Goodman Games is pure RPG marketing genius. Last year they put out an RPG adventure module for their flagship Dungeon Crawl Classics fantasy RPG that they billed as their “first-ever Holiday Module:” The Old God’s Return penned by the inimitable and inscrutable Michael Curtis.
The idea behind this product line is simple: create the gift that keeps on giving – an adventure module that players can give to their Judges/DMs/GMs as a holiday gift that the Judge/DM/GM will then turn around and run for the player(s) who gifted it. Like I said: genius.
Goodman Games has stated its intention to establish a tradition of annual holiday module publication with each module increasing one challenge level of difficulty – last year’s was a first level module, this year’s is a second level module, next year’s will be a third level module, etc. – until the company has an entire holiday-themed adventure path. (I guess you’ll just have to skip the holiday theme for your zero-level funnel…)
I’m proud to have been tapped to continue this tradition and scribe this year’s 2nd level DCC Holiday Module, which I’ve entitled: “Trials of the Toy Makers.”
The promo copy reads thusly:
“Murder! Foul murder!” These are the only words that describe the scene inside the underground complex of the toy-making gnomes called the Konhengen.
Murder is not what you had hoped you would find, but you’re not surprised, either. Your introduction to these fabled, reclusive toy-makers had ominous overtones from the outset. First, there was the abrupt and unceremonious end to their nightly gift-giving visits to the village children. Then, three children snuck off into the Taboo Lands to investigate, convinced that evil had befallen the Konhengen.
And so you’ve traveled to a great island on the eve of the Winter Solstice to find the missing children. Instead you’ve found mass murder. But you’ve also found evidence of a secret agenda behind the gift-giving of the toy-making gnomes. Now you must unravel the mystery of the gnomes’ true purpose — or the world will suffer consequences on a cosmic scale!
A few “exclusive-to-this-blog” designer’s notes:
- Don’t let the stunning Doug Kovacs cover art fool you – this is NOT a “Santa’s elves dancing a jig” adventure. It’s a grisly murder-mystery wrapped up in a great, big, cosmic logic puzzle with plenty of cannon fodder to keep the Dwarves and Warriors happy (or at least bloody!)
- The adventure gives a starring role to a couple of juicy DCC game mechanics that often seem to get overlooked in people’s regular games.
- A couple of Easter eggs serve as shout outs to my adoring fiancee Tracey DeMartini and to the illustrious, de facto co-president of the Minneapolis DCC Society, Jullian Bernick – keep your eyes out for those.
- Trials of the Toy Makers follows in the footsteps of the Serpent Door puzzle in Michael Curtis’ DCC #77.5: Tower Out of Time, the Curse of the Emerald Eye face shield in Jobe Bittman’s DCC #81: The One Who Watches from Below and the spinning wheel door puzzle in Michael Curtis’ DCC #83: The Chained Coffin. “Trials” is chock full of visual logic puzzles that players can solve using the graphic handouts provided. Don’t like logic puzzles? Fear not, there are multiple ways to complete the quest, so you don’t have to spend your whole gaming session poring over handouts if you don’t want to.
Expect Trials of the Toy Makers to hit the shelves sometime around Black Friday, giving your Judge plenty of time to prep to run it at your FLGS’ holiday party! Check the Goodman Games website regularly to catch the upcoming announcement!
A big thank you to all of the people who playtested this module (in alphabetical order): Mike Bolam, Fred Dailey, James Deyonke, George Feldman, Theo Feldman, Jeff Hays, Eric Kearney, Bobby Lepold, Mario Mejia, Brandon Raasch, Mike Rabaca, Rachael Torres and Matthew Walkup.
I’m going to leave you with some photos from the playtest at the 2014 Pacificon Game Expo: