Dungeon Crawl is an attempt to replicate the feel of old-school D&D with a different dice mechanic and slightly more unified rules based around this mechanic. It evolved out of two realizations:

  • Random character generation’s big strength is getting you into the game fast, especially if you roll poorly on a character that subsequently dies. Especially for a game that mimics old-school D&D, rolling up a first level character should be easy and fast at the table.
  • Rolling 3d6 makes a very nice bell curve, as discovered by GURPS, the Dragon Age RPG, and, of course, old-school D&D character generation. Interestingly, the median result of 3d6 creates a similarly nice curve on a range of 1-6.

Thus, the following system.

Dice

Dungeon crawl uses two methods of dice resolution:

  • Additive: This is the classic method of rolling dice. After rolling, add all results together to get a result total. When dice are used in this method, they are written in the typical method (e.g., 3d6).
  • Separate: In this method, multiple dice are rolled and then the player selects one die from the total (typically, either high, middle, or low), based on context. When dice are used in this method, they are written using an “x” (e.g., 3×6).

Some rolls will be both additive and separate: the total of the roll will be used for one effect, while the individual dice will be used for another. For example, in combat, players roll 3d6 plus modifiers to see if they hit. If the attack is successful, one of the dice rolled is selected (based on weapon type) to determine damage. For this reason, players should be in the habit of leaving dice as they are rolled, rather than picking them up immediately after getting a result (as the other method of reading the dice may also be required).

Character Creation

Character Overview

Characters in Dungeon Crawl have only a handful of statistics:

  • Three primary abilities:
    • Fortitude, representing physical might and resilience
    • Reflex, representing speed and agility
    • Will, representing mental fortitude and potence
  • Three secondary abilities:
    • Vigor, representing endurance and healthiness
    • Luck, representing the blessings of fate or chance
    • Charm, representing ability to convince and lead others
  • A class and level, which grants:
    • A certain number of Hit Points
    • A certain number of Weapon Proficiencies added to create an Attack Bonus
    • Certain special abilities related to the class
  • Armor Class, which is generated from armor and shield used

Other than these statistics, all the character’s capabilities are either induced from background or based on gear collected.

Making a Character

  1. Prioritize your character’s primary ability scores: high, middle, and low.
  2. Roll 3×6. Assign the highest result to your high preference, the middle result to your middle preference, and the low result to your low preference. You now have three abilities ranging from 1-6.
  3. For each secondary ability, roll 2×6 and include the result from the associated primary ability. Take the median result of the three dice to generate an ability between 1 and 6. The associated abilities are Fortitude and Vigor, Reflex and Luck, and Will and Charisma.
  4. Choose a Class. Your character begins at level 1.
  5. Calculate Hit Points: Fortitude + Class Bonus (of 1-3), for a first level HP score of 2-9.
  6. If your class grants a Weapon Proficiency at first level, choose the weapon group for which it applies. You get a +1 Attack Bonus when using a weapon from this group.
  7. Write down the special abilities from your class, including what your current bonuses are when using them (as most abilities are based on level).
  8. If you’re playing a caster, select spells.
  9. Ask the GM what starting equipment and/or gold (to buy starting equipment) you have.

Example Character Creation

Bob decides to rank his abilities:

  1. Fortitude
  2. Will
  3. Reflex

He rolls 3×6 and gets 5, 3, 4; he now has:

  • Fortitude 5
  • Reflex 3
  • Will 4

He generates his secondary abilities:

  • For vigor he rolls 5 and 3 and includes Fortitude 5 for a median 5.
  • For Luck he rolls 6 and 1 and includes Reflex 3 for a median 3.
  • For Will he rolls 1 and 3 and includes Will 4 for a median 3.

His secondary scores are:

  • Vigor 5
  • Luck 3
  • Charm 3

He decides to be a fighter:

  • He picks 1 weapon proficiency (Blades +1).
  • He adds 3 HP to his Fortitude for 8 total HP.
  • He notes that he can make a Smash attack: +6 damage but does 1d6 to his character.
  • He can’t yet use Cleaving Blow, but will be able to next level.
  • He can’t specialize until he gets more proficiencies.

