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 Post subject: How the dice tell the story
PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:45 am 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

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Okay, so I thought I would share a couple of examples showing how DCC's quirky rules create opportunities for the dice to tell the story in interesting ways.

I love the fact that what we essentially have in DCC is a super-lite rule system with a variety of tweaks and tables that make for some great narrative unpredictability, and some truly memorable moments.

Play Session 2
We were playing Doom of the Savage Kings, after having done Portal as a Level 0 adventure.

Firstly, we were in a hurry in our second session, so we just dived into play, and the L1 Wizards/ Elves agreed it would be fun to roll their mercurial spell effects on their first casting of a spell rather than roll in advance. Maybe this was a bad call? You decide. It certainly saved us some time, as some characters died before ever casting any spells :o

We recorded luck modifiers at time of learning the spell, in case they changed during play. So our Elf had a luck modifier of -2. Maybe you're only supposed to add positive luck modifiers here, I don't know. Think about it - if a character has a -2 luck mod, they essentially have about a 10% chance of rolling 'at great cost' as their mercurial effect! Look it up now...

So our Elf casts a spell, and gets 'at great cost'. We don't have much of a backstory for him, but we know at least that the other characters count as people that he knows, so I rule that this spell results in the death of the unluckiest party member. Haha, that Elf was not popular, but our funnel adventure had only been about 50% fatal, and that still meant we had quite a few L1 characters knocking about, so I figure that's a great way to prune the party! He wasn't allowed to cast that spell again...

But on our interpretation of how to apply modifiers, remember, the Elf has a 10% chance of getting 'at great cost' on all of his new spells. Thoughts on this interpretation of the rules welcome. This is a good reason for unlucky characters not bothering to level up as spellcasters, I suppose!

He goes for another spell, rolls under 10, and kills another party member. Or maybe the spell failed, or something, but would have killed someone otherwise. At this point, the party decides the Elf is too dangerous to stay alive. Even their first encounter with the Hound was not as fatal as this guy. So they turn and attack him, and that player decides (perversely) that his other characters are going to defend their Elf friend. The rest of the play session results in a massed battle between party members and ends in total character death for that player. He took it very well, and rolled up another batch of level zeros. It was pretty funny.

Session 3 (Hound of Hirot spoilers below)

We got properly into Doom of the SK in this session (pretty much went through the lot in about four hours).

A variety of interesting events meant that when the characters finally faced the Hound in its lair, they didn't have any of the useful kit. They turned down the crone's offer, unsurprisingly, but also had pretty much bailed out of the tomb of Ulfheonar after a nasty encounter with the ghouls gave them the Fear, so they didn't have the spear either.

One character had actually spent his time digging up corpses and weaving his own thread from their hair, which I thought was pretty enterprising, but the other players didn't much go for his plan, and then in the final encounter he flopped a few rolls and basically ended up slapping the Hound about a bit with a dirty old rope. Again, pretty funny. Also, I haven't got much time to go into it, but some amusing level 0 character generation rolls meant that quite a lot of cheese ended up being involved in this fight, to little useful effect.

So, at great cost to the party, the Hound's hit points were gradually being whittled down, but I was getting ready to see the characters' faces when the Hound they thought they'd slain turned up again next session. Then the Dwarf player has the excellent idea of pinning the Hound with her own spear - this is without really knowing anything about they spear they could have found.

As GM, I was in two minds about how successful this move should be, given that they had not managed to find the magical spear that should have pinned the Hound.

The dice made the decision for me. The Hound had 7 HP left. The Level 1 Dwarf rolls a natural 20 on her action die and a 3 on her Mighty Deed die. How could I quibble that this wasn't the right spear? The Dwarf impales the Hound in a leaping strike that will be the stuff of drinking songs for centuries to come, and the session ends on a real high.

I love this game.


Last edited by Dagonazrael on Sun Jun 24, 2012 1:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: How the dice tell the story
PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 12:25 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2012 7:59 am
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Dagonazrael wrote:
I love the fact that what we essentially have in DCC is a super-lite rule system with a variety of tweaks and tables that make for some great narrative unpredictability, and some truly memorable moments.


+1 for this. I think you have described DCC's appeal to me, all in that sentence very well.
I love the unpredictability of the game. It is quite refreshing to play a game like this and has resulted in some of the best gaming experiences I have had.


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 Post subject: Re: How the dice tell the story
PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 12:30 pm 
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Dagonazrael wrote:
I love the fact that what we essentially have in DCC is a super-lite rule system with a variety of tweaks and tables that make for some great narrative unpredictability, and some truly memorable moments.
A fantastic observation. When you look at the total number of rules in the book there are a lot fewer than most people think, with the spell taking up a third of the book. It is a very lite rules system.

The unperdictability is, to me, a real bonus since a particularly good or bad roll can make for memorable moments in gaming.

Nice story!

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DCC Minister of Propaganda; Deputized 6/8/11
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DCC RPG playtester 2011, C&C playtester 2003,T&T since 2003,
ADRP Since 1993, 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


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 Post subject: Re: How the dice tell the story
PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 12:35 pm 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

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Yes. A third of the book is spells, then there is a double page spread on skills. A double page spread! This is a bold, deliberate and amusing design choice.


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