Fiendish Friday: Why Crypts and Things Remastered?

Well the Kick starter for Crypts and Things Remastered kicks off 1st March. Each Friday before the KS starts, traditionally known as Fiendish Friday in these parts, I’ll be publishing a small article about the upcoming game, previewing new rules, teasing you with bits of art etc.  But first off I’m going to explain why a new version.

A bit about the origins of C&T . It was written in late 2011/early 2012, a time of my life when I was very pessimistic about the way that world was going and very ill on a lot of levels. Life was crap and the bleak harsh world of Zarth reflects that. I remember reading Grognardia and a lot of the US OSR blogs and reading again and again the sheer reverence for the Swords and Sorcery worlds of Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E Howard and Micheal Moorcock, with a dollop of HP Lovecraft. “Oh why doesn’t someone do a OSR OD&D Swords and Sorcery game?” came the cry from the blog sphere. Well I was off work ill with a wonderful skin infection that had turned my leg an angry shade of red. I was ill and I was pissed off and I had just discovered the simple joys of Swords and Wizardry and its System Resource Document. So I used my time off work and channeled my anger (in a positive way) into hacking out the first version of Crypts and Things from the Swords & Wizardry SRD, adding to it from my particular vision of Swords & Sorcery, which is more British Grimdark,  drawing from very early 80s  UK OSR (first handful of Fighting Fantasy books and early White Dwarf, the period up to the mid eighties ). Within six months I had my prototype game and after a short period of play testing it was up for pre-order via, with it finally being in general release a year after I had started to hammer it out.  Which is insanely fast for me (OQ 1 took about two years and Monkey took 15 years!).

Then it was a hit. A slow burning one, but its D101’s best seller by a long way (although pleasingly for personal reasons Monkey is not far behind), so I started working on follow up material. Distracted by other projects, I’ve only managed to knuckle under and release two modules (Blood of the Dragon in 2012 & Tomb of the Necromancers in 2013) to date. So early last year I took stock of what I was doing with the Crypts and Things line. It became clear that I’ve moved on greatly as a publisher since C&T came out back in early 2012. The OpenQuest 2 crowdfunding campaign was the watershed for raising the bar of what was possible for me to publish (so if you contributed to that campaign you’ll always have a special place in my heart). River of Heaven pushed that forward even further. Also about a year after C&T was released I came across the work of David M. Wright, who for me is my dream artist for C&T. I immediately bought the cover that graces Tomb of the Necromancers and started talking to him about the possibility of doing more work for the game. With the success of the River of Heaven on Kickstarter it slowly dawned on me I could fund a complete remaster of C&T via that platform.

Which is where we are now. So what is the current draft (which all KS funders will get immediately) like?

Art. The art in C&T is a mixed bag. Its basically stock-art bought from the now defunct (a collective of UK artists that was headed up by Cubicle Severn supremo Jon Hodgson) with my mate John Ossoway & Steven Austin (who I discovered via a quick search through filling in the gaps. I stand by everything I put in the book, and if nothing else I’ll be hanging on to my 1st ed copy as an Art book, but the overall tone is eclectic and a bit disconnected, which I kinda dug at the time.  David M.Wright is going to do the entire book, so it will have a delicious dark consistency and tone throughout.

Words. A full edit of the book, and streamlining of the rules. Personally there’s a few rules in C&T that I never use in my home game, the Sanity/Corruption rules for example, because they involve a bit too much bean counting rather than simple Roll and Effect which I prefer (OpenQuest for example is built around this concept). They have been recast into something more straightforward. Also the mash up of my words with Swords & Wizardry’s was far far from harmonious, so a full edit (at least two passes) is on the cards.

Mega Gaming Fun. This is the overall effect of the above changes. Over the years there have been some kind words said about Crypts & Things which have made me painfully aware of some of its shortcomings. With the basic goal I’m seeking to address these issues and make it a much more fun game to play.

So where could go we with the Kickstarter if it funds?

Ok if we get the basic funding goal I’m planning the following stretch goals.

More Fiends. David was hospitalised for a brief spell last year and bashed thirty or so sketches of monsters that are just begging to be finished and made into C&T fiends.  The C&T Compendium of Fiends was one of my favorite sections of the book to write so I’m really hoping this funds.

More Spells & magic items. I’m kinda happy with the Spell Lists as they are, but if we reach this stretch goal I get to revisit the Spell lists and add some more twisted and dark magic into the mix.

The Great Others and their Cultists. I hinted at the presence of these terrifying demons/gods but never detailed them in the 1st edition.  If we reach this stretch goal I’ll detail them in all their gory glory and David will illustrate them. If you remember Dealing with Demons by Dave Morris from White Dwarf this is what I’m aiming at 😉

Zarth Revealed. The current Continent of Terror chapter would go into the Players Section and I write a new world guide for the Crypt Keeper’s section. This will focus on the secrets and provide more adventure ideas for each location, as well as encounter tables.

I have more ideas , but they are rather vague at the moment and I want to keep some surprises for the campaign 😉

More next Friday…

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