Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Castles & Crusades - Rosetta Stone of the OSR

Castles & Crusades is one of those games that is "old school" in flavor without trying to reimage any of the specific classic D&D rulesets. It certainly follows AD&D most closely, but even with that, many of the classes are rewritten in a way that they don't mirror the source material too closely. The secret, I think, is the "flavor".

C&C feels and tastes and even looks very much like AD&D without being AD&D. I've played in a long lasting C&C campaign online, and it felt very much like AD&D despite all the changes. My biggest gripe, and the toughest nut for me to crack, is the Siege Engine.

The Siege Engine is pretty much a universal skill check system for C&C and it's also the one piece that takes me out of my AD&D feel. I just don't like it. I feel like it was thrown in to give the system something that wasn't part of the OGL for marketing and copy write reasons.

Still, it is probably the best supported of the Old School rulesets, with a large assortment of modules and adventures for use with the Fantasy Grounds 2 VTT. Actually, with the exception of the LL rules, C&C is the only Old School ruleset available for FG2.

The best thing about the rules? From OD&D to 3.5e, I can run a module on the fly. Probably could with all the OSR rulesets for everything up to 2e, but 3e and 3.5e get a bit shaky ;)


  1. GO C&C! Heh, as you can tell from reading my blog (including the latest post), I am big C&C convert/true believer/devotee:


    I know that some people have issue with the SIEGE Engine, but the system is so flexible because of it that you can use it as little or as much as you like. If you would rather have people roleplay out an event rather than use a check, go for it. In fact, the creators of the game encourage that sort of thing! If you are a lover of the D&D/AD&D saves system, C&C won't scratch that itch.

    The bit of 3E that the SIEGE Engine provides is ok by me. I like the unified mechanic aspect. It brings that in from 3E without all the other complicated baggage.

    You are right, C&C is so flexible that it allows you to use materials from any era/edition of D&D. The game can be as complex or as light as you want, since adding to it (i.e. using feats from 3E with some modifications, for example) won't break the underlying mechanics.

    I've said it before, my personal litmus test for a game system is how much I have to house rule it. In this stage of my life, I want as few house rules as possible, since I would rather spend time on gaming and gaming prep. And C&C is the system that, to me, needs the least amount of house ruling to get it to do what I want it to do.

  2. I dunno about this. I have an actual Rosetta Stone on my blog for conversion purposes.

    Doesn't OSRIC have more material? S&W? Aren't a lot of companies producing new 1e and 0e material lately? Or are you not counting zines, forums, and blogs, just stuff that comes from an official publisher with a label and such.

  3. @ -C - And that Rosetta Stone is awesome btw. It has really helped me, and I think I understand this current scene better from studying it. When we talk about being able to play 'this or this with that' I'm beginning to believe we are changing as gamers and translating a lot of stuff in our heads on the fly. No other era of gaming have gamers in general been so keen on theory, design, mechanics...it's what I'm starting to refer to as the Unified Field Theory of Gaming. For me (and a buttload of others I've learned) Microlite is the 'play anything' system. TSR Modules, Judges Guild D&D material, it all works right along with AD&D and 3.x stuff as well. How much of it is the systems we are using and how much is the actually people who are playing?

    It is truly an exciting time in gaming and I'm just glad I made it to the party...(hehehe)

  4. OSRIC has a FG2 toolkit


  5. @drance - I think your posts are what got me thinking

    @-c - never knew you had a D&D Rosetta Stone up on your blog - give me a link and I'll take a peek

    @ADD Grognard - I think Microlite gets overlooked because it lacks a printed option that you can buy - and yes, this is coming from the guy that loves his PDFs

    @Rob Conley - I'll have to give the OSRIC tool kit for FG2 a lookie - thanks for the links

  6. The amazing thing about Microlite is that it completely turned me around on 3.x material. I think it should win an award for its absolute brilliance. Strip it to its core, then add back only the things you want. Genius. For top down modular design it is the perfect tool...I think maybe that too adds to its obscure nature. It is a functional system but is so lean that it is often mistaken for just a tool box.


Tenkar's Tavern is supported by various affiliate programs, including Amazon, RPGNow,
and Humble Bundle as well as Patreon. Your patronage is appreciated and helps keep the
lights on and the taps flowing. Your Humble Bartender, Tenkar

Blogs of Inspiration & Erudition