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

If it doesn't fit into a category above, then inscribe it here, O Mighty One...

Moderators: DJ LaBoss, finarvyn, michaelcurtis, Harley Stroh

User avatar
Raven_Crowking
Cold-Hearted Immortal
Posts: 2933
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2012 9:41 am

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

Post by Raven_Crowking » Thu May 24, 2012 6:25 am

Suggesting that something might not scratch your particular itch shouldn't be taken as an insult; no ruleset is for all people.

That said, there is some very good advice here, I think. The limitations of that advice are, of course, our ability to parse out exactly why you are having difficulties.

Some additional advice: Take the sections of the rules you find difficult, then run through them not once, but several times, just to test them out. For example, make up three casters and then run a spell duel with them. If you can get a couple of friends to help out, that's all for the best.

Take those casters, and have them just cast some spells. Roll on the tables; adjudicate the results. Decide what happens.

The idea is to get used to the various parts of the system that you find difficult (or difficult to explain) in a low-stress environment, before trying them out in the higher-stress environment of actual gaming.

Another note re: complexity.

Modern games limit choice by optimizing designer-selected decision paths. If you do X, the system rewards you; if you do Y, you should have done X. The more you "balance" such a system, the more the designer-selected decision paths leap to the fore. This makes play easier, because you can lean on said decision paths, but it can also make play anaemic because players tend to follow those same paths regardless of the fictional situation. This is also a necessity for fine-tuning this sort of "balance", because a plethora of real decisions, and real options, can easily tip the scales in an encounter.

Comments about how these games are "point and click" target the complexity of actual decision-making, as opposed to the complexity of mechanical resolution. There seems to be an exponential rise is mechanical complexity as decision-making complexity is reduced, at least in games like WotC-D&D, as the designers attempt to replace the natural excitement of making real decisions and seeing whether or not they work with excitement over mechanics such as conditions, marks, and key words.

DCC RPG, IMHO, has far more real decision-making complexity than any iteration of WotC-D&D. Excitement over mechanics relies heavily random chance arising from the fiction (as in Mighty Deeds and spellcasting), and the players' attempts to ameliorate that randomness, both mechanically (through Luck and spellburn, for example, or pushing less-desirable characters forward in the 0-lvl funnel) and through smart play (finding ways in the fictional milieu to be at an advantage, to succeed without die rolls, etc. -- the part of the game largely excised by repeated versions of WotC-D&D, and notably also the part they hope to put back in with D&D Next).

So, there you have the "more complex" and "less complex" commentary explained. DCC is more complex in terms of its decision-making requirements for players, and more complex in terms of the flexibility and imagination of the Judge, than is, say, 4e. It is less complex in terms of resolving skills and character abilities in general, although complexity can arise through chance -- but that complexity is not simply "complexity for the sake of complexity", but complexity arising from actual game-changing events, both for good and ill.

Grok that and, I believe, you'll have a lot more fun with this game.
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.

User avatar
GnomeBoy
Tyrant Master (Administrator)
Posts: 3632
Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2006 1:46 pm
FLGS: Bizarro World
Location: Left Coast, USA
Contact:

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

Post by GnomeBoy » Thu May 24, 2012 7:06 am

Another thought occurred to me (since I'm also expecting to have to deal with 'complexity' issues at my own game, whenever that comes along):

What if to start off, you have spellcasting always generate a result of X (whatever number makes sense to you). Spellcasters still have to roll for fumbles, but the spell always reacts the same. Make this part of the plot, and two or three sessions in, a major cataclysm of some sort happens, and magic goes all screwy (or maybe it had been held at bay, and is now 'free' again) -- and you start using the charts as written... Allows for some general getting up to speed with the game, by dropping in elements of the system as the story rolls along. Perhaps there are other sections of the rules that could be suspended at the start and folded back in as the campaign goes along...
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

Blustar
Far-Sighted Wanderer
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Aug 17, 2006 9:17 pm

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

Post by Blustar » Thu May 24, 2012 7:07 am

Karaptis wrote:Please take my comments as tounge in cheek from a gaming geezer. Print out the tables and keep them handy and put a bookmark in the spell section. If the group still hates the game either alter it or go for another. I happen to think this game rules and so do many others if you read the blogs and reviews. The kids may just like this game as much as I like the current MMORPG wannabe 4e or the minmax nightmare of 3.5/pathfinder. Different strokes!

