Q: How do you handle 0 to 1st level transition?

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Melvis Pestly
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Q: How do you handle 0 to 1st level transition?

Post by Melvis Pestly »

Hi! Just picked up the DCC Rulebook and I'm fixin' to run my first game with my sons (my RPG experience has been going 38 years now running B/X, BECMI, 1E, 2E, Ghostbusters, Robotech, Rifts, Yucky 4E, and 5E). My question for the DCC-experienced GM's is this: How do you handle your players' transition from 0 level to 1st? I know pg.359 of the rulebook says "When a character accrues enough XP to advance in level (per the XP table on page 26), he auto-matically acquires the benefits of that new level. No formalized training or other activity is necessary", but it just seems kind weird to me that a cheesemaker would just instantly become a spellcaster upon reaching the 10 xp threshold. Does anyone out there have any house rules that makes this transition a little less counter-intuitive?
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GnomeBoy
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Re: Q: How do you handle 0 to 1st level transition?

Post by GnomeBoy »

Many, many folks have stumbled over that exact "and they suddenly are a Wizard?" moment... The easiest solution is to frame it along the lines of: they have studied weird stuff for however long makes sense to you, and that THAT huge TRAUMATIC experience with the SUPERNATURAL (the Funnel adventure) put it all in perspective. You've just witnessed the experience which that cheesemaker has had that caused everything to click into place for them. If there were particular elements in the adventure played which can be drafted to enhance that interpretation, all the better.

They didn't just decide to start learning to drive a car; they've watched from the backseat for years and paid attention all along, and now can pretty much drive the car even without Driver's Ed!

Same for the other human Classes.
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serendipitous
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Re: Q: How do you handle 0 to 1st level transition?

Post by serendipitous »

GnomeBoy's suggestion covers it easily & naturally. Especially if the players level up together at the table and can brainstorm together: the funnel will have given their characters exposure to fighting/sneaking/spellcasting/caprice of gods/etc. and shown them that mastering that stuff would be super useful.

As a player and (newbie) GM, it is the non-human classes that cause me the most narrative grief. DCC seems authentic OSR in the way that the non-human races come with specific cultural backgrounds that don't always jibe with the funnel story. As in: why is an elf, with centuries of Elven Education, in a party of backwoods yokels? And why the heck didn't that elf pull out some handy Elven Awesomeness when all her compadres were DYING IN DROVES???

So if elves or dwarves or halflings make it out of the funnel and onto the Level 1 sheets, it might be worth rounding out the backstory if you or the player really wants narrative consistency, especially as they continue to level up.

As a GM I have lots of power, and so declared that in my current campaign DCC "race" is just a thing that happens randomly & sometimes runs high in certain families. So the wizard might have an elf, a human, and a dwarf in his family.

I like this for tons of reasons. Among them: my PCs all grew up together and know each other well, which has provided a robust social adhesive to their disparate selves.* You might need to adjust some pre-written adventures, though, if you went this route.


* Also they are from a nomadic tribe and first thing in the funnel I had a chasm open up in the earth and swallow the entire tribe in its sleep, as My Intrepid Adventurers were sneaking away for an unsanctioned round of exploring. Bonding by trauma!
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BanjoJohn
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Re: Q: How do you handle 0 to 1st level transition?

Post by BanjoJohn »

The battle rages on, adrenaline is pumping through the blood of these poor peasants as horrible monsters try to kill and consume them. The heavy metal riffs reverb through the air as they scream loudly, stabbing wildly with their scissors and shovels into the entrails of these creatures to ensure they won't get back up. When it is done, something inside their brain snaps, their eyes roll back into their head, and they howl into the cold night as fear, adrenaline, hatred, and the will to survive put into place many ideas that have been floating around in their head over the years, suddenly adapting new abilities and skills that had not yet been realized. ding, you're level 1.

I like this method of going from level 0 to level 1, but I don't really like giving "free" spells to wizards. But they do now understand how to study and learn spells when they come across them.
serendipitous
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Re: Q: How do you handle 0 to 1st level transition?

Post by serendipitous »

BanjoJohn wrote: Mon May 10, 2021 3:26 am The battle rages on, adrenaline is pumping through the blood of these poor peasants as horrible monsters try to kill and consume them. The heavy metal riffs reverb through the air as they scream loudly, stabbing wildly with their scissors and shovels into the entrails of these creatures to ensure they won't get back up. When it is done, something inside their brain snaps, their eyes roll back into their head, and they howl into the cold night as fear, adrenaline, hatred, and the will to survive put into place many ideas that have been floating around in their head over the years, suddenly adapting new abilities and skills that had not yet been realized. ding, you're level 1.

I like this method of going from level 0 to level 1, but I don't really like giving "free" spells to wizards. But they do now understand how to study and learn spells when they come across them.
That's super cool! And thanks for giving the walk-through, which makes your approach practical & do-able.

For the second part: by "free spells" do you mean giving the wizard the 4 spells that come at level 1? I'm thinking that having no spells at level-up could make gameplay a lot less fun for such a squishy class, unless you allow a spell or two they encountered in the funnel. How do you, yourself, think about that?
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GnomeBoy
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Re: Q: How do you handle 0 to 1st level transition?

Post by GnomeBoy »

I've run Sailors at least 8 or 9 times... with a couple of those, it felt epicly appropriate to level up as the boat approaches the little island. IIRC, I gave spellcasters 1 or 2 spells, randomly determined.

They got the rest between adventures.
...
Gnome Boy • DCC playtester @ DDC 35 Feb '11. • Beta DL 2111, 7AM PT, 8 June 11.
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BanjoJohn
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Re: Q: How do you handle 0 to 1st level transition?

Post by BanjoJohn »

serendipitous wrote: Mon May 10, 2021 10:00 am That's super cool! And thanks for giving the walk-through, which makes your approach practical & do-able.

For the second part: by "free spells" do you mean giving the wizard the 4 spells that come at level 1? I'm thinking that having no spells at level-up could make gameplay a lot less fun for such a squishy class, unless you allow a spell or two they encountered in the funnel. How do you, yourself, think about that?
Yeah. like.. any of the "professions" you could roll up can become a wizard. So you have to contextualize the fact that a poor starving orphan, or a miserable gongfarmer, or anything else, could become a wizard out of nowhere without being a wizard's apprentice. And then the fact that wizards who do exist in DCC jealously guard the secrets to their spells and magic. Gameplay wise, it might make sense for a few spells to be found during the funnel adventure so that anyone who becomes a wizard may try and learn those spells, but automatically gaining new spells when you level up just doesn't make sense as an isolated system, unless the wizard player is actively doing research and rituals to discover new spells as they adventure.
serendipitous
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Re: Q: How do you handle 0 to 1st level transition?

Post by serendipitous »

@BanjoJohn: Thanks for writing out how you think of it: very helpful.
"Who tells the story affects stories that you tell. Those questions of representation and power are being explored here, right now. "
-- Susan Smith Richardson
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