Friday, 10 November 2017

The Making of the Ghost Ring

DCC #85: The Making of the Ghost Ring is a 4th level adventure by Michael Curtis, illustrated by Doug Kovacs (cover and cartography), Jim Holloway, Stefan Poag, and Michael Wilson. The publisher is Goodman Games.

Disclosure: I was an uncredited playtester for this adventure.

Magic is mysterious in Dungeon Crawl Classics, and creating a magic item can be an adventure in itself. Well, more than one adventure if the judge so decides. In this case, it takes one more adventure, even after the maker has crossed over into death. And, because she cannot complete her work alone (but must complete it!) the PCs are given a chance to help.

And, should you agree, you get teleported around the world to gather the things still needed to complete the magic. As a complication, there is a demon who wishes to collect the ghostly sorceress's soul. This means that the ghost, Lifthrasir, has a time limit to meet if she is going to finish crafting the ring, and by so doing save herself.

Yes, the adventure is rather linear. It is a series of sub-quests, and is fairly (although not exclusively) combat-oriented. Nonetheless, each of the set pieces is interesting, and each of the set pieces is substantially different from the others. The PCs definitely have agency in how they deal with the subquests, and creativity can definitely affect the outcome! My players, for instance, had the easiest time with what was (I believe) intended to the most difficult set piece.

Notably, the PCs will have to leave some major treasures behind if they wish to continue their quest. In my opinion, this is a feature rather than a bug. First off, it means that the players have to make interesting choices. Second, planar step is a 3rd level spell, and the PCs may have access to it by 5th level.

Overall, this adventure is reminiscent of Gary Gygax's advice about creating magic items in the 1st Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master's Guide. For instance:
Harvest the pumpkin in the dark of the moon and dry the seeds over a slow fire of sandalwood and horse dung. Select three perfect ones and grind them into a coarse meal, husks and all. Boil the basilisk eye and cockatrice feathers for exactly 5 minutes in a saline solution, drain, and place in a jar. Add the medusa’s snake venom and gem powders.Allow to stand for 24 hours, stirring occasionally. Pour off liquid into bottle, add sepia and holy ,water, mixing contents with a silver rod, stirring widdershins. Makes ink sufficient for one scroll.
There is a great deal more flavor to this sort of process than there is to, say, a list of spells, feats, and a cost in gold pieces!

(For another take on creating magic items, see Tales From the Fallen Empire.)

To save a soul and forge a ring! A ghostly enchantress calls for aid, her salvation hanging in the balance. Brave heroes are needed to complete the creation of a magical ring, a process that will take them from gritty city streets to sun-scorched deserts to the ruins of an ancient fortress atop a windswept peak. Are the adventurers up to the task or shall a sinister demon claim the souls of not only the enchantress but the heroes as well? Only luck, courage, and wits will triumph against adversity and allow the adventurers to claim the Ghost Ring for themselves!

Get It Here!


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