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 Post subject: 3d6, in order
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 5:42 am 
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It's interesting how many people accept this, in spite of the fact that they haven't regularly played it this way.

goodmangames wrote:
We've had an entire generation of gamers raised on "roll 4d6, drop the lowest score, and then assign your stats as you see fit." There are some funny comments on Grognardia right now about people surprised at how many "negative modifiers" their characters have in DCC RPG.

Stats in DCC RPG feature a perfect bell curve -- straight 3d6 -- so there should be just as many negatives as positives. It's just that we haven't been used to looking at many negatives for something like 20 years now...
Joseph has identified an interesting facet of the game, and one where apparently he gets a number of comments during playtest sessions. On another thread there was a list of "retro" games and how they handle stat rolling, and not many of them encouraged 3d6 in order.

"3d6 in order" is one of those things that limits players in ways they often dislike, because it tends to force them to play random characters instead of the one they want. (The random background roll has a similar effect, since only a small percentage of characters get to be non-human.)

I know in my own OD&D campaigns we started with 3d6 in order, but moved on after a while because players wanted more control. We played "3d6, arrange to taste" for years.

I'm curious as to whether folks here plan to do attribute rolls by the book or if this is one of those rules in the book that gets "house ruled" away once the game is published.

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 Post subject: Re: 3d6, in order
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 6:28 am 
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finarvyn wrote:
It's interesting how many people accept this, in spite of the fact that they haven't regularly played it this way.

goodmangames wrote:
We've had an entire generation of gamers raised on "roll 4d6, drop the lowest score, and then assign your stats as you see fit." There are some funny comments on Grognardia right now about people surprised at how many "negative modifiers" their characters have in DCC RPG.

Stats in DCC RPG feature a perfect bell curve -- straight 3d6 -- so there should be just as many negatives as positives. It's just that we haven't been used to looking at many negatives for something like 20 years now...
Joseph has identified an interesting facet of the game, and one where apparently he gets a number of comments during playtest sessions. On another thread there was a list of "retro" games and how they handle stat rolling, and not many of them encouraged 3d6 in order.

"3d6 in order" is one of those things that limits players in ways they often dislike, because it tends to force them to play random characters instead of the one they want. (The random background roll has a similar effect, since only a small percentage of characters get to be non-human.)

I know in my own OD&D campaigns we started with 3d6 in order, but moved on after a while because players wanted more control. We played "3d6, arrange to taste" for years.

I'm curious as to whether folks here plan to do attribute rolls by the book or if this is one of those rules in the book that gets "house ruled" away once the game is published.


I think it works fine at level 0 where players get to generate a lot of variety anyway and can't be sure what they'll end up playing.

I would like a point buy system as an option only because it would help me sell the game easier to my group.

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 Post subject: Re: 3d6, in order
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 7:16 am 
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I think it's appropriate for an explicitly one-shot or very short campaign and/or players are up for the challenge of procrustean creative character development (back story, reasons for adventuring, etc.). However, for an explicitly extended campaign (not the kind of one-shot convention play testing it’s largely (exclusively?) had so far), it looks like an unnecessary aggravation. I understand the desire for increasing randomness in the system, but this looks like randomly deciding if your players will have fun or not, which seems counterproductive, if not masochistic. I expect a lot (most?) will house rule it away and not blink twice about the fact.

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 Post subject: Re: 3d6, in order
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:06 am 
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3d6 roll in order sounds good to me to start. I think it will be great fun with the character funnel. I want to play test DCC before considering any different generation method, and I haven't had a chance to run it yet. I think the players will accept it if they are running 0-level peons, and take it as a challenge to survive. Back in the AD&D days we had some variations on roll in order that are a bit more powerful and allow for a little costumizing (like switch two stats) that could be dusted off for higher than 0-level play. And 3d6 roll in order also makes for very fast character generation, because there are no decisions to make.

Point buy is okay. I think it's good for low-mortality, long-term campaigns, because it assures the player a character they want for the long haul and creates party parity.

