05 July 2013

Fantasy Friday: Rethinking Goodman Games's DCC RPG

You’re no hero.
You’re an adventurer: a reaver, a cutpurse, a heathen-slayer, a tight-lipped warlock
guarding long-dead secrets. You seek gold and glory, winning it with sword and spell,
caked in the blood and filth of the weak, the dark, the demons, and the vanquished. There
are treasures to be won deep underneath, and you shall have them.
--DCC RPG blurb

These are not Tolkien heroes.

I have found myself reconsidering the Dungeon Crawl Classes RPG by Goodman Games. I was stoked about this when it was announced; the DCC line by Goodman Games was one of three things good to come out of d20 [the others were Necromancer Games ("Third edition rules, first edition feel!") and Mutants and Masterminds]. But as things progressed, I rapidly lost enthusiasm. First, there were the funny-shaped dice, none of which of I own other than some self-made d3s and a d30. Second, I downloaded the Beta rules and was not impressed with the idea of special charts for spells. If I wanted to play with extensive charts, there's always Rolemaster.
On the other hand, there's much in the game to like. Retro 1970's art. Race as class. Gritty feel. The character funnel. Inspiration from Gygax's "Appendix N" in the DMG. But, as I've wrote numerous times in the past couple of years, as I've gotten older, I prefer rules-lite games that are familiar to me, that I can run instinctively if necessary. Swords & Wizardry Complete fits the bill perfectly for me; it is reminiscent of the D&D of my youth in the early 1980's. So, unfortunately, I have fallen into the trap that Richard Dreyfus's character in Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead! laments: "The audience knows what to expect, and that is all they are prepared to know."
An actor, the opposite of a real person.
So what has made me reconsider trying DCC RPG? Well, first off, I ran across a really good blog that details a group running 0-lvl characters through the funnel: Lampblack & Brimstone. That game reads like it was It definitely looks like it plays easier than I thought. Now, admittedly, 0-lvls don't have spells and the like, but the mechanics look like they work. 0-lvl play has interested me since I read the AD&D module C3 The Lost Island of Castanamir back in the day. Sometimes, I lose track of the fact that games are supposed to be FUN! Running the cleric or cavalier every time leads to the quote above. With the uncertainty of who'll make it through the funnel, it could very well shake one out of a rut.
The second thing that had lead me to this is the Spellburn podcast. Judges Jim, Jobe, and Jeffrey (the Big J's?) definitely have a great podcast started and they relay a lot of information and clearly have great enthusiasm for the game and its system. Enthusiasm is always contagious.
I know at this point that I'm am going to pick this up. Whether it had long term viability, well, we'll see.
Until next time, gentle readers, enjoy!
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