Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Rebuke Undead.

I have never been a fan of Turn undead ability for clerics. Undead fleeing and running around a dungeon just doesn't fit my setting. So here is my alternative I'm going to try. 

Good clerics can rebuke undead, Calling on the name of his god to smite those abominations of unlife.

All undead in the presence of the cleric at the time of the rebuke must bake a save. Only creatures the same HD of the level of the caster are effected. All saves are made at a penalty of the level of the cleric.

All undead who fail its save take 1D4+the level of the caster.
All undead that fail its save with a roll of 2-3 take 1D4x the level of the caster.
All undead that fail its save with a roll of 1 are instantly destroyed.

For those that use the reverse of spells for evil priests can use this spell as a mass heal spell to controlled or summoned undead. Just reverse the damage as damage healed.

All undead who make its save its healed 1D4+the level of the caster.
All undead that make its save with a natural roll of 18-19 is healed 1D4x the level of the caster.
All undead that make its save with a natural roll of 20 are instantly healed to its max HP.

Arcane Dart

Arcane Dart, Level 0 Magic user
R 150 ft.       D instant
With a gesture, the caster sends a Dart of pure arcane power from his finger tip. The damage of the dart increases as the caster gains level. 2 damage for a caster of levels 1-4. 1d4 damage for a caster of levels 5-8. 1d6 damage for a caster of levels 9+. The material component is a small chip of moon wood with the symbol for arcana inscribed into it. Moon wood chip can often be purchased for 20 for a 10 silver. Moon wood is increasingly hard to find in some areas and prices with vary.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Castle Keepers Guide

A while back I did a very short shout out for the Castle Keepers Guide. I really don't feel like I gave it the attentions it deserves. So I thought I would come back to it and give a further and more in depth overview of this book. (or at least scratch the surface a little deeper.)
The castle keepers guide is the long awaited Game Masters guide for the castles and crusades roleplaying game. Although I myself only got into Castles and crusades a short time before the book came out I could not escape the posts and complaints about how long it took this book to come out. I just wanted to get that out of the way before saying I think this book would be worth the wait, but really should not say it since I was not one of the people who had to wait for it.

The book is a pretty massive tomb, covering a lot of ground. The only GM guide I feel has tried to cover this much in one volume was the 1E AD&D Game masters guide. And at the end of the day I think the CKG just might cover more.

The best way for me to prove this theory of mine is to give you a chapter by chapter and section by section breakdown of the CKG. Give you some idea of exactly how much gaming goodness is in this book.

The book starts off with 8 pages that include table of contents, acknowledgments, and introduction.

PART 1: The Characters.
Chapter 1: Expanding characters.
>>Starts right off with attributes, both alternate ways to generate them and alternate modifiers for them.
>>Adding a seventh attribute, Beauty.
>>Extended class levels, This includes rules for leveling characters up to levl24.
>>Expanding races, From vital info, to the under the hood of race creation and variants.

Chapter 2: Magic.
>>This first section focuses on tools of the trade, Spellbooks and components needed for casting.
>>>This includes price lists and tables for determining number of spells found in a tomb.
>>>Also includes a table of costs for holy symbols.
>>Next is an alternate magic system. Its a spell slot system.

Chapter 3: Expanding equipment.
>>First section is a guide for ropleplaying equipment. As well as price lists for commonly needed items.
>>This next section is a carrying capacity system. With cargo capacity for all kinds of transportation.
>>Contains optional rules for maintaining equipment.

Chapter 4: Non-player Characters.
>>A fairly large section with advice on use of NPCs in your game.
>>Rules for hiring henchmen.
>>Hirelings and loyalty ratings.

Part 2: Worlds of Adventure.
Chapter 5: Worlds of adventure, World.
>>Planning, developing and exploring your game world. This section would surly be invaluable for those creating their own world. Options for picking everything from weather patterns to technology level.

 Chapter 6: Worlds of Adventure, City.
>>Economics and urban landscape.
>>Structure and governments.
>>The urban landscape.

Chapter 7: Worlds of Adventure, Dungeons.
>>Covers landscape and types of underground dwellings.
>>Typical adventures underground.
>>Listen bonuses for monster types.
>>Lists of traps and types of traps.

Chapter 8: Air and Water Adventure.
>>Rules and information on vessels and water based adventures.

Chapter 9: Equipment Wastage.
>>Expands the rules of use, weathering and wastage of equipment in the course of adventures. 
>>Effects of different environments of common items.

Chapter 10: Land as Treasure.
>>This chapter is all about using land and titles as reward for your adventures. Titles by class is a great touch in this section.

Chapter 11: Going to War.
>>This is a mass combat section. Rules for squad ratios, Troop types,Movement, and conditions.
>>Rules for moral.
>>Rules for siege on castles and walls.

Chapter 12: Monster Ecology.
>>Monsters concepts.
>>Attributes and ecology of monsters.
>>Monster Alignment.
>>A lot of hints and trips for using monsters in your games.
>>Random monster tables divided by tier.

Chapter 13: Expanding the genera.
>>This section is all about taking your game outside of the medieval or fantasy pigeon hole.
>>Information for running C&C in different settings, Ages and styles.
>>Firearms rules. From black powder to laser pistols.
>>Grenade and rocket rules. Rules for mishaps.

Part 3: The Siege Engine.

Chapter 14: Advancing the game.
>>Advice and guidelines to help plan adventures.
>>Advice for setting mood and play style.
>>Setting perimeters for to keep the game with in your chosen play style.

