DCC Level 0 Character Funnel is a Bad Concept


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overgeeked

B/X Known World
It's seldom been as much in BX games I've run... as if they're not in lair, most critters don't have much, if any, treasure.
Right. Which is why you avoid fights as much as possible, stack the odds in your favor, and flood the underground dungeon without bothering with fighting. Clean up the survivors and hope nothing aquatic moved in. This is a thread about DCC. Not B/X.
 

payn

Legend
"Can be," not "is." I didn't enjoy it when I tried it in the 80's... and it was a concept, tho' not called a funnel, that some had. It's not inherently fun. For some, it's inherently overload. For others, it reduces the thing they find most important - identification with the PC. For me, it was a hassle of numbers... I'd rather start higher level than start with multiple PCs, but BITD, it wasn't uncommon for us to take in 2 PCs each...
It is a mindset thing for sure. I'm not locked into one style and can adjust my expectations for different games. This is a thing that will stick in folks maws that cant.
 

Retreater

Legend
I guess my disconnect comes from what "OSR" and "classic gaming" means to me. I did not come of age in the Gygax era. My first D&D rulebook was the AD&D 2nd edition PHB, and I didn't really get deep into the hobby until the mid-90s. In my group during that era, a character death was something that impacted the story. Those of you who know me from these boards might be surprised that I haven't always been a Killer DM - in my earlier games it was very rare for a PC to die.
We didn't play a style of game where mutation, mutilation, or death was done for laughs. In a board game like HeroQuest where your character was just a nameless token on a board, it was okay. But in a roleplaying game, where really the only thing you had was your character, their personality, and interaction with the campaign world, it was something to be avoided. In a game when a DM can roll a 1d6, count around a table to pick out Player #x (where x=the number of the player he rolled randomly) and then a roll a 1d4 to pick out Character #y (where y=the number of your character he rolled randomly) and you just die - that isn't my kind of game.
Same thing at higher levels in DCC. You roll on a random chart and you accidently lop off your own head or get pulled into the Nine Hells. I don't like that kind of stuff being left up to chance. If dying is the result of a random chart roll, then what use is there in skilled play, good tactics, cooperation, or any of the other things we admire about this hobby? When the very things that we celebrate about the hobby don't matter, the feel turns into a parody of the game.
 

Reynard

Legend
When the very things that we celebrate about the hobby don't matter, the feel turns into a parody of the game.
Although the specific things that irritate you about this are different for me, I get where you are coming from. While I am very much a "dice fall where they may" GM, and interested in the story that emerges from play, I don't actually like completely arbitry and senseless results. I want to be able to trust the dice to create something I as a GM can interpret as coherent. So even though I am okay with ignoble PC death and strange happenings, I don't generally like a good, anything goes approach.

Unless I have introduced the Deck of Many Things into the campaign, which I am won't to do from time to time. Or am playing Gamma World. But if I am running something recognizable as a "serious" game I want the potential outcomes to land within a range that is consistent with both the tone and the genre of the game I set out to run.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I guess my disconnect comes from what "OSR" and "classic gaming" means to me. I did not come of age in the Gygax era. My first D&D rulebook was the AD&D 2nd edition PHB, and I didn't really get deep into the hobby until the mid-90s. In my group during that era, a character death was something that impacted the story. Those of you who know me from these boards might be surprised that I haven't always been a Killer DM - in my earlier games it was very rare for a PC to die.
We didn't play a style of game where mutation, mutilation, or death was done for laughs. In a board game like HeroQuest where your character was just a nameless token on a board, it was okay. But in a roleplaying game, where really the only thing you had was your character, their personality, and interaction with the campaign world, it was something to be avoided. In a game when a DM can roll a 1d6, count around a table to pick out Player #x (where x=the number of the player he rolled randomly) and then a roll a 1d4 to pick out Character #y (where y=the number of your character he rolled randomly) and you just die - that isn't my kind of game.
Same thing at higher levels in DCC. You roll on a random chart and you accidently lop off your own head or get pulled into the Nine Hells. I don't like that kind of stuff being left up to chance. If dying is the result of a random chart roll, then what use is there in skilled play, good tactics, cooperation, or any of the other things we admire about this hobby? When the very things that we celebrate about the hobby don't matter, the feel turns into a parody of the game.
Higher level DCC is more about skilled play, but part of the skill involved is playing the odds.
 

