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Running a 0-level funnel for DCC RPG on Fantasy Grounds

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The 0-level funnel is one of the unique features of DCC RPG character creation. Players set off on the adventure with multiple 0-level peasants and end up with 1 or 2 (in theory) heroes by the end of the expedition. Hosting a funnel is no easy task, even with Fantasy Grounds, so I thought I would share a few tips from my own experience. Feel free to add your own in the comments...

So many zeroes...
Character creation can be fairly quick for an experienced FG user. On the other hand, many funnel participants are new to both FG and DCC RPG. This can really take the fun out of your fun-nel. (Yeah, sorry about that.) One solution is to create a bunch of pregens for players to select when they login. I have even toyed with the idea of having a 0-level draft with the draft order determined by a dice roll-off! Of course, some judges might want to avoid the extra prep time, so for them, I suggest hosting a "session 0" to shore up character creation before setting off on the adventure. I have asked players to send me their 0-level character sheets from Purple Sorcerer with the intention of preparing them myself before the game, but this never seems to pan out for one reason or another. In another game, I saved screenshots of the Purple Sorcerer 4-up character sheets in the images folder and shared these with the players, foregoing the traditional FG character sheet. Each player had 1 character sheet, but we ended up building most of the rolls manually. In the end, it was more trouble than it was worth.

A few dice shortcuts go a long way

If you or your players are going to roll up several zeroes, it pays to learn a few shortcuts. For ability scores, drop 3d6 onto a hot key, and click that 6 times in rapid succession. You can drag the totals from the chat window to the character sheet, ignoring any 10's (the default value). Next, you will need the d30 (lucky roll) and percentile dice (occupation), both of which are under the custom dice menu for the d10. Add your weapon and trade goods, and then go find your d24 (random equipment), which is under the custom dice menu for the d12. If you are rolling multiple zeroes, I suggest dropping these 3 custom dice onto hot keys so you don't have to go fishing for them every time.

Whose playing what now?
Prepare a unique portrait for each player. I cropped images of Hugh and the gang from product images on the Goodman Games website. Assign the same portrait to every character sheet for that player. You will appreciate this tip more as a judge when you see 15+ portraits across the top of your desktop and realize they are not sorted in any particular order.

Combat tracker madness
When zeroes and NPCs start piling up in the combat tracker, things get pretty confusing, and game play slows down. I have seen a few house rules for combat in funnels. I have each player roll one initiative using their best modifier, with all zeroes for that player acting on the same initiative count. In this case, you only have to drop the initiative-rolling zero for each player in the combat tracker. This does require some shuffling if the zero in the combat tracker is killed. I once dropped all zeroes in the combat tracker, with each rolling initiative individually, but the tracker was pretty crowded. If you're comfortable with that, go ahead! As with PCs, be wary of dropping a bunch of NPCs into the tracker. Some funnels will pit you against 20+ enemies, so consider dropping only one of each unique monster into the tracker for a theater of mind game. This requires some old-fashioned bookkeeping by the judge, but I am not sure that the combat tracker is better in that situation.

Don't forget about the party sheet
The party sheet can be quite useful in a funnel, possibly even more than the combat tracker. I like to target the zero with the lowest luck score when bad things happen, especially early in the adventure, and the party sheet allows you to quickly scan everyone's ability scores. I also check the list of occupations when determining whether anyone can make a trained skill check or considering what exactly to reveal about a room or object. The hit point bar is probably less useful when everyone has 1-4 hp, but that is visible as well. Plan on spending a little time at the beginning dropping everyone in there - it's well worth it in my opinion. Oh, and don't forget to clear the dead ones!

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  1. GunnarGreybeard's Avatar
    I like that concept, the 0-level funnel but I can see it would be a nightmare, either in FG or FtF.

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