Hello there! I am a new user to this forum, having joined just last night. And while I had the DCC RPG rulebook for a whiled now, I haven't had the opportunity to play it yet. Still, I enjoyed reading it a lot, and it seems that I will finally get the opportunity to try it out in the next few months. Because of that I was writing a few house rules and new spells/magic items/whatnot to use with the game. So, I am posting the two house rules I came up with up to now, hoping you guys can discuss them a bit. Maybe I am not seeing some unintended consequence, or maybe you have better ideas about how to accomplish the same thing.
My first houserule isn't so much of a new rule, but just an alteration as to how the deed die works. Now, the effectiveness of a deed is no longer dictated (but still influenced) by the die. Instead, it is dictated by the deed itself. The die just determines if the fighter can pull it off or not. For example, suppose a very strong barbarian wants to throw a boulder at a dragon's gullet right as the monster begins to inhale for its fiery breath. Now, since the monster isn't expecting anything of the kind, considering humans merely annoying ants, the DM could set the difficulty for the deed as 4, meaning the warrior needs 4 or more on his deed die. Then, the DM and the player would discuss how effective the deed is. The player might suggest that the stone will cause some damage and get lodged on the dragon's throat, stopping any breath attacks until it takes a round to spit it out (maybe with a con test). The judge might then also add that a roll of 6 or more would cause the dragon to choke and asphyxiate until he takes the time to take the stone out.
The reason for this rule is because I wanted player creativity and ingenuity to be much more important than the die roll. Players may still perform very might deeds that can change the tide of a fight, but they need to rely on having a really good idea for that. On the other hand, this also means that once a character has a good idea, he can work on its execution to make it work better. That is, he can change the variables to make it more easy to accomplish. In the above example, maybe the party's mage could cast an illusion spell so the rock looked like the barbarian, jumping toward the dragon's head. If the ploy was successful, the dragon would try align his head with the illusion (so the barbarian gets the full impact of his breath). Thus, maybe the difficulty would be lowered to 3 or maybe even 2! Or maybe the party thief will sneakily climb the dragon's back (which is a pretty impressive deed in itself) and stab its eyes right as the barbarian throws the stone, causing it to scram in pain and not see what is coming his way. On the other hand, maybe the dragon has some way to know what the party is thinking. In that case, the difficulty of the basic feat might be increased to 5 or maybe even 6. Maybe the party should find a way to hide its thoughts before facing the dragon.
The second change I want to make is removing the concept of known spells and adding back memorization, or preparation if you will. Now, I understand that wizards already got lots of toys to play with, so that being able to know all spells is a pretty big deal. But I really dislike the idea of a maximum number of known spells. It just seems silly a wizard can't learn a new spell he found until he gets another level, just like it would be silly if a fighter couldn't get a new magic weapon until he got enough experience to level up. I know this can be explained away as an intricacy of how magic works, but this kind of magic can stop a lot of what I consider fun about the wizard class, such as hoarding magical knowledge and learning a specific spell just for an special situation. So, here is what I am planning to do:
The known spells statistic for wizards and elves (I suppose for the clerics too, though I need to give them some more thought) become "spells prepared". At any time, a character can't have more than that number of spells ready to be cast. Anytime a character finds a complete description of a spell (or pieces one together), he may spend the time and money (in related experiments) to learn it. I don't have a full system ready, but I think learning time should be exponential to the level. So, like a first level could take 1 week to learn. A second level spell could take a month, a third level spell takes 4, and a fourth level takes an year and a half. This learning time could be greatly reduced based on the caster's level and on his specializations (a level 10 necromancer who rolled really well on his specialization roll probably can learn a 5th level necromantic spell in half a month, instead of 6 years).
Once a character learns a spell, he knows the basic forces that rule its usage. He will never need to learn it again (unless his memory is tampered with). However, he still probably needs his notes (unless he, for some reason, is able to memorize the entire contents of a thick book. And that is for second level spells) to prepare the spell. Still, even if he lost all his notes, a caster who learned a spell could probably recreate the spell with a bit of work (way less than needed to learn it, though). It is my intent that finding spells to learn, and then deciding on which to actually spend time on be a really big deal. Specially for high level spells, which can only be learned on a timely manner by those who specialized in that kind of magic.
Well, so what does it mean that a character has prepared a spell? In my game, in order to cast a spell, the mage must create or do something of mystical significance. This thing will power the spell energies that the mage needs to draw on to cast his magic. If a caster rolls the lost spell result, his preparation is undone. One interesting aspect of this is that if the preparation is physically undone, he also loses access to the spell. Each individual spells has its own preparation forms, which are randomly decided once the spell is found. For example, for the magic missile spell, I have these 3 up to now:
Preparation - Roll 1d3: (1) The wizard needs to hit the bullseye of a target in some sort of competition with some sort of stakes. It doesn't need to be much, a few silver pieces or regional renown are enough for this spell.The spell remains prepared as long as the arrow remains on the target, and losing the spell causes the arrow to fall down. (2) The sorcerer needs to inscribe a small sheet f glass with the appropriate runes for the spell. If the glass is broken, tarnished or written over, the spell is lost. However, if the wizard decides to unprepare the spell, or just loses it due to a bad roll, the sheet is merely wiped clean, being possible to reuse it. (3) The wizard merely needs to intone the magic words promising a worthy target to whatever forces or spirits rule over the spell. However, the first thing the wizard kills with his spell will have the magic missile lodge itself in its heart. The spell will remain prepared as long as the missile is there, and the missile will fall off if the wizard unreadies the spell. Either way, the creature will come back to life once this is done. If the magician loses the spell before he kills anyone, he needs to kills someone with some other ranged means (either mundane or magical). Otherwise, the next ranged attack against the caster will automatically be a critical success.
These preparations become more complex and elaborate at higher spell levels. So, the stuff to ready a magic missile is rather easy. A glass of sheet may cost a bit, but it can be reused. And the wizard merely needs a few nights at an inn to hit the bullseye (well, he will probably want to buy the target later, or bring his own ,but still, no big deal). On the other hand, stuff like Fecund Fungi could require that a number of fungi man chant a special song, including the mage's name in it, at all times. How the mage would accomplish this is probably an adventure in itself. Control fire might require an everburning coal, a mystical material made from trees with more than 1000 years through some secret alchemical process, to be inscribed with runes and placed on a dwarven forge (or a similar hot fire).
Casters can only have as many spells prepared as they would have spells knwon. They can, at any time, unprepare a spell so they can prepare another, but to later get the unprepared spell back, they would need to go through all this work again. This can, I think, create a lot of interesting hooks, both when dealing with spellcasting PCs and with spellcasting NPCs.
Finally, a caster may ready the same spell more than once. This has two effects. Frst, it makes the spell easier to cast (I am thinking of giving either +1 or +2 to die roll per memorization). Also, the spell ccan, of course, be lost more than once. Finally, if the spell is memorized enough, corruption, miscasts and patron taint may be avoided. I am not sure how many is enough for each yet, though. To make things a bit more interesting, spells can't be prepared more than once in the same way at any one time. So, to prepare a magic missile spell thrice, the caster would need to do all 3 of the preparation procedures above. This means that the mage would need to find different versions of the spell, or come up with his own.
So, sorry for the long post, but do you guys have any thoughts, opinions or criticism to the above house rules? Thanks in advance.