payn

Legend
If dying is the result of a random chart roll, then what use is there in skilled play, good tactics, cooperation, or any of the other things we admire about this hobby? When the very things that we celebrate about the hobby don't matter, the feel turns into a parody of the game.
For me its about risk and reward. Pushing the limits and trying to keep your character alive to tell about it. I do think DCC is rather poor at the campaign style play, though its fully loaded with levels if you want to try. I prefer funnels into a module, or especially a dungeon tournament. If I am looking for long term engagement, I use another system.
 

dragoner

solisrpg.com
I guess my disconnect comes from what "OSR" and "classic gaming" means to me. I did not come of age in the Gygax era. My first D&D rulebook was the AD&D 2nd edition PHB, and I didn't really get deep into the hobby until the mid-90s. In my group during that era, a character death was something that impacted the story. Those of you who know me from these boards might be surprised that I haven't always been a Killer DM - in my earlier games it was very rare for a PC to die.
We didn't play a style of game where mutation, mutilation, or death was done for laughs. In a board game like HeroQuest where your character was just a nameless token on a board, it was okay. But in a roleplaying game, where really the only thing you had was your character, their personality, and interaction with the campaign world, it was something to be avoided. In a game when a DM can roll a 1d6, count around a table to pick out Player #x (where x=the number of the player he rolled randomly) and then a roll a 1d4 to pick out Character #y (where y=the number of your character he rolled randomly) and you just die - that isn't my kind of game.
Same thing at higher levels in DCC. You roll on a random chart and you accidently lop off your own head or get pulled into the Nine Hells. I don't like that kind of stuff being left up to chance. If dying is the result of a random chart roll, then what use is there in skilled play, good tactics, cooperation, or any of the other things we admire about this hobby? When the very things that we celebrate about the hobby don't matter, the feel turns into a parody of the game.
I did come of age in that time, I have a Holmes Basic on my shelf right next to my PHB and M&M bought around '79. The OSR, as Aramis stated above is younger and different than then, focused around some certain style of play that wasn't that prevalent. The regular non-killer DM was normal, and character death did impact the game even then; for the groups I saw. Though there was the same sort of arguing, and the internet has been a sort of bully pulpit, I sort of think the heyday of the OSR might be over.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
I guess my disconnect comes from what "OSR" and "classic gaming" means to me. I did not come of age in the Gygax era. My first D&D rulebook was the AD&D 2nd edition PHB, and I didn't really get deep into the hobby until the mid-90s. In my group during that era, a character death was something that impacted the story.
What makes you think character death in the OSR-style of play doesn't impact the story? Of course it does. It's just not considered a fail state of the game as with modern games. One character dies and the player makes a new one. But, importantly, that death effects the story. It always does.
Those of you who know me from these boards might be surprised that I haven't always been a Killer DM - in my earlier games it was very rare for a PC to die.
We didn't play a style of game where mutation, mutilation, or death was done for laughs.
DCC is only like this in regards to PC death in the 0-level funnel, not the entire game. But you wouldn't know that because you've only played through one badly-run funnel.
In a board game like HeroQuest where your character was just a nameless token on a board, it was okay. But in a roleplaying game, where really the only thing you had was your character, their personality, and interaction with the campaign world, it was something to be avoided.
Why? You can always make another one. There's nothing lost but the few minutes it takes to roll a new character and whatever progress that character made, depending on the DM. Starting a new PC with 1/2 the dead PC's XP and gold was common.
In a game when a DM can roll a 1d6, count around a table to pick out Player #x (where x=the number of the player he rolled randomly) and then a roll a 1d4 to pick out Character #y (where y=the number of your character he rolled randomly) and you just die - that isn't my kind of game.
Right. And as has been repeatedly stated: that's not how DCC works. Your Judge was bad. The game doesn't do that. The Judge you played with did. Maybe this time that will sink in.
Same thing at higher levels in DCC.
...that you haven't played. By your own admission. You have not played more than one 0-level funnel.
You roll on a random chart and you accidently lop off your own head...
No. That's literally not in the game. There is a fumble chart. The absolute worst that can happen is you take normal damage from your weapon +1. For that to happen you'd need to roll a natural 1 on a d20, so 5%...and be wearing heavy armor...roll a natural 16 on a d16, so 6.25%...for a combined total of 0.3125%. So three times in 1000...you'll hurt yourself with +1 damage. There's literally no way to cut your own head off.
or get pulled into the Nine Hells.
Not in the rule book there's not.

