Thursday, June 9, 2011

Dungeon Crawl Classics Beta - More First Impressions

Goodman Games must be enjoying the hell outa all the hype they are getting on the DCC Beta release. Personally, I LOVE the art. There, I've said it. No, I don't know of any High School friends that could have done better back in the day. Art can set the tone, and this art does.

Is DCC aimed at the RPG newbie? I doubt it. I think they would be both overwhelmed and not get many of the "Old School" references that the game includes. This seems to be more like a reinvisioned Hackmaster then anything else. Not that it's Hackmaster, but it seems to be aimed at a similar audience.

Race as class. Not my preferred method, but I can deal with it. My issue - from my reading of the previous professions table, the only way to have an Elf, Dwarf or Halfling is to have rolled it on the profession table (Dwarven armorer or Halfling gypsy and such). I don't like the idea of taking that much choice out of the players' hands.

Zero level characters. I ran them in AD&D once or twice (was it Under Ilfarn or something like that?) and while fun or novel as a change of pace, I'd hate to use it more then once. The novelty wears off fast, and how does a zero level peasant turn into a 1st level magic-user over nite? Doesn't make sense.

Zero level swarm parties. 15 zero level characters thru attrition become a 5 character 1st level party. Why are these untrained adventurers adventuring? Why, if 2 outa 3 are going to die, are they stepping into the unknown? This seems more like Paranoia then D&D. I might swallow it better if Goodman Games can supply the right backstory, but I doubt that is going to happen. Instead, it seems like a piss poor game mechanic. It really pushes my suspension of disbelief that is necessary to immerse myself in a RPG.

Wacky Dice. I'm mixed on this. I suspect when the Original D&D Boxed Set was released, folks were damn annoyed and confused by the "wacky dice". I've ordered my set of "wacky dice". I'm willing to give it a shot. The D7 that I found doesn't match any other dice in color or markings. What a PITA.

That's all for now. Back to the grindstone


  1. I don't see anything wrong with 0-level being the defined default starting position.

    The zero level mob are the peasants that storm Frankenstein's castle. 100 xp later and you've got adventurers on your hands.

    I do think it's odd for a 0-level cobbler to become a Wizard but not an Alchemist, Astrologer, Fortune-Teller, Herbalist or Wizards Apprentice. as it says in the section entitle "Choosing a Class": Free will is constrained by fatalism of the dice".

    Not every tale is about the hero who has trained for years to be competent, a heck of a lot of them are about the relatively incompetent discovering what fate had in mind for them.

    That said, Random starting professions are okay but not the only way to go, the book clearly says if a player has his heart stuck on a role go for it.

  2. I'm not sure what to make out this Beta myself. At least as far as the Wacky dice is concerned, at least I have my D-Total. Still, I'm not sure if that's a good idea to have dice that most gamers don't have. If we like it or not, the current set of "standard" dice have become accepted even by the general public. Hell, some board games even use some of them.

  3. I think it's funny as hell when gamers complain or question the use of funky dice.

    30 years ago D&D was the game with the weird funny shaped dice. That was cool. The many different multi-sided dice was most certainly part of the draw back in the the good old days.

    Those wacky many sided dice are a web search away these days.

  4. One of the things that I find attractive about the idea of generating three 0 level PCs and having them go through the meatgrinder to (hopefully) get a single survivor is that it really repositions character generation as less important than it has been for a while now. In d20, players seemed to often be more interested in their characters than what was going on in the game simply because what skill points and feats you choose at level 1 determines what you can be at level 7. Plus randomness is a good in my book

  5. I see a lot of house rules set down as general rules in DCCrpg, but all are easily ignored. I know some people don't even like starting at 1st level, (while I find the low levels to be the most enjoyable).

    The groovy, wacky, funky dice are a problem especially because gamers have invested in the now normal funky d20, d12, d8, d4's. I've lost count of how many of each I own. I have at least 3 coffee cans of loose dice. I won't be spending money on d7's and such, maybe I just don't like prime numbers, but to me the new dice are a mistake.

  6. @limpey - but your zero level peasant suddenly learns the skills of a 1st level mage?

    I still have issues with the "peasant swarm" concept.

  7. Tenkar: Haven't played DCC (yet) but will see. I think there are a lot of things that stretch suspension of disbelief in D&D that I have just gotten used to (i.e.: why can't that magic user hit something with a sword? He's got hands, doesn't he?). If one needs a reason, perhaps the PC's aunt drops by when he reaches level 1 and reminds him of all of the time that he spent at her knee as a kid learning about magic... and gives him her old spellbook.

    I haven't played DCC yet and don't know if 'The Funnel' would get tiresome after the first time. Perhaps after the first couple of games one might skip right to level 1. But if I do get to play it, I want to try it.


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