The only gaming I’ve got going on at the moment is a Castles and Crusades game, a new one. I’m playing a lawful neutral human cleric in a party that also has a pair of paladins. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a group with two paladins, or this heavily skewed toward lawful. It’s just unheard of in my experience. I’m looking forward to seeing how this plays out in the game. I can see the potential for some really interesting developments.
I have visions of a fortress temple from which inquisitors are sent forth to deal with incursions of the chaotic creatures at civilizations edge.
To focus on Castles and Crusades for a moment, overall it’s a pretty solid retro-clone. Mostly d20, with some tweaks. I like how it handles ability checks, for instance. Your ability scores are either primary or secondary based on your race and class, and depending on whether you’re ability check is against a primary stat or a secondary one your challenge base is either 12 or 18. It’s a simple, even elegant solution to handling skill checks.
For as much as I’m enjoying playing it though, it’s not a game I’d run on my own. And I’m having a hard time articulating why. It’s a perfectly serviceable d20 system that does a lot of cleaning up of the various issues that 3.x has. But I feel like it doesn’t have that spark that makes me want to pick up anything besides the players guide. The funny thing is, I’m pretty sure that if I’d had access to it back when 3.5 first came out, I’d have been all over it. Now I think I’ve just been spoiled by all of the awesome that’s come out of the OSR! It just isn’t different enough to really make it stand out in the same way that Adventurer Conqueror King or Dungeon Crawl Classics does, and it doesn’t try to closely emulate a specific previous edition like Swords and Wizardry or Labyrinth Lord.
When it comes down to it, I don’t need another D&D rules set that doesn’t do something *really* unique.
Of course that isn’t going to stop me from playing it! I’m pretty happy to sit down with just about any game and roll some dice.
The funny thing is, I’m pretty sure that if I’d had access to it back when 3.5 first came out, I’d have been all over it. Now I think I’ve just been spoiled by all of the awesome that’s come out of the OSR. I don’t know that I’ll ever get a more interesting set of deities than those found in Petty Gods, a more interesting campaign setting than The Hexenbracken, The Kraal, or The Colossal Wastes of Zhaar,
such variety of adventures in the one Page Dungeon Contest, and more everything in this year’s Secret Santicore.