Monday, 29 March 2010

Converting D&D/AD&D/D20 System to Castles & Crusades.

For those of you who doubt it as easy as people claim, or want a formulaic way of converting Monsters and Scenarios to Castles and Crusades - presented here are some guidelines.

These ideas were originally posted on the Goodman Games Forum way back in 2006 by Chris Rutkowsky (who did the conversion of the Mysterious Tower from d20 to Castles and Crusades, and has written an original module using the Castles and Crusades system for Goodman Games).

If the monster you want to convert is not in the Monsters and Treasure Book, the easiest way is to consult your AD&D/D&D Monster Manuals and find the Creatures entry in there (or the NEAREST suitable entry) and use those stats.

But for those of you who want a more calculated approach -

Converting from D&D/D&D.

Armour Classes.

To convert a D&D Armour Class to C&C, simply subtract the given AC from 19. Remember that subtracting a negative number equates to the same thing as addition.

So a D&D monster listed as AC 5 would be AC 14 in C&C (19-5= 14). A monster with AC -3 would become AC 22 in C&C (19+3 =22). Saves are easier to convert. If the creature saves as a fighter, thief, dwarf, or halfling it is Physical prime. If it saves as an elf, cleric, or wizard it is mental prime. Use the creatures HD as the bonus to all rolls (including saves, attacks, etc).

If using 1st or 2nd Edition AD&D as a resource, Armour Class is also easy to manage. Simply subtract the listed AC from 20. So an AC 5 creature would be AC 15 in C&C and an AC -3 character would be AC 23 in C&C.

Converting Save Throws

Older editions of D&D had 5 saving throws. C&C has 6 and they are roughly the same, except the C&C saves are directly linked to stats. The old D&D saves were as follows and converts to C&C as presented below:

Saves vs. Paralysis – Castles & Crusades Strength Based Saves
Saves vs. Breath Weapon (and area of affect spells like fireball) – Castles & Crusades Dexterity Based Saves
Saves vs. Poison, Death – Castles & Crusades Constitution Based Saves
Saves vs. Wands, Staves, Wands (and Illusions) – Castles & Crusades Intelligence Based Saves
Saves vs. Spells (except illusions and area of affect spells like fireball and charm or sleep spells) – Castles & Crusades Wisdom Based Saves
Saves vs. Enchantment spells (sleep, charm, etc) and fear – Castles & Crusades Charisma Based Saves

Converting damage from Traps.

If the Traps Damage is related to a spell, look up the C&C equivalent and adjust the effect accordingly.

If the Traps Damage is related to a weapon, look up that weapons damage in C&C and convert it.

If damage is listed as a die with a damage bonus exceeding the die types, add another die to the damage instead. If it has a damage bonus less than the die type, get rid of the bonus damage.

So if a trap is listed as doing 5d6+7 damage, convert it to 6d6 damage for C&C. If it does 5d6+4 damage, its damage is just does 5d6.

Converting from the D20 System.

The Creatures/Monsters in D&D 3rd/3.5 scenarios are 90% compatible with C&C rules. A lot of the work can simply be done as you go along "on the fly" so to speak.

If you want to convert DIRECTLY from d20 system, use the same Hit Dice and die type as the creature already has, but get rid of the bonus hit points.

So a creature listed as 5d10+15 HD in d20 would convert to 5d10 in C&C.

You should also take away any bonuses to the damage dice listed.

If the bonus listed is higher than the die, just make the attack use the die type, and double it.

Therefore a creature listed as doing d4+5 damage - change it to 2d4. If a creature had d6+3 damage - just convert it to d6.

These changes are because hit points and damage are harder to come by in C&C than they are in d20.

D20 System Saving Throws.

If a creature's good saves are FORT or REF, it is Physical prime. If it is WILL the creature is mental prime. If they are all good saves, it is physical and mental prime.

Converting Character D20 saves is a little trickier and involves a judgement call by the DM converting it. You just have to use some logic as to which converts to what.

FORT - STR or CON (depending on the effect)
WILL - INT, WIS, or CHA (Depending on the source of the spell/effect, DM's call)

Converting DCs to Challenge Levels.

