DCC RPG- having problems getting it to work for me/us.

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DCC RPG- having problems getting it to work for me/us.

Post by goonalan » Sat May 19, 2012 5:37 am

I've been through all editions of D&D and played lots of other stuff besides, now however I find myself with much less time to prep and GM RPG games, a lot of the time I use pre-packaged adventures, which can prove to be disappointing, but that's another thread. I've purchased everything that Goodman Games has produced (more or less- certainly 90%).

At present, and mostly due to time constraints, I play via Maptools- no round the table game. In Maptools it's best to macro everything up before hand- it just saves a massive amount of time.

So I got my copy of DCC RPG and... it's so complex, almost impossible (give the time I have free) to run via Maptools- certainly it would take me a long time to get all the macros right, and get the tables that need to used just to have a Wizard/Cleric in play- then there's a morass of macro programming (or whatever the right word is for writing macros) that take in to account the myriad +/-, spellburn, corruption, spell temp effects etc. I started writing it up but just came to a staggering halt- it would take me an age to prep.

But I wanted to play the game, so I'm a university lecturer, so I've a pool of ready made wannabe players, particularly my Games Design students, so I tried, and baring in mind these guys are degree students, and I taught them 4e D&D in about an hour- we played for a year and new players would just drop in for a session or two and pick it up almost immediately.

So we tried the DCC RPG, and the same guys didn't get it- no that's not right, they loved it but the time it took to get through one guy casting a spell, and it going wrong, and do you want to try to spellburn- what's that again, and then the spell effects... In the end the guy playing the wizard and the cleric were getting barracked for taking so long. Partially this of course is my fault, but I've run (and understood) easily 20 different RPG systems. I found myself furiously flicking through the PDF- reading aloud and then... flicking back through the PDF.

I don't think I'm dumb, I'm not massively intelligent; my students are young (guys- except one), some of them new to RPGs (except electronic games) but- it takes a while to get your head around.

Anyway we played three short sessions- short because we only get 2 or so hours to play, the 0th level adventure I ran was a hoot and all the survivors I automatically gave 10 XP to- this took 1.5 sessions. Then the PCs leveled up and and we just ground to a halt, the second session ended in confusion- with me trying to explain how spells work- and the Wizard guy just not getting how or why the spell he was casting (I don't remember the actual spell but it was something dumb like Ropework, or Read Magic) would have such a varied effect and why would he cast it if... Anyway, there were issues.

In the third session we ended up in a counterspell situation- and it took so long to get through it, more page flicking and reading aloud, that the other players got a little fractious. The upshot was after two hours- and still in the same encounter we just closed the book and gave it up as a bad job (for us that is- not the game itself)

So I went away, never having experienced this kind of thing before (although I remember Rolemaster and Merp made my head itch a little) I re-read as much as I could of the rule book again, and came to the conclusion that although it's beautiful, and a great idea- I don't know how to play the game (House Rule it) to make it a quicker, and more easy to run.

Has anyone experienced anything similar, is there a way out of this conundrum? Any advice for making it a little more streamlined- I found myself having to print out at least a dozen little handbooks- one for each spell, the corruption tables, a book of critical tables (for each PC and the monsters), and... well, as I say, a lot of little handbooks just to save me having to keep squinting at the PDF on my PC.

I get that it gets easier as you go on- as I say, been doing this since 1979- but my players want to go back to 4e- 'it's loads easier to play' is the most common complaint- the players complete questionnaires after each session- as I say they're on a Games Design degree, we review and talk about everything we play. DCC RPG in three sessions became something only I wanted to play.

I tried them on an OSRIC style RPG afterwards and they loved that- it was just so quick to play, and easy to grasp.

Is it me, is it them, is it DCC RPG, is it the fact that they just want a quick game, is it too complex, is it that they're too young and raised on a diet of electronic RPGs?

Help!

Advice, pretty please.
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https://the-points-of-light-campaign-d- ... /main-page

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The Seven Dwarves, go here-
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Re: DCC RPG- having problems getting it to work for me/us.

Post by GnomeBoy » Sat May 19, 2012 5:55 am

There's a lot to address there, and I'm not going to try it all right now, but...

The bit about the wizard player not groking why the spell would be variable... It sounds like the concept of playing a spellcaster in DCC did not make it from the book through you to him. If they are coming off of 4e, DCC wizards are a radical re-think of what a wizard is... They don't grab magic by the throat and tell it what to do -- they beg, borrow or steal it from a higher power. That higher power sometimes toys with them, sometimes makes them pay a high price for access to magic. Sometimes wielding magic can make a wizard nigh unbeatable, but that higher power is always lurking, and always has strings attached.

In short, I have to ask, how much flavor was presented before and during these sessions? The rules have their wrinkles to be sure, but they are there for flavor. If your group just wants to kick in doors, kill monsters and take their stuff, that's totally cool -- but DCC is not the game for (just) that...

Maybe if you had some assigned reading (Leiber, Howard, Vance, et. al.) and then played some DCC, they might enjoy it more...


One more thought: strip out anything that you don't grasp off the bat, and add it in when you get more at home in the rules. We did it in 1979, why not now?
Gnome Boy • DCC playtester @ DDC 35 Feb '11. • Beta DL 2111, 7AM PT, 8 June 11.
Playing RPGs since '77 • Quasi-occasional member of the Legion of 8th-Level Fighters.