Classes

Notes on Weapon Proficiencies:

  • If a class gets less than one proficiency per level, the character does not gain the first proficiency until the level listed, and then every multiple of that level later. For example, a class that gets one proficiency every three levels gets the first proficiency at level 3, the next at level 6, and so on.
  • Weapon proficiencies must form a pyramid: in order to put a second level in a proficiency, there must be another proficiencies at the same current level. For example, a character cannot raise a proficiency to +2 earlier than his or her third proficiency (so the pyramid would be +2, +1). Similarly, getting a +3 proficiency isn’t possible until the sixth proficiency (for +3, +2, +1).

Fighter

Weapon Proficiencies: 1/level

Hit Points: +3 per level

Special Abilities:

  • Smash: After making a successful attack, the fighter can choose to take 1d6 damage (from strain) to deal Level + Fortitude as bonus damage (roll the weapon’s damage normally).
  • Cleaving blow: If the a fighter is facing multiple, lower-level enemies, he or she can make multiple attacks as long as they are all in striking range (if using a melee weapon) or in a straight line along the fighter’s path of attack (if using a ranged weapon). The fighter can attack one target per level in this way, as long as all targets are half the character’s level (rounded down) or less. For example, a 5th level fighter could attack up to five targets of 2nd level or less.
  • Specialization: For any weapon in which the fighter has a +3 Proficiency or better, he or she deals +2 damage. (Remember that, because of the proficiency pyramid, this ability will not be useful until 6th level at the earliest.)

Rogue

Weapon Proficiencies: 1/2 levels

Hit Points: +2 per level

Special Abilities:

  • Stealth: If a rogue moves at half speed, he or she can designate up to his or her level of total levels of other characters or monsters that will automatically not notice her despite being in an area where they might otherwise. Dim conditions or concealment may increase this number, while being well lit, in combat, or specifically searched for may reduce it. For example, a 4th level rogue can designate up to four level 1 creatures that will not notice her, or one 4th level creature.
  • Backstab: A rogue deals his or her level as bonus damage on any successful hit against a target that is unaware of the rogue, disabled, or flanked by the rogue and an ally.
  • Dirty Deeds: A rogue can always make rolls for thievery-related feats, even if the GM would otherwise be inclined to disallow them. If the rest of the party would be allowed to make the roll, the rogue makes it at one lower difficulty. What counts as thievery-related includes climbing, lock picking, trap disarming, pickpocketing, and so on, but can be added to as appropriate.

Wizard

Weapon Proficiencies: 1/3 levels

Hit Points: +1 per level

Special Abilities:

  • Spell Points: Will + 1/level
  • Spellbook: A wizard chooses 1d6 starting spells from the first level wizard list. Further spells must be found during play. He or she can learn any spell found in play by scribing it into a spellbook (but he or she may not initially be able to pay SP cost for potent spells). It takes one day per SP cost of a spell to scribe it.
  • Spellcasting: A wizard can prepare a number of spells at a time equal to Will. Replacing a currently prepared spell requires 10 minutes of study for each SP required to cast the spell. Casting a spell deducts its SP cost from the wizard’s current SP total (and the character cannot go negative). Each spell prepared can be cast multiple times, as long as the wizard can pay the SP cost.

Cleric

Weapon Proficiencies: 1/2 levels

Hit Points: +2 per level

Special Abilities:

  • Spell Points: Will + 1/2 levels
  • Spell Access: A cleric gains access to every spell on his or her deity’s spell list (but may not be able to initially pay for higher potency ones).
  • Spellcasting: A cleric can prepare a number of spells at a time equal to Will. Replacing a currently prepared spell requires 10 minutes of prayer for each SP required to cast the spell. Casting a spell deducts its SP cost from the cleric’s current SP total (and the character cannot go negative). Each spell prepared can be cast multiple times, as long as the cleric can pay the SP cost.
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