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Hey Guys!

 I've been meaning to get this community up and going for some time now, so sorry for the delay! My intent is to not clog up the DCC community so much, and use this space to show new art, but more importantly to bounce ideas off of those who are interested.
 Dark Trails is my follow up to Carnival of the Damned. I swore I'd never try another adventure so dense, and here I am making something that could print heavy enough to kill your least favorite player, should you strike him in the head!
 The carnival was never intended to be published, and at most I'd hoped it would be a fanzine. I take the same approach with Dark Trails. It's not a guaranteed project, but I'm currently playtesting it, and paying for art as I can afford it. 
 Please chime in and voice your opinion when I ask for it when dealing with new rules and your thoughts on potential ideas! It means more than you know!

Thanks,

Dave
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Here's a few photos taken on the Trail this afternoon at Shadow Games in Rugby, UK where I ran "Never Swallow the Worm" for a playtest group of six.

We had the Bedlamite, Tommyknocker, Gunslinger, Sin-Eater, Gambler and Occultist in play. Immediate feedback was very positive with players asking if we could play again soon, I've just sent the feedback forms out so hopefully some more detailed thoughts will be coming in shortly. The "Fanning the Hammer" mechanic proved particularly fun for the group which created some tense moments with the gun decks!

Thanks to +David Baity​​ for sending the swag out, it was gratefully received by the players.
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23/07/2017
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I'll be running Never Swallow the Worm at Shadow Games in Rugby, UK from 12pm on Sunday 23rd July. This is the official event link from the store.

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MINOR SPOILER ALERT

Welp... we finally wrapped up Never Swallow The Worm! Out of 15 zero heroes, 6 were lucky enough to level up and fight the big bad! The true casualties were half of the town buildings. Just before the last showdown, the PC's threw a lantern in the sheriff's building to kill off some creepy crawlies. They didn't realize it was next to the saloon with tons of flammable hooch. Oops...

It took 3 sessions, but it was a rootin', hootin', shootin' good time! The group had a ton of fun and I believe they will want to continue our next session with their new characters. I already have some ideas of what unearthly elder things are lurking near the town after dark...

One of my favorite things about this setting was how my players just started talking like they were from the wild west from the get go. It made roleplaying all the more enjoyable. Thanks again, David!!
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7/6/17
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We here in Asheville are really lucky to have +David Baity so close at hand. He came up to +The Wyvern's Tale and ran a group of 8 through the "Never Swallow the Worm" playtest and an amazing time was had by all. Both +Kevin Heuer and myself have talked it up quite a bit, and being able to share it with our regular Asheville DCCRPG Crew was awesome. No deaths, although since one of the players was called away on an emergency, we said they floated away when we tried to cross the Rio Grande.

Looking forward to many more adventures in the future!
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6/24/17
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Last session of Never Swallow the Worm last night; spoiler alerts!

began with most of the pc's locking themselves in the Church with the school children although the Tommyknocker had 'perished' under a pile of larvae zombies buying them time to secure the church and they'd lost the Bedlamite some time earlier as he ducked into a blacksmiths with a maniacal gleam in his eye. All goes (relatively) quiet outside and once they calm the frightened children they decide (?) as it's a pitch black night outside to rest up and refresh hp's and abilities.

Unfortunately the Gunslinger, who is on watch, has been infected and after the fifth hour of rest (during which Porter has been sneakily piling brush wood and lantern oil against one wall of the church) he succumbs to the Thirst and abandons the bell tower, sliding over the roof and dropping to the floor to make a beeline for the nearest source of alcohol.

At more or less the same time the Crawling Claws creep out of the bag lay forgotten amongst the sleeping pc's and children, and in a brief but chaotic flurry of panicked action the Gambler and one of the kids find themselves with new appendages, one child is mortally wounded and the claws are dispatched. And then the party realise the church is on fire. Things degenerated fast from there..

The Gunslinger staggers onto the main street guns blazing, clearing a path towards the saloon (and whiskey distillery). The Calavera attempts to create a diversion by side stepping (nearly being overwhelmed by the fresh blanket of raw fear swathing The Near) and running to the post bell attached to the general store, coincidentally ending up by the Gunslinger facing the reserve wave of larvae and Grub infected. The main wave of infected are however waiting in the dark near the church, only revealed as the discarded body of the Tommyknocker left in the street revives, the blue flame that flickers around his skull giving off enough light to illuminate rank upon rank of them waiting.

The Gambler, Revelator and Tommyknocker fight a rear guard action (doing quite well, again largely through the judicious use of Dead Man's Hand) screening the flight of the school children, Porter takes some pot shots at the Revelator and gets slapped down with Word of Command for his troubles, after which the Tommyknocker lays into him with his bowie knife, carving several new smiles into his leathery hide. The Bedlamite bursts out of the blacksmith's with his newly created Tartarus Cannon, blasting away infected with it's flaming shells.

Between this covering fire, the Revelators' holy blessings the and the cover provided by the Gamblers' Dead Man's Hand this part of the party manage to break out, they and the surviving children helping the elderly teacher scramble towards the edge of town.

