Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Fiddling around with DCC: The time/energy problem in absorbing Big Huge RPG Books

Not much to blog about just yet....spent a four day weekend enjoying life away from the real world for a bit, with only my cell phone as a tether. While on vacation I did get a little time (not much) to poke at DCC a bit before the sheer volume of "stuff" overwhelmed me and I turned to easier entertainment. It's hard to find that energy when you have a 2 1/2 year old kid (or kids, as the weekend worked out; lots and lots of kids everywhere).

Before I say anything else: it's not that DCC is voluminous (though it is big and wordy) nor is it complex (though it is designed to do a lot of fiddly bits well). It's not even a very dry read (it tries hard not to be). Rather it's an issue of age and familiarity; DCC is another D&D-like in a long and venerable line of such games, and it's particular take is quite entertaining, but in the end it's still another rulebook with a bunch of rules that you need to learn to go from " look at this book" to "I'm playing a game." So that was the wall I ran into; I run into the same problem with Numenera, Shadorun 5th, Edge of the Empire and others....they are big, fat books that require a lot of free time to read and digest. They are also games which (for me at least) are just different enough mechanically that I can't just jump around and skim the books to start playing (not anymore, anyway); they need me to actually read them, to invest time and energy....something I'm in short supply of.

DCC has a slightly different issue, though: it's a big book, but it feels very familiar at times. It's got lots of rules that are sort of like or very close to other D20 system rules, and as such it's a game which you have to learn by virtue of determining "how we do things differently round these here parts." One problem I have run into with D&D-likes is very common for me: at a certain point you get rules fatigue; you get tired of trying to remember how which system does Initiative this way, or how which game handles dual-weapon attacks that way, and so on and so forth. It was a serious unspoken problem back when I ran 4th edition D&D and Pathfinder at the same time; you could get tripped up by the similar but slightly different rules all the time. It was why my C&C games always ended with us moving back to AD&D 2nd edition, which ironically was different enough from the post-D20 era of D&D that it felt like a different game entirely, and triggered none of those expectations.

Anyway, this is a lot of writing to say that I made a level 1 fighter in DCC, got about midway through the combat mechanics, stared a long time at the magic rules and thought about how they looked easy enough if I could find a quick summary of how it worked somewhere, and then I realized my graphic novels and PS Vita (with Killzone: Mercenaries and Borderlands 2 begging for attention) were just sitting there promising less work to achieve more immediate fun.

I'm still going to figure out DCC, though. Just need to find the necessary energy and time....

Tomorrow: Void Core, maybe!


  1. I hit a "rules fatigue" from reading too many free pdf RPG rules. It was the Runequest 6 that did it, right after a beta of a new Traveller version. They all start to blur together. What a terrible thing to happen right before 5e.

    1. Yeah...I kept thinking for a good two years now that this is too long to wait for a new edition in the works....I can only hope I'm over my rules fatigue before July 15th....ugh