Time for an AAR

Time for an AAR

In the army we had a thing called an After Action Review or AAR. After a block of training or presentation or field exercise we would sit down and discuss what went right and what went wrong. I want to do the same for my recent solo play here on the blog that ended in a TPK (total party kill) last week.

While I enjoyed it I think I was too optimistic in mixing and matching Dungeon Crawl Classics (DCC) with a random TSR D&D module. I think it was especially optimistic, foolish even, to use a module recommending the party have clerics as a funnel. The issue with the DCC funnel is that the characters have no special abilities so they can’t cast spells or turn undead. Four ghouls very quickly wiped out a dozen 0 level characters! The fact the ghouls had three attacks a round and forced a save versus paralyzation meant that it was very likely one of the 0 level characters would be dropped each round. The party did manage to kill two ghouls and had wounded the other two so it wasn’t hopeless. I also rolled pretty badly, which is par for the course, so that didn’t help.

You, the reader, may be wondering at some of my tactics, or lack of tactics. I did let the characters gang up on the ghouls, if three or more peasants were attacking I bumped them up one on the die chain from a d20 to a d24 to hit. Sadly thanks to my poor rolling that didn’t help but I am sold on using the die chain as a modifier. Joe Salvador’s Reaver, which will be Kickstarted later this year, uses the die chain and it works great in that game. You can find a free quick start by clicking on the image:

I was talking about DCC combat tactics with my buddy Daniel Norton of the Bandit’s Keep Media Empire, links to all things Bandit’s Keep here: https://banditskeep.wordpress.com/ , and he said that it would be reasonable for a character or monster that is surrounded to be bumped down to a d16 for Initiative. That is a great idea and I wish I had thought of it because it could have made a difference. I also could have tried to have the Shaman use one of the chairs as cover, that is covered in the DCC rule book as a -2 to hit, but in the end I decided not to do it. That was probably a mistake.

The biggest question might be why didn’t I have the characters run away? Well two reasons actually. The first is there wasn’t anywhere to go. The characters didn’t know this but the creatures in the house only get tougher so running deeper in the house wouldn’t have helped. That said it could have been interesting but honestly after a certain number died I was ready to let the TPK happen and start fresh. The reason they didn’t run out of the house is that the soldiers would have killed them as per the opening box text. I toyed with the idea of having them run out and let the soldiers kill the ghouls but there are things in the house the soldiers wouldn’t be able to kill so that wasn’t a sustainable plan and honestly it seemed a little bit like a cheat. Maybe I should have done it anyway but it is too late now.

So what is next?

I previously said that I was going to do Ray Otus’ Gygax 75 Challenge which is ideally suited for a weekly blog. You can find it here: https://plundergrounds.itch.io/gygax75 . I will indeed do that but first I am going to make make a group of first level DCC characters and try this module again, I think they would do much better. After that I plan to do the Gygax 75 Challenge. Once I have finished the Challenge I will either continue on playing through TSR modules with the DCC party or start running through the Dragonlance series of TSR AD&D modules which are famous for being railroads. I think that kind of linear module would be ideal for the style of solo play I am going for on this blog. I will probably use the pregenerated characters in the modules and AD&D for the system if I do the Dragonlance modules.

Until next week remember the words of the great ones, “be excellent to each other!”

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