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Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG – Shows WotC how to blend new and old

April 8, 2012

From the DCC RPG, Illustration by Jeff Easley

DCCRPG successfully combines old and new RPG mechanics into an aweseome new system. Inspired by previous versions of DnD and more specifically, Appendix N from the AD&D Dungeon Master’s Guide, Goodman Games has done a masterful job of taking inspiration from the old, while blazing new ground. Are you listening, WotC?

I’ve been anticipating this game’s release since the beta of it came out this past summer. I was very happy to discover the link to the PDF of the Core Book waiting for me in my inbox on Friday. I’ve had a preorder on this book since sometime in October, and recently upped the ante to the gold-foil cover. Apparently there is a secret message on the front, but I haven’t been able to spot it yet. Hopefully I’ll be able to once the final book is in my hands.

Judging from the PDF, this will be my favorite RPG gamebook of all time. It is absolutely filled to the brim with old school style black and white art from incredible artists, some familiar, some legendary, some new to me, all inspiring. But it’s not only the art that is inspiring, it’s the intriguing way Goodman Games has combined nostalgia with compelling new game mechanics.

For instance, there are only four classes and four playable races. However, harkening back to the truly old school, if you’re an Elf, that is your race and your class. The same goes for Dwarves and Halflings. The four classes are (you guessed it) Warrior, Cleric, Thief, and Wizard. When it comes down to it, aren’t all other classes just shades of the almighty four?

In a nod to more recent editions, AC is ascending, starting with 10, and there are 3 saves (the familiar) Reflex, Fortitude, and Will. The stats are a bit different however. Players are encouraged to roll them 3d6 in order from top to bottom (hardcore old school!). They are Strength, Agility, Stamina, Personality, Intelligence, and Luck. Most of function as you might imagine, but Luck plays a very interesting role indeed.

Luck can be spent throughout the game to modify roles. Miss an agility check to jump a chasm by 2? Burn two luck points and you make it. Theives and Halflings regenerate luck at a rate of one point per day, other classes can use it, but once it’s gone, it’s gone. GMs can award luck points at their whim to show favor from the gods. At the time of character creation, a 1d30 (you read that right) is rolled to determine what else the luck stat’s modifier affects. I rolled up two characters, and for one he added his luck mod to his saves, the other used double the luck mod to modify rolls on the crit/fumble table.

This brings us to another nod to the old school: TABLES! There are tables for a whole lot of different things in DCCRPG. Some may bemoan having to look something up all the time, but to me it gets to the heart of role-playing: sitting around a table with a bunch of friends surrounded by books, snacks, paper, and dice. Oh, and did I mention the dice? When I was a wee lad being introduced to dungeons and dragons in the late 80s, the first thing that really intrigued me were all these crazy looking dice! DCCRPG is bringing the magic back, using d3, d5, d7, d14, d16, d24, and d30 dice! The precision set I got in anticipation of the release of the game I wasn’t really pleased with, but they’ll get the job done.

DCCRPG is bringing the magic back to role-playing games (OH MAGIC! I didn’t even talk about how awesome wizards and clerics are!). If you’re becoming bored with the systems you’ve played in the past, or want to rekindle the feeling you had when you first discovered role-playing games, pick yourself up a copy. We’ll have a play review up as soon as we can get together for a delve!

Categories: 5e, Adventure, DCCRPG, DnD, News, Reviews, RPGs, Tips
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