Why was 3.5/Pathfinder a minmax nightmare? In my games, Pathfinder/3.5 was a very streamlined and simple game, How? I didn't let players break the game. ( which could be done in any edition mind you) We had a player who would create an Arcane Winged Ape/ Red Wizard if you let him, but we didn't let him and just laughed at his crazy attempts at power gaming.

THis company made its bread and butter mixing Old School with New school and that was why I was a big fan of their products. Not bashing one side or the other but instead bringing some OS sentiments to a game that really needed it. I think Castle Whiterock proves that Old school can be achieved with 3.5/Pathfinder as well as Rappan Athuk.

I still play Ad&D 1st edition/hackmaster ( my favorite edition of D&D) as well as Pathfinder ( my favorite modern version of D&D) Just like we hand waved confusing and contradictory rules in AD&D like initiative and surprise, I did the same with Pathfinder and it runs smooth and quick.

Why are we trying to drive a wedge between players of different editions when there are many out there, like me, who enjoy the different versions because they are different.

Pathfinder is only a min/max nightmare if you have a weak DM, plain and simple.

I'm really excited about playing DCC RPG because it has that N school vibe with its mechanics supporting random and dangerous magic. ( very much like WFRP, another cool game) Is it simple? I'm sure it will be after a couple of sessions but I know that with spellburn, luck, disapproval, corruption, etc. . .it doesn't sound simple. I want good not simple. If it happens to be good and simple, like Basic D&D then great, but I want something new and original too. I think DCC RPG sacrifices a little simplicity to arrive at a game I'm excited to play.

Everyone seems to be searching for that holy grail game which incorporates simplicity and a streamlined ruleset. It already exists and we've already played it a million times. Basic D&D is about as basic an RPG can get and streamlined without resorting to just flipping a coin.

I don't really care about simple, unified, balanced, old school, new school, etc. . .I want something good and something to titillate my imagination. DCC RPG smells like good to me and I'm all in.

Blustar
Far-Sighted Wanderer
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Aug 17, 2006 9:17 pm

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

Post by Blustar » Thu May 24, 2012 7:10 am

GnomeBoy wrote:Another thought occurred to me (since I'm also expecting to have to deal with 'complexity' issues at my own game, whenever that comes along):

What if to start off, you have spellcasting always generate a result of X (whatever number makes sense to you). Spellcasters still have to roll for fumbles, but the spell always reacts the same. Make this part of the plot, and two or three sessions in, a major cataclysm of some sort happens, and magic goes all screwy (or maybe it had been held at bay, and is now 'free' again) -- and you start using the charts as written... Allows for some general getting up to speed with the game, by dropping in elements of the system as the story rolls along. Perhaps there are other sections of the rules that could be suspended at the start and folded back in as the campaign goes along...

Is it really that hard to roll on a chart and look up a result? This is what makes DCC RPG unique and inspiring. I think it should be a central point of the game and played up from the beginning, it will be in my game. My playes are looking forward to rolling on the charts after I read them a couple entries.

User avatar
GnomeBoy
Tyrant Master (Administrator)
Posts: 3632
Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2006 1:46 pm
FLGS: Bizarro World
Location: Left Coast, USA
Contact:

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

Post by GnomeBoy » Thu May 24, 2012 7:14 am

Blustar wrote:Pathfinder is only a min/max nightmare if you have a weak DM, plain and simple.
Maybe we could be more generous...

Suppose you want to run a game, but all the players you can round up are only happy if they can play that Flying Arcane Red Ape Wizard, or whatever. Do you just not game? Or do you try to make a go of it? This doesn't involve being a weak GM; and I'm sure there are other real scenarios that could lead to such a 'nightmare'.


