delegates working with the Daleks, very little is known about Malpha or his people.

Malpha: Init +0; Atk buffet +1 melee (1); AC 11; HD 1d4; hp 3; MV 30’; Act 1d20; SV Fort +2, Ref +1, Will +5; AL L.

Screamer

Giant bats found on the planet Desparus, screamers are known for the loud noises that they make when hunting prey. Their screams confuse and immobilize victims who fail a Will save (DC10) for 1d3 rounds. Affected creatures can do nothing but cower, granting the screamers a +2 bonus to attack rolls.

Screamer: Init +6; Atk bite +4 melee (1d5); AC 14; HD 2d8; MV fly 40’; Act 1d20; SP scream; SV Fort +4, Ref +4, Will -2; AL C.

Trantis

A sharp-toothed and physically imposing humanoid reminiscent of the Futurekind seen in Utopia and The Sound of Drums, Trantis represented the Outer Galaxies.  Trantis gains a +3 bonus to opposed Strength checks.

Trantis: Init +0; Atk buffet +5 melee (1d3+3) or bite +3 melee (1d5+3); AC 12; HD 4d8+4; hp 24; MV 30’; Act 1d20; SP strength; SV Fort +6, Ref +2, Will +8; AL L.


Varga Plant

These mutated plants from the planet Skaro can shoot out thorns as though they were darts. Any creature struck by a thorn must succeed in a DC 24 Fort save or lose 1d3 Personality and 1 Agility per turn. When Personality reaches 0, the creature is transformed into a Varga plant. If the creature has more than a 0 Agility at the time, it is mobile. There is no known natural cure for Varga infection. Even attempts to remove the condition (as a disease) using a cleric’s ability to Lay on Hands, or a neutralize poison or disease spell, are made at -1d on the dice chain.

Varga plants have a dim consciousness whose only instinct is to kill living animals. They seem to prefer humanoid forms to all others for their targets, leading to some speculation they are not natural, but were bred either by the Daleks, or by the Thals or Kaleds during their long war on Skaro. Whatever the truth may be, Daleks imported Varga plants to the planet Kembel for security, and it is quite possible that similar measures were taken on other worlds.

Dalek creatures are not immune to Varga plants, but the thorn darts of the Varga cannot penetrate a Dalek casing, even with a natural “20”. All forms of armor grant an additional +2 bonus against Varga plant attacks, except shields, and a character completely covered in armor with a lowered visor is immune to their darts.

Varga plant: Init -2; Atk slam +0 melee (1d3) or thorn +1 ranged (1 plus infection); AC 9; HD 1d6; MV 20’; Act 1d20; SP infection, armor gets added bonus; SV Fort +1, Ref -2, Will +5; AL C.

Visians

Invisible predators which the First Doctor described as “vicious”, Visians are 8-foot tall bipeds with roughly humanoid forms. They were described as “thin, bony, with two long, clawed arms, feet like birds' claws, and a narrow head with a beak” in the novelization. They may have been related in some way to the migratory Krafayis seen in Vincent and the Doctor. Whether or not the Visians are capable of speech is also an open question. Because of their invisibility, any ranged attack made against a Visian has a 50% chance of missing, regardless of the attack roll.

Visian: Init +0; Atk claw +2 melee (1d3) or peck +0 melee (1d5); AC 17; HD 2d8; MV 30’; Act 1d20; SP invisible; SV Fort +1, Ref +7, Will +4; AL C.

Zephon

A humanoid composed of seaweed-like tendrils, Zephon may well be a plant-animal hybrid. Although it spoke with a human-like voice, and wore a hooded robe, it has no discernable features. A similar creature was imprisoned in the Dauntless Prison in an episode of the unofficial Doctor Who spin-off series, K-9.  

Zephon: Init +0; Atk by weapon +0 melee (by weapon); AC 12; HD 2d4; hp 6; MV 30’; Act 1d20; SV Fort +2, Ref +0, Will +5; AL L.