Link: Here Be 100+ DCC Monsters

bygrinstow.com

Kuruz, Mendicant, N • AC 8, 4 hp • R-1, F0, W0 • S9 A8 S9 P11 I16 L8
Zend, Grave Digger, L • AC 9, 3 hp • R-1, F0, W1 • S14 A6 S9 P13 I13 L6
Mercer, Outlaw, N • AC 12, 2 hp • R0, F-1, W1 • S7 A9 S6 P13 I8 L13
Dejah, Ropemaker, C • AC 10, 2 hp • R0, F1, W-1 • S8 A12 S15 P7 I11 L7

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Re: DCC RPG- having problems getting it to work for me/us.

Post by Karaptis » Sat May 19, 2012 6:25 am

First off before we debate, no one here thinks your an idiot or less intellegent (especially in my case). My group has yet to make a spell duel situation happen but I am sure it will take some page flipping to do so. What exactly was complicated about the spell casters besides counterspells? This seems less complicated than 4e or 3.x. Don't print the spells out for them either, keep them guessing after they roll dice. You look it up and tell them the result. Try it that way, trust me, it is far more fun to keep players in the dark on certain rules and spellcasting is suppose to be quirky for the caster not knowing if they will destroy an opponent or sprout a tentacle out of their ass.

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Re: DCC RPG- having problems getting it to work for me/us.

Post by Colin » Sat May 19, 2012 6:33 am

I'd need more information before I could make some truly solid suggestions keyed to your experience and playstyle. How much had you familiarized yourself with the ruleset? Did you give the spellcaster players copies of the rules they'd need, to read themselves beforehand? Did you explain how much DCC departs from D&D in approach, use of magic, etc. (quite radically so in some cases) beforehand? Did you have the reference sheets printed off? Did you have the few spells the spellcasters had, printed off ready to reference?

I find it's not so much complex (not even remotely, to be honest; it relies on good old fashioned GM judgement for a lot of it) as it is "random-heavy", and that means that it's incredibly, incredibly useful to have any relevant tables, etc. ready at your fingertips. It's also a real departure from D&D in several key areas, certainly enough to throw off folks who start play without really grokking that beforehand. I liken it to D&D, Call of Cthulhu, and WFRP1e-2e thrown into a blender.

If some of the rules are taking a bit to wrap your head around, have you tried running those rules by yourself, to become familiar? Or creating a basic flowchart?

Oh, and hello from a fellow educationalist; I'm a teacher myself.

cheers!
Colin

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Re: DCC RPG- having problems getting it to work for me/us.

Post by Raven_Crowking » Sat May 19, 2012 6:38 am

I would suggest that you start with the recommended funnel....You will get a session in which you don't have to worry about spells at all. Moreover, the funnel should set up expectations about game play, and how you are going to run things.
SoBH pbp:

Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.

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Re: DCC RPG- having problems getting it to work for me/us.

Post by Colin » Sat May 19, 2012 7:26 am

Raven_Crowking wrote:I would suggest that you start with the recommended funnel....You will get a session in which you don't have to worry about spells at all. Moreover, the funnel should set up expectations about game play, and how you are going to run things.
He already did, RC; he specifically mentioned running them through the 0-level adventure (over 1.5 sessions), that it was fun, and then the survivors leveled up to 1st-level which is when the game ground to a halt due to difficulties with spellcasting and counterspell.

Colin
Last edited by Colin on Sat May 19, 2012 7:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: DCC RPG- having problems getting it to work for me/us.

Post by goonalan » Sat May 19, 2012 7:27 am

GnomeBoy wrote:There's a lot to address there, and I'm not going to try it all right now, but...

The bit about the wizard player not groking why the spell would be variable... It sounds like the concept of playing a spellcaster in DCC did not make it from the book through you to him. If they are coming off of 4e, DCC wizards are a radical re-think of what a wizard is... They don't grab magic by the throat and tell it what to do -- they beg, borrow or steal it from a higher power. That higher power sometimes toys with them, sometimes makes them pay a high price for access to magic. Sometimes wielding magic can make a wizard nigh unbeatable, but that higher power is always lurking, and always has strings attached.

In short, I have to ask, how much flavor was presented before and during these sessions? The rules have their wrinkles to be sure, but they are there for flavor. If your group just wants to kick in doors, kill monsters and take their stuff, that's totally cool -- but DCC is not the game for (just) that...

Maybe if you had some assigned reading (Leiber, Howard, Vance, et. al.) and then played some DCC, they might enjoy it more...

One more thought: strip out anything that you don't grasp off the bat, and add it in when you get more at home in the rules. We did it in 1979, why not now?

Apologies but I don't know the word 'groking', I think it means knowing or understanding from my reading of the above.

We only have two hours together, every week or more likely every other week. These guys are not 4e hardened, of the 20+ students who have played in the various games I've run then all but two of them had never played a P&P RPG in their lives- the two had played one or two sessions of D&D.

There's one gaming group/club in Grimsby- it's home to 6-10 40+ year olds who can spend an entire evening arguing about grapple checks, otherwise I know very few people who P&P roleplay, and I ask... and ask... and ask- and have been doing so for a dozen years.

As to flavour- I read and sent them a series of flavourful hand outs prior to gaming- not loads, just enough (as I say we like to game).

