Sunday 17 May 2020

QuaranZine Volume 1

QuaranZine: Visions & Vistas Beyond Four Walls (Volume 1) was written by Judge Yossarian, Stefan Surratt, Sean Richer, David Koslow, Mat Biscan, and bygrinstow. Art is by Doug Kovacs (cover), Boson Au, bygrinstow, and Sean Richer. Art from The Metropolitan Museum of Art used under Creative Commons licensing. The publisher is The Social Distance Collective.

Here we have a Pay What You Want title which supports GiveDirectly, to help families in need due to the Covid-19 pandemic we are currently (as of this writing) experiencing. Currently, this is only available as a pdf, but if a physical printing ever becomes available, I will be getting that as well.

So, what do you get in exchange for your donation (or lack thereof)? Let's look inside and see.

Handy Map: A handy map provided to help you ground your DCC campaign in a setting.

Introduction: The lockdown sucks, but DCC does not, so here are some materials to help make things easier. Stay safe, and stay at home!

I am paraphrasing, of course.

[Start Rant]Let me switch roles here for a moment, if I may. I know that there are people who do not believe that Covid-19 is as bad as it is, but the number of deaths is so low precisely because of the lockdown. If it seems like the response is overblown, when all is said and done, it will be because the lockdown worked. It is also strikingly clear that the people who make the economy turn - the real wealth creators - are average working-class people. The very wealthy are still managing to siphon wealth from the middle and the bottom, but the actual creation of wealth? That stopped when we did.

There is an obvious link between what I am saying here and the politics behind Trumphammer 2K, but I don't see the Democrats demanding more for the average person either. Really, both the main parties suck, and we really dropped the ball by letting them create another election where the main choices are so repulsive.

The end point is that both parties left you to fend for yourselves, and to help each other as best you can. This is an attempt to help. Be as generous as you can, but don't feel bad if you are strapped for spare cash. But remember that the people who want your votes are not your friends. Try to vote for someone who supports your values, even if you fail. Because both parties are leading you off a cliff, and the edge is getting very, very near.[/End Rant]

Vignette: Greed is Good: Author is not listed, but I assume this leads directly to....

The Invisible Hand: Lawful Deity of Wealth, Utility, and Rational Self Interest: This article, by Judge Yossarian, describes economics as an actual god, similar to $ in the Umerica setting. The article includes complete descriptions for clerics, including unique disapproval.

If you didn't like my mini-rant before, you will probably not like this entry either, although it is cleverly done. "The Hand hates inefficiency even more than it hates charity."  Indeed. In DCC, Lawful does not mean Good, and Chaos does not mean Evil.

The Champion: This is a DCC class, by Judge Yossarian, representing "an oathbound guardian of your house, an ardent defender or your faith, a tireless slayer empowered by dark rites, a long-suffering freedman sworn to vengeance, a madman who only finds peace in the din of battle."

I expected this to be a bit of a warrior clone, but it is not. Although the class has a "Trance Die", this die does not allow Mighty Deeds, and is not even rolled. Instead, it tracks how much damage the champion can ignore. Because of the Champion's narrow focus, both critical hits and fumbles are more likely. The more damage they can ignore, the more likely they are to fumble. It's a neat mechanic, and one I hope to see in actual play.

The Penitence Shroud: Author Stefan Surratt offers this magic item, a relic which seeks "to have agents of Chaos confess their sins and renounce their ways."

Parchment Poiesis: This is a level 1 wizard spell, created by Stefan Surratt. By writing arcane symbols on parchment, the caster can bring tools, servants, or even prophesies into existence.

The Dryad King: A Mad, Bark-Laden Patron God: Author Sean Richer describes the Laughing Tree. Included are Patron Taint, Spellburn, and Invoke Patron results. The patron taints can actually be useful, but you have to spellburn at least 10 points to have an effect, and the patron has no patron spells listed. Worse, invoking the Dryad King leads to permanent transformation!

And yet...and yet...I could easily see this patron used in actual play. First off, of course, NPCs may worship/bond to whatever crazy being they wish to. Secondly, in a one-shot adventure, having an elf or a wizard become a grove of trees could be very cool. Third, the Cultist in The Phlogiston Books Vol. 1 could certainly get value from this patron. Finally, it's just a cool idea for a patron in its own right.

d20 Potentialis Tables: This article, by David Koslow, offers inter-planar curiosities to "fascinate, intrigue, or otherwise confound your PCs next as they quest through the multiverse." Many results would work perfectly well in almost any campaign setting. There are 20 potentialities each for coastal, forest, and city settings.

3 Wizard Spells: Matt Biscan offers three wizard spells for use at your table:

  • Chromacast is a level 2 sell that allows the wizard to master light. The effects are interesting, and not at all what I was expecting. 
  • Devour is a level 3 spell that allows the caster to feed off of the life energies of others, and then use that energy in various ways.
  • Plant Growth is a level 2 spell that does what it says on the tin. Unfortunately, the "General" part of the spell description copies that of devour. You can cause plants to grow within targets, or even create  flesh-eating monsters.

Just Dropped In: Author (and illustrator) bygrinstow delivers six new monsters for the discerning judge to use. If you are not in the know, read this short description of the creator's blog, Appendix M, and then go visit it.

The creatures on offer are The Horrid Thing (a shack-sized corpse ball surrounding an evil brain), Fricsid (a minor demon accompanying The Horrid Thing), the Bitter King of the Ancients, the Sky Crawler, Root Scholars, and Opalescent Gel. Your players may never forgive you.

Remember the good old days, when roleplaying games were in person, dice rolls were physical, and the finale of every dungeon wasn't a teleconference bug? Those days aren't back, but Quaranzine is here to help. This volume is meant for those judges, scattered across the planes, whose noble spirits have been tested by their social distancing, and are ready to game for a great cause: COVID-19 victim relief.

Produced by community volunteers and charged with fulsome amounts of Dungeon Crawl Classics-compatible content, this zine brings you a bevy of unique entities, spells, monsters, and tables for use with your DCC games and all proceeds from Quaranzine 2020 will be donated directly to a non-profit COVID-19 relief fund.

That’s right — while you and your players quest for the arboreal patronage of the Dryad King, or deliver a fiery market-based sermon as demanded of you by the Invisible Hand, your money will be going to help families impacted by COVID-19 across the United States.

You’re no shut-in.

You’re an adventurer. . .

Get It Here!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your kind review! (FYI the error in the spell descriptions was fixed and an updated version was uploaded to DriveThru)


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