Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Some Further DCC RPG Observations in Actual Play

Last night I ran my second DCC RPG Funnel (third funnel overall if your include last weekend's ACKS Henchman Funnel). More precisely, I ran approximately the first half of The Ooze Pits of Jonas Gralk by Purple Sorcerer Games.

Ooze Pits is less dungeon crawl, more roleplay / wilderness in nature. Despite this change, 7 casualties out of 12 (16 if you count replacements) of the zero level PC peasants. So far it's been more lethal than The Portal Under the Stars (from the DCC Rulebook).

1D4 Damage vs 1D4 HP PCs is like putting 1D10 Two-Handed Swords in AD&D against 1D10 HP 1st level Fighters. Scaled it's the same.

Managing the number of NPC / Monster adversaries that can engage the party is a delicate balance, especially with the varying numbers of PCs in the newbie swarms. I need to adjust a bit better on the fly. It is an art more that it is a science.

Saves / Checks that are failed even 1 time in 3 that are save or die (even with a 50% luck chance reducing that to 1 in 6) will kill that fraction of the party on average if everyone is forced to make that check. In our case, 2 PCs bought the bullet on that one (exactly 1 in 6). I'm not a fan of forcing a party into a save or die situation - it should be by PCs decision making, good or bad. Did it play out to a fun effect? Yes. Still not a fan of it. Not a specific criticism of the Ooze Pits - I've come across this repeatedly over the years.

Surprisingly, despite (or perhaps because of) the high mortality rate in the adventure so far, my players are having a blast. As am I.

Lack of equipment leads to players thinking out of the box. This has happened in all three funnels I've run. If you aren't comfortable going with the flow and improvising rules to accommodate your players pushing the envelope (and then some), running a "funnel" probably isnt for you.


  1. Yes, I agree that thinking on your feet as a judge is critical during the funnel. I always adjust things as I go to try to maintain the tension without overwhelming the party.

    And I think a good answer to the save or die issue (though almost everything is basically save or die at zero level) is to provide a 'roleplay out' for players. If the player can quickly come up with a logical solution, minimize the outcome of e fail.

    On the other hand, at zero level the replacement characters option is fun: all the carnage, and yet no one is ever 'wiped out' of the fun.

    Regardless, I think the very real threat of death in the funnel generates a sense of daring, accomplishment, and attachment that most of us haven't experienced in a while...

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  3. I'm very interested to see the funnel in action. It reminds me of Paranoia, with your clan of 6 clone siblings who are methodically chewn up one by one, but transposed in a sort of fantasy mob equivalent "you are desperate peasants dealing with INSERT DIRE THREAT HERE and good luck with that...!" Nothing else quite like it out there.


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