ADCC: Deed-Based Warrior Subclasses

That’s Advanced Dungeon Crawl Classics (ADCC) – credit for the acronym goes to Ryan Colby.

by InferalFinn

A while back I posted my take on the Ranger for DCC, inspired by Crawl! Fanzine #6, which also featured DCC versions of the paladin, bard, and gnome. I’ve actually had someone just start playing a ranger in my game, and I’m already seeing some problems. I’m not sure that the problems are with my own design (though they could be). The thing is, the ranger as a separate class is really dependent on the style of play to have value at the table. If there’s lots of dungeon crawling going on and the monsters don’t fit the favored enemy, then the class seems like it kind of sucks compared to the others.

More than that, though, DCC has really brought me around to seeing the simple elegance of the four basic classes for humans (it’s also really brought me around on race as class, as I’ve mentioned before). And it occurred to me last Friday morning, as I was pouring my coffee and about to leave for work, that there’s a simpler way to add rangers, paladins, barbarians and the like to DCC with more mechanics than just role-playing but less than a separate class. And that way is through my most favorite of DCC rules, the Mighty Deed of Arms.

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Raining Arrows

When I posted my DCC character sheet, I mentioned that the boxes for abstract ammo tracking would probably be implemented in manner similar to Brendan’s suggestion in this post: After combat, every character using a ranged weapon rolls 1d6; on a 1 they lose a quiver/level of ammo. I prefer this sort of simplified ammo tracking because it eases bookkeeping and ties in well with the “Significant Item” encumbrance system. Plus ammo in the DCC rulebook is priced as bundles anyway (i.e. 20 arrows for 5 gp), so the math for buying one level of ammo is already done for you.

I’ve decided to tweak the post-combat ammo check ever so slightly — after combat, a character using a ranged weapon rolls 1d10 and loses a level of ammo on 3 or lower. The percentage chance is hardly changed, but it keeps things mechanically consistent with another simple mighty deed I’ve come up with. This one is definitely still in the tweaking stages. For one thing, I’m thinking about changing the damage dice to -1d. As always, I welcome feedback.

english-archer-1634-grangerRain of Arrows: A warrior armed with a long bow or short bow lets loose with a frenzied volley of arrows. On a successful deed, the warrior rolls a number of damage dice equal to the result of the deed die and divides the total damage evenly among the target and every other living being within 5′ of the target. The attack roll still must be a hit for any affected creature to take damage. However, even creatures that are not actually hit are still counted in the division of the total damage done if they are in the area affected. Regardless of whether the deed is a success, after the roll the warrior must make an immediate ammo check; if the d10 roll is equal to or less than the number on the deed die, the warrior then loses a level of ammo.

Quick and Dirty Deeds

It is a scientific fact that Mighty Deeds of Arms are one of the coolest things about the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG. The best deeds are definitely the ones that emerge as a natural reaction to the specific circumstances of a battle. But even the most creative of players may not be able to come up with something spectacularly special for every attack, and for that reason the sample deeds in the combat chapter are particularly helpful.

Along those lines, here are few simple deeds that can help fill the gap when no other badass maneuver readily presents itself. The inspiration here is two-fold. First, when talking to Pathfinder/3.x fans about DCC, I explain that DCC simplifies things not be completely removing feats but rather by giving every warrior any feat imaginable. With that in mind, it’s only natural to glance back at some of the more straightforward feats as inspiration for simple deeds. Second, some of this grew out of discussion on the wonderful Google+ DCC RPG community, in particular from a question I asked when I initially moved from running Savage Worlds to DCC. The esteemed Reverend Dak (EIC of Crawl! Fanzine) came up with his “Minion Massacre” deed in response, and my further thoughts on that led to these first two deeds.

Sweep Attack: A warrior using a slashing weapon swings out in a forceful, wide arc. If the deed succeeds, he may evenly split the damage from his attack across multiple opponents in melee range, up to a number of opponents equal to the result of the deed die. The warrior still has to designate a main target to determine if the deed was successful, and his attack roll still needs to hit a secondary target’s AC for them to take damage.

Thank you for existing, Darick Robertson.

Cleave: This warrior has set her sights on splitting her opponents in twain with ferocious strikes. If the deed succeeds and the attack kills the first opponent, the warrior may make another attack roll at -2d versus another opponent in melee range (the deed die is not re-rolled). If the second attack also kills its target and other potential victims remain in melee range, she may continue making such attacks a number of times equal to the result of the deed die, provided that she keeps killing an opponent with each blow. Any non-fatal strike stops the warrior’s string of attacks.


Loincloth Warrior / Swashbuckler: A hulking mass of muscle with something resembling a brain exudes a palpable sense of a danger, cowing his opponents. A skilled duelist deftly parries every strike that comes her way, and does so with a smile. Either way, the result is the same — as long as the character is wearing no armor, the warrior gets the result of the deed die as a bonus to AC for that round. It’s gives a bigger kick then Defensive Maneuvers, with the obvious tradeoffs of not being able to wear armor or provide any benefit to nearby allies.