Monday, June 6, 2011

Gaming on a Harley - The DCC RPG Experience

Harley Stroh is a modest man who apologized profusely for us having to sit through a playtest of the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG, instead of getting some 'real' gaming in at the North Texas Role Playing Game Convention.

"Are you kidding?" I said, "Do you know the kind of buzz DCC RPG is getting out there?  Get on with it, man!"

I chose a fourth level pregen Wizard and named him Urlik the Blemished.  The big thing that intrigued me about DCC RPG was the variable nature of spells, in order to emulate 'true' Vancian mechanics - so I had to had to play a wizard.  Had to. 

The Boy picked a Dwarf fighter and, of course, named him Regdar.  One thing I've noticed about my son, he either wants a character who is exceedingly tall, or exceedingly short.  There are no inbetweens with him.  The rest of the party was comprised of another fighter, a cleric, and a thief.

I won't get much into the mechanics of the game, as they are discussed elsewhere - and the beta should be available for download on Wednesday from the Goodman site.  Interesting features include:

  1. A wizard can 'burn' her stats to increase the power of spells and also to invoke the power of her patron,
  2. Thieves appear to be able to burn luck points in order to improve the chance of pulling something off (although I think anyone can burn luck points - it's just more likely that thieves have more,)
  3. And the warrior has a special 'Mighty Deed of Arms,' kind of a carte blance combat maneuver where the player can describe some combat feat of awesomeness and roll a d5 to pull it off.

That reminds me.  ZOCCHI DICE!  DCC RPG uses zocchi dice.  I love those dice and try to invent ways to use them in my Labyrinth Lord campaign.  DCC RPG uses them inherently.  Of course, you can emulate a d5 easily enough - but it's much cooler just to have and roll one.

The set-up for the game was that I, Urlik the Blemished, hired the rest of the party to go and beat up some baddies, basically.  However, Harley took me aside and gave me the skinny on just what was going down.  While it wasn't horribly nefarious, that fact that I refused to give the party specifics of what was going on, and that I played Urlik the Blemished like a very creepy Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth, made them very untrusting.

The game culminated in a scene to stop the big bad.  The fight was going poorly and Urlik called upon his patron.  An amazingly lucky roll allowed Urlik the Blemished to suck the souls out of the big bad and the henchmen, gaining their power.  This completely freaked out the other players, who decided to kill poor - and somewhat evil - Urlik. The fighter began to smack Urlik with a grate, to little effect. The thief gained part of Urlik's true name (long story,) and tried to turn his spells back on the wizard.  That didn't work too well, and Urlik charred the thief into dust.  Then the cleric popped off a super-charged banish spell and blew Urlik to kingdom come.

The rest of the day, people came up and asked me why our table was cheering and whooping so loudly near the end of our session.  I had to tell them, "Well, they were cheering so loudly because they killed me."

I've heard some moaning on blogs and forums about the complexity of the spell-casting charts.  Yes, They are more complex than OD&D or AD&D.  They require spell casters to have a copy of the book, or at least a print out of each spell.   If you are wanting dead simple - this isn't it.  But you know, compare DCC spell-casting to the obnoxious spew of powers in 4e, and you still have something incredibly simple - and what that small amount of complexity buys you is an awesome spell system that feels like a book, not video game.

It was an great session and Harley Stroh is an awesome DM.  This is the first new system in quite a while that I've wanted to play.  Let me be clear about this.  I DM.  Ninety-nine percent of the time, I'm the DM.  I look at games as a DM - think about them, analyze them, digest them - as a DM.  But I want to play this.  I want to roll up another wizard, hunt down a  DM, and be a player in a Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG game.  I haven't had that strong a feeling for a new system since - oh - 1981, I think it was.

Well done, Goodman dudes, well done.  Thanks, Harley

- Ark


  1. Sweet! It sounds like you all had a blast.

    I'm looking forward to trying out DCC. I don't mind putting a little more effort into a magic system so long as there is a net reward of awesome.

  2. "The rest of the day, people came up and asked me why our table was cheering and whooping so loudly near the end of our session. I had to tell them, "Well, they were cheering so loudly because they killed me.""

    We were at the next table over and I can attest to this (pretty sure we were some of those who asked too). This description is even funnier than the one you gave at the time.

    Good to meet you and the Boy (who will be making a cameo tomorrow in the second installment of my convention report) at the Con. Much fun was had on my end.

  3. Oooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!
    Can you give us more detailed review of it's system mechanics?
    Is it sukass like D&D or is it groovy like S&W?


  4. The real iron man right there!

  5. Oh man, I wish I owned some Zochhi dice. I need to remedy that!

  6. I cross tie in your story today:

  7. @Quibish - I really enjoyed playing it - but still, I don't have an in depth knowledge of the mechanics. It's seems pretty rules-lite though. Oh well - all shall be revealed soon!

    @ckutalik - I saw your cross-link! Awesome. You know, we are going to have to get together and spend more time gabbing next time around. While shooting tequila, of course. :)

    @Anon - I can't get too detailed, but it's an OGL 3.0 LITE kinda thing, so more D&D and less Savage Worldiness. It played pretty sweet though.

    @Zombie - Yes he is!

    @Christian - Zocchi dice are awesome. Just be careful and don't confuse the d20 with the d24. :)

    - Ark