Tabletop RPG Review: The Gongfarmer’s Almanac 2018

The more of them I read, the more I think these books are must-haves for Dungeon Crawl Classics players and judges.  And for the price, you can’t go wrong.  In print from Lulu, it’s less than $10. for more than 400 pages.  Or, you can go to DriveThruRPG and get it as a free PDF.  2018s collection is probably the most useful and practical one yet.

Previous collections have had some new character classes to try out, but many have been on the jokey or surreal side.  The kind of thing that’s not likely to fit into most games, even when you consider how off the wall DCC often is.  However, this time I could imagine OKing players to try out 9 out of 11 of the new classes.  And three of them I’m really hoping to see get used.

There are new patrons.  A couple of those seem pretty interesting.  Though most patrons seem so odd that it’s hard to pick one.  As a judge, few of them have appealed to me as something I’d want to do a deep dive into using for and against my players.

There’s no shortage of critters to throw against your players, but a few of the things that show up in this book are pretty cool.  I’m tempted to roll out the pill beasts if my PCs go somewhere new.  Not everyone rides horses.  I also want to mess around with more plant-monsters.  My PCs faced off against some plant-animated zombies a while back.  May need to dive deeper into that sort of thing.  

Following that, there are some new optional rules, including a couple I like.  “The Maker’s Mark” gets into the differences in quality between some sword or whatever forged by an apprentice and one forged by a master.  And mercurial potions can throw some serious chaos into your life.

Finally there are some adventures and an expansion on the Trench Crawl Classics mod (DCC in WWII).  The Endless Chasm of Zaxxyn has some serious potential.  I think I’d rework a few of the details and maybe the ultimate goals, but there’s a lot of good stuff to work with.  Death Aquatic has a ton of cool stuff and I really want to use that one, but it does have one huge problem.  It lacks a map of any kind, and just from reading the scenario, I knew I would need a map before I could realistically run the scenario.  That means I’m going to have to make one, and that prospect doesn’t thrill me.  

The Gongfarmer’s Almanac is a hugely useful series for players and judges of Dungeon Crawl Classics, Mutant Crawl Classics, or what have you.  Much of the content is particular enough that it’s not going to work in every game.  However, you’re sure to find something useful.  

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