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C&C in an "anime" world....

Tue May 12, 2015 5:33 pm

I'm posting this to ask a Castles & Crusades rules-related question. I apologize for the long-winded explanation, but I feel it's necessary to help the board understand what I'm asking:

Recently, my small group tried out another game (as this a Troll Lord forum, I won't say the name of the game specifically). The conceit of this system is that the players are expected to imagine the world in a "Japanese Anime" style. The rules are generally tailored to this setting as well.

In order to capture the anime feel, I invoked a house rule right from the start: "A character can do any movement actions during combat, no matter how wide, without having to make an additional success roll or without a penalty, as long as the action has no mechanical effect."

Example: Our heroes have been captured inside the castle, but they go without a fight, as they see this as an opportunity to meet the Lord of the Castle. They are taken to his dining chamber where the Castle Lord is having a feast all by himself.
One of our intrepid heroes takes this moment to leap forward, where she lands in a crouch almost to the table, then while crouched pulls a hidden dagger from her cloak, and jumps the rest of the way onto the table, splattering food everywhere as she launches a surprise attack on the Castle Lord, slicing at him with her dagger!

In game terms, as long as the player doesn't want any special benefit, this is just a move action followed by an attack.

If the player was doing this action to get special benefits, such as more damage (called shot to the head/neck) or a better chance to hit (surprise attack, or "high ground advantage"), then I would have required a Dexterity roll, or a penalty to hit, or both. Failure could have meant many things, including slipping in the gravy and falling on her tail (possibly literally).

I felt that allowing players to be as descriptive as they like without penalty for the description kept the game in the genre we were trying to emulate.

Now, one reason I'm finding this so much fun is because I've never seen this level of freeform gaming. Usually, swinging on a chandelier is good for at least a -4 penalty, which makes me as a player not want to try it. I see no reason to try something cool that will probably fail when I can just say "I attack" and probably succeed, and even if I do fail not have any side effects (like smashing into a wall when the chandelier breaks).

The thing to remember is that we didn't change any of the rules. All we're doing is suspending negative modifiers if the player likewise won't take any bonuses. If the player did the exact same action, but expected some sort of bonus for it, then the action would incur a penalty first.

So, my question: Castles & Crusades is known for its rules-lite system. Do you feel this loose, free-wheeling style of play work with Castles & Crusades? Does anyone else use a similar rule in their C&C games? If so, how does it work for you? Do you feel that using a rule of this type detracts from the game rather than adds to it? Do you feel that playing in this style would work with the system?

Re: C&C in an "anime" world....

Tue May 12, 2015 6:27 pm

This is exactly how I do it. Players can describe their actions any way they want as long as they are not seeking a bonus. If they want a bonus or some other combat effect for the maneuver, I usually make them roll the appropriate SIEGE check (with BtH added instead of level) to see if they can pull it off. If the SIEGE check is successful they get a bonus to attack or rider effect (and regular damage) if the combat roll is successful. If the SIEGE check is unsuccessful, I usually still let them make an attack but they obviously don't get the bonus or rider effect. If BOTH the SIEGE check and combat rolls are unsuccessful, then usually something bad happens, equivalent to the intended bonus.

This isn't set in stone or even codified in any way. Every case is different. But, I feel like it strikes a nice balance between risk and reward.

Re: C&C in an "anime" world....

Tue May 12, 2015 6:30 pm

I'm not quite sure what you are asking. Are you asking if a player is able to move more than their movement and attack as long as they give some kind of descriptive accounting and it doesn't' give them a tactical advantage? Or are you asking if the player is allowed to move their movement and still attack?

If you are asking the first, then I don't allow it. Movement in combat, as you described it in your example, give the player an advantage (attacking with a dagger).

If you are asking about the second, then yes, I allow full movement and attack in the same round.

The thing to remember is the SIEGE Engine (and therefore, C&C) is very flexible and modular. You can bend it quite a bit and it won't break. If it makes sense for you and your game, do it. Just remember, if the PCs can do something, so can the NPCs.


Re: C&C in an "anime" world....

Tue May 12, 2015 6:32 pm

KeyIXTheHermit wrote:
So, my question: Castles & Crusades is known for its rules-lite system. Do you feel this loose, free-wheeling style of play work with Castles & Crusades? Does anyone else use a similar rule in their C&C games? If so, how does it work for you? Do you feel that using a rule of this type detracts from the game rather than adds to it? Do you feel that playing in this style would work with the system?

