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Castles & Crusades Classic Monsters The Manual 1st printing
by John T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/15/2015 18:27:52

Castles & Crusades is one of the best systems since AD&D. Smooth, easy-to-use, but with higher number AC scores, so your brain doesn't fry when you think about it.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades Classic Monsters The Manual 1st printing
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Castles & Crusades Monsters & Treasure
by John T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/15/2015 18:27:39

Castles & Crusades is one of the best systems since AD&D. Smooth, easy-to-use, but with higher number AC scores, so your brain doesn't fry when you think about it.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades Monsters & Treasure
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Castles & Crusades Of Gods & Monsters
by John T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/15/2015 18:27:20

Castles & Crusades is one of the best systems since AD&D. Smooth, easy-to-use, but with higher number AC scores, so your brain doesn't fry when you think about it.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades Of Gods & Monsters
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Castles & Crusades Fantastic Adventure
by Paxton K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/11/2015 11:54:56

If you a re looking for a quick fantasy start for new characters this is it. Other than that, it is not really a module; but could be part of a world to start new characters.

My rating is mostly based on a slightly misleading product description.

You should know what you are getting.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades Fantastic Adventure
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Castles & Crusades: Martial Artist Class
by Sylvia R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/11/2015 07:52:58

This pdf contains 7 pages absolutely packed with good, useful information It includes everything anyone needs to know about creating a martial artist class - schools, skills, special moves and weapons. Even if you don't want to use it for a PC class, it would sure add some depth to a special NPC. I bought it on sale for 70 cents so it was REALLY good value!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades: Martial Artist Class
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Castles & Crusades: 100 More Calamitous Curses
by Sylvia R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/11/2015 07:34:49

I enjoyed this as much as I did the first volume (100 Calamitous Curses). I'd be hard pressed to come up with an easier and more fun way to spice up a game or to keep PCs on their toes. Well done!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades: 100 More Calamitous Curses
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Castles & Crusades: 100 Calamitous Curses
by Sylvia R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/11/2015 07:28:14

This is a great little book. Wonderful ideas and lots of fun. I have only tried a few so far but look forward to using more. I especially liked the Curse of the Liar's Lips. In my game the poor PC was asked (by a gigantic barbarian) "Did you sleep with my daughter?" He hadn't but under the influence of the curse, answered "Yes sir." The battle lasted 20 minutes and started a war between two tribes! Really good value! I liked it so much I also bought "100 More Calamitous Curses?!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades: 100 Calamitous Curses
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Castles & Crusades Death in the Treklant
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/09/2015 06:23:57

Originally published at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2015/02/09/tabletop-review-death-in-the-treklant-castles-crusades/

Back in December I did a feature/unboxing on the leather-bound copies of Castles & Crusades‘ Player’s Handbook and Monsters & Treasure. The unboxing included many of the Kickstarter extras from crowdfunding those releases including the Death in the Treklant trilogy. If you click back to the unboxing you can see all three physical releases. Now Troll Lord games has bundled all three together in a digital collection and given the titles a shockingly low price of $6.99. That’s pretty incredible. I’m glad other people will now be able to get these adventures as they’re really quite good and every Castles & Crusades fan should get a chance to enjoy them, even if they missed the Sixth Printing Kickstarter.

Death in the Treklant contains three adventures. Together they comprise a nice mini campaign to introduce new players to the Castles & Crusades system. Vakhund: Into the Unknown is for characters Levels 1-2. Dzeebagd: Under Dark & Misty Ground is the second adventure and it is for characters Levels 2-4. Felsenthein: Dogs of War is the third and final adventure and is designed for characters Levels 3-5. Each adventure is designed for between four and six players and it is suggested as least two characters be warrior types and at least one be a cleric. Of course, this is good advice for most low level adventures, so take heed you newcomers. All three of these adventures were originally released in 2000-2001, but have been out of print until the PHB Kickstarter. So long time Troll Lord may already know or have these adventurer. To be honest though, I’ve been playing C&C since its first printing and this was my first time experiencing these adventures, so maybe not.