Also, I'm not saying it's hard to look up something on a chart. But if your players are reluctant to even do it, there may still be ways to get a game going with DCC....
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

jozxyqk
Wild-Eyed Zealot
Posts: 93
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2012 12:55 pm

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

Post by jozxyqk » Thu May 24, 2012 8:17 am

Blustar wrote: Why was 3.5/Pathfinder a minmax nightmare? In my games, Pathfinder/3.5 was a very streamlined and simple game, How? I didn't let players break the game. ( which could be done in any edition mind you) We had a player who would create an Arcane Winged Ape/ Red Wizard if you let him, but we didn't let him and just laughed at his crazy attempts at power gaming.
Blustar, in general I think your post was excellent, but I disagree with your assessment of Pathfinder. Pathfinder/3.5 has a minmax problem because even using the basic rules from the PH, a player who optimizes is vastly, vastly more powerful and has a really different feel than a player who doesn't. I the most recent game I ran, I had one optimizer and three non-optimizers. The optimizer designed a fighter that was like a mobile abattoir for monsters, the other players picked feats and weapons that sounded cool. The result was one player who completely dominated all combat scenarios while the others flailed ineffectually.

I'm not saying the "imbalance" was necessarily a problem -- but it felt weird/awkward as DM to have one player rattling off feat combos etc in combat and doing 50 damage spread among multiple enemies, while the other characters looked on in surprise/bafflement (Non-Optimizer 1: "uh... nice going Optimizer. I swing again with my scimitar and ... miss." Non-Optimizer 2: "Sweet! A crit with my short bow! I do... 4 damage...").

My main problem with Pathfinder, though, was the complexity of character creation/management. There are basically huge performance rewards for a player who spends hours carefully tweaking/planning a character. And even if you weren't optimizing, you still needed a computer program to keep track of all the synergy bonuses, pre-reqs, etc.

smathis
Cold-Hearted Immortal
Posts: 1091
Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 12:52 pm

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

Post by smathis » Thu May 24, 2012 8:42 am

GnomeBoy wrote:Also, I'm not saying it's hard to look up something on a chart. But if your players are reluctant to even do it, there may still be ways to get a game going with DCC....
I've found it's not so much reluctance on the part of players to look up stuff on the charts. It's more the transition from dice roll to chart and back again that slows things down (or possibly confuses them). So a player rolls a 13 on a spellcheck... Looks up what that is... Okay, he has to roll a 1d4 +1... Okay, rolls... Gets a 3... Now where was he on the spell chart again? What was that spellcheck?

THAT is what I've experienced. The easy solution is I keep up with the chart while the player does all the rolling. I can tell the player what happens and describe it dramatically if that is called for. Instead of the player just reading aloud the text on the chart.

It's not that it's complicated. It really isn't. It's just a player losing their place because they're doing 2-3 things after a couple of beers.

I understand Spell Duels but thus far have not used them. We'll see how long that lasts. Spellcasters are a rare breed in both my DCC campaigns and in TA/TG. So the idea of a Spell Duel might be something that happens once in 6 months of play.

I like your idea of starting out with sort of vanilla spell results and then shaking things up. That sounds like a great campaign that could transition D&D players to DCC. I'd recommend reading the result as if the player had rolled 10 + level. Then having them roll a spellcheck to see if they lost the spell, fumbled or got disapproval.

Easy and streamlined right there.

yell0w_lantern
Far-Sighted Wanderer
Posts: 25
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 8:49 am

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

Post by yell0w_lantern » Thu May 24, 2012 9:02 am

Blustar wrote:
Karaptis wrote:Everyone seems to be searching for that holy grail game which incorporates simplicity and a streamlined ruleset. It already exists and we've already played it a million times. Basic D&D is about as basic an RPG can get and streamlined without resorting to just flipping a coin.
Tunnels and Trolls
RISUS
FUDGE
:P

And if it weren't for the encumbrance rules I would put Castles and Crusades on that list, too.