I find that the roll six stats and arrange to taste is the worst of both worlds. I think it kills the interesting and unusual characters one gets from roll in order, while worst stat is dumped and best goes to prerequite with a blandness like point buy, but without the parity. I've never enjoyed using this method.


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 Post subject: Re: 3d6, in order
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:57 am 
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My experience has been like what Joseph has described: people that wouldn't otherwise touch random generation of stats AT ALL with a 10' pole are willing to do 3D6 in order for a set of level zeroes. The funnel changes the experience in a lot of ways, not all of which I would have anticipated.


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 Post subject: Re: 3d6, in order
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 10:08 am 
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numenetics wrote:
My experience has been like what Joseph has described: people that wouldn't otherwise touch random generation of stats AT ALL with a 10' pole are willing to do 3D6 in order for a set of level zeroes. The funnel changes the experience in a lot of ways, not all of which I would have anticipated.


I'm looking forward to trying the funnel in practice but looking at some of the sample sets generated by this excellent resource, my heart sunk. I can't conceive of enjoying them even if they made it to level 1.

Then I realised that in practice I suppose I could enjoy the red-shirtness of these nebbishes stumbling towards oblivion. After all, another four will be along soon!?

Now I wonder if it would be badwrongfun within the spirit of how you expect the game to be played if a player was to help them to go gentle into that dark night.

Is this a problem?

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 Post subject: Re: 3d6, in order
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 10:44 am 
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Anselyn wrote:
I'm looking forward to trying the funnel in practice but looking at some of the sample sets generated by this excellent resource, my heart sunk. I can't conceive of enjoying them even if they made it to level 1.

Then I realised that in practice I suppose I could enjoy the red-shirtness of these nebbishes stumbling towards oblivion. After all, another four will be along soon!?

Now I wonder if it would be badwrongfun within the spirit of how you expect the game to be played if a player was to help them to go gentle into that dark night.

Is this a problem?


Obivously, personal preferences may differ, but I don't think the enjoyment my players have experienced thus far derives from red-shirtedness; in fact, some of the enjoyment has come from keeping as many as possible alive DESPITE their weaknesses. One thing to keep in mind is that attributes, although more important than in OD&D (for example), are still less important to a character's ability to succeed than in 3.x or 4e.

That being said, I think being able to enjoy playing characters who have significant flaws and/or face overwhelming odds seems to be a prerequisite for enjoying DCC as written. Not to say that some might have fun houseruling it to be more about powerful characters, though.


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 Post subject: Re: 3d6, in order
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:00 am 
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Anselyn wrote:
numenetics wrote:
I'm looking forward to trying the funnel in practice but looking at some of the sample sets generated by this excellent resource, my heart sunk. I can't conceive of enjoying them even if they made it to level 1.

Then I realised that in practice I suppose I could enjoy the red-shirtness of these nebbishes stumbling towards oblivion. After all, another four will be along soon!?

Now I wonder if it would be badwrongfun within the spirit of how you expect the game to be played if a player was to help them to go gentle into that dark night.

Is this a problem?


With the "strength" of level zero PCs, no, it isn't a problem. You could use point buy for 4 PCs per player and I bet the mortality rate wouldn't change. The corpses will just be that much more muscular. :)

(Random thought: you could run an "all noble" 0-level game, where one of each player's PCs is the privileged son or daughter of the upper class (roll 3d6, arrange as you like), sent into the world to earn their place in the family. Roll up a bunch of other 0-level PCs to use as grogs, have the nobles lead from the back, and suddenly you have a very cool dynamic. "The torch bearer got et by them zombies, m'lord!" "Well hire another one, you twit!" But I bet some of the grog underdogs emerge as player favorites.)

What makes the difference in 0-level play is the intelligence and creativity of the players. Your stats won't save you, 50% of the time luck will probably kill you ... all that's left is creativity under pressure.

