Monday, August 20, 2012

"I love this game!"

Last night we got to bite into more of Dungeon Crawl Classics and some really cool things emerged from playing. The beginning of this game started as a one shot, throw away session. I wanted to just soak my players in DCC gore and see how they would wash themselves off, and I think overall it was a success. During the first session I ran them through the introductory adventure at the back of the rulebook.

One player lost three of his characters, and because he thought of them as stat blocks instead of characters he was really disappointed to be left with one of his unheroic characters (read as: no ability score higher than 13). I houseruled mid-game that once you were down to one character you could level them up as a warrior class. I justified this by saying that the character was emboldened by the death of their comrades to enact mighty deeds, and explained out of character that this allowed fewer chances of being forced to start over with new characters before the end of the very first session.

Another player managed to involve all four of his characters in multiple activities and none of them died, which was very lucky since it all came down to dice rolls. There were several instances where his characters had a 50% or worse chance of surviving something, and yet they all pulled through.

In the second session, rather than skipping ahead to the next adventure we role-played out journeying to a nearby city to sell their loot. A lot of this gameplay involved casting spells and getting familiar with the locations of different tables in the rulebook. It was a little tedious, and one player remarked that there was a little too much randomization. He argued that d20 games typically are very balanced and you're always using a d20 so your chances are always easy to calculate (he was an economics major in college). I argued that the randomness is part of the charm, and you shouldn't be able to calculate your chances very easily because that's meta. Later in the session another player incurred deity disapproval and rolling on the table he received a quest to heal a cripple which allowed me to give the offending cleric a vision of a nearby cripple. Everybody at the table thought the result was cool and it gave them a push to regroup, the emerging story behind their misfortune humbled the characters, and in that moment I burst out "This is why I love this game! The craziest things can happen, but they can still all make sense!"

Near the end of the session the characters had a new quest for themselves, and all of them nearly got killed simply from approaching their destination. Yet again, the player with four characters had every single one of them almost die. Three of them were brought to 1 hit point and mercifully survived the rest of the encounter by the fate of the dice. The real problem now is that every character at the table is now level 1, which has the potential of making bookkeeping tiresome.

There were some great moments where players acted out responses from different characters, and one player had one of his characters stealing from the other. For these moments of role-playing I couldn't help myself and I gave a single point of experience which I declared could be given to one of the characters involved. The gameplay that arose from last night's session was unexpected and fun, and I only wish I could share this experience with more of my gamer friends.