For the December Intown Atlanta RPG Day I ran “The Portal Under the Stars,” the 0-Level funnel adventure in the back of the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG rulebook.

Four players showed up, and each received three randomly pregenerated 0-level characters. All of them were RPG veterans, but had never played DCC RPG before.

The looks on their faces were priceless as they read their characters’ occupations.

“Halfling mushroom farmer?!? What the hell?”

As it sunk in that they wouldn’t be playing mighty heroes right of the bat, I explained some of the mechanics of the game. That’s one great thing about DCC RPG, the players aren’t bombarded with lots of rules all at once. This is especially important in one-shot environments like conventions and meetups.

Then we went straight into the adventure itself. They entered the dungeon through a magical portal which only appears when the stars are right.

A brief pause ensued when the players noticed some of their characters could speak an extra language. So we rolled them up using Appendix L in the DCC RPG rulebook.

For whatever reason, the cooper could speak troglodyte, and jeweler knew Kobold.

The PCs did well early in the session. Only character died in the first room. They used teamwork to fight monsters and disable traps, along with whatever random equipment they owned–particularly overcoming the challenge in the second room.***

And then they opened every door in the dungeon…

Then the body count started counting up. A strange “crystal man” killed a farmer and his goose in a large room with large luminescent pool. The rest of the characters retreated.

Another character broke from the group, ventured down a hallway, and opened up the room containing the demon snake Sisisssuraaaagg. That’s when all hell broke loose.

RIP Stella Cooper, she who spoke Troglodyte, impaled on the horn of Ssisssuraaaagg.

The demon snake rampaged into the group. A couple of players started burning Luck points to get bonuses on their attack rolls for one last ditch effort to kill the creature

After the battle, only 5 characters remained standing to further explore the eldritch dungeon.

Another perished as he widened a small hole at the bottom of the luminescent pool, the current pulled him under, and he drowned.

The survivors descended to the second level of the dungeon and discovered an army of clay warriors.

After seeing the drowned character’s legs poking through the ceiling, they knew exactly what they needed to do.

They defeated the clay army and soon discovered the hidden treasures the dungeon

The four survivors emerged from the dungeon enriched by valuables of the dungeon and the equipment of their fallen comrades.

In conclusion: 

As always, I enjoyed running DCC RPG. And the players had a good time. I told them I’d hold on to their surviving characters if they ever wanted to play DCC RPG again–they’d be first level.

Near the end of the session another game day attendee stopped by the table, took one look at the layout and said, “Hey! I’ve played this adventure before!”

And then after the game was over he regailed the group with his own war stories where characters died the most.

I’m happy that DCC RPG is at least getting some play out there.

And there seems to be some interest, perhaps, in an ongoing campaign.

Now I just need to do some thinking, planning, organizing…

*** I have to give some major credit here to the group:
I’ve run this adventure twice before, and the 30′ tall statue of the barbarian king killed at least 3 characters each time with its fiery blasts.
Yet the players discovered how to defeat it: the character with the highest agility climbed up and out to arm of the statue’s hand. There, he used a stick and a pound of clay given by other characters, to plug up the “nozzle” in the fingertip of the statue’s hand, where the fiery blasts would have come from. 
Instead of shooting fire at the PCs, the arm exploded at the shoulder.
The character had rough landing climbing down, but he survived. Kudos!