Good news is that I finally managed to get a regular online game going after all these years. I’ve been running a DCC RPG campaign since 2013 for my old table from Brazil but in a very sporadic way. However, I started dedicating myself this year (and got a few ideas from fellow Roll20 GMs) and the game so far has been a blast, with sessions every 10-20 days. We just finished session #40 (starting a heavily modified 13th Skull module).
Bad news is that I (again) neglected this tower. I must finish that Tower of Visions post-by-post dungeon and I also want to share my thoughts about how Colonial Brazil can offer an interesting and new approach for ye olde hexcrawl campaigns. With the beautiful The Elephant & Macaw Banner Roleplaying Game getting finally released in English, I feel this is the perfect moment.
That said... my House Rules!
My DCC RPG started with very few of those: basically we disregarded XP and used a system very similar to Warhammer 2nd Edition’s Fate Points, plus Re-rolls Points granted for good roleplay and coming to sessions (something inherited from my D&D and Pathfinder games), to reduce lethality and allow for a longer campaign.
With time (and character reaching levels 3-4) I removed that “safety cushion” and actually desired to move back to DCC RPG RAW. To my surprise the table really does not want to use XP (which left me a bit sad, since I really wanted to use for Carousing).
Without further ado the House Rules
The Golden Rule: Standard DC is 10, really hard is 15 and epic is 20. Failing but rolling close to the DC (or giving a very good ou clever description of the action) might allow you to Succeed with Cost (the famous “Not, but…”). Usually 1 is an automatic fumble and 20 is an automatic success. (Yes, this entire “house rule” is more a clarification than a rule)
Luck: I grant +1 Luck for showing up for a game session. The party also gains +1 Luck after an encounter where they permanently vanquished an area of the Un-dead (Law and Chaos desire souls and revile Un-dead in my campaign. Carrying too many magic items (or those against your deity, patron or alignment) might cap your maximum Luck. The Un-dead bit I took years ago from a very good DCC RPG blog and cap for magic items is my take of something that I read in the Core Rulebook.
Fleeting Luck (from DCC RPG Lankhmar): usually awarded when a character spends gold on Carousing. Currently, Carousing at my table is a source of Fleeting Luck, rumors, hirelings, contacts etc.
Shields shall be splintered!: the classic house rule of the OSR. You can destroy your shield to negate a hit or reduce damage to half (if the source of damage is something powerful as a giant or if you’re using a buckler, for example). It doesn’t work against critical hits. Magic shields usually aren’t broken (and I might ask for a Luck check), although you can declare that you destroyed yours to accomplish something (like protect you and a fellow party member from a dragon breath). This last part I took from 13th Age. Spellcasters can’t benefit from this rule.
Saving your head!: if you’re using a helm and suffers a critical hit, you destroy the helm to change the critical to a normal hit. Closed helms allow you to roll Luck and keep the helm. This rule came, I believe, from Baldur’s Gate (the computer games) and is something that a player in my table loves. Helms usually give you a penalty to perception checks (Luck in DCC RPG). Spellcasters can’t benefit from this rule.
Treasure: instead of counting coins I use an abstract system where your gold is a modifier to checks when you try to buy something. That is usually a d20 check. This is based on Burning Wheel’s Resources system, mixed with the simple but awesome rules from Kevin Crawford’s game. Usually a +0 bonus is a few copper coins, with fat gold coins giving your +2/+3 and a big loot (that you can still carry) around +5. DCs are usually very low and I only require a roll when there is a chance of the character getting into a bad (financial) spot. Failure usually means the PC has no dinero or is in debt. I also roll between downtimes for maintenance of their gears. Simple and fast.
Reputation: you usually roll a d10 check plus Personality to see if you get a good impression or someone recognizes you (good roleplay, of course, can fix that). After each deed or adventure, you can receive a bonus for fame (or infamy), things like “Slayer of the Beastmen from the Sea of Fallen Stars +1 DIE Step”. It is also a good track for the party’s accomplishments.
Utility Die: used to track torches, rations, ammunition etc. From Black Hack 1st.
Destiny: after one complete adventure (one entire module) your character gets 1 Destiny Point that she can spend to save her life or to change something in an encounter. Based on Warhammer 2nd Edition’s Fate Points. Once spent Destiny is gone for good. Spellcasters don’t gain Destiny (they have their deities and patrons to save their ass.)
Spells’ DC: inspired by something I read in the Goodman Games Board (and after getting tired of my table’s spellcasters going nova with Spellburn and always rolling DCs higher than 20). The DC that you have to beat with a save is the natural roll of the spellcaster’s Action Die plus his stat modifier. Just that. So far it is working rather nicely.
Spellburn: from the awesome Sheep and Sorcery blog. Instead of letting the spellcaster cherry-pick points of damage, she chooses a number of d6s and distributes them among Strength, Stamina and Agility. The total result of the d6s is the amount of Spellburn damage and bonus to the spellcasting check. Oh, and the d6s explode on a “6”. Did I mention that if you “zero” a physical stat during Spellburn you die in a blaze of sorcery glory? (Yes, it should be scary… Spellburn at my table was becoming a routine action before that. Now I can see the spellcaster player praying for his patron each time he rolls.)
The Laws of Magic: I let it quite clear to my players that the rules of magic as written in the DCC RPG Core Rulebook are just the most basic and “safest” way of spellcasting. There are hidden rules, loopholes and dangerous approaches that they have to try or find out. This is to encourage spellcasters to negotiate and seek news ways to spellcast (here is an example of my approachto magic, but using D&D 5E).