Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Its all in the Name . . . . .

I really REALLY can't call the set of rules I DM - AD&D, or Castles & Crusades anymore.

The rules I use come from so many different sources (even Mythus and Lejendary Adventures), but they still hold true to the core ideas and ideals set forth by Gygax and Arneson.

Many names get bandied about, OSRIC (Old School Reference & Index Compilation) is dull LoL - the rules are great; but the name is wholely uninspiring to me.

Castles & Crusades takes its name from Gary Gygax's gaming society of the same name.

Mazes and Minotuars ALMOST has it.

Basic Fantasy Role Playing Game - REALLY! Is that the best they could come up with?

Labyrinth Lord - sort of sounds like (and no offence is intended her, what they have done with the rules is great) an underground Gay-Bar . . . .

Swords & Wizardry - again, a valiant attempt that kinda falls short (for me at least).

This of course leads me back around in a circle to not really having a name, its not C&C - I have added in quite a few advanced rules, its not AD&D - as we use the C&C Saves and Combat. I have been using "Advanced Castles & Crusades" (which just sounds dumb when said out loud) as a descriptive term.

One of the guys on the AD&D 1st Ed Forum I am a member on, had the idea of breaking it down into 'Ages' -

D&D to AD&D 1st Ed would be the "Age of Magic", with 2nd Edition AD&D going on from the "Age of Magic" into the "Age of Expansion" as the world became more evolved and developed.

3rd/3.5 would be set after some great cataclism, which changed the world - in an attempt to explain how the world changed and Feats started to work - thus heralding in the "Age of Wonder".

Finally 4th Edition, with its overly developed sense of balance and more 'degenerate' races could be labelled the "Age of Decline".

Personally I hate the idea, as for me and my group nothing was really worth bothering with after the onset of all the 'extra' books from TSR (Skills and Powers being the worst IMHO).

AND STILL I am left without a name - Still more thinking and googling to do.

Keep Rollin'

Monday, 21 December 2009

Doctor Who in Castles & Crusades

It always suprised me no one ever attempted an official D20 Doctor Who set of rules, I would have thought it would have sold like Hot Cakes (or Jelly Babies Lol) myself.

I may even dig out my old notes and re-work them for C&C - my original Dr Who campaign was run using the AD&D rule-set, with a little Gamma World thrown in for good measure.

Ive had a REALLY busy day today, what with taking my Daughter and her Partner Christmas shopping and then running a C&C mini game (a trimmed down version of Keep on the Borderlands) - so not much writing today.

I hope to be back tomorrow with some more Booty and the Beasts conversions!

Keep Rollin'

Friday, 18 December 2009


Sorry about not posting for a few days, but with Christmas, Family, and Health Issues I've not had time to sit and think.

One of the things thats come up in conversation with various DM's, Groups, and Friends is how 4th Edition (NOT) D&D doesn't really encourage people to think - in terms of laziness the general consensus is that its the Table Top equivalent of a Video Game.

Gygax himself put it in the best terms, that Playing an RPG is a bit like going to the Theater.

Theres a little celebration going on, people have to make an effort - all the extra effort and anticipation goes to make the whole experience more fun and memorable. Most folks these days would rather play a Video Game, than go to any real effort.

The current incarnation of D&D doesn't really encourage any real effort, with the future of infinitely searchable tools and programs, there will be no real need to learn anything - as any rules queries that might crop up are easly indexed and found.

God forbid anyone should have to think!

And its likely to get worse - pretty soon with the online option, you won't actually even have to meet your gaming buddies in the flesh - you won't even have to leave the house and put on pants!

Its a real worry that people these days are more and more inclined to be lazy, both physically and intellectually - so its more likely they will be putting on a DVD on and slobbing about at home, not making any real effort, slowly stagnating mentally . . . .

Then you have the sorts that prefer electronic versions of their gaming books, they are of the mind that Books belong only in a Library.

This whole DL things to your PDA is part of the 'Lazy Revolution' with regards toRPGs, and Tabletop Gaming in general .

Its even reached Miniatures Gaming, with a new set of rules coming out where its all done on your PDA's & Iphones and the like - so eventually people will be playing wargames with each other and not even be in the same room!

God forbid anyone should have to think and interact properly!

I use newer technologies myself, but to ENHANCE things. I have Netbook with all my Rulebooks and Notes in PDF and Word format - should I have (and I must admit its never happened so far) forgotten to write something down, its easily found quickly - the idea is that my players need never know I forgot anything - I am the Dungeon Master, not the Dungeon 'Mostly Competent' kwim?