Vakhund has your beginning characters acting as bodyguards for a caravan. A wealthy merchant and his daughter are travelling with the caravan, but one thing leads to another and the daughter is kidnapped. The merchant hires the PCs to get her back. It’s a pretty straightforward plot hook for introductory characters. What follows is primarily encounters with goblins and hungry animals. Hey, this is for Level 1 characters after all, so you won’t be fighting werewolves or flesh golems. Much of the adventure is set up for the Castle Keeper. It is filled with many NPCs who all have basic stat blocks and a detailed back story. Because of this, the adventurer is pretty evenly split between talking heads, narration and combat. This even split allows gamers to experience all aspects of a RPG instead of being a straight up hack and slash dungeon crawl or nothing but intrigue and politicking. The adventure culminates with tracking down the daughter and saving her from the band of kidnappers and also a race of monstrous creatures known as the Urk. There’s a pretty powerful end boss in this piece and an even more powerful monster called Pejznog that you might want to avoid if possible. With these two, expect the mortality rate of the PCs to be high. Still, it’s an excellent way to learn the basics of C&C and the dungeons are small enough to see interesting without turning into dungeon crawls.

The second adventure Dzeebagdcontinues the story if you decide to play the campaign instead of making Vakhund a one-shot or stand-alone. With this adventure it is implied that the merchant’s daughter is still in the clutches of nefarious evil doers and you must journey farther into the goblin kingdoms to rescue her. Dzeebagd also starts to fill in some of the blanks missing from the first adventure such as why the young woman was kidnapped. Dzeebagd really fleshes out the story of Vakhund further and helps players see how adventures can interconnect as well as the difference between a campaign and an adventure. Again, these adventures are really great if you are introducing C&C to a group of newcomers, while veterans might find them a little hand-holding for their experience level.

Besides the continuation of the kidnapping plot, there are several other interesting sub-plots that come up in Dzeebagd. This including a goblin warlord getting too big for his britches, and group of refugees being systematically wiped out that have gotten so desperate they are hiding in a dungeon. Players will have to contend with both of these problems in addition to the original plot hook that brought them this far.

Much of the first half of Dzeebagd revolves around random encounters. If, like me, you eschew this concept, the adventure will be pretty short. I’m not a fan of stock filler, but at the same time, if you want the PCs to be able to survive these three adventures, a bit of grinding will be needed. My advice is a bit of a comprise and structure when and where characters will encounter potential threats or allies. Many of the random choices are one time affairs that add color to the overall adventure, which is one of the reasons I like C&C so much. Their random encounters tend to be meaningful and not throwaway hack and slash. Unlike Vakhund though, much of Dzeebagd is a straight up dungeon crawl, so be prepared for the dynamic shift between the two adventures.

Finally we come to the third and shortest adventure in the set Felsentheim. This adventure has a significant increase in difficulty for the both the Castle Keeper’s and the players. Not only is there a lot of combat, but the PCs will be taking part in a large scale battle, which is something that be hard for even experienced gamers. As such the Castle Keeper has to really do a lot of prep work to ensure this adventure runs smoothly. Thankfully Felsentheim gives truncated rules for running a large scale adventure towards the back so that should hold a less experienced CK’s hand SOMEWHAT. Again though, this is one you’re going to want to read several times and take copious notes for to ensure it plays properly.

There isn’t a lot more to that adventure than fighting. You have a chase scene, a couple of set encounters and some minor NPC discussions, but this is pretty much one big fight. It’s a fine climax to the previous two battles, but for those looking to use Felsentheim as a one shot, you might be a bit disappointed.

