Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Getting into DCC (Literally!)

I had the good fortune to find a first print copy of the DCC rulebook at a used book store for $25 around Christmas. I was wary of DCC initially. I’d had the beta PDF, and liked it well enough, but I didn’t really see anything special about it at the time.

Clearly I hadn’t done a very close reading of it.

At the bookstore I flipped through their copy, trying to decide if I wanted yet another d20 based game. The page count was daunting and I definitely didn’t need another massive rulebook… but most of the page count is spell charts, not rules. Then I saw the art…

DCC makes a conscious decision to emulate the *ideal* of the 1970’s gonzo gaming roots found in Appendix N. This should not be confused with the reality of 1970’s gaming. This is a game that doesn’t take itself seriously, that turns it up to 11 by capping PCs to level 10, but starts them at level 0.

The best thing about DCC is that the rules actually support the playstyle that the art implies, yet at the same time it’s serious enough that you can still take it semi-seriously. There’s solid long term campaign potential with DCC. In fact the combination of gonzo and lethal seems to make players more attached to their flawed characters.

So I spent the better part of my holiday break reading the rulebook cover to cover… and there was a lot that was different. More than I realized when I look at the beta. Not only was it different, there was a lot that I liked, especially (this is probably not a shock) how DCC handles magic. I appreciate the patrons, the weird spell effects, the corruption. I wouldn’t want to do it for every game, but I think it’s the single biggest thing DCC has going for it. Given the space turned over to spells in the rule book, I think Joseph Goodman probably agrees with me. Or I agree with him, I guess.

It probably didn’t hurt any that as I came to the end of the book, and started reading the appendices (specifically Appendix O on page 445), that I saw this:

Wait, what's that down near the bottom?

How cool is that? It certainly helped cement my interest in DCC!

Fast forward to a little bit ago, and Michael Curtis, the author of Stonehell (still waiting on part 2) and the Dungeon Alphabet (along with a whole bunch of other stuff) posted about a DCC adventure he had written set in a fantasy Appalachia that he and Goodman Games were Kickstarting. As part of the publicity for it, he sat in on an episode of Spellburn, the DCC podcast. I’d never listened, but I like Michael’s stuff, so I listened, and then got in on it.

Then I listened to the first episode, then the second, etc. In the span of a couple of weeks, I listened to the entire run of the podcast, and then I followed that up by listening to the Iron Tavern actual play DCC podcast.

And now I’m signed up to run a game on Free RPG Day at Titan Games in a week, and another a month later at the Charm City Game Day at Games and Stuff.

Of course all of this comes right at the time 5e is about to hit...


  1. You know what's a little sad, some of those listed blogs have been silent for too long. I'm happy each of them was done and their author's didn't go for the slash and burn on the way out.
    DCC was written by folks that genuinely wanted to do similar but new and did it well.

  2. OH YEAH! Wellll...I'm in one of the photos at the beginning of the book NYAH! NYAH!