Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Reading DCC

I've been reading Dungeon Crawl Classics and I have to say its a very enjoyable book. I am trying really hard to buy into the intentional retro-design decisions (such as with class-as-race, something that rankled me when I was a kid and still annoys me now) with the recognition that unlike B/X D&D where such a design choice had more to do with keeping it simpler as an introductory game, the intent here is very specifically to treat classes as specific archetypes. It's also a bit weirdly incongruous with the flavor and intent of the book's implied setting, which I guess can be summed up as a not-unwarranted feverish worship of the Appendix N section of the 1E DMG. If the game was truly embracing the concept of "classic pulp fantasy fiction and its many distinct tropes" then I would probably be happier to see a Melnibonean analog somewhere, maybe a lizard man or serpent man, an ape-like race or two, possibly even some four armed Tharks....but not quite. DCC could definitely sustain a sourcebook or two introducing such, however, and I would welcome it. I think a few 3PP are planning books along this theme, though.

DCC's spell system is elaborate and detailed, and seems to be designed to insure that sooner or later weird and unpleasant things can and will happen to spellcasters. It's a great idea, albeit with an execution that takes up a large volume of book space. I want to run this game to see how it plays out. These days I think just about any magic system that is not another D20 OGL cut-and-paste will be satisfying to me, as I think I'm reaching critical mass on D&D-likes and the infinity of clones. I think I can tolerate this for C&C (as my lone choice of D&D clone) but if I have to play one more game where all the usual D&D spells come into play in all the usual ways....ugh, I think I've got burnout! DCC seems to run with a traditional take on D&D magic and then jumps off the deep end with it, which I like.

Anyway, I have to say that DCC does a surprisingly good job of taking "D&D circa 1974" and reinvents it in a way that manages to feel both like a retro homage and a modern design. I may be getting burned out on D&D/Pathfinder right now, but DCC doesn't really "fit" in there. It's definitely in its own weird world.

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