OSR Retrospective: Castles & Crusades


This week it’s time for me to rant a little bit about Castles & Crusades by Troll Lord Games. It’s one of those retro-clones that isn’t a retro-clone. C&C doesn’t attempt to emulate any previous editions of D&D instead it goes of on it’s way but still basically remains largely compatible with other old school d20 games mechanically and keeps the feel of those games but slightly different mechanics.
The key mechanic for most non-combat actions in C&C is called the Siege Engine. At it’s most basic, it’s attribute checks modified by level and by class (prime attribute style stuff). That’s it. Plain and simple and totally friendly at the table. Monster stat blocks are what most folks are used and generally can be used with other games with very little conversion. The game does use ascending AC to take that into consideration. The system is also for other genres such as Amazing Adventures for pulp action and Victorious for some weird Steampunk. Of course, Troll Lord has also published a whole string of adventures and supplements for C&C as well. I personally like their whole A-Series of adventures (Blacktooth Ridge).
While you have the usual array of races, classes, spells, and monsters; there is one thing that really stands out in my mind. C&C has the best Illusionist class that I’ve seen. It’s just neat. They got their own spell list and not just a limited magic-user list. And here’s the kicker. They get healing spells to. Sort of. You see for them to work, the target has to fail their Save. Yes that’s right.
I really don’t have any complaints about the game. Sure there were some editing errors in the earlier printings but those should be all cleared up by now. Like the other games, I’ve ranted about C&C is a solid game that stands on its own and another option if you want some of that old school goodness and the monsters and adventures are pretty easy to convert into other games you may be playing.

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