Day 19: Patron
Star Trek Adventures is not the only game I’m interested in learning and playing. Over the past year I have obtained the core rulebooks for both Dungeon Crawl Classics and Mutant Crawl Classics. I found a used DCC book at one of my local gaming stores. My hardbound copy of MCC came as a Secret Satan gift that I’ve previously posted about on this blog.
When I first saw Dungeon Crawl Classics at a local store, I thought that it looked like they put a lot of work into it (the book was thick and heavy and lots of B&W artwork) but it seemed like another retro-clone. So I really didn’t pick it up. But after I picked up the books in one of the charity PDF bundle sales, I realized that the rules were classic D&D with some twists to make it unique. And since I like physical books better for my first time learning, I started searching out and books I could get my hands on.
One of these twists was the use of Patrons in the magic system for both games. Wizards (or Shamans in MCC) would bond with a mystical Patron who would grant the spellcaster extra powers. In exchange, the Patron may ask for favors in return. This could be a sacrifice or a quest or something dreamed up by the Game Master. In the fantasy based DCC, Patrons could be a supernatural being, a very powerful wizard, an elder god or a host of other options. GMs were encouraged to create Patrons that would fit their game world. In Mutant Crawl Classics, the Patrons were Artificial Intelligence (AIs) that somehow survived the cataclysm that befell the planet. They would grant wetware (i.e. spells) to the Shamans in exchange for services rendered. GMs were also encouraged to create their own AI Patrons for their adventures.
The spells/wetware granted could have a variety of effects (as most spells in the Crawl games). An entry for a spell wasn’t just a few sentences with some stats. A spell could be several pages long detailing the different effects that could happen depending upon the roll of the dice. Any time that a spell was cast, there was a chance of Patron Taint that affected the spellcaster. Again these could be very minor inconvenience or a major change to the character depending upon the dice rolls. I thought it was interesting that the gods worshiped by Clerics would not allow them to use their healing ability to cure a taint. Standard damage that occurred during a game, yes. But not removing or healing a patron taint. Since the gods were usually opposing some of the supernatural beings, why would they help one of their servants.
I thought it was an interesting magical system. I really wish that I could get together with some friends (we are still having to deal with some of the effects of the pandemic) just to sit and have play test sessions. Afterwards we could decide which one we wanted to run a campaign with.
When I saw “Patron” on the list, I knew I wanted to do an article about DCC & MCC. I can see some posts about “Theme” games or game “Styles”. I’m really curious if anyone comes up with something for “Storm”.