Tuesday, October 24, 2017

DCC and the Problem of the Purple Prose

While I've generally heaped praise upon the DCC adventures, I do have some issues with them as a whole. Copy editing and layout aren't their strong suit. Also the language tends to be about as purple as the fiction that DCC seeks to emulate. While both a feature and a bug, it tends to suck up some space in the adventure that could otherwise be used for more game-able material.

My biggest complaint however is that information isn't always clearly provided in a clear user-friendly way, and they're written such that I wouldn't want to run any of them without having read the entire adventure cover to cover at least 3 times. Once to get a general idea of the adventure itself, once to make sure I understood everything, and once following the maps, rather than the room descriptions, since the map numbers don't always flow with the way adventurers seem most likely to encounter the adventure. Hell, even just reading them for review, I read them each at least 3 times.

While each adventure generally includes a small key showing what encounter is in each room, I want something a little more than that, but less than the paragraphs each room generally gets. Here's an example from The Croaking Fane. The encounter key is above, and this is what's in the actual adventure. Mind you, this whole page is just rooms 2-9 and 2-10.

And here's what I'd like to see, ideally tucked in with the maps, since I have to spend so much time flipping back and forth the way it's set up now.

Area 2-9 - Infectious Instructional. Prayer Room
Spear Trap in doorway. +3 melee, 1d6 dmg. DC10 find/disable traps or DC12 Int. Check
Cursed Silver Tablet - DC15 Will Save or Schaphigroadaz Spoilation. 150gp value
Area 2-10 - Toad Cavern with pond with island
Locked Bronze Doors: Key from 2-2, DC 10 Open Lock, DC17 Str Check
Corroded Iron Gate: 25hp
Giant Toads (30) attack in waves of 1d10 every 2 rounds
40pp Treasure
Loud croaking, humid, incomprehensible voice from 2-11

Then again, I've gotten very used to the Stonehell style dungeon key where 30+ rooms, the map, special notes, and area description are all given a mere 4 pages total. 2 for background and detailed notes, and 2 for the room descriptions and map. I guess while I enjoy the purple prose, it isn't super useful to me when actually trying to run/prep for a session.

As this is a recurring issue I have with all DCC modules, I wanted to give it a detailed focus once, rather than repeat it each review.

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