Which flavors of D&D does C&C handle well?

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Tim Baker
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Which flavors of D&D does C&C handle well?

Post by Tim Baker »

I came across this blog post from a few years ago that describes seven flavors of D&D (scroll about a quarter of the way down the page).

It made me wonder: which of these flavors of D&D does Castles & Crusades handle well? Which flavors could be handle with some system tweaks?

Which are poorly aligned with C&C's design principles, and would require a major re-working of the system for their support?

And are there other flavors of D&D that aren't captured here, but work well with C&C?

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Re: Which flavors of D&D does C&C handle well?

Post by blindluke »

I have to say, the blog post did not resonate with me at all. The flavors listed are very artificial, and I don't see how playing "Paladins & Princesses" as necessarily different from "Castles & Cronies". Pendragon is a prime example of a game that caters to players wanting to play chivalric knights, and manage their manors at the same time.

But the question about the particular strengths of C&C is a good one, and it would be a shame to leave this thread without a single response. To me, the most noticeable difference between the system and other variants of D&D is how SIEGE always takes into account the opponent level. You do not easily avoid danger because you're high level. You only do so, because the level of your experience puts you high above the level the danger poses. A 10th level wizard in C&C is as exposed and vulnerable to the magic of a 10th level conjurer as a 1st level would be when facing an equally experienced opponent. This makes running high level adventures designed with a different game in mind problematic, but it also makes C&C a system that fits a sword & sorcery setting very, very well. The game shines in environments where, by design, magic is rare and dangerous. It's one of the many reasons I like it so much.

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Re: Which flavors of D&D does C&C handle well?

Post by Tim Baker »

blindluke wrote:
Thu Jul 02, 2020 9:12 pm
I have to say, the blog post did not resonate with me at all. The flavors listed are very artificial, and I don't see how playing "Paladins & Princesses" as necessarily different from "Castles & Cronies". Pendragon is a prime example of a game that caters to players wanting to play chivalric knights, and manage their manors at the same time.
That's a good point. There are bound to be several examples of games that can't be neatly categorized into these classifications, assuming they're good flavors in the first place. I thought it was a good thought experiment, though.
blindluke wrote:
Thu Jul 02, 2020 9:12 pm
But the question about the particular strengths of C&C is a good one, and it would be a shame to leave this thread without a single response. To me, the most noticeable difference between the system and other variants of D&D is how SIEGE always takes into account the opponent level. You do not easily avoid danger because you're high level. You only do so, because the level of your experience puts you high above the level the danger poses. A 10th level wizard in C&C is as exposed and vulnerable to the magic of a 10th level conjurer as a 1st level would be when facing an equally experienced opponent. This makes running high level adventures designed with a different game in mind problematic, but it also makes C&C a system that fits a sword & sorcery setting very, very well. The game shines in environments where, by design, magic is rare and dangerous. It's one of the many reasons I like it so much.
This is really interesting, and is insight I hadn't considered about C&C before. I prefer C&C over most other games with an old school feel, and I struggle to put my finger on why that is. What you just described makes total logical sense to me. The part that gets me thinking is that you said this is a departure from other systems' high-level play. I'd love to hear more of your thoughts on this. How would you contrast other systems' high-level adventures compared to C&C's? And are there other systems that support the type of high-level play that C&C does? It might help me to see that commonality, too.

Thanks for the excellent reply.

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Re: Which flavors of D&D does C&C handle well?

Post by blindluke »

I thought it was a good thought experiment, though.
I think that there's definitely something one in saying D&D comes in different flavors. Playing the game as something that goes from encounter to encounter, as a series of combat puzzles with minis on a grid is one thing, playing the game as a resource management game, with characters/hirelings considered one of those resources, with the aim to spend as little as possible to uncover as much as you can - that's a different thing.

With the growing amount of virtual tabletop solutions available, some of those flavors, and associated player preference, might become more visible. Some people might want to play D&D as a miniatures game, but they lack the minis and table space to do so. Some might want to play a resource management game, but don't want to do all the bookkeeping. Software will solve both those issues, and who knows, maybe we'll see some variety in virtual tabletop solutions - with some better suited to a specific flavor.
The part that gets me thinking is that you said this is a departure from other systems' high-level play. I'd love to hear more of your thoughts on this.
I'll only compare it to other D&D variants, as high level play in non-D&D systems will differ wildly. Baldric, a first level cleric in AD&D, has a 55% success chance on his best saving throw, and 25% on his worst. The average chance, for all five saves is 37%. When he gets to level ten, his best save has a 75% success chance, his worst - 45%. The average is now 57%.

