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Dungeon Crawl Classics - any advice?

A topic by slasherepoch created May 09, 2019 Views: 1,010 Replies: 6
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Hail and well met,

I just picked up Goodman Games' "gonzo OSR" DCC to cross off a bucket list item: I want to run Keep on the Borderlands. Anyway, I've read through the book a few times but am wondering if anyone can offer advice on this system, anything you wish you'd known? Something that's been overlooked? Anything you got wrong once or twice?

Otherwise, any and all Keep On The Borderlands advice is also welcome.



I was lucky enough to get into a Westmarches version of DCC run by Eric Vulgaris, he also did a DCC twitch show "Jungle Crawl Classic" that has a few episodes if you want to get a feel for the play, here's the playlist of that  

I guess the only thing I'd really advise/recommend is definitely give players multiple characters to start.  Lvl 0 characters basically die if any monster sneezes on them. It's a really interesting system though, good luck!  Also, if one of your player's wants to get into the cleric/mage stuff..... I'd caution them because that stuff if quite different from say D&D 5.0/4.0/3.X style of things.  And you don't really "start" with any characters like that. (at least to my recollection). Finally, embrace the randoms.  Get buy in for the randoms. Those weird whatever skills your level 0 fisherman starts with that never feel like they pay off will at somepoint, and its a great moment/bit when they do.


I absolutely second Syth's recommendations. Have lots of character sheets. Rolling up a new character in DCC and other retroclones is intentionally very fast because folks do it A LOT. Get new characters into the action as fast as you can, and keep everything moving. There are a bunch of blogs with a lot of great content for this style of play: Courtney C of has a great primer for folks new to retroclone gaming and Alexis Smolensk of also has some excellent, more advanced things to say on the subject.

If I recall, DCC comes with a meat grinder that inputs a lot of 0-level folks and emerges with a few level 1 characters. I'd definitely do that before heading to the Keep. It should help everyone calibrate their expectations.

I thought I'd start them with their 20 commoners just outside the caves of chaos...after a couple beatings they can head back to town, then I'll get into the Keep.


I don't recall how lethal the opening of the caves are, but if your players haven't played DCC or its ilk before, even with 20 commoners each, there's a pretty high chance they'll bite off more than they can chew. If I were in your shoes, I would remind your players of their options (i.e. their ability to flee) frequently.

My backup plan if they don't run away to lick their wounds is a "smash cut" to the Keep where someone's asking for another 20 brave volunteers to go check on the first 20 brave volunteers.


Sounds like a good plan :)

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