Friday, January 3, 2014

Elves in DCC


Before I get to the meat of this gratuitous and uninformative post, I will be addressing some topics interesting only to those who find fascination in things like blogging statistics and other points of douchebloggery.  If blogger.com's statistics are accurate, there are an awful lot of you.  Onward:
  1. I had to take a break from the ol' blog over the Christmas holiday as there is a longstanding mandate from the Home Office that my final, year-end tally of posts must be a multiple of six.  As of the 20th of December I had hit 42 posts for 2013, so it was either crank out 6 more posts in 11 days--a pace that typically outstrips my productivity for an entire month--or take the holidays off.  I did not suffer much distress pondering this quandary.
  2. This is my 175th actual, bonafide post. I know many thousands of you have been fervently following my Fraudulent Posts series, so I thought I'd let you all know.  Also, unless I actually start removing previously published posts, this marks the end of the reverse aging process; from here on out I can only go up.  
  3. The Board of Directors has informed me that I should be reaching post #200 by the end of July.  Failure to meet this goal will result in docked pay, suspended health benefits, and cancellation of my Drones membership, so I better get at it.  Expect lots of pointless fluff in the first half of the year.
And now for your irregularly scheduled bloggledygook.

Like everyone else, I love the DCC RPG and usually trip over myself trying to find new ways to praise it.  But I'd like to start the year out on a negative note so I'm going to gripe about DCC instead.  Specifically, elves in DCC shall be the topic of my gripery today.

Everyone knows that elves are the least interesting PC race to play in any fantasy adventure game as they are universally portrayed as repressed and sanctimonious dullards that are loaded with special abilities to make up for their utter lack of personal charm.  However, there is one singular advantage that makes them the preferred race of all players: they can cast spells while wearing platemail.  Wisely, DCC in their infinite wisdom, came up with a counter to this perk: elves find the touch of cold steel--more specifically, iron--unpleasant to the touch.  But before you even start contemplating the horror of an elf forced to cast spells whilst bereft of metallic armor, DCC backpedals all the way to the lobby of the nearest 4-star, beachfront hotel: 
These guys would be an improvement.
"At first level, an elf character may purchase one piece of armor and one weapon that are manufactured of mithril at no additional cost."  
So, when they graduate adventurer school, elves all get a stack of Mithril vouchers purchased at a fraction of a penny to the dollar. Nice work, DCC; in a single swipe, the only meaningful disadvantage to having an elf is swept out to sea. 

Of course, the ramifications of this should be made pretty clear the first time that the party encounters a gang of mithril hunters.  Seeing as any elf wearing metal armor or wielding a metal sword will be an easy source of wealth, there's gonna' be a whole economy based on slaughtering elves for their protective pelts and weaponry.  Much as ivory hunters have decimated the elephant population in this world (also habitat encroachment, but that doesn't serve my point very well), elves in the DCC-verse will find themselves constantly beset by gangs of mithril-seekers both amateur and professional.

Also, there's the imperious douchebag pondering a magical codex in the illustration on the elf page (p. 57).  He looks like every cheesedick, preppy, teen villain that came out of Hollywood in the 1980s. If that smug prick--who is wearing, it should be noted, platemail--doesn't keep your players from running elves in your campaign then I don't envy you. 

7 comments:

Stu Rat said...

The Western Black Rhino went extinct this year.

Timrod said...

Well that's depressing. I shouldn't weep so hard had it been the elves instead.

ravencrowking said...

I've written two elf-centric adventures (Stars in the Darkness, with Purple Duck Games and The Revelation of Mulmo, with Dragon's Hoard) that might help you somewhat in fleshing out elves in your campaign. Both accentuate the creepy, dark, Chaotic nature of elves in various Appendix N sources.

That elves gain an opportunity to get mithral arms and armour at level 1 for the base cost need not mean that they have the money for plate. In fact, it should not. Nor does that advantage last to Level 10 if not used earlier.

Silent Nightfall (Purple Duck Games) includes some real problems for elf PCs. Likewise, the elf problem with iron is used in The Arwich Grinder (Crawl! #9). In the first adventure in Perils of the Cinder Claws (Purple Duck), elves find themselves compelled to make toys for a Yuletide spirit unless they make a saving throw.

Consider also how many magic weapons and items might be made of iron or steel, including rings, wands, weapons, and armour. The stricture against iron is as limiting as the Judge makes it.

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Josh Tiscareno said...

I just got rid of elves altogether in my campaign. I also got rid of dwarves, halflings, and orcs. As much as I appreciate the contributions of Tolkien to the hobby, I feel that the Tolkienesque races have long since been played out.

I run a humanocentric campaign that reflects *my* literary influences (Fritz Leiber, HP Lovecraft, Robert E Howard) instead. It's quite refreshing, actually.

Timrod said...

Hey Josh, thanks for stopping by.

I'm all for eliminating elves except that it would remove my absolute favorite thing about D&D: griping about elves. And I jest only a little.

I've spent several years of my life re-writing the D&D rules in an effort to balance elves out with the other character races by saddling them with all sorts of racial inabilities and creating kooky dice mechanics that hobble pointy-eared spellcasting warriors. Do I just write off all that labor? Yes, I really should.