Overall Death in the Treklant is an excellent collection and the $6.99 price tag makes this an unbelievable deal. In print, each of these adventures would cost you $7.99 so you’re getting the set for more than two-thirds off by purchasing digitally. That’s a must buy for any C&C fan. These adventures still hold up fifteen years later, and if you’re looking for something new to use with your C&C troupe or just looking for an excuse to try Castles and Crusades as a system, you should definitely consider picking up Death in the Treklant. You’ll get your money’s worth and then some with this one.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades Death in the Treklant
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Castles & Crusades A Druid's Lament
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/08/2015 08:30:36

Originally posted at: This year’s Free RPG Day release from Troll Lord Games is an adventure entitled A Druid’s Lament. Note that the title page calls the adventure, “The Druid’s Lament,” but the cover reads “A Druid’s Lament.” Not a big deal, but you’ll probably be able to do a search for either if you look for a copy down the road. A Druid’s Lament is designed for a party of four to six characters between Levels 6 and 8. That’s a pretty high character build for a gateway adventure, but the adventure is pretty short and easy so newcomers shouldn’t have a problem if guided by an experienced GM or player in the group. The adventure also comes with six pre-generated 7th Level characters, so you don’t even need to bother with character creation. As this is NOT a set of Quick Start Rules, you will need someone who has access to at least the Castles & Crusades Player’s Handbook. Either that, or you’ll have to pick it up at the same gaming store where you got this year’s free adventure.

Like a lot of Castles & Crusades adventures I seem to review, A Druid’s Lament is a lot easier if you have a Druid and or Ranger in your party. The pregens contain one of each so you’re in luck there. The core adventure revolves a good NPC and their good intentions going disastrously bad. So bad in fact, the PCs will have to come in and clean up the mess. In many ways the adventure reminds me a lot of Ravenloft and how curses worked in the old AD&D Second Edition setting. Retro gamers may find it ports well to that system. C&C and AD&D are pretty close to each other, so it shouldn’t take a lot of work on the part of a DM/Castle Keeper. Anyway, the adventure has the PCVs having to put a bunch of clues together, starting with a strangely murdered family, a haunted forest and a spirit of rage and revenge that did its duty and then some.

A decent part of the adventure will take place in the town of Sherwood where you’ll meet NPCs and be pointed in the right direction. From there you’ll wander through a forest and engage in a small dungeon crawl. There isn’t a lot of combat to this piece, with six or seven battles at most. There isn’t a wandering monster table either. I personally never use those, but I know some people do, so you’ll have to make your own if you want to pad this adventure out. One of the things I think is interesting is that the boss of the adventure is not the hardest opponent in the piece. There is a tougher antagonist but you don’t have to fight it. Heck, it might even befriend you if you use your mouth instead of your blade. I thought that was a really nice touch. It’s a fairly easy adventure over all, and the PCs should be able to breeze through this thanks to always having a numbers advantage unless they get really unlucky with their die rolls or just randomly attack things. The focus of A Druid’s Lament really is on the story and the characterization of the NPCs the players encounter, so while the adventure does balance hack and slash and talking heads nicely, the Castle Keeper should take care to keep the emphasis on characters over combat if they really want to get the most out of this piece.

In the end, A Druid’s Lament is a very short adventure that can be played in a single session. The adventure itself is only six pages long, with the rest going to the cover, a title page with legal mumbo jumbo, a full page drawing, a map of the dungeon type location players will have to find and tread through and a page for two new magic items and the pre-generated characters. Yes, the pregens all fit into a little under half a page, which saves space but the Castle Keeper running this might want to spread the stats out into a full character sheet for easier reading.

For a free adventure, A Druid’s Lament is quite nice. It’s short and sweet, giving newcomers a great look at what they can expect from Castles & Crusades while also being quite fun for long time fans of the system. With the seventh printing of Castles & Crusades coming out later this year, you might just want to pick up A Druid’s Lament now and use it when the core rulebooks get released in full color (and for some lucky few, with swanky leather covers to boot!) Be warned though, each Free RPG Day 2014 box only comes with three copies of this adventure, compared to five to fifteen copies of everything else, so this will be hard to get, especially if you live in an area with a lot of C&C fans. You can’t go wrong for the price point, and if it leads you or some of your friends to try out the C&C system as a while, so much the better.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades A Druid's Lament
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Castles & Crusades Reaping Bones
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/08/2015 08:29:42

