Dungeon Crawl Classics #0 Legends are Made, not Born
An Adventure for 0 Level Characters
Here follows another story hour, my main game- you can catch the party of newbies I DM at The Lost Boys Vs. The Sunless Citadel (see below) however, go on, you might like it. Unlike that game the players here are much more mature, at least in years and experience. Therefore the language and topics in places may, or may not, get a little fruity. I have, however, at all times, done my best to make sure it is suitable for almost every ear.
In the beginning was the word, and the word was… Bugger.
The county of Lincornshire, home of the Yellow-Bellies, or as they’re sometimes known, the Imps, a mischievous folk that mean you no harm, providing you pay them their dues and then bugger off sharpish, else they’re likely to knock you into early next week, steal all that you own, and micturate in your hat for good measure. Salt-of-the-Oerth then, gentlefolk.
The Merry Riot Inn, Lowth, outside the rain lashes down, inside the only noise, although the place is packed to the rafters, comes from the logs spitting and crackling in the fire.
Lord Duncan Merriweather, the Mayor, a fat man, in fact nearly enough for two fat men, steps into the circle of expectant faces, he’s eating a pie.
“It is time. Chomp-chew. Enough. Chew-chomp. We cannot stand idle, chew-chomp, as this creature destroys our village. GGGGulp… our lives.”
The Mayor stares hard at the empty faces of the gathered folk; his eyes linger on the families of Ginger Barley and Pop Stokes, the victims of the Ogre’s vicious attack earlier today. The families have chosen, this evening, to sit together, which is particularly apposite as Ginger’s wife is Pop’s brother- you work it out, we’re in the sticks now. Goober Stokes dabs his one big eye, while Lillybeth-Jinny-Anne-Sue Barley rubs her stump.
“It is time to fight back. Chew-spit-choke.”
None of them can meet his eye, mainly because of the fountain of lard and crumbs that is raining down upon the hushed crowd.
“For years we have paid tribute to this beast, Gargle-Gulp, even when times were hard- we found a way CHOMP to keep it fed and watered, for sheep and ale was all it wanted…BURRRRP then. But now the creature has become grasping, it craves our gold, and now… PARRRRP, strangely it wants wood and nails- building materials, although Pelor knows what it is GGGulp- that’s better, constructing, or why.”
He raises his arms; they’re like the horns on a space-hopper, he’s about to make a point.
(See below for Space Hopper image)
“And now the beast asks for CHOMP flesh, human CHOMP flesh.”
The Mayor scans the room, cradles, jiggles and smoothes his flabby folds.
“And what we would not give, it took. GUUUUUULP”
He’s finished his pie. He looks again at the forlorn families.
“It is time to fight, UUUUrp-sorry, back. I have assembled a group of brave souls to deliver our message, once and for all, to the bloody fiend. And that message is… FARRRT, and Death.”
The crowd stirs, begins to look around, an armoured figure steps forward, strides to the Mayor, turns to the masses and bows low.
The Mayor continues.
“Lord Casimir La Frond will lead the group.”
The armoured figure bows again, smiles.
“Hello, I’m Lord Casimir, I’m a Gemini, and quite a catch- no seriously, Ogre-“
He makes chopping motions with an imaginary sword.
“Is over. Call me Cas. Call me anytime… Laydeees.”
He licks his lips, then flattens his eyelashes, all with his tongue, then winks at the damsels in distress.
The villagers know him well, a clean cut and handsome young man, capable, if a little rash- like chicken pox, he gets around; a little, how best to put it- forward. Brave enough when farmer’s daughters are on hand, but enough to face a giant down? Some of the villagers applaud; many more keep their own council, particularly Tarrik (see later).
Cas edges just out of the firelight, swings round to show off his better side.
The Mayor stumbles on.
“Jim Bowen will help to lead the way. Jim.”
A cloaked young lad, just out of his teens, a rough and ready look to him, strides into the light and to the Mayor, shakes his hand, half-nods to the crowd, and edges back into the shadow.
The Mayor turns back to him, “Do you have anything to add?”
Jim shakes his head, trying to hide the burning flush that scars his face, he tenses, a drip of wee snakes down the inside of his farm-boy pants. He shakes a leg and then settles- head down.
The mayor turns back to the crowd.
“Bec will add his strength.”
The crowd parts as a gurning giant strides forth, foaming tankard still in hand, settles next to the Mayor, glugs his drink, wipes his mouth and in the process soaks the front of his jerkin with the tankards contents.
A smattering of laughter, not cruel, but caring. The giant, Bec, grins.
He mumbles and, with Jim’s help, shuffles backwards, out of the light.
“Can I have sandwich?”
Jim nods and places a calming hand on Bec’s arm.
The Mayor goes on.
“Anya’drea will of course provide much needed arcane experience.”
