Tabletop RPG Review: The Gongfarmer’s Almanac 2016

Much like the 2015 edition, this edition is a giant and varied collection of fan-created Dungeon Crawl Classics material.  Its usefulness will vary by Judge (GM, DM, etc.).  There’s a bunch that I can’t imagine will make it into my game, but there’s a lot of stuff I’ll be lifting for sure.

The first of eight volumes features some new character classes.  The Barbarian might be useful.  It also has some new rules and suggestions of how to work around things like missing players.  The second volume gets into magic and the gods.  It’s also got a cool article on how to make Law as ‘badass’ as Chaos usually is.  It definitely has some food for thought.  It makes sense, for example, that Law would be much more likely to actually help when asked and to really back-up PCs doing it service.  The third volume has some new critters and some new treasure.  It’s also got a solo adventure mixed in.

Volumes four and five are packed with adventures.  I thought The Orm Lies Down in Punjar could make for an interesting, weird little plug-in side adventure, and would be especially useful if you want a dramatic way to get your PCs from one realm or world to another.  And I definitely want to lift Big Trouble in Little Punjar if I ever end up running something in Lankhmar.  Beyond the Portal Under the Stars is a starting point for doing a follow up for Portal Under the Stars.  Considering how common that scenario is, it’s a bit weird there’s no official follow-up, but I guess they want to give you an opening for putting in your own stuff.

Volume six is all about Crawljammer.  When I first heard about it, I assumed it was a fan’s attempt to work Spelljammer into Dungeon Crawl Classics, but the more I read about it, the more it seems to be a take on Edgar Rice Burroughs Mars & Venus stories.  That’s fine.  Not really what I’d want to do in DCC, but it can still be fun.  With a bit of re-writing, the adventure The Oblivion Syndicate and the Millennial Mead could easily work as a way to work your PCs into a Spelljammer-type game.

The whole of volume seven is devoted to slime, ooze, and filth.  It’s full of charts and tools for making all sorts of gross fluids and gunk.  I can imagine, especially if you’re focusing on traditional dungeon crawling, it could be quite handy.  Not sure how much use I’ll get out of it, but you never know.

The final volume has a lot of charts and tools for all sorts of different things.  I can see it coming in handy when I need to make some stuff up on the fly or if I’m looking to add some color while designing a scenario.

You can download these books free through DriveThruRPG or order them in print at cost + shipping from Lulu.  They’re well worth it.

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