Recently I have become interested in the Dungeon Crawl Classics by Goodman Games. I was aware of their beta playtest, but for the most part I ignored it. I am not real sure why I did not pay it more attention during the beta, but it never really made it any closer than the edge of my radar.
Fast forward just a bit and it the game started to get some activity on various forums and social media outlets as its release date drew nearer. Then people started posting they had received their PDF, then people started posting they had received their actual book. From there more review started happening and my curiosity grew.
Initial thoughts are quite positive. The book is chock full of art and art from that early era of Dungeons and Dragons. The back cover has a quote that sums things up nicely “You’re no hero. You’re and adventurer…”
A group sitting down to play starts at level 0. You don’t start with just one level 0 character, but with three, four or even five characters. Why? Because many of them are going to die as they go through the funnel. The funnel is the adventure that gets ordinary people to go adventuring. Ill-equipped and with hardly anything to their name these adventurers go off to tackle the task at hand – maybe a few will survive. Those that do survive advance to first level where a class is chosen.
The game has the basic classes, Cleric, Thief, Warrior, Wizard, Dwarf (who is very similar to a warrior), Elf (who is like elves of old both martial and wizard in one), and Halfling who has some thief-like tendencies.
Magic is dangerous in this game. Casting even the simplest of spells carries some risk. This risk is what keeps magic from being too commonplace. Magic can corrupt you as the game goes on.
The game also uses funny looking dice. No. Not the funny looking dice we are all used to playing with. To us, d4’s, d12’s, and d20’s are common. DCC RPG uses things like the d3, d7, d14, d16, d24 and others. Dice that I actually did not have in my collection. I remember opening my Basic D&D Box set many years ago and the fond memories of seeing such unique dice. Somehow Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG was able to recapture that feeling.
I intend to take a closer look at Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG in a future posting, so let me move on into my early foray into the game. My son and I (the same one that has GM’ed some Pathfinder) generated up three 0-level characters each to see what that experience was like. It went quite quickly.
Generating characters with truly random stats and such was very refreshing! No agonizing over where to place your ability score points, just let the dice fall the way they will. None of our characters were very extraordinary, but I think we each had our favorite we were hoping to see survive.
Yeah, fat chance of that! We tackled the first adventure included in the book. Being used to more modern games where you characters are “supposed” to survive, six characters felt like plenty.
When we reached the second room and saw two characters die right away we quickly realized we might not have enough characters with us. I think we made it to about the fourth room before we TPK’ed. We loved it. We had a blast playing even if it did result in all of our newly created characters dying.
So this weekend I tracked down a copy of the hardback book (which was harder than one would think) and ordered two sets of those “funny” looking dice. I can’t wait for them to arrive later this week.
If you hold some nostalgia for your initial forays into gaming and those initial forays were back in the late 70’s or early 80’s you need to check Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG out. There will be some fun times ahead!