Thursday, December 27, 2012

Preview: The Mysterious Temple of the Serpent God

Okay, so I've taken a few days to recover from my furious Zappadan blogging marathon. It was an interesting experience for me. I had to blog every day. I had to blog about the same two general topics every day. I had to make connections between the those two topics every day. I had to do it for 18 days. Not every post was a gem, mind you. But there were a few nice ones.

By and large, I succeeded at those tasks. Yeah, I missed a day when I got overwhelmed by pre-vacation work concerns. Yeah, maybe one or two posts were only loosely connected to each other. Fine. That's just fine. The overall result was an excellent exercise in writing as a craft. I remember a quote I heard a few years ago that's stuck with me. I thought it was an Arthur Miller quote, but can't find the source of it. In any case, when asked when he found himself inspired to write, he said that he finds his inspiration at about nine a.m. when he arrived at his office, and lost it promptly at five p.m., when it was time to leave.

For all of our notions about talent and inspiration and whatnot, what many people seem to forget is that a lot of what gets mistaken as great individual work is founded on all of the prior work. People who produce a lot tend to produce better quality stuff over time, simply because they both (a) have more chances to do so and (b) have more chances to improve their craft over time. So, hopefully my foray into forced inspiration helped me to progress as a writer.

Okay, so it's time to pimp the next Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad campaign arc: The Mysterious Temple of the Serpent God. This is my second foray into writing DCC modules and I think it's pretty decent. One problem I'm having right now is trying to decide whether or not my players will be able to "beat" the module. Now, to be clear, there are two issues here: The less important one is "balance" between the PCs' capabilities and the challenges represented in the module. The more important one is that the outcome of this adventure, should they not "win," will have far-reaching consequences for the adventure setting, most of them unpleasant.

I'm trying to be careful not to spoil it, as some of my players probably will read this. Hi, guys!

So, as a more general question to any of you out there who have written original adventures, how much do you worry about overpowering your players, TPK, Pandora's Box effects springing from the less-successful outcomes? For my part, it's something I think about, but then go, "Fuck it. This is DCC, not 4th ed. Even if they are unsuccessful all die, it will be awesome."

Hmm... what else can I say about this adventure? Here's a short list:

This is gonna be a groovy mystery.

Oh, sexy Velma... you will be mine.


There will be a new patron and a new god.

Sorry, kids! No spoilers here. I want it to be a big surprise.


There will be more grimdark elements than last time. 


But seriously I hate these douchebag turtles.


One scene I debated about including is particularly disturbing to me.

Like, getting into Baby Kobolds/Raggi territory with this one (Hi, James! Hi, Zombie Gary!). I don't watch horror movies. I'm not interested in horror movies. Nonetheless, what happens in this adventure is thoroughly horrible, and it's include as, frankly, the reason for why we fight the encroaching darkness. I want my players to feel some measure of outrage at The Adversary, at their lot in life, at the fact that they're gonna be marching through miles of jungle in fantasy fucking Vietnam. Yeah, this is gonna be gooooood.


This adventure was written as a movie script. 

When I set out to write this, I intentionally did it as if it were a film. It's got a strongly visual theme in my mind, and I looked at a lot of pictures on the Internet to get the right feel for it. I know what this place looks like, smells like, sounds like. I'm ready to capture some fucking imaginations, people!

The outcome could potentially change the world, and in a very, very bad way (for humans).

So, this is Ur-Hadad. Ur-Hadad is not a nice place. It's a dangerous place. It's a post-Apocalyptic place. It could very quickly become the very Hell you thought we'd already overcome. The Metal Gods are not the only gods in creation, and those who are down are not always out, gods or mortals. Failing in their mission, the PCs will have failed both Men and Gods. No pressure, though. Just don't fuck up.

We're using real dice.

I have come to a conclusion. If I'm going to fail, it will be while rolling my own dice, not while waiting for someone's random number generator to stab me in the fucking back. Dice rollers are all well and good, but I've got dice. You've got dice. Let's use our dice. I won't lie to you, and you won't lie to me. Unless you want to, because that's what makes it fun for you. It really doesn't matter. But: I'm not going to fudge the results. Monsters like to score a crit every once in a while, too. Who am I to deny them their fun?


I've used a forced writing technique with this one, as well.

As I mentioned, the band High on Fire provided song titles for the various scenes in this "film." Not every one of them fits well, but I've tried to make every one of them fit somehow. With titles like "Frosthammer," "Snakes for the Divine," "Master of Fists," and "Serums of Liao" how could I possibly go wrong?

This is gonna be SO! MUCH! FUN!