Monday, May 21, 2018

The obligatory house rule post.

As i started this blog i made a post about why i enjoy Dungeon Crawl Classics as much as i do. One of the points i made there was how easy it is to modify the DCC ruleset. I and many other judges out there made house rules to adjust the game to their personal preferences. I wanted to present some of my house rules for a long time and now i finally found the inspiration to do so.

This week the awesome Spellburn Podcast made an episode in which they talked about House rules in great depth and presented many suggestions. Go and listen to the episode if you have not done so already. It's a great one.

Two of the house rules presented here are already featured in the Spellburn episode but were heavily modified since then. I will discuss the reasoning behind every house rule and implications here. If you only want the crunch, then don't worry. I also posted all house rules as a PDF


Attribute Checks

Instead of rolling 1d20 and adding the modifier of the corresponding attribute, players roll 1d20 and add the entire value of the attribute when making Skill and Attribute checks. All difficulties have to be adjusted by adding 10 to the DC.

Rolling the body is the only exception to this rule. You still need to roll under your luck attribute in order to succeed.


I never enjoyed rolling for attributes in d20 games. Big dice and small modifiers make your character and his stats feel irrelevant to the outcome of the roll. While DCC fixes this by rewarding creativity over dice rolling i still felt an urge to change the rulings.
My first attempt was, inspired by some AD&D and Cthulhu games i played in, making attribute checks by rolling under the attribute. While i liked it and still think it works fine this ruling had two major problems. First: Calculating Difficulties and factoring in modifiers is a mess. Second (as discussed in Spellburn): Rolling low is not fun. While i might disagree on the second one, the first one always bugged me.
This solution is mathematically equivalent to rolling under the attributes when it comes to probabilities of success. Also you don't have to house rule modifications. They apply per normal rules. Its still not that great to have a result of a 15 be "not that good", but i prefer it widely over a success difference of 15% between the weak wizard and the mighty warrior when it comes to strength checks.

Blocking with Shields

In addition to granting a AC Bonus shields can also be used to block any one melee attacks, which the character is aware of, even critical hits. The blocking of an attack has to be announced after the attack is rolled but before any damage or  critical rolls are made. The shield is destroyed by the attack and no damage is applied to the character.
Magical shields are not destroyed, they are knocked away, cut loose, stuck or otherwise made useless for the remaining encounter.

Shields can be used to attack, which uses the normal dual wielding rules except for dwarves.

New Equipment
Shield Cost* Damage** AC Bonus Check Penalty Fumble †
Wooden Shield 20gp 1d3 +1 -2 +1d
Steel Shield 35gp 1d4 +2 -4 +1d
Tower Shield 80gp 1d6 +4 -6 +2d
* for use with base DCC. My Campaign Setting "Thireila" converts all costs from GP to SP
** If used to attack (f.e. by a dwarf using board and sword)
† In addition to any armor worn. 1d equals a step on the dice chain for armored fumbles d4-d8-d12-d16-d20-d24


 As i read through the hubris setting i found this rule and wanted to imply it into my game. The rule as i present were originally found in Crawl Issue 2 , which originally took them from the Trollsmyth blog. I made a way more complicated draft out of this, which allowed to block multiple attacks and tracked shield hit points. Damage overflow from shields could be applied to characters. It was a quite nice system i think. It just did not work for DCC. DCC is focused on actions and reactions, not on bookkeeping. Its inspiration is in heroic fantasy, where taking a hit to the shield is not a tactical choice but an act of desperation. This current draft encourages this epic style of play without complicating gameplay and the new shield types i included offer more choice for player characters.

Combat Actions

Charging grants a +2 bonus to damage (if the attack is successful) instead of the attack roll. As usual it also grants a -2 malus to the charging characters AC

A character may perform a reckless attack. This grants a +2 bonus to the attack roll and reduces the attacking characters AC by 2. This maneuver can be combined with a charge to get +2 to attack and damage at the cost of a -4 AC malus.


An attack performed with high momentum should be impactful. Charging should be awesome. In basic DnD and DCC a charge is just a way to get more reliable damage instead of a maneuver to get one hit of high damage. So i changed this around. But even in a normal fight one can recklessly go all out on the enemy. It won't put more force to your strike, but it will make it more likely to hit someone.
This grants more options in combat which are not hard to explain, don't need any specifications and help create more high risk situations initialized by players. The impact of this additional action will drop off towards higher levels as characters get more reliable results out of their class abilities so it will only increase choice for 0 or low levels characters. I have not yet play tested this enough to see if it makes it too easy for the characters, but mightier characters can easily be countered by mightier foes, right?

No Corruption and Fumble avoidance

Wizards can't burn luck to avoid corruption, Warriors can't burn luck to avoid fumbles.


Corruption is awesome but rare. And avoiding it with one single point of luck makes corruption so rare that its not even worth checking. But as i mentioned, corruption is awesome. So it should happen. Therefore should not be avoidable.
I gave the warrior the same treatment and made them not able to avoid fumbles. I just like rolling on tables okay? Maybe the warrior thing will get kicked out soon, who knows.


  1. Like some of these.

    I also feel similar about charging. However instead of +2 how about +1d?

    Totally dig the idea of a reckless charge.

    1. Thanks for the comment.

      I think having a +1d is not consistent with the -2 to AC and thus more hard to remember and i want these rules to be easy to grasp and intuitive after a single usage. But those are house rules... So i think having +1d would be cool for some (if not most). I just prefer the +2 / -2.