On Saturday I had a chance for a pick-up game of Crumbling Epoch, with a couple hours notice. What to do, what to do? My default recommendation now is to use the “Death on Ice” and “Warrens of the Murder Diggers” to get one or two levels on characters, and get them loot and magic equipment. The journey to first level is otherwise hard and lethal.
Still, I wanted to put first level characters into a setting, so I picked Dyson’s Delve. It is evocative and imaginative, the slow movement rates are blunted on the tiny maps (maximum 170′ to a side) and there are interesting choices to make for where to go next. I do love Dyson’s work. In the past, I made a cool document for map connections and quick reference.
I ran a conversion of Dyson’s Delve in my Masks Fantasy system, and it didn’t go too well. This is much closer to the source rules, with Crumbling Epoch, so I figured I’d get a better result. I had 2 people from my game group, and neither was involved in the other run on Dyson’s Delve, so it would be fresh for them.
Still, to avoid making them fight goblins and giant rats (ho hum) the ever-maligned first level blade-fodder, I reskinned the critters in the first four levels of the delve. You never do know how deep they’ll penetrate, and I wanted to be ready.
Statistically, they are the same. I just reskinned them. So as I was paging through and banging the monster stats into my reference document, I put different descriptions on them. I also needed some back story for why the characters were going into the delve in the first place, and how far from town they were. I sketched that out briefly, and we were off!
Overall, the play experience was not the best. First level is dangerous, and my players don’t like taking casualties or getting bogged down in deadlocked battles. They also skirted lootable locations, so they didn’t get much coin (even though the Delve is LOADED.) They looked through about a third of the first level, and about a quarter of the second level. Another lackluster performance of Crumbling Epoch as an entertainment medium, less hope my group will glom on to the game.
What you get out of this, Gentle Readers, is an awesome conversion document that has my reskinning on it. This is a swiftly done draft covering the first 4 levels and not addressing treasure issues, only monster abilities. I have not yet reskinned skeletons, zombies, ghouls, and manticores because they are kind of neat as-is. That may change later, the characters did not encounter any of those monsters.
Here it is!