The Time Destructor

This Dalek weapon manipulates time, vastly speeding its passage on a scale as large as a planet, or within a scope as limited as a single individual. It was powered by a small amount of taranium, an extremely rare element found on Uranus. The tarranium core was small enough to easily pocket, but represented more than a billion tonnes of processed ore.



Within the Time Destructor’s area of operation, 1d3 years pass per round for the first minute. Thereafter, for each minute, the number of years which pass increase by +1d on the dice chain, until 1d30 years per round is reached. Thereafter, the Time Destructor accelerates to 1d3 centuries per round, continuing up the dice chain each turn until 1d30 centuries pass each round. This is the maximum output of the device.

Most creatures caught within the operational area of the Time Destructor take 1d3 points of permanent ability score damage for each year they are aged. The judge may allow long-lived creatures (such as dragons or elves) or time-sensitive creatures a DC 10 Fort save each round to resist damage caused by the device. A creature which is both long-lived and time-sensitive, which would include Gallifreyan Time Lords, gain a +4 bonus to this save.


Sunday, 14 February 2016

How I Roll


Tomi Tapio K from Helsinki, Finland Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.



I have utilized several methods of rolling dice over the years. When I started the game, polyhedral dice were not even widely available, and chits were used. Eventually, cheap plastic dice appeared. You had to colour these in yourself to make the numbers legible. The 20-sider was numbered 1-0 twice, so that you coloured one side one colour, and the other side another colour. Say, red indicated 11-20, while white indicated 1-10.

Nowadays, I have a huge collection of dice, and have multiples of everything in the Dungeon Crawl Classics dice chain several times over. But the tools don't matter as much as what you do with them. So here is how I roll.

(1) Almost everything is rolled in the open. In the DCC core rulebook, Joseph Goodman gives the advice to roll the dice in the open, and I second it. You can have players who believe you are not fudging the dice without doing so, but when they see the dice fall, they know it to be true. Die rolls in the open are way more exciting than dice rolled behind a screen.

(2) Some things are still rolled behind the screen. Attempts to find traps. Attempts to locate secret doors. Basically, if the players should not know the result, the dice remain hidden.

The goal here is to create the same level of uncertainty in the players that their characters should experience. Is there a trap that we just failed to find? Perhaps we should still be cautious....

Some GMs prefer to allow the players to roll these checks, and then use a "control die", secretly rolled by the GM, to modify the player's roll, or to set the DC for the check. This gives the players an illusion of having some control over the result, but I find it unsatisfactory. First off, you are adding an extra roll for no good reason. Second, the illusion is pretty easily pierced. Third off, the results may be skewed.

To indicate what I mean by the last, consider the case where a PC has a 1 in 6 chance of noticing a hidden door. Then the GM rolls 1d6 to determine what actual number the player must roll to make that 1 in 6 chance. The odds shift. The chance of one six-sided die coming up on a "1" is 1 in 6. The chance of two six-sided dice coming up on the same number is 1 in 36.

(The struck out portion is incorrect; see comments, below.)

(3) I let the players roll damage for the monsters. First off, this ensures that I will never fudge damage to save a PC. Secondly, it gives the players a clear understanding of their opponent's damage potential - part of that context thing I am always going on about. Finally, doing so really keeps the players involved. When the GM inflicts 24 points of damage on your beloved elf, you might be tempted to blame the GM. When you are rolling the damage yourself, you begin to really hate your opponent.

Image by Tomi Tapio K from Helsinki, Finland. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Terror Island and the Colossus!

OSR Con 5.5 was held at a nice venue, with snacks, water, and soft drinks available for a very reasonable price. There were some cool door prizes as well. I added some DCC bookmarks and temporary tattoos to the table for freebies, and a spare copy of AL 1-5: Stars in the Darkness as a door prize. I also brought a number of DCC products where I had multiple copies to give away at my table – everyone who played got something cool.

I ended up with six players, a combination of those new to DCC and those who had played the game before. I was running the Alpha Playtest of Escape from Terror Island, a DCC funnel adventure, and it should be no surprise to anyone that things will change from this playtest to the final version. The feedback from the players was awesome…and useful.

Time is always an issue with me. There is never enough of it. Since beginning my odyssey writing materials for the DCC game, I’ve managed to run something (or more than one something) on every Free Role-Playing Game Day, and I’ve managed to do a number of other public games as well, but actually making it to even a one-day Con has been pretty much off the radar.

I was very glad to have made it to OSR Con 5.5, and rest assured that I intend to go back next year!

Speaking of playtesting, a few weeks back, I had a chance to playtest Perry Fehr’s Maiden Voyage of the Colossus. This product is now available in pdf format from Purple Duck Games at RPG Now. I understand that there were some problems with the previews for the product (now fixed!), so I am going to describe it briefly: You are tasked with ensuring that a flying ship is not destroyed by sabotage on its maiden voyage. You have four hours. The adventure recommends that you use a real four-hour time limit. There are optional hooks for individual PCs, hidden agendas that can make the adventure more fun. The prospective judge could build some of these into earlier play, to offer foreshadowing.

The adventure is statted for Pathfinder and Dungeon Crawl Classics. This offers the prospective judge a good example of how an adventure for one system can be modified for the other, with what amount to side-by-side examples. A flying ship is a bit out of place in some DCC worlds, although it would work very well in an Anomalous Subsurface Environment-based campaign, Crawling Under a Broken Moon, or on an alien world in Crawljammer. As a singular item, it would work very well in a campaign milieu based off of some of Jack Vance’s writing, or Lin Carter’s.

Just because you are running the game for one system, it doesn't mean that you shouldn't look at the other system's set-up. Use whatever you think will be the most fun!

When I ran the game, I had the PCs summoned as “demons” to the “higher plane” of Porphyria. In addition to allowing me to preserve my own milieu, it established the chance of future trips to Purple Duck’s signature campaign world, and gave me the opportunity to ask, “Now which plane are you from, specifically?” when it was time to go back.

You could easily use such a device to send PCs to the Purple Planet, the Shudder Mountains, or whatever interests you at the time. I send them to Gary Gygax’s Dungeonland, there to meet up with some other PCs (my game takes place across multiple worlds, with multiple character groups run by the same players, and multiple threads) who were in Dungeonland as a “break” from The God-Seed Awakens. The God-Seed Awakens was a divine quest undertaken by PCs from ASE’s Denethix…the Helix/Wolford group was sent by their cleric’s god as additional (and much needed) muscle. At the conclusion of God-Seed, I broke the groups up again, sending each to their own fate…

(As a side note, I did a minimal conversion of Dungeonland, with the intention of later making A Red and Pleasant Land a plane where the PCs could end up visiting….both Carcossa and Narcossa are real possibilities as well.)



Thursday, 14 January 2016

Planning Ahead: Mathoms

This year’s Birthday Mathom is going to be a free adventure. Why? Because Why not?

Okay, this is why I am “planning ahead”:

To get this adventure, you need to post a review (good, bad, or indifferent) of something that I wrote. The review has to be posted on 14 January 2016 or later. Then you need to put a link to that review in the comments of this post. Finally, you need to send me an email so that I can send you your birthday mathom. Ravencrowking at hot mail dot com.

That's three steps, and you need to follow them all to get the free adventure. Simple.

Here’s the cool part: I am going to start writing the adventure in June. SO…up to an including 1 June 2016, you may also include in your comments something you would like me to include in said adventure, and I will try to include it. Remember, this is a free project, so don’t be surprised if you don’t end up with 17 patrons just because of the comments. Keep it reasonable…but be inventive.

Final deadline to get in on the mathom is 1 August 2016; the mathom goes out on 4 August 2015.

