Every Week It's Wibbley-Wobbley Timey-Wimey Pookie-Reviewery...

Friday 9 September 2022

Friday Fantasy: The Book of Fallen Gods

As well as contributing to Free RPG Day every year Goodman Games also has its own ‘Dungeon Crawl Classics Day’, which sadly, is a very North American event. The day is notable not only for the events and the range of adventures being played for Goodman Games’ roleplaying games, but also for the scenarios it releases specifically to be played on the day. For ‘Dungeon Crawl Classics Day 2022’, which took place on Saturday, July 16th, 2022, the publisher released not one, not two, but three booklets. Two of these were specifically for the
Dungeon Crawl Classics Role Playing Game—the supplement, Dungeon Crawl Classics Day: The Book of Fallen Gods, and the scenario, Dungeon Crawl Classics Day #3: Chanters in the Dark. The third, DCC Day 2022 Adventure Pack, is a duology of scenarios for both the Dungeon Crawl Classics Role Playing Game and Mutant Crawl Classics Roleplaying Game – Triumph & Technology Won by Mutants & Magic. Both scenarios are designed for Player Characters of Second Level, both are nicely detailed, and both can be played in a single session, but neither should take no longer than two sessions to complete.

Dungeon Crawl Classics Day: The Book of Fallen Gods is different to what you would normally expect Goodman Games to release for either Free RPG Day or ‘Dungeon Crawl Classics Day’. Instead of a scenario, it is a sourcebook for the roleplaying game, one presents a set of new Patrons. In the Dungeon Crawl Classics Role Playing Game, these are typically gods and deities and entities that the spellcasting Classes such as the Cleric, the Wizard, and the Elf can turn to in order for greater power and surety. In the case of the Cleric, this is typically a god who in return for the Cleric’s worship and proselytising their shared faith, grants him spells and blessings, but will punish the Cleric if he sins against the strictures of the faith. Wizards can turn to greater powers and invoke their aid to gain potent, but dangerous magic, whilst Elves must work closely with an extra planar patron to do so. Dungeon Crawl Classics Role Playing Game includes numerous gods, deities, and entities that Clerics, Elves, and Wizards can entreat and invoke. Dungeon Crawl Classics Day: The Book of Fallen Gods introduces entities that are and are not gods.

For those that know where to look, there are the legends of the Ones Who Were. They were the gods who arose when the multiverse was new and shaped it according to their whims, their time one of turbulence and turmoil, upheaval and unrest, of chaos and change unfettered. It took newly arisen gods to reign in this unbalance and as the new gods rose in power, they built empyral structures and projections that reigned in the reach of chaos and with it the power of the Ones Who Were. So they were diminished and they fell and they were forgotten. Yet they are not gone, merely reduced to the status of beggars, divine down-and-outs, stripped of their power and priestly hierarchies, but nevertheless remaining the personifications of endless certainties… For those in the know, these Un-Gods can be reached out to, invoked, and called upon for the aid of what cosmic power they still possess.

What Dungeon Crawl Classics Day: The Book of Fallen Gods presents is seven of these Un-Gods, representing everything from the eternal night and the power behind the throne to celestial Radiance and inspiration and devastation. Each the seven Un-God descriptions includes an invoke patron table, a patron taint table, and a spellburn table. What the descriptions do not include any patron spells, primarily due to size constraints, but there is the possibility that they will be included in future supplements. On the one hand, this perfectly reflects the status and lack of power and influence held by each of the Un-Gods, but on the other, it limits the usefulness of the supplement. Without the patron spells, the Judge is limited in how she can create interesting NPCs linked to the Un-Gods or present Player Characters seeking the aid of the Un-Gods with interesting rewards. Yet it also leaves room for the Judge to create her own and perhaps build a story around discovering what they are.

Should a Player Character (or NPC) manage to forge a patron bond with one of the Un-Gods, there is another way in which he can benefit. If his player possesses the dice set associated with the Un-God—available from Impact Miniatures—then the Player Character can call upon the Un-God and in doing so, grant the player a bump in die size for the action. Should the player roll a one, the Player Character immediately gains patron taint. One reason why the Un-Gods lack priests is that they have long been unconcerned with the trivialities of the mortal realms, are the doings of Player Characters are nothing if not trivial. Fortunately, these are not expensive dice sets, but it is very specific means of getting this bonus.

Dungeon Crawl Classics Day: The Book of Fallen Gods opens with Chaar, Titan of Eternal Night, confined to his throne at the centre of everything, he is the manifestation of the inevitable exhaustion and decay of all things. When invoked, he can cause eternal night to envelop the Player Character and all around him, or even cause his hand to become an entropic conduit, increasing his melee damage, especially against Lawful creatures. His Patron Taint might cause the Player Character to age or cause everything in his hand to decay to dust, whilst the Spellburn has similar effects. All of the Un-Gods are like this, so the Ianthinian is the silver-tongued voice that negotiates treaties and the knife at the throat that launches coups, the power behind a billion thrones, who can animate the Player Character’s shadow to slip under doors and spy on others or dispatches a venomous, purple spider to attack a single target nearby. His Patron Taint might leave the Player Character with an unnatural and unsettling aura, which can affect his Personality or punish him by stealing his voice, whilst the effects of his Spellburn can steal Player Character’s memories or remind him that he is worth no more than the creatures that skulk and creep in the shadows, so dozens of spiders, centipedes, crawlers, and other creepy insects burst forth from the caster’s orifices in traumatic and painful fashion.

All seven Un-Gods are described in similar fashion. The others include Ivyeel the Entwining is the vibrant force of growth unchecked, Olathvee personifies passions unchecked, The Sallow Blight manipulates emotions into negative ones, Shayl, the Celestial Radiance is the potential of the righteous and the possibility of redemption for the wicked, and Tuanna and Djahlbak are the sundered remnants of lost Un-God now representative of Inspiration and Devastation. All seven are given four pages each and accompanied by a lot of artwork, a lot more than often appears in the scenarios for the Dungeon Crawl Classics Role Playing Game. So physically, Dungeon Crawl Classics Day: The Book of Fallen Gods is very nicely presented.

The lack of Patron Spells aside, Dungeon Crawl Classics Day: The Book of Fallen Gods is an entertaining collection of entities and effects that the Player Characters can both benefit and suffer from in interacting with them. Hopefully, Goodman Games will develop further in the future and perhaps use them in a campaign or a scenario or two. In the meantime, the Judge can use and develop them as suits her campaign.

No comments:

Post a Comment