Dungeon Master Assistance

Where anyone over 18 can share thoughts and ideas on RPGs.

D&D 5E vs. Castles & Crusades

Comparing Dungeons and Dragon to Castles & Crusades.

This is one of several reviews I am doing this year of various table top roll playing games. I am specifically comparing them to D&D 5e. I am doing this with the assumption that my readers are already familiar with D&D 5e. The following review is based only upon my reading of the rule-book. I haven’t played this yet, but I will be posting my opinion after I get a chance to play test it.

Below I am referring to the fifth edition of Dungeons and Dragons as 5E, Castles & Crusades as C&C, and the Player’s Handbook as the PHB. The information below is for evaluation purposes, it should not be considered official rules of the game. Where C&C uses different terminology than D&D, I will tell you what terms C&C uses but will use D&D terms in the descriptions. You can assume that things I don’t list here are basically like 5E with only minor differences.

In C&C the Dungeon Master is called the Castle Keeper.

Summary of the game system

C&C is a popular table top role playing game published by Troll Lord Games that uses a modified d20-based system they call the SIEGE engine. It is a table top fantasy role playing game based on the D&D 3.0 system but it has an AD&D feel.

Primary differences between C&C and D&D 5e


  • You can choose to play a Dwarf, Elf, Gnome, Half-Elf, Halfling, Half-Orc, or Human.
  • These are basically the same as in 5E, but they have more features and there are no sub-races.
  • Darkvision [Gnomes and Half-Orcs] & Deepvision [Dwarves]: Darkvision extends 60’ and Deepvision extends 120’. Neither can be used near a light source. They both require one minute before you can use it when the light source is extinguished.
  • Twilight Vision [Elves]: Can distinguish color and detail under starlight, moonlight or torchlight for up to one mile but only if they are outside.
  • Dusk Vision [Halflings]: Can see in starlight and moonlight just as a human can at dusk.


  • Your character can be an Assassin, Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Illusionist, Knight, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, or Wizard.
  • There are no sub-classes. Generally, the number of features that you get with your class doesn’t increase as you advance in level. Some features increase in power at certain levels.
  • Some classes advance in level faster than others because the number of hit points required is based on you class.
  • A character may wear any armor, but if the armor type does not appear in the list for their class, the character cannot use any of their class features while the armor is worn unless the description of the feature states otherwise.

Multiclass [optional rule]

  • The decision to multiclass must be made at level 1.
  • You can combine any two classes (any 3 classes if your character is human).
  • There are rules and charts to determine an average for things like starting gold and hit dice.
  • You get all of the features for each of the classes.
  • You are considered a single class and advance in levels as a single class.
  • The XP required to advance in level is calculated by adding together the XP required for each class plus an additional amount that increases with each level.

Class and a Half [optional rule]

  • The decision to have a class and a half must be made at level 1.
  • Pick a principle class and a supporting class.
  • Experience points needed for level advancement are determined by adding the XP of the principal class to one half the XP of the supporting class.
  • You will advance in the supporting class, and perform skill checks of that class, at half the rate of the principal class (rounded down).
  • There are some additional restrictions including restrictions on some features for each of the secondary classes.

Abilities [Attributes in C&C]

  • Ability Scores: C&C and 5E both use the same 6 ability scores.
  • Ability Modifiers: Each ability has a corresponding ability modifier. These numbers differ only slightly from 5E.
  • Primary Abilities: You assign one to be a “primary” ability based on your class. Then you select 1 or 2 other prime abilities. The others are considered secondary abilities.
  • Proficiencies: C&C doesn’t have proficiencies. Instead, in addition to your ability modifier you add your character’s level and racial bonus (if any) to your ability checks.

Difficulty Class (DC) [challenge level in C&C]

  • For ability checks, the Castle Keeper sets the DC which usually ranges between 0 and 10. He then adds 12 if the PC is using a primary ability or 18 if he is using a secondary ability .

Character creation

Roll abilities, choose a class, select primary and secondary abilities (see above), chose a race, choose an alignment, choose a deity (optional), roll starting money, purchase equipment, determine hit points, and give your character a name. These are all basically the same as in 5E except as noted below.

Roll Abilities: Roll 3d6 six times and assign to abilities as desired.

Starting Gold: The amount you start with is determined by a dice roll based on your class.