A tall, and stunningly beautiful, woman silently steps forward, swoony-music begins, her red hair aglow in the firelight, she circumnavigates the crowd- for all to see, to admire. She nods at the Mayor who fumbles in his folds, finds a piece of crumpled paper, goes to eat it- thinks better of it, flattens it out and then reads aloud.
“Anya is wearing a calf-skin ‘riding’ jacket with ribbed badger lining, her leather dress is by ‘Goat-e-a’- a daring, plunging, design from their ‘Oh Please Mistress’ Collection. Her boots are Dire Rat pelts, bred in captivity- lovingly killed, flensed, cured and stitched to create a shockingly smooth perambulatory experience. Anya’s jewellery is from the ‘Spangle-Dangle’ Collection from Ratners- for Rats and Rings the best bite in town, be sure to snap them up. Ahem. Hair and make-up by the famous Gnome coiffeur Damp Squib. I give you Anya…”
Anya twirls some more and then, without a smile, or trace of pleasure, passes on to join the others, the music ceases.
A smattering of applause, the odd wolf-whistle. The noise soon dies down.
“And lastly, to complete the valiant group, ahem… Newt.”
A young Gnome barges his way through the sea of legs and into the spotlight, he turns bows low to the masses, and then round to the Mayor, flips a shiny gold coin in the air, it disappears, he strides over to the Mayor, puts his hand out- the coin reappears high above him, it plummets, he catches it and whips it out of sight- he settles into a lazy grin, and when the Mayor turns away presents his middle finger to the fat fool.
The Gnome turns to face his audience, his right eye twitches; he scans the crowd, his mouth a snarl, till he spots the bringer of bad tidings- Kerwin, a weasel of a man, the proprietor of Kerwin’s Outfitters, an overpriced general store.
Kerwin knows the Gnome, all the members of the village do, it seems everyone in the village has mislaid something or other at onetime or another, the missing items always seeming to ‘turn up’ in the vicinity of the quick fingered Newt. Kerwin has a name for it; he calculated once that he was losing at least 5% of his stock to the miniature crime wave that stands before them, shrinkage- that’s what he calls it, shrinkage.
Newt grins, and straightens his apparel, bows again, winks and is on his way, all the while making a mental note to fleece the fellow on his return, else stab him through his stone heart.
The Mayor dives on, as the Gnome wraps himself in shadow.
“And so our brave adventurers are ready to strike, to beard the fearsome Ogre in his foul den…”
The door of the Inn lashes open, wind and rain flies in, a cloaked figure steps into the light, the elements seemingly unconcerned with this barefoot child.
“I will go too.”
Mischa shrugs the hood of her cloak down; the Elf scans the crowd looking for defiance.
“The creature deserves to die, it has upset the balance, I will see it done.”
She pulls her hood back up, the audience watches her every move, then makes her way over to the other adventurers.
“Well… Good. Six- the six shall head forth… Ahem. But before they go- who will proffer aid to them on their perilous journey?”
“I have brought these.”
Mischa steps forward again, in her open palm rest eight blue-black berries.
“The Witch of the Wood…”
The crowd collectively suck in air. Mischa continues-
“My mistress, has sent them- Goodberries, they will each heal a minor wound. We will share them.”
She passes them out, too late, Bec eats his.
“Can I have sandwich?”
The Mayor turns back to the crowd.
“I have brought this.”
Old Tarrik One-Arm (that’s why he wasn’t applauding) shuffles forward clutching a ferocious-looking jet back arrow in his hands.
“It will not break, and it will always find its target.”
He hands it over, Jim Bowen and Lord Casimir step forward to take the arrow, the Lord relents.
“After yew, sirrah.”
Cas bows and admires the cut of the farm-boys pants; Jim nods nervously and takes the proffered arrow.
“I will use it weeEE...”
He realises all eyes are on him, he turns away swiftly, his face a rictus grin, his bowels about to cut loose, he shakes.
The room returns to silence.
It goes on for a while.
“Is there no other? These brave men and women are our only hope; do none of you have any other aid you can give them?” The Mayor pleads.
Kerwin steps forward, “Fifty gold- to spend in my place, a…”
The Mayor strides over to the weasel man, “A generous offer.” Clasps Kerwin’s hand and pumps it beaming at the assembled masses. The hypnotic jiggle of his bellies momentarily confuses Kerwin, he flounders then finds his purpose.
“I said a loan- 5% vig. Per day.”
“You can’t be serious?”
“Of course I’m serious; they’ll all be dead by the mor…”
The crowd begin to hoot and moan, stamp their feet, gnash their gums, someone fetches a banjo
The noise grows louder, a violin squeals up a storm.
“3%- take it or leave it.”
The noise continues but Kerwin contents himself with a close examination of his shoes.
“Then I will pay your 3% scoundrel- and be swift to open your doors, these younglings have a task tonight.”
The Mayor turns back to the six brave souls and in the surrounding silence simply states.
“Remember- Legends are made, BUUUURP not born. FART. Bugger”
Next Turn- Who’s who?
Any comments gratefully received… anyone played this one?