View Full Version : DCC RPG: Snog, Marry, Avoid?

11-27-2013, 11:41 AM
(I'm not sure whether DCC RPG counts as 3.x or an "older edition"/retroclone, so I'll just drop this thread here.)

Recently I bought the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG in dead tree form, and now I question the wisdom of my choice. Things I like:

DCC combines Wisdom and Charisma into a single score "Personality". Wis and Cha are interdependent and badly delineated, whereas "Personality" -- the prime characteristic for Clerics -- reflects force of will, presence, charm, wit, and all the other mental factors apart from pure intellect. They also rename Con and Dex "Stamina" and "Agility", respectively, also clarifying their meaning and use. I wish they'd renamed Intelligence "Learning" or "Memory" to narrow its focus, but whatever.
The sixth characteristic is "Luck", rolled up just like the others. Unlike the others, all characters can "burn" Luck points permanently for a bonus to a die roll; circumstances and experience can also add Luck points.
Experience points are in the tens, not thousands. It takes 10 points to move from Lvl 0 to Lvl 1, another 40 to get to Lvl 2, another 60 for Lvl 3, etc. Each encounter nets 1-4 XP, regardless of monster hit points or gold, so a Lvl 0 character who survives one adventure gets to pick a Lvl1 class.
Warriors can perform Mighty Deeds of Arms, essentially one-off free-form stunts depending on how well they hit. In DCC Warriors don't get a fixed Base Attack Bonus, but a die that ranges from 1d3 at 1st Lvl to 1d10+4 at 10th Lvl. If a warrior declares a Deed and hits, and his Bonus Die is 3 or more, he achieves the declared special effect in addition to damage: disarms the foe, pushes it back, cuts off its hand (for higher rolls), whatever.
No skills, just attribute rolls. Much as I like skill systems, a 0th-level profession (randomly rolled) and a class say just about everything about a character's areas of expertise.

Things I'm on the fence about:

The "funnel" for 0th-level characters. The rules are adamant about generating a bunch of 0th-level characters completely randomly, sending on their first adventure, and promoting the survivors to "real" characters. I've thought about doing this myself, but more in the sense of a pool of 0th-level backups for 1st-level PCs. How many people would be willing to run 2-4 random 0th level characters through a quasi-Darwinian meat grinder rather than design their 1st-level (or 3rd-level) character?
The "randomness is easier than balance" defense. Game balance is a chimera, but if players' choices hinge on random dice rolls what does that do to player agency?
The classic Thief is back. I share some other OSR pundits' misgivings about an entire class devoted to things anyone can attempt, albeit badly. The DCC version has almost a magical ability to sneak, hide, climb sheer walls, etc., but theoretically a Warrior or Wizard can attempt to stay quiet, duck behind cover, climb, and so forth.

The main thing I don't like is that every magic spell, for Wizards and Clerics alike, has a page-long table of effects based on a "casting roll". I like the casting roll part, but flipping through the book every time someone casts a spell -- or photocopying/printing the spell description for a caster's entire grimoire -- just rubs me the wrong way. Worse, if I want to invent a single spell of my own, I'll need 20+ entries of possible effects ranging from a backfire to success beyond the caster's wildest dreams. I've said often enough I think RPGs have too much magic; give me either the minor buffs and curses of RuneQuest, the summonings of Stormbringer, or the once-or-twice-a-session free-form effects of Barbarians of Lemuria. 200 pages of magic rules in a 450 page book is just too much.

I knew about the spell tables going in, but the "Transylvanian Adventures" supplement from RPGNow offered an alternative where I could cut out classic spellcasters for classes with subtler special powers. However, the more I read about it -- and the more I read through their quick-start adventure -- the less happy I was about throwing out half the rulebook and adding eight new classes which didn't seem all that different.

Only half-way through the DCC RPG tome so far, I'm going with "snog". The Mighty Deeds of Arms are worth stealing to make fighters in other OSR games more interesting, the Luck mechanics are cool but could be better, "Personality" or something like it is better than the classic pair, DCC XP really is less fiddly, and so forth. On the other hand I'm left with the same problem I've always had with D&D (http://www.frank-mitchell.com/games/comp-char-gen-3.html): the more I house-rule, mix-and-match, and rewrite to my satisfaction the less the game resembles what other people regard as D&D and the more likely I am to have wasted my effort.

The point of the foregoing is to ask: Does anyone have experience playing or running DCC? Any more detailed reviews out there?

11-28-2013, 02:09 AM
I've never heard of this DCC (What does the that stand for, by the way?) but it sounds terrible!

I tend to be a bit of a gaming curmudgeon though, as I would rather shoehorn the Supernatural characters and setting into a World of Darkness game than play Supernatural, having to learn a whole new set of rules and such.

If you like 3.5 D&D but also like some of the changes DCC gives why not "kit-bash" or just steal the one or two things you like from DCC and make them house rules in your next D&D game? It might save you and your crew some headaches.


01-08-2014, 06:21 AM
i will too like to gather the facts about the term DCC as have very slim of it .. anyone knowledgeable into this could help and my appreciations for the efforts

01-08-2014, 11:00 AM
DCC stands for "dungeon crawl classics" which i believe they mentioned in their second sentence.