In Castles & Crusades, Dalbric, a first level human cleric, when facing a first level threat, has three prime saves at 45%, and three non-prime saves at 15%. On average, that's 30%. At level ten, facing a first level threat, it's 90% / 60%. Facing a threat of tenth level, it's still 45%/15%.

It's a very different experience. But...
How would you contrast other systems' high-level adventures compared to C&C's? And are there other systems that support the type of high-level play that C&C does?
... I might not be the best person to elaborate on high level play, as I don't like high level adventures. As a rule, I run my games in the 1st-10th level range, to the point where I have created my own personal copy of C&C, abridged to 200k EPP limit, and painstakingly laid out so that relevant rules are on the two facing pages.

Here's an example - the two pages covering the Archer (INT) class:

Image

I'm not even sure that C&C does support high level play as well as other D&D variants might. But I sure know it supports everything I want out of the D&D experience.

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Re: Which flavors of D&D does C&C handle well?

Post by Tim Baker »

That was a very helpful summary. I see what you're saying about AD&D's saves vs. C&C's, for example. I'd completely forgotten that a save is a save in AD&D, and didn't rely upon the source for its difficulty (aside from determining which of the saves to choose from).

Nice job laying out the classes in a two-page spread. It puts all the information right at your fingertips. I see that you have an Adventurers Backpack class on your list. Did you draw from other sources (aside from the PHB)?

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Re: Which flavors of D&D does C&C handle well?

Post by blindluke »

Nice job laying out the classes in a two-page spread. It puts all the information right at your fingertips. I see that you have an Adventurers Backpack class on your list. Did you draw from other sources (aside from the PHB)?
Thank you. The first version used only the PHB (in its seventh printing) as the primary source of class info. The current uses PHB, Character Classes, Adventurer's Backpack (a few ready made backpacks, where there was space left). In the section on Combat Maneuvers, I used the additions from CKG to compliment the options listed in the PHB.

The document contains four pages of houserules, but those are contained to their own page spreads (to avoid confusion). Both are taken from Akrasia's houserules for Sword & Sorcery. The first one lists cultures, the second lists all other tweaks. As with the rest of the content, I preserved it as-is, even though I don't run it exactly as written. The approach to cultures is very good, and I prefer it to the 'official' one, as written in Amazing Adventures Companion. I think I should write a separate post presenting and comparing both.

A short while ago, in another thread on the MeWe group, I recommended DB1 to someone, stating that a remastered version of it, combining DB1 and DB7 and parts of the CKG to the Highlands would make an excellent 64 page gazetteer, as all the content is already there. This inspired my next little layout project. This one, I will try to write as its own thing, so it would be possible to share it, if I do finish the job. Wish me luck!

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Re: Which flavors of D&D does C&C handle well?

Post by Tim Baker »

blindluke wrote:
Tue Jul 07, 2020 10:41 am
The current uses PHB, Character Classes, Adventurer's Backpack (a few ready made backpacks, where there was space left).
I was under the impression that Character Classes was a compilation of the classes from the PHB + AB. Does it offer classes that aren't found in either? It doesn't have a table of content, so I'd never bothered going through line by line to see what's new. It's a shame if there's content in there that the community should be excited about, but are missing out on due to poor communication/organization.
blindluke wrote:
Tue Jul 07, 2020 10:41 am
In the section on Combat Maneuvers, I used the additions from CKG to compliment the options listed in the PHB.
That's a really helpful idea. Are they on another sheet that you didn't show in your example? Do you include Combat Maneuvers from Fields of Battle, too?

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Re: Which flavors of D&D does C&C handle well?

Post by Tim Baker »

blindluke wrote:
Tue Jul 07, 2020 10:41 am
The document contains four pages of houserules, but those are contained to their own page spreads (to avoid confusion). Both are taken from Akrasia's houserules for Sword & Sorcery. The first one lists cultures, the second lists all other tweaks.
I had to do some digging, but I found this on the Wayback Machine. Is this what you were talking about?

