Dungeon Crawl Classics...
Gets an A+ for atmosphere.
When I should be writing/drawing adventures, the thing that burns my brain most is contemplating game mechanics. This contemplation is perpetual, no matter what goes on in life, the gears of game mechanics turn in the back of my mind. It's like music that never stops; a record that is broken. I have various clones of my own in progress that I'll never finish and I shouldn't even bother. They are not needed. I cringe when I see yet another heartbreaker announced.
House rules are all you need.
Every version of D&D, originals and clones, have at least one cool idea. I want all of those cool ideas to exist in the same game. Some games have many cool ideas, but are cursed with that one complete turd that ultimately turns you off.
It's like solving an unsolvable puzzle... or, if you solve it, you'll crack open the universe itself. Either way, it's only your solution, many others will not agree.
Just play the damn game right?
DCC uses 3rd Edition's Fort, Reflex, and Will for it's saving throws. I like this, it really is the most refined of all the saving throw systems. The only flaw of this triad is that it doesn't feel archaic enough. I am however, not a fan of the DC (difficulty class) system, because the tendency of this system is that things get more challenging as you gain levels, when you should just be getting better at everything. It only works for me if you're running a true sandbox, where a 1st level thief might encounter a DC 25 lock and simply not be able to pick it. I prefer a version of Fort, Reflex, and Will that progresses in an old school fashion and have come up with such a system, as have others, I'm sure.
Thief skills use the same DC system as the saves. More and more, I've come full circle back to percentile based thief skills, though I do appreciate the simplicity of Lamentation's d6 skills. I'm not sure why, but percentiles have won me over, finally. Maybe it's because adding in critical successes and failures on doubles makes it just that bit more interesting, but I've also pondered turning each individual spell into it's own percentile skill...
Something else DCC imports from 3rd is multiple attacks (iterative attacks... which really is the Achilles Heal of 3rd) however here, they take the form of dice, such as d20/d20/d14. Better, but not may favorite part. Multiple attacks only work for me in singular man-to-man combat.
Where DCC clearly shines is spell-casting and overall atmosphere. The book almost comes across as a very large zine. Tables upon tables each speckled with neat little drawings. I recently lamented that HYPERBOREA lacked dragons and suggested they should have included a way to roll them up randomly, lo and behold, DCC has this exact thing. Major plus here. The same goes for demons. You want a name or a title, here's a d100 table. So many little tidbits that just make the book fun. The art varies from silly to serious, but definitely leans more silly. Yes, Gonzo is the goal here.
As I mentioned, spell-casting, is not quite Vancian. Full of flavor, full of risk, plenty of reward. Cast as many times as you want, depending on the results of the roll. Some successes could be a little more interesting than just more damage or more targets, but I appreciate the idea, that's for sure.
Stats are basically D&D's six renamed. Agility and Stamina will always ring as sci-fi to my ears and Personality is an unnecessary replacement for Charisma.
Not going to ramble here, this game's been out long enough that most people reading this are in the know, so here is my sheet. It's based off my B/X template and a few others. I tried to make it accessible for any class. The spell section may not even be needed as I'm sure players of this game print out their own spell-books.