Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Getting Lucky in DCC


Some House Rules about Luck

In the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG, character Luck is intended to go up and down based upon the circumstances of play.  In general, Luck goes up due to rewards given by the judge, and goes down as it is used up by the players to modify rolls.  The judge can also penalize Luck, but, because players rely on it, and it is generally lost forever when spent, bonuses tend to outweigh penalties.  This is true even in the official published adventures, where Luck penalties tend to be temporary where they exist at all.

The thief and halfling classes, however, regain spent Luck, which means that, if they gain bonuses as do the rest of the PCs, pretty soon their Luck will be absolutely phenomenal.  Unless the judge sets a cap, the player can have Luck that reaches well beyond the 18-20 range.

What to do?

Permanently Burning Luck – The Carrot

In my game, it is now a house rule that a thief who permanently burns a point of Luck automatically gains the maximum roll on his Luck Die. 

A halfling who permanently burns a point of Luck gains a +3, rather than a +2, bonus to the roll.

Luck is Fickle – The Cattle Prod

In my game, it is now a house rule that any character whose permanent Luck is 16+ or 5- at the end of a game session must roll 1d20 and compare the result against his permanent Luck.  Permanent Luck is the Luck score that most characters have, and that a thief or halfling can recover Luck to reach.

If the result of the d20 roll is greater than the character’s Luck, supernatural forces help the character, granting a point of Luck in game terms.  The character gains a point of Luck.

But, if the d20 roll is under the character’s Luck, the character loses a point of Luck.  Supernatural forces, Karma, or the perversity of the cosmos simply work against him.

If the character rolls exactly his Luck score, there is no change if his Luck is between 8 and 19, but if his Luck is 7 or less, he gains 2 points of Luck.  If he Luck is 20, he loses 2 points of Luck.

A character whose Luck is between 6 and 15 at the end of a game session need not roll, but can choose to do so if the player wishes.  In any event, only the raw, unmodified die roll is considered.

3 comments:

  1. Hmmm... seems like a lot of keeping track and rolling. Personally, I don't buy the whole "gone forever" deal. Anyone can get luck (fortune, hero points, whatever) back eventually via good roleplaying.

    Permanent is only temporary stretched out real far.

    VS

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    1. Hi Venger. I am not certain that your comments follow what I wrote.

      The "whole gone forever deal"? Reread the first paragraph, starting with "In the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG, character Luck is intended to go up and down based upon the circumstances of play."

      It should be clear that, if Johnny runs a game, and allows the players the opportunity to regain an average of 3 Luck per session, the players will also realize fairly quickly that they should only burn an average of 3 Luck per session. If not, they become very, very unlucky.

      So, two characters start with 10 Luck. One is a Thief, the other a Warrior. The first session, both burn and gain 3 Luck. But the Thief's burn Luck comes back, so he has 13 Luck while the Warrior has 10. Next session, the same. The Thief is at 16, and the Warrior at 10. Next session, the same. The Thief is at 19, and the Warrior at 10. Etc.

      There are many ways to address this, but if you give the players equal opportunities to increase their character's Luck, and you use the Luck rules as written, you will have to address it eventually.

      Which is where "Permanent is only temporary stretched out real far" presumably comes in, but, if you don't play favourites, reducing the Thief by 6 is likely to reduce the Warrior as well, and the Warrior can ill afford it.

      A whole lot of keeping track and rolling? Let's tackle those separately.

      KEEPING TRACK: What is my character's Luck? I am already tracking that. I need to know if it is in the top or bottom quarter of 20 (1-5 or 16-20) or over 20. I think most people can get that pretty intuitively. I need to remember the numbers Lucky 7 and 20. Again, I think that most people can do this without effort.

      ROLLING: The first part ("carrot") reduces rolling when used, by preventing a Thief from having to roll his Luck Die.

      The second part MIGHT require each player to roll 1d20 at the end of a gaming session. This does not seem like a lot of rolling to me. YMMV.

      Would you care to elaborate on where you see a lot of keeping track and rolling?

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  2. I was just about to post something to G+ to see if anyone had any house rules around the inevitable rise to 18+ Luck for Thieves and Halflings, and it looks like I don't have to now!
    Coming up with a way to get Luck reduced for those classes without unfairly targeting them, or reducing the effectiveness of the class, has been a challenge.
    We scrapped alignment so that method of reduction isn’t available, and other than curses that just happen to always befall halflings and thieves, there isn't much else that'll bring their Luck down.

    I'm definitely going to implement the permanent luck burn rules, and will float the "Cattle Prod" to see what my players think.
    Thanks for this.

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