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Castles & Crusades

One of my favourite game systems is Castles & Crusades. Community member and veteran GM JohnD shares his thoughts on Castles & Crusades on Fantasy Grounds.

Castles & Crusades (C&C is a ruleset that deserves more attention than it has received here on Fantasy Grounds. The name of the game derives from the Castle & Crusade Society, founded in the pre Dungeons & Dragons era by Gary Gygax. The title is in homage to the role-playing industry’s birth. C&C is, in fact, the system that Gary Gygax last worked on prior to his passing, so one can look at it as having had the blessing of the greatest DM of them all. James M. Ward is also involved in some way, along with members of Troll Lord Games.

The C&C rules are d20 based, but with a decided throw back to “old school AD&D”. People who are itching to get their old AD&D and 2e campaigns re-imagined and active again in FG will find that their content translates almost effortlessly into the C&C rules (90%+ just rolls straight across with no significant changes). I personally have spent a lot of my time converting portions of the Temple of Elemental Evil super module into C&C and they style of “old school” has been extremely easy to maintain.

There are some deviations from what an AD&D or 2e player would expect. AC goes up not down, as in the d20 system. Saving throws are based on attribute stats, modified by character level and the level of the creature/attack being saved against. This means there are no “throw away” stats.

Skills are also based on attribute checks, potentially modified by character level and the level of the challenge being faced. This is where the SIEGE Engine comes in and works on an attribute check system. Attributes are divided into primary and secondary attributes. Primary attributes have a base chance to succeed of 12 while secondary attributes have a base chance to succeed of 18. The game’s referee, the Castle Keeper, adds a challenge level to the base and the resulting number, the challenge class, is the target number required to succeed at a check. The player adds the character’s level, any attribute bonuses and class bonuses to the roll. If the result after bonuses equals or exceeds the challenge class, the player succeeds. Except for combat, the SIEGE Engine is desired for use for anything that requires a check in the game.

This might sound complicated but, in practice, the CK has this figured out in under five seconds in most cases.

Combat in C&C within FG is extremely quick and easy. There are no interminable rounds which take the whole evening while all the competing and countering feats, special abilities and actions are all figured out. It is quite easy as a CK to run a large group of players in a C&C game within FG. My current Greyhawk campaign has nine full-time players and two part-time.

Anyone who wants to capture that old style gaming from their youth, and perhaps is balking at the 5E costs, should look at Castles & Crusades in FG – for just $10 you get everything you need to run or play in a game. For value this ruleset can’t be beat… same goes for the fun you’ll have playing in a game!

Anyone who wants to know more about the C&C ruleset in FG should feel welcome to PM JohnD on the message boards.