DCC with Rise of the Runelords - madness?

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Ddogwood
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DCC with Rise of the Runelords - madness?

Post by Ddogwood » Fri Oct 12, 2012 9:57 am

I run a board games club at the Jr/Sr high school where I teach. Among my big box o' games I have the Pathfinder Beginner Box, and some of the kids have shown interest in it. My main problem is that, while I like Pathfinder, I loathe having to GM it.

The DCC RPG has really caught my imagination, though, and I think it eliminates most or all of the problems I have with PF/3.x. I'm tempted to pull a bait-and-switch and start them on this instead.

I also have the Rise of the Runelords anniversary edition campaign, and if the kids like playing RPGs, I might like to run them through it. I figure I can toss in some of the published DCC modules along the way, but the story of RotRL seems like it might work pretty well with DCC's mood - psychotic goblins, deformed hillbilly ogres, and an evil wizard who is trying to return to life and rebuild an empire.

Does anyone have any advice for me? Specifically, I'd like to know if there are any pitfalls I should watch out for, or suggestions on converting/modifying the adventure path (with minimum effort) to work well with DCC.

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Re: DCC with Rise of the Runelords - madness?

Post by cthulhudarren » Fri Oct 12, 2012 10:10 am

For one thing, you would have to tone down the loot, especially magic items. And you'd have to adapt the higher level monsters more thoroughly as they go over CR20. I think the story would still work though.

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Re: DCC with Rise of the Runelords - madness?

Post by ragboy » Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:46 am

I think it should be fairly easy. The things I'd look out for are:
  • DCC is a high fatality system -- d20/PF is a high encounter system. More encounters = more death in DCC. d20/PF adventures are going to have a lot of combat encounters. More than you'd see in a typical DCC adventure.
  • DCC is a "magic is dangerous" system -- d20/PF is a "magic is a commodity" system. More magic = more death in DCC. :)
  • Other than that, monsters are supposed to be unique and rare (and more dangerous) in DCC. If these are relatively new players, however, everything will seem shiny and new... even the insane goblins.
  • Personal preference -- treasure is worth more and more rare in my own campaign. And may have additional complications (taxes, thieves, unscrupulous moneychangers, etc)
The big thing, though -- especially if you're playing with kids -- is make it fun. My experience with DCC and kids has been overwhelmingly positive. The system is simpler to grasp and much less work on the judge to run. The characters, believe it or not, have more options -- because there are fewer codified "options" for the characters (other than the obvious ones -- wizards use magic, clerics heal, etc). Fosters more creativity, in my opinion -- but you'll see that when they're a 0-level farmer trying to figure out how to search for traps (hint: Use the pig!)
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Re: DCC with Rise of the Runelords - madness?

Post by Ddogwood » Fri Oct 12, 2012 1:36 pm

cthulhudarren wrote:For one thing, you would have to tone down the loot, especially magic items. And you'd have to adapt the higher level monsters more thoroughly as they go over CR20. I think the story would still work though.
Yeah, toning down the loot shouldn't be too hard - I get the sense that DCC PCs don't need to have escalating minor bonuses to stay relevant, and Rise of the Runelords has a few magic items that will be even more special if all the +1 and +2 junk is gone. At what level do you think I'd have to start adapting the monsters? I was hoping I'd be able to use their stats more or less straight across, apart from spell-related stuff. Since I generally have to look up Pathfinder spells every time anyway (one of the things I dislike about GMing the game) looking them up in my DCC book won't be any worse.
ragboy wrote:I think it should be fairly easy. The things I'd look out for are:
  • DCC is a high fatality system -- d20/PF is a high encounter system. More encounters = more death in DCC. d20/PF adventures are going to have a lot of combat encounters. More than you'd see in a typical DCC adventure.
  • DCC is a "magic is dangerous" system -- d20/PF is a "magic is a commodity" system. More magic = more death in DCC. :)
  • Other than that, monsters are supposed to be unique and rare (and more dangerous) in DCC. If these are relatively new players, however, everything will seem shiny and new... even the insane goblins.
  • Personal preference -- treasure is worth more and more rare in my own campaign. And may have additional complications (taxes, thieves, unscrupulous moneychangers, etc)
I think I'll be able to eliminate a lot of the more minor encounters, or just encourage players to come up with clever ways around them. I think a lot of those are little more than XP grinds anyway. I figure that the goblin attacks on Sandpoint might be a good way to "funnel" a bunch of level 0 townsfolk and country bumpkins into level 1 heroes; after that, it's easy to skip over stuff that isn't important to the story.

