This is the place, of that you have no doubt. But where the sign of the Green Griffon once hung, a placard proclaiming “Smoking Wyrm” now sways in the breeze. Crossing the threshold, the mood shifts from the street. The bustle is gone, the sounds somehow muted—dampened might be a better word. The smells of the marketplace fall away and the fragrances of delicious roasts and delightful liquors tempt your nose and palate. A robed figure steps forward in greeting; asking for Petrius Sobenge, the innkeep with whom you had a lucrative “business arrangement”, you are instead met with what sounds like a cross between a sigh and lips smacking.
“Oh dear thing—Petrius is no more. I, N’Gilken N’Airb, puissant of the velvet robed tentacle am here to help you in every way now—what care you for the cretin who last retained this auberge?”
Welcome to the world of The Smoking Wyrm. Don’t be afraid of the facial tentacles—N’Airb is quite restrained in their … use … and would never assault a guest.
What is Tales from the Smoking Wyrm?
Our plans for Tales from the Smoking Wyrm is to produce a fanzine inspired not just by the roleplaying game Dungeon Crawl Classics (DCC), but also by the wondrous fanzines of the past 40 years! While we focus on DCC, the material produced can be easily translated into any Old School Renaissance (OSR) system.
After playing in a session of DCC at Gary Con X in 2018, Wyrms Brian and Trevor tossed around a few ideas to fix what they saw as some gaps in the rules; this was the germ of the idea that, almost two years later, led to the creation of Tales from the Smoking Wyrm. Inside are the stories and bits of knowledge that adventurers have shared around the hearth of the titular inn, and we hope that there will be many such tales for years to come!
Why the Smoking Wyrm?
The Smoking Wyrm is a place that stretches back to the early days of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, and the black and white line illustrators who predominated at that time. David A. Trampier produced a full-page piece of art titled “Emirikol the Chaotic” for the Dungeon Master’s Guide (page 193, for those keeping score at home).
Fast-forward 33 years. After almost 10 years of publishing OGL adventures in the “old-school” style, Goodman Games releases the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG, and tucked away on page 66, is this resplendent gem:
In the lead-up to DCC’s release, Joseph Goodman described the above thus: “Well, there is this, from the upcoming DCC RPG. 60 seconds after Emirikol the Chaotic crashed through the city gates, Lokerimon the Lawful conjured supernatural aid to put an end to the madness.” Unfortunately for the locals, it seems Lokerimon did not succeed in his efforts, for some years later, Emirikol was once again up to his old tricks.
(Eagle-eyed viewers might also notice that the image on the sign bears a striking resemblance to another David Trampier creation!)
And so, it came to pass that the inn has taken on new ownership. Since our intent with Tales from the Smoking Wyrm is to carry on the feel of the “good old days” of gaming, we felt what better way to state our intentions right up front on our first cover, than with homage to Trampier’s genius. We therefore present “Nekromilo the Neutral”!
This most excellent piece was done by Joel Phillips, long-time friend, associate, and co-ne’er-do-well of Lead Wyrm Trevor.
Where do we go from here?
For forty years, the Wyrms have been playing games and building campaign worlds across all editions of D&D, as well as many other games. During that time, we have created a lot of content that our players have loved. We have recently come into the DCC community, and the torrent of third-party products is truly amazing! It has inspired us to try our hand at putting together a fanzine of our own, and we hope you’ll join us on this journey!