Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Nuts & Bolts #29 - Fun(nel) with Stormtroopers

Image Source: http://phantomxlord.deviantart.com/art/Stormtrooper-303710186

Earlier this year I got my first exposure to Dungeon Crawl Classics via the Quattro con Carnage experiment in cross-system gaming run by +James August Walls. Unfortunately, because we started the game with Basic Fantasy RPG, we didn't run through a funnel. While the idea of the funnel set-up had seemed odd on first hearing of it, seeing one of the other players go through the process after joining the group mid-way through I saw some of the charm of the meat grinder methodology.
For those who don't know, a funnel is a process where each player brings a number (4 per player is the norm) of level 0 characters (non-adventurers / commoners) and the GM runs them through an adventure. Life is cheap and character death is expected during this adventure because these characters are not yet "heroes". Any surviving characters are deemed worthy to become full fledged hero characters. 
Since Quattro con Carnage I've been curious about the funnel, and figured that in due time I'd get an opportunity to see for myself what kind of experience the funnel system is ... thankfully due time came swiftly.

Enter International Tabletop Day ...

As part of his plans for ITTD Jim had decided to create a Stormtroopers hack of DCC, and solicited advice and suggestions from the net to build a list of occupations for the Star Wars universe. Armed with that list he ran a one shot funnel using Stormtroopers in the sandy wastes of Tatooine.  Apparently he enjoyed the heck out of it, because with that game under his belt (or maybe burning a hole in his figurative pocket) Jim offered our usual Tuesday group the chance to take the role of a bunch of loser Stormtroopers in place of our regular game before we started the next chapter.

And thus D'erp, Saan Dyy, and Hau Berk were recruited into the ranks of the Emperor's "Finest"...

D'erp was the only character of mine to go. He wasn't the smartest guy (ok he was dumb as a box of hair), and the others convinced him to undertake the dubious task of setting up a zip-line from their crashed ship to the ground below. D'erp, being rather agile, managed to set the zip-line up and slide down safely. Feeling pretty awesome about himself he didn't see the womp rats until they were chewing his limbs off. *sigh* R.I.P. you magnificent moron.
D’erp - 0-level Occupation:  Hutt Informant
Strength: 10 (0)
Agility: 13 (+1)
Stamina: 12 (0)
Personality: 6 (-1)
Intelligence: 3 (-3)
The Force: 13 (+1)
AC: 13; HP: 3; Weapon: Blaster Rifle +1 (1d6), Speed: 30; Init: 1; Ref: 1; Fort: 0; Will: -1
Equipment:
One-way radio to Jabba the Hutt, blaster rifle that causes 1d6 damage, belt with compartments, stormtrooper armor (+2 AC), Starting Funds: 26 credits
Languages: Basic
Saan Dyy was the smartest of the group, and he made up for his lack of health with an abundance of brains. Towards the end of the adventure, as he group was facing down Obi-wan himself Saan mixed up an explosive concoction of imperial strength peroxide-based cleaner and suntan lotion. The improvised molotov failed to harm the jedi, but it did cause him to drop his weapon, and allowed for a fatal blow to be dealt to the jedi.

Saan Dyy
0-level Occupation:  Desert Comber
Strength: 13 (+1)
Agility: 12 (0)
Stamina: 9 (0)
Personality: 12 (0)
Intelligence: 15 (+1)
The Force: 12 (0)
AC: 12; HP: 1; Weapon: Blaster Rifle +0 (1d6), Speed: 30; Init: 0; Ref: 0; Fort: 0; Will: 0
Equipment:
Sunscreen, blaster rifle that causes 1d6 damage, belt with compartments, mop, bucket, peroxide cleaner, stormtrooper armor (+2 AC), Starting Funds: 35 credits
Languages: Basic, Huttese
Hau Berk the armorer was rather tough, with 6 hit points and some extra-heavy armor he'd modified partway through the game giving him an AC of 13 he was less concerned of getting into combat. Sadly he couldn't hit the broadside of a sand crawler, and proved largely impotent during the evening's activities (which is fitting I suppose). Hau's only two moments to shine involved taping himself to the crippled shuttle so he could shoot a womp rat two-handed, and being the only 'trooper to get shot and survive (at least I don't recall anybody else surviving blaster fire).

Hau Berk
0-level Occupation: Stormtrooper Armourer
Strength: 13 (+1)
Agility: 10 (0)
Stamina: 16 (+2)
Personality: 11 (0)
Intelligence: 13 (+1)
The Force: started with 5 (-2) ended with 3 (-3)
AC: 13; HP: 6 4; Weapon: Blaster Rifle +0 (1d6), Speed: 30; Init: 0; Ref: -2; Fort: 2; Will: 0 
Equipment:
Electrical Tape, blaster rifle that causes 1d6 damage, belt with compartments, Merit Badge (Awesome Use of Electrical/Duct Tape), modded stormtrooper armor (+3 AC, -2 reflex), Starting Funds: 33 credits
Languages: Basic, Wookie
Overall it was a fun game, a bunch of characters bit it in interesting ways (lightsaber, falling to their doom, womp rats, a blood clot), and I can see where the story of your 0-level nobody can help to drive a fun backstory and personality if you were to move forward into an ongoing game. I did find it strange how differently I played, how much more (in general) conservative I was with these fragile characters. I can certainly see the appeal, especially as the kick off to a campaign, and am considering how this might be something that could be ported into other game systems.