I like that magic is dangerous in DCC - one of the things that is making it haunt me, I think. Since most of the magic in RotRL seems to be associated with monsters, demons, and soul-catching horrors I figure that this should be just fine. It also adds another incentive for any Wizard characters to delve into these arcane mysteries - a lot of the villains are dangerous, but knowledgeable wizards.
The big thing, though -- especially if you're playing with kids -- is make it fun. My experience with DCC and kids has been overwhelmingly positive. The system is simpler to grasp and much less work on the judge to run. The characters, believe it or not, have more options -- because there are fewer codified "options" for the characters (other than the obvious ones -- wizards use magic, clerics heal, etc). Fosters more creativity, in my opinion -- but you'll see that when they're a 0-level farmer trying to figure out how to search for traps (hint: Use the pig!)
Yeah, I'm not worried about the kids not handling the complexity - their current favorite games are Fluxx and Summoner Wars. The problem is that I can't handle the complexity anymore. Too much of my brain is busy tracking my schedule, my lesson plans, my marking, my other duties, and my own family. DCC replaces most of that complexity with random tables, which are easy! I just have to look at them and roll some dice.

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Re: DCC with Rise of the Runelords - madness?

Post by ragboy » Fri Oct 12, 2012 2:39 pm

Ddogwood wrote:Since I generally have to look up Pathfinder spells every time anyway (one of the things I dislike about GMing the game) looking them up in my DCC book won't be any worse.
I would suggest NOT giving your NPC's a list of regular spells. Simply pick a good number of "powers" from the spell lists, and have those be their "spells." You can have any spellcasting creatures or NPC's roll a Spell Check (or not), but having to run through a full spell check against the spells in the book will likely slow the game down to a crawl when the party encounters such threats.

Take a look at the spellcasting NPC's in the core book and tweak to your pleasure. Much, much easier.
Ddogwood wrote: I figure that the goblin attacks on Sandpoint might be a good way to "funnel" a bunch of level 0 townsfolk and country bumpkins into level 1 heroes; after that, it's easy to skip over stuff that isn't important to the story.
I've used a similar "invasion" encounter to great effect. It's also a great way to distribute additional tools to the 0-level party -- if you expect that they'll need some armor, weapons, mounts, etc.
Ddogwood wrote: The problem is that I can't handle the complexity anymore. Too much of my brain is busy tracking my schedule, my lesson plans, my marking, my other duties, and my own family. DCC replaces most of that complexity with random tables, which are easy! I just have to look at them and roll some dice.
I'm right there with you, brother. It's why I ran screaming from 4th edition before it ever came out...all the way back to D&D/AD&D/C&C...then DCC. With any of those, I can draw out a dungeon map on a piece of paper, write down some relevant stats next to the map and spend my time gaming instead of preparing to game. :)
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In the Prison of the Squid Sorcerer (PDF) and softcover: 12 Short Adventures for DCC!
The God-Seed Awakens: 3rd Level Adventure for DCC. New patron, new spells, lots of new monsters and the living weapons of the Empire of Thal!
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Re: DCC with Rise of the Runelords - madness?