Right now, you can select from the following to review. As more products hit the shelves with the year growing older, you get more options:

Appendix N Adventures Add-Ons #1 (Gifts of the Only, The Perplexing Disappearances in Brambury*, Vance's Merry Men, A Lesson From Turtles, Grimic the Slaughterer*, or Laro Chelle the Ring Bearer)
The Gong Farmer’s Almanac (May Flowers)
Angels, Daemons, and Beings Between*
The Revelation of Mulmo
DCC RPG/Xcrawl Free RPG Day 2013 (The Imperishable Sorceress)
Goodman Games Gen Con 2015 Program Book (Black Feather Blade; The Hypercube of Myt*)
RC 1: The Hypercube of Myt*
RC 2: Death By Nexus*
Crawljammer: The Weird Worm-Ways of Saturn
In the Prison of the Squid Sorcerer (Mermaids from Yuggoth and Icons of the Blood Goddess)
Pulp Weird Encounters #1 (The Tomb of the Squonk)
The Tribe of Ogg and the Gift of Suss
Bone Hoard of the Dancing Horror
Through the Cotillion of Hours
Stars in the Darkness
The Stars are Falling*
The Falcate Idol
The Black Goat
The Folk of Osmon
The Seven Deadly Skills of Sir Amoral the Misbegotten
Silent Nightfall
The Crimson Void
Dispatches from Raven Crowking Vol. 1
Prince Charming, Reanimator
Creeping Beauties of the Wood
The Portsmouth Mermaid
Three Nights in Portsmouth
The Perils of Cinder Claws
Crawl! fanzine #9 (The Arwich Grinder)

I also did conversions, or wrote material for

DCC #76.5: Well of the Worm (DCC Conversion)
DCC #79.5: Tower of the Black Pearl (DCC Conversion)
DCC #82.5: Dragora's Dungeon (DCC Conversion)
DCC #84: Peril on the Purple Planet (Boxed set extras*)
DCC #85.5: Curse of the Kingspire (DCC Conversion)
GM Gems Hardcover Second Printing (DCC Conversion)
Xcrawl: Dungeonbattle Brooklyn (DCC Conversion)


* Co-authored. Obviously, I am not the original author on any of the conversion materials.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Escape from Terror Island!

Saturday, January 16, 2016 is OSRCon 5.5 at the Wilmar Heights Event Centre, 963 Pharmacy Ave, in Toronto, Ontario.

I will be running the initial playtest of Escape from Terror Island from 6:50 pm-10:50 pm. Pre-generated characters provided courtesy of the Purple Sorcerer 0-level Party Generator.

Travellers are shipwrecked on the notorious Terror Island. Try to survive hungry cannibals, giant reptiles, ape men, and more while searching for a way to escape. Find items that give you phenomenal powers! Cower before alien gods! Uncover the secrets of the Lake of Bronze! Level up at 10 XP, and take on the rest of the adventure with your survivors!

Because this is an initial playtest, all participants are eligible for a playtester credit in the final product. Because this is DCC RPG, no one will walk away without some form of swag.


Tuesday, 5 January 2016

The Joy of Monsters

Imagine for a moment that you picked up a shining new Dungeon Crawl Classics rulebook, and you were ready to start writing your own adventures. The Cyclopedia of Creatures might seem a little thin to those GMs used to leafing through a manual of monsters and picking out their favourites. Even given the admonishment to make monsters unique, DCC might seem a little thin on the ground in this respect. But this is an illusion.

I just finished updating the “Locating Monsters in the Blog”post to include the statblocks from Skull Mountain, and you know what? As of today, there are over 140 entries on this blog alone. When I look at the “Finding Monsters in My Adventures” post, there are more than 350 entries. Even acknowledging that there is overlap between what has appeared on my blog and in my adventures, it is probably safe to say that I have contributed over 400 creatures or beings to the game.

And that is just me alone.

How many strange creatures has Harley Stroh introduced? Michael Curtis? Jobe Bittman? A listing that catalogued all of the creatures appearing in all of the adventures, the blogs, the zines, the Spellburn Dungeon Denizens and the Sanctum Secorum companions….Is there any game that has as many creatures as DCC does? There are so many creative minds involved with this game that I cannot keep up. Even attempting to list them all is now beyond my meagre talents!

