I’ve downloaded a copy of the Beta version of Goodman Games new Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG. I’ve scanned the rules. The DCC RPG seems like a lot of the games I bought in the late 70s and early 80s, I doubt I’d ever play it but I’d borrow a few ideas I like from it.
Why I’ll probably never play it:
* Weird dice that cannot be emulated with standard RPG dice with just one roll. A D16, for example can be emulated with a D8 and any other die with odd on the other die meaning add 8 to the D8 result. You never need roll more that once. Using a d8 to emulate a D7 by rolling again on a result of 8 means at least one in eight rolls will need to be rerolled at least once, slowing things down.
* Too many unique tables. I have no problem with using tables, but I prefer them to be a bit more generic than in this game. For example, I’ve used a spell success system in the past where the spell effects varied with the results of the success roll, but there was one table that applied to all spells with the GM interpreting how the generic effect applied to a given spell. Here, each spell has its own table which means creating new spells goes from a quick task of writing a few sentences describing the spell to needing to create a table of effects by casting success for each spell. Too much work for too little gain, IMHO.
* From what I’ve seen of the system in the Beta rules it would be hard to adapt to two of my three standard campaign worlds. It’ll work for a campaign set in the Judges Guild Wilderlands without much setting change, but probably would not work for the Hidden Valley and definitely would not work for Arn. This is the primary reason I’d probably never play it. I lack the time and interest to create a world that would do the system justice.
What I really like:
* As an option, the idea of starting with four 0-level totally random characters and playing the survivors sounds like fun. But it really needs to be an option as it makes it harder to add a replacement character when a player’s character dies in the game above level 0. Also it could be unwieldy for large groups of players. I can just see trying this with the 9 players in my current game. That would be 36 0-level characters to work with — and none of them hirelings that can fade into the background much of the time.
* Mercurial Magic: I like the idea that each mage learns a spell just a bit differently just because magic is fickle.
* Supernatural Patrons: I’ve used similar ideas in my Arn games in the past, but this is handled in a very clean and simple way. Or it is compared to the way I handled it in the 1980s.
Everyone is commenting on the artwork so I guess I should as well. I definitely like the art, but I don’t buy games for their art. There is a higher art pages to text pages ratio than I really like in a set of game rules here — especially as practically none of the art is used to illustrate rules in use. Yes, I know I’m a curmudgeon when it comes to this issue, but when I’m buying a rule book I really don’t want to spend much of that money on art.
If the DCC RPG comes out in an affordable PDF (say $10-15), I’ll probably buy a copy. I doubt I’d spend more than that nor would I buy it in print as I am just too unlikely to ever play it.