Post by Ddogwood » Wed Oct 24, 2012 7:16 am

ragboy wrote:
Ddogwood wrote: The problem is that I can't handle the complexity anymore. Too much of my brain is busy tracking my schedule, my lesson plans, my marking, my other duties, and my own family. DCC replaces most of that complexity with random tables, which are easy! I just have to look at them and roll some dice.
I'm right there with you, brother. It's why I ran screaming from 4th edition before it ever came out...all the way back to D&D/AD&D/C&C...then DCC. With any of those, I can draw out a dungeon map on a piece of paper, write down some relevant stats next to the map and spend my time gaming instead of preparing to game. :)
I quite like D&D 4e, because it was fun & easy to DM. I hope that D&D Next hangs onto the excellent monster stat blocks and some of the design philosophy from 4th. Honestly, 4E is one of the only games where every monster stat block has had 100% of the information needed to run the monster. But D&D 4e wouldn't work for this school club, because our weekly sessions are 2 hours maximum and a single combat in 4e can take up most of that (IMO, the fatal flaw of the system).

Unfortunately, it looks like I won't be running DCC for these kids anyway. While I loved the starter scenario that I ran with them, they are much more attracted to the production quality and customizability of Pathfinder (sigh!). Now I'm resisting the temptation to put on my old man beard and rant about how kids these days don't appreciate 1970s style fantasy art.

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Re: DCC with Rise of the Runelords - madness?

Post by GnomeBoy » Wed Oct 24, 2012 7:42 am

Ddogwood wrote:...they are much more attracted to the production quality and customizability of Pathfinder (sigh!)...
Perhaps in the fullness of time they will realize the customizability of DCC - it's there in the details and in how you parse them for your character!
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Ddogwood
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Re: DCC with Rise of the Runelords - madness?

Post by Ddogwood » Wed Oct 24, 2012 9:19 am

GnomeBoy wrote:
Ddogwood wrote:...they are much more attracted to the production quality and customizability of Pathfinder (sigh!)...
Perhaps in the fullness of time they will realize the customizability of DCC - it's there in the details and in how you parse them for your character!
Oh, absolutely - it's not a flaw in the game by any stretch. The customizability of Pathfinder and its ilk is simply more accessible to new roleplayers.

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Re: DCC with Rise of the Runelords - madness?

Post by RevTurkey » Wed Oct 24, 2012 9:25 am

Pathfinder, DCC, 4e....

I've had fun with all three :D

None are perfect but all are enjoyable if you can delve into the strengths and merits of each.

The cool thing is that you are getting youngsters playing...bravo!
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Re: DCC with Rise of the Runelords - madness?

Post by AQuebman » Fri Oct 26, 2012 12:29 pm

Indeed recruiting more into the hobby is the way to go. They will eventually be drawn by the chaotic patron's and stories of power they hear from DCC... it will slowly call out and drag them into the abyss with the rest of us! :twisted:

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Re: DCC with Rise of the Runelords - madness?

Post by Aplus » Mon Oct 29, 2012 1:40 pm

I've run a lot of Pathfinder content using DCC characters in the level 1-6 range. You don't really need to do anything except perhaps the occasional on-the-fly tweak or judgement call when you don't feel like looking up some Pathfinder rules detail.
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Re: DCC with Rise of the Runelords - madness?

Post by Ogrepuppy » Wed Dec 05, 2012 8:46 am

Ddogwood wrote:I have the Pathfinder Beginner Box
Not to step on Joseph's toes or hype a non-DCC RPG game system, but the Beginner Box really lowered my DMing headaches. It's made for both beginner players AND beginner DMs, and keeps the rules down to very basics. Drop the references to miniatures, use the "battlemap of the mind" rather than a physical one, and go to town.

Also, to streamline hero creation you can use Lone Wolf's FREE Beginner Box chargen software: http://www.wolflair.com/index.php?conte ... er_edition. Good stuff right there.

If you want more race, class, and monster options, you might also look at EdOWar's blog: http://edowarsblog.wordpress.com/. On the right side, look for references to the Beginner Box. Ed's got great (and still simple!) takes on classes/races/critters that weren't included in the BB.

Not that I don't adore the DCC RPG, but....there is much to love in the BB, too, and much can be learned from both.

.....But be sure to buy the new limited edition "Wizard cover" copy of DCC RPG, too. ;)
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