Thursday, October 17, 2013

DCC Donnerstag: More Luck Burn Options

Months back, I talked about the problems that a surplus of Luck can create in your DCC game, particularly where thieves and halflings - who get to "regenerate" burned Luck - are concerned. Effectively, it seems like every thief and halfling eventually will end up with an 18 Luck, it's just a matter of time to determine how long it will take to get them there. This problem cropped up in the Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad campaign a lot earlier than I thought it would and, as a result, has been something that's weighed heavily on my mind. Last time I wrote about this issue, I came up with some ways for a permanent expenditure of Luck to have a lasting effect in game, a way for both the Judge and the player to "bleed off" some excess Luck and to get some bang for his buck doing so. Here's what I came up with last time:

  • Stave Off Death: Your character is dead and you know it. You've gone below 0 hp, failed your saving throw, had your head crushed by the pile of boulders while you were already impaled on the punji stakes at the bottom of the pit trap. You're fucking dead. But for the low, low cost of a single point of permanent Luck burn, your character can take a single action next round, after which you collapse into unconsciousness. You may only do this for a number of rounds equal to your character's level (thus, this may not be done at 0 level). 
  • Yeah, I Have It Right Here: Forget to buy something back in town but now it's terribly important to moving forward through the dungeon? Did you think you bought something or had it left over from the last adventure but can't seem to find it on your character sheet? Do you only now realize the benefit of the hand held mirror inside a dungeon? If you act now, that missing piece of gear can be yours! For every Luck point you permanently expend, you can retcon your character sheet to include one item it didn't have before with a value of up to 10 gp per level, but you must still pay full cost for that item. (The item[s] purchased may not be magical or have any magical properties; no potions, scrolls or other doodads of ultimate power.)
  • Don't Sweat the Details: Yes, the Judge is almost always right. Yes, we understand Rule Zero. Yes, we get that the Judge establishes the continuity that keeps the campaign going. But... Sometimes you really need a detail of story to be slightly yet significantly different than the way the Judge is ruling it. Sometimes you need the shadowy villain to be left-handed (so it's possible that he actually was the evil duke all along!) or the town cleric to be a secretly Chaotic cultist to Ahriman (so that Smolken has a sacrificing buddy). Run your revision of reality by the Judge (and possibly the other players if you're feeling sociable) and if he (they) like the idea, you can permanently burn a Luck point to make it happen. (This use allows the PCs some narrative control of the story, but should never be viewed as license to run roughshod over the Judge. As the arbiter of what does and does not work in the campaign, repeated attempts to rewrite the Judge's reality can result in serious Bad Universe Days* for your PCs.)

Since that last post, I've been kicking around some more ideas and have come up with a few winners. Here are more ways that you can permanently burn some Luck to get a permanent result.

  • Re-Roll Hit Dice: Ever have that character who just can't catch a break when levelling up and always rolls a "1" on his hit dice? Well, by permanently burning a point of Luck, you may re-roll your character's hit dice once, rolling the full number of hit dice earned for his current level. [I'm pretty sure that this use of Luck came from someone commenting in the G+ DCC community, and I think it might have been +Harley Stroh, but I'm not sure and can't find the original idea.]
  • Pimp Your Luck Die: This idea originally comes from +Daniel Bishop in the comments to my first post on the matter, where he suggests we "allow a Thief... to permanently burn Luck to automatically gain a maximum Luck Die result[.]" What a great idea! Instead of temp-burning that point of Luck to add 1d4 to whatever you just rolled, you can perma-burn it to add 4. Now that's a significant advantage that I can see some thieves buying in to!
  • Saved By Fate: In yet another suggestion coming from a trusted friend and colleague, Dr. +Edgar Johnson suggests allowing a PC the chance to lose a point of Luck instead of a point of Stamina if and when they are dropped to 0 hit points in combat. I really dig the idea, particularly for thieves and halflings, but I wouldn't limit it to just them.
I wish I had more right now, but that's where I'm at with this stuff. Rather than forget it all, I figured I should post it here to let it steep in the wilds of the internet and maybe see what fuel you, dear reader, can throw on this fire.