Friday 12 May 2017

Hole in the Sky

DCC #86: (The) Hole in the Sky is a 0-level adventure written by Brendan J. LaSalle. Art is by Doug Kovacs, William McAusland, Brad McDevitt, Stefan Poag, and Michael Wilson. Cartography is by Mark Allen. The publisher is Goodman Games.

I have had the good fortune to experience this adventure from both sides of the screen. I played in it with the author as judge, and I have run it for players at my own table. When I was a player, the game ended in a TPK, but that did not occur when I was running the game, nor need it occur at your table! If it does, at least it will be entertaining.....

The Lady in Blue, a mysterious figure of cosmic power, enlists a band of simple peasants for a strange task. They are to follow an invisible bridge until they arrive at a hole in the sky – and then jump through. Death awaits all but the bravest, strongest, and luckiest, but the Lady offers a reward beyond all the riches of the world: the chance to change the very stars these peasants were born under, and thus change their destiny.

One of the most common things I have heard about this adventure is that the Lady in Blue should have her own full patron write-up. I heartily endorse this idea. When the inevitable expanded printing occurs, I hope that the expansions include at least one, and possibly two, full patron write ups. The way the Lady in Blue works in this adventure certainly made my players expect (and hope!) to meet her again.

One might complain that the first part of this adventure is a railroad...and it certainly is linear! This is not something I personally object to because (1) this is a funnel adventure, so the first part is really nothing more than "something extraordinary has happened to you", and (2) the linear part of the adventure serves to bring the PCs to the more complex second part of the adventure in a believable fashion.

(One should note that the layout of the second act is also relatively linear, but the pieces in motion...or asleep...or this section make for more dynamic play than the map might suggest. Nonetheless, there is only one real "solution" to the problem facing the PCs.)

The highlight of this adventure is not the ride, but the reward after the ride, which makes it unique among Dungeon Crawl Classics adventures. Once you've managed to survive the funnel, you get to gamble on the Wheel of Destiny with your PC...if you dare! This was a super-fun occasion at my home game, really reinforcing both the epic scale of even some lowly gongfarmer's adventuring, and the fluid nature of character generation and development in a game where you are encouraged to literally Quest For It no matter what "It" may be.

It also has to be said that Cur Maxima, one of the "villains" opposing the PCs in their quest, is also a delightful creation that was incredibly fun to run as a judge. "Villain" is in quotes because, of course, Cur Maxima isn't really a villain per se. More of an extremely effective, and creepy, jail guard. Players who imagine that encounters are "balanced" for their levels are going to be in for a shock, but even then Cur Maxima doesn't really want to harm them. It's just her job. And she's very, very good at it.

Speaking of Hole in the Sky....

Get It Here!

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