Originallyy posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2014/06/04/tabletop-review-castles-crusades-reaping-bones/

Reaping Bones was originally a convention exclusive to those that attended Reaper Miniatures ReaperCon 2014 earlier this year. However, Kickstarter backers for the extremely successful crowdfunding campaign Troll Lord Games did for their sixth printing received a digital copy as well. Now there are some differences between the two. Apparently the physical ReaperCon version came with pregenerated characters and some basic rules on how to play, while the Kickstarter digital copy was just the adventure. Not a big deal in the scheme of things, but I would definitely track down a physical copy of the ReaperCon version for all the bells and whistles if you really want to get a copy

The name Reaping Bones is a play on Reaper Miniatures Bones lines of Minis. Get it? Reaper Bones – Reaping Bones? Ho ho ho. Well, at least there are plenty of skeletons to fight in the adventure so the title isn’t just a play on words. A horde of the undead isn’t the core focus of the adventure, so the title may through off people who think this is where clerics and paladins will shine brightest.

Reaping Bones is designed for three to five players who have characters between Levels 4 and 6. The adventure advises that an elf, druid or ranger will be extremely useful here and I have to agree. Tracking and woodland knowledge will really help you get through this short but tough adventure. As a big fan of Druids, I always love how C&C has several adventures giving them the spotlight.

The core story has your players being hired to track down the kidnapped son of your leader, Lord Brian of Helliwell. In exchange for money, title and land, your party has to find the orcs that kidnapped the young boy and do away with them. Of course, since this is a convention adventure, you might expect Reaping Bones to stay that straightforward. It doesn’t. As players will discover a third party who wants the boy gets involved and so the party will have to figure out who actually has the child. There are also some subquests and potential NPC allies or enemies to be had. In the end you do have to face several dozen skeletons and a pretty unexpected end boss. Completing the adventure should only take a single session lasting a few hours (There are only eleven pages of content, after all) and it’s a nice blend of hack and slash combat with actual role-playing. There’s nothing here really out of the ordinary (although there are two new spells introduced here), and you’ll walk away with a nice understanding of how Castles & Crusades plays coupled with a nice look at some classic monsters and how different C&C adventures can be from the typical high fantasy tabletop RPG. Now some longtime C&C fans or veteran tabletop gamers might fight this piece a bit too simplistic, but you have to remember it was designed to introduce miniature painters and gamers to a tabletop RPG, so the target audience was a bit different with this one.

Overall, Reaping Bones is an excellent, if short, little freebie. Hey, I’ll take good and free over bad but long and pricey any day, wouldn’t you? GMs can definitely pad this out if needed with random encounters and even turn the piece into the start of a full campaign. After all, once you collect the child, there is still the core reason it was kidnapped in the first place. A clever GM can make several adventures out of the dangling plot threads in this one. Would I actively scour the third party market for a physical copy of this? No, I wouldn’t. Am I happy with it as a Kickstarter backer freebie? Most definitely. It’s certainly an adventure I would use with new and veteran C&C players alike. It’s well thought out, light enough to give new comers a taste of how the game works and it is fun. You don’t really need much more than that.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades Reaping Bones
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Winds of Fate
by Donald F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/05/2015 22:01:17

BLUF: A very good read. It kept me entertained throughout and looking forward to additional stories about The Brotherhood. The story is primarily written from the point of view of the main character Gehenna, with occasional forays to other characters in order to move/develop the story. Ultimately I am glad I purchased the story and I definitely recommend it.

The Good: The authors created a cast of characters that you could pull for throughout the story (though it is perhaps begrudgingly with the Wizard Draxton, who is a first class ass). Indeed, at the end of the book you are looking forward to what the group will tackle next. The overall story hooked me and I finished it over the course of three evenings (staying up perhaps a bit too late). I liked how the Authors developed the characters with both strengths and flaws, that they made mistakes/poor choices and had to deal with the consequences of them.

