Experience with Castles and Crusades?


I just picked up the PHB (free at Troll Lord currently) and bought the Fantasy Grounds ruleset for it. I need something to fill a certain old School, 1E AD&D need and decided I might want to give C&C a try.

For those with experience with the system, can you give me a good primer before I dig in (it helps me to comprehend written rules if I have a clue beforehand)? Alternatively or additionally, tell me about your general experience with the game? Does it "feel" like 1E with dungeon crawls and hexploration and henchmen and save or die? Is it fun?

I came to C&C early, when they only had their white box out. For me C&C feels like a streamlined 3e with 1e attitude. Unified dice mechanics meets old school philosophy.

The siege engine is quite flexible, and can be adjusted by the Castlekeeper to their liking.

I enjoyed it enormously back then. I still think it's a great system, but the need is a little less for me in the days of 5e, which scaled back a good deal from the complexity of 3e and 4e.
I echo what Ralif says. It's basically 3E with the stuff that came along after 1E mostly scraped back off of it. So it has a unified D20 resolution system, and higher means better, armor class ascends, etc., but it loses skills and feats.

The tone of it is very 1E, down to the language used.

I'm not in love with the Siege Engine, which I think messes with the D20 resolution system to no real benefit, like a DM's house rule that nobody else at the table loves, but he does, so you roll with it.

The best part of C&C, IMO -- beyond just needing the PHB to play -- is that you can easily convert anything from OD&D through 3E on the fly. I'm able to do it in my head, although there are conversion docs around if you wanted that safety net. That means there's a vast quantity of monsters, adventures, spells and the like to use in the game.

My group went from 3E to C&C to 5E. The players missed some of the customization levels available under 3E, although C&C offers some good options, too. (The class and a half system is great.)


It's easy to convert things from other D&D versions. 5e is probably even easier than the others to convert!

The basic idea is the Siege system. You have Prime ability scores and non-prime ability scores.

When you do something (Task, thief skill) you compare your roll to another via Siege.

This takes a number which you roll over.

For example, if you were a Rogue and were trying to Hide in Shadows and had your Prime as DEX, you would need to roll over 12 - level. Thus, if you were level 5, you would roll a 12 - 5 = 7. However, it can be opposed, so let's say you had a 7th level Fighter you were trying to hide from. It would be more like a 12-5+7 = 14 which you'd need to roll equal to or over. If you have a DEX modifier, the Rogue could also add that to the roll.

Another example, if you take that same Rogue, but now they wish to convince a Baron that they were not actually stealing their belt pouch, but trying to tie it on because it was slipping off, they might make a Charisma Check. This particular rogue does not have Charisma as a prime and thus it is a secondary ability for them. This means they need to roll an 18-level to succeed. Let's say they are that same level 5 so a basic check would be 18-5 = 13. The Baron though is a 2nd level Knight. They thus would need an 18-5+2 = 15 to roll equal to or over to succeed.

And that's it in a basic nutshell for the core system. Otherwise, combat, ability scores, and the rest work very close to a cross between D&D and very simplified 3e/5e.
I got the 1st printing of the Player's Book back in the day and ran a couple sessions in the early 2000s. It was a good answer to the complexity of 3.5e back then, but I was wondering what role it fills today with all the other OSR games out there and a more streamlined current D&D edition. I had actually forgotten about the game until I saw them at Origins last year, still chugging along.
Coincidentally, I was just reading through the new printing of the PDF this evening then happened upon this thread. I was just wondering about the complexity of Prime and Secondary Attributes with the SIEGE engine, having to ask a player before each die roll "is that your primary or secondary stat?" and then having them roll, and then modifying the DC by subtracting their die roll. It's basically like THAC0, needlessly convoluted.
Simply give them a bonus to their Prime Attribute checks instead of setting a number based around their ability score. Like a ... Proficiency bonus?
Basically, everything C&C does 5e already does (and better).
It was a good idea when our choices were 3.5 or 4e, but nowadays I think there are better options.