Last night my friend and I finished up our last session of Sailors on the Starless Sea, a level zero adventure for DCC RPG. We played using Roll20, an online game table which I will be reviewing in the next week or so. This was the first time either of us had played using the Fatal Funnel and level zero characters. We both had a blast and really enjoyed the experience.
Our initial party consisted of eight characters, we rolled for everything; names, professions, equipment, luck augurs, if there was a randomized chart, we used it. Stats were rolled in order with 3d6, this resulted in lots of lower scores but it also made having a 15 in an ability stat something to brag about! The party started with the following characters with the first four being my toons;
Dugar - Trapper (One ability score above ten!)
Aram - Grave Digger (Seven INT and LUCK)
Cerngoth - Smuggler (Seven PER and sixteen INT!)
Thaug - Dwarven Blackmith (Fourteen PER and INT, the party leader)
Imoagoth - Elven Chandler (Eight STA and fifteen INT)
Thremaim - Confidence Artist (Seven INT and eight in both AGI and STA)
Publio - Slave (Six STA and eight LUCK)
Leniqua - Wizards Apprentice (Seven STA and PER and a fourteen INT)
I will be discussing the adventure from here on, read on at your own risk!!
It didn't take long before we took out first casualties, both Publio and Dugar were killed in the very first encounter battling the Vine Horrors! Starting with only one or two hit points and no Clerics to heal is not easy! The party buried their corpses and pressed on. Entering the ruined keep they found the alter room and were able to loot several suits of chain-mail and some weapons but left before encountering the Tar Ooze. Soon afterwards they discovered the Beast-men and Champion in the tower ruins and were ultimately victorious, though Thaug and Thremaim fell in battle. Four down, four left! They freed the captive townspeople and recruited two new party members, Hekkador and Tonual. Heading down the stone stairs they discovered a room with several chests and some discarded treasure. Tonual spotted a hidden compartment in one of the chests but was killed by the trap which cut his hand off, he didn't last very long! Moving on they found a large room with a brackish pool and murals that lined the walls, they also discovered four tattered robes which they brought with them. After a nervous encounter with the floating skulls they took one with them as they continued to descend deeper towards the Starless Sea.
On the beach Hekkador failed his save while looking at the strange symbols on the menhir and suddenly attacked the party, he was filled with the urge to cut out someones heart and feed it to the Leviathan. Luckily the rest of the party was able to subdue him before he caused any real harm. They lit the candle on the menhir which drew the dragon boat closer to shore which they boarded. Halfway to the ziggaraut the boat stopped in the water and the Leviathan made itself known by the score of tentacles that raised out of the water and hung ominously over the boat. Hekkador knew they needed to present it a sacrifice due to his earlier mental state, but the party was unwilling to kill any of their own. They readied for battle as the tentacles moved in. Imogoth fell in the ensuing fight, Leniqua quickly jumped on his corpse and cut out his heart which she threw it into the sea to placate the beast. The tentacles slipped below the waves and the boat continued onward. Despite her quick thinking the rest of the party was a little distraught by her actions.
Moving onto the ziggaraut the four remaining party members, Aram, Hekkador, Leniqua and Cerngoth, donned the robes they had found and marched up the ramp towards the chanting beastmen. Arriving at the top Hekkador discovered the skull he had taken from the pool room was vibrating and glowing, he tossed it into the hellish pit at the top of the ziggaraut. This caused a large explosion which sent beast-men and party members flying in different dirrections. They party reassembled and began slaughteriung the stunned beastment but they were unable to stop the beastman shaman from summoning the Chaos Lord. As he formed they began retreating down the ramp in a fighting withdrawal. Soon the Chaos Lord was upon them and a raucous battle followed. Luckily there were no deaths and all four lived to fight another day while the Chaos Lord was thrown low.
Soon after the his death the entire cavern began to shake and crumble, the intrepid party helped the townsfolk they had saved onto the dragon ship and they were carried away by a huge wave that swept through the cavern.
The Fatal Funnel lived up to its name. Our losses were heavy but in some strange way I feel connected to the characters that did survive! I don't think I would want to play like this all of the time. There is a distinct lack of things to do each round for the characters as they do not have classes and the abilities that go along with them. But if you have not tried playing level zero heroes, give it a shot, its a blast!