Saturday, December 12, 2015
Actual Play: Funnel and Science Fantasy
I ran my first Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG funnel today, and four out of eight PCs met their ends in the process. The Kraken picture above is actually representative of the first encounter, where the ship the characters had signed onto was attacked by a giant sea monster. The PCs only had to beat back the tentacles, which still took a couple of characters. Then they rowed the two ship's boats to a nearby island as the ship started sinking, only to be taken down by the squid.
On the island the players actually took with gusto to surviving the night, which was one place that the funnel format showed off a wrinkle I hadn't thought of: a weaver was making a lean-to, an indentured servant starting a fire, a potato farmer finding edible tubers: characters doing survivalist stuff with the funnel skills. If you wanted to do a Swiss Family Robinson or Lost multi-part scenario in a fantasy RPG, a DCC funnel is actually a pretty great way to start it. Especially when there are a lot of interesting factions on the island.
But my scenario focused on a ziggurat at the center of the island, where things led. After a lizardman attack in the night, the characters went to the step pyramid and explored. Eventually they found a giant lizard, which took a PC out. But they found a back way down and a series of chutes that, carefully explored (though still losing a PC to a spear trap), led to an uncanny room that turned out to be a buried spaceship. I've been wanting to use one for a long time, and this one took off once the PCs sat in the command chairs. As of the end of the scenario, they were level one PCs en route to Mars.
(Of course, I used an ancient astronauts explanation for the spaceship rather than a failed first-contact invasion, but that's just because it's more fun IMO.)
Beyond Mars / Barsoom, there are many worlds I'd like to explore in broad strokes. Venus, of course, with others in the solar system; and maybe even savage Almuric, the Purple Planet and its weirdling sun, Jorune, and frozen Yuggoth and dim Carcosa.
Really, the only problem is picking where to go first.