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Castles & Crusades Optional and House Rules

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Five Foot Step
Generating Monster Stats
Nonvancian Magic

This page contains various Optional Rules for C&C. These are optional, repeat, optional rules, and they are intended for Castle Keepers to use as additional flavor in the Castle Keeper's sole discretion!


Five Foot Step
The five foot step can be used as a form of movement in addition to the half and full move. A spellcaster is permitted to take a five foot step and still cast a spell. This part of the rule allows the spellcaster to gain line-of-sight on a target, or step close enough to cast a healing spell. It slows the game to require spellcasters to spend an entire round merely to adjust position slightly. If a character is in combat, the character may withdraw from combat using a five foot step, and still use an action - attack or spellcasting. However, the opponent gains a free attack against anyone withdrawing from combat with a five foot step.


Generating Monster Statistics
"In some circumstances, the CK may want to determine one of a monster's ability scores -- to know, for instance, the effect of a spell that lowers one of the monster's abilities, such as ray of enfeeblement. In general, monster statistics are considered to be already "factored in" to the monster's description; monsters do not have bonuses to hit for strength, armor class modifiers for dexterity, etc. Monster ability scores are not needed for ordinary combat, nor do they play a factor in designing new monsters. In the rare circumstance where the CK may want to assign a numerical score to a particular ability (usually connected with a polymorph, ability drains, or special unarmed combat such as grappling), there is a quick way of generating an approximate number. For monsters with one hit die or more, the monster's prime stats will be approximately equal to 15 plus the monster's HD. Non-prime stats will ordinarily be between 3-18 (3d6), even in the case of fairly powerful monsters. In the case of monsters with fewer than one hit die, any ability score may be generated by rolling 3d6. This method provides a rough-and-ready way of generating a quick result, but it is a tool for the CK, not a rule. Monsters are not characters, with level progressions and exact ability scores, nor are they playing pieces with exact values. Monsters are tools in the Castle Keeper's box of tricks, and the Castle Keeper is free to calibrate these tools in whatever way best fits the game."

Non-Vancian Staff-Based Arcane Magic
by Akratic
Inspired by a past thread over at Dragonsfoot on requiring that wizards use a staff as their spellcasting 'focus', as well as an idea for a more flexible (broadly 'nonVancian') approach to spellcasting, I came up with the following house rules:

Spellcasting Abilities

Daily spell lists for spellcasters.
Each day a spellcaster prepares a list of spells for each spell level that he can cast 'spontaneously' as he chooses. For example, a second level wizard with 15 intelligence can cast 4 0-level and 4 1st-level spells per day. He would thus choose a 'list' of four cantrips and four first level spells, and could cast any combination of those four cantrips and four first level spells that day (though cantrips cannot be cast in place of first level spells, and vice versa). For example, say the wizard prepared for his first level spells burning hands, charm person, identify, and spider climb. He could then cast each of those spells once that day, cast identify four times (and not cast any of the others at all), or cast burning hands twice and spider climb twice. This option obviously makes spellcasters a bit more versatile, but is balanced by the fact that many spells will be unavailable.

Wizard staffs and Illusionist wands.

Arcane spellcasters require no material components or normal 'spell books'. Instead, the wizard's focus is his staff. The wizard can choose one spell from each spell level known (i.e. one 0 level spell, one 1st level spell, etc.) that he can cast without his staff, but for all other spells he needs his staff. Moreover, all arcane magic is rune-based (so scrolls and books found typically contain runes of spells). As the wizard learns more spells, he carves these runes into his staff, so the staff serves the role of a 'spell book'. The exceptions are those spells he can cast without his staff -- those are tattooed onto the wizard himself (his hands and arms). As a consequence, the wizard is heavily dependent on his staff (this is the main constraint he faces, to balance the increased flexibility gained from the 'spell list' house rule I am using, and to keep the sorcerer more or less balanced with the wizard). The wizard's staff is considered a magical item, and has a spell resistance of 15 + the wizard's level. Spells like 'shatter' and 'warp wood' would have to overcome that resistance to work. Illusionists are like wizards, except they use multiple wands instead of a single staff (and normally try to conceal their wands 'up their sleaves' and whatnot).