I use a simple formula for this. I assume that DC 15 is the average DC of a check in d20. In C&C, the average difficulty of a task is CL 0. So every 1 the DC is higher than 15 in D20, the CL is 1 higher. So a DC 19 check would convert to a CL 4 check. For every 1 the DC is lower than 15 in D&D, the CL is -1. So a DC 12 check would be CL -3 in C&C. The CL of course is added to the base of 12/18 depending on if the character is prime in the required stat.

Converting D20 System Skill Checks .

Simply make the skill check into an attribute check for the skill that is normally tied to that attribute. You may want to give certain classes a bonus in this, or even restrict who can try based on class. For instance a Search check would simply convert to an INT check, which anybody can do, but a Survival check to track somebody should be limited to rangers or maybe druids (with a penalty as it is not a class ability for them).

Friday, 26 March 2010

Gaming, Music, and Lighting

Who else uses music and lighting during their games, I've used everything from Rainbow (the "Rainbow Rising" Album) to Movie soundtracks for the music; and Oil Lamps to Candles for the lighting.

I had an interesting experience while back, and it involved music.

The scenario was a fairly simple city based adventure, involving a kidnapped nobles daughter and a death cult dedicated to Orcus.

I had played some Monks Plainsong as background noise during the chase through the temple and into the sewers.

The next section of the scenario involved them exploring caves under the city, and rather than turning off the cd player as I had thought - I had turned it right down instead.

The Plainsong CD was playing, almost inaudibly - and that combined with the lighting (which was candle-light at the time - I find it evocative during spooky scenarios) really started to agitate the players. The were becoming more and more twitchy and nervous as the explored the caves.

All I can attest it to was the music - though they couldn't hear it consciously I think it was was affecting them on some subconscious level and combined with the lighting and the mood of the scenario was "stressing them out".

When we finished the session, they all commented how scared they were feeling and said it was the most fun they have had in ages - better than a scary movie!

SO if you really want to create some atmosphere during games, don't forget the Music and the Candles!

Thursday, 25 March 2010


I'd been sitting there writing some new Myths & Monsters notes for some time, and I realized Linda (my partner) had been standing behind me as I worked. "I never knew Gary" she said "But I'm sure he would have been impressed at all your effort" - she smiled at me, and I smiled back.

I'd like to think that might have brought a smile to Gary's face too . . . . .

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Vin Diesel - Old School Gamer?

I watched this video on YouTube AGES ago, and it never really twigged with me at the time.

Good old Vin is an Old School Gamer, not just because of WHEN he was playing (late 70's early 80's) but HOW he (and his group) played.

You can tell from the passion of the way he tells his story, he remembers those times very fondly.

Great Stuff!

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Time to Upset the new Kids

I was recently asked WHY I don't like the new Hackmaster. Hackmaster Basic (and thereby the new Advanced Hackmaster 5e) is too different from the 4th Edition for me to enjoy it.

I know the changes were made for a reason (because of WotC) - but they are too many and ant they are a little too dramatic for my liking compared to 4e Hackmaster.

I quite like the “Building Points” - you can offset bad character generation rolls (and there are a LOT of rolls when generating a Hackmaster Basic Character) and you can even use them to play a class against “type” for your race (something I am not a fan of normally, but HMB does this quite well) - so there are a couple of things at least.

But there is quite a list of what I DON’T like -

The fractional scores on the attributes.

Quirks and Flaws – IMHO such things should be part of the characterization of a character, not a points driven way of min/maxing during character generation (which is what the munchkins will use it for).

Skills, Talents, AND Proficiences WTF! Why all three, as a DM of some experience I find it more freeing to let the Characters develop things as they go along.

The Honour system, to me its quite simply a heavy-handed way to enforce "proper" roleplaying - surely an Alignment system should be enough.

Combat (which is time-consuming and overly complex) has too many sub-rules, special cases, and exceptions etc, etc . . . .

I’ve never liked Spell Points either, I much prefer the way Mr Gygax did it.

They’ve done something I’ve done in the past, making starting hit points equal to their Constitution + Hit Dice. So that’s kinda cool – BUT with Hit Dice only gained every other level, with "dead" levels granting a re-roll of current hit points in order to improve the score – its to fiddly, too much faffing about for me (and my group tbh).