I get what you're saying about magic, and that was my line- the opposing team however were of the opinion that casting a spell could lead to PC death, corruption and/or some other nasty stuff that seemed a little random and haphazard- why cast spells at all. Of course that was their opening opinion- we obviously worked our way through that, but still...

I love the idea of assigning them reading- I do that for the units I teach, and there's almost no guarantee that it will get done- as a pop quiz at the start of the academic year I ask each class I teach (over 9 different degree subjects) what books they have read this year so far (and many other questions). The most common answer from the game designers was- none.

These are guys who spend (actually) more time electronic gaming than any other activity, in fact they spend more than 50% of their week (all hours toted up gaming and/or messing around with PCs). In fact when a new 'cool' game comes out then half of the class will just be missing for a week.

I get stripping it out but the guys get a vote and they've voted to curtail DCC RPG at this time alas.

Thanks for the advice.
My 4e Campaigns over at Obsidian Portal, check them out-

Points of Light, go here-
https://the-points-of-light-campaign-d- ... /main-page

The Goodman Gang, go here-
https://the-goodman-gang-campaign-d-d-4 ... /main-page

The Seven Dwarves, go here-
https://the-seven-dwarves.obsidianporta ... /main-page

My 5e Campaigns over at Obsidian Portal, check them out-

They're all here-
https://the-european-union-d-d-5th-edit ... /main-page

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Re: DCC RPG- having problems getting it to work for me/us.

Post by goonalan » Sat May 19, 2012 7:37 am

Karaptis wrote:First off before we debate, no one here thinks your an idiot or less intellegent (especially in my case). My group has yet to make a spell duel situation happen but I am sure it will take some page flipping to do so. What exactly was complicated about the spell casters besides counterspells? This seems less complicated than 4e or 3.x. Don't print the spells out for them either, keep them guessing after they roll dice. You look it up and tell them the result. Try it that way, trust me, it is far more fun to keep players in the dark on certain rules and spellcasting is suppose to be quirky for the caster not knowing if they will destroy an opponent or sprout a tentacle out of their ass.
I think the big thing was we had a crit fail early on that lead to a lot of page turning, it was in the third session and I think the first spell from the Wizard- it took us an age to get through it- I made mistakes, we didn't add this modifier to the dice and had to backtrack a while and at the end of it all the Wizard's spell did damage to several of the other PCs in a fight that was already proving difficult. The consensus from the players was that the Wizard should just not cast any spells- the PC tended to agree.

Note the PCs did not have the possible results sheet for their spells, only the flavour and crunch specific to range, duration etc.

It didn't help that the Cleric at this point had failed to cast something like five spells in a row...

I'm honestly not getting the less complex than 4e, 4e in comparison is point and click- that's my POV, and certainly the PCs attitude.

Again 4e is the only iteration of D&D all but two of the guys have played, so that's their comparison not the greatest game ever- we stopped playing 4e because it was samey same though.

Thanks PDR
My 4e Campaigns over at Obsidian Portal, check them out-

Points of Light, go here-
https://the-points-of-light-campaign-d- ... /main-page

The Goodman Gang, go here-
https://the-goodman-gang-campaign-d-d-4 ... /main-page

The Seven Dwarves, go here-
https://the-seven-dwarves.obsidianporta ... /main-page

My 5e Campaigns over at Obsidian Portal, check them out-

They're all here-
https://the-european-union-d-d-5th-edit ... /main-page

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Re: DCC RPG- having problems getting it to work for me/us.

Post by goonalan » Sat May 19, 2012 7:47 am

RAD Colin wrote:I'd need more information before I could make some truly solid suggestions keyed to your experience and playstyle. How much had you familiarized yourself with the ruleset? Did you give the spellcaster players copies of the rules they'd need, to read themselves beforehand? Did you explain how much DCC departs from D&D in approach, use of magic, etc. (quite radically so in some cases) beforehand? Did you have the reference sheets printed off? Did you have the few spells the spellcasters had, printed off ready to reference?

I find it's not so much complex (not even remotely, to be honest; it relies on good old fashioned GM judgement for a lot of it) as it is "random-heavy", and that means that it's incredibly, incredibly useful to have any relevant tables, etc. ready at your fingertips. It's also a real departure from D&D in several key areas, certainly enough to throw off folks who start play without really grokking that beforehand. I liken it to D&D, Call of Cthulhu, and WFRP1e-2e thrown into a blender.

If some of the rules are taking a bit to wrap your head around, have you tried running those rules by yourself, to become familiar? Or creating a basic flowchart?

Oh, and hello from a fellow educationalist; I'm a teacher myself.

cheers!
Colin
I printed off and distributed as much as I could prior to the final session- prior to that we didn't need any rules or spells hand outs because the first two sessions were level 0 sessions. The players don't have a D&D bias, except for the fact that they've played 4e- see above, they get their RPGs refs from electronic games, not P&P.

Again 'grokking'- not sure, hang on I'll look it up-

Grok means to understand so thoroughly that the observer becomes a part of the observed—to merge, blend, intermarry, lose identity in group experience. It means almost everything that we mean by religion, philosophy, and science—and it means as little to us (because of our Earthling assumptions) as color means to a blind man.

Oh, okay.

As to your final suggestion- that's what I've just been doing for the last week, reading it all back through again- I get it but I do need to write it all down, and the ad lib section is a bit beyond me I think- I was constantly dreading the Wizard casting, I think summon animal because then I'd have to work out just what got spawned, their stats- HP, attacks etc.

