I keep seeing "HD" and "CL" mentioned in the DCC Core Rule Book.


Creatures of 1 HD or higher...


However, I cannot find these acronyms in the Contents, Introduction, or Index.

Where are the DCC acronyms stated and explained?


2 Answers 2


Nowhere, at least not explictly.

I suspected this was the case but I searched my digital copy of the current 10th printing of Dungeon Crawl Classics (DCC), and it does not contain a list of game abbreviations anywhere. The closest it comes is the partial list of game terms in the “Choosing a Class” section on page 27, but that only gives general descriptions of how hit points, weapon training, action dice and titles are defined for each specific class.

Most abbreviations are not even explicitly linked to their game terms when the terms are introduced in the text, though there are some examples of this. A couple include ‘Difficulty Class, or DC’ on page 12, and ‘Experience Points (XP)’ on page 26. But they’re certainly not collected anywhere in one place, and some (like CL and HD, along with many of those used in creature stat blocks like MV and SP) aren’t explicitly defined anywhere that I could find.

This is probably by design.

Like a lot of Old-School Renaissance/Revival (OSR) games, DCC is not written with new players in mind. It explicitly assumes you are familiar with some edition of Dungeons & Dragons; this is laid out in the “qualifications” on page 10, where it advises you to only open the book if you are ‘a fantasy enthusiast of imaginative mind, familiar with the customs of role playing ... acquainted with the role of “judge” and the practice of “adventure”.’ You can also see it in the way the introduction to game concepts at the start is couched entirely in how it differs from various editions of D&D, rather than including a glossary of rules terms and abbreviations which it has in common with those games. It also takes the approach that you will be experienced enough to work out the abbreviations and terms unique to DCC, since they represent similar concepts to those in D&D.

So while this is something lacking from the book, it seems likely it's not unintentional. Even the free Quickstart Rules available from the website doesn’t include a glossary like the one you might expect. But I confess I’m not a fan of this approach, as it makes the book more difficult than necessary for new players and GMs not familiar with D&D.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Does this mean that they are borrowing terms directly from old D&D editions? If so, are there places online to read about those terms in regard to those old D&D editions? \$\endgroup\$ Feb 22 at 23:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ProgrammerS some of the terms are lifted directly from D&D, usually third edition and earlier; that’s where Hit Dice (HD) and Character Level (CL) come from, though I don’t remember the latter being abbreviated that way. There are some lists of terms online but they probably won’t be comprehensive for DCC. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 23 at 0:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ In D&D3.5, CL is usually "Caster Level", which usually appears in the context of spell descriptions (back when spells scaled based on your level and not just just spell level). Caster Level was different than character level since it only counts your levels in the class used to cast the spell (and half that if the class wasn't a full-caster). \$\endgroup\$
    – Dragonfang
    Feb 23 at 23:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Dragonfang you’re right about 3.5, but since DCC large draws on earlier editions, and also doesn’t have multiclassing (in the core rules at least), there’s no need for Caster Level as a concept. So I’m pretty sure they mean character level, to distinguish it from spell level etc. Though who can be sure, since they don’t define what it means anywhere? \$\endgroup\$ Feb 24 at 22:21

To follow up on Guybrush's excellent answer about abbreviations in Dungeon Crawl Classics, you can purchase the AD&D 1E Dungeon Master's Guide (1979) to get a list of terms. The 1E DMG (Dungeon Master's Guide) has a dictionary starting on page 227 that should answer most of your questions. The introduction to the book gives a good feel for how D&D was played back then, as the 1E DMG is Gary Gygax magnum opus.


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