Dungeon Crawl Classics

I’m not sure if I can say “I love Dungeon Crawl Classics” because I only got a tiny taste of mechanics; for all I know, once we get into the weeds of level 1, I might hate it. But the funnel. Oh, lordy, the funnel! I could run the meat grinder a hundred times, because it’s so much fun! It really forced me out of my comfort zone of what I’m used to playing and made me love my lousy-statted characters.

My ostler, the only character without stats in the negative, ended up dying, but that’s okay, because he was kind of boring in his averageness. I’ll miss Robin the Miller, with his 1lb sack of flour, brawn over brains problem solving skills and hard drinking bluster. He might’ve been a decent fighter or even a mage; hopefully the snake cultists will be mercifully quick when they sacrifice him. In the end it was Elyse the cutpurse (two negative stats and no positives) who made it out of the dungeon: as an ugly girl who likes ugly things, Elyse befriended some feverlings in the cultists’ menagerie; when the fighting broke out, she snagged keys off the captain, set them free and ran out through the sewers with a gaggle of blood-weeping antlered bird-things.

I probably play female characters 70/30 in video game rpgs (in no small part because ES games start female characters with higher MU-related stats, which are harder to raise than physical stats), but I’ve never played as a female character around the gaming table, so this should be interesting. And hey, no one made any jokes about how her starting item was a small chest! Interestingly enough, we started with 5 male characters and 4 female characters between the three of us, and we left the dungeon with an all female party.

Level 0 DCC feels like one of those few times that one “wins” in a tabletop RPG. Everyone who gets out with one character alive “wins”; if someone gets out with more than one character, I don’t know, they superwin? Like I said, I could play the funnel over and over again.

In other news, I may have been hasty when I pooh-poohed Dragons of Glory simply for being a Dragonlance product*. It’s actually the one product out of the whole lot of them that I might end up playing. Turns out Dragons of Glory isn’t a D&D module but a stand-alone hex & chit wargame that purports to recreate the War of the Lance. It doesn’t use Mentzer or Battle System; it’s actually it’s own game with fairly standard wargame rules with odds charts and column modifiers; the only thing that really makes it stand out is that it uses a d10 instead a d6 to roll on the combat results table. I might actually be able to convince my dad to play this one with me.

As cool as the the Greyhawk folio is, I have no idea what I’ll ever do with it besides maybe frame those giant hex-maps of Oerth.

*My dirty secret is that I LOVED the Dragonlance books as a wee-lad.  It may have been pink slime fantasy, but from ages 10-12, I devoured them.

A follow up…: A few examples of how some fantasy settings handle ‘non-white’ races

This list will be by no means exhaustive or even particularly detailed. But I hope it will be more interesting than those “1d10 Names of random garbage” posts that I see everywhere 🙂

Just off the top of my head…

Order of the Stick: OoTS takes place in a Multi-ethnic world that for most purposes seems colorblind, at least insofar as humans are concerned, though racial tension is explored a bit through the goblins (green) and hobgoblins (yellow). Features both non-white protagonists and antagonists. Also depicts a number of cross-racial romantic couplings.

Earthsea: Multiple ethnicities exist, though each culture is homogeneous in the pockets they’re indigenous to, except in certain cosmopolitan areas. Features a non-white protagonist and a black side-kick. White people are pretty much villainous vikings through most of the series.

Middle Earth: Oh, my. Despite some claims as such, Orcs are never explicitly said to be “black”, just that they are all (probably, even Tolkien admitted having reservations, as a Christian man, in claiming that an entire race of people was evil, irredeemable and incapable of good) evil and speak the Black Tongue. Easterlings are never explicitly defined as Hun or Asiatic or such, but they’re all pretty much evil barbarians. Same with the Haradrim, except one gathers that they’re Moorish or Arabian and universally opposed to Civilization (with a capital C). I’m pretty sure the Wainriders are Gypsies.

Elder Scrolls: Lots of races here, and a lot of them are pretty racist against each other. But no race is universally defined by their racial traits, at least as personality goes. It is interesting, though, that there doesn’t seem to be much, if any, racial mixing (with the exception of the Bretons, who are apparently all half-elven?). I wonder if there are any black people that aren’t Redguards? Or if there could be a black imperial? “I’m from the imperial province, born and raised!” Too bad, you’re black, so you’re a Redguard.

Dragonlance: Were there black people in Dragonlance? People were pretty uncomfortable around Raistlin because of the color of his skin, but I’m not sure that counts.

Prydain: I’m pretty sure everyone in this was either welsh or a goblin.