As requested:Angel Tarragon wrote:Hi Buttmonkey!! I have been considering buying into C&C myself...if it is not too much of an imposition do you think you start a thread about what you like and dislike about the system?
Things I Like/Love
• If you have played 1E, Classic, or any other version of old school D&D, you pretty much know how to play C&C. The class and race descriptions are somewhat different, but they are recognizable and will only take a few minutes of reading to get you up to speed. C&C is the game you played in the 80s, only streamlined. The primary difference/innovation is the SIEGE engine. SIEGE is a universal mechanic that resolves the success of anything a PC might try that has a significant chance of failure (if the chance is insignificant, you don't roll and the PC is successful). DMs have always had to come up with some way to resolve the likelihood of a PC being successful at something not covered by a rule (e.g., is a PC successful at grabbing a rope as the PC falls into a pit; can the PC push over a heavy statue; can the PC swim across the raging stream without drowning). Usually, that is by some sort of DM fiat ("Okay, I figure you've got a 15% chance of pulling that off. Roll percentile dice."). SIEGE adds a little more structure to that process. It ties all attempts to do something to an attribute check and gives bonuses to checks using attributes the PC has developed (e.g., if a PC has developed his strength attribute especially, the PC would get a +6 on strength checks). 5E handles things very similarly. I believe DCC RPG does as well. The idea of tying everything to attribute checks and having the GM decide on a difficulty class is a strong one. Selecting a difficulty class is frequently as simple as making it equal to the hit dice or level of an opposing creature (e.g., if the PC is trying to make a dexterity check to sneak past a 3 HD monster, the GM would probably set a challenge level of 3). Saving throws are handled the same way. Spell saves are tied to attribute checks where the DC is based on the level/hit dice of the caster. Overall, this system eliminates the need for all sorts of clunky subsystems and streamlines the rules.
• It is easy to design encounters for C&C since it is not very crunchy. A typical stat block in my adventure notes would look something like: "Raging ogre, HD 4d10, HP 30, AC 17, Attacks: Slam 2d6 or weapon (+4 dmg), Int low, AL CE, XP 375". It's easy to create monsters on the fly.
• The game explicitly leaves a lot of room for the GM to adjudicate things. This is both a feature and a downside depending on the situation and the specific GM. Some GMs seem to despise the open-ended nature of some of the material. They view it as a design flaw that a rules question is not addressed or answered in the rules. Such rules gaps have been brought to the attention of the game's designers and frequently remain unresolved. The designers say that is because they intentionally left things vague so the GM can run the game the way the GM wants. Critics say they can always house rule, so answer the damn questions already. Personally, I haven't found the gaps to be significant and have never had any problems deciding on a ruling that works for me. In many instances, I also think critics are doing a poor job of reading the rules where an answer is actually there, but that is not always the case.
• OSR material is easily convertible on the fly to C&C.
• TLG has released some pretty inspiring material outside their core rule books. Their Codex series is shaping up really nicely. There is a ton of useful material in Bluffside: City on the Edge.
• The core rules are lightweight and compact. All you need is the Players Handbook and Monsters & Treasure. There is a Castle Keepers Guide, but it is not core. It is filled with optional rules. I use very, very little from the CKG.
• Because of C&C's rules lite nature, about the only time I ever have to crack a book open during play is to consult a spell description. There is no need for a DM screen. There are no attack charts or saving throw tables. All of that is handled intuitively based on hit dice, AC, and class/level-based bonus to hit. I did make a short cheat sheet of combat modifiers (-X to AC if blind, -Y to AC if prone, etc.) that I keep on a clip board with my game session notes. Overall, the game is a joy to run and really, really smooth.
• There are occasionally rules gaps. As noted above, whether that is a design flaw depends on the reader. Personally, I think the game runs just fine as-is. Any gaps are easily fillable on the fly.
• I don't think the C&C modules are always the best out there. I haven't seen anything for C&C that rivals the awesomeness of something like Anomalous Subsurface Environment, for example. I don't run many modules anyway, so this isn't a significant issue. Plus, anything I would ever want to run in the OSR family is easily convertible on the fly, so the quality of the in-house modules is a pretty irrelevant concern to my mind. The value of C&C is the game itself, not the published adventures.
• The encumbrance system sucks. Just like it does in most OSR games. The only decent encumbrance system I have ever seen was for Lamentations of the Flame Princess. As with any version of D&D I have ever played, I ignore C&C's encumbrance rules and eyeball the character sheets every once in a while to see whether a PC is hauling around enough junk to matter. I have never felt like it mattered.
• C&C has way too many armor types (e.g., Greek ensemble, steel breastplate, etc.). That is a simple fix. I just pared it down to the traditional armor types from 1E and went on my merry way.
Neutral Issues to Keep in Mind
• C&C does not model high level play identically to OSR D&D. Running the D series modules using C&C would be a very different experience than using 1E. This is because saving throws do not scale the way they did in 1E. A high level PC in 1E is going to have a good saving throw to resist magic spells. Not so much in C&C. The DC for a spell save in C&C will be based on the HD or level of the caster. If the caster has a high HD/level, the saving throw is going to difficult despite the PC having a high level, too (actually, the PC's high level makes the save difficult as opposed to damn near impossible for a lower level PC). If you are looking for a 1E clone at high levels, C&C isn't what you are looking for. That doesn't mean C&C sucks. It just does saving throws differently at high level. Some adherents see this as a big plus. It ensures saving throws at high level are still scary.
• Some critics have complained unendingly about typos in the TLG materials. That issue has largely been resolved, despite some readers refusal to acknowledge the progress. The core books are certainly in great shape. Some of the non-core books have had issues recently. The typo level varies by book. TLG could definitely benefit from better editing. I think the core books are edited as well as what you would find from other publishers at this point.
I don't have time to get into it more right now, but that is the gist of it, I think. If I think of stuff to add, I will post it later.