AAR: My First DCC Funnel

11 Jun, 2021, updated 11 Jun, 2021 rpg dcc funnel

DCC RPG logo

I finally had a go playing Dungeon Crawl Classics. As a player, too. It’s a D&D retroclone with those dice, the “funky” ones. We played the game from the Quickstart Rules, which are free, and include two adventures. We played The Portal Under The Stars.

Foundry setup

It was quite odd not using D&D and Beyond20! Despite not being the GM I still helped with setup, and chose the following modules:

The compendium is in Alpha at the moment. It contains all the roll-tables we needed in this funnel game, and was relatively easy to use. It is less automated than having DnDBeyond/Beyond20 injecting into your game, but probably no worse than the 5e fvtt module on its own.

Some of the features work in slightly odd ways, like the Mighty Deeds die for warriors needs to be manually rolled before each relevant attack. Characters can have different Action Die to perform their attacks, but I didn’t have much luck changing them. However this might be why it’s in alpha still. Lurking on the dcc channel in the Foundry server, they certainly have a roadmap of features to add.

Trying to get all the Actors on the board and configured is a pain. When everyone has one character it’s not too much work, but giving 4 characters per player Vision, and Bright Light Vision, and a token, and a name, and then doing it all again for the Protoype token instead of this one just takes ages. And they don’t all fit anyway!

DCC

But what was the game like?

I really liked the nice simple Level 0 characters, very streamlined, simple to set up. There’s some good generators which I found out (too late) you can import via JSON direct into Foundry.

We had a few encounters, quite a few deaths, and then at the end of the session, agreed to level up the survivors. For me, that’s where the shine came off a bit.

Proper characters in DCC are much more complicated. They’re fiddlier than OSE, and have custom dice for different rolls, and different crit tables (using different dice again). I had assumed the Level 0 characters were most of the way there but actually they share very little.

Additionally the rules are surprisingly vague on what racial benefits a Level 0 Elf or Dwarf has. Did they just not have infravision until a little way into the fight? Maybe they just need to learn to use them.

However, the artwork in this book might just be my favourite. Even the map is lovely. This face is just behind the Quickstart map

A foreboding face

Lessons

  1. I would use pre-generated characters for those unfamiliar with DCC (so: all of my friends). I learn this for every game, I don’t know why it’s a surprise every time!
  2. Additionally, I would pre-generate the level 0 characters in addition to the level 1 characters - perhaps even just generating level 1 chars and debuffing them instead. It loses some of the magic but then so does discovering that nobody’s upgraded their characters correctly.
  3. Funky dice aren’t really a thing on a VTT. Apparently Dice So Nice might support them though…
  4. Consider when to move to tokens per character, it requires some prep.
  5. DCC isn’t actually that simple a game. Some research would have told me this; mea culpa.

When I told some RPG folks I played this, and my thoughts, Sofinho said:

People play DCC for the funnel and that wizard picture

What “wizard picture”? I hadn’t found the Corruption section of the manual; but I concur, it’s beautiful. Behold, the wizard picture.

Six pictures of a wizard, becoming more evil and corrupt with bugs and glyphs covering him by the end
Corruption: Not Even Once

I think on the whole, I like the engine, and I like the funnel. But I don’t think funnels are good introductions to a game engine, you all have to learn two kinds of characters instead of one. That’s fine when you know normal.

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