I think part of this is I've been running 4e campaigns (still am), and although we've had to House Rule it to the nth degree the prep time is almost nada for me, and that's building Maptools adventures- in one evening I can put together at least 4 sessions worth of material- including any possible on the fly situations.

I think the players have been playing a dumbed down RPG (4e) and have got used to it, likewise I think I've got used to not having to do so much work on crunch and instead devoted my time to lovely fluff & flavour- the transition is a little daunting.


Thanks again.
My 4e Campaigns over at Obsidian Portal, check them out-

Points of Light, go here-
https://the-points-of-light-campaign-d- ... /main-page

The Goodman Gang, go here-
https://the-goodman-gang-campaign-d-d-4 ... /main-page

The Seven Dwarves, go here-
https://the-seven-dwarves.obsidianporta ... /main-page

My 5e Campaigns over at Obsidian Portal, check them out-

They're all here-
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Re: DCC RPG- having problems getting it to work for me/us.

Post by GnomeBoy » Sat May 19, 2012 7:56 am

I will admit I'm reading between the lines. One upshot of reading between the lines is that, if I'm wrong, it becomes clear what more could be said to make the situation clear.

If the main interest, gaming-wise, of the players is computer RPGs, well, that's generally all about leveling-up, collecting more power, squeezing more power out of your skill set, etc. It also involves getting called names if you have arranged your character's abilities in a certain way 'because it sounded cool' and thus not optimized your character in the same way that everyone else optimizes that same class (maybe that's just stuff that happens to me). In short, electronic RPG is heavy on the Power Without Complications.

DCC is heavy on the complications, because that leads to more story...

It sort of sounds like they aren't in a mindset for DCC.

If this situation were put before them, what would happen...?
The newly-leveled-up group has just escaped the funnel/dungeon. The soon-to-be wizard player(s) have a tome of eldrich knowledge, collected therein, that they start pouring over. Suddenly, a 40-foot tall, blue-skinned abomination appears before them (and the rest of the group) and offers them all the power in that book, if they swear allegiance to him... They will become his scouts, heeding his desires as and when he calls, and in return, can venture down a path to tremendous power...


Another thought experiment: Create a short adventure with pre-gen high level characters. Maybe that would show them where they can arrive, if they start from the funnel up, giving them the perspective to make the journey...

P.S. I'm sorry about throwing in 'grok' -- I just assumed everyone's read Heinlein/Stranger In A Strange Land.
Gnome Boy • DCC playtester @ DDC 35 Feb '11. • Beta DL 2111, 7AM PT, 8 June 11.
Playing RPGs since '77 • Quasi-occasional member of the Legion of 8th-Level Fighters.

Link: Here Be 100+ DCC Monsters

bygrinstow.com

Kuruz, Mendicant, N • AC 8, 4 hp • R-1, F0, W0 • S9 A8 S9 P11 I16 L8
Zend, Grave Digger, L • AC 9, 3 hp • R-1, F0, W1 • S14 A6 S9 P13 I13 L6
Mercer, Outlaw, N • AC 12, 2 hp • R0, F-1, W1 • S7 A9 S6 P13 I8 L13
Dejah, Ropemaker, C • AC 10, 2 hp • R0, F1, W-1 • S8 A12 S15 P7 I11 L7

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Re: DCC RPG- having problems getting it to work for me/us.

Post by goonalan » Sat May 19, 2012 8:01 am

Raven_Crowking wrote:I would suggest that you start with the recommended funnel....You will get a session in which you don't have to worry about spells at all. Moreover, the funnel should set up expectations about game play, and how you are going to run things.
As the other poster said, I did- we had one and a half sessions of 0th level play- I think 16 PCs were laid to rest over 6 encounters- in part it was hilarious, particularly in the first session when there was something like 12 players each with two PCs- don't worry I can handle large groups, I've been doing it for the past dozen or so years. They figured out the high casualty rate, I think two guys lost both of their PCs in the first encounter- note three of them were farmers- one mounted on a pig as I remember.

The problem was 0th level play was incredibly simple to play and funny- expectations were high, we actually came to our first halt when the PCs levelled up and I started to distribute the various hand outs and explain the additional rules (in particular the spells, corruption, spellburn etc).

Play thereon was a stop/start affair in which the spell casters in particular felt like they were having to do a lot of work for not much return- as above, the Cleric failed to cast something like five spells in a row, in fact I'm not even sure in 1.5 sessions of play we actually had a spell work to any great effect... oh I think a Read Magic did its job in the third session. Part of it was the Wizard (with longsword) was convinced it was infinitely safer to use his sword, when we finished the player was of the opinion that he would try a suicidal charge into melee and get himself killed so that he could come back as a Dwarf or a Warrior.

This is the guy who loves playing Wizards.
My 4e Campaigns over at Obsidian Portal, check them out-

Points of Light, go here-
https://the-points-of-light-campaign-d- ... /main-page

The Goodman Gang, go here-
https://the-goodman-gang-campaign-d-d-4 ... /main-page

The Seven Dwarves, go here-
https://the-seven-dwarves.obsidianporta ... /main-page

My 5e Campaigns over at Obsidian Portal, check them out-

They're all here-
https://the-european-union-d-d-5th-edit ... /main-page

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Re: DCC RPG- having problems getting it to work for me/us.

