DCC RPG Undead Monsters

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Renshai
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DCC RPG Undead Monsters

Post by Renshai » Thu Jun 21, 2012 3:55 pm

So, I was looking through DCC RPG and I was wondering, what is the game's take on level drain? I notice that the Shadow drains strength like it always has. I do not, however, see any examples of spectres, wraiths or vampires.

How are you going to handle this in your game? I've never liked level drain much, so I was thinking of just having stat-drain like the shadow.
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Galadrin
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Re: DCC RPG Undead Monsters

Post by Galadrin » Thu Jun 21, 2012 4:07 pm

I think stat drain is ultimately more interesting, so I will probably use that for the most part. However, there is a chaos sword in the book that drains XP, if I recall.

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Re: DCC RPG Undead Monsters

Post by bill4935 » Thu Jun 21, 2012 4:11 pm

Keeping with the "avoid the ordinary" theme of the game, I'd replace each monster's level drain with a different ability, each one with as much macabre flavor as I can pack in. Since there's enough monsters out there to prevent players ever encountering the same monster twice, after a while each new undead being would be incredibly frightening - you wouldn't know what could happen to you, or how to recover...
  • a Spectral Eidolon could drain a character's soul. Food doesn't taste as good, emotions aren't as vibrant, experience isn't gained as rapidly as the others. Dogs lunge at you, and babies cry when you're around. Only cured by crushing a rare "soul pearl" in fine wine and drinking it.
  • a bite from the Lord of Nightstriders would cause a ragged wound that never heals. Blood loss is swift, and it seems like more blood flows out in an hour than a human body possesses. A distant cathedral is rumored to hold a relic, the ancient bandages of the Nightstriders' Bane, Emara the Virtuous...
  • for low-level characters: the first adventurer struck by the dirty claws of the green-slime-ghoul contracts a bizarre wasting infection - one random limb withers and exudes a repulsive monster-attracting stench. Cure? The cure is to roll up a new character. In my day, we didn't have Restoration spells for sale at every dungeon-side shrine. You took it like a real dwarf and kept swinging that hammer. Consarned kids!

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bitflipr
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Re: DCC RPG Undead Monsters

Post by bitflipr » Thu Jun 21, 2012 4:31 pm

You could also try something like age drain. It seems like it could present interesting mechanics and roleplaying opportunities.

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finarvyn
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Re: DCC RPG Undead Monsters

Post by finarvyn » Fri Jun 22, 2012 3:23 am

Galadrin wrote:I think stat drain is ultimately more interesting, so I will probably use that for the most part. However, there is a chaos sword in the book that drains XP, if I recall.
I agree. I tried stat drain years ago in an OD&D campaign and have never looked back. (A guy was playing a monk and encountered a wraith. Not knowing what it was, he succeeded in two barehand attacks in the first round. Rather than have him lose levels, I drained strength from him. Lesson learned.)

Levels are so hard to come by and I hate to have players lose them because I like to keep the whole party at the same level, but stat drain is cool because they feel like something really has been taken from the character that they don't typically lose in other RPGs.
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Ravenheart87
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Re: DCC RPG Undead Monsters

Post by Ravenheart87 » Fri Jun 22, 2012 4:07 am

The more complex the game is, the more I hate level drain. Loosing levels, recalculating attributes is a pain in the ass, especially on the fly during combat.
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finarvyn
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Re: DCC RPG Undead Monsters

Post by finarvyn » Fri Jun 22, 2012 4:41 am

Ravenheart87 wrote:The more complex the game is, the more I hate level drain. Loosing levels, recalculating attributes is a pain in the ass, especially on the fly during combat.
Well, this is certainly true. I guess the question becomes: which is the easiest to do in the heat of battle?

Level drain requires that you scale back hit points and for wizards spells known. Attribute drain means a deduction of some bonuses. Attribute drain seems like the lesser of two evils, game mechanics wise.