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 Post subject: Re: 3d6, in order
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:39 am 
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I think 3d6 in order works fine when you create 3 or 4 characters. At least one should be OK. The advanage is that you can't do a "dump state", and end up with all warriors being dumb, or jerks, or etc. One of the ones I rolled had a low agility, but I think he would still be a hoot to play

I created these three:

Pious Pete, religious farmer
Str 12
Agl 12
Sta 9
Per 13 +1
Int 13 +1
Luck 11
Guardian Angel, luck applies to saves vs. traps
Wheat Farmer, Pitchfork(as spear (d8)), Hen
Holy symbol
30 cp
HP 2
AC: 10
Languages: Common, Centaur

-- When I randomly rolled the Holy symbol, I figured if he lives, he'd go priest.

Clumsy Cletus, mighty warrior
Str 15 +1
Agl 5 -2
Sta 14 +1
Per 17 +2
Int 15 +1
Luck 14 +1
Lived through famine: fort saves
Soldier, spear (d8), shield
Crowbar
44 cp
HP 4
AC: 5
Languages: Common, goblin

If I arranged his stats, I'd probably have put hte 5 into Personality. But OTOH, I think it'd be fun to play him as is; sure he's a bit clumsy, so he'll try to get lots of armor. he's also a great leader and pretty lucky

Balin Longbeard, dwarf with a pig
Str 13 +1
Agl 15 +1
Sta 12
Per 9
Int 11
Luck 7 -1
Born on the battlefield: damage rolls
Dwarven Herder, Staff (d4), Sow
Iron spikes
24 cp
HP 3
AC: 11
Languages: Common, Dwarvish


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 Post subject: Re: 3d6, in order
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 12:30 pm 
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ogbendog wrote:
If I arranged his stats, I'd probably have put hte 5 into Personality. But OTOH, I think it'd be fun to play him as is; sure he's a bit clumsy, so he'll try to get lots of armor. he's also a great leader and pretty lucky

I think that this is a great observation! When you get to rearrange the stats you probably start to make every character fit your "ideal" of what a character should look like, but when you get "stuck" with stats you end up playing him in ways you never expected.

At least, that has been the experience of my playtest teams.

Their first reaction is usually to shake their heads and say something about how crummy their dice rolls are, but as they start to play these little guys they tend to grow to love them.

Kind of like hobbits. At first you think they are lazy fat dudes with no potential, but later you realize that they are fun lazy fat dudes with magic rings. :P

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 Post subject: Re: 3d6, in order
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:10 pm 
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My only worry about 3d6 in order and the funnel (and corruption and other things) is long term play. Has anyone run a long term campaign with these rules yet? (And by long-term I mean actually leveling to 2nd or 3rd level with characters who started in the funnel.)


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 Post subject: Re: 3d6, in order
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 4:03 pm 
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jmucchiello wrote:
Has anyone run a long term campaign with these rules yet? (And by long-term I mean actually leveling to 2nd or 3rd level with characters who started in the funnel.)
I've got some playtesters who have reached 2nd level already. None at 3rd yet, however.

So far I don't see any real problem with stats with these characters. Some games like 3E and 4E put a huge emphasis on stats, but DCC has smaller bonuses in general and lower stats don't seem to be affecting play much.

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 Post subject: Re: 3d6, in order
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 7:14 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: 3d6, in order
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 7:40 am 
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Comments from the playtest last night (I'll be posting in Actual Play this evening) were generally, tacitly and tamely okay with the stats. 3d6 in order was a-okay by them.

Which is surprising because most of the players started out from 3e onward. Only one was an active roleplayer in the heyday of 2e. And here's me with my 1981 Basic set...

I digress.

The one comment on the ability scores was around not being able to raise them via Levels. If Joseph is looking for something to add in that might expand out the level progression through the 6-10 range. He might consider adding a few levels where a character can add +2 to an attribute with the caveat that an attribute can not go higher than 18. Or, if it does, there's just no mechanical benefit for it other than damage to that ability won't lower the score below 18 as quickly.


