For my final GaryCon game, I played A Strange Night at the Pint-N-Pony for Dungeon Crawl Classics (DCC). The game was wild, with a GM that encouraged players to try bold actions, and all six of us embraced that idea and ran with it for an unforgettable time filled with laughter and cheers!
This was an amazing end to GaryCon XIII. The Pint-N-Pony adventure was a “funnel” game, which for DCC means each player begins with four 0-level characters and whoever survives to the end makes it to first level. I love playing multiple characters that are simple to use and the DCC 0-level funnel works very well for that. Your character doesn’t have a class yet and minimal abilities, but if they survive, they will have a great backstory for the event that changed their life and set them on the path for glory and gold.
I’ve had my eye on A Strange Night at the Pin-N-Pony for a long time (I missed supporting the Kickstarter for it), so I was looking forward to playing it to see what it had to offer. It so happens that if offers quite a bit for 0-level adventure. The adventure description is as follows:
“The little folk meet each night at a pub secluded from the troubles of big people. Here, after a long day of work, hobbits, dwarves, gnomes, and the occasional wild elf and short humans share simple tales and sip tasty ales. Tonight is nothing new—or is it? Sinister forces have been awakened and emerge during happy hour (hic) at the Pint n’ Pony. Now, in defense of their precious last keg, new adventurers will be born out of the horror of a very strange night! A tale (hic) only DCC RPG can weave.”
Thus we all began with demi-humans, or short humans, and since there were six of us with four characters, that meant there were 24 characters hanging out in the Pint-N-Pony ordering food and drink, so the place was crowded and cozy with all our characters congregating together relaxing like only demi-humans can! I enjoyed playing in an adventure dominated by dwarves, hobbits, and gnomes, in a tavern sized only for them, it gives the adventure a nice shift in tone and structure from the norm.
The judge we had was dynamic, frequently roleplayed in character, he ran his game standing up and moving around, and he was always hoping for players to come up with creative ideas to meet challenges and would happily reward us with “floating luck” (which encourage us even more to use up luck points to try bold things). All of us knew DCC and the 0-level funnel system and also embraced roleplaying hungry hobbits and drinking dwarves. So when the floor exploded beneath us and rat-folk swarmed, my hobbit jumped on the chandelier and kicked rat-folk into the fireplace, my dwarves smashed chairs over the rat-folk heads, and other characters used the stage for higher ground, and hid under/behind tables for cover. Not only were all aspects of the environment encouraged, there were even some rule guidelines to assist (so when Nosco, my hobbit, kicked rat-men into the fireplace, there were checks both I and they could make to determine success or failure, as well as a range of options for what results might occur that round and in following rounds). I will be sure to make use of these ideas in tavern environments in the Castles & Crusades games I run in the future.
Even with 24 characters in this chaos the combat ran smoothly and swiftly. At one point three barrels of ale fell down the hole into the ground and once we dealt with the rat-folk, the three dwarves I had and several others mourned the loss of the ale and were dedicated to retrieving and saving it if we could. The proprietor supported our bold cause and many were offered pans and other tavern instruments as weapons for our descent (we were 0-level, so didn’t have the resources like full 1st level adventurers have). My dwarven miner and someone else’s dwarven mason led the way into the darkness. Most of us had infravision, so we could see relatively well. But sadly, what we saw were two of the three barrels smashed from the fall. Two of my dwarves were rat-catchers and carried nets with them, so they layered them together and several other dwarves came together and carried the remaining barrel of ale aloft as the unique and nearly holy item that we new it was! Climbing down caused the tunnel above us to collapse, so that meant we had to find another way out, as well as deal with the rat-folk that had ruined our joyous time eating and drinking.
I don’t want to spoil the adventure for those that haven’t played it, so I will just say that over the four hour adventure we faced unique traps, disturbing transformations, and amazing magical effects to dazzle our 0-level senses! The creativeness of the players resulted in throwing blankets and nets over monsters to reduce their movement and attacks, inserting the fingers of dead creatures into holes in doors to try and trigger what seemed to be puzzle traps, two different characters placing their hands on the handle of a clearly magical weapon to try and offset what the magic in it might do to one or both of them, and many more. Our excited judge game us floating luck for these action as we used it to attempt further things. Hobbits, dwarves, and gnomes lived up to their bold characteristics and threw caution to the wind!
As you can see in the character sheet picture above (where I used my DCC “you have survived” and “cause of death” stamps), I lost Nosco, my hobbit (to an amazing monstrous transformation), but my dwarven miner, and my two dwarven rat-catchers survived! I will be looking to play in a game with this GM again in a future convention, as well as with any of these players. The game was a blast!