Ring Side Report-Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG
TL;DR-This game is crazy, random fun-100% or 40% if you need modern gaming
Basics-Dungeon Crawl Classics (DCC) RPG is a retroclone of the old school (ADnD or 1st Ed) DnD Games by Goodman Games. That right there will either draw you in OR turn you off. Let’s go into detail, but that first sentence really tells you all you need to know.
Mechanics-The game is basic RPG with dice rolling plus some numbers. That’s for the Judge/DM and the players. What makes this old school is the lack of much of the modern “innovations.” Innovations like skill points, feats, party balance, player control, etc. That’s not “bad” or “good”, but it’s just the games style. Do you, as a player, need to know exactly what and how much you know about the monster ahead of you? Then you will HATE this game. Do you as a player not really care what the tentacle headed centipede centaur is, but just want to kill him and take his awesome bow? Then this is the game for you! Do you need to have absolute control of the situation based on the rules, so you can dictate what the GM can and can’t do to your character? Then you will hate this! Are you fine with building four completely random characters and having all but one die in what’s lovingly called a “zero level funnel?” Then this game is awesome! I LOVED my game, but I can tell that my wife will HATE this game. I’m fine with random for everything and the loss of control, but my wife will feel cheated by the lack of control as a player Which leads to the staggering amount of randomness built into this game. Every spell has a table of events that can occur when you cast it and when you learn it. One guy in our party shoots demons from his sleeves when he casts magic missile. When another guy casts spider clime, someone he knows dies! If the randomness and loss of control built into this game does not bother you, then its 5/5. However, if you want a much more controlled game, then it’s a 1/5
Theme– Before you play this game, go to the back of the DCCRPG book and read Appendix N. For you younglings out there, Appendix N is where Gary Gygax put all his literary references for the game he made. His characters were not so much heroes as they were adventurers. And this game reinforces that concept really well. You can write adventurers where the characters are heroes with character arcs and personal growth, but in the adventurers I’ve seen, the players are more likely just randomly moving through the world, stealing, killing, and running away trying to get as much treasure as possible. And that’s a whole lot of fun! The world is a crazy, random place where you have very little control of it and will never understand much of it. If the above annoys you, then DO NOT PLAY! That’s the best thing I can say. Like what I’ve said about the theme? It’s a 5/5. Hate the above? It’s a 1/5
Art– Remember the 1970’s? Then you weren’t there. The art from the book is all old school. Don’t look for hyper realistic drawings of monsters or half naked people. Look for stuff you’ve seen in the first ed. DnD book and on psychedelic posters. Since the theme is old school revolution, the book art really helps makes this game amazing. Again, it’s a divisive subject. I liked the call back to the older art, so 5/5. If you need your art to have, say, color and not have a crazy 70’s vibe, then 1/5.
Execution– Goodman Games is a great company, and they know how to set a book up. They’ve learned from the failures of others and this book is great. What really makes DCCRPG great is the idea of selling several different smaller adventures like in ADnD. Right in the back of the book is a crap load of modules for you to buy and run for your friends. Also, a nice touch is a level zero adventure as well as a level five adventure. The long term basics of this game are a series of episodic adventures and Goodman Games is more than happy to provide the strange adventures for your friends to wonder through. AND Goodman Games is not afraid of 3rd parties OR their fan base. Right in the back of the book are advertisements for third-party publishers and the Crawl Fanzine. I find this phenomenal! While the randomness, theme, and art are all great, embracing their fans and co-publishers really helps makes this book great. 5/5
Final Thoughts-I loved this game. I had a great time just sitting back enjoying the strangeness unfurl. However, if you need an extremely modern game with a focus on mitigating randomness and wrestling control from the GM, then this game is not for you. Love the strange, episodic nature of old school-100% Hate the 70’s and need all the modern bells and whistles?-40%
Ring Side Report -Adventure Review -DCC RPG #79-Frozen in Time
TL;DR– Fun adventure that I wish at just a bit more-83%
Summary-Think Expedition to Barrier Peaks. In this adventure, the PCs find “something” buried in the ice. What secrets does the ship in the ice hold?
Art-Its more 1970’s-tastic art. Great for the theme. I’d like a bit more art for some of the stranger scenes in the ship 4.5/5
Story-I like more of a story to my adventures. DCC RPG tends to be more focused on a strange place with strange things in it. That’s fine, but not exactly what I want. It’s a fun adventure, but I didn’t feel like is was in an short story, so much as I felt like I was in just a random place with stuff to steal. 3.5/5
Execution-For what the adventure wants to be, it is exactly what it wants to be. Here’s a crazy place with some crazy stuff. Weird stuff happens and you get a bunch of shout outs to different games and time periods. The module is a bit pricy at $10 for ~4 hours of adventure, but it easily beats movie prices for you and four to six friends. 4.5/5
Final Thoughts-I had fun. I’d like a bit more story and art, but it was fun. The price is a bit high, but reasonable. I’m glad I had a chance to play it. Great first adventure for my intro to DCCRPG. 83%