The answer is, obviously, any game where conversion is easy has all of the creatures DCC does, and shares all of its creatures with DCC. If you use the charts in the core rulebook, James Raggi’s Random Esoteric Creature Generator, and The Monster Alphabet, you have an infinite number of creatures at your fingertips. And as much as I would like to own the book(s) that gathers all of that goodness together, if I have learned nothing else from my sojourn with Dungeon Crawl Classics, I have learned this: selecting monsters from a preset list is a trap. All of the best stuff I have done has been influenced by images, fiction, random generators, and simply letting my mind wander until I had some solid idea of what should be in a particular adventure.


That said, play with those ideas that are out there. All the Purple Duck stuff I’ve done is OGC (or nearly all; there might be something I’ve missed). Play with it. Make it your own, and then publish the results. Make mention of the Black Goat or Kala Môr! Really. Not only will I buy a copy, but if you let me know, I will help to spread the word. There is a reason those blog posts, designed to make finding those stat blocks easier, exist. Like the early Cthulhu mythos, our work is stronger when echoes of one author’s oeuvre appear in another author’s work, even in a minor way.

Convert Me - Skull Mountain


This is an original Labyrinth Lord adventure by Jeff Sparks, and published by Faster Monkey Games. I used it in my home Dungeon Crawl Classics campaign, setting Wolford to the south and east of Helix (from Barrowmaze) and south and west of Stonehell. From this you may (correctly) gather that both Barrowmaze and Stonehell are part of the campaign setting. Not too far away are the ruins where Sir Amoral the Misbegotten may be found. Slightly more distant, the pass of The Black Goat.

In addition to trying to sell you on the usefulness of these items for your own DCC game, I am going to include some of the conversion stats I used when running Skull Mountain at home.

Monsters

Here are some monster examples, given DCC stats. These are cut&pasted from my conversion notes....they are exactly as I used them in play. Obviously, you will get more out of these if you actually have the adventure in question.

Bone Golem: Init +3; Atk femur bone (as club) +4 melee (1d4+1); AC 18; HD 8d12; hp 40; MV 30’; Act 4d20; SP infravision 60’, immune to electricity, fire, cold, or mind-affecting attacks; SV Fort +12, Ref +8, Will +10; AL N.

This golem has four arms, each of which can wield a weapon. It can attack up to two characters at a time.

Darkling Acolyte: Init -2; Atk claws +2 melee (1d3) or obsidian sword +0 melee (1d7) or harmful spell (see below); AC 14; HD 1d8; MV 30’ or climb 30’; Act 1d20; SP obsidian sword shatters on natural 1 or 20, harmful spells; SV Fort +2, Ref +2, Will +5; AL C.

Darkling acolytes can cast minor harmful spells, which typically manifest as threads of purple smoke which invade the lungs and cause choking. Each darkling acolyte can cast two harmful spells per day, each of which causes 1d6+1 damage at a range of 50’ (DC 14 Fort save for half damage).

Darkling Captain: Init +4; Atk claws +5 melee (1d3+2) or obsidian sword +8 melee (1d8+2 plus shock); AC 20; HD 4d8+4; hp 26; MV 30’ or climb 30’; Act 1d20; SP shock (Wasserblitzen); SV Fort +7, Ref +4, Will +6; AL C.

Wields Wasserblitzen (+1 Chaotic long sword: Int 10; Communication: Simple urges; Bane: Water Elementals [Painful wound; +1d4 damage]; Power 1: Detect traps within 2d4 x 10’; Power 2: Shock blade. Inflict an additional 1d4 electrical damage with every strike, doubled to 2d4 if opponent wears metal armour, is in water, or is composed of metal (such as a golem or living statue).

Entrance Guardian: Init +0; Atk stone fist +4 melee (1d6+3) or lava stream +2 ranged (2d6); AC 18; HD 5d10+10; hp 42; MV 10’; Act 2d20; SP DR 5/magic, immune to mind-affecting, not alive, regenerate 3 hp/round in archway, 5 lava streams before recharge; SV Fort +10, Ref +0, Will +0; AL N.

The entrance guardian can shoot lava from its mouth, like a breath weapon, five times before its reservoir is depleted. It regenerates at a rate of 3 hp per round while resting in the archway. This also replenishes its lava at a rate of one “breath” per five rounds.

