Wednesday, March 6, 2013

DCC Characters, Ordered Off of A Menu

+John Carr  just posted something yesterday that I found interesting: various versions of the Ranger class for DCC. He didn't just put his own up. He put up others' versions of the same thing. They did have some distinct, and distinctly interesting, differences. The post got me to thinking about DCC classes, and how they might be tweaked to allow for some wish fulfillment to occur.

What if we took every power from every class in the game and stuck them into boxes. In this box over here we have something we'd call "Powers," things like the ability to use Deed Dice or cast spells or whatever. These are core mechanics that allow for doing damage or achieving large, in-game effects.

Over in this other box we have something we'd call "Expertise" (or whatever). These are supplemental mechanics, like thief skills, that allow the PC to do things other than cause damage or achieve large, in-game effects. They are incredibly useful, at times, but not really as useful as the Powers, nor as powerful in terms of their in-game effects.

In this last box, right over here, we'd have something called "Advances," which would determine how the character should improve over time. This would be pretty simple, and would depend (to some extent) on the selected Power and Expertise. So, if a PC had Spellcasting as a Power and Thief Skills as an expertise, he'd be tied to one of Wizard  or Thief as an advance. If he wanted to get better at one of those, he'd have to spend a level advancing as one of those. Everything that comes with it would occur.

Example, let's say I want to make a guy who's an arcane assassin. I'd need some thief skills in the Chaotic flavor. I'd need some spell skills to add illusion magic of some kind. Now, just thinking this through, I have a choice. Do I advance first as a thief or as a wizard? Or, alternately, do I choose limited powers from each and advance as a hybrid of both? For simplicity's sake, let's take the first version. I take thief to start, and advance as a thief. Then, when I reach 2nd level, I can choose to advance as a wizard instead of a thief. I probably shouldn't get what a 2nd level wizard gets, but I could get what a 1st level wizard gets. This also means that my hit dice at that point would be d6+d4 (or we could split the difference and call them both d5).

In the alternate version, the d5 hit dice make more sense. I advance as both a thief and a wizard at the same time, but I have to limit what I take from each class. So, maybe I get 2 spells instead of 4 (Powers), and I get half of the the thief skills (of my choice) but not all of them. Then I advance as normal in terms of XP, but my hit dice are the average of the two classes (d5). I also only get half of what I normally would from each class.

Another example of this: a hybrid Warrior/Thief. Call it a Bounty Hunter or something. Maybe if I took warrior Powers, I'd get a Deed Die. But it would only advance at half the rate of the regular Deed Die. If I took thief Powers, I'd get a Luck Die and the ability to regenerate Luck. If I took warrior Expertise, I could choose the warrior's critical hit table, but advance on that more slowly. If I took thief Expertise, I'd get thief skills, as above. If I chose to Advance as a warrior first and then as a thief, then I'd improve things like my initiative as a warrior and/or my attack bonus OR  (if alternating) I'd improve my Luck Die. If I'm doing a hybrid Advance, I'd advance with a d8 hit die, advance more slowly in my warrior stuff and with limitations on my thief skills. Something like that.

It would be important that the two boxes stay pretty well-defined and separate, because the character building process would otherwise give rise to the worst of the power-gaming tendency. I'd also require that the player who wants to do this declare the intention at 1st level. Thereafter, the choice is made. That's how your character works. You don't get to change it later.

So, Hive Mind, what do you think? Is this workable? Also, did I just replicate somebody else's idea and I'm just ignorant of it?


  1. I'd never use this, just because I think it kills the spirit of the rules-light "Here's your class, now operate within that paradigm" point of DCC (and, incidentally, Moldvay Basic). You know what I think it is? I think it's TOO balanced. DCC is not about balance at all. When you balance things so that you can mix and match like this, you lose that gonzo, exponential power curve stuff that's going on. I think. I dunno. Just rambling.

  2. Yeah, I can see that being a concern. At this point, I'm just sort of thinking about using this rules system to accomplish some of the things I've done in other systems (esp.AD&D), but DCC-style. I'm not really wedded to rules light systems in general. I like fiddly bits. I like to tweak fiddly bits. This is just an opportunity to do what I like to do.