Designer's Blog #1: What It Is, And What It Isn't

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Designer's Blog #1: What It Is, And What It Isn't

Post by goodmangames » Tue Jan 04, 2011 8:39 pm

What It Is, And What It Isn’t

What if Gygax and Arneson had access to the Open Game License when they created D&D? What if they spent their time adapting thirty years of game design principles to their stated inspirations -- rather than creating the building blocks from scratch? What if someone were to attempt just that: to immerse himself in the game’s inspirations and re-envision the output using modern game design principles?

That, in short, is the goal of the Dungeon Crawl Classics role playing game: to create a modern RPG that reflects D&D’s origin-point concepts with decades-later rules editions. For many years I have been a fan of old-school gaming, the history of TSR, and the lore of Appendix N, as reflected in many of the products I’ve published. When Dungeon Crawl Classics #1 appeared on shelves way back in 2003, Goodman Games and Kenzer & Company were the only publishers of “old-school” products. Over the eight years since, the “Old School Renaissance” has blossomed, and now a host of high-quality product lines and thriving communities offer “old-school” products. A subject of some controversy has been the proliferation and originality of “retro-clones”: is it enough to simply re-hash the past? Where my DCC modules once did just that -- dwell in a rosy-toned version of early-era D&D game style and art direction -- the Dungeon Crawl Classics Role Playing Game goes much further. This is not a retro-clone: this is a re-imagining.

There is a lot to cover regarding DCC RPG, and in the next eleven months we’ll cover all of it. But let’s start with the basics. For those of you who have not read the various con reports and blog commentaries over the last year, this diary entry may be your first exposure to the game. Therefore, for this first designer’s diary, I’d like to establish the record on a couple basic facts. Here’s what the DCC RPG is, and is not:

It is not a retro-clone.

It is an OGL game.

It uses a rules engine derived from the 3E d20 system.

It is not compatible with 1970s/1980s D&D rules.

It plays like a 1970s OD&D session.

It is generally compatible with other d20-derived systems.

It does not include complexities like attacks of opportunity, prestige classes, feats, or skill points.

It does not utilize miniatures or a grid-based combat system.

It utilizes races as classes -- you can be a warrior, or an elf.

It utilizes six ability scores, including one called Luck.

It is built on the assumption that some characters will die.

It is built on the assumption that the strongest characters will provide long-term campaigns.

It is built for low-level, mid-level, and high-level play.

It does not require that you start at 0-level (though doing so is fun).

It does not use the traditional D&D spell system associated with memorizing spells.

It uses spellcasting rules influenced by the foundational authors of swords & sorcery.

It uses a Vancian magic system…if you use the term “Vancian” to mean “based on a reading of Vance’s original works,” not “what D&D does.”

It is grounded in the fundamentals of Appendix N.

It is a proud descendant of a long tradition.

It is an opportunity to showcase outstanding art in a classic fantasy style.

It is lots of fun to play.

It primarily uses the conventional dice suite: d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, and d20. Most combat and spell checks are resolved with a d20 roll.

It also utilizes Zocchi dice. All of them. Including the d5, d7 and d24.

It is, in my humble opinion, a version of what D&D could have been, if the early pioneers had access to an existing, robust rules engine to which to adapt their Appendix N inspirations, instead of dedicating their energies to building the foundational blocks from scratch.

It is, as Harley described it early on, “pre-D&D swords & sorcery.”

That’s all for now. Next time: more on, pre-D&D swords & sorcery -- or, Brought to You by Appendix N…
Joseph Goodman
Goodman Games
www.goodman-games.com

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Re: Designer's Blog #1: What It Is, And What It Isn't

Post by joela » Tue Jan 04, 2011 10:34 pm

Enough talk. Release the playtest rules! :mrgreen:
What do you mean no?

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Re: Designer's Blog #1: What It Is, And What It Isn't

Post by Geoffrey » Tue Jan 04, 2011 10:41 pm

This sounds very promising.
Click here to purchase my five AD&D modules.
Each of these modules is self-contained. No other books are required other than the three AD&D rulebooks (or a similar set of rules if you prefer).
Click here to purchase prints of Luigi Castellani's cover art for these modules.

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Re: Designer's Blog #1: What It Is, And What It Isn't

Post by darjr » Wed Jan 05, 2011 9:08 am

So could I play out my Pathfinder adventure paths using these rules? Or my big boxed 'City of Brass' set with it? I think that's what it says, am I right?