The Bad: There were a few times where the authors chose to "skip" a bit of time/action and the reader was brought in on what occurred through dialogue between the characters or through a characters thoughts. I found these a bit awkward and confusing each time it occurred in the story. Also it would have been nice if some of the supporting characters were fleshed out a bit more. I certainly hope they are in future stories.

Other Thoughts: I had been contemplating this book for a bit, but the lack of reviews/ratings had kept me away. I ended up pulling the trigger during the huge Troll Lord sale when it was deeply discounted figuring I wouldn't be out much if I didn't like it. I am glad I did as it was an entertaining read. I figured I would write a review so that others could see it is worth picking up.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Winds of Fate
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King's Table
by Michael C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/27/2015 01:04:06

This is a three page PDF. The first page is the cover, the third a lame form of the game board (It's a grid). The second page is a rudimentary rule set for hnefatafl - which can easily be Googled (not their exact text, but the rules to play by). There isn't even a page with printable game pieces.

What I had hoped for was some discussion of the history of the game, perhaps some rules variants, and some discussion of strategy.

At $2.50, this product isn't nearly worth the price.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
King's Table
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Storyteller's Thesaurus
by Tim L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/16/2014 07:03:41

By James M. Ward and Anne K. Brown, The Storyteller's Thesaurus is more a group of words for storytellers needing a trigger, an idea, a different way of describing things (eminating magic instead of firing spells). For example, under Facial Features you get everything from cheeks (apple-cheeks) to dental work (partial plate).

A chapter on characters (this a fantasy work so Race and Species are considered equal footing), architecture & property, and a huge alphabetical index.

Will you ever need to describe a different dwarf race with apple cheeks but a character with a partial plate as a description? Maybe so. You now have a quirky (I believe James M. Ward did the original beloved Gamma World) theme/thausari grouping that gives you a basis to not only explore further but provides words you probably never thought of.

Recommended with Instant GM and especially The GMs Real-World Reference for really weird cross-links.

I hope one day this will be offered in print-on-demand format.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Storyteller's Thesaurus
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Castles & Crusades Night of the Sprits
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/30/2014 06:32:37

Originally posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2014/10/30/tabletop-review-night-of-the-spirits-castles-crusades/

Night of the Spirits is a Halloween inspired adventure for Castles & Crusades, one of my favorite OSR style games. Of course, this Halloween is not your usual dressing up in costumes and getting treats or even a survival horror adventure heavily influenced by some Hollywood hack and slash flick. No, this adventure is based on the Celtic version of the holiday Samonios (or Samhain for the Celts amongst you). It lasted three nights and was a time when the worlds of mortals and monsters drew nigh and one could easily cross between them. This particular adventure will pit a team of PCs (Back cover says 4-8 between levels 4-6 but the inside cover says for 3-5 characters between Levels 4-6. There’s a typo somewhere!) against a Dark Druid who seeks to control the Wild Hunt into destroying his enemies. If successful, the Dark Druid will take control of the druidic order in the isles and turn it into something horrible. The players have the three nights of Samonios to uncover the conspiracy and save the village of Henlwyn.

Night of the Spirits can be ran as a direct sequel of To Kill a King which won our “Best Adventure” award in the 2014 Tabletop Gaming Awards. It can also be played as a one shot or shoved into Castles & Crusades campaigns. It’s that versatile. That said, it does have heavy Celtic roots and leanings, so you might want to be familiar with Celtic mythology or own/have read the Codex Celtarum sourcebook for Castles & Crusades. Night of the Spirits is also a VERY linear adventure, but it was purposely designed that way. After all, the adventure takes the characters through three nights of escalating horror and combat. There’s no way this piece could be made in an open world or sandbox style of adventure. Your characters can still totally investigate false leads and go in totally opposite directions as the adventure intends. That will always be true of any adventure. However since each night of the adventure is so fully planned out, the PCs and their players will have very little chance or opportunity to go off rails.

