Tuesday, December 15, 2015

A modest rant/proposal for DCC

One thing that DCC does wicked awesome is the scrubbing away of DM-side accounting; if you are a control freak or a world-builder or one of those minutiae oriented Judges, then I think the swingy-ness of DCC probably won't appeal to you.  Built into the system is a risky way to turn the careening of the narrative in the direction you like as a player, right down to 2 little factors.  Occupational vs. untrained skill rolls and the Luck system.  I have in mind a thing that will somewhat complicate that easy-to-run thing, but maybe it'll work nice.

1) the first part is built in to 3.5 or later D&D, I guess.  I'm not sure since those system are anathema to me.  I had Call of Cthulhu d20 and I never felt good about it - I don't know why.  It was a beautiful book but it was pulpy and action-oriented in a way that I felt did a disservice to the source material and those pages and pages of gun specs... I don't know.  Not my cup of tea.  Great book, but I digress.  The idea behind the occupational rolls is that there are things that you've done before you took up adventuring and you were skilled at it but maybe not GREAT or else you would have kept doing that Gongfarming thing and stayed safe.  So you have a lot of background in certain things, and if you can apply that background to a skill roll then it's a d20 versus a d10 skill check for untrained schmucks.  I try to use this when I can in my games, but for a front-end part of the system it rarely gets much play in most of the DCC games I've been in (running or as a player).

2) The Luck system will correct a great number of problems for players.  It's there as a feature and a lot of people don't like it or the Spellburn thing since it can make things hard for DMs... It's not a bug - it's a feature.  And once you embrace that, you really do get some great games, in my humble opinion.  Sure, as a DM a lot of your nefarious plans will get undone, especially in one-shots - BUT- I think it's a system for people who don't mind winging it.

That said, there is this:


Which says a lot about how certain sub-systems and games fit in some games and not very well in others.  Implicit in most D&D-flavored games is that grinding push to get from nobody to somebody.  To bring your skills from lowly schmuck to world-shaking hero.  I think at the top end that some DCC games must surely fall apart - I tell you I enjoy the funnel on paper but I do a great deal of proselyzation and am growing weary of nervous, shattered cautious wimps.  I chuckle with glee, still, when they get that vibe going around, especially in the Barrowmaze, but I propose it would be better to instill that in some heavier-weight men and women and creatures...  Well, there you need to walk a thin line between the lowly little crumbs and the big meaty adventure tropes.

I usually get a mix of people who enjoy "I press the knob and turn it, and insert my gauntleted fingers into the eye sockets of the altar" and "WHATEVER: I SEARCH - ROLLED A 17".  Which is fine.  But reinforce the stuff you like and people will do it.  One easy way to do this is to award Luck if players are willing to haggle it a little, and another way is to reinforce for stuff they don't do, usually.  Why the preamble?  Well, in DCC, you're going to max out at 4 XP per encounter, RAW.  Everybody is going to get the same XP per session, also, RAW.  So, I propose to throw those 2 little rules away and here's why: it doesn't promote much except LET'S GET THROUGH THIS AS FAST AS POSSIBLE.  A good thing is that most folks I play with don't play this way and it's usually pretty informal.  But, it might drive a certain type of player away from the system entirely!  If you get bogged down in a lot of combat, the game is going to peter out in the middle game and really begin to (ahem) crawl at the top end... I have never played a 4th level or higher DCC character - mainly because I'm not into it, much, and mainly because it would take a very very very long time to get a character that high.

So, award XP or Luck for things you want to see in your game, things to teach your players how to play the game you want.  Want to handwave it?  Fine - use the RAW - but, I bet that you can shape a game by the rewards you give (It is my opinion that as an almost behavioralist I do this practically every day)

More in a couple of hours

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