As our Labyrinth Lord campaign drew to a close I began to think about Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG. I discovered that game in 2013 by way of the Spellburn podcast and was almost immediately drawn in. It only took a few weeks of pondering to decide to drop $50 on the badass wizard cover DCC rulebook. And I do not regret it one dime.
I ran about a dozen sessions of DCC at home, at a friend's place, and at a local bookstore (Book & CD Hut!). Much fun was had. During that time I basically discovered that the OSR existed. And BAM. I was exploring dungeons again. I was geeking on OSRIC and Labyrinth Lord like nobody's business. Felt like coming home (said a thousand of us "older" guys at once).
So now I'm picking back up with DCC RPG, which I think is a game that simultaneously represents the good innovations of modern FRPG systems and the whole hog full blown spirit of old school gaming. Some might even say it's a little TOO old school. I disagree.
Gimme the funnel. Gimme the dead PCs. Gimme 3d6 in order and dice rolls that actually matter. When the warrior rolls a 19 or a nat 20 against the boss cultist you KNOW that shit is real. When you gotta fake it to make it...not so much.
DCC's strong suggestion to stick to the dice rolls coupled with its robust heroic mechanics (spellburn, Luck, etc.) make for a perfect amalgam of hardcore let-the-dice-fall and player-driven authorship. You want this roll to mean the evil cultist high priest's head comes off? Burn some luck, buddy. Narrow the gap between what you roll and what you wanna roll.
But nothing is guaranteed. And that's what makes it feel so good.
So my players have graciously agreed to join me on a DCC campaign quest. We began our campaign last Monday with part one of a funnel in which the happless zero-level PCs found themselves trapped 2000 feet in the air in the aerie of some kind of man-bats who were gripped in a battle with little metal men that fly. Two PCs died in the opening session. Poor Moloch had the upper half of his body eaten by a wingworm and Xiaus was blasted to smithereens by a metal man's zapper spear.
Who knows what fate has in store for the others. With any luck a few of them will crawl out the other side of this nightmare and, if they are either brave or stupid, may decide that a life of danger is worth the risk. Then we'll have some first level characters.