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About Oxtales

Campaign Style

This is mostly a game of “killing monsters and taking their stuff”, but game play is open: if the evening’s players decide their characters will use a troll to start an endless bar-b-cue restaurant or run for mayor, the DM will run with it regardless that the town has a Duke, not a mayor. Each session begins and ends with the characters gathered at a local inn. Participation varies each week and the players present propose their objectives for each adventure to each other. There are other regular weekly sessions of the campaign, and news items and player session reports are posted on the campaign’s blog.


The setting is divided geographically between two DMs. Adventure hooks, as noted on the wiki, are run by one DM or the other. The availability of a specific DM on any given adventure day is one limit on player choice.

Challenge Players, Not Just Characters

Puzzles will not be solved by intelligence rolls, traps won’t be found with dice rolls and monsters won’t necessarily be level appropriate. However, unsolved puzzles won’t be the only doors in the dungeon and smart players will be able to find the information they need to make informed choices. The intent is for players to focus on the game environment, not their character sheets. Searching is performed by asking questions about the environment. Characters with find traps abilities get saving throws if they miss something, but anyone can use a 10’ pole.

When Dice are Rolled; How we roll Castles and Crusades

Often, dice won’t need to be rolled for actions, especially when they are in the purview of the character’s class. When dice are needed, a d20 is rolled plus ability mod and possibly character level. 16 is the base level for success for actions and saving throws. To hit rolls are by attack bonus (determined by class and level) plus ability mod against armor class.

Here’s a pdf of the quick start Castles and Crusades rules from Troll Lord games
Here’s a pdf of our house rules as of 4-25-13

Character Class and Specialization

Besides class choice, characters are specialized by ‘prime’ ability scores, which represent training. A fighter that chooses Dexterity as a prime may be a duelist or an acrobatic fighter. Humans choose 3 primes, other races choose 2. d20 rolls (including saving throws but not to hit rolls) that use a prime ability score get an extra +4 to the roll. Also, characters may roll or choose a skill from the ‘Secondary Skill’ table for a pre-adventuring skill. Characters are further specialized through play by ‘Cool Moves’.

Cool Moves

If you describe a to-hit or action attempt in a ‘cool’ fashion and succeed tremendously (high drama or a 19+ on die roll), once per level can gain a permanent +1 to that ‘cool move’ if so nominated by the table of players and approved by the DM. To hit rolls are also subject to ‘cool move’ bonuses, but must be specialized by a circumstance, weapon type or even specific weapon and target.

Death and Dismemberment

When a character’s hit point total is 0 or below, a character is not necessarily dead or unconscious, but they must roll on the ‘Death and Dismemberment’ table. Each successive damage after the first requires another roll with a cumulative +1.


Experience is awarded for monsters killed, but typically more experience is awarded for treasure (1 gp =1 xp) Players who write session reports earn a bonus of 10% or 100 exp, whichever is greater.