My Dungeon Crawl Classics experience

I’ve been a very busy gamer indeed over the past few months. This year has seen some big changes to my weekly schedule, and all for the better.

First of all, I’ve gotten a game of Dungeon Crawl Classics going over G+ which is really fun. I recruited three players from UK Roleplayers, Richard, Martin and Nick. Never played with these guys before, just had conversations on fora. Obviously a bit apprehensive about how it would all go, but I needn’t have worried.

We used the character generator from Purple Sorceror to give each player a pool of four villagers to start with. You get a surprising amount of characterisation out of six stats, an occupation and a belonging. It felt like the kind of characters you get from Warhammer but without all the setting baggage that goes with it. (Note, I like all that setting stuff, but it can be intimidating to a new campaign).

I had read through the rules on PDF pretty thoroughly, enough to know that the only rules you need for 0 level would probably fit on 10 pages. The rest would come in if we got that far.

We played Sailors on the Starless Sea, and I think it’s fair to say we got the real deadly pulp fantasy experience. The first PC died within 15 minutes with his first die roll (ha!) and others soon followed. The guys had plenty of respect for the adventure, but were happy to throw caution to the wind where needed. In fact, the beastman enemies died just as swiftly as the pcs, so it seemed a level playing field from a deadliness point of view.

The guys did a marvellous job of bringing their index card sized characters to life. Even those who succumbed to various death traps or axes had something to remember them by. The adventure itself hit all the right notes for me. Even the bits the party missed out on can be easily recycled into future adventures. Out of 12 starting characters, only 4 survived, and they are now fully rounded characters, with personalities, and most important, a shared history (of loss!)

It may have taken 6-8 hours of play, but we’ve ended up with a party of first level characters that I know really well, and they know each other. They’re much more precious to the players as a result.

We’re now a couple of sessions into People of the Pit, and even with the addition of another layer of rules, the flow of the game is really sweet. It’s old fashioned exploration and bickering, with occasional explosive combat. I’m loving the feel of GMing it. It’s easy to make a ruling, and the players are really responding to the situations put in front of them. As we go we’re filling in little bits of the world setting, a god here, a guild there. That’s fun.

I’m loving our DCC game, and it is absolutely delivering the feel and atmosphere I was hoping for. Is it old school? I suppose so, but all the really sweet bits have come from the players rather than any charts or tables. Actually, that’s not true. The charts and tables have been a really good springboard for the imagination. When your only possession is a … (Roll)…. Goose, then I defy you to not bring that into play somehow.

So yeah, good times, with good players and good tools for the job. Highly recommended.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “My Dungeon Crawl Classics experience

  1. Leo Marshall

    Sounds great fun Baz. I’ve asked my Mum to buy me the DCC starter book for my birthday (in just over a week’s time) so I hope to get speed on it so I can offer it at Expo. What’s the learning curve like? Bear in mind that I’ve never either run or played D&D, so any hope for me? It really does sound like a lot of fun. As for your only possession being a goose!

    • Baz

      Hi Leo. The book looks intimidating due to its sheer size, but don’t worry. There’s so much (fabulous) art, that it accounts for about a third of the whole package. Then there’s all the spell charts, which you refer to as appropriate rather than learn in advance. They only kick in at first level too.
      I’m an old hand at D&D and its tropes, so it’s difficult for me to know what it would be like coming at it totally fresh. I’d definitely be interested in hearing about your experiences with it!
      I think it’s a simple game dressed up in complicated looking clothes. Don’t sweat it, enjoy reading it and running it, and relax.

  2. Leo Marshall

    Hi Baz. Thanks, that’s very encouraging. Interesting that you call it a simple game dressed up in complicated looking clothes: when it came out I did rather get the impression that, like other OSR products (LotFP being another example) it was meant for folks who wanted to get their D&D on but were afraid to dip their toes into what often appear to be intimidatingly shark-infested waters (I’m talking here about all the edition warring that passes for commentary on many forums). So yeah, I’m up for it, and will certainly keep you posted. Tootles!

  3. Richard

    I totally concur with everything you’ve said, Baz.

    More especially, your slight hesitation over the label “Old School”. The experience of playing DCC doesn’t mimic anything I’ve played before, and I go way back to the blue box. I think this is a nifty trick; DCC reminds you of games you may have played but actually offers something very different in reality.
    The sessions we’ve played out so far have provided encounters with beasts very different to the fantasy standard in D&D; Goblins, Orcs etc. But, perhaps more tellingly, the scenery and background has been completely……shifted is the best word I can come up with. Everything feels like somewhere you might have been before in gaming but is unrecognisable in any definitive way. It’s like gaming through a lens of deja-vu.

    Like I said, a nifty trick.

    • Leo Marshall

      Wow! I’m even more excited about DCC now. So it’s kind of like D&D but not D&D? Hooking folks with that as bait but offering them a totally new experience. Clever Mr Goodman. Looks like my Mum’s got me LotFP after all, so I hope my brother will come good and get me DCC. I’ve really got to run/play this…

  4. Pingback: Supplement Review: Dungeon Crawl Classics #75: The Sea Queen Escapes! by Michael Curtis from Goodman Games | Gamerati

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