Yeah, sorry! Had a bunch of bad brain days. While I know there is a forum functionality, I'm not finding how to enable it, so I'll write up a Devlog tomorrow (i.e. not on Shabbos) with that info. Thank you for your patience!
Wheels Within Wheels Publishing
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I'm not able to enable ligatures in MS Publisher. When I go to the Font menu, all of the Typography options are greyed-out and unselectable. I'm using the most recent font release (1.51) but can't seem to make it work.
I don't recall how lethal the opening of the caves are, but if your players haven't played DCC or its ilk before, even with 20 commoners each, there's a pretty high chance they'll bite off more than they can chew. If I were in your shoes, I would remind your players of their options (i.e. their ability to flee) frequently.
I started running D&D 3.5 in a custom setting based on Garth Nix's Old Kingdom trilogy. It was really fun, but I needed to do a lot of creative work to make the rules of 3.5 fit the setting - change how races work, brand-new classes and skills, etc. When I moved to more traditional fantasy settings, I still saw a lot of bugs in the rules, things that didn't make sense or were just inconsistently designed (The Alexandrian's 'Calibrating Your Expectations' post really opened my eyes there). My houserules got pretty extensive, and when my group switched to Pathfinder and then Numenera, I kept finding things to improve or tweak. I ran LotFP for a year and really enjoyed it, but I also kept adding and expanding stuff as appropriate for my setting and the tone of my games. I did a lot of research and read very extensively in the RPG blogosphere to see what other people had done and why. Eventually, I decided to stop trying to substantially hack these rulesets and write my own; after 5ish years playing and running, I had run and played in a fair number of different systems and knew what types of resolution mechanics I liked and also had a pretty good idea as to some elements I wanted to explicitly incorporate in my game that I didn't see a lot of other systems offer in a meaningful way. I've been running my own system at my table for over a year now, and the rules are very different in a lot of ways than where I started. Some stuff has really worked, some stuff really hasn't. I'm blessed with several very ttrpg-knowledgeable players and some who were brand-new, so I get a nice mix of opinions that have been incredibly helpful to the design process.
I absolutely second Syth's recommendations. Have lots of character sheets. Rolling up a new character in DCC and other retroclones is intentionally very fast because folks do it A LOT. Get new characters into the action as fast as you can, and keep everything moving. There are a bunch of blogs with a lot of great content for this style of play: Courtney C of hackslashmaster.blogspot.com has a great primer for folks new to retroclone gaming and Alexis Smolensk of tao-dnd.blogspot.com also has some excellent, more advanced things to say on the subject.
If I recall, DCC comes with a meat grinder that inputs a lot of 0-level folks and emerges with a few level 1 characters. I'd definitely do that before heading to the Keep. It should help everyone calibrate their expectations.