Monday, 23 March 2015

Crypts & Things Remastered

Here's a Kickstarter that I backed: Crypts & Things Remastered.

I like the orginal Crypts & Things - it is a neat swords & sorcery-specific take on Swords & Wizardry. The game has tough, human-only PCs, magic is risky (and magic items even more so), there is a simple but effective 'skill system' based on Saving Throws, and the GM advice (and list of inspirational material) is top notch. I find it to be a more effective evocation of the swords & sorcery genre than Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea, though AS&SH, which I like a lot, is a very clean and well put together 'Advanced' OSR game. I'd use AS&SH over AD&D1e, (and happily allow demi-humans, pulling the rules straight from the 1e PHB), but if I wanted to run straight-up OSR swords & sorcery I'd choose C&T.

But where AS&SH was clean, well-edited, with a consistent art style throughout, C&T had more than its fair share of typos (sorry Newt) and featured a broad mix of art, some very good, some a little rough. I'd imagine that to some readers these superficial vices might obscure the many virtues of the game. So I was very pleased to find out the C&T is getting 'remastered'. The most obvious change will be a consistent art style, with David M Wright providing the art for the entire book, and a thorough re-edit. But there will also be changes to the system - but importantly none which break its basic compatibility with OSR games and classic D&Ds. I am particularly looking forward to the replacement of Saving Throws with a Test Your Luck mechanic, and expansion of the PC background table, and a streamlined system of consequences for the use of Black Magic - PC sorcerers tempted to use darker magic accumulate corruption points! That said, it sounds like the use of White Magic now carries its own consequences too - using magic to resist corruption and protect life attracts the attention of... things.

With a week to go, it looks like Crypts & Things:Remastered will hit all its stretch goals, and all backers get immediate access to the Beta. It is this kind of thing that makes me really excited about the OSR - for all its distinct flavour, it is fundamentally intercompatible with AD&D 2e and earlier editions, their clones, and other derived games.

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