The first night of the adventure is pretty simple. It’s mostly setup, exploring a forest and there is only a single planned encounter with some bandits. The second night escalates things to include random encounters, exploring other villages, searching for missing people, a costume party of sorts, more bandits and some actual monsters. The final night is where things get big as hopefully you will have put together enough clues to figure out who is behind things and initiate the boss battle. Of course it is quite possible for the Dark Druid to succeed if the players aren’t clever enough to solve the mystery and if that occurs, your campaign will be radically altered. It’s a great piece that balances hack and slash combat with really testing the mental mettle of both the players and their characters. Most OSR adventures do revolve around dungeon crawling or straight combat, and that’s probably why I love Castles & Crusades so much – they never fail to create some highly original outside the box adventures for high fantasy.

Night of the Spirits is a pretty straightforward linear adventure that can be played in only one or two sessions. It has a fun thematic story, and it’s the perfect time of year to play or run this adventure. Best of all, it’s currently only ninety-nine cents, which means any gamer, even one that has never played Castles & Crusades should strongly consider picking this up. It’s highly compatible with any other OSR system, including Dungeons & Dragons itself. This means even if you own something like Swords & Wizardry you can convert Night of the Spirits to your preferred high fantasy game with little to no effort. Heck, you could even make this work with something like Dungeon World or Pathfinder. With Night of the Spirits costing less than a dollar, I can’t think of a reason why you wouldn’t pick this up unless you just hate tabletop RPG…and if that is the case, why are you reading this review? This is a great way to get an adventure for extremely cheap AND see why I’m such a big proponent of Castles & Crusades in the first place. It’s a well-balanced piece that exudes a fine Halloween atmosphere without being overly cheesy or hamfisting the theme into an adventure. No, Samhain is pivotal to the adventure and Night of the Spirits makes for an excellent adventure to play or run on Halloween. It’s not especially horrifying or Ravenloft-esque, but it is a fun fantasy affair that showcases what makes Castles & Crusades such a great system.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades Night of the Sprits
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Castles & Crusades Monsters & Treasure
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/13/2014 15:39:48

Originally published at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2014/09/26/tabletop-review-castles-crusades-monsters-treasure/

Back in June, 685 gamers contributed to the Castles & Crusades Kickstarter, allowing Troll Lord Games to put out a Sixth printing of the Player’s Handbook, along with new printings of Monsters & Treasure and the Castle Keeper’s Guide. For the first time, all three core C&C rulebooks would be released in full colour with glossy pages. For a long time Castles & Crusades gamer who has been there since the beginning, this was a pretty sweet deal and I happily jumped on board.

Now I should point out that this version of Monsters & Treasure is more than a mere reprint with color pages. The previous printing was under 130 pages, while the newest printing is 178. Some of this is because the new printing has a larger, easier to read font size. Some of this is the new artwork made especially for this book, and some of it is slightly altered/edited content. This is NOT a new edition of Monsters & Treasure a la the Fifth Edition Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual that also comes out this month, but simply a reprinting. This means that if you own a previous printing of Monsters & Treasure, you don’t really need this one. You already pretty much own this book. Now if you WANT to buy a new printing for the new layout, color artwork, glossy pages and/or to support Troll Lord Games for making such an awesome product, then by all means – do so. However, your old version will work just as well. Again – this is NOT a new edition. You can always check out my review of the Player’s Handbook from this printing to see how the first printing, fifth printing and sixth printing all are pretty similar themselves. All that said, if you have to get a copy of Monsters & Treasure, you might as well start with this latest full color printing once it is available to the general public.

