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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Thoughts on a "Non-Zero Level Funnel" in DCC (and other Fantasy RPGs too)

One of the great things about the Zero Level Funnel adventures in the DCC RPG is that the act of winnowing down a players prospective PCs seems to invest the player in the survivors. It's something that at first glance I outright said I'd never run and in the end I think it is pure genius.

Last summer I ran Sailors on the Starless Sea as an ACKS adventure to weed out the losers of what were prospective PC henchmen. It worked exceedingly well.

In a game like DCC, with it's potentially high body count in each adventure, it got me thinking that a well written funnel for higher level PCs could be just as useful. Sure, it would play differently as the players would already have class abilities, but I think the idea is still valid.

Any thoughts on how one could make this work? ;)


  1. No ideas per your actual question, but - as a non-DCC player - I've been reading up a bit on the game, and listening to the podcast, and it struck me that the funnel would probably work just as well with other OSR games as a way to get the players invested in their eventual character.

    1. the funnel would definitely work with any OSR style ruleset

    2. Parties of by-the-book 1st level characters poking around dungeons designed by the actual rules are a lot like zero level funnels.

  2. I don't think I'd be interested in an "eventual" character. I have my ideas of what I'd like to play and how I'd like to develop the character.

    This "Zero Level" you describe seems to be a method for letting the dice and -- to an extent -- the DM decide what your "eventual" character will be.

    I'm not interested in letting someone else -- or "the luck of the dice" -- decide my character for me. Though I do intend on learning more about this DCC system your so keen on.

  3. I think there is a balance here. Funnels in the beginning lead to character investment, but having a too high of a fatality rate among characters in which players are already highly invested might be discouraging. IMHO opinion the potential and actuality of character death should always be present, but in the higher levels it should be a rarity and hopefully it would happen in an epic manner.

  4. This could work in second chance situations, like after high level TPK player's can attempt to escape from Death's domain/Abyss/Hades/Nine Hells.

  5. I've played in the dcc funnel at least 3 times now and I completely hate it. First off, characters are entirely random so there's a real good chance that you don't want to really play ANY of the ones generated. Then they are all so weak that their deaths are almost completely random as well. Add in to that all your characters feel almost exactly the same due to not having any class or skills and I quickly found that I give a god damn less whether any of them lived or died. YMMV and all that.