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 Post subject: Re: 3d6, in order
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 8:05 am 
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smathis wrote:
Comments from the playtest last night (I'll be posting in Actual Play this evening) were generally, tacitly and tamely okay with the stats. 3d6 in order was a-okay by them.

Which is surprising because most of the players started out from 3e onward. Only one was an active roleplayer in the heyday of 2e. And here's me with my 1981 Basic set...


This, to me, is the coolest part of DCC. I can't figure out what exactly does it, but in my experience so far it makes players who are not normally okay with old school concepts either accept those concepts or come up with them on their own.


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 Post subject: Re: 3d6, in order
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:07 am 
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numenetics wrote:
This, to me, is the coolest part of DCC. I can't figure out what exactly does it, but in my experience so far it makes players who are not normally okay with old school concepts either accept those concepts or come up with them on their own.


For the group in question, it was me informing them that, even though they may have a -1 in a stat, the DCs for accomplishing their goals remained static. With 20 being the uppermost limit.

That put them at ease because they were initially a little concerned that they'd be wrestling against the same sort of DC inflation we see in 4e. Their assumption was also that stats would increase over time with levels. They were disappointed when I told them that wasn't the case. But I said I'd put it forth in my write-up so that it was out there as a suggestion to improve the game.

I'm ambivalent towards stat increases. But I see their point. And for the most part, I agree. Especially with all the potential for permanent stat damage to the characters. Starting out at 9 STR and barely making it to 6th level with 6 STR and no hope of ever rehabilitating one's self back up to 7 or 8 is fairly bleak.

And I'm not sure it reflects the characters in Appendix N very well. While Appendix N characters didn't necessarily increase in terms of "power" throughout their stories, they certainly didn't significantly decrease either. So some way to increase stats via level isn't out of the meme, IMO.


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 Post subject: Re: 3d6, in order
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 12:22 pm 
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I'm not too sure I'm sold on 3d6 either. I love it when I drag out original D&D, but I'm a long time 1e player, so looking at crappy stats just seems to bother me in DCC. Idk why. I rolled up 4 characters and I really wouldn't want to be stuck with either for a permenant character. It would be a blast at zero level, but at 1st onward, not so much.

S: 8
A: 8
ST: 8
P: 7
I: 6
L: 14

This guy BETTER be lucky.

S: 11
A: 9
ST: 5
P: 13
I: 9
L: 4

Cleric maybe? Dead cleric.

S: 9
A: 13
ST: 8
P: 6
I: 11
L: 10

Thief?

S: 5
A: 7
ST: 3
P: 8
I: 15
L: 12

A mage?

My real life luck stat must suck, crappy stam across the board. The last guy seems most attractive to me. Probably be a mage, but with a 3!! stamina, he's not gonna live very long. That's essentially one hp per level.

I really like the concept of 3d6 in order, but I'm not sold on the actual practice of it.


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 Post subject: Re: 3d6, in order
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 1:00 pm 
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I think in long term campaigns I may allow characters to develop their abilities (ie. hidden potential) but stick to 3d6 to start. Mind you this is nothing major, maybe a chance for a +1 to one ability every 2 levels (it would be easier to increase a low stat, very hard to increase higher ones). Really since it's not even an automatic increase it's really just a small carrot to dangle in front of my players so that they keep trudging along with a loser character. In reality they may not even reach that carrot, they will be lucky to get a total of 2 or 3 points by level 10 to divide amongst their scores. Hardly a large bonus but enough to provide a small light at the end of a tunnel for a real gimp of a character.

Part of the reason I am considering doing this is that I can see us doing lots of one-offs but nothing long term without some extra incentives. Secondly I see adventurers as, on average, just a bit more capable than the common folk. Something in them suggests going on this crazed dungeon romp is a good idea and that they may actually survive (of course many are just delusional about their abilities). I don't want to go the route of the 4d6 so a small bit of hidden potential, that they can only reach at higher levels, gives a nice trade-off in my opinion. It keeps the rawness of low levels and fits with the more heroic feel of higher levels.