Meanwhile the Gunslinger has attracted most of the remaining infected to his position, stumbling through the saloon driven by the Thirst for alcohol. An overpowering smell of whiskey comes from the back of the building, and he crashes through into the distillery. As he leans over a great vat of rough moonshine he realises at the last moment it's full of larvae, and as they break the surface to grab and pull him under he fixes one eye on the still burning oil lamp positioned in the rafters. With his one remaining shot he shatters the lamp, causing flaming oil to spray over the highly combustible vats of alcohol, resulting in an explosion that takes out half of the north side of main street, including the infected that has concentrated on his location.

Back by the church the Tommyknocker had made good use of the grace gained by Porter being frozen by Word of Command, effectively cutting him to ribbons. However doing so only reveals the horror contained within his guts, and backlit by the blazing fire of the Church El Gusano tears free of Porters' shredded standing corpse and towers above the remaining hero. Having nothing to fear from death the Tommyknocker puts every ounce of his being into one last superhuman effort and charges El Gusano, wrestling it in a tackle that carries both of them into the already fire weakened structure of the burning church, which promptly collapses, sealing them both within an immense pyre from which neither emerge..

The remaining pc's (Calavera, Bedlamite, Revelator and Gambler) and the rescued kids limp over the bridge heading out of town, as looking in time to see the church collapse in a great conflagration and the saloon explode in a ball of fire. Fires rage from these two epicentres and within minutes the entirety of Adobes is aflame, scourging the infection from the face of the earth (or so the players hope).

Good fun, my players were really getting into the swing of the mechanics by the second session and even the least likely to play a western game was really enjoying both their character and also the atmosphere of the game (even if they were attempting to suggest strategies based on modern horror film tropes - by which logic everyone was going to die). Thumbs up I think David!

I'm useless at remembering to take photos during the game, but here's my players discussing matters of import before we started. We have (from left to right) Les 'Chips Deadeye Moran' Lamont - Gunslinger, Graham 'Jefferson Flagrante' Coulton - Tommyknocker, Art 'Howling Dog' Quester - Calavera, Jeff 'Consuela Montezuma' Ford - Gambler.
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It's a few ages since I played rpg's with minis but at the UK Games Expo I came across Wild West Exodus with some of their line perfect for Dark Trails. Seem a bit pricey to me but then again I think I last bought a mini in 1986...
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The Gunslinger and Calavera from our playtest game.
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Whilst on holiday last week in the Canary Islands I saw a pack of Spanish playing cards and thought 'hey, I'll pick them up for Dark Trails porpoises.' Two things I've learnt; (if this deck is a genuinely representative sample) 1) Spanish playing cards use a Discs, Cups, Swords and Wands suite iconography similar to tarot decks instead of Clubs, Hearts, Diamonds and Spades; 2) There's only 12 cards per suit, which will throw off the odds of misfires (or boons) for any pc using it. But they do look pretty.
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Howdy y'all,

Happy late FreeRPG day! We celebrated it by playing Dark Trails. I have my first DT report with my home group.

SPOILER ALERT FOR NEVER SWALLOW THE WORM








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My home group is pretty cautious, so I've let them take their time exploring and getting used to the new environment and rules. This is a wrap up over two sessions.

As their 2nd level Aereth characters mysteriously slumped to the ground, the PC's watched their own bodies fall away from them as ominous cloud tentacles wrapped around the bodies as their vision blurred. A riverboat suddenly appeared from the haze. The PC's watched a group of 15 people on the riverboat discussing a task in hand and a strange package.

As the boat was rocked with chaos around midnight, the PC's jumped overboard to swim ashore. Two PC's disappeared underwater and were never seen again. The group drank whiskey in their honor (found among the floating debris) and they made camp for the night. The next morning they set out and 5 PC's were soon enticed by the smell of fresh honey and fruit. No one died seeking the trail of delicious aromas, but 4 of them were close to it before the rest of the group could grab them.

Later on, the PC's ended up meeting El Brujo in his village and took a bunch of his stuff after he wasn't talking so much anymore. Minor karma ended up biting them on the ass through the curse of some strange magic. Two PC's became infected soon after they took some horses and continued on the dusty trail by the river. They tried to find a cure, but no such luck.

The next day, the PC's befriended a small group of tribesmen sitting by the river. They could only speak through guttural hums that seemed to penetrate all thoughts. They conveyed they were on the hunt for cursed game and asked for help. The tribesmen and the PC's found nothing during the day, but later that night as they all camped out next to the rio, six long-horned, fuzzy-tailed fur demons ambushed the group. 7 PC's were struck down before they could take them all out.

Early the next morning, they buried the dead and set out for their final destination. They rode hard all day and most of the night until they finally saw a shed with a horse tied up front. Seeing that it was dark inside, no one wanted to enter or were curious enough to investigate. Their attention soon turned to several buildings on fire just down the hill into town. They rode on their horses down the dirt road and were met by a few of the townspeople with bottles of alcohol in their hands. After a conversation with hot lead and pipes, the PC's backed away from the entrance of town and made it to level 1 at the end of the session.

The next session should wrap up the funnel. My group is loving the environment and weirdness so far! I've had a few bumps with the new rules, but it's been nothing major with some quick improvisation. I have a feeling they will want to keep playing these characters in this universe, which is great. That just gives me even more wacked out ideas for their campaign.
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6/19/17
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