Do you mind sharing your 4-pager? I'd be interested to see what you've compiled.
blindluke wrote:
Tue Jul 07, 2020 10:41 am
The approach to cultures is very good, and I prefer it to the 'official' one, as written in Amazing Adventures Companion. I think I should write a separate post presenting and comparing both.
Please do. I'd be happy to check that out.
blindluke wrote:
Tue Jul 07, 2020 10:41 am
A short while ago, in another thread on the MeWe group, I recommended DB1 to someone, stating that a remastered version of it, combining DB1 and DB7 and parts of the CKG to the Highlands would make an excellent 64 page gazetteer, as all the content is already there. This inspired my next little layout project. This one, I will try to write as its own thing, so it would be possible to share it, if I do finish the job. Wish me luck!
Good luck! Sounds like a fun project, but potentially a big undertaking.

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Re: Which flavors of D&D does C&C handle well?

Post by Tim Baker »

blindluke wrote:
Tue Jul 07, 2020 10:41 am
The document contains four pages of houserules, but those are contained to their own page spreads (to avoid confusion). Both are taken from Akrasia's houserules for Sword & Sorcery. The first one lists cultures, the second lists all other tweaks. As with the rest of the content, I preserved it as-is, even though I don't run it exactly as written. The approach to cultures is very good, and I prefer it to the 'official' one, as written in Amazing Adventures Companion. I think I should write a separate post presenting and comparing both.
I looked through the Akratic Wizardry house rules PDF, this evening. I didn't see rules for cultures. Are they called something else? Or are they not found in the PDF?

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Re: Which flavors of D&D does C&C handle well?

Post by blindluke »

I was under the impression that Character Classes was a compilation of the classes from the PHB + AB. Does it offer classes that aren't found in either?
No, it doesn't. I'm only using it as it is the newest thing published out of the three, and considering the sad tradition of TLG typos and errors, I decided to copy the text from the most recent available source.
Are they [combat maneuvers] on another sheet that you didn't show in your example?
Yes, they are. The whole document is fifty-ish pages long, but I can't share it as 90% of the stuff it contains is copied verbatim from the official books.
Do you include Combat Maneuvers from Fields of Battle, too?
No, but that's a great idea, thank you! I'll find my copy and see if there are some that I would like to pull in.
I had to do some digging, but I found this on the Wayback Machine. Is this what you were talking about? (...) I looked through the Akratic Wizardry house rules PDF, this evening. I didn't see rules for cultures. Are they called something else? Or are they not found in the PDF?
No, the rules you found are excellent too, and was integrated fully into Crypt&Things. The houserules I referred to are taken from an old post on the rpg.net PbP forums. Here's the link.
Do you mind sharing your 4-pager? I'd be interested to see what you've compiled.
Sure thing. Here's the houserules spread:

Image

And here are the cultures. I pasted them as-is, but I use them as templates. Since they are not nationality-as-culture, I find them very useful.

Image

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Re: Which flavors of D&D does C&C handle well?

Post by Tim Baker »

blindluke wrote:
Wed Jul 08, 2020 10:48 am
I'm only using it as it is the newest thing published out of the three, and considering the sad tradition of TLG typos and errors, I decided to copy the text from the most recent available source.
Yeah, it's a shame that proofreading is hit-or-miss with the TLG products.
blindluke wrote:
Wed Jul 08, 2020 10:48 am
The whole document is fifty-ish pages long, but I can't share it as 90% of the stuff it contains is copied verbatim from the official books.
Ah, that makes sense.
blindluke wrote:
Wed Jul 08, 2020 10:48 am
The houserules I referred to are taken from an old post on the rpg.net PbP forums. Here's the link.
Very cool! I didn't realize they were written specifically for C&C until you provided that link. I'm going to need some time to read through those and digest the content.
blindluke wrote:
Wed Jul 08, 2020 10:48 am
Do you mind sharing your 4-pager? I'd be interested to see what you've compiled.
Sure thing. Here's the houserules spread. . . .
I like it. I noticed that you reworded much of it. You did a nice editing pass on that content.

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Re: Which flavors of D&D does C&C handle well?

Post by shesheyan »

We had the same discussion with the D&D crowd.
viewtopic.php?f=85&t=23797

A added one category.

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