Wednesday, January 31, 2018

About Dungeon Crawl Classics

Welcome to Out of Curiosity. This Blog will serve as a place to share thoughts, impressions and creations. In the forseeable future most of my posts will have one thing in common. They will be, more or less closely tied to the "Dungeon Crawl Classics" RPG. Why DCC?

I have been playing Role Playing Games for over 10 years and have tried many Systems and settings. I first started playing with "The Dark Eye" (like most german roleplayers) and played TDE (DSA) for years. I immediatly got hooked into gaming and it has been my favorite hobby ever since. For DSA, i enjoyed the setting but found the well-defined world quite limiting and as i tried other systems i began having issues with the system in general. But still. DSA has been the source of some of my finest memories in gaming, but my gaming group fell apart. I soon found myself more interested in non-fantasy Roleplaying and spent many fun sessions within Shadowrun, Dark Heresy, Traveller and Vampire. And every time i wanted to play some fantasy. I just didn't know how to start. I did not care too much for DSA anymore and, despite years of play and many books owned, Pathfinder just was not what i wanted from fantasy RPG. So i began to look around.

I played DCC some time before I ever heard of DCC. At a small Convention someone ran Dungeon World with a fan made rule set called "Funnel World". We played Sailors on the Starless Sea (A fact that I only found out three years later, as I bought the adventure after many recommendations). It was fresh and fun but didn't stick with me. It took me another two years until, at another convention, a friend presented DCC and I was quite interested. I can't recall why I was so excited about it, but the more liberal approach to fantasy Roleplaying and the rework of how spellcasters work in comparison to DnD hooked me. I got the book and now I consider DCC a personal favorite.

Enough backstory. Let's talk about the Thing. I don't wanna tell you to like it and i definitly don't want to say, that DnD is bad. It is not. I just want  to explain my point of view and show you some of the merits this system has. 

So the question is: Why do I like this thing?

It is not for nostalgia, as i am far too young to have any nostalgia towards old school Dungeon Crawls. The Dark eye is not about dungeons. I played Pathfinder, before ever playing any DnD and my first session of aDnD was a month ago. So i don't just like this old school inspired system for old times sake.

First of all: DCC is focused around characters. While this might sound weird, looking at an Old School System with only 4 classes in total and non humans being limited to their own "racial class", creating a character shows a different approach. The personality and development of a character is not tracked on the character sheet but up to the player. There are no rules regarding how you have to play your character except for being either lawful, neutral or chaotic. While leveling up is important the most drastic improvements or changes in DCC come from story elements, like blessing of gods, magical artifacts, demonic intervention and many more. So what makes a character unique is not recorded on sheet but lies within its background and history.

Furthermore Dungeon Crawl Classics simply has amazing systems aiding those character developments and helping in creating epic moments in a natural way. The systems all leave lots of space for players to be creative with and the inclusion of many random tables into gameplay creates an expectancy that anything can happen. But how does randomness and creativity work together? The game never forces you into one direction. Reading the rulebook will give you the impression, that you, as gamemaster, should choose when to insert randomness. Yes, critical hits do use random tables but if my fighter describes how he wants to stab the orc into the leg and rolls a critical hit, then why even roll for a crit and not just let the leg come off? Nothing stops you of doing this! That why the gamemaster is called judge. Randomness does not have to be applied, but when it is... Things tend to get hillarious.

But most importantly, for me, DCC feels like a template to make what you want out of your game. There is no predefined world and no lore knowledge which is mandatory. If you have an Idea, then simply go for it. And this extends to game systems. Meddling with classes or systems is not this hard because balance is not done through stats but through expecting players to pick their encounters wisely. There are few systems except for luck that apply to all characters so you don't have to keep those systems in mind when designing new stuff. Be it new classes, new encounters, new monsters or new worlds. Not only is it easy to implement. There are many people who already do this stuff and just a quick search on the internet will leave you with tons of fanmade stuff, some free, some not, all worth looking at, for this system.

Last but not least. Modules for DCC are awesome. Goodman games knows how to pick, choose and make good adventure modules and those for Dungeon Crawl Classics are mostly top-notch. For everyone interested in fantasy roleplaying i can not recommend them enough. They know that, just because your characters are inexperienced and of low level, this does not mean that things won't become epic and crazy. There are no small goblin lairs on which to spend 3 evenings of cleaning up. No. You are a peasant nothing more than a pitchfork? Ever heard of the Lords of Chaos? No? Well... that's you problem. DCC starts of epic, at low levels and doesn't slow down and this spirit translates into all their modules. 

I could continue writing about why I like DCC for a long time, but I want to write more general articles about some of those things at some point and this one went really long for a opening post.. The future will bring more focused posts, but opening with a post about my current favorite System and why creating things for it is so much fun felt like the right way to start this.

So far, thanks for reading.

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