Tuesday, April 13, 2021

The Class Alphabet for DCC RPG

The Class Alphabet for DCC
In spring 2016, David Coppoletti reached out to me and a couple dozen other DCC fans on Google+. He had an ambitious idea - a sourcebook of 26 character classes for Dungeon Crawl Classics. Sometime in fall or winter 2020, David's idea appeared as a finished book, The Class Alphabet for DCC RPG. You can read Raven Crowking's review here.

I was convinced by David's G+ pitch, and wrote the Knave. Later, due to the logistical challenges of managing the contributions of so many collaborators, I ended up a second class, the Cyber-Zombie.

The Knave receives, I think, the single longest class write-up in the book. My goal was to combine the various Jacks of fairy tale and nursery rhyme, characters like Liane the Wayfarer and Cugel the Clever from Jack Vance's Dying Earth stories, the Fool from Neil Gaiman's Books of Magic, the imagery of playing cards, and the tarot. I was also experimenting with the limits of the "you're no hero" writing style; I described Knaves as being nasty in a way that almost makes me uncomfortable to reread. The Knave class is so long because there are four fully described sub-classes based on the suits of playing cards, each subclass has its three Mighty Deed of Arms equivalents they can learn, there are 22 spell-like effects based on the major arcana of tarot, and also, yes, because of long-windedness on my part.

The Cyber-Zombie was my attempt to create a class that you can only start playing after your previous character has died. I was definitely inspired by Terra Frank's three undead classes from the first Gongfarmer's Almanac. As a Cyber-Zombie, you start out at whatever level your old character was, and you retain a remnant of your old class powers, although reduced from before. Cyber-Zombies also get upgrades. I based the possible upgrades on Super Metroid and Mega Man X, and on the Centurions cartoon series. 

The other authors in the collection are a veritable Who's Who of DCC fans and publishers - including Reid San Filippo of the Crawling Under a Broken Moon zine and the subsequent Umerica sourcebook and adventure series, Diogo Nogueira of Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells and Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells and plenty of other projects, and plenty of other names that you might recognize from their contributions to The Gongfarmer's Almanac, their participation in various DCC podcasts, their DCC blogs, or other gaming publications.

It's a pleasant surprise for me to see The Class Alphabet finally out. This was one of the first times I was invited to contribute to a collaborative writing project. Quite a lot has happened in my life, and in the world, since David first approached me. I'm very happy to see that he was able to realize his goal.


  1. Thanks so much!!! I owe you big time for the work you contributed. The project is sort of my love-note to G+. Really miss those days of high adventure and collaboration gone wild.

    1. I'm glad you were able to get it done, Dave! Hopefully some DCC fans have been interested enough to pick it up.