As nice as Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperboria is as a game with a crapload of options and character classes, it doesn't really satisfy my sweet tooth for true Swords and Sorcery style gaming.
When I first got my copy of Crypts & Things last November (in PDF) I had just gotten married earlier in the month, just started a new supervisory position at work and had just commenced renovations at the house. I did a quick read of the rules and and didn't get to do the multi-part review I was hoping to get to. I wasn't running or playing in any games at the time either.
Now I've been GM'ing and playing again since the beginning of the year and I really have an itch for some Swords and Sorcery styled gaming. I think Crypts & Things is going to satisfy that urge for me. It doesn't hurt that the system is built off of Swords & Wizardry Core, a system I'm fairly comfortable with. Yes, I know all of the OSR games are fairly similar in set up, but some are just easier to run with than others.
Besides, Crypts & Things is much less cluttered than AS&SH (but I will be yoking classes from AS&SH as NPCs in other games, and possibly my ACKS campaign). The DCC ROG most certainly has a Swords & Sorcery feel, but I want to try a system that is lighter. That being said, the DCC RPG is the main factor in my renewed desire to try other S%S style gaming.
Here's a very nice list of what makes C&T different than vanilla S&W core (from page 4 of the C&T rulebook):Characters
The Fighter has optional fighting styles, to add more
options and fun and to differentiate between fighter
Adds the Barbarian character class based off the version
of the class originally published in White Dwarf 2 in
The Thief class., is a more martially-inclined version
of the Thief, inspired by the Grey Mouser from Fritz
Leiber’s Lankhmar stories.
Adds the Magician class, which combines the spell lists
of the Magic-User and Cleric, and then separates them
into White/Grey and Black magic spell lists.
Higher Ability bonuses (+1 to +3) to highlight
Removes the Cleric and Magic-user Class
No Elves, Dwarfs or Halflings..
No Turning the Undead either as a class ability or spell.
Life events. This takes the form of a simple table where
characters roll a single D20 three times for starting
characters to learn some of the events that occurred
before they started adventuring and the benefits that
they caused.Rules systems
A simple skill system based off the Saving Throw
number. Used for class skills (such as the Thieves’
skills and Barbarian’s abilities) and other skills that the
character may have picked up along the way.
Sanity rules. Wisdom is used as a measure of mental
stability. This system is used for both taking mental
damage for witnessing horror and for magicians casting
Altered damage rules. Hit points become a measure
of exhaustion and fatigue – and are lost as a Magician
casts spells. Constitution is used as a measure of
physical health, and is lost once Hit points have been
exhausted.Back ground and Setting
Crypts & Things is based more upon the Sword and
Sorcery works of Clark Ashton Smith, Fritz Leiber
and Robert E Howard, than the more traditional
So, I'd say that all looks pretty good. I also have the introductory adventure Blood of the Dragon, which includes a small sandboxie setting. If all goes well, I may run this for a few session in September.