Castles and Crusades is it any good?

Akrasia

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If you want ItU, get it now. If WotC goes ahead with de-authorizing OGL 1.0a and tells DTRPG to take down everything using it, you'll lose your chance. Anders Honoré has Lyme disease, so it will be some time before he is able to edit the whole thing and re-release it without 5e SRD content
WotC is now saying that anything that has been released under OGL 1.0a is safe.
Yes, they're obviously bad faith actors, but I can't imagine that they care about things already available that use OGL 1.0a (especially something as minor as ItU and other OSR/OSR-related products).
Their concern: future 1D&D-compatible products and their VTT.
In other words, I think that ItU will be safely available at DTRPG for the foreseeable future.
 

Akrasia

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Legit, my favorite D&D-alike is Low Fantasy Gaming by Pickpocket Press.

Yeah, I really like LFG.

But part of its appeal is that the magic system is quite dangerous. This distinguishes it from the "utility magic" of D&D. If I were to run it I would make sure that the players were on board with this ahead of time.
 

migo

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WotC is now saying that anything that has been released under OGL 1.0a is safe.
Yes, they're obviously bad faith actors, but I can't imagine that they care about things already available that use OGL 1.0a (especially something as minor as ItU and other OSR/OSR-related products).
Their concern: future 1D&D-compatible products and their VTT.
In other words, I think that ItU will be safely available at DTRPG for the foreseeable future.
I wouldn't be so optimistic. ItU is strongly based on the 5.1 SRD, it's the exact type of game happy 5e players unhappy with WotC would move to.

They're doing this crap to prevent another Pathfinder, they're definitely going to go after anything that is appealing to the customers they want to convert to OneD&D.
 

Gringnr

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C&C was the game I returned to gaming with after a decade long absence (from playing, still read and collected them). It's well enough designed, IMO and the Siege Engine is a functional but rather unexciting addition. At the end of the day, I kind of feel like C&C doesn't really distinguish itself from D&D in any meaningful sense, though. It's like a "reboot". Hits a lot of the same notes, but lacks the nostalgic value. While I credit it for getting me back into gaming, overall I find it kind of bland, I guess? Years later, I'd get the same feeling from playing a few sessions of 5e. Kind of... processed feeling. Just my opinion. There are those who swear by it (and the Siege Engine), and it's the game Gygax played late in his life. Going back to the reboot analogy, it's more polished, has modern production values and a bigger budget, but for me, there just wasn't much of a soul there. YMMV. For the record, I like DCC and Swords & Wizardry as D&D-alikes, if that helps you to understand my tastes. My opinion is not a qualitative judgement. But once I got my gaming legs under me again, I sold off my C&C books and haven't looked back.
 

T. Foster

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Point of order regarding Gygax and C&C: as far as I’m aware there is no evidence he ever actually played it or was even aware of its rules except that it was “AD&D with ascending armor class.” There was one public game he and Rob Kuntz ran at a con in 2004 that was billed as a C&C playtest but I’ve been reliably informed by people who played in that session that it was run as an AD&D game - no Siege Engine, no alternate versions of classes and spells, etc. My understanding is that the adventures he wrote for C&C (Yggsburgh and Castle Zagyg) were written with quasi-AD&D stats (except possibly ascending AC) and the C&C system details (like assigning Prime stats) were filled in by the Troll Lords. We also know for certain that his home-campaign playtest of the Yggsburgh material was run using the Lejendary Adventures rules, which was his game of choice in his final decade. His only contribution to the C&C rules was a system of using XP to buy levels in skills that appeared in the Yggsburgh book (the intent of which was seemingly to make C&C PCs feel a bit closer to LA avatars).

Yes, Gary was always publicly supportive of C&C because he had extensive professional and personal relationship with the Trolls (who also published his Gygaxian Fantasy Worlds books and Lejendary Adventures modules (dual-statted with d20 by co-authors) and were republishing his old novels and had plans to publish his Hundred Years War card game (which I’m bummed was never released) and - per the Empire of Imagination book - one of the Trolls’ wives was his doctor and Troll Lord Games paid for his health insurance) but that shouldn’t be mistaken for genuine enthusiasm or even particular interest in C&C as a ruleset. It was pretty clearly part of a bargain - his end was that he would do Castle Zagyg* and support their C&C game, their end was that they would release all his other projects and put him on their insurance plan.

*note also that after his 2004 stroke almost all of the work on Castle Zagyg was actually done by co-authors: the castle and dungeons in the boxed set were mostly written by Jeff Talanian (of Hyperborea fame) based on Gary’s outlines and notes, and the Yggsburgh expansion material was written by a whole team of a dozen or so authors, each of whom was assigned a neighborhood to detail (a handful of which were actually released, many more were shelved to the frustration and dismay of their authors).
 

