Friday, July 29, 2011

Dungeon Crawl Classics Beta: First Impressions

I'll admit I don't know much about all the retro-clones that are out there.
I have nothing against any of them, but none of them have piqued my interest.
I figure I'm satisfied with the originals.  Maybe I'm missing out.  I don't know.

Anyway, I had read some good stuff online about Dungeon Crawl Classics.  So I decided to download the free beta rules from Goodman Games website.
After reading through them I was inspired to quest to my FLGS to see if they had a copy of the DCC Adventure Starter that was available on free RPG day this year.  I lucked out.  They had one copy left which I greedily snatched and brought home.

~ At First Glance ~
The free beta download is about 160 pages.  The layout is double column and easy to read.  There is plenty of great art throughout.
Does art need to add to a game?  Not necessarily. But in this case I think the illustrations support the mood or flavor of the game.  And we have some heavy hitters here. Jim Roslof,  Erol Otus, Jim Halloway, Jeff Easley and others. 
Some of the illutrations are direct copies of those found in the Basic set or the Dungeons Masters Guide.  And one of the artists, not sure of the name, apes Tony Ackland's inking style perfectly. And I mean that in the best possible way. You would swear Goodman Games found some old pictures that never got used for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 1st edition.
On that note the game writing also has a gritty, dangerous vibe reminiscent of Warhammer.
I even seperated the printout I made into three little black booklets similar to the "other little white box", Warhammer Fantasy Battles 1st edition.
Easy to read.  Good art.

~ Characters ~
It seems to me DCC is to Basic D&D what Pathfinder is to D&D 3.5.
By that I mean they have taken the concepts of the classes, trimmed a little and focused a little.
Everything is Basic D&D at it's core.  Saving throws are trimmed to Fortitude, Reflexes and Willpower.  Now add a pinch of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. Not much.
I hope that makes sense.
Maybe some examples would help.
~ Luck replaces Wisdom. The Luck modifier can affect critical hits, both by the character and against. It can also be spent for bonuses to certain actions, among other things.  Once luck is spent it does not regenerate, except for a couple classes or by divine (read DM) intervention.
~ Personality replaces Charisma. This is the score used for Clerics, since Wisdom is replaced by Luck.
~ Charcters start at 0 level and have no class. They do roll randomly for an occupation.  An occupation is a general background that provides a basic weapon and one item to trade.  The occupation also acts as the character's skill area.  Simply put, whenever the character tries to do something related to their occupation, the DM may allow a small bonus to an attribute roll.
~ The only way to play a demihuman character is to roll it as your occupation.  That's right, there are no requisite scores.
~ Alignment is a choice that affects some of the options in each class.  Lawful, neutral or chaotic.

~ Clerics can turn creatures that are consideered unholy by their faith, not just undead.  Healing is a class ability, not a spell.  Clerics can pray for Divine Aid, which is basically some small miracle that the DM will create.  Oh, and Cthulhu is mentioned as a deity that neutral clerics may worship.  That pretty much sold me on the game.

~ Thieves can do their standard thiefy stuff.  Your alignment determines what percentages your thief skills start at.  For example a chaotic thief is an assassin and gets a better chance using poison.  It sounds weird but is actually very simple.  Thieves are one of two classes able to regenerate Luck without divine (DM) intervention.

~ Fighters gotta fight.  This one is really cool because it's an answer to the everlovin' feat mess in the D20 system.
Warriors can perform a Mighty Deed of Arms or just Mighty Deed.  A Mighty Deed is an attempt to do something more than just swing to hit.  It could be a disarm, a strike to blind, a trip, a grapple, or any stunt the DM allows.
The player declares what is being attempted.  The DM decides if it's possible.  The player rolls a D20 to hit and another die at the same time for the Mighty Deed.  If the attack hits with the D20 and the die for the Deed is 3 or higher the Deed succeeds. How cool is that?
No more long lists of feats dedicated to specific situations.  Fighters are now basically Jackie Chan!

~ Wizards .  Okay, I haven't read the whole section on magic yet.  Casting a spell requires a kind of skill roll over a difficulty.  The more spells you cast in one day, the more the difficulty increases.  When you rest for the day the difficulty number resets.
Failing or fumbling a spell check can result in something nasty happening.  Once again, similar to Warhammer, in a good way.

Wow. This is rambling on more than I intended.  I may have to cut this "summary" in half.

~ Dwarfs get to declare Mighty Deeds like the fighter. They also have their dwarfy detection abilities.

~ Elves can fight pretty good and use spells. They have heightened senses.

~ Halflings are stealthy and can fight with two weapons better than other classes.  They are one of two classes that regenerate Luck.

The game looks really fun so far. And easy, which is good.
Gonna have to cut this short.
Next Time: Combat

1 comment:

  1. Sounds pretty interesting...maybe we should actually play it some time! :)