Post by goonalan » Sat May 19, 2012 8:26 am

GnomeBoy wrote:I will admit I'm reading between the lines. One upshot of reading between the lines is that, if I'm wrong, it becomes clear what more could be said to make the situation clear.

If the main interest, gaming-wise, of the players is computer RPGs, well, that's generally all about leveling-up, collecting more power, squeezing more power out of your skill set, etc. It also involves getting called names if you have arranged your character's abilities in a certain way 'because it sounded cool' and thus not optimized your character in the same way that everyone else optimizes that same class (maybe that's just stuff that happens to me). In short, electronic RPG is heavy on the Power Without Complications.

DCC is heavy on the complications, because that leads to more story...

It sort of sounds like they aren't in a mindset for DCC.

If this situation were put before them, what would happen...?
The newly-leveled-up group has just escaped the funnel/dungeon. The soon-to-be wizard player(s) have a tome of eldrich knowledge, collected therein, that they start pouring over. Suddenly, a 40-foot tall, blue-skinned abomination appears before them (and the rest of the group) and offers them all the power in that book, if they swear allegiance to him... They will become his scouts, heeding his desires as and when he calls, and in return, can venture down a path to tremendous power...


Another thought experiment: Create a short adventure with pre-gen high level characters. Maybe that would show them where they can arrive, if they start from the funnel up, giving them the perspective to make the journey...

P.S. I'm sorry about throwing in 'grok' -- I just assumed everyone's read Heinlein/Stranger In A Strange Land.
I think this is it-

It sort of sounds like they aren't in a mindset for DCC.

Not particularly the mindset but all they've experienced RPG wise has either been the uncomplicated world of electronic RPGs, which they don't need rule books for- or any hand outs at all. The transition to P&P has been difficult for some of them, sort of a 'why would I...' attitude. That said the rewards have up till now outweighed the effort.

We played Paranoia which they mostly didn't get but the game itself- with one of them ordering the others to do press ups, me bringing in a megaphone and a mini-game which involved them finding clues I'd hidden earlier in books in the university centre's library (for many of them the first and only time they have entered this mysterious chamber) was awesome.

0th level play of DCC RPG has some of that.

Savage Worlds and OSRIC did what they said on the tin.

4e D&D they just got- it was by far the easiest game to pick up and play- I use 4e all the time (and analogies in class) because it (sorry WOTC) mimics many electronic RPGs.

I may try the high level option but my fear is that's going to take a lot more work from me (more time than I want to spend on the off chance I can make it work)- as I said at the start I've been playing for, hang on, since 79- that's 33 year. In that time I've obviously run a fair few campaigns- the thing that irks me most about many RPGs (with some obvious exceptions), particularly D&D, is the amount of DM time it requires to prep at high level. My fear is high level Wizards and Clerics in play will require me and the players to have many more hand outs- and rules at the ready, the players seem not to be able to cope with the few they have now- particularly the spellcasters.

Sorry if that seems negative, I feel the need to say this again- I own every Goodman Games DC module and have DMed easily 50% of them, the Sellswords of Punjar series I've run three times alone- I ran a group for three years (to level 12) that only played Goodman Games modules (3.Xe D&D). I'm not knocking Goodman Games- I love the work these guys do, my bed side reading at the mo' is Doom of the Savaged Kings, and it's ace- Harley Stroh thanks again, but I'm seriously thinking about how to convert it to something easier, which at this moment in time seems to be a much easier prospect.

Last thing, Heinlein I've read, but that was probably 25+ years ago- I'm an english lit major (in US speak), I don't alas spend as much time as I'd like in these (and similar) forums- I'm jargon-lite.

Cheers PDR
My 4e Campaigns over at Obsidian Portal, check them out-

Points of Light, go here-
https://the-points-of-light-campaign-d- ... /main-page

The Goodman Gang, go here-
https://the-goodman-gang-campaign-d-d-4 ... /main-page

The Seven Dwarves, go here-
https://the-seven-dwarves.obsidianporta ... /main-page

My 5e Campaigns over at Obsidian Portal, check them out-

They're all here-
https://the-european-union-d-d-5th-edit ... /main-page

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Re: DCC RPG- having problems getting it to work for me/us.

Post by Warduke » Sat May 19, 2012 9:31 am

No one game is the holy chalice of RPG. To state the obvious, It's cool if folks don't like the DCC RPG, or if other systems appeal to them. The DCC RPG delivers a pretty specific vision and flavor, which - I dare say - doesn't appeal to the overwhelming majority of pen and paper gamers today, but that is overwhelming appealing to a certain minority of gamers.

To wit, the DCC RPG will never be winning an Ennie, I'll stake my lucky d20 on it.

I don't think Goonalan has a problem we can solve, or that it's necessarily even a problem. It's just a different set of expectations. Life is too short to play a game that doesn't work for your group.
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Re: DCC RPG- having problems getting it to work for me/us.

Post by goodmangames » Sat May 19, 2012 9:41 am

Goonalan, where are you physically located? Just curious.
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Re: DCC RPG- having problems getting it to work for me/us.

Post by reverenddak » Sat May 19, 2012 10:02 am

Hi, and welcome to the forums...

I'm going to focus on one thing that seems to stand out, spells. Spells in DCC are not like spells in any other version of D&D or their clones. My group LOVES casting spells. Yes, there is a pause when it comes to casting them because the have to be looked up, but just like crits, fumbles, disapproval and corruption. That "looking up" process is a moment of tension and anxiety. Everyone shuts up and holds their breath, and when the effect happens, it's usually either amazing or really funny. When a magic user says they're going to cast a spell, they have to get used to being prepared to cast it. So they should have their chart ready, know their mods, and roll.

