Monday, August 24, 2015

Commentary On Crawljammer Issue #1 From Moon Dice Games & Quick Intergalactic DCC Rpg Adventure Design

Once again I'm really late to the party on this fanzine; as the rest of the OSR spins by I wave at them from the sidelines. Sometimes its not about the new products that are coming to market but learning about products you as a DM might have missed. In this case its Crawljammer issue #1. The Drivethru and Rpgnow blurbs told me absolutely nothing about the issue. So I went back & did a bit of research about the fanzine from Tim Callahan. Here's what I learned from it, you need issue one and this is isn't Spelljammer in DCC. Well it sort of is but not quite the same.  Instead this is a zine with a single writer and science fiction fanatic's vision of taking his PC's into space. More precisely his vision of pulp space. And one other small factor.  He knows what the hell he's doing. Here's why.

Grab This Right Over

So serious here's what your getting for two dollars -
Adventuring in Outer Space and on Alien Planets
by Tim Callahan
Crawljammer Ships
by Tim Callahan
The Cosmology of Crawljammer
by Tim Callahan
Lizardman Mercenary
by Tim Callahan
Level-Zero Lizardman Occupations
by Andrew Callahan
Cry Freedom and Let Slip the Bat-Men of Venus
Everything is basically laid right at your feet as a DM and you can pick up and run this setting right from the ground up and take your adventurers into 'space' right off the bat. You get the guidelines, ships of Crawljammer, a smattering of Crawljammer cosmology, and one racial PC class the Lizardman Mercenary along with a zero level set of occupations for filling in the background of the character. This isn't a bad set of material to pick up for two dollars.

 If you've got the run of Crawling Under A Broken Moon then you can easily take your mutants & adventurers  into space & beyond, which is one of the old promises of Gamma World's classic "Albuquerque Starport"  an awesome GW module. The adventure by
Paul Reiche III,it takes place at an old starport buried under the New Mexico desert, complete with a working space shuttle. This module showcased what could be done with Gamma World on as a  whole. Lots of twenty fourth century technology and more. But unless the DM linked this up with Metamorphosis Alpha ( I used an experimental teleporter pod with a one way ticket) there wasn't really the full promise of interstellar space flight.
Read through Crawljammer issue one I was taken back into the VHS stacks of the little hole in the wall video place where I used to work back in Boston in the 90's  and a particular movie that I'd play on certain rainy days.

A spinning space station in the middle of nowhere with a built in sub set funnel system for the lowest dregs of the galaxy to get mashed into paste and only the strongest come out as adventurers? Yeah this is exactly how you can take your mutant, alien, and human adventurers and spin them through their paces. You've got half of the cast of Star Trek Deep Space Nine  here and a built in campaign setting in a Charles band film.

Take your mutants from Crawling Under A Broken Moon, add in a few of the other races from DCC plus an option or two from the Gong Farmer's Almanac stir with the first issue of Crawljammer. Place all of this around the action of the space station of Arena  with all of the lower more dangerous fights happening in the lower decks while the high profile fights happen up top and your ready to go.

There is a plot to Arena and it basically reads like something straight out of Babylon Five or Deep Space Nine rerun and that's not a bad thing. Well according to wiki -
'Steve Armstrong (Paul Satterfield) is working as a short order cook on a space station somewhere in the galaxy. Overwhelmed by the volume of orders, he repeatedly fouls up and soon finds himself in a confrontation with an alien patron named Fang. After a fight which smashes up the diner and leaves the alien injured, Steve and his friend and co-worker Shorty (Hamilton Camp) are fired. As it turns out, Fang is an Arena fighter, and his manager Quinn (Claudia Christian) confronts Steve. Amazed that a human could beat one of her best fighters, Quinn offers him a contract, but convinced that humans no longer have a place in the Arena, Steve refuses, intending to make his way back to Earth.
Lacking sufficient money for a ticket, Shorty attempts to raise the cash by gambling in an underground casino. The game is raided by the authorities and in the confusion, Shorty pockets the money. Caught in the act by crime boss Rogor (Marc Alaimo) and his enforcer Weezil (Armin Shimerman), Shorty is held for ransom. Steve promises to pay off the debt, so he reluctantly returns to Quinn and agrees to a contract. Remarkably he wins his first match with an alien named Sloth in an upset. He continues fighting, determined to prove that a human has what it takes to be champion, and soon becomes a top contender. Despite Rogor's multiple attempts to cheat, Steve ultimately wins the championship from Rogor's top fighter, an alien named Horn (Michael Deak)'

I've used Arena numerous times as fodder for Spelljammer, Alternity, Gamma World, etc. and personally I think that the film fits the weird pulpiness of Crawljammer but I also think that given some of the boxing stories of Robert Howard one could pull from those to get a rather unique perspective on a campaign setting with a far more galactic feel to it. Do I think that Crawljammer issue #1 is worth downloading? Yes, yes I do in spades.

All of this blog entry is for pure entertainment and educational purposes none of this article is an attempt to violate nor impinge upon the copyright or trademarks of the DCC rpg,Charles Band, Arena film owners, nor the Crawling Under A Broken Moon or The Crawljammer fanzine. This is strictly the author's opinions as a Charles Band and DCC fanatic.
Although strickly speaking I still can't stand Band's version of Raw Head Rex

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