DCC RPG Character Generation

Posted: 2023-08-23
Word Count: 1750
Tags: character-generation d20 osr rpg

Table of Contents

What is DCC RPG?

In brief, the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG is an Old School Rules reimagining of D&D Basic Edition from the 1970s and 1980s with a lot more randomness.

The publisher, Goodman Games, provides a quickstart, from which I drew most of the following. (I also own the full rules in PDF.)

Major Differences

The aforementioned Quickstart draws these comparisons with D&D 5th Edition:

Generally, like those earliest editions, the game defines a character’s adventuring abilities and leaves everything else up to “roleplaying”.

Fewer Classes

As stated above DCC defines only seven classes:

  1. Cleric
  2. Thief (Rogue)
  3. Warrior (Fighter)
  4. Wizard
  5. Dwarf
  6. Elf
  7. Halfling

Yes, Dwarves, Elves, and Halflings are classes: Dwarf is a sort of Warrior with some dwarfish extras, Elf is a Warrior/Wizard with a few elflike traits, and Halfling is a wee warrior with stealth and luck abilities.

More Randomness

DCC RPG uses not only the standard d4, d6, d8, d10, d100, d12, and d20 but also a d3, d5, d7, d14, d16, d24, and d30. They even form a chain, such that instead of adding a bonus or penalty the player rolls the next higher or lower die, e.g. a d8 can become a d7 or a d10, a d20 can become a d16 or a d24, etc.

Random Generation

Characters roll 3d6 for each attribute, in order. They also randomly generate a pre-adventuring profession, starting hit points (1d4 + Stamina mod), and a Lucky (or Unlucky) Sign which determines what sort of die rolls the character’s Luck modifier modifies. (Yes, Luck is a characteristic.)

Character’s start at 0th (zeroth) level. Players typically roll up three or more, put them through a 0th level funnel adventure, and continue with one of the survivors (if any).

Critical Hits and Fumbles

The game defines multiple Critical Hit Tables; which one a character uses depends on class and level, with high-level Fighters and Dwarves getting the best ones and 0-th level characters and Wizards getting the worst. On a natural 20 each character rolls their class’s and level’s Crit Die to determine what happens.

Likewise, a natural 1 is a Fumble. Players roll a die based on their armor. Those with less armor get smaller dice, and naturally the worst results are at the lowest numbers on the table.

The Deed Die

Instead of gaining a flat bonus to attack rolls, Warriors gain a deed die, which begins at d3.

The Deed Die also doubles as the modifier for a “Mighty Deed of Arms”3. Whenever the player wants to do something besides hitting, i.e. disarm the foe, push them back, swing on a chandelier, strike at a chink in their armor, etc., the player rolls an attack as normal. If the attack succeeds, and the Deed Die rolls a 3 or better, the Deed succeeds.


Here I’ll quote the Quickstart again:

Modern Touches

Despite the deliberately retro and random rules, the game contains a few modern mechanics to streamline the game.

  1. Instead of the arbitrary resolution methods of the oldest editions, nearly all player actions are resolved with a d20 + modifiers. Sometimes those modifiers are another die. In a few cases the rules replace the d20 with a lower die to represent a severe penalty on the action. But in all cases the players try to roll at or above a target number.

  2. Likewise saving throws match the 3rd edition of the game rather than the arbitrary categories of 1st and 2nd, as noted above.

  3. While the huge casting results table don’t streamline the text, they do remove the need to track spell slots or castings per day.

The 0-Level Funnel

Quoting the Quickstart again:

DCC RPG generates characters using what the author refers to as a “funnel.” First, each player generates at least two, and possibly as many as four, 0-level characters. It is critical that the characters be generated using the process as described: completely random ability scores, random occupation, random Luck modifier, and random equipment. Each player ends up with an assortment of characters who could potentially serve as several different classes. When all characters are generated, have the players go around the table and introduce their 0-level peons to their peers.

The “funnel” takes place in 0-level play. During the first 0-level game, it is expected each player will lose some or most of their characters. When mere peasants and yeomen explore deadly dungeons, a high mortality rate is a matter of course. By the end of the first game, the players will be left with a motley crew of survivors, and this group of heroic adventurers becomes the 1st-level party

The Five Stooges

Using an online random generator, I’ve rolled up five characters with five random names4.

Name Str Agl Stm Int Prs Lck HP Augur and Lucky Roll
Baldo 11 7 11 10 12 10 2 (11) Fox’s Cunning
+0 -1 +0 +0 +0 +0 find/disable traps
Geoffry 12 16 10 14 11 6 4 (8) Hawkeye
+0 +2 +0 +1 +0 -1 missile fire damage rolls
Hargrim 7 14 12 9 14 9 2 (10) Born Under The Loom
-1 +1 +0 +0 +1 +0 skill checks (incl. thief skills)
Robert 12 10 6 13 9 13 2 (28) The Broken Star
+0 +0 -1 +1 +0 +1 fumbles
Wilbert 14 12 10 11 8 10 1 (21) Lived Through Famine
+1 +0 +0 +0 -1 +0 fortitude saving throws

Next we choose alignment5, roll for profession, and roll for starting money.

Name A Profession Weapon Trade Goods Money (cp)
Baldo C (13) Confidence Artist Dagger quality cloak 49
Geoffry N (53) Guild Beggar Sling crutches 44
Hargrim N (19) Dwarven Apothecarist Cudgel6 steel vial 33
Robert L (68) Hunter Shortbow deer pelt 30
Wilbert N (97) Wizard’s apprentice Dagger black grimoire 36

Making a Thief

We’ll assume Geoffry survived with his higher than normal HP, Agility, and Intelligence.

Casting aside his crutches, he decided to become a full-time Thief. He gains the following benefits:

Character Sheet

Name Alignment Occupation Class Level Max HP AC (Armor Type)
Geoffrey Neutral Beggar Thief 1 7 13 (padded + Agl)
Strength Agility Stamina Intelligence Personality Luck
12 16 10 14 11 6
+0 +2 +0 +1 +0 -1


Initiative Action Dice Attack Die Crit Die Crit Table
1d20 +2 1d20 1d20 1d10 II
- Weapon Attack Damage (backstab)
Melee blackjack 1d20 +0 1d3 subdual (2d6)
Missile sling 1d20 +2 1d4


Reflex (Agl) Fortitude (Stm) Will (Prs)
+3 +1 +0

Lucky Roll: Missile weapon damage


Name Value
Luck Die d3
Backstab +0
Climb sheer surfaces (+Agl) +5
Disable trap (+Agl) +3
Disguise self (+Per) +0
Find trap (+Int) +2
Forge document (+Agl) +5
Handle poison +0
Hide in shadows (+Agl) +3
Pick lock (+Agl) +3
Pick pocket (+Agl) +5
Read languages (+Int) +1
Sneak silently (+Agl) +5
Cast spell from scroll (+Int) d12+1

  1. Some may recognize these from D&D 3rd Edition. – Frank ↩︎

  2. AFAIK these only existed in D&D 3rd Edition. D&D 5 has subclasses, and “skill points” are only the sum of characteristic and proficiency bonuses. ↩︎ ↩︎

  3. If I recall Goodman trademarked this phrase, but there’s no ™ in the text. ↩︎

  4. The generator came up with “Baldu”, but I know a guy named Baldo, so I just used that. ↩︎

  5. Like those earliest editions, there are only three alignments: Lawful, Neutral, and Chaotic. Also like those editions, alignment reflects the character’s ethos and affects the character’s destiny to an extent. ↩︎

  6. Equivalent to staff ↩︎