Now at 178 pages, Monsters & Treasure is pretty slim compared to some other bestiaries. The 5e Monster Manual is twice the page count at 352 pages, and it’s JUST monsters. Numenera‘s Ninth World Bestiary is about the same size and that game has only been out for a year, so you would think after all these years and printings, that Troll Lord Games would beef up poor old Monsters & Treasure by now. Alas, it is not to be. Of course, Monsters & Treasure is a fraction of the cost of the 5e Monster Manual so the reduced price of the C&C bestiary matches the reduced page count. That said, if you find that Monsters & Treasure doesn’t have all the cannon fodder and antagonists you need it to, you might want to invest in Tome of the Unclean or Classic Monsters. Both are fairly cheap and contain a good deal of monsters to supplement the core Monsters & Treasure book. Monsters & Treasure does have all the big name creatures like dragons, vampires, werewolves, elementals, golems, orcs and more, so you probably should start with this one.

Aesthetically, Monsters & Treasure has never looked better. Sure a lot of the art is reused and is simply in color now, but after years of black and white only books from Troll Lord Games, I can’t express how fantastic this thing is in colour. The inking and colouring jobs make the piece look like they always were in color. It’s gorgeous. I really enjoy a lot of the new art too, especially the cover where that Ranger is about to shoot an arrow down the gullet of a red dragon. Simply beautiful. Of course, as great as the art is, Monsters & Treasure is not a coffee table book to gaze at, but a collection of stat blocks for you to fit into your Castles & Crusades oriented adventures. Of course, mechanics is where Castles & Crusades is terrific and because 99% of the stat blocks are the same as in previous printings (typos and errata have been fixed), you should be able to make use of any of these monsters in any of your OSR/retro-clone games without any trouble. Each monster entry is primary stats and mechanics with only a paragraph of descriptive text for each creature/race. If there is more text, it is generally about specific powers said creature has or an explanation on how the Castle Keeper can use them in combat. So if you are looking for a lot of fluff and prose about the creatures in question, Monsters & Treasure is probably not the book for you. If you are a veteran gamer and don’t need to be told what an orc is or how a vampire comes to be, then you can just absorb the stats, mechanics and strategies each entry contains.

Of course, the book is Monsters and Treasure, so I should probably talk about the loot side of the book as well. Usually magic items and treasure are found in a games Dungeon Master’s Guide equivalent. Not so with Castles & Crusades. I’m not sure why Troll Lord games does it this way, but I have no complaints. Part of the reason PCs kill monster is for their treasure after all, so it makes sense to have them both in a single, easy to reference, tome. The treasure section is only about fifty-five pages of the book, so while it’s not the majority of the content, it is nice to see a significant amount of content on the topic.

In the treasure section of Monsters & Treasure, you are primarily given information on magic items, including how to make them. That’s always helpful. There’s even a handy-dandy chart for the gold cost of items other than scrolls and potions. For those on the other side of things, there’s also a section on how to DESTROY magic items. Several pages are also devoted to sentient items and special abilities they might possess. Something you might not expect to find in the Treasure section is the “Lands and Titles” piece. Here you’ll learn about how each character class gathers followers and what they do with land. It’s an interesting piece for when your characters get mid to high level.

Other than that, the magic item section is pretty standard for the genre. You have lots of tables that are broken down into types of items followed by a list of what the items of that type are. After all the charts are detailed descriptions about each item be it a magical sword or boots of the north. For those that are curious, yes you will see classic D&D items like the Deck of Many Things, Rings of Protection and the Robe of the Archimagi. Remember, Castles & Crusades is an OSR game and uses the OGL.

All in all, Monsters & Treasure is pretty much the same as it has always been, but in a new fantastic all-color package. If you’re brand new to Castles & Crusades, I can’t recommend this game highly enough. If you are a veteran of C&C like myself and already have a Monsters & Treasure book in your possession, you don’t NEED to get this version as it is almost exactly the same as previous printings. Still, if you like the larger font, full color art and the like, you can always pick this up as a spare or even give your older printing to a friend to help get them into the hobby. Again, if you’re looking for a high quality retro-clone fantasy game, Castles & Crusades is one of the best. There’s no better time to jump on the bandwagon then now!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades Monsters & Treasure
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