Inside Pulse 12

Tabletop Review: Castles & Crusades: Expanding Classes

Castles & Crusades: Expanding Classes
Publisher: Troll Lord Games
Page Count: 26
Cost $6.99 (Digital)/$9.99 (Physical)
Release Date: 08/09/2016
Get it Here:

Oh, no. This is not what you think. I’m not back writing full-time. Rather this is my birthday week and while I have a lot of free time this week, I don’t have the time to paint/glue miniatures or play a video game. So with time to kill, I thought I’d churn out some reviews to help Diehard GameFAN out and to shake off some writing ring rust.

Expanding Classes is one of three new releases for Castles and CrusadesExpanding Classes is pure character creation/stats/crunch. This twenty-six page PDF (that count includes cover, title pages and the legal mumbo-jumbo) tackles something that, surprisingly, hasn’t been fully covered in Castles & Crusades after all this time. I’m talking about multiclassing and dual-classing. For a game so steeped in OD&D, one would think this would have been covered by now. In fact, it hasn’t. There is less than page on the topic in the Player’s Handbook Now, that isn’t to say people haven’t been doing these things in their game. They’ve just been using 1/2e AD&D rules to do so. Now though, we finally have a short (but expensive) supplement for these rules and more.

So let’s talk about the five options that you have here in Expanding Classes:

1) Multi-Classing. This is where, instead of having a single class, say Fighter or Cleric, you have two classes like Ranger/Druid or Assassin/Bard. There’s a nice little cross-reference chart so you can see which of the thirteen classes can multi-class together. This means you can’t do a Paladin/Assassin or Barbarian/Wizard, but there is always wiggle room if you have a good reason and a willing Castle Keeper. The downside to multi-classing if you advance a lot slower as you have two classes you are trying to level up, and some classes may have weapon/armor/spell restrictions that hinder your second class. Essentially this is the same as old school AD&D multi-classing

2) Enhanced Class. This is essentially an “enhanced” and deeper version of the “Class and a half” idea that is briefly mentioned in the PHB after multi-classing. Again, there is less than a page for this there. With Expanding Classes, you get a lot more detail and depth on the topic. An Enhanced class gives you a few aspects of a second class, but not all of them. This is great if you have a character who say, went to Wizard school but flunked out and has a little to show for his time spent there. There are over two dozen supporting class options, and again, a chart to cross reference so you can see if your idea is legal or not. Each of these supporting classes has its own XP chart to show you what you get at each level. Essentially your cost to level up your supporting class is only half of what a full class would cost, but you only get a fraction of the abilities and advance much slower.

3) Class Plus. This adds the zero level abilities from another class to your character for a permanent 5% tithe of all experienced earned. That may or may not be worth it to you, as at higher levels, that is a lot of experience to give up just to have access to cantrips or 1d3 unarmed Monk attacks but hey, more power to you if you want to go this route. Class Plus is the weakest of the options in Expanding Classes and I doubt many will make use of it. Hell, even Troll Lord Games doesn’t put much stock in it, giving the idea less than half a page in this supplement.

4) Dual Classing. This is very different from the AD&D version of Dual Classing. A character is a single class until some pivotal moment in their adventuring career and then they decide to switch completely to another class. Maybe they were a Barbarian who found God and became a cleric. Maybe they were a Ranger but went blind and decided to become a Diviner instead since they couldn’t track anymore. There are lots of reasons why a second class might be added later in life instead of starting off via multi-classing. Once the second class is chosen, XP is evenly divided between the two and you level up as usual. The catch is that the character only gets new Hit Points when it gains a level in its original class. This doesn’t sound or seem too bad unless you are really high level. After all, if you are a level 16 Fighter/Level 1 Bard, you will have a ways to go before you see an increase in your HP. At least you’ll get some spells and Legend Lore out of it!

5) Reclassing. This is where a character abandons their original class completely and takes up something new. OD&D fans will recognize that this is the TSR version of Dual Classing and Troll Lord is simply calling it “reclassing” for Castles & Crusades since they are using Dual Classing in a different fashion. It’s not an exact port from AD&D to C&C as you lose a level (and HD) for doing this but otherwise, it’s similar down to the 10% XP penalty for using skills/abilities from the previous class in an adventure. Although the name change may confuse or annoy older games, calling this Reclassing actually does make more sense than calling it Dual Classing., so I’m fine with it.

So these are the five options in Expanding Classes. It’s a bit pricey for a supplement, especially content than some might argue should be in the PHB, but hey this is still less than a Pathfinder supplement of the same size, so while a bit pricey to me, it’s still nowhere as bad as what some companies charge for their supplements. There is actually a little more content than these five options. There is an Appendix A which gives an update to the Rune Mark class originally found in the Rune Lore supplement. I have neither read nor own the Rune Lore supplement so I can’t actually comment on it. Essentially this appendix just applied all five options found in this Expanding Classes book to the Rune Mark class for players who might actually have made one of these characters. It’s a nice addition to include details for a character class only a fraction of C&C players know about or have much less played, which shows how much Troll Lord cares about its player base.

Overall, Expanding Classes is not a must-own supplement for Castles & Crusades by any means. It’s well written and was a long time coming, but much of what is contained in here is already common sense to older gamers, especially AD&D players and has no doubt been house ruled in by using the rules from TSR’s version(S) of D&D. Still, younger or newer gamers will find this helpful and Troll Lord Games did a fine job on this piece. I personally think seven dollars is a bit high for this type of supplement, but if you DO pick up Expanding Classes, and you are a C&C fan, you won’t be unhappy with what is presented here.