Toadmaster

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It's well enough designed, IMO and the Siege Engine is a functional but rather unexciting addition. At the end of the day, I kind of feel like C&C doesn't really distinguish itself from D&D in any meaningful sense, though. It's like a "reboot". Hits a lot of the same notes, but lacks the nostalgic value.
overall I find it kind of bland, I guess? Years later, I'd get the same feeling from playing a few sessions of 5e. Kind of... processed feeling. Just my opinion. Going back to the reboot analogy, it's more polished, has modern production values and a bigger budget, but for me, there just wasn't much of a soul there.

I've not done any deep digging into the game, but ultimately this is where I end up. It seems like a pretty faithful re-hash of D&D but in the end doesn't seem like it distinguishes itself from it so I end up wondering why I shouldn't just play some variant of D&D to scratch that itch when it occurs.

It is by no means unique in this way, as I run into similar issues with a lot of the OSR. Many create the same vibe, but only a few really create a different enough execution to attract my attention.
I think C&C was probably a lot more attractive in the early days of the OGL, when there were far fewer in the niche. The inertia of the early player base is likely what keeps it relevant in a sea of clones.
 

TJS

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The best ideas of Castles and Crusades are:

The classes
The multiclassing rules where you get half of another class (This is friggin brilliant).

Between them they allow players a lot more choice than most old school games without flooding the game with different kinds of magic users as modern games like 5e and Pathfinder tend to do.

The actual rules chassis is very creaky and 5e basically does the same thing but better.

Saving throws remain an issue, the use of skill like abilities still doesn't work well within the unified framework (Clerics should not be better at tracking than Rangers).
 

migo

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(Clerics should not be better at tracking than Rangers).

Tracking is a Ranger ability, which means either Clerics can't at all, or can't add their level to it. That's already +1 for the Ranger. The Ranger gets another +2 when dealing with tracks of Humanoids, and as of 3rd level can do things a Cleric (or Druid) couldn't even attempt. And 4 of the 7 class abilities that are ability checks are tied to Wisdom, so you can reasonably expect a Human Ranger to have Strength, Dexterity and Wisdom as prime abilities, and a demihuman will on average have Strength and Wisdom as primes, particularly if the character wants the Ranger to be a tracking type.
 

TJS

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Tracking is a Ranger ability, which means either Clerics can't at all, or can't add their level to it. That's already +1 for the Ranger. The Ranger gets another +2 when dealing with tracks of Humanoids, and as of 3rd level can do things a Cleric (or Druid) couldn't even attempt. And 4 of the 7 class abilities that are ability checks are tied to Wisdom, so you can reasonably expect a Human Ranger to have Strength, Dexterity and Wisdom as prime abilities, and a demihuman will on average have Strength and Wisdom as primes, particularly if the character wants the Ranger to be a tracking type.
I think it's somewhat vague what people can and can't do in regard to what is not defined by their class. Depends on the GM. And tracking aside there's still a bunch of other wisdom based Ranger stuff that the Ranger should probably be better at.

+1 based on level takes a few levels to become really signficiant.

And if you need to have Wisdom as a prime to be a Ranger why are you being given a choice? Choose this or suck at key class features is not a real choice*.

*5e is really bad at this too.
 
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migo

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I think it's somewhat vague what people can and can't do in regard to what is not defined by their class. Depends on the GM. And tracking aside there's still a bunch of other wisdom based Ranger stuff that the Ranger should probably be better at.

+1 based on level takes a few levels to become really signficiant.

And if you need to have Wisdom as a prime to be a Ranger why are you being given a choice? Choose this or suck at key class features is not a real choice*.

*5e is really bad at this too.
If you don't pick Wisdom as prime for a Ranger, that's the choice you made. A Cleric is never going to be better at any Ranger stuff than a Ranger with Wisdom as prime.
 

Lord Dynel

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My main complaint (besides the endless typos that they don't seem inclined to ever fix) is that Saving Throws don't really improve as you level up, since the difficulty you have to overcome increases by a similar amount, usually based on the HD of whatever creature you're facing.

Which is a shame, because I otherwise like what I've seen of the game line.
Yeah, I know a lot of people have issues with these, and the TM 12/18 split on ability scores. To me, it's a feature not a bug. Especially for saving throws.

In 1e/2e AD&D, you eventually get so good at saving throws that making them is pretty trivial, and failing one is very rare. Talking with the creators on various occasions and certain longtime C&C players, it keeps a bit of danger/scariness in fights when there are saving throws of ability checks that you're not good at.

