Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Reveiw: Castles & Crusades Monsters

I love monsters. I love monster books. My first introduction to AD&D was via the 1st ed Monster Manual and I was instantly hooked.  So these tomes always have a special place in my heart.

Castles & Crusades actually has a number of monster books.  Each has a slightly different focus.
The Castles & Crusades Monster stat block is a nice combination of Basic's simplicity, 1st AD&D's comprehensiveness, and some 3.x style rules.  Saves are simple (Physical, Mental or both), AC is ascending and there is a "Challenge Rating" stat and XP all factored in.  Honestly it really is a synthesis of the best of D&D. Grabbing a monster from another source and converting on the fly really could not be easier.

Castles & Crusades Monsters & Treasure
This is the main monster and treasure book for C&C.  Here you will find what I call the "classic" monsters from the great Monster Manual.  If you are familiar with 3.x then these are all the monsters from the SRD in C&C's format.  There is plenty of new text here though to make this more than just another SRD-derived book.  Like all the C&C books the art and layout is great.  I have the physical book, the pdf and a printout of the PDF and all read great.

This book though is more than just a monster book, all the treasure and magic items (normally found in a Game Master's book) are here.  This is a nice feature really.  One place to have your encounter information.

This really is a must have book for any C&C fan. 128 pages and full of everything you need.

Castles & Crusades Of Gods & Monsters

A collection of gods and monsters from various myths and legends. It immediately reminds you of the of Deities and Demigods, but it is closer in format to the earlier Gods, Demigods and Heroes.

The myths are well represented, though there are a few oddities. The Greek and Roman myths are separate and the demi-human myths could have been left out, but that being said, the book is top notch.  There is also a section the gods and monsters of the C&C Campaign world of Aihrde.  I am particularily happy about the inclusion of the Celtic myths since that is what I am most likely to use.

I did like all the new spells for clerics of the various gods. That was a good touch. Of course there are also plenty of new magic items.
144 pages.

Castles & Crusades Classic Monsters The Manual
A fantastic collection of monsters from the original Fiend Folio, Monster Manual 2 and various publications. All revised to be used in in Castles & Crusades. Not a "must have" book, but certainly a "you will really, really want it and kick yourself if you don't get it" book.

It is a fantastic edition to my C&C collection and I am very glad I bought it.
Actually the more I have it, the more I find myself turning to it.

The nicest feature of this book is the inclusion of a DMG style index of the monster stats from here and from Monsters & Treasure. So now hundreds of monsters are at your finger tips.
If there is ever a "Second Edition" of C&C, I'd like to see this book and Monsters & Treasure combined into one volume.
144 pages.

Castles & Crusades Monsters & Treasure of Aihrde
At first I was not going to get this book.  I had all three of the other monster books and this one seemed a bit redundant.  But this one had something the others didn't; Demons and Devils.  I don't want to say that this is the only reason I got it, but they were conspicuously absent from all the other books.
Of course this book has more, a lot more, than just that.

I did enjoy all the new dragons and like it's "parent" book, this book has a bunch of new treasure.
Some of the monsters are world specific, but nothing that can't be worked around. In truth most of these monsters are all brand new to me and that is worth the price of the book alone.  Even most of the demons, devils and dragons are new.  Likewise for the treasure.
176 pages.

1 comment:

Pun Isaac said...

The only print C&C book I have is a random monster book that I picked up on clearance at a book shop. It's Dragons of Aihrde: Leach Wyrms. I like the "stat blocks" and presentation of the book and the flavor text is great.

I actually got a new pdf today that has C&C monster stats. Because I donated to the Freeport Kickstarter I received a pdf copy of the C&C Freeport Companion. Among other things it has 39 new monsters from Freeport.