OSR Retrospective: Dungeon Crawl Classics

This week on my trip down memory lane, let’s talk about Dungeon Crawl Classics. I’ve had some friendly debates on whether DCC is “old school” or not. OK, sure it does default to ascending AC. It does use the same three saving throws as Third Edition. And it does do its own thing. But it sits firmly with the ideas of rulings not rules, 3d6 in order, and your characters can drop like flies. So at the very least, old school is strong in this one.

You can’t talk about DCC without mention the funky dice and the funnel. The game does use all sorts of funky dice in addition to your “normal” polyhedrals. I’m not talking the funky kind of dice with symbols (looking at you Star Wars). No these are weird sided dice. d3, d5, d7, d16, d24, d30. And they are actually used. How exactly depends mostly on your character. Hunting down and shelling out for the dice can be a pain but hey support your FLGS. The other thing is the so-called funnel. This could be considered part of character generation. Players start with (usually) four 0-level characters. You suck. You don’t have a class and end up going on an adventure. They die. A lot. Your 0-level that survives; ends being your character and you get to level up to first level in something. Now’s also a good time to mention that DCC uses the four basic classes (Fighter, Magic-User, Cleric, Thief) and the three racial classes (Elf, Dwarf, Halfling). And yes, there are supplements out there that have more races, classes, and options.
I enjoy playing and running DCC. It’s a really fun game and it’s the only game that I can think of that has rules that allows the game to basically participate in the adventure. By that I mean there’s a chance that a well-cast spell or a crit on an attack as well s fumbles of those can really change the game and possibly even the game world. It keeps both the players and the GM on their toes. I like that. As a GM, I like to be surprised too. But this is also the same place that I get annoyed. The game has so many freaking random charts: Fumble charts, multiple crit charts and each spell has its own chart. That’s a lot of charts and page flipping which can slow down the game. So it’s very much a mixed blessing.
Even if you aren’t planning on playing or running DCC, there’s a lot of inspirational material there. The specific crit tables for various types of monsters can give a DM some inspiration on interesting things to happen when a monsters crits. Better than just more damage. There’s also random tables for generating unique demons, dragons, and magic swords. These are nice. Another great thing is that some of the DCC adventures are great and well worth running even if you happen to be using a different old school game. The conversion wouldn’t too difficult.

Now if you are planning on running it or playing it there a couple really great resources that highly recommend. There’s the DCC RPG Reference Booklet. This little tome has the most commonly used charts for easier reference that the using the core book. The other is the Purple Sorcerer website. This site has all sorts for very handy generators for players and GM’s. I know it’s made my life a whole lot easier.
You can grab up DCC stuff on DrivethruRPG, on Goodman Games site, and most importantly you can probably order thru your FLGS. Plus there’s a healthy community of third party publishers creating content for DCC with all manner of options, genres, and settings.

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