Friday, 1 June 2012

DCC House Rules: Three Strikes & Backstabs


(Cribbed from RCFG)

The Judge may declare any skill attempt to be unable to succeed after a single failure (in some instances), and normally after three failures.  There is a reason that characters usually only gain three chances to succeed at a particular task — it prevents the game from becoming stale.

In some SRD-derived games, a character can keep making checks until she succeeds. This means that, unless there is some penalty for failure, when the GM sets the DC, he automatically knows the end result.  Skills become a binary on/off switch, where either an eventual roll of “20” (or less) will succeed, or it will not.  It is desirable that an achievable DC can be set without dictating the outcome.

Three chances still allows characters to take two wild stabs at a task before burning Luck to increase the chance of success.  Each check takes time, of course, and other consequences of failure or time spent may occur.


A Backstab is intended to be a strike from surprise, where the Thief manages to get behind an individual or to make an attack against an individual who does not know he is there.  It is not intended to allow a Thief to make more Critical Hits in combat than a Warrior.

A Thief cannot normally Backstab a creature once that creature is aware of him (as, for example, usually occurs once the Thief has Backstabbed another opponent in the same combat).  It is normally insufficient for the Thief to simply make a Hide in Shadows or Sneak Silently attempt once in combat.

A Warrior or a Dwarf can perform a Mighty Deed to distract an opponent, giving the Thief a chance to make a DC 20 Sneak Silently attempt to get the drop on an opponent (and thus, a potential Backstab).  For every point the Deed Die is over 3, the Thief gains a +1 bonus to the stealth attempt.

If opponents are outnumbered, three or more Thieves can manoeuvre around a single opponent so that one is behind the opponent and has the potential to Backstab.

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