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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Going old-school D&D. Kind of.....Pt.2

I thought it was worth coming back and elaborate what it was about the Castles and Crusades system that really caught my eye. Mainly because it was my biggest misconception about the system the first time I ever looked it over.

It is called the SIEGE engine. Each class has a primary ability, for example a rogues primary ability is Dexterity. The player gets to choose a second primary as well. This is a level of customization to show aptitude. (humans actually get to choose a third as well.) All other ability scores are secondary abilities. The difficulty of different actions have a difficulty based on what ability is being rolled on. 18 is the difficulty if you are rolling on a secondary ability. And 12 if you are rolling against a primary.

So for example if our rogue with a DEX of 16 (+2) wanted to use his move silent skill (move silent-Dex). He would be using a skill linked to his primary ability. So the starting difficulty would be 12, this could be adjusted by the DM up or down based on circumstance. So he would roll a D20, Add ability adjustment (in this case +2) and try to beat a 12. The difficulty will also be adjusted for difficulty. Most rolls also get a bonus equal to the characters level as well.

I personally think this is genius. Its skills without a huge skill system.

Going old-school D&D. Kind of.....

I frequent a lot of blogs that are all about the old school renascence. I find a lot of it fascinating to some degree or another. I've printed out and read through a great deal of them. Both free and purchased. Being that I have become a gaming minimalist there is something there I really like and respect. At least in theory.

I started out playing AD&D (1E as its often called now) And eventually transitioning to 2nd edition. After that I ran a great many games in a lot of different system. Always wanting more I was drawn to some of the large universal systems. I had a lot of fun along the way. But now work and family obligations I find that simpler rules light systems to be about all me or my players really have time for. My new go to system for most every thing now is unisystem. But I still have this urge to run D&D. To run high fantasy in a system that fits form and function to that style of play.

So I've been thinking about narrowing it down to just one of these systems I want to run. First I looked at a lot of the classic D&D retro clones. It would seem that a lot of people play these out of nostalgia. Something I just don't have for them. Since although I was aware of them. I really never run but once or twice. Many of the 0E crowd just feel way to minimalist for me. Going back to them now just feels like Buying a new car and going out and pulling the fuses on every nonessential component. Power steering, cruise control, Heater and AC? who needs them right?

So I started looking at other games that were closer to AD&D 1st edition. OSRIC and a few other out there are really well written. Very nicely compiled. But still just don't seem all that minimalist. Many are 300 pages plus. I think OSRIC is up to 400 pages now. Which I still think is great. But not what im looking for.

There are a lot of other products out that are newer games that try to replicate "old school". Dragon age rpg for one. But after running it awhile I just could not keep up the excitement.

I never really liked 3.0/3.5. feat bloat was one of my major dislikes. Although I think D20/3E its self was a great idea. I ran a few games of 4E, I really enjoyed it. But I could hardly call it rules light. Especially now after all the books published for it. And I am by nature a tinkerer. Being a tinkerer with out a whole lot of free time is not real compatible with 4E.

The other night I got my hands on a game that I had read plenty about back in the early days of d20 and 3.0. Back when I was running HERO system and GURPS. Back when I had no real interest in minimalist and systems easy to tinker with.

Castles and Crusades. I just read through the second print of the players book. I really have to say I like it. My impression before was that it was d20/3E with no feats and no skills. Just attributes and saves. Basically a stripped down d20 system. Which is kind of true, I does have skills. Skill rolls are based on an attribute roll.
After reading the book cover to cover I jumped online and looked at what other people were doing with the system. There was indeed a lot of tinkering going on. People borrowing rules from older editions of D&D. And others making new material whole cloth. Others were borrowing rules from 3E and even 4E.

I really have to say I like what I'm seeing so far. Im going to give it a few games. See how it goes.
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Part 2 of this article 

Initiative in Index card RPG.

I've had some time to think about some of the workings of ICRPG. Being a tinkerer at heart I can't help but want to come up with mat...