Giant Frog: Init +2; Atk bite +0 melee (1d3) or tongue +2 ranged (snare); AC 10; HD 1d8; MV 30’ or leap 50’ or swim 60’; Act 1d20; SP swallow prey on natural 19-20; SV Fort +0, Ref +3, Will +0; AL N.

Prey snagged by a giant frog’s tongue must succeed on a DC 10 Strength check or be pulled 5’ closer each round (Strength DC 20 escapes, tongue is AC 15 with 5 hp). Prey swallowed by a giant frog take 1d3 damage at the beginning of each round and cannot attack unless they already have a dagger in hand (and then as -2d on the dice chain).

Giant Gecko: Init +0; Atk bite +5 melee (2d3); AC 15; HD 2d8; MV 40’ or climb 40’; Act 1d20; SP camouflage (+5); SV Fort +2, Ref -2, Will -2; AL N. 5’ long.

Giant Sturgeon: Init +0; Atk bite +6 melee (2d10); AC 20; HD 10d8+10; MV swim 50’; Act 1d20; SP swallow; SV Fort +10, Ref +4, Will +3; AL N. Up to 30’ long.

A giant sturgeon swallows prey whole on a natural 18-20. Swallowed prey take 2d6 damage each round, and must succeed in a DC 15 Reflex save to attack from inside at -2d on the dice chain (but vs. AC 13).

Giant Tuarara: Init -3; Atk bite +5 melee (3d4); AC 17; HD 3d8; MV 40’ or climb 20’; Act 1d20; SP camouflage (+10); SV Fort +2, Ref -2, Will -2; AL N. 8’ long.

Grey Worm: Init +0; Atk bite +3 melee (1d8); AC 14; HD 6d8+6; MV 10’ or burrow 30’; Act 1d20; SP swallow whole, sense creatures 60’; SV Fort +7, Ref +3, Will +0; AL N. 30’ long.

A grey worm swallows prey whole on an 19-20. Swallowed prey suffers 1d8 damage each round, and can only attack with a readied dagger at -1d on the dice chain.

Kalrak the Darkling High Priest: Init +1; Atk claws +5 melee (1d3+1) or obsidian dagger +6 melee (1d4+2); AC 19; HD 6d8+4; hp 24; MV 30’ or climb 30’; Act 1d20+1d14; SP magic obsidian dagger, spells; SV Fort +7, Ref +5, Will +7; AL C.

Obsidian Dagger: +1 Dagger; Alignment: Chaotic; Intelligence: 1; Communication: None.

Gold Ring of Protection +2: If worn by a Lawful creature, does 1d3 Agility damage per round for 1d5 rounds as it burns away. It cannot be removed without a Remove Curse spell.

Spells: (Spell Check: d20+7): Blessing, Darkness, Detect Evil, Detect Magic, Resist Cold or Heat, Second Sight, Word of Command, Binding, Curse, Divine Symbol, Snake Charm, Wood Wyrding, Bolt from the Blue, Remove Curse, True Name.

Razemeth the Avatar, average-sized purple dragon: Init +11; Atk claw (x2) +12 melee (1d8); bite +12 melee (1d12); tail slap +12 melee (1d20); AC 21; HD 11d12 (82 hp); MV 50; Act attacks 4d20, spells 1d20; SP Amphibious; SV Fort +11, Ref +15, Will +11; Al C.

Breath Weapon: Type (Smoke); no damage but remains for 1d6 rounds, conceals); Shape (Cloud, radius 1d3 x 10’, aimed up to 90’ away).

Level 1 Spells (1d20+4): Choking Cloud

Special: Change shape (1/day, darkling female); Detection (at will, gems within 100’); Darkness (at will, 30’ radius area within 100’).

Rhadogessa: Init +5; Atk bite +2 melee (2d5 plus poison) or leg +6 melee (0 plus pull); AC 15; HD 4d8; MV 50’ or climb 20’; Act 1d20; SP poisonous bite (Fort DC 15 or 1d7 per round until save succeeds), pull (Strength DC 15 or pulls to mandibles and gains free bite at +6 bonus next round), infravision 80’; SV Fort +4, Ref +2, Will +2; AL N.

