Dan's Top 19 RPGs - #13 - Dungeon Crawl Classics
We're entering a region of my Top 19, probably up to number 6 or 7, where I'd almost be inclined to list a 6-way tie. I like all the games on this list a lot and we're hitting the games that I really, really like.
Dungeon Crawl Classics came out around the time I started this blog so it has a special place in my heart. It takes the D&D 3.x rules and strips them down. It then looks at the stripped down rules and decides they've not been stripped down enough. And then it decides to strip them down a bit further. And then it adds a few gazillion tables for critical hits, spells, deities, etc. It takes Appendix N of 1st edition Dungeon Masters Guide, the inspirational reading section, as its source material. This gives it a mix of science fantasy, weird fantasy, swords and sorcery. Inspirations like Robert E. Howard, Lin Carter, Manly Wade Wellman, HP Lovecraft, L. Sprague de Camp, Andre Norton, etc. It did introduce me to a number of authors I've come to greatly enjoy - Wellman and Norton probably being the biggest two.
Characters begin at 0-level, with a massive dungeon crawl called the "funnel", with each player running multiple characters. Most will die. It's a deadly game - the first game that I ever experienced a total party kill (in a 1st level adventure).
Having clocked some time with it, there are a few things I'm less than crazy about. Probably the biggest is there is a lot of deliberate "we're not going to give a rule for that" moments. In some respects I can appreciate that, given the variety of campaign worlds possible. - encounter tables and magic items come to mind. In others I'd really have preferred some more guidance. I'm thinking of things that were found in early editions of D&D - more details about wilderness travel, strongholds, etc.
I am greatly looking forward to the Lankhmar boxed set coming out this summer from Goodman Games for DCC - it really is a setting that seems perfectly matched for the game.