Purchase Equipment: Purchase your weapons, armor, etc. from the equipment lists.

Armor Class

  • Unarmored: AC 10 [like 5E]
  • Touch: AC 10 regardless of armor worn.
  • Armor: Each armor type has a specific AC adjustment which is added to your unarmored AC. Example: Leather armor is +3 so your AC would be 13.
  • Shields: There are 8 different shields.
    1. Bucklers, small steel and small wooden shields: Add +1 to AC against 1 foe each round.
    2. Medium steel or wooden shields: Add +1 to AC against 2 foes each round.
    3. Large steel or wooden shields: Add +1 to AC against 3 foes each round.
    4. Pavis: Made to be rested on the ground and fired over, like a mobile wall. Adds +6 to AC against all foes in front of the shield.
  • Helms: There are 5 different helms which provide different AC bonuses from +2 to +7. This is used instead of any other armor or shield to blows directed at your head.
  • Dexterity: Your DEX modifier is added to your AC if you can physically react to an attack.


Combat Round: 10 seconds.


  • The initiative die is a d10
  • Initiative is rolled each round.
  • Exception to initiative: In the first round only, a creature using a weapon with a reach of greater than 10 feet against an opponent with a weapon with less than a 6 foot reach, or a large creature fighting a medium or smaller sized creature, attacks first if the other creature approaches within ten feet.


  • On your turn in the round, you can move, attack, cast a spell, use a class feature [class ability in C&C], use an item, or perform a non-lethal or some other mundane action.


  • You can move 1/2 your speed [move rate in C&C] and still attack. If you take no other action, you can move your speed, or twice your speed (jog), or 4 times your speed (run).


  • You can move up to double your speed and then attack. A successful charge attack adds +2 to damage, but you have a -4 penalty to your AC for the entire round.

Melee Combat: Basically the same as 5E.

Ranged Combat:

  • Your STR modifier is added to the damage of thrown weapons and your DEX modifier of propelled weapons.
  • Range weapons have a close range listed. Attacks made at twice that (medium range) have a -2 on the attack roll, at 3 times that (long range)] are at -6.
  • If you miss, there are rules for possibly hitting something else in the path.

Unarmed Combat:

  • There are rules for grappling, pummeling, overbearing, and touch attacks.

Magic and spell casting

  • Types of Magic: In addition to arcane magic and divine magic, C&C also had illusion magic that is only casts by Illusionists.
  • Casting Spells: Spells are cast the same way they are in 5E.
  • Spell Slots: Basically the same as in 5E. The spell levels go up from level 0 to level 9. At each class level you get more spells, and higher level spells, than you do in 5E.
  • Level 0 spells: These are like cantrips but you don’t get unlimited castings of them.
  • Acquiring and preparing spells: Basically the same as in 5E.
  • Concentration: If something interrupts the character’s concentration while the character is casting, the spell is lost and marked off the character’s list of prepared spells.
  • Saving Throws: The DC to save against a spell is always the spell caster’s level.
  • Spell Focus: If a special focus or divine focus is required, it is unique to the spell and cannot be used as the focus for other spells.
  • Spell descriptions: Each spell is clearly described and easy to use. There is no option to cast a spell at a higher level.

What you need to get started

Everything you need is available on Troll Lord’s web site.

You can download the Quick Start Rules for free that includes a one-shot adventure and pre-rolled characters.

There is a free official C&C character sheet.

There is a free official D&D 5 to C&C conversion document .

If you decide you want to run a C&C campaign, two books (Castles & Crusades Players Handbook, and Castles & Crusades Monsters & Treasure) get you all you need to play up to level 12.

You will want to have the Castle Keeper’s Guide for higher level play.

Final Thoughts

  • Ability checks don’t scale well at higher levels.
  • Setting the DC for ability checks could be made much simpler. You could set the challenge to between 12 and 22 in the first place and simply have the player add +6 to his roll if he is using a primary attribute.
  • C&C has no skill system – no ranks or skill points.
  • C&C has no feats.
  • C&C has no Advantage/Disadvantage.
  • C&C has no attacks of opportunity.
  • C&C has no critical hits.
  • This is a newer style of game that still feels like AD&D.
  • I like it (mostly). I will have to see how some of this plays at the table.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: