Stephen Chenault was a good friend of Gary Gygax. He had grown up playing Gary's games; and when he decided to write Castles & Crusades he wanted to build a tribute not only to the spirit of the original, but to Gary the man. Castles & Crusades is without a doubt the heir to D&D today. It is not a retro clone, it would be better classified as a retro-variant. But C&C is something much more special than just that. Stephen Chenault and his crew must have some bottled magic in the hills of Arkansas, the location of Troll Lord Games. The writing of this crew never ceases to amaze me, and frankly comes closer to High Gygaxian than any other game I have read but the original itself. Stephen is cut of the same cloth from which Gary and Dave sprang. His Rings of Brass, After Winter's Dark Campaign is one of the most magical and well presented worlds I have experienced for some time. The epic and deeply legendary style of his writing inspires me like few works are able to do without going to the source literature itself. In fact it inspires me just as much as the source literature. And this is just something Stephen and his crew do naturally. Not just in their most recent works. The skill and enchantment they bring to their writing was evident to me as far back as 2001 in a little known d20 adventure they put out entitled The Malady of Kings . In the title page of that work Stephen writes, "We humbly lay this parchment at the feet of the giants: Tolkien, Moorcock, Burroughs, and that Shadow of a Dream, Robert E. Howard." Stephen has done these giants proud, and I am certain his offering was deemed acceptable. If someone asked me to reccomend a game this would be first on my list.