Lots of modern games (especially 4e) really focuses on predictability (yes, like a video game.) But DCC really focuses on the chaotic nature of random effects and on the strengths of having a Judge in the first place. I almost think Maptools is the problem. DCC RPG is not, and never will be, suited to be run automatically (and this is where 3x & 4e go wrong.)

You should try running DCC RPG with a white-board program and video/chat like G+. Lots of Old-school games are run this way because of the free-flowing nature of old-school games. Maptools seems way over-kill for DCC RPG.
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Re: DCC RPG- having problems getting it to work for me/us.

Post by oncelor » Sat May 19, 2012 10:38 am

I've run three sessions of DCC with a new group of players and I found it easier not to play with all the rules at first. I taught the warrior about how his mighty deed die works and gave him three deed effects to use as a starting point (knock-backwards, disarm, defense). Taught the thief about the skill table and backstab. Taught the cleric about healing, turning evil creatures, and gave him a print out of the paralysis spell -- which is fairly easy to understand. I gave the wizard printouts of sleep and magic missile. I told them not to worry about corruption for now. We're not using very many of the combat modifiers, nor the dice-chain. We introduced critical hits and fumbles in the second session. In the third session I introduced the rule for burning luck (I introduced the luck rule when one of the characters tried to high dive 200' into a shallow lake.) The spell casters are now eager to get their full complement of spells, and one of them was motivated enough to read the section on spell burn on his own.

If I start a new group again, I think I will write a small "quick-start guide" to playing each class that I can pass out at the table.

I have played using Map Tool regularly for a few years now, and I think it could be made to work with the DCC system pretty well. Heretofore I've used it only for 4e and Pathfinder. In Map Tool I use very light campaign frameworks that I write myself; with those systems we keep track of all the feats and spells and other fussy bits using the electronic equivalent of pencil and paper. We could easily do the same thing with DCC, gradually adding the DCC charts a few each session.

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Re: DCC RPG- having problems getting it to work for me/us.

Post by Raven_Crowking » Sat May 19, 2012 10:43 am

RAD Colin wrote:
Raven_Crowking wrote:I would suggest that you start with the recommended funnel....You will get a session in which you don't have to worry about spells at all. Moreover, the funnel should set up expectations about game play, and how you are going to run things.
He already did, RC; he specifically mentioned running them through the 0-level adventure (over 1.5 sessions), that it was fun, and then the survivors leveled up to 1st-level which is when the game ground to a halt due to difficulties with spellcasting and counterspell.

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Re: DCC RPG- having problems getting it to work for me/us.

Post by Raven_Crowking » Sat May 19, 2012 11:11 am

goonalan wrote:
Raven_Crowking wrote:I would suggest that you start with the recommended funnel....You will get a session in which you don't have to worry about spells at all. Moreover, the funnel should set up expectations about game play, and how you are going to run things.
As the other poster said, I did- we had one and a half sessions of 0th level play- I think 16 PCs were laid to rest over 6 encounters- in part it was hilarious, particularly in the first session when there was something like 12 players each with two PCs- don't worry I can handle large groups, I've been doing it for the past dozen or so years. They figured out the high casualty rate, I think two guys lost both of their PCs in the first encounter- note three of them were farmers- one mounted on a pig as I remember.

The problem was 0th level play was incredibly simple to play and funny- expectations were high, we actually came to our first halt when the PCs levelled up and I started to distribute the various hand outs and explain the additional rules (in particular the spells, corruption, spellburn etc).

Play thereon was a stop/start affair in which the spell casters in particular felt like they were having to do a lot of work for not much return- as above, the Cleric failed to cast something like five spells in a row, in fact I'm not even sure in 1.5 sessions of play we actually had a spell work to any great effect... oh I think a Read Magic did its job in the third session. Part of it was the Wizard (with longsword) was convinced it was infinitely safer to use his sword, when we finished the player was of the opinion that he would try a suicidal charge into melee and get himself killed so that he could come back as a Dwarf or a Warrior.

This is the guy who loves playing Wizards.
My bad there. I read the OP, then went away, read some responses, went away, read some more responses, and responded myself without looking back at the OP. :oops:

It sounds to me like your players had a string of bad luck with their die rolls related to spells, so they never got a chance to see how cool they can be. When I started with the Beta, I was concerned that casters were going to get shafted by the limitations on spellcasting (max spell levels, corruption, misfire), but I see things somewhat differently now.

Casters are going to add complication, and it is actually a wise caster who waits for the opportune moment to cast a spell. Magic is supposed to work as it does in Appendix N fiction, and in those stories few and far between are the casters who throw spells willy-nilly. Casters can and should be prepared to Spellburn when they need a spell, and they can and should be prepared to use other methods when other methods will work. If they have a halfling in the party, don't forget that the halfling can burn Luck to aid the caster...and the halfling can recover the Luck burned as well! Likewise, the caster can burn his own Luck if need be....

I'd try to get into a DCC RPG game as a player, see if you like it from that perspective, and then, if you do, recall what made it fun for you while running it, and try to bring that to the table. If you find that you don't enjoy if from a player's perspective, the odds are that this isn't the game for you. And that's all right.

