I had a funny thought the other day. In my ongoing, semi-regular Wilderlands campaign there's been a lot of tweaking and adjusting to get the PCs' race-class choices to be "just right" for Castles & Crusades. Two of the characters (out of a group of three) have custom "class and a half" classes, for example, and one of the PCs is a non-canonical race.
That character is the indomitable Rumple-Wumpkin, an otterkin beastmaster. We've finally settled on what exactly constitutes an "otterkin" and what makes her a "beastmaster." Finally. So naturally, after doing so, it immediately occurred to me, "Hey, if we were playing 4e this wouldn't have been an issue." After all, otterkin are a playable race in the Scarrport: City of Secrets book, and the Beastmaster Ranger build was introduced in Martial Powers, if I'm not mistaken. (All this I've found out only through Googling around for "otterkin" and "D&D beastmaster"--I'm not normally this well-read on matters relating to Fourth Edition.)
Plus, since we're gaming online now, the miniatures issue wouldn't be a problem. Programs like MapTool make it an absolute breeze (not to mention free!) to run miniatures-centric combats on battlemats.
So why am I still running Castles & Crusades? A few reasons.
First, we've got a couple D&D newbies in the group who are juuuuuuust starting to cotton on to the C&C system. I feel it would be disingenuous to pull the rug out from under them now. Plus, before we left the Bay Area I gave the half of the group who teleconferences in my old first printing copies of the Players Handbook and Monsters and Treasure for reference, and our resident "rules guy" has started using that to his advantage.
Second, I really do like C&C, especially its cross-edition flexibility. Converting monsters from the Creature Crucible, classes from Second Edition AD&D, and NPCs from the d20 Wilderlands supplements is a snap across the board. I'd hate to be running a system that required a complete, bottom-up rebuild of all those things.
Third is most important. I'd be willing to overlook the other stuff, but I just...can't bring myself to run 4e. There are just too many assumptions built into the core system that I don't like. Making character roles explicit rather than implicit. The vague, abstract damage system. Residuum.
So that's that. No 4e for me. As if it was at all in doubt before, but I guess this golden opportunity to pick up the system and run with it, and my refusal to do so, pretty much spelled things out explicitly. I know that 4e can be tinkered with, kit-bashed, reassessed, and so forth. But so can C&C, and that's a system I'm comfortable with. If I was going to do a system switch at this point, if anything I'd go more old school, building off of a kit-bashed Labyrinth Lord/Red Box ruleset. Hmmm...