TL;DR – This zine is a work of genius, go buy it now. Tales from the Smoking Wyrm on DTRPG
Tales from the Smoking Wyrm is a fanzine inspired not just by the roleplaying game Dungeon Crawl Classics (DCC), but also by the wondrous fanzines of the past 40 years! While we focus on DCC, the material produced can be easily translated into any Old School Renaissance (OSR) system.
Issue #1 contains the following articles:
Cthulhu as Patron Why choose the lesser of neutrals?
Paladins A new take on an old class
Ritual Magic, Part I How taking the long road to power can reap huge benefits
The Silver Ball A mysterious way to add and remove characters to the game
Telepathic Rats Expanded rules for your Mutant Crawl Classics companion
Culpepper’s Herbal Herbs for your game
Onward Retainer An adventuring comic in the old school style, starring The Legion
Gygaxian crossword puzzle A crossword puzzle of all the Gygaxian words in this issue
I’ve been looking into the DCC ruleset as a possible core for the World of Weirth setting, and when I spotted this zine (Cthulhu!!) I decided to give it a shot. I’m glad I did. I sprang $10 for the print version, I just love the tactile experience of holding a book or magazine. Maybe it’s my OCD. Anyway.
The content of this zine is concise and imaginative. The article on the Paladin is a take I hadn’t seen before, sort of an overlay upon an existing class. This “class effect” take the Paladin concept two steps away from the old AD&D construct of the Christian knight and makes it possible for any class in DCC to ‘multiclass’ as a Paladin. I like this idea. A lot.
The Investiture spell has three awesome tables for determining the success of your Paladin’s quest (oh, yes, there is a quest) and the full impact of the deity’s touch upon the PC.
This raises a question: Should there be a Paladin at Level 1? Or is that something that should be aspired to and worked toward, and gained at a higher level? (Share your thoughts!)
The Cthulhu Article
The section of the zine that really grabbed my attention was that of using Cthulhu as a Patron in your DCC game. I’m working on the magic system for Weirth and Patrons are going to be an important part of it. In here, we get a very flavorful list of Patron Taints, special Spellburn rules (which means every deity should have custom Spellburn rules, yes?) and three new Patron spells with a deliciously watery flavor (salt-watery, of course).
The authors include an Appendix N supplemental reading list for helping you to describe the feelings of dread and horror to your players. This 15-page section is worth the entire purchase price. (I’ll be ordering AN ECSTASY OF FEAR by Pugmire shortly).
The Other Stuff
The NPC has some colorful flavor, and would work well for a recurring character of some kind. I love the layout of the herbal descriptions, that is a lot of work and I am glad to have a couple of new ones to add to my herbal library.
As part of the magic system for Weirth, I am working on a cinematic/pulp fiction description of how mighty rituals are executed. The DCC rulebook only has a blurb about it, so the gang wrote up some rules. They are almost what I am looking for, and are a great inspiration.
This is a great zine, looking forward to grabbing issue #2.