I hear what you are saying though. Probably like many of you, I have a decent library of fantasy RPGs: T&T, C&C, OSRIC, Labyrinth Lord with compendia, Rules Cyclopedia, Palladium 1st Ed, Palladium 2nd Ed, DCC, Hackmaster 4E, Hackmaster Basic, Dragons at Dawn, Compleat Arduin, Arcana Evolved, Spellcratf and Swordplay, Swords and Wizardry, Swords and Wizardry Complete, Middle Earth Role Playing 2E, and Gurps Fantasy (used to have Elric and a few others too) yet not one of them is "perfect". Depending on any number of factors one may interest more today than it does tomorrow. thankfully, I am not in a position where I can only have one.

smathis
Cold-Hearted Immortal
Posts: 1091
Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 12:52 pm

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

Post by smathis » Thu May 24, 2012 9:16 am

Blustar wrote:Everyone seems to be searching for that holy grail game which incorporates simplicity and a streamlined ruleset. It already exists and we've already played it a million times. Basic D&D is about as basic an RPG can get and streamlined without resorting to just flipping a coin.
Hey... You got something against Prince Valiant the RPG??? :lol:

onearmspence
Far-Sighted Wanderer
Posts: 37
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 6:23 pm

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

Post by onearmspence » Fri May 25, 2012 9:34 am

smathis wrote:
GnomeBoy wrote:Also, I'm not saying it's hard to look up something on a chart. But if your players are reluctant to even do it, there may still be ways to get a game going with DCC....
I've found it's not so much reluctance on the part of players to look up stuff on the charts. It's more the transition from dice roll to chart and back again that slows things down (or possibly confuses them). So a player rolls a 13 on a spellcheck... Looks up what that is... Okay, he has to roll a 1d4 +1... Okay, rolls... Gets a 3... Now where was he on the spell chart again? What was that spellcheck?

THAT is what I've experienced. The easy solution is I keep up with the chart while the player does all the rolling. I can tell the player what happens and describe it dramatically if that is called for. Instead of the player just reading aloud the text on the chart.

It's not that it's complicated. It really isn't. It's just a player losing their place because they're doing 2-3 things after a couple of beers.
Hi Smathis

I'm not really sure about your suggestion for the GM to keep up the charts. I mean the charts logic is pretty easy to follow.

0) Roll a spellcheck (Caster lvl + Int modifier)

1) 1st lvl spells success on a roll of 12+ (check the chart)

2) If you roll less than that number you fail and lost the spell (no need to check the chart)

3) Unless you roll a freaking fumble 1. If thats the case you need to roll a d6 + luck modifier. 0 or less means you're f****d!, 1 means you get corruption (roll the dice on the chart), 2 patron taint (or corruption if the wizard doesnt have one), 3 or more misfire.

pretty simple IMO.


Of course some stuff can slow the process like spellburn, mercurial magic or spells that work like a ritual (like invoke patron or find familiar).

For spell burn I suggest an easy path: let the player role play the damm thing and get rid of the charts! (those charts are just guidelines anyway... you as a DM can suggest/or just call for specific sacrifices if the character is invoking his patron or casting a patron spell or calling a patron in the spellburn roleplaying).

A ritual is a special event so its ok if its slow IMO.

As for mercurial magic, just tell the player to write the effect at the end of the spell chart and thats all.

User avatar
Karaptis
Cold-Blooded Diabolist
Posts: 411
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2012 6:24 pm
Location: The end of time.

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

Post by Karaptis » Fri May 25, 2012 10:09 am

I am not trying to drive a wedge with players of different editions. 3.5 was a min max nightmare because it allowed way too many options for heroes to be super at certain things. Does that mean 3.5 sucks? No, it means that when I played it I enjoyed it less than 1st ed (which we both agree was our favorite though Hackmaster got silly with honor and alignment, again different strokes). Given the two editions, 1st edition and basic got scary when a level 1 party ran into an almost equal amount of orcs. 3.5 was like "yawn... Oh look guys orcs!". If you enjoyed it better, then I submit that your players,DM and style of play were probably superior than our group's for the whole 3.5 experience. My group is more 1st ed/basic style (and now DCC)!

smathis
Cold-Hearted Immortal
Posts: 1091
Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 12:52 pm

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

Post by smathis » Fri May 25, 2012 11:57 am

onearmspence wrote:Hi Smathis

I'm not really sure about your suggestion for the GM to keep up the charts. I mean the charts logic is pretty easy to follow.

I get where you're coming from and appreciate the advice. But I'm not sure I'm being clear in describing how I use the spell charts in play.

