Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Castles & Crusades and the SIEGE engine™



Recently I’ve had a few friends ask me some questions about the SIEGE engine™ so I figured it’s time to write a short description of Castles & Crusades. It’s been a while since I ran a campaign in C&C so I had to delve back into my 6th printing of the Players Handbook to re-familiarize myself with some of the nuances. For those that have never heard of it before, C&C is a d20 fantasy RPG from Troll Lord Games. It is published under the Open Game License (OGL) derived from the 3.0 System Reference Document, copyright 2000 Wizards of the Coast, Inc.


The first question I usually get is what is C&C and that is quickly followed up with what is this SIEGE engine™? My first response is that C&C is a great fantasy game based off of D&D 3.0 system but it has an AD&D feel. I tend to say it’s a fixed version of D&D with an old school feeling. They use a different mechanic to resolve attribute checks called the SIEGE engine™. You start out with your six standard attributes of Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. During character creation, the player gets to choose which ones are considered primary and the rest are secondary. When the Castle Keeper (CK) asks a player for a Dexterity check, the player rolls a d20 adds his Dexterity modifier and his level to the roll and then tells the CK whether it is a primary or secondary attribute. The SIEGE engine™ uses Challenge Class (CC) to determine the success or failure and it consists of a Challenge Base (CB) and a Challenge Level (CL). The CB is 12 for primary attributes and 18 for secondary attributes. Then the CK will determines if there are any other CL’s to add to the base number.

Let’s use a 3rd level gnome assassin as an example. The assassin class requires Dexterity as a primary attribute. This assassin is attempting to disable a trapped lock on a treasure chest. He rolls a 9 on the d20 then adds his +2 Dexterity modifier for his ability score of 16. Now he adds his level to the roll giving him a total of 14 and tells the CK he rolled a 14 primary. The CK will then figure out the CC of the trapped lock. The CB is 12 for primary abilities and since the lock was prepared by a 2nd level rogue the CL is 2 for a total CC of 14. Success! The gnome has unlocked the treasure chest without setting off the poisoned dart trap. We can use this same example but substitute the gnome assassin for a 3rd level human fighter to try to pick the same lock. The fighter rolls a 16 on the d20 then adds his 0 Dexterity modifier and his level of 3 for a total of 19. Since Dexterity is not a primary attribute for the fighter he tells the CK that he rolled a 19 secondary. The CB is now 18 for secondary attributes plus 2 for the level of the rogue who set the trap. So now the CC changes to 20 for this same lock. The fighter fails and now needs to make a Constitution save for the poison.

Each character class tells you one attribute that must be primary then the player chooses which of the rest will be primary. Humans get a total of 3 primary attributes and the rest of the races only get 2. This is most likely to offset the fact that other races get special abilities and attribute modifiers. Also of note is the table for modifiers which is different from D&D. In C&C an attribute score of 9-12 has a 0 modifier whereas D&D ability scores of 10-11 have a 0 modifier.


Ever since I played in Tyler Morrison’s C&C game at Gary Con VII, I’ve been hooked. When I got back my local group started playing and I was able to CK for close to a year. One of the complaints I heard from people online was about the illusionist’s ability to heal others. I never had a problem with this because I think it makes sense. Let’s think about this for a minute. The character is casting an illusion. Some people argue that an illusion can’t heal a person and they can’t grasp the concept that if a person truly believes that they’ve been healed, then they have been healed. If you truly believe with all of your conviction that something has happened then to you it actually did happen. When a person tells a tall tale to a group and continually tells the same story time and time again. Eventually that person will truly believe the story they tell was a factual event. The illusionist’s ability to heal is similar to this. If you still can’t come to grips with this concept, then just think of it as FM. This is a Fantasy Role Playing Game get over it.