Salamander: Init +6; Atk claw +5 melee (1d4) or bite +3 melee (1d8); AC 18; HD 8d8; hp 32; MV 30’; Act 3d20; SP heat (1d8 each round to all within 20’; Fort DC 12 for half), cold vulnerability (+1d12 per die of damage), immunities (fire, non-magical weapons, sleep, and charm); SV Fort +3, Ref +12, Will +8; AL C.

Terko Cooper: Init +5; Atk scimitar +6 melee (dmg 1d8+3) or javelin +7 missile fire (1d6) or harmful spell (see below); AC 17; HD 3d8; MV 20’; Act 1d20; SP harmful spell; SV Fort +4, Ref +4, Will +2; AL C.

Cooper can cast three harmful spells per day, each of which causes 2d7+2 damage at a range of 100’ (DC 15 Will save for half damage).

Items

The Mask of Terror: This helmet-like mask of strange, dark metal encloses the entire head in the hideous likeness of a horned, reptilian fiend, including slavering fangs and glittering red eyes. The mask radiates magic and evil. As disturbing as its normal appearance is, it also carries an enchantment:

Once a day, the wearer can cause the mask’s face to become utterly terrifying. Creatures within 30' who see the mask must succeed in a DC 15 Will save or flee in panic for 2d6 rounds, or cower in fear if flight is impossible. Any attack on a panicked creature ends the effect. Mindless monsters and those immune to gaze attacks are unaffected by the mask.

Caltrops: These nasty little objects are generally available in larger settlements, especially where horses are common. A five-pound bag of caltrops costs 5 gp and contains approximately 100 of the spiked metal balls. When scattered on the ground, they slow or discourage pursuit over a 10' x 10' area. Anyone walking through must slow to 5' per round or make a DC 10 Agility check to avoid stepping on them. Caltrops do 1d3 points of Agility damage slow movement by 5’ per point of Agility damage until the damage is healed.

Wormstriker: +1 Lawful Long sword (Int 6, communicates via simple urges). Bane: Dragons (Beacon of fury; sword attempts to persuade everyone that it can communicate with to attack the bane under any circumstances [ego check for wielder and potentially others]). Power: Detect secret doors within 1d6 x 10’.

Rod of Striking: As staff, +2d12 damage on critical in addition to other effects (uses a charge, 8 charges; shatters when last charge used for 1d12 damage to all within 10’ [including wielder, Ref DC 10 half]); black wood.

Location-Based Changes to Mesh with DCC

Here I deal with some things that are given Labyrinth Lord statistics, or I am adjusting treasure. Not every change I made is listed, but I give a few rooms simply to allow other judges to compare the original with the changes I made:

Area 3-2: Potion of Extra-Healing heals up to 3 HD and has 5 doses. Potion of Super-Heroism grants 3d8 temporary hit points and a 1d5 Deed Die (or +2d on the Dice Chain for warriors and dwarves) for 2d6 rounds.

Area 6-1: 1 point of temporary Stamina damage per round due to heat (Fort DC 10 each round negates); requires 5 minutes of rest to recover. IN THE LAVA: Intense heat causes 1d3 Stamina damage each round (no save).

Area T-7: No magic spear or potion.

Area U-8: Greenstar's cloak is well-made, but has no magical properties.

Area U-10: Each potion heals 1d8+3 damage. Scroll is written in code. When properly deciphered the scroll can be read but not until then. Int DC 15 or Read Languages DC 10; each attempt takes 1 turn. The caster uses her own spell check result.

Area U-13: Each potion requires a DC 10 Fort save. On a success, it heals 2d12 damage per dose (2 doses each); on a failure it causes 1d3 Strength and Agility damage due to muscle cramps. This damage heals at the rate of 1 point per hour.

Conclusion

Skull Mountain is an excellent adventure, which can be converted fairly easily to DCC. You should either buy it and convert it yourself, or you should kindly ask Faster Monkey Games to put out a DCC version. In fact, if the author wants to do the conversion himself, I'll send him my notes.