The “Old-School Revival” that has thrived in the last few years has kind of passed me by. I guess I prefer the “New-School”, with games that focus more on story and quirky ideas than on crunchy, complex rules. Castles & Crusades, from Troll Lord Games, is a newer game with an old-school feel. If it reminds you of classic Dungeons & Dragons, then it’s pretty much working as intended.
The first tier of this bundle, priced at $11.95, includes the core rules in the form of the Players Handbook. This book will help players to design their characters and learn how to use them in-game. The other books in this tier will help the player to flesh out and equip their character. The full contents are:
- Players Handbook 6th Printing (retail price $20): The complete full-color rulebook with the adaptable, rules-light SIEGE Engine system.
- Rune Lore (retail $20): Three schools of runic magic, 40 new spells, the Rune Mark character class, and a lengthy guide to the Gottland campaign setting.
- Arms & Armor (retail $7): A huge range of weapons and armor from Europe’s early medieval period, all with complete C&C stats.
The second tier, currently priced at a little under $20, is aimed squarely at the GM (or Castle Keepers, in this game’s terminology). The Castle Keepers Guide gives the overall framework for the person running the game, which is then filled out with the details from the other books in this bundle. With these titles, you will have everything you should need to put together a rich and populated setting for your campaign. The contents of this tier are:
- Castle Keepers Guide (retail $35): The massive, indispensable 352-page gamemastering resource.
- Classic Monsters (retail $20): C&C stats and writeups adapted from fantasy roleplaying’s earliest sources, like Monster Manual II and the Fiend Folio.
- Engineering Dungeons (retail $7) and Engineering Castles (retail $7): Two fun and comprehensive collections of tables that let you generate complete random labyrinths and structures.
So, if you do enjoy some old-school RPG action, Castles & Crusades might just be for you.