The Netbook is also useful for tracking combat, keeping notes (I can touch-type faster than I can write), and even for occasionally running random generators - and simply printing out the results.

I've even been know to Text players from my Netbook, rather than hand them a piece of paper when something happens just to their Character - rather than the group!

Keep Rollin' (and not pushing buttons LoL)

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Advanced Castles & Crusades Character Sheet

Here is the Character sheet we have been using, based upon an AD&D design it will happily accomodate games ran using the basic C&C rules as written - or those with more complicated modifications such as those I run.

Advanced Castles & Crusades Player Character Sheet

Even though I have't finished the Psionics rules yet, you will note there is a space for them.

Keep Rollin'

This character sheet is produced under the Open Game License (OGL) version 1.0a - and is done so without permission of Wizards of the Coast, Inc. No copyright infringement is inferred or intended. The Open Game Content appearing in this sheet is derived from the 3.0 System Reference Document, copyright 2000 Wizards of the Coast, Inc. All other content, excluding the OGL, is property of and copyright 2004 Troll Lord Games.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

The Simplest Thing

Of course the SIMPLEST thing is to literally use the Saves and Combat from C&C - transplanted over to AD&D 1st Edition. It works really well, with little or no tweaking.

There are several things you HAVE to do -

The main changes are to remember the AC conversion, and don't forget to add the level/hd/difficulty to the base challenge rating.

(I actually PREFER some of the things they have done with the Character Classes in C&C, Monks are actually tough, Cavaliers have been more correctly called Knights, and Wizards get extra spells for high intelligence - something I've always done in D&D - it just seemed logical).

Keep it fresh with your encounters, but don't be afraid to use old favourites. I've done quite a bit of converting classic monsters to C&C, as WizBro are touchy about the licensing other publishers simply can't use them under the OGL. Something which (if you know the history of some of the monsters) is a complete travesty. Take a look at what I've posted in the past, and use them as GUIDELINES - as Gary Gygax said "The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules" - I always have taken that as gospel personally, and NEVER let the rules get in the way of running a good game.

Lastly, always remember even though you might be the "Master of the Game" its your duty to keep your players entertained and happy - and (hopefully) just a little bit worried and scared!

Keep Rollin'

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Multi CLassing in Castles and Crusades

There has been much discussion over Multi-Classing in C&C of late, even more so since the release of the 4th printing PHB into the wild.

As there are rules for it in the current PHB you would think it would end, but the debate continues.

I (for one) still prefer the original AD&D way of doing, and restrict multi-classing to non-human characters and dual classing to human characters. Not just for old times sake, but because it makes Humans too powerful and desirable as a character race at the expense of the non-human races.

Of course then you run into the brick wall that is the fact that non-human characters can only have two prime attributes, and that its a requirement to have the prime attribute of a class as one of your primes - thereby restricting your non-human character to multi-classing in just two classes.

One of the options I use is based upon the way we do attributes (Primary/Secondary/Tertiary).

If a multi-class option is taken, and the prime attribute for that class is a secondary attribute - then a 10% tithe is placed upon all EEP (or XP) that is applied to that class (so deduct 10% before applying it to your EPP (XP) total for that class) - if a multi-class option is taken, and the prime attribute for that class is a tertiary attribute - then a 25% tithe is placed upon all EEP (or XP) that is applied to that class (so deduct 25% before applying it to your EPP (XP) total for that class).

Now the 25% penalty might seem harsh, but its there for a reason - to DISCOURAGE a player from taking a Class with a tertiary attribute - JUST BECAUSE HE (OR SHE) can - we've all encountered such discommodious players.

Keep Rollin'

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

A Different Way of Looking at Skills in C&C

I've thinking about things a little, for a way for my groups use of skills in C&C to 'fit' a little better with the Siege Engine System - so we can actually use both approaches, allowing characters to attempt pretty much anything whilst maintaining a more structured approach - with appropriate Challenge Ratings of course.

This would still allow (for example) a Fighter to attempt to pick a lock - he just won't have much of a chance of succeeding.

Rather than have a long static list of skills, the players should choose skills that fit their character concept and (with the help of their Castle Keeper/Dungeon Master) come up with their own list of skills and their descriptions.

Skills would still (sort of) have levels – and these levels are ‘rated’ like any characters attributes - Tertiary (the lowest skill level), Secondary (average skill level), and Primary (the highest skill level).

Like class skills, the character applies any appropriate attribute bonus to the task at hand -strength when shoeing a horse, or dex when making a horse-shoe – both would be considered to come under the skill heading of blacksmithing, but you would require strength for one and manual dexterity for the other. But unlike class skills, you don't add your class level in a 'straight' manner.

