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The Campaign Chronicle | Shaolin Punk

The Campaign Chronicle

Any Dungeon Master worth their salt keeps a record of the campaign, and Ben McKenzie has definitely earned his screen and cloak. Here you’ll find a summary of our previous Dungeon Crawls; full recaps appear as blog posts, and are linked below where possible. You can also read through all the recaps, enjoying for many of them the photographic talents of Robert Young.

Comedy Festival, 2010

Our first season ran late on Wednesday nights during the 2010 Melbourne International Comedy Festival at Gertrude’s Brown Couch in Fitzroy. The three sessions featured guest improvisers and comedians from across the festival!

Session one featured cabaret superstar Karin Muiznieks as Celery Blamange the rune-preist, Impro Melbourne’s Jason Geary as Beryl the human wizard, Axis of Awesome frontman Jordan Raskopoulos as Griznak the Half-Orc multi-class fighter/fighter, and the Gruen Transfer’s Wil Anderson as Nudge Nudge, the dwarf fighter. Their quest was to free enslaved villagers from a local dragon, who was using them as slave labour to search for the missing key to his girldfriend’s chastity belt. She wasn’t so keen, however, and gave the party invisible BMX bikes to help them destroy her “lover”.

Session two starred Good News Week writer and Puppy Fight Social Club creator Dave Bloustien as an elderly illusionist; writer, blogger and cosplayer Clem Bastow as the half-elf druid Malcolm Turnbull; returning dungeon crawler Jordan Raskopoulos as the rogue Queerhand Fondlesax; and actor and comedian Dave Thornton as an Eskimo fighter. Awaking at the bottom of a pit in a necormancer’s tower, they managed to escape and spoil his evil plans.

Session three’s party were the Anarchist Guild Social Committee’s fearless leader Nick Caddaye, who arrived with a character sheet for David Boon, human barbarian; by now crowd favourite Jordan Raskopoulos as a multiclass wizard/lover; Fear of a Brown Planet‘s Aamer Rahman as a Vulcan rogue; and actor, comedian and improviser Toby Truslove as a pacifist Presbyterian cleric. Tasked with finding a magical mushroom to cure the mayor’s son, they are ambushed by a dragon but managed to escape in a tremendous explosion, despite the rogue’s defection, with bucketfuls of cash.

Melbourne Fringe, 2010

Our first return season saw us back at Gertrude’s Brown Couch for three nights in October 2010!

Session one, at 10:30 PM on Tuesday October 5, guest starred Kate O’Neill (McGuffin, Two in a Million) as Colin, the Goliath Fighter with a golfbag full of weapons whose relationship status was “It’s Complicated”; Adam McKenzie (The Hounds) as an Orc Thief named Clunk (“it’s the sound locks make when I pick them”) who had mastered every thief art except “ninja smoke”; Scott Gooding (A Study in Scarlet (A Study of…), The Gift Horse) as Mosely, a dwarven druid who looked like he’d just come from Burning Man and who involuntarily changed into a badger when exposed to fire; and Bart Freebairn (Tears and Treasure) as a geriatric cleric who couldn’t remember the name of his god, where he left his pants or indeed his own name, but travelled with a Steptoe-style cart full of all kinds of rubbish.

Session two, 10:30 PM on Thursday, October 7, featured Scott Gooding (A Study in Scarlet (A Study of…), The Gift Horse) as Manderson, the emo bard/fighter who tried to destroy his enemies with awful poetry; Sean Fabri (McGuffin) as Maribyrnong, Scourge of Children, a human fighter of questionable morals; Toby Halligan (Political Asylum) as Sparklepants the gay elf (“gelfling”) wizard, and Richard Watts (writer, DJ and broadcaster) as Wolfric, a dastardly druid who worshipped unwholesome powers and couldn’t stand emo poetry. They all had father issues, so it seemed only appropriate that the mastermind behind the disease wracking the fair town of Tamworth was none other than Sparklepants’ unsupportive Dad, Andrew Reznor, who had been possessed by blasphemous fungal spores. In the end they solved the problem by popping his bloated head.

