What I'm Backing on Kickstarter:

What I'm Backing on Kickstarter:
Castles & Crusades Players Handbook - 7th Print Edition

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

TLG's Need to Seize the Day

Eldrad Wolfsbane made an interesting comment over at the Grimmhouse a few days ago:
My problem with C&C as a GM is very few monsters to work with. Like only 200 or so. The new Monsters and Treasures could have added many more monsters but they did not. Makes for boring megadungeons. Don't have time in life to write my own monsters. This IMHO is C&Cs biggest failure. AND the promise of but still not delivery of the CKG for MANY YEARS. C&C IMHO could have been the best of the best. It's starting momentum was incredible but it's owners for what ever reason squandered their chance. They could have been the top OSR/other game other than D&D but just did not take the reins or seize the day. Some of their earlier decisions alienated the OSR as well but I will not speak for those people. As cool as C&C is the lack of monsters makes me have to choose any other of the OSR games out there. OSRIC being on the top of the list.
While I have commented and observed at some of TLG's pitfalls, the game remains my favorite for a couple of reasons -- first of which is bridging the gap between an older style present in Dungeons & Dragons and what WOTC offered us with the d20 revelotution with D&D 3E. Many of us had more than a few problems with the approach taken with Third Edition and, once it was out the gate, it didn't take long for certain producers of d20 material to try and harken back to that older feel. Goodman Games with their "Dungeon Crawl Classics" line and Judge's Guild reprints as well as Necromancer Games with their whole '1st edition feel' mentality who also did a fantastic d20 treatment of the Wilderlands. During the first few years after the release of Third Edition, there were many companies and a lot of them aren't boldly throwing anything and everything they can to cash in on the d20 craze. Some of the third party companies that managed to weather the storm are still staying afloat in what has been a dwindling market.

Troll Lord Games was one such company. When they first released a couple of products in 2000 at Gencon, many wouldn't have thought they would be around a decade later. The majority of their initial products in the first few years was d20 based but the seeds of what was to become "Castles & Crusades" had already been sown. When the 'proof of concept' was releaded, many people loved it -- it was released as a digest-sized, white box set containing three booklets and dice (a tribute to the OD&D white box). Not everyone liked the approach that TLG took with the development of C&C and many other games followed that also sought to model themselves on aspects of the older Dungeons & Dragons game.

That said, I am force to agree (at least in part) with Eldrad's assessment.

While TLG is finally getting a new book focused on entirely on creatures and treasure and despite the fact that it will be out very soon, it has taken them a while for a project like this to come out. This book is the "Monsters & Treasure of Aihrde" and talk about it first began around three years ago. From what I understand, they have had a manuscript for a "Monsters & Treasure II" book which has also been turned in for at least a couple of years now. I have seen the proposed table of contents and I can tell you that, if it went to print with the proposed entries, the majority would be new and never-before-seen creatures for your arsenal. Naturally, a lot can happen with between the initial manuscript and the finished product but there has been no announcement given on this project.

As for the continued woes of the Castle Keeper's Guide -- well the way this was initially announced was the biggest issue and TLG is still paying for that error. When the news became public, it was little more than an idea at the time. Some of the fans have seen parts of this greater work and had 2009 been kinder to all of us, we may have had this sucker by Christmas last year. I do not doubt that we will be seeing it this year but the question remains: will it be ready for Gencon or only X-Mas? TLG has learned to play their cards much closer to their chest where some of these projects are concerned. I think they have learned (and continue to be TAUGHT some harsh lessons).

Why isn't that many fans of the game aren't as vocal about some of these issues? Well, many are veteran gamers who also have tons of information that TSR produced for AD&D and D&D. Many tend to source additional information from there. I'm not saying that it's acceptable but TLG's initial approach of getting the two core books done and out and just some adventures to jump in and play was a great approach in the early development of the game. It just isn't one that is as worth while maintaining if the company wants a continued growth in the market.

While I don't always agree with certain decisions that are made with what sort of products are released, the goal I hope to reach is to fill what I perceive are gaps in the line up as a solid third party supporting TLG's flagship title.

M