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 Post subject: Re: 3d6, in order
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 2:41 pm 
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bholmes4 wrote:
I think in long term campaigns I may allow characters to develop their abilities (ie. hidden potential) but stick to 3d6 to start. Mind you this is nothing major, maybe a chance for a +1 to one ability every 2 levels

Just a wacky idea, off the top of my head ... what if a character could get a +1 every two or three levels (say, at levels 3, 5, 7, 9 or 3, 6, 9 or whatever) and you make those plusses random. Roll a d6 to see which stat the plus goes on.

Or a hybrid:
Level 3 = +1, player choice
Level 5 = +1, random roll
Level 7 = +1, player choice
Level 9 = +1, random roll

Gaining +3 or +4 over the course of 10 levels probably wouldn't be a bad thing, particularly when starting with an unmodified 3d6 stat roll.

Just me thinking out loud.

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 Post subject: Re: 3d6, in order
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 2:57 pm 
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finarvyn wrote:
bholmes4 wrote:
I think in long term campaigns I may allow characters to develop their abilities (ie. hidden potential) but stick to 3d6 to start. Mind you this is nothing major, maybe a chance for a +1 to one ability every 2 levels

Just a wacky idea, off the top of my head ... what if a character could get a +1 every two or three levels (say, at levels 3, 5, 7, 9 or 3, 6, 9 or whatever) and you make those plusses random. Roll a d6 to see which stat the plus goes on.

Or a hybrid:
Level 3 = +1, player choice
Level 5 = +1, random roll
Level 7 = +1, player choice
Level 9 = +1, random roll

Gaining +3 or +4 over the course of 10 levels probably wouldn't be a bad thing, particularly when starting with an unmodified 3d6 stat roll.

Just me thinking out loud.


I like that a lot. I'd be inclined to switch it up like this...

Level 3 = +1 random roll
Level 5 = +2 player choice
Level 7 = +2 random roll
Level 9 = +1 player choice

I'd offer a couple of +2s. I don't see the +1s being that great of an improvement, IMO. Ability bonuses are more spread out. And stats are getting dinged left and right by crits, spellburn and nasty monster attacks. +1s are almost like running to stand still, in a way.


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 Post subject: Re: 3d6, in order
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 3:00 pm 
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There is also treasure in the form of magic items that improve ability scores. They've been around since the dawn of RPGs. Don't be afraid to use 'em!

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 Post subject: Re: 3d6, in order
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 3:07 pm 
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Aplus wrote:
There is also treasure in the form of magic items that improve ability scores. They've been around since the dawn of RPGs. Don't be afraid to use 'em!


And demons. Demons are always willing to trade a trivial 18 in a stat for a human soul or two.


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 Post subject: Re: 3d6, in order
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 3:31 pm 
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smathis wrote:
Aplus wrote:
There is also treasure in the form of magic items that improve ability scores. They've been around since the dawn of RPGs. Don't be afraid to use 'em!


And demons. Demons are always willing to trade a trivial 18 in a stat for a human soul or two.


Even better!

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 Post subject: Re: 3d6, in order
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 5:10 pm 
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Aplus wrote:
There is also treasure in the form of magic items that improve ability scores. They've been around since the dawn of RPGs. Don't be afraid to use 'em!

Keep in mind, however, that Jospeh's concept for magic items is that they be unique and somewhat rare. You probably won't find many "Potion of +1 stat" lying around anywhere. :P

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 Post subject: Re: 3d6, in order
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 5:11 pm 
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smathis wrote:
I like that a lot. I'd be inclined to switch it up like this...

Level 3 = +1 random roll
Level 5 = +2 player choice
Level 7 = +2 random roll
Level 9 = +1 player choice

I'd offer a couple of +2s. I don't see the +1s being that great of an improvement, IMO. Ability bonuses are more spread out. And stats are getting dinged left and right by crits, spellburn and nasty monster attacks. +1s are almost like running to stand still, in a way.

Yeah, that's probably better than mine! 8)

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Marv / Finarvyn
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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