Session three, at the earlier time of 6 PM on Saturday, October 9, was a sell out! The audience were treated to Sean Fabri’s human swashbuckler; Karin Muiznieks (The Gift Horse, World War Wonderful) as a psychotherapist who used monsters own issues against them; and Andrew McClelland (Truth Be Told) – half-giant, half-halfling – and Casey Bennetto (Keating!, The Drowsy Drivers, Half-Arsed Thursdays) – half-troll – as a pair of bards of the dancing and singing varieties, respectively. Their task was to find the source of a magical taint ruining a ranger’s forest, and despite splitting the party they managed to find the necromancer enacting the foul sorcery at the heart of the disturbance. Despacthing his undead minions, however, they found common ground over the fact that they all felt as though someone else was controlling their lives – and ended the game by singing a rousing song against the tyrrany of the Dungeon Master!

Sydney, 2010

A special one-off northern invasion occurred on November 8, 2010, when Dungeon Crawl went underground at the Laugh Garage!

Our party of east-coast adventurers featured Dave Bloustien the multiclass fighter/lover, Amanda Buckley as the cleric of the domestic Goddess, Dave Harmon as a halfling thief more interested in stealing from his companions than the monsters, Carlo Richie as a human who’d put all his skill points into fishing – but lost his family heirloom fishing rod, and Eddie Perfect as a bard who specialised in jingles for products no-one wants (and whose chosen instrument was the piano). As they struggled against the odds, each other, and who exactly was carrying the piano around on the trip into a cave, they managed to save a hapless village from marauding goblins, savage wolves and a giant (no really) dragon.

Bella Union, 2011

Our first year-long season of shows at our home base, the Bella Union bar at Trades Hall!

Session One (February 2nd, 2011) featuring Nick Caddaye as dragonborn ranger Pikachu, Andy McClelland as minotaur music promoter Gax Garyguy, Geraldine Quinn as half-human, half-horse, half-mathematician grammar cleric Tmesis, and Scott Edgar as dwarven druid Ironbeard Muntingbone. Recap here.

Session Two (March 2nd, 2011) featuring Amanda Buckley as a savvy hunter (of bargains), Sean Fabri as a somewhat “precious” wizard, Scott Brennan as a dancing dwarf and Steven “Gatesy” Gates going the full bard.

Late Night Dungeon Crawl 2011 – late night shows on March 30th, April 6th, April 13th and April 20th featuring guests from all over the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, including Dave Bloustien (Sydney), Laura Davis (Perth) and DeAnne Smith (Canada).

Session Three (May 4th, 2011) was Dungeon Crawl: A New Hope – for what else could we do on Star Wars Day but a Star Wars special? Our guests Adam McKenzie, Clem Bastow, Aamer Rahman and Scott Edgar went on a quest to steal secret Imperial plans for the rebel alliance! Recap here.

Session Four (June 1st, 2011) celebrated the fact that we had not all just been left behind by the Rapture with an adventure to another realm featuring Brenna Courtney Glazebrook as a giant woman, Karin Muiznieks as a being of dubious sexuality, Casey Bennetto as an Old Man of the Forest and Jimmy James Eaton as Conan the Librarian. This mismatched band of adventurers went on a quest into their very souls! Recap here.

Session Five (July 6th, 2011) was Dungeon Crawl and the Deathly Philosopher Prince’s Goblet of Azkaban, a love letter to the boy wizard on the eve of his final film. Hogwarts students and teachers Brenna Courtney Glazebrook, Karen Pickering, Louise Joy McCrae and Lawrence Leung searched for an eighth horcrux in order to defeat Voldemort’s less known brother, Gary.

Dungeon Mook (July 21st, 2011) – a special Dungeon Crawl raising funds for nerdy literary journal Geek Mook from Vignette Press. Dungeon Crawl stars Xavier Michaelides and Sean Fabri joined a passel of literary guests including Ben Pobjie, Emmett Stinson, Meg Mundell, Sofija Stefanovic and Estelle Tang for an adventure ripped off from inspired by the great fantasy works of literature.

Session Six (August 3rd, 2011) featured the welcome return of Kate O’Neill alongside first-time crawler Jack Druce and not one but two stars of ABC1’s Laid: Celia Pacquola and Toby Truslove!

Keep on the Bondilands (August 4th, 2011) – a one-off co-production with Wit Large, Dungeon Crawl returned to Sydney for one night only – this time at the historic and wonderful Bondi Pavilion as part of the Hot Damn Festival! The crawl featured a great line-up of local talent including Carlo Richie, Dave HarmonDave Bloustien, Jon Williams and Stephanie “Hex” Bendixsen!