I ran it once, I wasn’t keen – my group REALLY didn’t enjoy it tbh. It’s a bad sigh when your group starts “noticing the time”.

BUT when I ran Castles and Crusades for the first time, we finished in the wee-small hours – and everyone complained because we had to stop . . . . . .

Thursday, 18 March 2010

The Internet makes for a Lazy DM and Argumentative Players

Here's an evocative statement, that no doubt will bring cries of abuse and disagreement -

"the Internet makes for a Lazy DM and Argumentative Players"

I believe that, I really do - I've seen it come about since the RPG's started having a stronger internet presence. When the RPG Forums first started, it was all about general chat and ideas - now more and more its about people being confused about rules and asking really REALLY dumb questions.

Now either the rules are getting more complicated or people are getting dumber - logically speaking it has to be one or the other - or does it . . . . .

"Back in the Day" (Linda my Mrs hates that saying LoL) there was no Internet, the only way of getting questions answered was to write to White Dwarf (when it was an RPG magazine, not a gorram miniatures catalogue), Imagine Magazine, or Dragon Dragon Magazine. They took the pertinent questions and published responses. But - for the most Part DM's would read the rules thoroughly and properly to gain a more full understanding of them.

THESE DAYS I really do believe its a matter of laziness. Why waste a couple of hours actually reading the rules properly, when I can post my question/problem on a Forum and have someone "spoon feed" me the answer I need - seems to be the norm.

I've NEVER had a set of RPG rules I haven't understood - now I am not making that statement out of ego or to try and make myself out to be some form of genius. I'm no Einstein, but when somethings written in plain English - I really REALLY don't see what the problem is. UNLESS (as I pointed out) people are being lazy . . . .

As for Argumentative Players, I blame Forums (and Blogs) for this to a certain extent too.

My DM's does things THIS way, I see from the Forum/Your Blog (delete as appropriate) that you do things THAT way. I prefer your way of doing things, so therefore I'm going to be an ass for my DM from now on!

Now I know thats a non-specific example, but I think its clear what I mean. Now for the most part I've been lucky with players - I've only ever had one really argumentative player, and thats because he was a DM himself and saw things a little differently to myself. But after a chat and a Pint, we were able to reach a middle ground and the disruptions ceased.

I know for a fact some DM's have the hardest of times from some players (I get a LOT of Emails from fellow DM's who just find it hard to cope with such players), and to those players I have the following to say.


Your DM/GM/CC is the Boss - Period! It's his game, his world, his way of doing things. I don't CARE what issues you might have with him or the way he runs his games - HE'S IN CHARGE.

Grow a Pair, be a Grown-Up, & Play Nice!

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Wizards of the Cost

This is a True Story, which given my recent rantings about WizBro I found quite funny.

Back when my friend Chris used to get involved with science fiction conventions, there was one where Wizards of the Coast wanted an advertisement in the programme book.

Someone at Wizards of the Coast had fouled up and the ad called them ‘Wizards of the COST(which is more than appropriate LMAO).

The editor of the programme wrote back to them pointing out the mistake, and after some time waiting they still hadn’t replied, so the add got published as written.

I think they should change their name LoL!

Friday, 12 March 2010

The First Dungeons and Dragons Movie

I make no bones about the fact me and the Mrs actually like the first Dungeons & Dragons Movie (I like the second one too, she does not) - They are great fun, and I find them entertaining.

A lot of people REALLY don't like them, to the degree of spitting venom whilst discussing them!

BUT, did you know that technically the Dungeons & Dragons movie that was released in 2000 ISN'T the first D&D Movie -

Krull (1983) is . . . . . .

Upon its conception Krull was supposed to be the official Dungeons & Dragons movie adaptation, and was even titled so, with artwork and press releases prepared under that name.

At some point before the completion of the film, the Dungeons & Dragons license was removed from the project.

As there was turmoil in the TSR camp bubbling into life at the time, one can only imagine as to why the license was pulled out from under the production.

An interesting piece of trivia about the Dungeons & Dragons Movie that never was . . . . .

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Simpler - I DON'T THINK SO!

