Sunday, August 9, 2015

Thoughts On Unpacking The Dungeon Crawl Classics Rpg System From Goodman Games

So after about two years or more of bitching and moaning on my part for Goodman games Dungeon Crawl Classics Rpg to make its way into one of the nearby hobby stores ( of which none of which is closer then a forty five minute drive), I broke down and got it. The other half got it for me, thanks honey for getting me this gift. This commentary & review is all on my own, my opinions are mine. And straight out of the gate I've kept hearing for weeks that this is a big book and to tell you the truth its four hundred and eighty pages of wall to wall old school retro style artwork. Alright, I've done a bit of writing and contributing to Gamma Crawl ClassicsSo the book was ordered from Noble Knight games with the full intent of understanding that they would pack this book right which they did.  It also arrived in a timely manner and was packed as I knew it would! 

 Dungeon Crawl Classics is billed as a retroclone gaming system and from the pass few weeks research as well as a quick scan through. This is not a retroclone in the truest sense of the word, instead this book is a revamp of existing OGL and SRD material within a frame work of Goodman Games own design including the infamous funnel for character generation. Basically you start at to 0th level PC  with its high mortality rates. The book states upfront you'll generate & play several characters and see who survives. These will go on to become your PC. There are lots of twists and turns in this process, the DCC rpg tries to emulate the pulpy material in the appendix N from the AD&D 1st edition Dungeon Master's Guide instead of the usual retro clone systems out there trying to emulate a certain edition of Dungeons and Dragons. This is one of the main caveats for the DCC rpg system. It is a retroclone in spirit based on the OGL with lot of revamps in placement of the 3.0 & 3.5 edition material.
 This is a game that uses some very odd ball dice not used in other RPGs, namely the d3, d5, d7, d14, d16, d24, and d30 are all represented in the system and are used during play. 
The core mechanic of rolling a d20 adding some modifiers and comparing the result to determine success or failure. A roll of '20' is an automatic hit and a critical success and a roll of '1' is an automatic miss and a critical fumble. That's right automatic kills are back and lethality is lurking in the backdrop of this system at every turn. The game still has, in B/X style, four human classes and three non-human: Cleric, Thief, Warrior, Wizard, Elf, Dwarf, and Halfling. But DCC has some completely different takes on the usual fare of these B/X style classes. Because of the funnel system of zero level PC's becoming the heroes, even 1st level PC's are far more robust then their OD&D and AD&D counterparts.
 Magic is incredibly scary and very dangerous tied in with the three alignments of Lawful, Neutral, And Chaotic. When a wizard  uses a spell, a d20 is rolled, modifiers added, and then a table is referenced. The spell can do one point of damage or with a spectacular rolls The spell may be lost for the day but there is the chance of a critical success which leads to more damage and some interesting results after the table is consulted. There is also a chance for corruption on the part of the wizard with some incredibly weird mutations that can happen. Then there are the rules for patrons and more with DCC. 
 The equipment sections are pretty complete and not raising any eyebrows here and there are extensive systems for adventuring and lots of random fiddly bits for random tables. This game assumes that your PC's are going to be the heroes and men of renown from mythology and legend with some very brutal takes. The gods and patrons of DCC can be randomly angry making the gods unpredictable at best and down right fickle at worst. Clerics can get hosed or will have to be thinking on their feet quite a bit. That goes for all of the PC's your going to have to be thinking on your feet.
 The book is well put together but I can't help thinking that this book and material remind me of some of the weird dividing line between science fantasy, science fiction, sword & sorcery all put into the 1930's blender of Weird Tales style gaming and set on high. However its really the science fantasy aspect of DCC that has over the past year or so tickled my fancy. With a successful kickstarter and  now the release of the Epsilon City Kickstarter, DCC's version of  Metamorphis Alpha has me interested but more so I wish James Ward my continued prayers and positive vibes so that he can get back to work on this line of products! But it will be a long while before I can afford to invest in this version of Metamorphosis  Alpha.
But already from June 2015 there's a link adventure  Dungeon Crawl Classics #87: Against the Atomic Overlord - From his gargantuan metal fortress the Overlord rules the blasted remains of the planet’s last city. Hope seems lost – until visitors arrive from a distant world, bringing uncanny, magical powers. Your adventurers must pick a path through twisted ruins, ancient missile silos, strange monorail systems, and a conflict with four deadly factions to save a world – or destroy it! So this will link together with Mutant Crawl Classics by Jim Wampler
You’re a wasteland wanderer: a mutant, a seeker, a robot-killer, a stoic shaman guarding forgotten ancient sciences. You seek triumph and technology, winning it with mutations and magic, soaked in the radiation and quantum fields of the mutated, the savage, the semi-sentient, and the artificially intelligent. There are treasures to be won in the taboo lands and ruins, and you shall have them. Basically this is going to make cross over adventures a snap, and that for me is a must. But the brutality and lethality of the DCC rpg is going to be fun and interesting.
Right so there's already a bunch of crossover adventures  with in house Goodman games Dungeon Crawl Classics #84:Peril On The Purple Planet  and a few others but its going to be a long while before I can afford to go diving into any of these additional systems or afford them. Fortunately I've got a third party publisher with Drongo: Ruins of the Witch Kingdoms From Leviathan Publishing For The DCC rpg System  
That I looked into and its world, PC classes, equipment, etc. are more along the lines of what I'm looking to get into with the DCC rpg
Some of the material that had me excited about the DCC rpg came in the form earlier this year at NTRPG 2015 which has a much better and clear video then the one that came out of Gencon this year.  The audio of which is headache inducing. Now I'm looking into using some of my Judge's Guild material with DCC.

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