Session Seven (September 5th, 2011) was a first for Dungeon Crawl – Richard McKenzie stepped up into the Dungeon Master’s seat! With Ben overseas, who better to take the reins – and who else but another McKenzie, Adam, could slide into Richard’s usual spot? Why, no-one! Somehow Benne Harrison, Brenna Courtney Glazebrook and the other guests managed to survive an adventure into the lands of Kara-Tur…

Session Eight (October 5th, 2011) occurred during the 2011 Melbourne Fringe Festival – and to celebrate, we moved to a later timeslot and made the show free! Louise Joy McCrae, Jimmy James Eaton (who brought back the much-loved Conan the Librarian), Bart Freebairn and Nadia Collins fought the good fight.

Session Nine (November 2nd, 2011) just after Hallowe’en – what better time to succumb to the lure of evil? Toby Halligan, Amanda Buckley, Geraldine Quinn and Nick Caddaye showed us their dark sides, while Sean Fabri filled in for an absent Richard McKenzie.

Session Ten (December 7th, 2011) was A Very Dungeon Crawl Christmas – or rather, A Very Dungeon Crawl Duddlepour, as we invented our very own fantasy Christmas-analogue and went to war with Saint Nick! Casey Bennetto, Nadia Collins, Brenna Courtney Glazebrook and Scott Edgar got into the spirit of things and saved Duddlepour for everyone!

Bella Union, 2012

You always knew we’d be back for more. After a January break, Dungeon Crawl returned for its second year!

Session One (February 1st, 2012) Dungeon Crawl: The Returnening. Back from the holidays, we joined Sean Fabri as a fastidious assassin/monk, Nadia Collins as Gnome Chomsky and Geraldine Quinn as a courier to the old gods (better known as a Valkyrie) on a quest to destroy an evil artefact known only as…Brian. Recap here.

Session Two (March 7th, 2012) was a tribute to the work of H. P. Lovecraft: The Dungeon Out Of Time That Crawled Beyond Madness. Nick Caddaye played an upper class British explorer, Michelle Nussey a plucky big city reporter, Robert Reid a degenerate from Innsmouth and Richard Watts a professor of medieval metaphysics as they attempted to kill Cthulhu and steal his stuff in 1930s Massachusetts.

Late Night Dungeon Crawl 2012 – late night free shows on March 28th, April 4th, April 11th and April 18th featuring guests from all over the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, including stalwarts Brenna Courtney Glazebrook, Jimmy James Eaton, Geraldine Quinn and Dave Bloustien (Sydney), plus first time crawlers Christophe Davidson (Canada), Dingo & Wolf (Melbourne), Mark Gambino (Impro Melbourne) and Matt Elsbury. Recaps can be found here, here and here.

Session Three (May 2nd, 2012) cemented a new Dungeon Crawl tradition – every May is a Star Wars show! Dungeon Crawl Episode V: The Empire Crawls Back featured Nadia Collins, Rama Nicholas, Bernard Caleo and Danny McGinlay as a rag-tag band of space adventurers tasked with retrieving an important briefcase left on Hoth during the Alliance evacuation. Recap and photos here.

Session Four (June, 2012) took us Back to the Dungeon after a few themed outings earlier in the year. Michelle Nussey, Sean Fabri, Amanda Buckley and Xavier Michaelides headed into the Mysterious Caves of David Boon, located in the “Fucking Hills” (that’s what they’re called), in search of treasure. Instead they found trolls, giant toads, monsters disguised as blankets and a fellow adventurer who wasn’t into fellowship! Recap and photos here.

Session Five (July, 2012) was our first ever superhero themed show! The Spectacular Dungeon Crawl issue #1 featured a new generation of superheroes, Lisa-SkyePatrick O’Duffy and Brenna Courtney Glazebrook, in a world where all the famous superheroes were either old or dead – thanks to the machinations of the evil “Red Cloak”… You can find a recap and some photos here.

Session Six (August, 2012) was a very special edition indeed: Louise Joy McCraeVictoria HealyMichelle Nussey and Brenna Courtney Glazebrook mashed up Dungeons & Dragons and The Golden Girls in Thank You For Being A Fiend! Branch, Rose, Dorofreeze and Sophrodo battled not only their inner demons and the perils of close friendship, but also a very literal demon – in the form of Dorofreeze’s ex-husband! Recap and photos are in the works; stay tuned.

