Archive for the ‘Castles & Crusades’ Category

If not covered in this post, assume ‘by the book’ Castles & Crusades will be used during gameplay. Most of the items listed here are based on house rules from Patrick’s Fallen Empire of Tyros gameblog.


Players retain experience point totals between characters and game sessions. So if your 2nd level dwarf dies, you can keep all XP earned and apply it to your new character.

For the campaign kickoff, PCs were allowed to start at 2nd level. For these characters, I will keep track of ‘earned experience’ separately from the ‘free experience’ that you started with. If your character croaks, only your earned XP will apply to the new PC.

Hit Points

Instead of increasing incrementally with each level, a character’s entire hit dice are rerolled when a new level is obtained. Ignore the result if it is lower than the previous hp total. (This is a house rule of impeccable old-school vintage, derived from Professor M.A.R. Barker’s Empire of the Petal Throne).

For Example: Rollo the Ranger is 2nd level with 12 hit points. When he reaches 3rd, he rolls 3d10 HD and gets 16; this is his new hit point total. If the roll was lower than 12, Rollo would still keep his previous total.

This rule only applies to PCs who advance in level during gameplay. If a character is brought in above 1st level, they only get to roll once for hit points. (This rewards players who keep the same PC between adventures.)

For Example: Rollo the Ranger falls in combat and is replaced by Bollo the Bard. In an uncharacteristic fit of pity, the referee allows Bollo to begin play at 3rd level. Bollo rolls 3d10 HD and must keep the hp result, even if it’s triple ones.

There is an exception for 1st level PCs. Characters who begin at 0 XP receive maximum hit points for 1st level.

Attribute Checks

As a house rule in this campaign, each character level improves a PC’s Target Number for checks by 1 for all Attribute checks. A character’s base Target Number (TN) for each Attribute is listed in his character description.

Wizard Implements

Arcanists may use various implements to improve his usefulness to the party. Eldritch wands, wizard staffs, and counterspell rods are my take on Patrick’s wizard house rules.

In addition, wizards and illusionists may create spell scrolls starting at 1st level. The Holmes basic D&D rules will be used for cost and time.

Shields Shall be Splintered!

(The following house rule is taken from J. Brian Murphy’s article in Fight On!, issue #2.) Any time your character suffers damage from an attack, you can opt instead to say your shield bore the brunt of the blow. The shield is shattered and must be discarded, but you don’t take any damage.

In addition, when a character fails a saving throw vs. a magical attack which inflicts physical damage, you can shelter against the power of the spell behind your shield. The character takes damage as if they had saved, but the shield is shattered. (An especially lenient referee might allow you to use your shield even if you do successfully save, eliminating the damage completely).

Magic shields are not immediately destroyed when used in this manner, but every time you use your enchanted shield to absorb damage, it loses one of its plusses. Thus, a +2 shield becomes a +1 shield, and a +1 shield would become a +0 shield. After a shield has been reduced to +0, it shatters the next time it’s used to absorb damage. A damaged shield can have its pluses restored is up (at the discretion of the referee), but it certainly won’t be cheap.

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Here are stat blocks for the current Dwarven Glory PCs (in alphabetical order):

Base Target Numbers (TN) for each Attribute are included in the character descriptions. The PC’s level has already been added to all Target Numbers (as per my Attribute Checks House Rule).

All PCs possess the following dwarven traits: Animosity (-2 on Cha checks with Elves), Deepvision (120’), Determine Depth and Direction, Enmity (+1 to hit Goblins/Orcs), Defensive Expertise (+4 AC vs. Giants/Ogres), Resistant to Arcane Magic (+3), Resistant to Fear (+2), Resistant to Poison (+2), Stonecraft (Wis).


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Instead of returning to Kish, this time the heroes were summoned to discover the fate of two expeditionary merchant parties sent to resume trade with adjacent territories. In this session, Iain played Dwergh Wyrmsbane, Kevin played Grannen Ogreslayer, Xavier returned as Hargad the Knight, and Dan joined as Baul the Monk. There was much joking about Baul’s balls, dwarven secret police, and bath houses.

Given the party’s previous experiences, Doyel the Lackey responsibility was increased to two pack lizards to ensure enough ale and spare axes could be brought along.


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For their third journey to the lost Kish Colony, the PCs delved into the Mines of Kish. In this session, Iain played Dwergh Wyrmsbane, Kevin played Grannen the Rogue (now known as ‘Ogreslayer’), and Derek played Svegnir the Skald.

As usual, Doyel the Lackey acted as trusty hireling and mule-tender. Bannack/Ballock and Hargad remained at Barak Varr for this adventure.


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The following magic items are my takes on Patrick’s wizard house rules. I like the idea of making low-level magic-users more useful, but prefer for them to rely on ‘implements’ (spellbooks, wands, staves, rods, etc.).


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In the second foray to the Hall of Kish, Xavier played Hargad the Knight, clad in gleaming plate mail. Derek played Svegnir the Skald, who nearly had the life crushed out of him. Kevin played Grannen the Independent Contractor, who took the risky role of party scout. And Patrick played Ballock, brother of Bannack (who participated in the original foray).

Dwergh the Warrior (Iain’s PC) had a previous clan commitment and was unavailable for this adventure, but Doyel the Lackey returned as trusty hireling and mule-tender.


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In this first adventure of the Dwarven Glory campaign, Iain played Dwergh the Warrior and Patrick played Bannack the Seer. On this mission, they were accompanied by Wolde the Adept (NPC cleric) and Doyel the Lackey (hireling).


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