THE WAY SPELLS HAPPEN IN MY GAMES...

Player (hereafter referred to as "P"): "I'm going to cast a spell"

Me (hereafter referred to as "ME"): "Cool, which one?"

P: "Swarm of Hedghogs"

ME: Awesome. (Either player hands me the book open to the chart or I do a find in the PDF. End result -- I got the chart and we're ready to go). You going to use Spellburn?

P: Yes/No/WTH?

ME: (possibly have a short back-and-forth on Spellburn) Okay, make your spellcheck...

P: I got a 15! (Eagerly awaits to here what happens)

ME: (Maybe rolling a save, maybe not). Mkay... Roll a d6.

P: 4!

ME: Describe how the spell manifests...

P: (This is usually the part that the player LOVES. Basically it's a short narration that the player throws out there. I then take what they've said and spin it towards the result on the chart.)

ME: (Working my mojo and riffing off what the player just gave me...) A black cloud forms across the ceiling as your eyes glow with a pale yellow light in the darkness. Above your opponent a torrential downpour of hedgehogs drop like hail, pelting him with prickly, demonic hedgehogs whose beady eyes glow a molten red. (I mark down that the target took 7 points of damage and loses his action next round. Sometimes the players ask how much damage they did, sometimes they don't).


BEFORE I STARTED TO DO THIS

P: I want to cast a spell.

ME: Okay, go for it!

P: I rolled an 8. Oh, man, I forgot about Spellburn. Can I use it?

ME: Umm... uhh... okay. Just gimme a point of Luck.

P: Cool. Okay, so I got a 12. Alright. It says 1d4 +2 damage and he makes a save or loses his next turn.

ME: Which spell is this?

P: Swarm of Hedgehogs.

ME: Oh okay. What's the save?

P: A Reflex save.

ME: The DC?

P: Umm.... 10 + my level so... 12!

ME: Okay... He didn't make the save.

P: Cool. I rolled a 3 so he takes 5 damage and... (looks back at the chart but forgot his spell rolll) Uh... what did I roll again?

ME: Oh... um... an 11. Maybe a 13. Something around there.

P: Oh! I had the save wrong it was a DC 11 + my level.

ME: He still fails the save.

Other Player: You rolled a 12.

P: Oh, um. (Looks back at the book) Okay. Well I guess I'm done.

------------------------------------

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with the latter. And surely players over time will move from the latter to something more along the lines of the first example. Some are probably already there, just not at my table yet.

I've found the way I do things now to be more evocative and streamlined. It's less work for me than looking up the 3.5 Grapple or Trip rules. So why not?

We all get our kicks in different ways, though. But hopefully this gives a better understanding why I choose to do things the way I do.

User avatar
finarvyn
Cold-Hearted Immortal
Posts: 2482
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 3:42 am
FLGS: Fair Game
Location: Chicago suburbs
Contact:

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

Post by finarvyn » Sat May 26, 2012 1:31 pm

Smathis is wise. While a "by the book" game is more like the second example, once you get used to it you tend to start playing more like the first example.

The key is that DCC is all about creativity. Spells are strange and don't do what you expect. Monsters are strange and tend not to be cookie-cutter generic. Bad guys are often strange and creepy and do things that are unexpected. Be creative and go with it.
Marv / Finarvyn
DCC Minister of Propaganda; Deputized 6/8/11
DCC RPG playtester 2011, DCC Lankhmar trivia contest winner 2015; OD&D player since 1975

"The worthy GM never purposely kills players' PCs, He presents opportunities for the rash and unthinking players to do that all on their own."
-- Gary Gygax
"Don't ask me what you need to hit. Just roll the die and I will let you know!"
-- Dave Arneson

rabindranath72
Hard-Bitten Adventurer
Posts: 112
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 4:21 am

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

Post by rabindranath72 » Mon May 28, 2012 12:57 am

yell0w_lantern wrote: And if it weren't for the encumbrance rules I would put Castles and Crusades on that list, too.
...and the typos, and the errata, and the broken SIEGE mechanics, and... :wink:

Post Reply

Return to “DCC RPG General”