We get it. You didn't like a game you played once. But this is getting ridiculous.
I don't like that kind of stuff being left up to chance.
It's not. It's all a direct consequence of actions the players take. You make an attack, there's a chance of a fumble. But again, there's zero chance of decapitating yourself. You cast a super-powerful spell, there's a chance of misfire or corruption. It's not the Judge literally randomly rolling and telling you something bad happened. Again, your Judge was trash. Your issues here are not with the game as written, they're with the trash Judge who flubbed your first session.
If dying is the result of a random chart roll, then what use is there in skilled play, good tactics, cooperation, or any of the other things we admire about this hobby? When the very things that we celebrate about the hobby don't matter, the feel turns into a parody of the game.
That's emphatically not the case. Not that it matters.
 


Parmandur

Book-Friend
And stacking them wildly in your favor before even thinking of going into combat. DCC is definitely a high risk, high reward game.
I actually think the Corruption mechanic makes for such more literary genre appropriate magic use than 5E Neo-Vancian magic, though I like thst in it's own place. Most of the corruptions add flavor more than any sort of debilitating damage.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
I don't own the DCC rule books and haven't read them, but an old friend from high school, who lives out of state, will give me a break from DMing when he is in town and has run some games for me an my group.

When he ran a DCC funnel game it was a revelation. It was an absolute blast. A sinkhole opened up under some villagers home and he went to spelunking in it an never returned. A group of villagers was rounded up to attempt to find out what happened and hopefully rescue the missing villager.

Yeah, it was 18 characters. Yeah, we played them all concurrently. The only thing I don't recall is random-table save-or-suck deaths. But what these poor peasants ran into meant that just getting hit by an enemy was about the same as save-or-suck, except it was the GM rolling the dice. But that made it much more tactical and tense.

Depending on their commoner professions, a small number may have a family sword or hunting bow. But few had martial weapons. Most had pitchforks, spears, etc. The small amount of funds they had available had to be carefully spent on whatever basic equipment might be helpful. Rope, some food supplies, torches, etc.

At least more than half of them died. I think one player may have had all his characters die and another player gave him one of their characters. We played very tactically, it was tough, be we ended up defeating the big bad, the survivors had generational wealth, and the players had a blast.

It was much more focused on cooperative play and was less character driven, though role play was certainly still part of it. Play wasn't that bogged down by the number of characters. Probably because the DM was very experienced with the system and because zero-level characters do not have a lot of abilities, spells, and powers to choose from. It moved faster than mid-level 5e combat with one-character-per-player in my experience. Also, the DM ran it theater of the mind, which he did well, so there wasn't time spent moving minis or VTT tokens around. Just the occasional sketching something out on paper.

Now this was a one-shot. So we were not really invested in which characters survived. We were invested in enough of the group surviving to successfully complete the adventure.

But I liked the experience so much that for my current Rappan Athuk campaign (DND 5e), I used a similar concept. Except I used the zero-level rules from the Adventurer League's adventure: DDAL-ELW00: What's Past Is Prologue.
  • The character has chosen a name, race, and background.
  • The character has NOT chosen a class.
  • The character has gear plus weapons, up to one common magical item, and proficiencies granted by their race and background.
  • A level 0 character has 6 + their Constitution modifier for hit points, 1d6 hit dice, and no proficiency bonus. Weapon and armor proficiencies may be granted by race and background; those are fine!
  • Upon hitting first level, the character will gain hit points to meet their chosen classes "hit points at first level." E.g., if the character chooses to become a fighter s/he will gain +4 hit points.

Except, I added:

Each player will roll-up four characters at session zero. We will roll up characters together. If you can't make the first session, you will just roll up a 1st level character and bring it to the next session.