(That said, you can simply change the magic system, too, in all sorts of ways. An easy one might be that, on a natural roll of 2-10, the caster gains an additional bonus to his roll equal to his caster level...i.e., gains the caster level bonus twice. This would reduce failures without increasing high range effects, making the caster move toward the median.)

Good luck with whatever you decide!

RC
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Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.

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Re: DCC RPG- having problems getting it to work for me/us.

Post by Colin » Sat May 19, 2012 11:33 am

goodmangames wrote:Goonalan, where are you physically located? Just curious.
He said he's from Grimsby, which combined with his turn of phrase, makes me fairly sure he's in England like me (allowing for the fact that it's not uncommon for places in the US and the Commonwealth to be named after the original British locations).

cheers!
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Re: DCC RPG- having problems getting it to work for me/us.

Post by thogard » Sat May 19, 2012 12:49 pm

goonalan wrote: ... casting a spell could lead to PC death, corruption and/or some other nasty stuff that seemed a little random and haphazard- why cast spells at all.
Well, yes! Magic is not chemistry; it's something very special, and there are great risks involved in making the universe bend to one's will. DCC has me seriously itching to play a wizard, which hasn't been appealing to me since about 1985.

To comment more broadly, it seems to me that your non-reading gamers are of a fairly specific mindset. They are used to video games and 4e DandD which, to me, comes off as a video game ported to the tabletop. As aspirant designers, their perspective is rules-up, not concepts-down. They're training to build game environments from elements of coded possibility.

DCC is, in my view, about taking cool ideas and developing a shared narrative, in a framework flexible enough to encompass just about anything the players can attempt. I think it works better if the attitude at the table is more "Let's try this" and less "What are the rules constraints?"

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Re: DCC RPG- having problems getting it to work for me/us.

Post by goonalan » Sat May 19, 2012 2:20 pm

Thanks for all the replies, I'll take on board all that you've said, just a little bit of feedback to some of the posters.

I'm in Grimsby UK, there are very few gamers here- I was born here, went away for 20 years and now I'm back- I've advertised places, taught people how to play various RPGs and took advantage of my students good nature all to get a game going (of anything). I'm in my mid 40's, my (student) players are 18-21- we're of a different mindset at times.

It has been incredibly hard to get any games going around here, particularly with increasing time pressure (job, family etc.) so I've been forced out onto Maptools for the past five or so years- I've had a steady (and ongoing) group game on Maptools with the same guys for pretty much all of this time.

Ahem, back to DCC RPG, my tabletop (student) game suffers in that it's 2 hours or so every week or so, with little or no opportunity for us to get together before hand- and yes I send stuff but it quite often doesn't get read- whatever the game we're playing. When the guys turn up they want to kick ass and take names, and they RP with gusto too- particularly as they're all in the same uni class and have known each other as (electronic) gamers in the area for years before hand- what I mean to say is there's no fear of acting the jack ass, they RP good, regardless of the rules system.

We've played through a bunch of systems- they're doing a Electronic Games Design degree, there's much to learn (and admire) from P&P RPG systems, they get that. They are however very rules-lite folk, as stated in one of my earlier responses- I asked how many books they had read this year, the favourite answer was none- they're the audio-visual generation. A supplementary question I asked was how many game manuals have you read this year- the answer was a universal (I think) none. Furthermore only two of the 20+ students have ever played a P&P RPG previously- those two one or two games of 3.x D&D.

Of the responses, and thanks again for taking the time, the one that struck a chord was the one from oncelor- I think if I go again the DCC is going to need a slow entry- a bit at a time, and some sort of very short intro pack for the players, by class- and I'd better make it funny, that way there's a chance they'll read it. I think I need to bleed the rules in slow.

To those that said DCC RPG is not like... I get that, I think the thing was the 0th Level Funnel compared to the 1st Level game was a big jump for a lot of the players.

Reverenddak you said something about Maptools being the problem, let me reiterate- at times without Maptools I wouldn't have a game, certainly the only regular game (due to time, and lack of players etc) I've had in the last five years has been via Maptools, I can't change that- I can't fix that, that's the reality.

You should try running DCC RPG with a white-board program and video/chat like G+. Lots of Old-school games are run this way because of the free-flowing nature of old-school games. Maptools seems way over-kill for DCC RPG.

I'll have a look at these but my Maptools players are tech guys, we build our own frameworks, and some of them are lush- the ludology, the playing of maptools is also very cool. My players coo over some of the maps, I guy rejoined our group after a year away approx. three weeks ago- he said he wanted to show me the things that had kept him sane through his 1 year D&D hiatus- he sent me a batch of screenshots he'd taken of his PC in game with piles of dead monsters around him. My point Maptools is my friend, it's our friend- I'd pay hard cash money to keep on using it, such is my like and need.

Raven you said-

Casters are going to add complication, and it is actually a wise caster who waits for the opportune moment to cast a spell. Magic is supposed to work as it does in Appendix N fiction, and in those stories few and far between are the casters who throw spells willy-nilly. Casters can and should be prepared to Spellburn when they need a spell, and they can and should be prepared to use other methods when other methods will work. If they have a halfling in the party, don't forget that the halfling can burn Luck to aid the caster...and the halfling can recover the Luck burned as well! Likewise, the caster can burn his own Luck if need be....