01-08-2014, 07:58 PM
DCC stands for "dungeon crawl classics" which i believe they mentioned in their second sentence.

Correct. A quick Google search would turn up two useful links:


The second link contains a long list of positive reviews (as expected from the publisher site). DCC RPG comes from Goodman Games, the same people who published the Dungeon Crawl Classics series of adventures. Apparently enough people like it for Goodman to reprint the core book and write adventures specifically for their own rules. Assuming people buy the book to play it not read it, I would hope someone who reads this board would have played it at least once; if so, they might tell me whether the game as played is as problematic as the game as written.

04-21-2014, 09:02 AM
I'm guessing that since the game made it out of the Kickstarter stage, and is cranking out new material very actively two years later, people must like it. I bought the main rule book, which is hilarious and awesome. But I haven't had a chance to personally play the game because everyone in my gaming group is into 4th edition D&D and Pathfinder.

06-15-2014, 10:57 PM
I've since found and joined a mostly-weekly DCC RPG game here in Denver, and I'm also running a one-shot adventure for Free RPG Day this weekend: http://www.meetup.com/Denver-RPG/events/187024632/

06-17-2014, 10:35 AM
I've since found and joined a mostly-weekly DCC RPG game here in Denver, and I'm also running a one-shot adventure for Free RPG Day this weekend: http://www.meetup.com/Denver-RPG/events/187024632/

If you have any actual play reports or even just general impressions I'd be interested to hear them.

Also, perhaps I should have added that I've never been all that keen on class-and-level systems. My gateway drug for RPGs (as I've written ad nauseam elsewhere) was Melee, Wizard, and The Fantasy Trip. White Box D&D just confused me, Traveller made sense save for the over-random char-gen, and RuneQuest when I found it in college felt like home.

So, when I started looking into the OSR I found myself drawn to Lamentations of the Flame Princess's skill system and -- outside the typical D&D focus -- Tunnels & Trolls 7th edition's characteristic-based Talents and "saving throw"/skill roll mechanic. I've also long speculated about running a low-magic game where magic is the province of rare NPC wizards/sorcerers, and PCs make do with healing herbs, Incantations (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/magic/incantations.htm), and whatever fragments of magic they discover. (Again: is it D&D enough to attract players? Half the standard classes go out the window.) Replacing Vancian magic, a robust skill system could include low-powered quasi-magical abilities like healing, detecting magic, reading magic, speaking to animals, combat buffs a la RuneQuest 2e Battle Magic, whatever.

06-18-2014, 08:41 AM
I've played the game twice now, and also read a lot about it - not memorizing the rules, but learning how players and judges play the game in practice.

Originally, I thought DCC fell into the "OSR" camp, but it's a bit different, now that I know more about it. Something it does share with the OSR games (including OSRIC, which I also have played recently) is that the rules are meant to be a light framework to support the game. Unlike 3rd and 4th edition D&D, people don't spend half a game session with their heads in the rulebook looking up "what's the exact rule to apply to this situation - is a bloody mist considered partial or full concealment?" In fact, many of the players in the game I've joined don't even own the rule book, and I like that. The only time I had to look up any rules was when the judge made me run someone else's cleric character this week.

I've played GURPS and now I've played DCC RPG, and they're essentially polar opposites. I guess the "class-and-level" system is a matter of taste. Sometimes I like being able to fine tune the exact character I want, and GURPS is good for that. Sometimes I just want to play an easy stereotype, and DCC RPG is good for that. DCC takes the class-and-level system to the extreme. For example, as the rules say, "You are a wizard or an elf."

As far as play reports go, the group I'm playing with is still pretty new. There are many players, and about 60% of them show up any given week. In addition, they each have two or three low level characters left over from their original funnel. So it's a pretty non-traditional and incoherent adventuring group. You know how they say, "Never split the party"? Well, this party is split into about four or five different factions at any time, and we haven't really been playing a specific dungeon crawl in either of the sessions I've been in. The game is designed to support adventuring through "dungeons" with only a little bit of time spent on the in-between campaign-y type stuff. But the campaign I'm in isn't like that at all. So I don't think a detailed play report would be representative.

One last thought to help people decide whether they might like this or not: The game is very much meant to be over-the-top dramatic, with lots of character danger and death. Think of 3rd edition D&D mixed with Paranoia. If you like to finely craft a character and then become strongly attached to him as he goes up through the ranks, this isn't the game for you. The ease of character creation is meant to support the fact that you may go through several characters by the time any of them reach fourth or fifth level. Also, if you like to map out the exact blast radius for your spell to maximize the number of enemies who get fireballed without torching your friends, this isn't the game for you. Magic is fickle, wild, and dangerous in this world.

03-22-2015, 11:55 PM
DCC = Basic D&D + D20 mechanic + unpredictable magic system.
It's about "rulings, not rules". Read that somewhere on the DCC site and that sums it up pretty well.
If you like a game system where everything a PC can do is clarified, qualified, and quantified then DCC is not for you.