You’d think, perhaps, that with a post like The Top 10 Things to Love About Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG, there’d be more about the game on this website. I’d intended on more DCC RPG content. Alas, it did not come to pass for three reasons:
- I haven’t had the time to get a group together. If was running a regular campaign, there’d be more content.
- I’ve been focusing more on wargaming in the last year or so.
- It can be hard to get players to try the game.
Yet once players do try the game, perhaps forsaking their beloved D&D 5e or Pathfinder for an afternoon, they end up liking the system. Sometimes I’ve run my own scenarios, but the adventures published by Goodman Games are fun. If you’re a Referee new to DCC RPG, its wise to run at least a handful of these adventures before you create your own, to get an idea how the system is supposed to work.
Of all the obstacles, I believe #3 is the most difficult to overcome, at least in my experience. But I’ve also had success getting new players to try the game using the following techniques and would like to share them.
Explain only the Basics
There’s adage in sales that goes something like this: Say only enough to get them to sign on the dotted line.
You might be excited about Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG. You might like the critical hit tables and mercurial magic. You may absolutely love the games design philosophy where it combines the feel of old-school RPGs with modern mechanics. And you can’t wait to tell prospective players about all of it, and show them the pages of artwork from the rulebook.
Resist the urge.
Say as little as possible.
Try not to compare DCC RPG with any other d20 RPG system (like D&D 5e or Pathfinder). Emphasize what DCC RPG is, rather than what it is not. Don’t say, “DCC RPG is not like D&D 5e because it uses a different spell system.” Instead, “DCC RPG‘s spell system uses spell checks; the higher you roll, the more potent the result.”
If a player asks a direct question, then by all means answer it. But keep your answer short. Always leave some question which can only be answered if they play the game.
Keep the Rulebook Out of Sight
Print off a copy or two of the DCC RPG Quick Start Guide (it’s free). Perhaps copy certain tables from the rule book.
Don’t, however, plunk the rulebook down on the tabletop expect the players to be impressed. You may know that spells and the referee’s section take up most of the book, but your prospective players won’t.
They’ll see a weighty rulebook they might have to buy for $50. Many gamers out won’t want to bother learning the complexities of a new system.
So keep the rulebook hidden, for now.
Run a 0-Level Funnel
This is the best way to introduce new players to the game.
Through a 0-level, players learn the basics of the game, like the ability scores, particularly Luck. Those coming from other d20 systems will quickly grasp the difference in DCC RPG.
Players won’t have to keep track of character class abilities, like spells, or the Warrior’s Deed Die. That comes later if their characters survive to first level.
When I ran my first few character funnels, I had my players generate their own characters. But having 4-5 players each roll up 3-4 characters could get time-consuming, no matter how simple the process it.
Now I print off a stack of pregenerated characters from the 0-level character generator by Purple Sorcerer Games. I shuffle and hand them out at random, face down.
Once a few of their characters survive the funnel, then you can initiate them to the skills and powers of a 1st level character.
If had my way, the player wouldn’t have access to the rulebook so I could keep them in the dark. I’d print off class descriptions, rules, spells, and the like for personal use as needed. To preserve their sense of wonder, I don’t want them to know much about the game.
Spellcasters, however, will probably need to by the rulebook.
Goodman Games has released a Quick Start set of rules, but I haven’t looked through it yet.
At some point in the near future I’ll run a DCC RPG campaign. Hopefully. It’s a great game.
For those who’ve played DCC RPG before, how would you introduce new players to the game?