There Ain’t No Sanity Clause

So, I’m running my home group, The Rambling Bumblers through a Dungeon Crawl Classics 0-level funnel, a re-skinning of Sailors on the Starless Sea by Harley Stroh as a holiday-themed adventure.  Details below the cut, and if you’re one of my players don’t read it yet, since we stopped at about the 2/3’s point last night.

This is a fairly simple re-skinning, rather than a complete re-working.


The villagers of Hw have all gathered together the day of the Winter Solstice: the coming night will be the longest of the year, and they’re terrified of what’s been going on, with more and more villagers being taken by these strange creatures from the keep.  The Shire Reeve took his battle axe and his six deputies up to the keep yesterday, and never returned.  The villagers have decided their last chance is to send a bunch of young fit and unmarried volunteers in a do-or-die effort to rescue the missing villagers and stop whatever’s going on up there.

Set Dressing

It’s the middle of winter, and everything is covered in snow.  This makes tracking easy.  The villagers will all have warm winter clothing, but this won’t stop the unnatural cold in Area B-1 The Tomb of the Fallen.  The vines all over the area are peculiar: hard and waxy, with large perfectly round fruit in unearthly metallic colors.  If examined, the fruit proves to be glass-like globes, easily shattered, that release a sickening stench of spoiled egg-not.

All vines except the horors and all the lichen and algae mentioned becomes candy-cane-striped, and smells strongly of cloying, decaying peppermint and sugar. It is poisonous: Fort Save or vomiting and cramps that will reduce Stamina by 1d3 for 1d4 hours, but on a DC 10 Luck check it will grant as much luck as it drained Stamina and for the same duration.31dc57ebc39840fdfeb342cf61ccfac3.jpg (236×226)

The biting flies and gnats are replaced with stinging swirling snow and hail.

Chaos Lords → Heat Miser and Snow Miser

The Chaos Lord brothers Molan and Felan become “Heat Master” and “Snow Master”, respectively (or you can call them misers if you don’t mind being exactly  on the nose).  The forces of Law were rallied together by the Niklas, a former Chaos Priest who turned against the brothers when he learned their full plans, and gave his life fighting them. He was sainted for his actions.

Beast Men → Greenches

All the beast-men in the module are replaced by green-furred creatures with evil grins. The villagers have caught enough glimpses of them to have named them Green Liches, or Greenches for short.

the-grinch-grin.jpg (245×243)

Vine Horror → Tinsel Horrors

Vine horrors become ropes of tinsel in silver (the color of Cold Master) and gold (the color of Heat Master).  The seeds that burst out of the corpses are in the shape of tiny candle-flames and they glow with an unnatural light, blinking in an almost hypnotic pattern (DC 8 will save or be fascinated, a companion can shake you out of it in 1 action); the light will fade after 12 hours when the seed is no longer viable.

Tar Ooze → Figgy Pudding

The Tar Ooze becomes a “Figgy” Pudding. It smells strongly of alcohol (apparent even from the entrance to the chapel) and burns after contact in a blue flame.  The ooze from the toad’s mouth is brownish black, and lumpy. figgy_pudding_with_flaming_brandy

Area B-1 Tomb of the Fallen

Cold Master’s corpse is still eight feet tall, but it’s emaciated and clad in armor of blue basilisk hide and white snow worm fur.  The cryptic warning last two lines read

With banes four your weird be dreed
Fire, Ice, Storm and Greed

The bane of Hate is now a bane of Greed: DC 15 Will save at least once per adventure or be compelled to steal something valuable, murdering if necessary.

Area D – Courtyard

The muddy trails are tracks through the snow, showing activity between the gatehouse, the tower, and the well, but little to none elsewhere.

Area D-1 Forgotten Cache

The snow above the cache is slightly sunken in, giving the observant a clue where to dig. The writing reads “As Winter dies, Summer is rekindled. The World must burn.”

Area E – The Charred Ruins

The Tar Ooze is a malevolent Figgy Pudding (see above).  The cones of incense in the coffer are individually wrapped in sanctified unholy cloth each embroidered in gold thread with a hen.  The censer is embossed with a partridge in a tree.

Area H Tower of the Beasts

The Greench Champion with the axe is the transformed reeve, Steve.  The six greenches are his deputies.  They are deaf to reason, but if captured alive might yet be saved (a dose of Eggnog from the vials in the secret compartment in the chest in Area 1-1A will cure one greench). If Steve is killed his last words are “Summer is coming. The world must burn”

I allowed any Gong-Farmers among the characters to know about the existence of Rot Grubs.

Area 1-1A – The Empty Vault

Icicles hang from the ceiling instead of cobwebs.

The steel vials in the hidden compartment of the chest are each engraved with a picture of a turtle dove. Instead of Black Lotus Oil, they contain mystic Eggnog; same effects but in addition if fed to a greench, it restores it to its original form.  Obviously it works by making the heart grow.

Area 1-2 – The Dread Halls

The black algae is candy striped, and smells like decaying peppermint. To actually give the players a bigger clue, I made it so the mural depicting the Chaos Priest calling to the Leviathan was holding a censer.

Area 1-3 – The Hidden Pool

Again the black algae is candy-striped peppermint algae.

The finger bone is a whole hand, wearing five golden rings, one on each finger.  All five form a set, which combined have the powers listed for the single iron ring.  Any two will grant one power from the list of four (roll randomly, no repeats), three of them will grant two, four will grant three, and all five will grant the whole shebang.

Area 1-4 – The Starless Sea

The dragon boat is a swan boat: the sides are carved to look like seven swans, with the necks of the swans curving down to join the back of the next swan and the right and left front-most swan silhouettes joining to form the prow of the ship, and the spaces each swan’s neck enclosed forming openings for 6 oars on each side.

Area 1-5 The Temple of Chaos

All the greenches are initially occupied: There are 23 instead of 22: 12 are beating drums and 11 are playing horrible bag-pipes (all made out of human skins).

Area 1-5a Atop the Temple

Heat Master’s effigy is rotund.  The flail is a six-headed flail where each head is an iron goose, with wings spread; attempts to disarm via mighty deeds will only knock loose one goose loose at a time, each goose loosed will reduce Heat Master’s attack bonus by 1.

The captured villagers have all been dressed up for their parts in the sacrifice: ten are dressed as lords, their pockets stuffed with cash; nine are dressed as ladies, draped in jewelry; 8 are young women.


The Twelve Days

Just as an extra clue for the players and perhaps to encourage them to explore a bit, since Sailors is a module where staying completely focused on the mission parameters leads to skipping everything the party might need to make the conclusion even possible (the Leviathan will probably kill them all if they don’t have the censer unless they elect to perform a sacrifice or they chum the waters and get lucky trying to swim the 50 feet to the shore; the beast-men/greenches on the island will likely be enough to wipe them out if they don’t have disguises unless they get very lucky with their sneak rolls).

  1. Partridge in a Pear Tree – golden censer
  2. Turtle Doves – vials of Mystic Eggnog
  3. French Hens – cones of incense
  4. Calling Birds – red chaos priest robes trimmed in white snow worm fur
  5. Golden Rings – that together form the rings of Sezrakan
  6. Geese – 6-headed flail of chaos
  7. Swans – the magic swan boat
  8. Maids – captured villagers dressed for ceremony
  9. Ladies – captured villagers dressed for ceremony
  10. Lords – captured villagers dressed for ceremony
  11. Pipers – greenches playing pipes
  12. Drummers – greenches playing drums