It wasn't nearly the same experience as the DCC funnel. Already, these are going to be beefier than the DCC characters, just because 5e stat generation alone (I allow players to chose either role 4 and drop one x 6 and assign in any order - or - point buy). Also, the players were in a caravan with other civilians and guards. The players were also very experienced and tactical...and not very heroic (were happy to let the guards take the brunt--its their job after all, and perhaps they didn't try too hard to save the civilians all the time). So the majority survived their travels to the frontier town that would serve as their initial base of operations for the campaign. From the survivors, the players would pick the one they wanted to play with and the others were backbenched as part of the larger group to be swapped if a character died or if the group wanted to put together a different combo for a specific mission.

As for DCC in general, I've played DCC, Mutant Crawl Classics, and DCC Lankhmar. It has a lot more random stuff in it, especially when it comes to magic use, but I've enjoyed every game I've played, whether from my out-of-state GM friend or at conventions. I've never played any of these in a campaign, however, only one shots. But I see no reason why I wouldn't have fun in a campaign with one of the DCC flavors.
 
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I am surprised this thread is 5 pages long and no one mentioned the Crawler's Companion app. Plug in your Burn, Luck, and Spell you are using and it spits out the table result. A good chunk of DCC's page count is because the spell failure tables with every spell.


The website has ton of resources as welll.

I've run several funnels and usually they are a blast. It sounds like the OP GM's was confused about the rules and attitude DCC is about.
 

Lord Mhoram

Adventurer
I think it is a fantastic system... for people not that are not me. Given I bolted from AD&D to Champions the moment I learned how it worked, primary reason - there was no randomness in character generation. I took one look at the DCC funnel and (wisely) avoided it.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I think it is a fantastic system... for people not that are not me. Given I bolted from AD&D to Champions the moment I learned how it worked, primary reason - there was no randomness in character generation. I took one look at the DCC funnel and (wisely) avoided it.
Yup, different games for different tastes: one of my problems with most RPGs is the lack of randomness in character generation, even as an option.
 

payn

Legend
Yup, different games for different tastes: one of my problems with most RPGs is the lack of randomness in character generation, even as an option.
There is the mechanical part and a personal part to chargen. The mechanical part has just gotten to be more and more reflective of the ability of the character. The mechanics have come to mean so much, that it's hard not to be in control of it. The personal aspect is to determine the characters background in all aspects. Folks dont want a wimpy, feeble minded, gong farmer as a character. Even if that character can go on to be very heroic via deeds.

Even a system that makes functional random chargen like Traveller, I have players that find it really hard to let go of background and stats. The system has a much flatter progression table, which allows random chargen, but the player hated the career and life events. They flet it had too much control of their character. Even after I explained these things are just highlights they can flesh out and are not the extent of the background. I guess modern games have developed new habits that die hard.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
There is the mechanical part and a personal part to chargen. The mechanical part has just gotten to be more and more reflective of the ability of the character. The mechanics have come to mean so much, that it's hard not to be in control of it. The personal aspect is to determine the characters background in all aspects. Folks dont want a wimpy, feeble minded, gong farmer as a character. Even if that character can go on to be very heroic via deeds.

Even a system that makes functional random chargen like Traveller, I have players that find it really hard to let go of background and stats. The system has a much flatter progression table, which allows random chargen, but the player hated the career and life events. They flet it had too much control of their character. Even after I explained these things are just highlights they can flesh out and are not the extent of the background. I guess modern games have developed new habits that die hard.
Eh, different strokes. Traveller has the best character generation any game so far, in my book.
 

payn

Legend
Eh, different strokes. Traveller has the best character generation any game so far, in my book.
Indeed. I do wish Mongoose would work on making the event tables a little more interesting. They certainly could do more player's guides like Paizo does for their APs. I just find those specific touches to really give life to characters. Traveller could use it because often players have a little trouble getting into character, IMO. Though, its a fantastic system that allows random chargen to still be a thing.
 


James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Maybe you could clear up a myth I once heard about Traveller. Is it true you can die in character creation? The only time I ever saw that in a game was Deadlands...and even then, you just come back weirder.
 

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