Sailors on the Starless Sea Play Report, Part 1

This past Sunday I ran my first DCC Funnel session.  I’m using the module Sailors on the Starless Sea by Harley Stroh, which seems to be the standard adventure for most DCC games. That’s a good thing, because it’s a damn-near perfect kickoff game. Seriously, I could tell it was good reading it, but in play it shows that it belongs in any lineup of all-time great adventure modules.

Beyond having a great adventure, this week proved that DCC is all I hoped it would be. This was one of the most purely fun sessions of a traditional RPG I’ve been a part of in a while. It’s partially the rules, and partially the spirit of the game (whatever that means).

I had four players make it this week: Alex, Bob, Matt, and Mike. Each of them got a sheet of four 0-level characters that I generated at the Purple Sorcerer site. To keep some dice rolling in the mix, they each rolled 3d6 to determine the order they picked their sheets — though the sheets were face-down anyway. When it came around to Mike, last to pick, he got to flip the sheets over and choose, after which Alex, who picked first, was given the option to switch his sheet with the one remaining.


Alex Rivera's Funnel PCs
Alex Rivera’s Funnel PCs

To start, the players blazed straight up the trail to the front gatehouse of the keep. They lost two of their number during the fight with the Vine Horrors, but avoided a subsequent casualty at the gate by cleverly jamming it with stones before crossing through. It still dropped a little bit, but the last entrant was Percival the halfling haberdasher, who easily skirted through unharmed.

More death was soon to follow, however. Two halfling chicken butcher brothers, Ippie and Flippy Skalippie, went to investigate the well. Flippy lived up to his name and went over the edge and off into the infinite expanse of chaos beyond. The characters investigating the sinkhole showed far more caution, backing away carefully as soon as they had the strange “hollow” feeling.

The entire group convened around the Charnel Ruins and debated pretty strongly about whether they should open it at all. They asked if there were any holes in the roofing, and though the module doesn’t note that it seemed consistent with the description of the interior so I said that there were. They boosted the remaining Skalippie brother up to the roof and lowered him in on 50′ of rope before it occurred to the halfling that barred from the outside meant he was stuck inside. He was far enough away from the fountain to be safe at that point, though, so after he noted what was inside and angrily demanded to be let out, the whole party opened the doors.

They looted the gear, and when the first of them went for jewels in the fountain they fell back before the tar ooze could hit them. Joey “Diamonds,” a peasant smuggler apparently born and raised in 1920s Brooklyn, quickly tipped to the notion of lighting the incense censer to subdue the monster. In addition to the gear they picked up in the temple, they also found and managed to lift the capstone through sheer force of strength before heading into the Tower of the Beast.

In my next post, I’ll recap what happened from there through the cruise onto the Starless Sea itself. We had to end the session as the party reached the island of the ziggurat, and the 3 weeks until the next session can’t go by fast enough.

Author: John Carr

Gamer, comic guy, office drone.

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