Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Better Mental Health Through DCCRPG

Finally, after a year and a half of waiting, I got to play DCC RPG.  Well, I actually played it back in June of 2011 with Harely Stroh, but that was a mid level beta test one shot.  This time, on Saturday, I got to play THE FUNNEL.

I really don't get people that don't like the idea of the funnel.  That's okay.  I don't have to understand a point of view for it to be perfectly valid.  But the funnel was one of the things that drew me to the game.  Actually, DCC was one of the first games I wanted to PLAY in a long, long time.  Maybe since 1981.  Now, of course, when I say 'play,' I meant, be a players, as opposed to being the DM.  I'd DM anything - at least once.  Heck, I'd DM a game about players taking on the persona of rebellious dust bunnies if it meant that I could chase them with a Dyson vacuum cleaner.

But playing - yeah - the funnel, the dice, and the spell rules really sold it to me.  DCC takes the good parts of D&D and Rolemaster and smooshed them together.  Yeah, I said Rolemaster.  That was my game of choice for a couple of years there after ditching D&D.  Oh, the glorious critical hit and fumble tables . . .

Crazy-Ass Tim ran the game for me, the Boy, Merwyn, and Kaye.  Not content to leave things alone, I had bargained for a slightly different character setup than the standard.  I decided that my characters were all potential initiates into a coven of witches, and the survivor of the first adventure would be the wannabe-witch that was allowed into the gaggle of evocatrixes.  I really wanted to play a wizard class, and the opportunity to cackle madly when casting black magic was too good of an opportunity to miss.

The roster of coven abecedarians was as follows:

  • Petunia the wimpy, clumsy, unlucky Urchin, who had never seen plants growing before,
  • Florence the Healer, build like a brick shithouse with a Stamina of 18,
  • Carly the Minstrel, who bets you think she wrote a song about you, but she didn't, and
  • Sorcha the idiot Alchemist, I mean, like, doesn't know salt from pepper.

Initially, the Covenettes refused to do anything brave at all, three of them standing around and whispering to one another in a field of corn while Petunia gathered up as many ears as possible because this was here first time seeing food before.  They hung back in back and tried to avoid any danger at all.

Then upon entering the dungeon, Petunia, Carly, and Sorcha fell into a pit and died, accidentally killing a few other players in the process, as detailed in Crazy-Ass Tim's blog.


Body count was HIGH in the game.  The four of us players ran through well over 30 characters before the end of the dungeon.  Each time we were getting low, we'd find a cage full of PCs ready to refresh our ranks, just like in Left4Dead 2.

Florence found some other Covenette buddies in a cage too, including:

  • Chardonnay the Gravedigger,
  • Seville the razor wielding Barber (I mean, BEAUTY TECHNICIAN), and
  • Heidi the frail Teutonic Woods(wo)man.

Seville killed most of the rest of the party withe a beautiful fumble on a oil flask lob.  Have you ever noticed that little 'G' on the '1' side of a GameScience d20?  I saw that a lot.  Anyway, her hands were burnt beyond recognition, but she survived for a good long while.  Until Seville's leg was cut off with a giant scissor trap.


Everyone else also had wonderful deaths too, whether from horrible curses, being charred by flame spitting monsters, or being granted special 'wishes' by a lunatic madman demigod.

I mean, Kaye, really.  What did you expect when you said 'okay, I have my character wish to be raised from a level zero nobody to a level one INSERT CLASS HERE.  You actually said 'INSERT CLASS HERE.'

Eventually, I only had one character left - the Venerable Florence the Healer/Witch Wannabe - and the party had to do this big complex ritual - in three separate rooms at the same time.  I love that we had to split the party in order to complete the adventure.  Well, I figured that if she was going to go out in a blaze of glory, Florence might as well put on a Vampirella outfit and head up the demonic ritual with all the gusto she could muster.

The monsters let loose from that ritual finished off all of the 'extra' characters.  And then, to get out of the dungeon, there was a single SAVE OR DIE roll for each character.


Like I mentioned in the title, I really do think that the Funnel is a kind of mentally beneficial.  It's Flooding, or Exposure Therapy.  Players tend to have a lot of anxieties about their character's dying.  Mine - I had them huddling in back at the beginning, afraid to do anythign lest they breathed wrong.  and in the end, Florence was there screaming on an altar in a skimpy bathing suit while the the forces of hell swirled about her nubile flesh.

I think it also helps the DM.  Each time when I run a game, any game, I am extremely anxious about the first kill.  I mean, it's like a first kiss on a date.  You grope around, copping a feel here and there, rolling a d20 over and over again trying to hit.  With the first kiss completed - you know where you stand and can continue on confidently.  The first kill in a campaign is the same - you know you can kill the PCs, and the player didn't run off crying home to mommy and threaten to never play again.

Um, did I just equate killing PCs to heavy petting?

Yeah . . . I did.

Anyway, yes, DCC is a great game.  Crazy-Ass Tim pulled off a really good session, and it was one of the most memorable ever.  Everyone was very happy.

And now that we have put so much work into our 1st level characters, we REALLY want them to live. :)

- Ark


  1. Replies
    1. JM - Well thanks, but yours is good too.

      - Ark

  2. I like your funnel story so much I burned my grilled cheese on one side.

    I fear that with the dice I have now I would for certain end up playing an elf of some sort. Stupid dice anxiety.

    1. Noah - Well, I'm sorry that your cheese burned, but I'm glad that you enjoyed the story. :)

      Sometimes the dice just have to be your guide. It's the universe speaking to you. Which reminds me - the universe can be a big jerk. :)

      - Ark