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DMing advice

DMing advice
DMing advice | simony

Part 5 - Simple Epic

Part 4 - Low level gods

Part 3 - What matters?

Part 2 - Brevity

Part 1 - Humanity


GMing for Deities

UPDATED 27th March 2007 & 24th April 2007.

Part 5.3: Simple Epic.

Addendum: Below is material updated on the 24th April 2007.

Castles & Crusades Immortals

This takes account of all the comments I've seen re how C&C works. It also avoids the need for 'capping' abilities (like capping spell damage at 20d6, or capping attack bonus at 20th level). It also ties in with the way 1e AD&D worked before Unearthed Arcana mucked things up a bit, and how D&D XP awards were originally supposed to work (ie you don't get 1 million XP for finding a 1 million gp gem!).

Table 1: Castles & Crusades Immortals
C&C Level
Talented Mercenary
Sergeant, Elite Guard
Skilled Mercenary
Lieutenant, Personal Bodyguard
Highest normal NPC level
Mercenary Captain, Knight Errant
Mighty Hero
Lord, High Priest, Colonel, Renowned Wizard
Legendary Hero
Warlord, Archpriest, Archmage
Very High
Epic Hero
Mordridda (Witch), Cu Chulainn (Barbarian)
World Emperor (Cleric), Vainamoinen (Fighter)
Hercules (pre-ascended)
Serven (Knave)
Lesser God
Thrin (Knight), Vidar (Fighter)
Intermediate God
Loki (Knave), Thor (Barbarian)
Greater God
Odin (Spellsword)
Elder One
Old One
First One

*Simon prefers to have Quasi-deity come before Hero-deity.

For deities, there's a minimum level to reach that rank, but also a maximum level after which you need more WPs to reach the next rank & level up, which I think balances the deity path better vs the non-deity uncapped path.

Hit Points for deities:
Demigod: Max
Lesser God: Max + 50%
Intermediate God: Add +1 hp per level
Greater God: Add +1 hp per level
Elder One: Add +1 hp per level
Old One: Add +1 hp per level
First One: Add +1 hp per level

With a maximum of 399, or 400 for pantheon heads.

The only cap I think I need is for monster attack bonus; I give Uniques 1 hit die per 10 hp, but there's a few in Legends & Lore who have over 300 hp, eg the Cthulu Mythos who mostly have 400 hp, which would give 40 hit dice and thus in C&C +40 to hit. I'm thinking of capping monster attack bonus at +30.

XP Award Caps
The standard D&D rule is that you can't level more than once from an award; 1e was even harsher. My idea for C&C is to limit the maximum XP award to the _total_ amount required to reach the next level, eg a 1st level Fighter needs 2,001 so that's his award cap, a 2nd level Fighter needs 4,001 so that's the most XP he can get from a single award. I suggest for C&C an absolute cap of 100,000 XP.

Note that high levels in C&C are not like in 1e. A 1e Fighter 17+ got nothing from levelling except +3 hit points. In C&C your attack bonus, saving throws, and ability checks all continue to go up indefinitely. 10th level characters have almost no chance of saving vs an 18th level Wizard's spells (-8 on the saves), whereas in 1e-2e they could do so easily.

Rapid Attacks
This is the rule I use for C&C. All characters (not monsters) with sufficient Base To Hit can rapid attack, taking a to-hit penalty in exchange for additional attacks. This stacks with Fighter's additional attacks, with two-weapon fighting, etc.

BTH Rapid Attack Extra Attacks To-Hit Penalty (all attacks)
+6 R-1 +1 -5
+11 R-2 +2 -10
+16 R-3 +3 -15

This gives high-BTH characters something to do with all that excess to-hit capacity and helps them stayed matched up vs spellcasters of similar level.

Part 5.2: Simple Epic.

Addendum: Below is material updated on the 27th March 2007.

Converting High Level NPCs from D&D to C&C
(Because of the way CnC works, high level characters are more powerful than in D&D)

Levels are converted as follows:

Table 2: Converting D&D Levels to Castles & Crusades Levels
D&D Level
C&C Level


e.g. Marradin Wiz 30 works out as Wiz-13.

e.g. In Wilderlands campaign, the 50th level World Emperor converts to Wiz 13.

e.g. Thrin 117th level converts to Ftr 22.

For the Legends & Lore deities I'll mostly use their highest listed level, lowering where appropriate.

Here's how Thrin looks under this conversion, his listed level is far lower but his relative power is I think actually higher because he was bumping against caps (like THACO-10 max, hp 399 max) already. I'm not planning to use Thrin in all likelihood but I thought it was worth converting him as an upper baseline to work down from for high level NPCs.

THRIN (god of swordsmanship, patron of cavaliers)
Lesser God

ARMOR CLASS: 35 (40 using Redeemers Defender ability)
MOVE: 120/30
HIT POINTS: 306 (612 home plane)

BTH: +20, Melee +31

NO. OF ATTACKS: 2 (1+1), ATT +31/+26 off-hand Defending
Rapid: 4 (2+2) at BTH+15, ATT +26/+21 off-hand Defending
Max Rapid: 6 (4+2) at BTH+5, ATT +16/+11 off-hand Defending

SA: When Rapid Attacking with swords, Thrin gets 2 attacks with his off-hand sword.

