Journey to the Centre of Aerth after Starless Sea

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TithianKing
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Journey to the Centre of Aerth after Starless Sea

Post by TithianKing »

So I've decided to follow up Sailors on the Starless Sea (Sailors) with #91 Journey to the Centre of Aerth (JCA) and I am keen to hear other peoples' experiences of running the latter.

The Viking Longship from the Sailors will take the PCs directly into the underground river detailed in JCA. This will allow me to skip over the first chapter of JCA (the journey to the remote arctic temple) and speed up the journey to Lost Agartha.

The PCs will have a series of encounters on the boat which, if they successfully negotiate, should take them all the way to the Lost Valley. I'm not interested in depicting a months long journey so it will be a matter of days, driven by the tidal wave and the Viking Ship's magical properties. I might even seed the idea that the ship originated in Lost Agartha and it is finally free to return to its home port, and it does so despite of the PCs efforts.

My PCs are newly 2nd level. I let them take first level after defeating the Bull Headed Beastman in Sailors and then gave them another level after defeating the Chaos Lord. JCA states its designed for 4th level PCs, but it seems to me level settings in DCC RPG are pretty arbitrary, so I am not sure it matters, though I might scale back the challenge level of some of the encounters.

I'm struggling with the latter part of JCA. Agartha is so loosely defined, that I am having trouble imagining it. I do have the supplemental book "The Lost City if Barako", but that's not terribly helpful. I would like to make Agartha a living breathing world, and I want it to have a multitude of different cultures and environs to explore. Since the PCs will, up to that point, not have had any town / village adventures or encounters, I want for Agartha to offer some respite as well as challenges. I want them to be able to carouse in taverns, treat with nobles, establish their reputations. We don't play very frequently and our adventures progress slowly (Sailors took 6 sessions) so inner-Aereth is likely to be the setting of our campaign for at least the next year.

I want to hear how others have described inner-Aerth, how expansive is it? Is it just a collosal cavern with some vague light source overhead, or is it like the inside of an egg-shell world, curving upward seemingly to infinity? I have the old BECM Hollow World books which depict something like the latter, with the molten core acting as a perpetual sun. I like that idea, but it seems a vastly different environment to the one depicted in JCA.

If anyone has written additional material for inner-Aerth or has some advice I would really appreciate anything. I am looking for any inspiration.
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Re: Journey to the Centre of Aerth after Starless Sea

Post by BanjoJohn »

I actually haven't even read JCA, so I can't comment on any specifics inside of the adventure.
It sounds like you're solid on the beginning of the module?

I think you wouldn't go wrong either way doing Aerth as a full on hollow earth egg-shell thing, or doing it as a big cavern. There's many different "journey to the center of the earth" style movies and books you could try to read for inspiration.

You might looking up any RPG supplements that help you design a hub-city for campaigns and just put it inside of the hollow earth for your adventure/campaign.

I might have more to say about this later, its an interesting topic to think about.
TithianKing
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Re: Journey to the Centre of Aerth after Starless Sea

Post by TithianKing »

Thanks for the comments BanjoJohn.

The module (JCA) is primarily written about "the journey" with "the destination" treated almost more like an after-thought. I guess thats fair, considering the title of the module. The supplemental book The Lost City of Barroko provides more colour and detail, but still a bit thin.

I think perhaps my issue stems from my PCs stumbling upon Lost Agartha by accident, rather than by seeking it out. Unfortunately we weren't left with any Wizards after the funnel of Sailors. Its a party of several Warriors + a Halfling and a Priest. Wizards have the strongest hook to seek out Agartha (the legendary libraries) and the most chance to know about it.

I need to seed something into their boat trip to capture their interest, I think.
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Re: Journey to the Centre of Aerth after Starless Sea

Post by Raven_Crowking »

There is also an encounter book, Lairs of Lost Agharta,

https://dcctreasures.blogspot.com/2017/ ... harta.html

The Imperishable Sorceress (which you can find in Chaos Rising) has ties to Lairs, and allows access the the Center via an Adamantine Mole.
SoBH pbp:

Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.
TithianKing
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Re: Journey to the Centre of Aerth after Starless Sea

Post by TithianKing »

Thanks Raven_CrowKing.

I will check them out!
TithianKing
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Re: Journey to the Centre of Aerth after Starless Sea

Post by TithianKing »

2008's Journey to the Centre of the Earth with Brendan Fraser is a terrible movie but has some surprisingly good inspiration for D&D.
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Re: Journey to the Centre of Aerth after Starless Sea

Post by Bobjester »

The Free DCC RPG Day offering "Chanters in the Dark" is a natural sequel to Sailors on the Starless Sea and has a very "B4 Lost City" vibe to it.

I plan to run it for my players if they happen to take that route, but they have only just gone down the stairs to the lower level, having had quite a hard time with 2nd level characters (and 1st level replacements) in the Round Tower.

I've only just paid for two Bundle of Holding DCC modules which includes the Aereth series. I'd love to use these eventually, but I'll have to print them out to get full use from them. (Eyes don't like the computer screens, etc.)

Like your sessions, ours are sparse and take a whole weekend of multi-part sessions to play - thanks to interruptions and life necessities like food & drink.
“The wounds received in battle bestow honor, they do not take it away...”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote
TithianKing
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Re: Journey to the Centre of Aerth after Starless Sea

Post by TithianKing »

Thanks Bobjester.

I actually just discovered Chanters on the Dark myself! I wish I had known about it before my last session of Sailors, so i could have teased them into it.

But we are still in between sessions and I think I will implement Chanters as a waypoint adventure in their journey to the centre of the Aereth. The village in Chanters gives me a chance to let the PCs rest up and equip themselves, and also an opportunity to feed them some lore to them about Lost Agartha.

Really, Chanters works exceptionally well with the Lost Agartha campaign, at least with the approach I am taking.

I think I will have to change the beastmen from Chanters into a lost colony of dwarves or escaped slaves from Aghartha. My players will immediately attack beastmen after the traumas of Sailors.
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Re: Journey to the Centre of Aerth after Starless Sea

Post by Persimmon »

TithianKing wrote: Tue Oct 25, 2022 2:22 pm Thanks for the comments BanjoJohn.

The module (JCA) is primarily written about "the journey" with "the destination" treated almost more like an after-thought. I guess thats fair, considering the title of the module. The supplemental book The Lost City of Barroko provides more colour and detail, but still a bit thin.

I think perhaps my issue stems from my PCs stumbling upon Lost Agartha by accident, rather than by seeking it out. Unfortunately we weren't left with any Wizards after the funnel of Sailors. Its a party of several Warriors + a Halfling and a Priest. Wizards have the strongest hook to seek out Agartha (the legendary libraries) and the most chance to know about it.

I need to seed something into their boat trip to capture their interest, I think.
Slightly off topic, but I think it can be quite interesting to see how a non-traditionally balanced party, like one without one of the core four classes, operates and handles different challenges. Interestingly, my players have found the thief the hardest to replace because of traps and locks. Wizards aren't as important at lower levels, but can really make things easier with the powerful offensive spells. And I think clerics can become even more valuable in DCC because of their augmented healing (i.e. not just spells) abilities. Our current party is pretty balanced, though: 2 warriors, a thief, a cleric, an elf, and a wizard.
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Re: Journey to the Centre of Aerth after Starless Sea

Post by Bud »

I haven't run JCA yet but have also been trying to figure out how I'll tie JCA to our other games - we're running a fairly loose episodic campaign, a couple players coming and going and some steady players. I may use the patron of one of the PC's as a hook.
Also it's a HUGE module so a fair bit of homework before I run it.
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