Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Highest Level in Dungeon Crawl Classics is 5

Marty DiBergi: Why don't you just make ten louder and make ten be the top number and make that a little louder?
Nigel Tufnel: [pause] These go to eleven.
-This is Spinal Tap

Noah Vanderhoff: Zantar is a gelatinous cube that eats warriors in a medieval village, and every time it eats a chieftain you ascend to a higher level. Beauty part is you can't get to the next level, so the kids keep coughing up quarters...[chortles]"
-Wayne's World


The thing you need to realize is that there are no DCC characters above 5th level.


I mean, maybe there are. There is probably some mad scientist in Wisconsin who has successfully run a DCC game long enough for some lucky freak to cross the finish line. Colossus Arise! is the only Goodman Games module for characters past this range (8th level), and I'm sure there are groups who have waded in to that scenario with pregens.

DCC is very deadly and unstable, and unless the Judge is overwhelmingly generous with XP or character replacements, the system should probably reach equilibrium somewhere between levels 1 and 5. Also rolling-the-body attribute decay. If your characters are over level 5, perhaps it's time to ascend to godhood or retire or assemble the deadliest allies you can find and carry out a once-in-a-lifetime suicide mission to destroy the Reapers or something. Tadlock's crew got past 5th level, and they ended up in a fistfight with Cthulhu, which they won, kind of ("The World is Safe Again...But For How Long?").

So if you are testing/considering new game mechanics you can basically ignore any level after 5. Make up some numbers that seem convincing and put them at the end of the write-up. Don't worry, no one is actually going to use them. Or if they do and the mechanics don't make any sense, perhaps these lunatics will just chalk it up to the fact that Epic level play never makes any sense anyway.

This makes me want to start modding DCC into some kind of Epic 6 version. Characters stop at level 5. Stretch out the XP requirements, or allow additional experience to be spent on new spells, feats, abilities. If I ever start droning on about rules hacks, and my work gets sloppy after level 5, this is why...