DAMAGE/ATTACK: 2d12 (+11, +6 off-hand Defending)
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Immune to magic sword special abilities.
MAGIC RESISTANCE: SR 31 (level +10)
SIZE: M (6'8")
ALIGNMENT: Lawful Good
SYMBOL: Crossed Swords
FIGHTER: 21st level KNIGHT

S: 25X (+6) I: 21 (+4) W: 25 (+6) D: 25X (+6) C: 25 (+6) CH: 20X (+4)

Hit Points: (10 + 6) x10 = 160 + 44 = 204 x1.5 (Divine HP Multiplier) = 306

(Personal) Magic Items:
- "Avenger": (a.k.a. The Sword of Thrin) Intelligent +5 Longsword of Sharpness
(Base damage increased to 2d12).
- "Redeemer": Intelligent +3 Longsword Defender/Sharpness/Sunblade (Base Damage
increased to 2d12).
- Dragon Scale Armour (forged from a Great Wyrm Albino Dragon), +13 AC.
- Amulet of Dragon Warding. Ring of Protection +6 AC, Scarab of Protection (24
Charges), Gloves of Missile Snaring, Helm of Brilliance, Stone of Good Luck,
Necklace of Adaptation, Bracers of Archery, Phylactery of Long Years, Talisman
of Pure Good (3 Charges), Periapt vs. Poison, Horn of Blasting, Cloak of
Protection +5 Saves, Brooch of Shielding (100 Charges), Bag of Holding (1000lb
capacity), Rod of Security (40 Charges), Ioun Stone (Absorb up to 8th-level
spells, 72 Charges), Gem of Insight, Oil of Sharpness (3 uses).

A few additional notes...

X means it's a Prime, giving +6 all skill checks & saving throws.

C&C bonuses are same as the old Basic to Immortals line:

24-25: +6
22-23: +5
20-21: +4
18-19: +3
16-17: +2
13-15: +1

Mortals are capped at '19', true gods (Lesser+) at 25. Storm giants have ST 24, giving +6 damage.

I looked at converting Tiamat to C&C - works out as a 23 hit dice critter with 228 hit points, ATT +23. So Thrin could still kick her ass. :+) [Editor's Note: As it damn well should be!]

Under the rules I'm using (adapted from Rules Cyclopedia), the greatest huge ancient wyrm red dragons have 22 hit dice, ATT +22 176 hp, and do 88 damage on a breath attack.

Part 5.1: Simple Epic.

[Editors Note: This article is designed for epic Castles & Crusades campaigns.]

After more than six years of 3e we switched to C&C last December. I had grown disillusioned with the weight of number crunching that GMing 3e required, especially for spellcasters, and my current campaign PCs are at around 9th level, I wanted a simple and robust system that would not bog down in the double-figure levels. I had previously GM'd 3e to 18th level and the final 6-7 levels really weren't much fun, spellcasters totally dominated play. In the climactic battle of the campaign the Wizard PC had practically wiped out the enemy with 2 Horrid Wiltings before the plate-armoured Fighter could get 1 attack! C&C looks simpler, more flexible, with more of an old-style feel, and
doesn't try to 'take the GM out of the equation'.

I think C&C works fine for epic play; its progressions work better than 1e and for a rules-light game it's better than 3e, which for me gets too rules-heavy around 12th level.

One thing - after spending some time with C&C, I've decided that its 1-12 level tables rather than 3e's 1-20 is deliberate; comparing C&C PCs to monsters, a 12th level C&C PC is about the equivalent of a 3e 20th; ie the highest 'non epic'.

So I've settled on 3e to C&C level conversion as follows:

1-8: Same
9-11: 9
12-14: 10
15-17: 11
18-20: 12

And roughly the same 3-1 level conversion at 21+.

This allows you to use 'epic'/extra-planar monster stats for C&C similar to those from 1e AD&D, if you have the old sources there's minimum conversion work;

e.g. a Balor/Type VI demon has 8+8 hd, a Pit Fiend has 13 hit dice, and can threaten C&C PCs in the 13th-15th level range.

For demon princes, arch devils and such, taking the 1e stats and increasing hit points by 50% looks about right, eg Yeenoghu 150 hit points, Asmodeus 299 hit points. You may wish to double hp on home plane if you don't want too much "go to Abyss, kill Lolth" play. If you stat deities from 1e Legends & Lore, Odin would have 600 hp, doubled on home plane. In 1e Greater gods cast at 30th level, lesser at 20th, and that's a reasonable guide to the level range of the party that could take on gods in C&C.

This 1e-in-mind conversion I think makes C&C a viable ruleset for epic trans-planar play in the 13th-30th level range; advancement should be slow, perhaps 10-15 sessions per level, and 30th level could reasonably be considered max or Divine level; equivalent of 36th in BECMI.

Monster AC

On AC vs BTH; I think running C&C the main thing is to get away from the 3e idea that it's some kind of GM failure if the Fighter PC can hit the foe on a '2'. Epic warrior-type PCs should reasonably be able to hit most foes on a 2 IMO, I don't think many if any monsters should have ACs over 30. I give Rogues BTH +1/2 levels same as Clerics, and I think if you're designing high-level monsters it's
better to give them an AC around a 14+1/2 hit dice model, so eg 30 hit dice Epic critter might have AC 29, making it hittable by eg a 20th level Cleric with BTH+10, probably ATT +18 or so (say +5 weapon & gauntlets of ogre power), on an 11+.

Next: Part 6 - The joys of parenthood...probably. :-p

Unless stated otherwise, all content © 2001-2007 Craig Cochrane. All rights reserved.