I still love you, DCC. We’ve had some great times together, and I look forward to many more. It’s just I’m starting to notice how long you take to get ready, sometimes you chew with your mouth open, and you’re always leaving lights on.
DCC really puts its best foot forward. The level 0 funnel is just so much fun; it’s beautiful in its simplicity. It’s light even compared to B/X!
But then everyone starts getting levels… I absolutely loved playing my thief, and I’m realizing that a big part of that was just how easily the thief class played. Roll for thiefy things and roll for combat (except I never rolled for combat, because thieves should not be fighting)! But man! The fighters with their stupid Deed dice, declaring their stupid deeds, and the magic users having to pass a freaking 8 pound book back and forth across the table to check all of the crazy spell tables. Everything grinds to a halt, and even simple push-over combats can end up seeming like arduous affairs.
The crit and fumble tables, while inspirational for flavor, typically don’t make any sense in context of what’s going on, especially for any ranged attacks or thiefy backstabs.
Any fix for wizards would fundamentally undermine the feel of magic in DCC. So the real fix is to have multiple copies of the book.
Fighters, though… Drop the deed. Keep the deed die if you want.
So, thoughts for a FrankenDCC:
- Take DCC’s 0 level funnel as a foundation.
- Do some ratios, figure out the equivalent Class XP between B/X and DCC’s tiers. Use those instead of the ones out of DCC. Classes should level up at different rates.
- Use B/X for hit dice and DCC for level-specific abilities/attacks. Ignore crits or have crits do max damage.
- Use Holmes for magic (sorry, B/X!) but use spells and spell tables from DCC.
Honestly, though, none of that solves the problems of DCC’s clunkiest elements. There’s almost nothing that DCC does at the table mechanically that B/X doesn’t do smoother. I do really like how weird the magic is in DCC’s implied setting, but god, the game balance! A magic user can either be a magical Gatling gun or damn near useless depending on where he falls on his tables. I also kinda wish scrolls and spellbooks were a thing, because I actually like Vancian magic.
I do still love DCC, but when I see even the fighters’ turns taking a relatively long time and combat dragging long enough that people are shocked when they find out that an encounter only lasted 3 or 4 rounds, I just get this feeling that something is wrong. It could just be that DCC does not accommodate parties as large as the one I’m in very well. Slow-down is not an issue I noticed until we were regularly having between 7 and 9 players, and one that I would not have begun to imagine when there were 4 or 5 of us. But it’s a testament also to B/X that it can, perhaps better than any other system I’ve played, accommodate large groups of players with minimal slow-down.
Oh, yeah, we beat a bear! It wasn’t the right bear, but we beat A bear. And yeah, the hug would’ve killed me in one hit if my magic cursed half-plate of doom didn’t also have damage reduction.