Dungeon Crawl Classics #68: The People of the Pit (DCC)

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It has been years since the last virgin was sacrificed: and now the pit beast awakens once more! Every generation it stumbles forth on undulating tentacles from its resting place deep below the great ravine, its towering blubbery mass ravaging the land before returning to slumber for decades. But this time is different. The Great Beast strikes with intelligence: bands of faceless gray-robed men emerge from the tenebrous depths, herding the beast’s roaming tentacles before them. The enigmatic people of the pit live despite the passage of ages! The earth shakes each night as they herd the primordial tentacles ever further, while the villagers ask: is any man brave enough to put the sword to this menace?

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An RPG Resource Review


This adventure is intended for a big bunch (about 8-10) of 1st-level characters, and its recommended that a good spread of classes/races participate. It is likely that not all of them will survive - unless they are both skillful and lucky! So, what horrors do they have to face? Well, I'm not telling! Suffice to say that an ancient evil has arisen... and that tentacles are involved.

Legends tell of how a vast monster that lives in a massive canyon awakens once a generation, and how in centuries past a cleric deduced that sacrificing a few local virgins would assauge its hunger, allowing it to return to its slumbers without ravaging the whole countryside. Naturally, the characters happen along just as it begins to stir and worse... some strange grey-robed figures have been seen associated with the tentacles, worshippers of the beast, perhaps even able to control it. This is all public knowledge, but it is left to the GM to decide how to reveal it and get the characters to take action.

After a run-down on the nature and organisation of the cult for the GM's eyes, we move on to the action, which begins with the characters standing high above the canyon on the mournful spot where sacrificial virgins were chained in years gone by. They will have to find a way down into the mist-filled pit wherein the monster dwells, doing battle with its cultists and eventually the creature itself. Keen observation and caution is advised... and of course there are other monsters to combat on the way.

This adventure is quite cinematic, and redolent of the sort of escapade Conan the Barbarian might have. Characters will need to think as well as wield sword and spell to good effect if they are to accomplish their goal. The GM is supplied with copious notes on what the characters will see, as well as how all those they encounter will react, enabling him to concentrate on running the adventure and building the atmosphere rather than checking the rules or making up descriptions. The final scene is climatic and dramatic and has the potential to inspire many a bard! Well up to the standard being set for this game.

I bought this (through DTRPG) mainly for the entertainment-value of reading it, in the same way I’d read an old pulp Conan or Barsoom story, and People of the Pit adventure delivers on that old-school feel in spades. I’m actually considering converting it to PFRPG to run as a PbP here, and some of the substitute baddies almost write themselves....

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