If you don't pick Wisdom as prime for a Ranger, that's the choice you made. A Cleric is never going to be better at any Ranger stuff than a Ranger with Wisdom as prime.
Yep, agreed. I changed a few Primes around. But one I did was that I moved Ranger to be a Wisdom Prime class. Strength simply doesn't make sense. Sure, that leaves only one class for Strength (fighter) but if you really want or need another Str Prime class move Barbarian to Strength and all is well.

And no, a Cleric is not going to be as good as a Ranger in any ranger-y things. A Cleric shouldn't even be able to try any Ranger abilities, and if a CK allows it, certainly not at the same proficiency as the Ranger.

I fixed perception in my game as well, to stop the Cleric (and Ranger in my campaigns) from being the perception monster. I just use 2e AD&D perception rules. Easy fix.

I've mostly moved on from C&C, but I break out the game every once and a while and give it a once over. Make a character or two. Even run a one-shot. It has a special place for me. C&C with Grey Box FR is fantastic. Even though I'm a Greyhawk guy, something about that FR box and C&Cr really fits.
 

migo

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Yep, agreed. I changed a few Primes around. But one I did was that I moved Ranger to be a Wisdom Prime class. Strength simply doesn't make sense. Sure, that leaves only one class for Strength (fighter) but if you really want or need another Str Prime class move Barbarian to Strength and all is well.

That's a good solution. I agree Strength prime doesn't make sense for the Ranger. Dexterity, Constitution or Wisdom all make more sense.

It isn't all that necessary to have Strength as a prime at all, since combat ignores whether it is prime or secondary. Even the Fighter doesn't really need it to be prime, but it also makes sense to leave it the way it is.
 

Ben Adams

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But because of prime and non-prime attributes, C&C is the only system I would be willing to play with 3d6 in order. I've rolled up a Half-Orc Mage that way with an Int of 7, and it is still viable, without having the stats be meaningless.
Maybe because I have an older printing, but I believe you need a minimum of 9 to cast spells, be it INT or WIS.
 

migo

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Maybe because I have an older printing, but I believe you need a minimum of 9 to cast spells, be it INT or WIS.
If there is such a rule, I can't find it. (7th Printing, the one that is free on the TLG store right now).
 

Ben Adams

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If there is such a rule, I can't find it. (7th Printing, the one that is free on the TLG store right now).
You are correct. I was thinking of basic fantasy.
Sorry.
 

Ben Adams

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It's funny; 3e had a minimum of 10 to cast spells. I'm surprised that C&C didn't port that over, or at least make it 8-9.
 

T. Foster

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It's funny; 3e had a minimum of 10 to cast spells. I'm surprised that C&C didn't port that over, or at least make it 8-9.
AD&D also has a 9 minimum to be a caster. I remember there were a couple vocal BX/BECMI fans in the original playtest and they likely lobbied to have that minimum not be included, the same way they successfully lobbied to get the BX stat adjustments (I.e. +1 for 13-15, +2 for 16-17, and +3 for 18) included instead of the d20 version (+1 for 12-13, +2 for 14-15, +3 for 16-17, +4 for 18).
 

Akrasia

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It's funny; 3e had a minimum of 10 to cast spells. I'm surprised that C&C didn't port that over, or at least make it 8-9.

The 3e (and 5e) rule is that you need to have an INT of 10 + spell level to cast any wizard spell (and WIS of 10 + spell level for clerics; this applies to all spell-casting classes, so CHA for bards and so forth).

So a wizard with only 10 INT could cast only cantrips. A wizard with 14 INT could cast spells up to level 4.

AD&D has a similar rule for magic-users (INT 10 needed for spells up to 5th level, INT 12 for spells up to 6th level, etc., with 9th level spells restricted to magic-users with 18 INT).

I think such a rule is appropriate for any "Vancian" system.
 

Sharrow

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The 3e (and 5e) rule is that you need to have an INT of 10 + spell level to cast any wizard spell (and WIS of 10 + spell level for clerics; this applies to all spell-casting classes, so CHA for bards and so forth).

So a wizard with only 10 INT could cast only cantrips. A wizard with 14 INT could cast spells up to level 4.

AD&D has a similar rule for magic-users (INT 10 needed for spells up to 5th level, INT 12 for spells up to 6th level, etc., with 9th level spells restricted to magic-users with 18 INT).

I think such a rule is appropriate for any "Vancian" system.
Also for Clerics, though it only applied to level 6 & 7 spells.
 
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