An Occurrence at Howling Crater Compatible for DCC, MCC & 5E: An Interview With Levi Combs (Planet X Games)

Levi Combs of Planet X Games is bringing back one of his adventures with new content for Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition, Dungeon Crawl Classics, and Mutant Crawl Classics. I caught up with Levi to talk about this project, its origins, and what’s new with it.

An Occurrence at Howling Crater 01.jpg

EGG EMBRY (EGG): Thanks for talking with me about your latest project! What is An Occurrence at Howling Crater?
: Inspired by Gary Gygax’s infamous Appendix N (and a loving nod to Gygax’s own Expedition to the Barrier Peaks), An Occurrence at Howling Crater is a sandbox-style mega-module that takes weird fantasy elements and genre-mashes them with themes from retro/atomic-era sci-fi. If The Hills Have Eyes had a baby with They Came From Outer Space and then that baby grew up watching Ancient Aliens, this is the adventure module you’d get.

EGG: There’s a lot of sci-fi in this project. In your opinion, what sets this project apart from other 5e/DCC/MCC adventures?
: First and foremost, this isn’t traditional fantasy. This is weird fantasy. While it plays wonderfully with the rule set for 5E, it truly finds its groove with the rules and options in Dungeon Crawl Classics and Mutant Crawl Classics. Not only is it taking the elements of play that have made fans of DCC so loyal and supportive of the game, but its adding a few things into the mix that are sure to make a few heads turn when they hit the table. New monsters, locations, NPCs, weird tech, magical items and mechanics all add to the mix to make this a really memorable and fun experience at the table.

EGG: In August, 2019, you successfully kickstarted a Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition ruleset version of this game. Why bring this project back for DCC and MCC?
: As a creator and publisher, one of the cooler things about discovering new game systems is that you can convert some of your older, previous work to a system you think serves it better. Sure, you get to clean up and re-write encounters or situations you think you can make better, but you can also explore entirely new things with a different ruleset. In truth, if I had been a DCC or MCC player when I originally wrote An Occurrence at Howling Crater, I would have written it exclusively for those rules.

An Occurrence at Howling Crater 02 - Cover.jpg

EGG: What new elements are you adding to this that weren’t in the 5e version?
: Oh man… so much! I’ve added about 40+ pages of material to the adventure that wasn’t there previously, including a starting town, new monsters, NPCs and magical items. I’ve gone back and added in tons of read aloud flavor text for all the encounters and locations as well. Finally, there are numerous stretch goals that have been falling one by one that are just making this thing bigger, badder and better.

EGG: You have a number of stretch goals for this project. What are some of the ones that fans are demanding?
: All of the stretch goals that allow me to make a bigger, more cohesive book that really explores the setting and its themes are my favorite. Of course, if we can reach the final stretch goal and make this thing a hardback for everyone involved, I’d really love that.

EGG: What is the “custom HOWLING CRATER BARF BAG!!!”? Why make it available with this campaign?
: Man, people really love that we included a custom Howling Crater barf bag with the module. Yes… a barf bag! It’s a grindhouse movie trope from my youth that I always wanted to revisit with a module. I still remember going to the drive-in to see something or the other with my parents and one of the goodies the ticket-taker handed them was a barf bag for the late showing of the Exorcist II: The Heretic, which we obviously did not stay for. That thing floated around our house for years as a coaster, bookmark or just one of those things that fell between the books on the magazine racks.

EGG: Who is working on this project with you?
: Great question! Jeff Scifert has done a ton of work converting the original text and themes to the DCC/MCC rule set, along with writing new sections on patrons, mutations and all sorts of fun stuff. Tracey Steele is our wonderful layout and design guru and we have a ton of Planet X favorites returning to art on the newest version. The ultra-talented Adrian Landeros created an all new cover and many interior illustrations while artists Ed Bickford, Dan Smith and JE Shields are bringing the heat with new art that is not only cohesive with the original but also adds a little something new. Honestly, there’s more art in this book than in any other Planet X adventure!

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EGG: Planet X Games specializes in a variety of 5e and OSR adventures, as well as other systems. Why go with DCC/MCC for this project?
: Like I mentioned earlier, if I had been playing DCC/MCC when I originally conceived and wrote this adventure, I would most definitely have made it a DCC/MCC adventure scenario. This just screams weird fantasy in a way that only Dungeon Crawl Classics can truly do justice to.

EGG: Beyond An Occurrence at Howling Crater, what else are you working on?
: I’ve got a ton of stuff waiting in the wings and ready to go. We’re busy fulfilling out our last few Kickstarters at the moment (hurry up Mixam!) but the next up is a double zine feature for Zinequest 5 in February, followed by an all new adventure module called Escape from Witch-Gate 13 in April or May that I am super-stoked for people to get their hands on. It’s a wild one.

EGG: Thank you for talking with me about this project. Where can fans learn more about your work?
: You can grab the entire Planet X back catalog over at Exalted Funeral and chat with me over on Twitter at @PlanetXGamesCo. Our Instagram - @it_came_from_beyond_planet_x - is always interesting and you can catch me at cons throughout the year. I’ll be at TotalCon in February, GaryCon in March, Texas RPG Con in June, ShireCon in September, and Gamehole Con in October. If you see me, I’m doling out high fives (and maaaaaybe some custom merch) for free. Please say hello!

An Occurrence at Howling Crater Compatible for DCC, MCC & 5E from Planet X Games
  • End Date: Tue, January 3 2023 8:00 PM EST.
  • “Available for Dungeon Crawl Classics, Mutant Crawl Classics & 5E! Dare your players explore the terrifying secrets at Howling Crater?”
Egg Embry participates in the OneBookShelf Affiliate Program, Noble Knight Games’ Affiliate Program, and is an Amazon Associate. These programs provide advertising fees by linking to DriveThruRPG, Noble Knight Games, and Amazon.

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Egg Embry

Egg Embry


Am I understanding the kickstarter correctly and the new parts are only being added to the DCC/MCC version but not to the 5e one ?

"this update provides a full-spectrum rundown and description including NPCs, locations, extended adventure opportunities and new magical items for the DCC/MCC compatible ruleset"

"when this stretch goal is unlocked we’re gonna add a whole bunch more to the mix, perfect for your DCC/MCC games"

"The 5E compatible version of An Occurrence at Howling Crater was previously released in 2019 under the 5E OGL and has been sold out for some time. The 5E pledge on this Kickstarter makes it available once again in the same classic version as previously released."
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Yes! This Kickstarter is primarily to fund the DCC/MCC version, but we also wanted to make the previous 5E version available again, as it has been out of print for some time.

Most of the extra material will be exclusive to the DCC/MCC version, but we will be providing a digital players pack for 5E backers as well that will contain many items from the stretch goals.

Thanks for asking!

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