My new home workspace is approaching its final form; this configuration exposes the great white tower of D&D—see included image. (Previously, the great white tower was in my closet.) Because of this, I end up looking at all these DCC books on my shelf every time I enter the room or sit down at my desk. This makes me want to run some DCC. Following is a campaign brief, which I plan to run online and probably in person (primarily Vancouver).
A long time ago on a planet far away, some inconsiderate wizard opened a gate to hell, or somewhere so unpleasant as to be indistinguishable. The monsters that emerged from this gate proved greatly inconvenient. To avoid all that nonsense, a conclave of magician magnates built a sky-arc. These magicians took their disciples, drudges, and minions up into the sky, to live in a superterrene approximation of safety. Up above it, they look down relatively securely and smugly from their celestial refuge.
When a lower-caste superterrestrial misbehaves, the punishment is either temporary or permanent exile. Sometimes, the miscreant must complete some task or recover some object on the surface before being permitted to return. When this happens, the magnates send a prison barge to the surface to deposit exiles. The campaign begins when a prison barge crashes mysteriously. The crash survivors will provide characters for the starting funnel and the prison barge wreck will function as a starting base. The immediate concern will be to survive on the hostile, savage surface world. I see the style as lurid and fantastical, esoteric rather than veiled technology.
To create the campaign world, I plan to draw from some official DCC modules, using elements to build up a sandbox. I will salvage background and world details based on module implications. I have few other predetermined ideas about the setting, which factions are villainous, or really anything else. We will discover those elements together through play. I will continue to flesh out campaign details based on what players attend to.
I will make content from modules of vastly different levels accessible from the beginning of the campaign. Though I will endeavor to provide clues and warnings regarding danger level, I will make no effort to ensure that challenge is proportional to adventurer capabilities. Proceed at your own risk.
I will be using the core DCC rules as written, including the zero-level funnel, with the following adjustments and clarifications.
Funnel. Following a funnel, players must choose one adventurer for promotion to first level. Any additional surviving zero-level characters will become retainers.
Encumbrance. You can carry one item per point of strength without penalty. Some items stack several per slot, usually 6, such as torches, throwing knives, flasks of oil, and so forth. If uncertain, ask. Each additional item carried beyond the limit provided by strength rating imposes a cumulative -1 to physical d20 checks (such as attack rolls and saving throws).
Time. I will use the Hazard System to track passage of time and resource attrition. I may use some additional event engines on the back end to keep the gears turning as well.
Recuperation. To recover lost HP, adventurers must take a haven turn to rest and recover, following the Hazard System rules, rather than reckoning HP replenishment based on measured time passage.
Experience. Experience will only accrue to adventurers that return to base by the end of a session. Any experience earned during a session where an adventurer fails to return to base will be lost. Additionally, the players must roll on a table to determine the method of return, which may have deleterious outcomes similar to the triple secret random random dungeon fate chart of very probable doom, though likely somewhat less punitive. This rule is to simplify bookkeeping and facilitate variable player groupings. I will provide 30 and 15 minute warnings as the end of a session approaches.