Monday, April 4, 2011

D is for...

Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG: Playtest Report

I've been holding off posting this, trying to find my character sheet from the game, but to no avail. If you would like to see what the character sheet looks like, Jeff Rients has a scan of his here. (But mine was way cooler, being that I was a berserker named Francis Baconator... just sayin')

The other weekend at GaryCon, I got the opportunity to play in a game of Goodman Games' upcoming Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG. I had more fun in this game than any other (though none of the games I played in were by any means bad), and the game hasn't been released yet, so I figured it deserved a play report.

First off, the players:
  • Me (berserker)
  • My sister (wizard/sorcerer type)
  • My brother-in-law (cleric)
  • A guy I know from work and his wife (a thief and shit, I don't remember)
  • Jeff Sparks and his wife (berserker and i-don't-remember what class, but she was having a terrible time with the dice, which made for some good fun!)
  • A younger guy that I regrettably cannot recall his name (wizard guy)
Next, the game mechanics:
  • The stats were slightly different than your standard D&D array, but still quite similar and nothing I hadn't seen in other games before: Strength, Agility, Fortitude, Intelligence, Personality, and Luck. I am personally a big fan of the Luck stat, and have often considered house-ruling it into my own D&D games, but never had the time or inclination to actually do so.
  • The spell system is awesome. No limit on the number of spells per day, but every time you cast, you have to make an intelligence-based check (or personality for clerics). Failure means that you no longer have access to that spell for the day. Critical failure means some terrible shit happens to you. This happened to my sister when she rolled two 1's in a row when trying to cast. First, her ears fell off, then her head turned into a serpent head. The spells have different effects depending on the degree of success, so a high roll can result in a bigger explosion, more damage, or whatever. It was a very neat system. The only drawback I can see is that each spell requires a table of different results. When getting to higher levels (provided your character can survive that long), I could see the need for a caster to literally have a "spell book" at the table in order to be able to look up all the varying results.
  • The cleric spell system was similar, but there were a few differences in the way successes and failures were measured, if I recall correctly.
  • The fighter-types get an additional attack die that they add the result of to their attack and damage, rather than a flat base attack bonus as in d20, or improved THAC0 in older games. The size of the die advances as the fighter advances in level. At level 1 it's a d3, at level 3 it's a d5, and at level 5 it's a d7. Unsure of how it progresses beyond that. I liked the idea, and thought it added a nice touch.
  • Saving Throws were standard d20-style fortitude, reflex, and will. I like these three categories for saves, but I prefer the older way saves work where you have a target number rather than a bonus and a variable DC. As a DM, the variable DCs are just another thing to have to keep track of.
  • As a berserker, my guy would crit on a 19 or 20 (another d20-ism). Whenever I'd crit, I'd roll a d16 and the DM would look up what happened on a table - sometimes extra damage, sometimes a nice maiming. I was getting a lot of crits, but my dice were just on fire. At one point, after rolling like the third or fourth crit in a row, Harley Stroh (amazing DM by the way) turned to me and gave me double middle fingers and said "FSCK YOU!" It was pretty awesome to be just slaughtering guys left and right. When I got crit early in the game, the result was that by nose got smashed up into my frontal lobe, and my character suffered a permanent loss of 3 INT points. Ouch!
Basically, this game is fun as shit. I'm not sure how it will hold up in long-term campaign play, but my group is eager to find out. I will be first in line on Free RPG Day to get all the stuff Goodman Games is putting out for DCC RPG.