Still not clear enough. Are you asking, should you let players do stuff that would injure or kill their characters without that happening? If so, that's entirely up to you.

Re: C&C in an "anime" world....

Tue May 12, 2015 7:22 pm

Thanks for some good answers!

For those who are asking for more clarification, I'll try to provide that here:

I asked this same question on another board, asking about other games in general. C&C is a specific interest because I have quite a bit of stuff for it and find it to be one the very best iterations of d20 that I've personally encountered.

An answer I got on another board was:

Not with D&D 3.X/Pathfinder because of the tactical nature of the game. Small tweaks lead to big upsets mechanically speaking. Allowing even a freebie +5 ft. of movement opens up a ton of possibilities. Simple descriptions are fine and to be encouraged but free lunch maneuvers can lead to trouble particularly when the GM/DM does it.

C&C is less tactical than those games, though, so I can see how it might be a bit more bendy.

Basically, I just don't see the world of Tolkien or Arthurian fantasy, with its Knights in full plate on horseback, as a world of wild and fluid action. Legolas did a lot of leaping and jumping in the LotR movies, but most people that I know thought it looked so ludicrous that it took them out of the movie. Arthurian gaming (e.g. Pendragon) tends toward story-heavy politics. Comic Book levels of agility and leaping just seem out of genre.

I presume that C&C is a product of its genre. It has no setting, but it's assumed that you're looking to play in a story-heavy, political world of Knights in plate mail.

Meanwhile, I'm more of a "swinging off the chandelier" kinda guy.

So I'm looking to play C&C not as I presume it's intended, but instead fast and loose. A house rule I used in another game is to allow the characters to describe their action any way they like, and I wouldn't penalize their crazy stunts as long as there was no mechanical benefit to the action. I thought I could try that in C&C, but I wasn't sure it would "play right." I wasn't sure that the system would work with that kind of play, since it's so far off the intended scope of the game (or, I assume it is).

Levels could be a problem. In "the other game," characters don't have levels, so they're as competent as you want them to be, based on where you put your points. Even if they're beginning characters, they're not necessarily "first level" in the d20 sense of the term. I could see wilder action being more reasonable if they were 10th level, but I don't want to wait that long to make it happen, and I don't want the players to get "trained" to not making actions in that way.

Sorry for how rambling this is. It makes sense in my head, and I like to think I could explain it if we were speaking, but it's hard for me to explain it in a written form.

Re: C&C in an "anime" world....

Tue May 12, 2015 8:39 pm

I'm still not getting what you are asking. Are you asking if PC's can move around like cartoon characters (bugs bunny, et al) bouncing around and off walls like in the movie Toons? If that is what you mean, sure as a GM you can make that work. I could make it work in 3.X or PF too.

Re: C&C in an "anime" world....

Tue May 12, 2015 8:41 pm

It is not "anime" to allow cinematic actions. At least to my mind. "Anime" influences gaming would be wuxia and wire-fu, where characters appear to be permanently affected by at-will haste and jump spells in addition to all having 15 levels as a monk. Nothing is wrong with either approach -- cinematic (where "stunts" can be done) or "anime" -- as the players will decide what suits them.

C&C is tactical. It is not, however, the same type of tactical as a miniature-featured game where precise tracking is required (or recommended.) For example, C&C has specific rules regarding polearms and initiative; it also has rules for the motion of an arrow loosed. Whether these are needed or not is irrelevant as they are the rules... your particular game can decide for itself if they're used.

So... all that said: like everything in every game, its a matter of preference. Maybe you want to let people collect Free Parking. Maybe you want to let the Queen move in circles. Maybe you want to allow some benefits by encouraging your players to get creative and descriptive -- that should be applauded.

Do what you will. Ignore everything to the contrary. Life is a game... roll it well.

Re: C&C in an "anime" world....

Tue May 12, 2015 9:24 pm

I think C&C completely supports such cinematic actions. I don't allow them to do it for free, but then again, they typically do it in order to get some kind of mechanical advantage. But I am completely fine with doing flips, swinging from chandeliers, jumping from the top of a rock onto the back of a dragon, being dropped by a Wyvern and having a party member, who is flying in some manner, catch the character, or have a player use the terrain to their advantage in some cool and flashy way. Typically I require a DEX check, and rarely have it be above a CL of 5.

Re: C&C in an "anime" world....

