Dungeon Crawl Classics Level 0 for The Black Hack

Figure 1 The Black Hack hardcover placed with artistic apathy on top of the Dungeon Crawl Classics Egyptian Lich cover

The first time I read about level 0 funnel dungeons in Dungeon Crawl Classics (DCC) I was smitten. After years of playing in games where the backstory of a character was either non-existent, a re-telling of yet more murdered parents, or something of the sort I was ecstatic to try out the process of the funnel – just for something different at the very least. However, I prefer running games with the Black Hack (TBH) so like many others I decided to hack the Black Hack by incorporating level 0 characters into it for the purposes of running funnel dungeons.

The basic idea of the level 0 funnel dungeon is each player controls multiple characters (around 3 to 4 each) that are considered level 0 (they have less hit points and no class). Each of these characters has some randomly generated occupations and equipment, then are thrust into a deadly dungeon for any reason from greed to bad luck. Only the strongest, luckiest, or most cunning will survive and reach level 1. The modified TBH character creation steps and D12 occupations table are presented below.

Character Creation for The Funnel Hack

Step 1. Follow the “Roll Dice for Their Attributes” (step A) step of the Black Hack character creation process

Step 2. Roll 1d12 on the occupation table below and note any weapon (considered usable even after the funnel despite your chosen class) or gear that accompanies it. This counts as the character’s first background so write a sentence or two that contextualises it

Step 3. Roll 1d4 for the character’s hit points

Step 4. Attempt to survive the funnel with the following rule adjustments:

  • If the character’s HP is reduced to 0 or less, they die without rolling for Out of the Action
  • All damage is either 1d4 with a weapon or 2/1 for improvised weapons/unarmed

Step 5. Your sole surviving or chosen character now follows the “Swap Two Attributes” (step B) step of the Black Hack character creation process. Remaining surviving characters go about their lives or perhaps they can be recruited as hirelings

Step 6. For your chosen character follow the “Choose a Class” (step C) step of the Black Hack character creation process except when you determine hit points for your level 1 character add the following hit points based on the chosen class to your current maximum hit points instead of rolling any dice:

  • Warrior: +6 HP
  • Thief: +4 HP
  • Cleric: +6 HP
  • Wizard: +1 HP

Step 7. Venture forth into the great unknown as a level 1 Black Hack character with one scarring memory that haunts your dreams

Occupation Table

The table below was derived from the D12 Inspiration table in The Black Hack for the purposes of this post. You can roll on this or any other occupation table – just remember that an occupation likely gets a weapon and some useful or interesting gear.

1HunterWorn light bowArrows Ud6, whistle that emits a deep note when used
2Escaped PrisonerCrumbling ShivFraudulent papers, broken shackles
3DeserterRusty short swordCloth Armour AV1, wineskin filled with something black and sticky
4GamblerShiny DaggerFlask, letter of debt, papers of prepared “I owe you”
5Fleeing NobleDull KnifeSignet ring that draws the eye, 10 coins
6Indentured Wizard’s ServantInscribed StaffLocket with a picture of someone you don’t recognise on the inside, torches Ud4
7Forgotten SoldierSharpened Short SwordShield with a forgotten insignia
8SmugglerBloodied DaggerSack of contraband that has a strong smell, 4 coins
9Town DrunkBroken BottleBottle of booze, stolen holy symbol
10Professional Clinical Trial Participant10 coins, green potion (Single use. Heals 1d4 upon use and one of the following effects: 1 – you are compelled to move left for a minute; 2 – the sclera of your right eye permanently changes to a deep yellow instead of white; 3 – A fuzzy feeling causes you to be distracted; 4 – you are weakened for 1 moment)
11FarmerSharp PitchforkHen that responds to a name, 2 coins
12WoodcutterHand axeBundle of wood, chalk Ud6, iron spikes Ud6
Occupation table derived form the D12 Inspiration table for character backgrounds in The Black Hack

I hope someone finds this a useful tool for starting a campaign in The Black Hack or at least found it to be a somewhat joyful read. I intend to use this as a tool for running Tombs of the Serpent King as a funnel dungeon for my upcoming Black Hack campaign. Leave a comment (if you can?) with any suggestions or thoughts below.

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