DCC magic in LotFP

This is a precursor to a couple of brewing posts about our Scenic Dunnsmouth run about a month ago.  We used the Dungeon Crawl Classics magic system along with LotFP.

First, I recommend trying this out if you don’t mind a bit more chaos in your magic to a more cartoonish, gonzo level. DCC takes the spirit of LotFP’s beloved Summon spell and applies it to everything. The system reminds me fully of Warhammer Fantasy Battle 8th edition’s magic system, which is fantastic and dangerous and explosive.

The biggest differences are:

  1. Spells don’t always work. MU’s have to roll a D20 to cast their spells and then the GM looks at a table to see what happens. It’s about 65% chance that they will work if you have a MU with an INT bonus. Without an INT bonus, you will be suffering as an MU
  2. Unless you fail bad, you keep your spell. So this disrupts Vancian magic completely
  3. You can get REAL fucked up if you fumble your spell rolls, permanent like via corruption and miscasts
  4. MU’s can spell burn their stats to increase their spell rolls. They can loose these stats permanently.
  5. Very high rolls on spell casting of some spells can destroy entire villages and TPK the party.

Good stuff:

  1. Magic users can be badass, or they could be stuck with total shit for spells. The combination of random spell rolling with the mercurial magic from DCC left one of our spellcasters with a light spell that can only be cast in broad daylight and other crap. This is part of DCC’s ‘balance through randomness’ game theory. That sorcerer’s goals will be focused on getting better spells at nearly any cost! What better motivation.
  2. Dice are your friend? My MU used DCC’s flaming hands and always rolled super high (and my character’s version of Flaming Hands caused all animals to flee in terror as well). I burned all the enemies, all the time. While awesome for the party, coming from the LotFP paradigm, the GM was displeased by this.
  3. Spellburn: MU’s can burn their stats to increase their spell rolls. This can leave them puddles of goo that have to be carried around if they burn high. I like this mechanic a lot as you can have a character that is at -2 for every statistic for a period of time. It gives the MU interesting choices before the dice are rolled.
  4. Players don’t have to look up or memorize spell effects.  They just need the name of the spell and then roll for it!

Bad Stuff:

  1. You need the HUGE DCC book handy (or PDF). I had to carry the DCC book on the plane to CO. and it was like it’s own piece of luggage. The rules are only a few pages, but the spell lists are required and take up most of the book.
  2. Clerics. Our GM was not happy about the cleric being able to heal up characters and not losing the spell. I don’t think he will allow DCC Cleric rules again. Having played straight DCC a few times since, the Cleric does get balanced out because each time a roll fails, they increase their chance of fumbling the cast and displeasing their god that gives them spellcasting ability in the first place, which can mean no more cleric…
  3. We couldn’t fit the Summon spell into the DCC paradigm, so we left it as LotFP RAW and during the sessions, and we cast it a LOT.
  4. To fully use the DCC system, you’d have to add a LUCK stat to the stat list, and we just didn’t do that. I think that would get too far away from the current LotFP rules.  You could add it, or use Wisdom, or just tell casters they can only spell burn.
  5. Other classes may feel outclassed.   The Fighters in LotFP won’t get their init bonus for level nor the deed die.  While my character rolled crazy good to destroy nearly all enemies, the fighters could still be marginalized.

Overall, we muddled through and our GM was very enthused about it until there was a Cleric in the party, then Steve was not too happy. It does spin the Gygaxian dislike of spellcasters off into the ether and you have to be cool with that.

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