Wed May 13, 2015 12:22 am

We have a particularly feisty Gnome who like to jump up onto table in public place.. but rarely checks the quality or design of the table before doing so... lots of spilled beer and laughter... so make sure the special "effects" come with special blunders when the flub the rolls.

Re: C&C in an "anime" world....

Wed May 13, 2015 2:53 am

Thanks to all those that answered.

If you were among the ones that didn't quite understand the question, thanks for spending the time, but I think I have some good answers here.

Most useful were that other people do, in fact, do this and make it work. We're interested in trying it, but I just didn't know how well it fit into a C&C campaign. A few answered, "It fits quite well, thank you, and I do that very thing." Which is what I needed to know.

All answers were appreciated.

Re: C&C in an "anime" world....

Wed May 13, 2015 3:19 am

Just to clarify some things for you about C&C. C&C can be focused on knights in heavy armor and politics, if that's what you want it to be, but it can also be swashbuckling, seat-of-the-pants adventuring too. My games don't often get to far into the political aspects of the setting, not because I don't think that would be fun, but because I don;t think that is a strength of my GMing. And I've never played a heavily armored warrior in C&C, even when I play fighters. I prefer lightly armored warriors.

The main point to remember about C&C is you can make it do whatever you want. Have a rule that you don't like, change it. Something in the book not clear, make a ruling. The game designers encourage you to "make the game your own." They don't even play by the book.


Re: C&C in an "anime" world....

Wed May 13, 2015 3:37 am

Rigon wrote:They don't even play by the book.


They certainly don't! Wish they would do Troll Con again.

Re: C&C in an "anime" world....

Wed May 13, 2015 3:57 am

I'm not an "Anime" fan so hesitated to answer, but in the long run I can't help but throw my 2 cents in. Especially as tree and rigon mention or inferred things my character has done in the games with them I play in.

I'll start by saying I don't like the complete disregard for reality that I associate with anime, but as Tree said 'cinematic' maneuvers are easy to use in C&C.

Say you have a knight/paladin who's party is being ambushed by 4 hill giants that are behind a 10-15 ft high 80+ ft long rock cliff. What does the knight do? Charge the giants, but wait he can't complete the charge with the cliff in his way. No problem, a swerve of the horse at the last second and the knight/paladin leaps from the horse, lands on top of the rock and deliver a mighty blow to the surprised giant. A blow which nearly took off the giant's head if I remember it correctly. Very cinematic when you read it ...

For the rules, Rigon had me roll a horsemanship check to see if I swerved and didn't ride the horse strait into the rock face. Then a dex check, rolled high on it to I might add. Finally, a hit roll which I crited so maxed out damage and then some.

Similarly, for a low level example, I've had my swashbuckler jump up on a table, draw the attacks of a pack of skeletons away from the rest of the party, and then fight defensively, giving myself high AC (for a lowly 1st level character). High enough where the skeletons couldn't hit me - well that one that rolled a 20 hit, but lest not talk about that right now ... Again a very cinematic move. It was made with a simple dex check and a good narration by myself and the DM.

Like Rigon & tree says, it can all be done with the siege engine and checks as needed. You just need to figure where your bound of reality and allowable actions are.

Oh yeah, movement, it is amazing how far you can move when doing a charge attack so even that is in the rules and fits cinematic maneuvers and combat.

Now Rigon just needs to explore urban politics games set up by my swashbuckler's background, but I digress :lol:

Re: C&C in an "anime" world....

Wed May 13, 2015 2:02 pm

Lurker wrote:Now Rigon just needs to explore urban politics games set up by my swashbuckler's background, but I digress :lol:

We'll get there.. some time.


Re: C&C in an "anime" world....

Mon May 18, 2015 5:52 am

Japanese Anime style actually fits the FATE Core system (or other narrativist system) a lot better... unless the anime you are trying to emulate is Record of Lodoss War. FATE Core is strongly written towards abstract actions, drama and push/pull on the plot, suddenly becoming stronger for dramatic moments, etc.

With that said - any action with non-mechanical result should certainly be allowed, and generally helps players get into their characters.

Re: C&C in an "anime" world....

Tue Feb 12, 2019 12:12 pm

The best thing about the game is that you can make your own set of rules according to the way you like them. No worrying about anything that you don't like. That's what got me hooked to it on the first place!

Re: C&C in an "anime" world....

Sun Feb 17, 2019 2:25 am

How does one resurrect a posting line from four years ago?
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