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Re: Designer's Blog #1: What It Is, And What It Isn't

Post by GnomeBoy » Wed Jan 05, 2011 9:29 am

Y'know all those thing Ogrepuppy has said when he's been excited about stuff that's coming out?

Insert all of those right here, right now, for me... :mrgreen:
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Re: Designer's Blog #1: What It Is, And What It Isn't

Post by LordJosh » Wed Jan 05, 2011 9:50 am

A friend of mine just linked me to this, and I must say; it sounds excellent. I shall definitely be following the development of this, and would love to play test it.

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Re: Designer's Blog #1: What It Is, And What It Isn't

Post by joela » Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:37 am

dar wrote:So could I play out my Pathfinder adventure paths using these rules? Or my big boxed 'City of Brass' set with it? I think that's what it says, am I right?
It does?
What do you mean no?

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Re: Designer's Blog #1: What It Is, And What It Isn't

Post by Drumheller » Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:14 am

Congrats on the annoucement, looking forward to this.

And, beautiful cover art.

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Re: Designer's Blog #1: What It Is, And What It Isn't

Post by Beedo » Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:27 am

goodmangames wrote:What It Is, And What It Isn’t

It is not compatible with 1970s/1980s D&D rules.

It plays like a 1970s OD&D session.

It is generally compatible with other d20-derived systems.
Wow - those bullets are fairly astounding to me... a retro-game that is not a retro-clone, going it's own way here in 2011.

Best of luck with this project, I'll be watching it closely, and really looking forward to hearing how pulp fantasy and swords & sorcery roots are playing into the game design.

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Re: Designer's Blog #1: What It Is, And What It Isn't

Post by darjr » Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:50 am

joela wrote:
dar wrote:So could I play out my Pathfinder adventure paths using these rules? Or my big boxed 'City of Brass' set with it? I think that's what it says, am I right?
It does?
Doesn't it?

OK, maybe I'm reading to much into the 'It is a d20 game'. It would be cool if it was.

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Re: Designer's Blog #1: What It Is, And What It Isn't

Post by bighara » Wed Jan 05, 2011 12:52 pm

Will there be a demo game run at Garycon? :D
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Re: Designer's Blog #1: What It Is, And What It Isn't

Post by Harley Stroh » Wed Jan 05, 2011 12:52 pm

joela wrote:
dar wrote:So could I play out my Pathfinder adventure paths using these rules? Or my big boxed 'City of Brass' set with it? I think that's what it says, am I right?
It does?
Games closest to 3.x are the easiest, in terms of raw rules (ala ascending AC, defenses, how much damage does that spear do, etc). So yes, with a little prep your City of Bronze could be run with the DCC RPG (and would be a hoot to play, as well).

But in terms of macro game play, BECMI conversions are incredibly simple, even though the mechanics are – technically – incompatible. (“What do you mean I don’t have a THAC0?! A 20 AC is good?!”) An experienced DM who has played both BECMI and 3.x could probably run a conversion with no more than “on sight” prep.

(In fact I’m temped to run a “straight” Keep on the Borderlands adventure under the DCC rules at a con this spring.)

Of all the iterations of D&D, I think 4e would be the hardest conversion. Many of the core mechanics of 4e are lost in translation.

//H
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Re: Designer's Blog #1: What It Is, And What It Isn't

Post by Harley Stroh » Wed Jan 05, 2011 12:58 pm

bighara wrote:Will there be a demo game run at Garycon? :D
Multiples. And I can't wait.

//H
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DCC Resource thread: character sheets, judge tools, and the world's fastest 0-level party creator.

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Re: Designer's Blog #1: What It Is, And What It Isn't

Post by darjr » Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:24 pm

I like what I hear.

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Re: Designer's Blog #1: What It Is, And What It Isn't

Post by maasenstodt » Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:56 pm

I'm really excited about this. I have a gaming group together right now that, by all indications, would love to give the DCC RPG a whirl. The open beta rules can't get here soon enough! Why wait 6 months? Let's see an alpha version now! :mrgreen:

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Re: Designer's Blog #1: What It Is, And What It Isn't

Post by finarvyn » Wed Jan 05, 2011 2:02 pm

Nice to see a specifc manifesto like this, Joseph. Makes some of my speculation posts obsolete, but very good nonetheless. 8)

I think this game has some great possibilites and can't wait to play it.
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Re: Designer's Blog #1: What It Is, And What It Isn't