Session Seven (September, 2012) tied in to the 2012 Freeplay Independent Games Festival and so we moved from pen and paper to videogames! For Super Virtua iDungeon Crawl Smash HD (Collector’s Edition) our PCs included Andrew McClelland, Leena van Deventer, Paul Verhoeven and Dave Callan. They quested through various game worlds and styles in search of the Ultimate Powerup to defeat the evil overlord! We’ll upload a recap and photos soon.

Session Eight (October, 2012) took us to the Fringe of Civilisation in a late night, sword-and-sorcery genre show during the Melbourne Fringe Festival. Nadia CollinsRama NicholasBart Freebairn and Victoria Healy defended the mighty city-state of Graldor-Wonthaggi from the barbarians of the plains in an adventure where perils lurked in every scrub on the tundra.

Session Nine (November, 2012) was, by popular request, a Star Trek special! Dungeon Trek: Where No One Has Crawled Before followed the voyages of the starship Skrillex and her loyal crew: Captain Lisa-Skye, science officer Nick Caddaye, a time travelling Adam McKenzie and ship’s counsellor Tegan Higginbotham. They investigated the odd radio silence of the Planet Shropshire.

Session Ten (December, 2012) was our Mayan Prophecy Edition of Dungeon Crawl. With the world set to end on December 21, and That Was The Planet That Was set to explore how that might happen, we set our sights on what a post-apocalyptic nightmare might be like. Our band of survivors included Patrick O’Duffy, Xavier Michaelides, Brenna Courtney Glazebrook and Patti Stiles, making their way through the wastes even as the forces of darkness which destroyed the world began to gather again… Photos and recap also in the queue. 

Bella Union, 2013

Three years in a row? That makes us traditional…

Session One (February 6, 2013) was An Expected Return – a vaguely The Hobbit inspired journey in which heroes Matt Elsbury, Sean Fabri, Nadia Collins and Kevin Turner sought to recover their ancestral treasures from the mighty dragon Cumberbatch. Recap and photos can be found here.

Session Two (March 6, 2013) fell during Ben’s trip to Adelaide for the Fringe Festival, and so Richard took the Dungeon Master job for the second time in Richard’s Revenge (Part II)! Based loosely on the original Ravenloft module, gothic adventurers Lisa-Skye, Liam Ryan, Rama Nicholas and Brenna Courtney Glazebrook did unspeakable things to defeat the horror of Count Strahd the vampire and his minions, all played by Adam McKenzie. Recap and photos coming soon…

Adelaide Fringe, 2013

We took a side trip to Adelaide for our first ever Fringe season there, playing in the big Pig Tales tent at Gluttony over four late night sessions, including returning players Patrick and Ryan of Sound & Fury! In the Gluttony Debut Edition (Friday, March 8), Nicholas J Johnson, Danny McGinlay and Patrick and Ryan battled the evil red dragon Pauline Hanson! In the Cider Sunday Edition (Sunday, March 10), Sarah Jones, Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall, Jon Bennett and Ryan climbed a wizard’s tower to confront an evil necromancer! In the Penultimate Fringe Edition (Friday, March 15), Patrick and Ryan, Bart Freebairn and Dan Ilic fought for justice against the evil forces of the Collingwood Football Club! And in the Final Fringe Edition (Saturday, March 16), Patrick and Ryan were joined by Dr Professor Neal Portenza (Josh Ladgrove) and Kaitlyn Clare in a suprisingly sexy quest to close a portal to a dark dimension!

Late Night Dungeon Crawl 2013 (April 3-17, 2013) played for the last three Wednesdays of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in an 11 PM timeslot. The three huge line-ups included players old and new, with Matt Elsbury, Candy Bowers, Dave Bloustien, Patti StilesAndrew McClelland, Louise Joy McCrae, Jimmy James Eaton, Abigoliah SchaumanLisa-Skye, Xavier Michelides, Rama Nicholas, Nicholas J Johnson and guest villains Toby HalliganJohn Robertson and Karin Danger.

Session Three (May 1, 2013) will be our third (and possibly final) Stars Wars themed show: Episode VI: Return of the Dungeon!