I received my physical copy of Mutant Crawl Classics (MCC) in the mail a week or so ago and after reading through it a few times, I figured it's time to review!
UPDATE: The PDF is out! It's available now on DriveThruRpg. GO GO GO!
tldr: If you haven't played or read Dungeon Crawl Classics yet, go pick that up and consume it in all its glory first. If you're already a DCC fan, this game is fantastic IF you're a fan of Dungeon Crawl Classics gameplay outside of the funnel. If you enjoy DCC solely for the 0-level funnel experience, you may not enjoy the options available in MCC. However, if you're a fan of Gamma World or you really enjoy post level-0 gameplay in DCC, you should definitely pick this up. It's about as gonzo as games get from a randomness perspective. There is something ridiculously fun about rolling up insane manimal and mutant hybrids in the post apocalypse.
What is Mutant Crawl Classics?
Mutant Crawl Classics is a "spiritual successor" to Dungeon Crawl Classics by Goodman Games. It was written by Jim Wampler and is filled with amazing art by Doug Kovacs, Stefan Poag, Chris Arneson, Tom Galambos, Friedrich Hass, Cliff Kurowski, Barie James, William McAusland, Brad McDevitt, Jesse Mohn, Peter Mullen, Russ Nicholson, Chad Sergesketter, Jim Wampler and Michael Wilson.
If that list of artists doesn't get you excited, you have no soul, though I'm sure even the soulless would get excited over it.
Basically, MCC is an old-school styled role-playing game where you and a team of fellow adventurers gather your many limbs and head out into the post-apocalyptic wastes in search of ancient hidden technology, treasure, and fame. It's got some heavy influences from Gamma World, and does a great job of honoring that game (it even includes an intro by James M. Ward, one of the original designers of GW).
Who should buy this?
This is definitely geared to gamers who love the bizarre, aren't attached to their characters and are okay with a table of insane things dictating what happens in a session. It's also for GMs that are okay with letting go of a bit of control of how things happen at the table, and who are fairly decent at "winging it". If you've played DCC, you know what to expect here.
It's not for: rules lawyers, people who get attached to their characters easily, people who think that fun is a four letter word, people who get upset when another player accidentally kills their character (not had the opportunity to use the "Death Field Generation" [pg 66] mutation yet? You really should...)
Can a newbie GM and team pick up and play this?
This is a weighted question. It's been ages since I first picked up an RPG, learned how to play, and gathered a group of my friends around a table to do it, so it's a bit difficult to put myself in the shoes of a new person approaching the hobby.
Physical Product Review
Let's talk about the actual book and the construction quality of it. I picked up the Green Foil Edition. If you've ever purchased Dungeon Crawl Classics or any other Goodman Games products, you know what to expect here: quality binding, excellent paper quality, and a heft that all but guarantees you could club a baby kobold to death with it.
The ONLY complaint I have about it (and it's incredibly minor): No sewn in ribbon for keeping my pages in check. Seriously? How petty of a complaint is that? All I have to do is run one MCC game and Goodman Games will send me free MCC themed bookmarks. But still, it would have been nice!
If almost 80+ pages of detailed gonzo mutations like "Detonating Fingers", 50 pages of AIs turned Deities, (including Tetraplex, which is essentially Google on steroids), and a bestiary of beasts that include giant mountable Tardigrades doesn't sound like a good time to you, maybe this game isn't for you.
If any of this sounds interesting though, inside the book you'll find dozens of tables (see DCC), and enough fun options and insanity to keep any group of players entertained for years to come. Not bad for a ~280 page book.
Much like the halfling and Thief classes from DCC, there are some classes here that aren't perfect (Shaman comes to mind - If you're curious where their wetware "spells" are, they're actually in the "Patron AIs" section, despite the index saying they're on page 18) but just like those classes in DCC if you have the right group, everything is playable and enjoyable.
Just like DCC, this is not a rules complete system. You will want to table rule things, and reference other systems to help fine tune the needs of your table. You should already be doing this with every game you play, but this one requires it more or less, much like DCC. The great news though is that this game is 100% compatible with DCC and DCC material.
Just like at the end of DCC, MCC includes a level 0-1 adventure to start your group out on, and just like with DCC, I strongly recommend you use it to introduce your characters to the game.
Want to really ruffle your established DCC crew's feathers? Start them off in Sailors of the Starless Sea as DCC funnel characters, then start slowly introducing the craziness of this system. Finish it out with the players realizing that they're not playing classic high fantasy! That magical spell they had? Yeah it was highly radioactive, they're going to be mutants. That god they thought they were worshiping? Yeah that's just an ancient iSeries data server that's now sentient and has tricked you in to servitude.
I could go on and on about the content. It's worth while, it's interesting, and it does exactly what DCC does so well: It gets your creative juices flowing as a GM and as a player. Even if you NEVER play a game of DCC or MCC, after reading this book I guarantee you'll have several new adventure seed ideas at the very least. If that doesn't make a book worth purchasing, not much else does.
Is there a digital edition of the game yet?
UPDATE: The PDF is out! It's available now on DriveThruRpg. GO GO GO!
ORIGINAL: Not yet! And that's another slight frustration for me. I'm one of those RPG gamers that loves to have both the physical and digital copies of a game, and often times won't buy one if I also can't buy the other. I made an exception in this case, but I'm sure that Goodman Games will release the PDF in the not-too-distant future. I'll update here as I know more. However, if you're a digital only gamer (I know you exist) you may have to wait some time before picking this one up.
Are there any hidden secret messages like in Dungeon Crawl Classics?
So after being one of a handful of people to solve one of the very well hidden messages in the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG, I may have spent my first 2 hours with this game looking to see if anything popped out at me. Unfortunately, nothing did. There's plenty of things that may hint at hidden messages, but after running down several paths I wasn't able to find any. That doesn't mean that there aren't though!
I like DCC tournament play. Is MCC good at that too?
I've yet to have the opportunity to play MCC in a tournament format, but it should work just as well as DCC does. Thankfully Purple Sorcerer has already put up a zero level generator, so tournament generation should be nice and simple still.
I'll post back here and do an actual play of an MCC tournament as soon as I'm able to run one.
What's up with the skulls in the picture?
If you're curious about the skulls in the pictures, they're 2 of the 3 rewards we'll be handing out in our DCC Tournament at Lakeland Roleplaying Guild's annual meeting and at Hurricon this year. The copper one is for 3rd place, the red horned one for 2nd place, and the grey one is an unpainted 3rd place trophy. The 1st place trophy is still being designed, but I'll post about it here soon.
You can see videos of the trophies here:
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