Friday 27 November 2020

How to Read Your Character Sheet

I created a simple pdf for an event I am running on December 4th. It is intended to make a Purple Sorcerer Index-Card style 0-level character sheet comprehensible to someone who has never played DCC...or even a role-playing game...before.

Then I thought, "Hey! Someone else might be able to use this!"

So I put it here


Saturday 21 November 2020

DCC Choker, Darkmantle, and Roper

From a request on Reddit.


Choker: Init +4; Atk tentacle +6 melee (1d3+3); AC 17; HD 3d8; MV 20’ or climb 10'; Act 2d20; SP infravision 60', reach, hiding, throttle; SV Fort +2,Ref +5, Will +4; AL C.

This halfling-sized creature can reach creatures up to 10' away with their elastic tentacles. They tend to attack from hiding, often clinging to ceilings, gaining a +6 bonus to any stealth-based check. They are enormously strong (+3 bonus to opposed Strength checks), and can throttle creatures once they are successfully hit. Throttled creatures cannot speak, and take automatic damage each round unless they succeed in an opposed Strength check to get free.


Darkmantle: Init +2; Atk grab +3 melee (0); AC 15; HD 2d8+2; MV 20’ or fly 30'; Act 1d20; SP infravision 30', camoflage, cling, automatic bite (1d4+1); SV Fort +5,Ref +3, Will +0; AL N.

These creatures camouflage themselves among stalactites, gaining a +10 bonus to hide. Their initial attack is to cling to their victim's head, automatically blinding them. The tentacles of the darkmantle wrap around their victim, requiring a DC 20 Strength check to remove. Worse, the victim takes 1/2 damage from any successful attack targeting the darkmantle. While clinging to a victim, the darkmantle can automatically bite with its parrot-like beak for 1d4+1 damage each round (no attack roll is necessary).


Roper: Init +2; Atk tentacle +8 melee (2d6) or bite +10 melee (3d10); AC 20; HD 5d10+10; MV 10’; Act 6d20; SP infravision 120', reach, surprise, constrict, draw; SV Fort +10,Ref +3, Will +14; AL C.

These creatures can reach up to 50' away with their tentacles, surprising foes fully 50% of the time due to their stalagmite-like appearance (before they move). A creature so struck is held by the creature, who can use an Action Die to automatically cause constriction damage (2d6) or draw the victim 1d3 x 10' closer (opposed Strength check vs.+4 negates). The creature can only bite victims drawn adjacent to it. 

10% of ropers have a special ability. Roll 1d7: 

1. Stony Carapace: +4 bonus to AC.

2. Spellcasting: The roper has the spell abilities equal to a level 1d3 wizard.

3. Extendable Mouth: The roper can bite victims up to 10' away. If this is rolled again, the range is extended by +5'.

4. Better Camouflage: The roper has a +10% chance to surprise.

5. Stronger: The roper gains a +1d5 bonus to opposed Strength checks. Each of its attacks has its damage increased by the same amount.

6. Increased Hit Dice: The roper gains +1d3 Hit Dice. For every full 3 HD, it gains a +1 bonus to all attack rolls, a +1 bonus to Fort saves, a +2 bonus to Will saves, and a -2 penalty to Ref saves.

7. Roll twice and keep both results. This result can occur any number of times.

Sunday 8 November 2020

Animal Summoning and Monster Summoning

Okay, the first thing to notice about Animal Summoning and Monster Summoning is that the PC must have a bit of the creature to be summoned. What does that mean in practical terms? If the judge doesn't have stats, the creature cannot be summoned.

Having stats means that the judge knows what the HD type is. The player may not know how many HD a creature encountered is, and thus might either waste a casting or receive a weaker version of a creature, as the judge decides. I would, personally, go with a weaker version. Weaker versions might use a smaller Hit Die, have fewer attacks, have a smaller attack bonus, use a smaller die for damage, etc. They may, or may not, have the special abilities of the base creature.

(Example: Having shaved off the toenail of an elephant, our caster gains a 1 HD version of the same. This might be an elephant calf without tusks or the ability to trample that an adult has - or, if the judge is kind, it might be a "glass canon" adult with 5 hp!)

(Note that this can go the other way - a 5 HD chicken might be large enough to ride, with a devastating peck attack!)

When the player starts collecting animal/monster parts for these spells, the wise judge starts collecting these stats into a printable document to have at hand when the spells are cast.

As a player, be prepared to roll with what the judge tells you was summoned. Magic is unknowable, and there may be factors at play that you are not aware of. This is explicit in the judge's advice in the core rules - the judge is encouraged to have locations that skew the results of some or all spells.

As a judge, be prepared to expand on what the caster rolls. DCC monster stats are not difficult to modify - here is a post on understanding the stat block - and getting a giant chicken, a dog storm, or dozens of tiny hippos are all results that can be memorable in play. The goal is not to "gimp" the spell result, but to make the spell result fun for all involved, even when it fails. Maybe we see a spectral rhino that never quite manifests, or what looks like an inside-out lion appears like a transporter accident in Star Trek. You don't have to do that all the time, but once in a while is fun.

Best of luck!

Another cross-post from Reddit.

Making the World Dangerous and Mysterious

There are two parts to this - dangerous and mysterious.

Dangerous includes running into monsters - but it should also include running into people, dealing with the weather, natural hazards, and things like that. If you read any of the foundational literature from Appendix N, consider taking notes about things that happen when the characters travel. You can recast these as you need.

Mysterious includes special locations, such as standing stones that indicate a nexus of ley lines boosting certain types of magic, cavernous pits or chasms that lead who-knows-where, and lonely ruined castles on hilltops like rotting teeth. Basically, consider a lot of things that might be good or bad, and sprinkle them around. Each of these might lead into an adventure. Or they might be places the PCs return to at some point - the standing stones, for instance, when they want to cast some particular spell.

Both dangers and mysteries provide opportunities to create context for your players' decisions. If they are confronted by patrolling henchmen of the Evil Baron, that is both a danger, and something that allows them to learn about the Evil Baron. If they discover a waterfall into a vast chasm, which they have no reasonable means to descend, they might be able to link that to a river flowing out of a cavern later in their travels.

Remember, too, that an encounter need not mean combat. A cyclops might be waiting at a crossroads because it foresaw the party's arrival in a vision. It might offer to restore one of more PCs' lost Stamina once the recover some item it prizes from a nearby adventure location the cyclops is to large to fit into. Or, perhaps, the cyclops merely says "The Fates have decreed that you shall succeed in this endeavor, or no one."

And it doesn't mean they have to fight the cyclops if they say No. Who knows? Maybe the Fates decreed that they would succeed a year from now? Or ten years?

Also, there are other people in the world. Everyone the PCs meet knows stories of forest demons and hidden valleys where a fortune in jewels are to be had for the taking. Or stories of Elfland, both wondrous and grim. Some of these stories are true. Some have been distorted through long telling. Some are false. And some, whether or not the teller knows it, merely lead the gullible into a monster's gullet.

Give the players things to think about. Imply dangers that are not necessarily met...this time, at least. Let the occasional danger manifest. Suddenly, the world is both as dangerous and as mysterious as you could want!

Cross-posted from reddit.