Posted by : David Guyll August 05, 2014

I almost went with Dungeon World on this one, but then I remembered that I bought Dungeon Crawl Classics a while back when 5th Edition was announced, during a periond in which I started gobbling up almost everything Dungeons & Dragons related for inspiration and to help inform feedback.

I have not played it yet, and I am not sure I will ever get the chance...and I think I'm okay with that.

I like the concept of the 0-level funnel, rolling different dice to represent different attacks, clerics using their magic too often can make it harder to cast spells until they offer up sacrifices or perform noteworthy acts for their god, warriors and their mighty deeds, and how spells require a kind of check, as it made magic actually dangerous and unpredictable.

Unfortunately the downsides drastically outweigh any interesting ideas that might be found: the game uses "funky" dice, like d5's and such, race-as-class, saving throws, spell slots and spell levels, you have to choose from three alignments (Lawful, Neutral, and Chaotic, which are locked in forever once chosen), and there are a shitload of tables.

Yeah, there are tables for the stuff you'd expect, like classes and weapons and such, but there is a fumble table, five critical hit tables, a table of each individual spell, a table you roll on when you learn a new spell, three tables for spell corruption, a disapproval table for when clerics nat 1 their spells, and so on.

Maybe some day I'll play it proper, but...I dunno, I think something like Dungeon World delivers a similar experience without having to constantly flip back and forth through the book.

{ 7 comments... read them below or Comment }

  1. What is your opinion of "Torchbearer"?

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  2. I haven't read or (more importantly) played it. From what I have heard, it introduces and changes a lot of...unnecessary terminology (stock instead of race, scoundrels, etc) and is pretty complicated. Or maybe that's Burning Wheel?

    Checking the Kickstarter it's billed as a love letter to Basic D&D, which means I probably wouldn't like it...what are your thoughts?

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    1. Here is an hour long review; they cover the game pretty well:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTPIoO5olR4

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    2. My opinion is that the whole "love letter to D&D" is primarily a marketing gimmick.

      The rules are indeed complex, but they are intriguing, and make sense based on what the game purports to be: a survivalist game centered around resource management. Characters can only carry a certain number of items, based on the space available in their packs, on their belts, etc. Light is integral to the game, since turns are measured in how many torches are used up (torches keep burning until the characters decide to try something requiring a roll).

      The whole "race as class" is in there, but since any character can learn any skill, it is more of a flavor thing.

      There are some unique rules, such as characters needing a certain number of failures before they can level up. This may be present in other games, but this is the first place I encountered it. There are no hit points; characters suffer conditions, rather, with each setback.

      I can see that it would be hard to get a dedicated group to play it, due to the complexity of the rules.

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  3. I recently started playing Dungeon Crawl Classics adventures...using Dungeon World as a system. The adventures are amazingly creative and well written, but I have many of the same criticisms of the system that you do.

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  4. The DCC adventures? How well do they translate? I've done Expedition to Castle Ravenloft with some success (I think it would go a lot better knowing what I know now).

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  5. Having 3 PCs per player for an adventure was definitely awkward. But the monsters and encounters are so original, its great for inspiration. I've been meaning to write a blog post about it.

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