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Wednesday 18 January 2017

Classic Rant: 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.


(originally posted March 6, 2014)


  1. It's a bit of a double edged sword I think: the big thick book full of art and big tables causes people to say 'oh, looks rulesy' and not want to play it. If you took out the art, and maybe separated it into a Players' Guide and GM's guide (with all the tables) it would look a lot more approachable, but lose much of its charm.

  2. I agree DCC isnt complicated. Nothing like Shadowrun or something. About the right level of complexity for me.

  3. i got it for art - i find utterly intimidating

    1. I've never played it but I don't think it's all that complicated really, no more than AD&D anyway. The art is sweet...

  4. DCC isn't so much complicated as intentionally funky. That is a feature, not a bug. You select DCC because you want funk.

  5. And Goodman Games now sourced full dice sets for the game in the last year+ so finding full dice sets for the game is really easy now and not that expensive either.

  6. Looking back at AD&D, and how poorly organized and complicatred everything was, I'm amazed the game took off the way it did. I guess there is a natural instinct to just dump things you don't like or understand (weapon speed) and move on with the show.

  7. I have read it and didn't find it complicated. That Crawler's Companion app is great though!

  8. Not only is the game not overly complicated, but the complication enters into the game at the points of maximum positive impact for game play. The complications *matter* when they arise.