A lot of people accuse Old School RPG's of being too simple, an accusation I think is wrong and without foundation. When the people are challenged, they can offer no real tangible evidence as to why they think its so.

Upon reading the Posts of the 4th Edition Group over at Various RPG Groups (Including Facebook and the Wizbro Forums), a lot of them are along the lines of (and these are direct qoutes) these -

I just started playing with my 4 year old Son this week

I gm, my wife plays a mage, my 10 year old son plays a warlock rogue, and my 4 year old daughter plays a cleric.

My 7 yr-old son and 9 yr-old daughter have played

Those are but three comments out of many, these are spread around the 4e (not) DnD community - for the most part the very people who lay the accusations about OS Games being so simple.

The message there to me is that they have DUMBED DOWN the 4e (not) DnD rules so much that a Kindergardener can play them!

I have spent a considerable amount of time defending my hobbies and passions - people taking the "michael", saying "its for kids" I FINALLY after umpteen years get the respect for the hobby it deserves from my Family and Non-Gamer friends - when gorram WizBro make 4th Edition (not) DnD so damn simple and childish little kids can play it!

It might be a Game/Hobby that appeals to all age-groups, but its NOT supposed to be a Kiddyfied Family Hobby!

Whilst I am not against youngsters playing RPG's (see my Harvesters post) I feel the rules should be appropriate to the age group in question - you wouldn't let an 8 year old play full contact Rugby for (an extreme) example.

This sort of "Teach my 5 year old to play (not) DnD" is going to be damaging to the hobby for us older gamers - just wait and see.

Interesting . . . .

I was looking at the various releases for D&D, I found this interesing -

To play AD&D 1st Edition - you needed the following to play it fully (I've inlcuded EVERYTHING in this list, including "side" books - not essential, but useful) - and I've included publishing dates . . . .

2009 Monster Manual (Note that in 1980 the MM1 was reprinted with another cover)

2010 Player's Handbook (Note that in 1980 the PB was reprinted with another cover)

2011 Dungeon Master's Guide (Note that in 1980 the DMG was reprinted with another cover

2013 Deities & Demigods (Note there are 2 versions, the older one having the Cthulhu and Melnibonean Mythos, the other omitting them - the earlier edition was the best

2012 Fiend Folio

2016 Monster Manual 2

2017 Unearthed Arcana
2013 Legends & Lore
2018 Oriental Adventures

2019 Dungeoneer's Survival Guide
2020 Wilderness Survival Guide

2022 Manual of the Planes)

So, for AD&D 1st Edition - a total of 12 Core Books published over a period of 10 years. Gary and TSR were in it for the long haul with AD&D 1st Ed. Then disaster struck, and Gary left TSR . . . .

So, on to AD&D 2nd Edition - still a nice set of rules (at its root it was basically the same as AD&D 1st Ed) the then (NOT) TSR had tidied it up - BUT they had ADDED the "Complete" Character Books to the lineup of books needed to play the game fully as the new TSR envisoned it.

2100 Dungeon Master's Guide
2101 Player's Handbook
2102 Monstrous Compendium, Vol. 1
2103 Monstrous Compendium, Vol. 2
2110 PHBR1 The Complete Fighter's Handbook
2111 PHBR2 The Complete Thief's Handbook

2108 Legends & Lore
2113 PHBR3 The Complete Priest's Handbook
2115 PHBR4 The Complete Wizards's Handbook
2114 DMGR1 Campaign Sourcebook & Catacomb Guide
2112 DMGR2 Castle Guide

2118 MC 8, Monstrous Compendium, Outer Planes Appendix
2117 PHBR5 The Complete Book of Psionics
2124 PHBR6 The Complete Book of Dwarves
2123 DMGR3 Arms and Equipment Guide
2121 Tome of Magic

2129 MC 14, Monstrous Compendium, Fiend Folio Appendix
2127 PHBR7 The Complete Bard's Handbook
2131 PHBR8 The Complete Book of Elves
2128 DMGR4 Monster Mythology

2140 Monstrous Manual
2138 Book of Artifacts
2134 PHBR9 The Complete Book of Gnomes & Halflings
2135 PHBR10 The Complete Book of Humanoids
2136 PHBR11 The Complete Ranger's Handbook
2133 DMGR5 Creative Campaigning