The alternative would be to remove all draining ability of un-dead, which seems like it would also remove much of the fun (and scariness) of those monsters.

Just my two coppers.
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Re: DCC RPG Undead Monsters

Post by smathis » Fri Jun 22, 2012 4:57 am

My answer is that I'll be using the Vampires, Spectres, Wraiths, etc. in Transylvanian Adventures.

They don't do level drain. Some do stat drain. But the "energy drain" type of attack does something other than dropping characters a level or eating up their XP.

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Re: DCC RPG Undead Monsters

Post by Ravenheart87 » Fri Jun 22, 2012 5:02 am

My other problem with level drain is that it's just a waste of time. It's not even funny, like petrification and some save or die effects.

Drained a few levels? Oh damn, that's annoying... Well, I'm going to level up again, it only takes time.
Drained a point of strength? Holy sh*t I've lost a point of strength!
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Re: DCC RPG Undead Monsters

Post by smathis » Fri Jun 22, 2012 5:39 am

Ravenheart87 wrote:My other problem with level drain is that it's just a waste of time. It's not even funny, like petrification and some save or die effects.

Drained a few levels? Oh damn, that's annoying... Well, I'm going to level up again, it only takes time.
Drained a point of strength? Holy sh*t I've lost a point of strength!
Yeah. It's not only a pain to de-level a character. It's also a pain to get that level back. One thing I've noticed is that DCC characters level at an old-school pace. That's not a complaint. But the games I've run it seems the characters walk away from an adventure with 10-15 XP. That can be anywhere from 3-4 adventures to get from Level 1 to Level 2. That could mean 6-12 sessions of gaming.

Again, not a complaint.

But it points out how levels are something that is earned. And having them taken away really sucks and not in a fun way like that bad guy took the magic book we needed to stop the dragon and now we have to go get it back and make him sorry for it.

This is especially true when levels are more precious and take a little longer to acquire. In the early '80s, I had a Magic-User in Basic/Expert that legitimately made it to 5th level. I thought that character was a minor deity.

Level drain not okay.

And your other point holds even truer. Players I've run/played with see stat drain as far more of an immediate threat. Whereas level drain is a de-protagonizing annoyance.

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bitflipr
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Re: DCC RPG Undead Monsters

Post by bitflipr » Fri Jun 22, 2012 7:17 am

A nice alternative to level/xp/ability drain with undead monsters is to employ some sort of aging affect instead. I think it works well theme wise. It can provide some nice roleplaying hooks and could affect mechanics if you allow it to.

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Re: DCC RPG Undead Monsters

Post by smathis » Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:04 am

bitflipr wrote:A nice alternative to level/xp/ability drain with undead monsters is to employ some sort of aging affect instead. I think it works well theme wise. It can provide some nice roleplaying hooks and could affect mechanics if you allow it to.
I like that suggestion. It also lends itself towards stat drain in a very thematic way.

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Re: DCC RPG Undead Monsters

Post by TheNobleDrake » Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:13 am

I plan on using, extremely rarely, some varieties of un-dead monster that do actually drain XP - but I am keeping that as XP drain not level drain. Nothing in the whole world of gaming is more obnoxious and heartbreaking than actually having to reduce your character's level.

The plan is simple: Mechanically, the XP are removed, slightly prolonging that character's time spent at their current level. As for the flavor - the creature's attack is not one that affects harm to the body, but is one that "chews" upon the character's mind, nibbling on choice bits of emotionally charged memory... making the character's memories jumbled and unclear for a time (everything being "back to normal" once the previous XP total has been reached again).

For the most part however, I plan to do what so many others have said where the typically level draining enemies are concerned - hit 'em in the abilities... even though I have one player who is pretty vocal with frustration every time an ability point fades from his character sheet - but that is because he is basically incapable, apparently, of realizing the difference between the natural consequence of his choices and my ill will (if your AC sucks and you insist on being on the front lines, you are going to get hit).

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