Sunday, 11 August 2019

Advice For Beginning Judges

Things you should know when embarking on a career as a DCC judge:

  • There are a bunch of tables which actually add to the fun. Weird, but true. I have never seen a critical hit and fumble system that made the game better before this.

  • Start with a funnel. You can relax about learning the rules/killing PCs, and the players can relax about PCs dying. In the funnel, they operate several until you winnow them down.

  • The DCC ruleset is actually minimalist, but so is the official lore. This doesn't mean that you cannot use the lore from any game that you wish....but I would consider, strongly, creating your own vast lore through play. In DCC, players encounter the unknown. There is a lot of emphasis on how little the players know about adventure locations, creatures, and magic items going into the game. The GM (judge) is encouraged to Make Monsters Mysterious, so that even a lowly goblin might not be recognized by the PCs for what it is. Tools are given to help you in this.

  • The consequence is that, in an adventure, you can include anything you can think of. You do not have to do any complicated math to create monsters, either. There are several blogs with creatures you can use (Appendix M in particular, and my own blog). There are also several products to help you create monsters....and you can easily convert any monsters from other game systems. A breakdown of how to create monsters can be found here. It might sound complicated as I broke it down in the blog post, but it is pretty easy. By your third or fourth creature, it will be second nature.

  • Some things are left intentionally vague. This is so that you can make rulings, or use the rules you like from other RPGs. If you decide to roll 1d10 + modifiers for initiative, you are not doing it wrong. Page 312 of the core rulebook contains the most important rule of the game.....The rules bend to you, not the other way around.

  • PCs are going to die. Other PCs are going to become incredibly powerful. It is not your job to ameliorate either of these outcomes. The dice will, sooner or later, give that powerful PC a critical hit from a monster that brings him down a peg. Another character will rise to fill the vacuum.

  • Quest For It is the beating heart of DCC. There are no feats, for example, but if a character wants a special ability, you can make learning how to obtain it part of the treasure for one adventure, and then make actually obtaining it part of another adventure. Or you can just let the PC go learn it for a month, but then owe something to the legendary being who taught her. The game includes many ways where player actions and/or desires can drive the storyline of the game - use them!

  • Consider looking at some of the published adventures, both from Goodman Games and from third party publishers, to get an idea of how to design for this game. But, even more importantly, go back and read some of the early fantasy works listed in Appendix N, and use them as direct inspiration. Make your own stuff! And then share it with the community!

  • Speaking of which, this is a great community, and you will find people willing to help you with any problems you might encounter!

1 comment:

  1. Crazy agreement with that last point. The DCC community is chock-full of creative people all ready to help and support each other. I love it!