Primary skills get a +1 bonus per level, Secondary gets +1/2 levels, and Tertiary gets a +1 bonus per 3 levels.

Your base challenge rating is determined by skill 'level' – level 3/Primary = 12, level 2/Secondary = 15, and level 1/Tertiary = 12.

The Number of slots a Character has for his Secondary Skills are equal to the Characters (INT+WIS), + Characters Starting Age/10 (another advantage for most Non-Humans).

What levels your skills start at is dependent upon how many skill points you have, and how you spend them.

Level = Cost

1/Tertiary = 1 point
2/Secondary = 3 points
3/Primary = 6 points

For example, Brother Kydric has 26 ‘Slots’ to spend on his Secondary Skills – and he decides to spend 6 Slots on Healing. Giving him the Healing secondary skill at Level 3/Primary, his base challenge difficulty for all tests involving his Healing secondary skill is set at 12.

A Character gains Secondary Skill points at every ‘Odd’ level (3rd, 5th, 7th and so on), the points he gains are equal to his Int or Wis attribute modifier (whichever is higher) +1 (with a minimum of 1).

To make the check, the character performing the skill simply rolls a d20 and adds his appropriate modifiers - the difficulty is set by his skill level (either 12, 15, or 18) plus any challenge rating added by his CK/DM.

So if a character is level three, has a dexterity of 15 (the appropriate attribute in this example), and his skill level is 3/Primary – when using the Weapon Smith secondary skill they are allowed a +4 to their roll.

In some instances the use of skills causes another to make a saving throw. In this case, the character, monster or non-player character makes a saving throw but modifies the roll by a -1 for each level of skill the character has. This is also adjusted further for any attribute modifiers. When a saving throw is called for, the character’s level or monsters hit dice also affect the roll.

Furthermore, there are always circumstances than need some modification beyond that mentioned above.

Unusual circumstances, the weather and pure chance can come into play to effect the chances of success. In addition, the difficulty of the situation adjusts the roll.

Keep Rollin'

Saturday, 7 November 2009

The Malevolent Mana Muncher

I am pretty sure that every DM has had this happen from time to time, a new player joins his group - and you are MORE than a little suspicious about his haul of magic items!

In our AD&D hey-day it wasn't a problem, all the DM's in my area pretty much knew each other and there was little or no concern or suspicion.

One of the better ways to deal with such a Player comes from "Booty and the Beasts", if you read my blog you will know I am working my way through that tome converting things over to C&C (I might even do a PDF of it when its all finished) and today I am 'blogging' the Malevolent Mana Muncher from BatB - and this little critter is a GREAT way of dealing with the too many Magic Items problem (even if you caused it yourself).



SIZE: Medium

HD: 11

MOVE: 70 ft

AC: 20

ATTACKS: 1 (snatch item)

SPECIAL: Super fast (+5 to initiative), resistant to magical blasts & explosions


INT: Non


TYPE: Aberration


XP: 2100+16 per HP

These irritating little beasties are totally inoffensive to other creatures they might encounter – beyond their driving desire to steal and devour magical items as they feed off the magical energy that is stored within them.

Mana munchers are surprisingly fast, and their 3 extremely dextrous tentacles can snatch off any loosely held item (amulet, crown, brooch, etc.) on a roll of 6+ on a d20. Once it has an item, it then stuffs it into its frothing innards, any item a mana muncher attempts to digest in this manner must make a save vs. acid and being crushed – as the mana muncher chomps down on the item and attempts to digest it.

A mana muncher suffers no ill effects from exploding staves, wands, and the like – as it feeds off the magic such explosions produce.

If a mana muncher attempts to grasp a firmly held item – such as a staff, sword, or ring – and is successful in its roll, the target of the munchers attack must make a strength test or lose a hold of said item.

Mana munchers only snatch magical items, leaving all mundane gear alone.

These annoying creatures are encountered in groups of 1-4 individuals, and are generally found rummaging through old temples and ruins.

Keep Rollin'

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Varying your Monsters

We've all done it, when a campaign gets a little stale - but just how drastic does this variation get.

Do you use totally random tables and end up with a totally unplayable mess, or do you tweak monsters in minor ways so they look different - or do you simply put your own 'twists' on them.

I personally put twists on existing monsters - I've even had self-replicating Zombies; a variation on the old Fiend Folio Coffer Corpse - but in this case the Zombie 'dies', and as it hits the ground it bubbles and splits open producing two new Zombies to fight (beware of destroying undead with a Turning in my games Lol) - but in todays Blog I shall detail the Fire Troll.