Post by finarvyn » Wed Jan 05, 2011 2:02 pm

Darn double-post. :oops:
Last edited by finarvyn on Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Marv / Finarvyn
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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

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Re: Designer's Blog #1: What It Is, And What It Isn't

Post by Sir Brown » Wed Jan 05, 2011 3:08 pm

:shock: This Looks So Good Can't wait :D
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Re: Designer's Blog #1: What It Is, And What It Isn't

Post by frankthedm » Wed Jan 05, 2011 3:15 pm

Streamlining is good. If the loss of flavorful skills is the cost to avoid cherry picked feats and PRCs, I'll take it. Sometimes I regret not cutting my loses after seeing 3E's Sword & Fist.

And I'm really hoping for less Priest = Band Aid. Nothing wrong with Crusaders killing monsters in the dungeon, but leave the stitching up to time, potions and primitive chirurgery.

I might have preordered, but some unknown variables made me hold off.

* Approximate Page count is important. I'm not expecting 400 pages for $35, but 96 pages would be too small.
* Want to make sure this won't be a bare bones Base Book followed separate Player & GM books like WW does.

The playtest material will probably answer my concerns.

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Re: Designer's Blog #1: What It Is, And What It Isn't

Post by Ogrepuppy » Wed Jan 05, 2011 3:35 pm

GnomeBoy wrote:Y'know all those thing Ogrepuppy has said when he's been excited about stuff that's coming out?

Insert all of those right here, right now, for me... :mrgreen:
That's because secretly...

...we're the same person.
Enigma-Judge Narzill Tanntos (armorer Cleric of Amun Tor 4); Strength 15; Agility 10; Stamina 14; Personality 14; Intelligence 8; Luck 16; Neutral; AC 16 (banded mail); HP 24; missing three fingers from left hand.

Please, call me Master Jenks while we're in the Sign of the Three Rats flophouse.

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Re: Designer's Blog #1: What It Is, And What It Isn't

Post by Ogrepuppy » Wed Jan 05, 2011 3:36 pm

dar wrote:I think that's what it says, am I right?
I hope you are. :D

Lemme start praying: O Great Cthulhu, hear my supplication...

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Re: Designer's Blog #1: What It Is, And What It Isn't

Post by Ogrepuppy » Wed Jan 05, 2011 3:41 pm

Dude, preordered sight-unseen.

Hopefully you'll

a) let me play test now that I've preordered,

and b) give the preorder customers a copy of the PDF before the dead tree version hits dirt.

PLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEASE--?!?

:D

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Re: Designer's Blog #1: What It Is, And What It Isn't

Post by maasenstodt » Wed Jan 05, 2011 3:49 pm

Ogrepuppy wrote:Dude, preordered sight-unseen.

Hopefully you'll

a) let me play test now that I've preordered,

and b) give the preorder customers a copy of the PDF before the dead tree version hits dirt.

PLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEASE--?!?

:D
The moment I see that those who pre-order the book receive access to playtesting material as well as a .pdf copy of the finished product once its ready to go, I'll grab my wallet. :mrgreen:

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Re: Designer's Blog #1: What It Is, And What It Isn't

Post by GnomeBoy » Wed Jan 05, 2011 3:58 pm

Ogrepuppy wrote:
GnomeBoy wrote:Y'know all those thing Ogrepuppy has said when he's been excited about stuff that's coming out?

Insert all of those right here, right now, for me... :mrgreen:
That's because secretly...

...we're the same person.
Oily Carp! That wasn't supposed to be revealed until the Ragnarok of December 2012!

I really should keep in touch with my own intentions better...
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

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Re: Designer's Blog #1: What It Is, And What It Isn't

Post by Ogrepuppy » Wed Jan 05, 2011 5:54 pm

GnomeBoy wrote: Oily Carp! That wasn't supposed to be revealed until the Ragnarok of December 2012!

I really should keep in touch with my own intentions better...
Whoops. I guess I should have talked to me first before spilling the beans to me. About us.
Enigma-Judge Narzill Tanntos (armorer Cleric of Amun Tor 4); Strength 15; Agility 10; Stamina 14; Personality 14; Intelligence 8; Luck 16; Neutral; AC 16 (banded mail); HP 24; missing three fingers from left hand.

Please, call me Master Jenks while we're in the Sign of the Three Rats flophouse.

"Will somebody please call all the ambulances?"

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