[DCC RPG] A Kiss for Beauty: A Review of Prince Charming, Reanimator

FT 0 – Fairie Tales From Unlit Shores
Prince Charming, Reanimator

Author: Daniel J. Bishop
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
Page Count: 21
Available Formats: PDF & Print
PDF (DTRPG) – Pay What You Want
Print (DTRPG) – $9.99

The Dungeon Crawl Classics (DCC) Roleplaying Game keeps surfacing in my social media feeds and on our Discord at regular intervals. While I haven’t played DCC in years, I do appreciate the game and what it brings to the hobby. I thought I would re-read one of my favorite 0-level funnels that I have run a number of times for new players. In doing so, I realized that I had never reviewed it for our readers.

Prince Charming, Reanimator is a 0-level funnel for the DCC RPG. What’s a 0-level funnel? Simply put, it’s an introductory adventure where each player plays multiple peasant-like disposable 0-level characters for the purposes of having at least one of them survive to move on as the player’s main playable character in future adventures. When a 0-level character survives long enough to gains 10 experience points the player then levels up the character to level one; completing the final character creation process and begins their new adventuring life.

As the title implies, this scenario is a mashup of several classic tropes. The story is a blend of several fairy tales tropes and reanimator concepts into a wholly unique story. Even if the title seems a little familiar to you, and it likely does, you should probably put aside your fairy tale notions as we take a closer look at the story itself; all is not as it appears.

Prince Hubert Charming is a man who loved beautiful women and each of his two past wives is evidence of that. The one thing both of his wives had in common was that prior to marrying them, they were both dead. Prince Charming used an elixir of life and to return them from the stillness of death to the realm of the living, but it was short-lived. Prince Charming now seeks out, Princess Beauty, the woman whom he wishes to call his third wife. Unlike his first two wives, Princess Beauty isn’t dead. She is sleeping the eons away. He hopes to revive her with a little help. Enter the funnel characters…

Charged with taking up whatever arms they have at their ready, which isn’t much, they are ordered to travel into the Grimmswood to a nearby ruined castle where they are to find the place where sleeping Beauty lies, convey her out of the castle to Prince Charming so he may kiss and revive her. Simple enough, right?

The castle is the only location the funnel characters will visit during the adventure. Here they will encounter a variety of challenges; most are combat-oriented while others are puzzles, all of which are dangerous and life-threatening. The castle has sixteen potential encounter locations for the characters to explore, not all of which need to be explored for the scenario to be completed. Though like many fantasy scenarios there will come a point at which the players will have to confront that which guards Sleeping Beauty.

If they can, at least a few of them, successfully retrieve the body of Sleepy Beauty and whisk her away to the waiting arms of Prince Charming. They have won, right? Wrong! Prince Charming has one more surprise waiting for them, but I’m not going to spoil that for you. You’ll just have to read or play the scenario to learn what it is.

0-level funnel characters have very few hit points, ranging from 1 to 4, and are very disposable. They are ill-equipped, quite literally with the clothes on their backs and the tools in their hands. They walk away from their mundane lives and jobs to see if they have what it takes to be an adventurer or die in the process. Funnel adventures are great campaign starters or perfect as fun convention games that are light-hearted and where the players take pride in their artisans, fishmongers, gong farmers, and the like die horrific deaths in the name of adventure.

The story premise is goofy in the way it oddly twists several conventional fairy tale tropes just enough where it all works together. Much to the credit of Daniel J. Bishop, this scenario is well done, even if it’s a little silly in a twisted sort of way. It is well written and conveys the story, narrative text, and important in-game information in a logical and articulate way. Lastly, it’s just downright fun to play!

I have run Prince Charming, Reanimator five times now; each time at an online convention. The feedback I have received from each group has been favorable. A common theme running throughout the feedback is the goofiness of the tropes and themes of the story itself, but that is part of what it made it fun to play. Some players did find certain elements of playing a funnel frustrating. Some players who were accustomed to playing heroes with ample equipment, weapons, and spells, found it hard to adapt to playing peasant nobodies with little resources, simple weapons at best, and no magic. In the end, everyone got into the spirit of the funnel, the disposal nature of the characters, and just had fun!

~ Modoc

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