Monday 23 April 2018

Sailors on the Starless Sea

DCC #67: Sailors on the Starless Sea is a 0-level adventure by Harley Stroh, with art by Doug Kovacs (including original cover and cartography), William McAusland (additional cartography for the second printing), Jim Holloway, Russ Nicholson, and Stefan Poag. Variants have cover art by Stefan Poag, Peter Mullen, Russ Nicholson, Chuck Whelon, Brad McDevitt, Michael Wilson, Diesel Laforce, Doug Kovacs, and William McAusland. The publisher is Goodman Games.

Sailors on the Starless Sea has the distinction of being the adventure that launched a thousand campaigns. It is as seminal to Dungeon Crawl Classics as is The Keep on the Borderlands to Dungeons & Dragons players in the 80's.

I have personally run this adventure a half-dozen times or more, both in home games and in public "Road Crew" venues. Most recently, I ran it as a birthday gift (including a copy of the "Artist’s Choice edition" as a bonus) for a classmate of my youngest child. The first time I ran this, my eldest, then already an adult, was just boasting that he hadn't lost a single zero-level character when the Chaos Leviathan appeared....!

In one memorable session, the players decided to leave half their characters on the short and send half to the ziggurat. This is not possible in the adventure as written, but that didn't occur to me at the time, and I allowed it. The (diminished) party that sailed to the ziggurat failed to stop the rebirth of the Chaos Lord Molan, perishing in the attempt. The remaining characters slunk away.

Who knows? Perhaps they will one day become powerful enough to face Molan again, and undo the results of their failure? There is more than one way that Sailors on the Starless Sea can end!

This adventure has received coverage on Spellburn more than once, including Episode 2 (Welcome to the Funnel), Episode 7 (Invoke Harley Stroh), and Episode 55 (DCC Fan Favorites). Sailors on the Starless Sea was also the very first featured adventure on the Sanctum Secorum podcast.

I discussed Sailors on the Starless Sea here, and my opinion of the module has not changed at all: "Harley Stroh did a stellar job here."

The second printing of the adventure includes a new area, The Summoning Pits, also written by Harley Stroh.

Since time immemorial you and your people have toiled in the shadow of the cyclopean ruins. Of mysterious origins and the source of many a superstition, they have always been considered a secret best left unknown by the folk of your hamlet.

But now something stirs beneath the crumbling blocks. Beastmen howl in the night and your fellow villagers are snatched from their beds. With no heroes to defend you, who will rise to stand against the encircling darkness? The secrets of Chaos are yours to unearth, but at what cost to sanity or soul?

An introductory adventure for the Dungeon Crawl Classics Roleplaying Game, Sailors on the Starless Sea pits a mob of 0-level adventurers against the legacy of the Chaos Lords and their corrupted hordes. Delving beneath the crumbling ruins, the characters discover ancient crypts, a starless sea, and an ancient ziggurat, where death and treasure await in equal measure!

Get It Here!

1 comment:

  1. This was the first DCC adventure I ever ran - I'm a huge fan.


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