Every so often the FLGS has an opening on a Saturday and they fill it with an interesting event. Last month, the FLGS held an RPG demo day to give people a chance to run games for people that may not have had a chance to play a given system yet.
There were three tables for the morning event, and two tables for the evening event. The morning RPGs were to be Feng Shui, Dungeon World, and my own Dungeon Crawl Classics one shot funnel. Unfortunately, Feng Shui and Dungeon World didn't quite have enough players to field a table, so my DCC game absorbed some other gamers.
I didn't sign up to run the event until about two weeks out, so I threw together my event in about a week's time. You can see the basic adventure outline here:
Castlevania DCC Funnel PDF
I wanted a way to simulate the timer in Castlevania, because, well, I died because of that stupid thing before. I also wanted to hit some obviously recognizable areas that have shown up in multiple versions of the game.
Essentially for most encounters, I had some guidelines for how much time the fast and dangerous option would take, and how long the more time consuming, careful, or obvious solution would take. Every time the clock advanced to show one hour had passed, a random PC would die.
We only had one character die this way, but that still made the clock feel like an actual presence in the game, which I liked.
As for the actual funnel, PCs had to run up stairs guarded by bone throwing skeletons, jump over rifts with flying medusa heads lunging at them, fight a giant bat, try not to get pulled into the water and/or mud by Deep Ones and Mud Men, fight a two headed sea serpent, battle up a flight of stairs past animated suits of armor, dodge fireballs from dragon skull cannons, and figure out how to lift the curse put on the castle and the PCs by a rival of Dracula.
I loved some of the character details that came out over the course of the game, like the personality of Dirty Pete Belmont, the ditch digger, or that the outlaw may have actually killed and stolen the identity of an actual Belmont.
In the continuing tradition of my DCC games, the PCs figured out a way to set the Giant Bat boss monster on fire from a distance. Fire + distance = effective adventuring.
In the end, one of the religious minded PCs managed to say a prayer posted on one of the walls to reverse the curse on the castle (in retrospect, I should have made the DC higher, but it still worked out well). This particular incident led me to ponder if I should let PCs "promise" to become a certain class in order to have partial access to class features if the funnel allows it, i.e. characters that are going to become priests being able to use prayers or holy objects or characters that are going to become wizards being able to attempt scrolls.
I had several "sanctified" objects, including a whip, a dagger, and a throwing axe, that weren't magical on their own, but could be "charged" with abilities by apply holy oil to them to give them a number of uses. Amusingly several of the characters died in such a manner so as to make these items no longer available to the party.
Am I evil for enjoying the fact that the character death's thus provided a double screw over to the group?
Everyone seemed to have a really good time. Even people that had come for more roleplaying heavy systems seem to really be enjoying making up backgrounds based on the zero level character's profession, and coming up with skillful applications of their professions in game.
By the end of the funnel, everyone was down to one character, with, I think, three of the players on their first or second character after their initial four were eliminated. Thus ended the first slot of RPG Demo Day, and lunch was had.