Monday, March 11, 2013

Crawl! #6 Review

The latest issue of Crawl has been out for several weeks. I've had it for several weeks, too. I was also sick right around the time I got it. Thankfully, I've kicked whatever was making feel like death and had the chance to go through this a few more times.

Crawl #6 is the end product of a contest Reverend Dak ran on the Goodman Game forums. Forumers were asked which classes they wanted to see most, then the community submitted their versions for consideration. The best Bard, Gnome, Ranger, and Paladin are featured in this issue.

One of things I really enjoy about the DCC RPG is how many archetypes fit into the four base classes. Clerics can easily fill their iconic role or play more like a Druid depending upon your alignment. Give a Warrior a pet and you're not too far away from having a Ranger. You can see where I'm going with this.

Let me start with the good. The Bard class is very well done and is one of the few classes I feel isn't covered in the four base classes. Bards can use their performances to affect their audiences. These effects might grant bonuses to will saves or act like Charm Person spell. It feels very balanced, and I will definitely be including this in my future campaigns.

I was particularly impressed by the Gnome. They are essentially slightly more Hardy Wizards with a restricted spell list to reflect their nature. Gnomes are typically the least favorite of all standard fantasy races, but I like them quite a bit. My only complaint is that this is only a five level class. The creator explains this as they usually lack the penchant for long term adventuring, but I feel this is a bad decision. Most members of the other races do not become adventurers. That's what makes them special. I will be expanding this to a full ten level class before including it in my campaign.

I have mixed feelings about the Paladin. I would best describe it as a cross between the Warrior and Cleric class. It gets a Smite Die, which functions like a Deeds die but only against unholy enemies. It casts spells and suffers disapproval as the Cleric. It also has a secondary disapproval-like table. I'm not sure I see the need for a full Paladin class. Simply rolling a Warrior with a belief in god and adding a few unique uses of the Mighty Deeds to reflect this devotion would cover it, in my opinion. I think the inclusion of more disapproval is not particularly exciting because the normal disapproval is already so punishing. Still, I think this is useful to take bits and pieces of and adapt as you see necessary.

I feel similarly about the Ranger class. It has a deeds die. It gets favored enemies. I just don't feel the need for a full class when the Warrior covers this so well. Unlike the Paladin, I don't see much in the way that there is to take and adapt.

Despite my hesitation about some of these classes, I'm never disappointed when the envelope from Stray Couches Press arrives in my mailbox. As with all community-generated content, your mileage is going to vary. If you haven't ordered it yet, you need to add this to your collection. Don't forget, Crawl! is now available in PDF form, too!

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