Monday, May 3, 2021

Law, Chaos, & the Weird An OSR Commentary With Castles and Crusades Of Gods & Monsters By James Ward

Mythic epics are the driving force behind fantasy role playing games! Castles & Crusades is no exception. Here for the first time C&C branches out into the ether and brings you OF Gods & Monsters a book we guarantee you ll want and use. Written by James M. Ward this book stands along side the Monsters & Treasure as a tremendous resource for adventure and fun. James M. Ward returns to a subject he knows very well and delivering a plethora of information on hosts of gods, godlings, heroes and the magic that drives them. In Of Gods & Monsters Mr. Ward explores over 16 pantheons including Norse, Greek, Roman, American Indian, Aihrdian, Inzaen, demi-human pantheons and more. Beyond a simple recitation of deities, Of Gods & Monsters present playable incarnations of the gods in the guise of their own avatars. The deft and experienced hand of Mr. Ward explores spells, magic items, rituals and more. Castle Keepers need not struggle with characters encountering all powerful deities, but rather they can use the avatars to spice up and drive adventures of the mythic and the divine."

So over the weekend I was able to score a beautiful copy of  Castles and Crusades Of Gods & Monsters By James Ward . For over two years now the pdf of this book has been sitting on my hard drive. Now with the current campaign with Nightshift Veterans of the Supernatural Wars & Age of Conan both by Jason Vey. The players have become very interested in bringing in one or two specialize clerics from their Castles & Crusades games. Castles and Crusades Of Gods & Monsters By James Ward  might be just the thing to really add in some of the flavor from the Wilderlands of High Fantasy. The Wilderlands has Earth god's analogies on it. This book has made things far easier to deal with.  Under each  entry you find the symbols, provinces, the powers granted to all followers and other stuff (like taboos or ceremonies). Then there is a description of the god and his nature, followed by his artifacts and avatar stats.
The real difference between 
Castles and Crusades Of Gods & Monsters  & say the classic Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Deities & Demigods is the spells. There are spells for each pantheon covered & these give the player's PC's far more options & flavor. Reading further into both books however the following fact becomes evident. The gods are not happy with humans having access to the magicks of Law & Chaos. 

Earth's pantheons are not going to stand idly by if you start looking into some of the more exotic & weirder planar threats from say Rafael Chandler's Teratic Tome. These monsters fall right in line with many of the ideals of Lamentations of the Flame Princess rpg: 
The monsters are unique & highly mythological 
They are  immical to humans or demi humans. 
Many of them represent realities or cosmos that are no longer viable so they represent a mythological threat to the current campaign. 
These monsters are unique unto their own right & might only be available for a one shot or mini campaign. 

This is merely a thought exercise but the deities of Castles and Crusades Of Gods & Monsters  represent their own side within the planes. The occult nature of Law & Chaos are very weird especially within Sword & Sorcery  & even Weird Tales stories. The internal  rules are very inconsistent & magick especially divine magick is especially dangerous. The gods are not happy with the fact that even a low level mage with LoFP's Summon spell can cause untold havoc. That one first level spell in the hands of an apprentice wizard could open the door to absolute pain & suffering for a community or even a world. 

Contrast this with Castles and Crusades Of Gods & Monsters By James Ward  and the view from the sidelines is pretty amazing. The PC's as heroes are going to be slammed by circumstances. Adventures & campaigns within the OSR & old school can be & are sometimes made from the stuff of legends. I have to also stop & give credit to some of the commentary that I read through by Frank Mentzer by the Random Wizard blog for giving me some really excellent insights into his own experiences behind the scenes of the hobby. 
His own edition of Dungeons & Dragons has shaped some of my ideas of divinities & pantheons but we'll get into that coming up. 

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