Chapter 15: the Siege Engine.
>> This whole section is an analysis and in depth look at the core mechanics of C&C, the siege engine.
>> Alternate methods and difficulty levels are discussed at length.
>> A lot of options for customizing the siege engine to your own taste.

Chapter 16: Treasure.
>> Guidelines and hints for handling all manor of non-magical treasure. From gold to gems.

Chapter 17: Iron and Sulfur, Combat.
>> Advice and options for running combat.
>>> Optional rules for expanding combat, Even the roleplay aspects of combat.

Chapter 18: Skill Packages.
>> Secondary skill system. Much like the proficiency system of 1E.
>> Advantages, Abilities much like feats in 3E, But more closely tied to race, class or background rather than a just a laundry list of feats.

Chapter 18: Character Death and Fate.
>>This section goes into the impact of wounds and negative hit points.
>> Divine intervention.
>> The use of Luck points.
>> Use of Hero points.
>> Death & Dying, how to look at it from an PRG perspective.

Pages 280-288 is Index and tables Index.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Siege Engine, Castles and crusades

What is the Siege Engine that powers Castles and Crusades, Amazing Adventures, Harvesters and other Siege powered games?

This is a post I have wanted to do for a while. Mostly so that I can link to it when trying to explain how the siege engine works and why I like it.

First off the game itself is an OGL based game. That emulates the feel of the first edition of AD&D. As I like to say, Its 1E with 3E math.

Where the siege engine comes in is the choosing of "primes". Some ability scores are prime while others are secondary. 3 primes for humans. 2 for other races to balance racial abilities.

One prime is chosen by your choice of class. Others are chosen by the player. The difficulty of almost any given roll will be based on the ability score it is based on. If the ability is secondary the difficulty base will be 18. If the ability score is primary the base difficulty will be 12.

Beyond mechanics primes/secondary choices are also a great layer of customization. For example a thief with a primary of charisma could be a smooth operating, fast talking, confidence man. While a thief with strength as a prime could be a thug, relying on force and muscle to "get the job done".

Next comes class skills, a lot of people seem to be under he impression that Castles & Crusades does not have skills. Rather Castles and Crusades focuses more on what skills your class excels at, but doesn't limit the character to what they can attempt.

Since a characters level is the measure of prowess in his chosen class, level is added to all rolls for class skills. Also skills are linked to an ability. For example Pick lock (Dex). Helping to quickly identify which class the skill is based on.

Lastly is the complexity level. This is a modifier to the difficulty base. This number is chosen by the CK or based on the action attempted.

Ill give a few example rolls to help show how all this comes together to make a fast and intuitive system.

For example, A level 4 Human Rogue with primes of Dex (+1), Con, Char (+1), Secondary of Int, Wis+2, Cha is attempting a few skill rolls.

Attempting to pick a lock: For the Rogue this is a class skill and a Dex based skill, which is prime for the Rogue. The lock is a moderate difficult lock CL 3. So the final difficulty is 15 (12 for prime +CL3).
The player would roll a d20+ 4(his level)+1(Dex ability modifier) and try to beat the 15 difficulty.

Attempting to track an enemy: For the Rogue this not a class skill and is a Wis based skill, which is secondary ability for the Rogue. The tracks are fresh and a fairly easy read CL 0. So the final difficulty is 18 (18 for seconary +CL0). The player would roll a d20+ (no level added, not a class skill)+2(Wis ability modifier) and try to beat the 18 difficulty.

Attempting to decipher script: For the Rogue this a class skill and is an Int based skill, which is secondary Ability for the Rogue. The script is somwhat familiar to the Rogue so its fairly easy  CL 1. The final difficulty is 19 (18 for secondary +CL1). The player would roll a d20+ (+4 level added, it is a class skill)+0(Int ability modifier) and try to beat the 19 difficulty.

Also as a note monsters use number of hit die as level and are designated primes as "physical, Mental, Or Both". With stat blocks like that of 1E AD&D. Making most "old school" monsters a snap to use.

Another note is that Amazing Adventures is a Pulp Era game that also uses the Siege engine. Instead of the 12/18 split for prime/secondary AA uses a single Difficulty of 15. With a +5 bonus for primary.

Because so much of the game is OGL based. And at the same time draws so much inspiration from previous editions of D&D it is very easy to use what you like from these other games. If you like feats you can add them. Like secondary skills or proficiency slots? use them too. 

 As far as I can tell Troll lord games was the first to use the OGL to emulate an older style of D&D experience. First by just stripping down the system and using it as a simpler form of D20. These stripped down adventures and modual came out at the same Gen Con that 3rd edition of Dungeons and Dragons was revealed. Later with the addition of the siege roll and its own players handbook the game took on a life of its own. While others used the OGL to replicate the rules of older editions or D&D, C&C used the OGL to replicate the feel of AD&D while leaving most of the rules clearly d20. And it really has taken on a life of its own. C&C has grown and changed, Their products continue to improve and grow. To many of us C&C is no longer an emulator, But rather a great game in its own right.

List of games that use the Siege Engine:
Castles and Crusades: This is the fantasy game with 1E sensibility and 3E math. 
Amazing Adventures: A pulp era game using a variation of the siege engine.
Harvesters: This is a game about anthropomorphic animals. Its uses a race as class vary close to an older edition of D&D. 
Star Siege: this is a sci-fi game, At its core it is a siege game, But it is not a level based system. Its point buy, from character to gear its all customizable.