Fire Trolls look like regular AD&D Trolls (or River Trolls in C&C) but with a dark rust coloured hide. They are generally found in hot arid environments, such as deserts or near volcanic activity - they like the heat. When found in the service of another, they are always provided with a method of heating their lair - either by mundane or magical means, its always very hot. The DM should double the effects of fatigue on a PC when fighting in a Fire Trolls lair.

Fire Trolls do not regenerate in the normal way, so they are not as vulnerable to attacks from Fire and Acid. In fact fire causes them to actually heal damage, any damage would be normally caused by a fire based attack (even magical fire) should be counted as healing instead.

If a Fire Troll takes a hit from an edged or piercing weapon it starts to bleed, once a Fire Trolls blood hits the air it becomes flamable - and you should keep a track of how much damage the troll has taken in this way. Each round after it first takes damage, roll a D20 - if it is equal or less than the damage the Fire Troll has taken it explodes doing 8D6 Damage to those within 10 feet of it (save to half damage) - obviously the Fire Troll is now dead and poses no further threat to the Party.

Fire Troll XP - 900 + 12 per Hit Point

Keep Rollin'

Saturday, 31 October 2009


We always make a big deal over Halloween, we love it. Linda (my partner) takes great pride in our window display, and we have been adding items to our spooky collection for a long LONG time now.

Disaster struck tonight, when we opened our Halloween boxes and found the blacklight bulb shattered. We decided on using a spot light instead, and the neighbourhood kids loved the window - in fact we had 80 Kids Trick or Treat at our front door.

So fun was had by all!

Happy Halloween!!!!

Part of Lindas wonderful window this year.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Another Halloween Treat

Halloween tomorrow, one of mine and the Mrs favourite Holidays.

So, again in honour of that most spooky of nights - some "thing" else from the pages of Booty and the Beasts - The Dara . . . . . .

The Dara


SIZE: Small

HD: 4

MOVE: 20 ft

AC: 14

ATTACKS: 1 x 1d6 (stinger)

SPECIAL: Innocent Appearance, Paralysing Venom, +3 Initiative


INT: High

ALIGNMENT: Neutral/Evil

TYPE: Extraplanar


XP: 800+15 per HP

The Dara are a race of hermaphroditic creatures that outwardly look like sweet and innocent young girls aged around 8 or 9 years old. In actuality, they possess a highly malevolent and devious mind and internally closely resemble a cockroach.

Their single form of attack is their hidden sting which can lash out up to 5 feet away. The sting does 1d6 points of damage on a successful hit, and in addition injects the target with a paralysing venom. The victim must make a save vs. poison, which if failed will result in total paralysis for a full hour. The victim will just about be able to breath, but be incapable of any other actions. If the save is passed, the target of the sting is only partially affected – and as a consequence is reduced to one-half dexterity and movement for 10 minutes.

Dara are always encountered alone, using their deceptively innocent appearance to trap unwary travellers. Dara are always found wandering aimlessly, and needing help and protection – apparently lost.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Otherworld Miniatures Sale

It's nearly 3 years since Otherworld Miniatures sold their first casting of the 'Demon Idol' on 3rd November 2006, and they've come a long way in just 3 short years.

There are now 169 different figures in their range of 28mm fantasy monsters, with many more on the way!

To celebrate their first 3 years,they are holding a sale,until 3rd December all of their figures have been discounted by 20%, and worldwide shipping will be free of charge for orders over £75.00 in value.

They won't even let the Royal Mail strike spoil your shopping, as all orders placed during the sale period will be shipped by either 'Airsure' delivery for international orders or Special Delivery within the UK.

My very first order arrived yesterday and - OH MY GAWD!

The are even better 'in the flesh' than the pictures show on the website!

Anyway, here is a quick rundown of what was in my Treasure Chest (lol) and my initial thoughts.

DD1 - Demon Idol
The Demon Idol is, to put it as succinctly as possible - a work of art. A brilliantly executed sculpt, with little or no casting residue on it. Its a real joy to behold. I just need some Wererats for my PC's to kill and I am set!

DM3a - Ogre I
I was initially unsure of the Ogre, the photos on the webstore really don't do it justice. I am REALLY pleased with this model now I have it finally an Ogre with proper 1st Ed feet! He's a big bugger too! He should imtimidate a party of adventurers nicely.

DM11 - Shriekers & Violet Fungi
A great addition, as I only have one Shrieker, an old Grenadier one (my Citadel one got swiped years ago). Plus the Violet Fungi tendrils are a great bonus too! The beaty of these little fungi is they are nice and easy to paint too, just a case of black undercoat and wet/drybrushing.