2145 Monstrous Compendium Annual Vol. 1
2147 PHBR12 The Complete Paladin's Handbook
2150 PHBR13 The Complete Druid's Handbook
2144 DMGR6 The Complete Book of Villains

2159 Player's Handbook, revised
2160 Dungeon Master's Guide, revised
2149 Player's Option: Combat & Tactics
2154 Player's Option: Skills & Powers
2156 Dungeon Master's Options: High Level Campaign
9504 Dungeon Master's Screen and Master Index
2158 Monstrous Compendium Annual Vol. 2
2148 PHBR14 The Complete Barbarian's Handbook
2155 PHBR15 The Complete Ninja's Handbook
2151 DMGR7 The Complete Book of Necromancers

2163 Player's Option: Spells & Magic
2164 Sages and Specialists
2167 AD&D CD-ROM: Core Rules
9532 World Builder's Guidebook
2166 Monstrous Compendium Annual, Vol. 3

2170 Of Ships and the Sea

2167 AD&D CD-ROM Core Rules Version 2.0
2140 Monstrous Manual
9556 Dungeon Builder's Guidebook
2173 Monstrous Compendium Annual, Vol. 4

11349 Priest's Spell Compendium, Vol 1
11383 AD&D Campaign Option: Council of Wyrms
11453 AD&D CD-ROM Core Rules Version 2.0 (Re-release)

I HAVE NOT INCLUDED in this list, because they weren't really needed, the variant Historical Books, the Spell Compendiums, or the various Card Decks released.

So, for AD&D 2nd Edition - a total of 53 Core Books published over a period of 10 years.

So, since Gary leaving TSR you have gone from 12 Books to play to a whopping 53! FFS! Talking about over-egging the pudding (Black, or course).

Now, onto the WizBro years - I never really got into Wizards (not) DnD - I bought the books, read them - even ran a couple of games - then went back to 1st Ed (with a little 2nd) when 3.5 Came out!

28 'essential' Books released for 3rd Ed in four years making it (on average) the most expensive edition so far.

That was until (also in 2003) 3.5 started pouring out . . . . .

42 Books (correct me if I have fallen short, again I've left out compendiums and such) in just 5 years - putting 3.5 on the top of the expense list.

I have a question for WizkBro - how come thier version of 3.5 (not) DnD needed so many Books to run the game properly. Whereas Pathfinder needs less than a quarter as many books to be up and running properly.

GREED thats why, WizBro and TSR 2 were greedy - Gary made a good living out of AD&D - he did it by producing good, solid product - not by "blanket bombing" the market . . . . .

Right, onto 4th (not) DnD . . . .

In just 3 years, WizBro have released 42 "essential" products for (not) DnD (I've included the Power Cards etc - because they are now essential for smooth play) - FORTY TWO - now thats NOT including the now important Miniature Releases - If you include them the grand total becomes silly (including the 5 Floorplan sets that you will need to go with your miniatures).

Congratulations to WizBro - they have out done themselves this time.

Compare that to Castles & Crusades wich will be 6 essential Products when the Castle Keepers guide finally comes out, Labyrinth Lord which requires but two books (and can be gotten for free), and Pathfinder (if you have a 3.5 leaning) needs only 8 Books (including the Screen) - 9 if you need the conversion guide to bring Characters over from 3.5!

So, to all the 4th Edition (not) DnD fans out there - WHAT A BUNCH OF SUCKERS . . . . . . . . .

Friday, 5 March 2010

New Forum

A friend and I thought it was about time there was a Forum that DIDN'T have to talk about 4th Edition (not) DnD with any respect or manners whatsoever LMAO!

On a more serious note, why yet ANOTHER Forum dedicated to RPG's.

Because I think the current climate warrants it!

Let me explain, in my humble opinion there is too little respect for what Gary Gygax did for our hobby - its only been two years since he passed and on another forum I posted a quick mention of the anniversary of Garys death - and only Warduke had the common decency to respond.

