Friday, September 30, 2016

Character Funnels, Have You Tried One?

This thread over on Tenkar's Tavern about the new 0-level DCC book "Sky ov [sic] Crimson Flame" prompts me to look into the idea of the "character funnel."

Johnny Thickskull, Funnel Runner

A character funnel is an adventure where each player takes four zero-level PCs into a meat grinder of an adventure.  The survivors are the PC pool that the players draw from to make their Level 1 PCs.

It seems complicated to have four guys who are equal to one another. It's not the same as a PC + henchmen for instance. How do you know who you're "really" running?

Maybe it's easier than it looks when you're playing. I just think I would pick out one of my guys to be the leader and then favor that guy over the other ones, whether consciously or subconsciously.

Has anyone had any real play experiences with a funnel situation they can share?

Having done a little research, here's a guide to how to make your own character funnel -- or in this case a "Meat Grinder."


  1. I have done a funnel, not quite like the DCC version.
    0 level peasants, four per PC. Humans and no special abilities, so I cannot speak to the complication of this.
    What I can tell you is that I warned the PC's that it was going to be bloody, I was not looking to turn them into PC's, and let's just relax and have some fun. And they did. I think it is worth doing at least one to try it out, either the 'proper' way or the one-shot.
    The next funnels for us will be the surviving peasants again and after that a 1HD stormtrooper funnel for a Star Wars hack and possibly a Colonial Marines Alien hack.
    As long as we have fun. :D

    1. Oh, excellent! Just roll them out, no attachment, and play! That's the way we always did it before Dragonlance ruined the dungeon crawl.

  2. AS to who you're 'really running' it's similar to a board game or war game 'character'. Don't favor any one of the four you are running, you can't. The point is to keep them generic enough that you don't invest in them until after they survive or something cool happens to shape their character in your mind. They may be lucky to even be named from those that I have seen. My player's didn't bother to name them past Peasant One, etc until something happened in the dungeon then they got a nickname or a true name in the course of play. Their 'backstory' was in development as events unfolded.
    Also the stats are simple enough at 0 level it shouldn't be a problem to keep track of things.