DM9a - Stirges
Stirges are one of my fave beasties, not so hard as to wipe out a party - and not so weak as to be beaten easily. I only have 4 of the Citadel stirges, and knowing I now have a ready supply is great. These new sculpts are far superior to the citadel ones in my humble opinion.

KB1, 2, & 3 - Kobold Warriors I, II, & III
Stunning, absolutely superb - these little buggers are spot on. can't wait to start plaguing my players with these! A lot of other manufacturers Kobolds are to squat or chunky, these are nicely wirey and you can imagine them easily fitting through the tighter places wthin a dungeon.

DM17 - Hook Horror
A great 1e style re-imagining of a Hook Horror. The illustration in the Fiend Folio didn't really cut it, as (to me at least) it looked like an overgrown parrot. This beastie looks much more dangerous.

DM1a, 1b, & 1c - Bugbear Warriors I, II, & III
Again these are great - less comical that the citadel bugbears - but just as much fun! There are 6 different sculpts amongst the warriors, and a Bugbear Chieftain too!

G1b - Hill Giant
Other peoples sculpts of Hill Giants either look to noble (those that are too muscular with thick hair and beards) or comical (like the ral-partha Hill Giant that looked like an oversized neanderthal) - this guys looks exactly the same as in the 1st Ed AD&D Monster Manual - sweet!

DM6 - Minotaur
I realy REALLY cannot stand minotaurs with hooves - according to greek myth they were huge men with the head of a great bull, no mention of hooves. This model is spot on!

DV2a - Giant Ticks
These little buggers are wonderfully gribbly, and will no doubt scare the crap out of the lady players - I cant wait Lol.

DM4a - Troll I
Again, very impressed - out of all the 'proper' AD&D Trolls produced, this is my new favourite (it used to be the ral partha one). Again, tick 'VG'!

O4 - Pig-faced Orc Warband
FINALLY Otherworlds Pig Faced orcs, I've never owned many pig faced orcs - in fact I only ever had two before. One was a VERY old Minifigs model (dreadful it was too LoL) and a Prince August model. These are amazing to be honest, funny (without being comical) and the detailing is amazing!

Now, I know people reading this might be calling me a fan boy (or possibly worse) but I can honestly say, if I wasn't happy (and very impressed) I WOULD be posting 'appropriate comments' LoL!

I've been a Dungeon Master for D&D/AD&D (and now my AD&D/C&C Hybrid) since the white box edition of Dungeons and Dragons all those years ago - I've bought and painted a LOT of miniatures over the years. Its a shame I've had to wait over 30 years to find a range that fits the bill!

To Richard of Otherworld Miniatures, long may you run your company - and many thanks for starting it.

Keep Rollin'

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Something for Halloween

Its been a pretty rotten week, my Bank account got closed due to a 'clerical error' (read - the bank doesn't really know why) and its taken forever to get the funds transferred and the direct debits re-set up.

But enough of the real world, onto something new (old?).

An ongoing project for me is the conversion of much of Booty and the Beasts, so in anticipation of the 31st - something for Halloween . . .

The Leucomorph


SIZE: Large

HD: 14

MOVE: 30 ft

AC: 16

ATTACKS: 1d6 (tentacles) 3d6 or 2 (fists) 4d8

SPECIAL: Horror/Disgust, Knockback, Spine Removal, Alkaline Damage (2d6)


INT: Low

ALIGNMENT: Chaotic/Evil

TYPE: Extraplanar


XP: 1500+10 per HP

A degenerate descendent of C’thulhu and the old ones, the Leucomorph is about the most disgusting and repulsive creature around. Its misshapen torso looms over 7 feet tall. At its base in place of legs are thick sucker-lined tentacles. Hundreds of inch-thick cilia writhe obscenely in its huge drooling maw, and crowning the beast’s head are many waving antenna.

Such is the Leucomorphs horrific visage and foul stench, any intelligent creature viewing a Leucomorph must save or flee in horror for one hour. If a save is made the viewer will merely wretch uncontrollably for 1-4 melee rounds, causing him to attack and defend at -5. If there is a target within five feet; the Leucomorph may strike with 1-6 of its tentacles constricting for 3-18 points each.

I t may punch with its fists which do 4-32 of damage each, and knock a man-sized victim 20 feet backwards (strength test with a difficulty of 10 to avoid).

This creature can also attempt to remove an opponent’s spine by draping its many cilia over an enemy's head and then sucking the spine out through the cranial region, causing instant death. Because of the difficulty of this task, there is only a 20% chance (a roll of 16+ on a d20) that on any hit the spine will be removed. If unsuccessful, the victim will still take 2d6 alkaline damage from the beasts’ unnatural slobber.