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Thursday 6 March 2014

How Complicated is DCC?

So I had recently reposted, to theRPGsite, the review I did of the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG.  At the time of writing the review I had not yet played the game; but I had prophetically stated that I had no doubt I would.  Since that time these past 9 months or so we've been running an English-language DCC game that has been very successful, and that frequent readers get some updates about.

I've heard some people comment, both in these recent conversations and in general, that DCC is very "Complicated".  But I have to say that if anything, from the time of my original review to now, my opinion after actually playing is that the game is far less complicated than I expected.  The various mechanics present in DCC but absent in regular D&D (eg. spell checks, criticals, fumbles, a few other things) do not excessively slow down play.  The funny dice (ie. d5, d7, d14, d16, d24) are actually much less intrusive or even essential than they appear.

The two most typical complaints I've seen have been about needing to get the dice, and about having to look up tables.  I would respond by saying that technically, you could play DCC without the fancy dice; I know this because I ran DCC for several sessions before I got my special gamescience dice and about 95% of the time there was no significant disruption.  When there was some situation that demanded a non-standard-D&D die, there were many possible quick fixes.

As for tables, this is perhaps slightly more legitimate, but really there are only a few tables one looks up more often than in D&D.  I mean first of all, let's be honest here: I'm also running Lamentations of the Flame Princess, and I have to pause to look up stuff there too (mostly spell info my players were too lazy to write down).  The same goes for standard D&D, the same goes for most games.  Unless you're playing some utterly insanely-ultralight game, there will be times you have to stop and look up shit in the books. 
It may be a little more frequent than in D&D, but its not a terrible lot; at least not if your players have access to the tables for their own spells.

But if this still doesn't convince you, I have another answer for you: There's an app for that.  The Crawler's Companion is an absolutely awesome, free resource, that you can put into a laptop, tablet, and I don't know what else, that revolutionizes game play.  
It has a dice roller, a really great one, so you don't need to worry about the "funky dice" anymore.
It has all the spell lists. It can roll for you, or you can do the roll and look up the results.
It has all the crit charts, it has the fumbles, it has deity disapproval, it has corruption; all of them available to be rolled or in lookup mode.

And it has quick rules-references.

So even without this app, I think there was little cause for the kind of alarmism we hear about how "complicated" DCC is.  I think that almost anyone making such a claim hasn't actually played it.
But if you have the Crawler's Companion; your game will run faster than it would with any other edition of D&D.  Its that simple.


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Poker + H&H's Beverwyck


  1. I concur, it is largely a reaction to the tables, during the playtests I ran it was as simple to run and manage as any other classic edition of D&D.

    Crawler Companion is simply the most outstanding tabletop app out there. Dicenomicon for the iPad is close and has more general use but as a specific utility for a system Crawler is #1.

  2. Totally agree with you. This is my favorite FRPG of all time.

  3. DCC has rapidly become one of my favorite RPGs. For D&D-style play, it ties with LotFP and Arrows of Indra in terms of stuff I love to run (and since I wrote the latter, you might say that's unfair to add, but whatever). All three games are good for fairly different things.