I'd try to get into a DCC RPG game as a player, see if you like it from that perspective, and then, if you do, recall what made it fun for you while running it, and try to bring that to the table. If you find that you don't enjoy if from a player's perspective, the odds are that this isn't the game for you. And that's all right.

I get the appendix N, I grew up there- my players (students) didn't and have probably never read any of these books, they're 18-21 and don't read books- and this isn't a phenomena, as I said previously I teach on 8-9 different degrees, I would say at least 75% of my year 1 Film & TV students answered none to how many books have you read this year, Art & Design almost as many. My point people read a lot less books, that's all, and the books they have read- Harry Potter and Twilight win by a massive (massive) margin.

I can't get in to a DCC RPG, unless I make the game there isn't one in Grimsby, and believe me I ask around, post notices etc. hence me having to reach for Maptools.

The reason I'm asking these questions is in a perfect world I'd have a table full of guys and gals, who have read appendix N, and who were up for DCC RPG- I'm a fan I tell ya. But I've not got that, and if I try again- which I seriously would like to, then I need to make some changes (slow accumulation of rules as mentioned in previous post seems favourite).

Thanks again, I'll keep reading here, and take another look at DCC RPG in the hope that I can conjure up some simple guides et al to help my students out- I'll tell them one of their grades depends upon them getting this, that might work.

Cheers PDR
My 4e Campaigns over at Obsidian Portal, check them out-

Points of Light, go here-
https://the-points-of-light-campaign-d- ... /main-page

The Goodman Gang, go here-
https://the-goodman-gang-campaign-d-d-4 ... /main-page

The Seven Dwarves, go here-
https://the-seven-dwarves.obsidianporta ... /main-page

My 5e Campaigns over at Obsidian Portal, check them out-

They're all here-
https://the-european-union-d-d-5th-edit ... /main-page

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Re: DCC RPG- having problems getting it to work for me/us.

Post by Raven_Crowking » Sat May 19, 2012 2:30 pm

Make four 0-lvl PCs if you want, jump in here (http://unseenservant.us/forum/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=523), level them up in what is a fairly low-time-requirement way, and make a caster if you like. Obviously, this is an invitation, not a demand!

In any event, I do wish you good luck with DCC or any other game you pursue!

I wish I had a better answer to your difficulties.
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Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.

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Re: DCC RPG- having problems getting it to work for me/us.

Post by Karaptis » Sat May 19, 2012 5:05 pm

Alright I have to say it.... THESE DAMN KIDS!! These punks and their video games! Try Atari Adventure! That is video questing at it's best! Eat that Warcraft! Back in my day we rolled a twenty sider and our DM looked at a table. What do these punks know of weapon speed or weapon type vs armor worn! Let me at em... LET ME AT 'EM!!

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Re: DCC RPG- having problems getting it to work for me/us.

Post by onearmspence » Sat May 19, 2012 7:13 pm

Raven_Crowking wrote: I wish I had a better answer to your difficulties.
The issue seems to be (again) the funnel and the transition to 1st lvl characters. (An issue that you discuss at your blog)

I just finished the funnel I was running and while it was awesome! It wasn’t very successful at building "the class" part of the character. So I decided to end the session like an episode "some years has passed since the last time you placed a foot on this rotten land..." and just leveled up the characters.

The idea behind the funnel as quoted in the book is to pursue "an even playing field through randomization rather than complexity" in which "There are essentially no opportunities for min-max play" IMO this is something that works great but story wise seems to lead to the issue that some of us have experienced with the transition from 0 to 1st lvl. As you pointed in your blog it does require a different kind of adventure design, one that requires more work than it seems... at least if we care about character building.

a 0 lvl Adventure is a different beast.

My suggestion to the op is (as he states that he find himself with much less time to prep and GM RPG games) to just get rid of the funnel and start with 1st lvl characters. This will not solve the problems with Magic but will help you to deal with it on the first session of the game (also avoid complex rules like magic duels).

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Re: DCC RPG- having problems getting it to work for me/us.

Post by Ogrepuppy » Sat May 19, 2012 8:26 pm

I'm pretty outspoken, so I'll address the elephant in the room:

You're trying to get players who have ZERO APPRECIATION FOR or EXPERIENCE WITH the source material (both Appendix N and 1970's D&D) to play a highly story-driven game (err, once you get past all the tables and charts). They're accustomed to the "point-and-click-iness" of D&D4E, which relies less heavily on story and is designed to be easy to play practically as soon as you crack the spine of one of the Player's Handbooks. My point? Sometimes you simply can't fit a square peg in a round hole. It's just that easy.

You only have 2 hours to play a week? Look for a more streamlined game, and play the hell out of that.

It reminds me of music today: Tell 18 year olds that The Beatles and David Bowie influenced The Pixies....and they don't even know who The Pixies are, let alone The Beatles or Bowie! (This is staggeringly offensive to me.) Autotune has ruined vocalists' talent for all generations to come. Rap has made people lazy regarding the subtle art of lyrics.

Younger generations have less interest in, and regard for, what came in the past, and they want what's EASY. They simply don't care, or understand, why it'd be fun to have a wizard cast a spell that could potentially hurt the other player characters as much as the enemy. "That'd make things hard for us....so, just don't cast any spells. EVER."

As much as I want you to support the DCC RPG, it may not be the game for your group (which is a conclusion I think you've already reached). And that's OK. So play something they like, instead. You can't instill respect for what came in the past into a person by shoehorning it into their brains.

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