After I had a rant about this, the Forum owner gave some platitudes about people remembering Gary in their own way, with no need to make their feeling public - I felt that was a load of crap to be perfectly frank - and a total lack of respect for the great man

The Realm of Dungeons and Dragons - it is a place not only to discuss AD&D/Basic D&D, Retro-Clones, and Conversions - but a place to honour Gary's legacy and celebrate what he left behind for all of us.

Please feel free to Join in!

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Gary Gygax

As everybody knows, today - March 4th is the anniversary of Gary Gygax's Death.

I just want to say how missed he is, and there will never be another like him.

Thankyou Gary.

God Bless - Drew

Dungeons & Dorks

Check out my Friend Wardukes new Blog at -

Dungeons & Dorks

I should warn you its really honest - prudes and under 18's beware . . . .

Bad DM's, Horse Plagues, and Relationships

A Friend of mine, who I shall call "Biffo" (Warduke knows who I am on about) 'pinched' my Game World and faffed around with it.

Guildstown became an Oligarchy - run by the heads of each Guild (I wonder what happened to Duke Osric whilst all that happened) and any real 'flavour' to the world started to leech away under his strict and slight unimaginative boot-heel - he 'pinched' almost ALL his plots from other sources, mashing them together as he went along, I kept trying to convince him to run pre-written scenarios (more as a learning experience for him than anything else) but he simply wouldn't. Whether he thought his ideas were brilliant and his games were great I don't know.

My personal problem was this, I was a DM who also enjoyed playing - so when the group Biffo was running for started to fall apart (the couple who used to host the game got divorced, I only got to play a couple of sessions with them - it was a shame, they were nice) and the game shifted to my good friend Chris's house (which was easier for me to travel too).

My previous group (which Biffo had played in) had started to fragment as well, one of the Players had taken the other Guys Girlfriend off him and yet another Player was at the start of a serious illness.

So I became the "Co-DM" for the Group at Chris's House.

Now my attitude to being a DM comes from Gary Gygax himself, you have to be "the Master of the Game" - never needed to refer to the Books whilst running a game, unless something unexpected happened (which to me is as it should be, your notes as a DM should be thorough enough) - one of the reasons I don't like random tables whilst running a game is because they can make you dependant on the books.

Biffo's was somewhat different. His word is law (fair enough IMHO) HOWEVER, that wasn't tempered with any sort of fairness or balance. If he didn't like someones character for any reason - he picked on them. Not good eh'.

But the worst came, when he took offence at the PC's getting around too easily and started the "Horse Plague" . . . . .

He had no thought as to what such a thing could do to a campaign world, MY Campaign World at that. Both myself and Biffo set the Games on Lemuria, and the implications for a Horse Plague on Aerth (and before anyone thinks to ask - I was using Aerth in 1976 some 16 years before it was used for Dangerous Journeys LoL).

No Horses = Less Trading = Increased Prices = Struggling Economy = Poverty

THEN you have the possiblity of War (you have Horses and we don't, you won't share - so we have to take etc, etc)

Something that never came into play when I was running games - but was always there in the back of my mind was the idea of Ferrets. Ferrets were meant to be (sort of) like the Fagins kids of Guildstown, young boys who WANTED to be part of the Thieves Guild but weren't old enough or lacked the Dexterity to join. If Biffo was bothered by PC's getting around to quickly, why not have their Horses stolen. Of course, the PC's would then have just bought more Horses - except, with the constant spate of Horse Thefts - they would not only be in short supply, but really REALLY expensive too (meaning the Party would have to adventure to get more money to buy the Horses).

That way, we have you more localized games - with lots of plot potential - c'mon Biffo - surely its not that hard to figure out!

How to end the Horse Plague - as the Greek Gods are worshipped on Lemuria (along with the Norse Gods, when Christianity took over on our world - the Gods migrated to Aerth - the two exist together in paralel universes), simply have Athena end the Horse plague and put things right. She was supposed to have shown man how to domesticate the Horse AND was supposed to be the inventor of the chariot - I can't see her ALLOWING a Horse Plague to continue!

I think all the above illustrate how hard it can be for two DM to co-run games within the same Milieu.

Chris (for example) sets his games on Aerth, but they are set on an Island off the Coast of Lemuria - Lemoy. Other than PC's sometime having to travel between Lemuria and Lemoy there is no real hassles!