Free RPG Day Review: Castle and Crusades

Castles and Crusades… Ahh… A classic. Yeah. I know it’s only been around for about five years, but the voice, feel, senses and concepts in the game take me back to my original AD&D days. If there are any gamers out there who think that 3.0 is “old school”, I highly suggest they check out Castles and Crusades from Troll Lord Games.

Free RPG Day 2009 - Castles & Crusades Cover

Free RPG Day 2009 - Castles & Crusades Cover

The book starts in with the usual attribute, race and class sections that can be found in games of this style. When I was reading these sections, it really reminded me of 1st edition AD&D. It’s almost like the Troll Lord Games desginers were channeling Gygax and Arneson when writing these passages. Yes, I know that there are some gamers out there who snub their noses at the classic style of gaming, but I really enjoyed this book.

Once the basics of the system were explained, there was a small section on magic and how it works. Again, more classic feel goodness here. Then came the description of combat flow and how various mechanics of the game go. There were a few confusion points that I hit, but I’m sure they are clearly explained in the full book where more time and space can be dedicated to the various aspects of the game.

The second half of the book was dedicated to The Wizard’s Tower adventure. Again, the look and feel of these pages took me back decades in time. Good stuff. My only real complaints about the adventure are that the maps could have been done in a more clear manner, and the “bad guy acting like a victim” was very cliche and obvious even to the most novice of gamers. If I were to run this adventure, I’d tweak things a bit more to “hide” the bad guy a little better.

Grade: A+ — All in all, a great introduction to the system, a good adventure and excellent work on the feel of the game. I would suggest this to my current group, but the response would be, “Why don’t we just play 1st edition?” and at that point, we’d pull out the yellow-spined books and have at it.