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Dark Streets
by Ade J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/20/2012 16:45:32

What can say about this gem ? As soon as I started reading it I was hooked with ideas galore springing up as to what I could do with it. Georgian London combined with the cosmic horror of the Cthulhu Mythos is a a very potent setting which, like Cthulhu by Gaslight, lends itself to occult mysteries very well.

First Impressions : Good and evocative artwork sets the scene for what is inside the covers. Pages are well laid out and I found that the page background art complimented the writing/font choice well rather than being a distraction.

Introduction : Well written and gives a solid idea of what type of stories can be told with this setting.

Chapter One - London : Informative and entertaining. It gives a good overview of London including fashion, culture, politics, morality and The Bow Street Runners. Do be warned though : It does cover some more Adult subjects than other games in the Renaissance line but it all fits in with the setting. The maps are superb and the locations are well researched. It reminded me of the Victoriana supplement : The Smoke in many ways which is certainly not a bad thing. As a sideline here I would love to see a seperate supplement going into yet more details of the sights & sounds of 1750 London (or other cities) if it was done in the same manner as found here.

Chapter Two - Character Creation : Good additions and options to the core Renaissance rules. This includes Runners & Consultants (the main type of characters that players will be generally using) as well as new skills

Chapter Three - Factions : A large number of new and retakes on existing Factions including my favourite: The Association which made an appearance in the Clockwork & Cthulhu Setting book. These are well written and thought through lending another dimension to the rules.

Chapter Four - The Mythos : The Cthulhu Mythos as it is in the 1700's. It is good to see The Dreamlands here and the way the Magic system works within the Renaissance rules framework. It is written in such a way that someone with no real knowledge about HPL will easily be able to portray the horror aspects within the game.

Chapter Five - Bestiary : A good mix of Mythos and Non-Mythos creatures are listed here including another favourite the Moon Beast. The "core" deities are covered in this section too. Each entry in this chapter contains good information rather than a couple of lines which I am really pleased about.

Chapter Six - Adventures : So as not to spoil things I will simply say Very impressed. Lots of seeds and NPC's followed by a full length scenario called "Gin & St Giles" which looks like a cracker !

Finally we have some ready-to-play Characters so you can jump straight in to play.

Summary : As much a fan as I am of the Renaissance line I think this is the best so far. It combines historical setting with horror and investigation. It also will fit smoothly in with the Core Rules to provide further Character options and it could then be the basis for so many differing styles and genres of play from swashbuckling to political to espionage and more. I would love to see this supported with additional material.

Another superb release from Messers Cakebread and Walton. THE Purveyors of Fine Imaginings.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dark Streets
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Renaissance - D100 black powder SRD
by Stephen B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/09/2012 15:34:25

Our group has just started a campaign of Clockwork and Chivalry. We're having a great time with it. Great setting, loving the alternate history magic systems and its an excellent interpretation of the D100 system. There's just enough crunch to make some interesting combat decisions and the skill rules get out of the way of the RP.

I can't afford the full blown rules for C&C at the moment, but I highly recommend these free rules. There's a ton of content here, basically all the rules you need short of the proper background to the game. There's a decent set of magic rules which are only missing the clockwork stuff.

This is a great resource for free, hats off to Messrs Cakebread and Walton. I will be buying the full rules as soon as the bank manager lets me.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Renaissance - D100 black powder SRD
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Renaissance Deluxe
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/18/2012 16:19:29

The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=27914.

Renaissance Deluxe is the extended version of the Renaissance SRD and is the latest addition to the d100 family that includes RuneQuest, Legend, OpenQuest, and Basic Roleplaying. In regards to those systems, it was built off the OpenQuest system and resembles a mash-up of OpenQuest and RuneQuest or Legend. To me, it seems like a simpler version of Legend or a more intuitive version of OpenQuest (essentially it lies somewhere in the middle). Renaissance is designed for black powder (fantasy) settings and nominally set in the early modern period of Earth’s history (which includes the Renaissance era).

Renaissance is a roll-under d100 system where the majority of dice rolls are made against a list of common and advanced skills formed by either adding two base characteristics or by doubling a single characteristic. Each character then receives a number of skill points to improve those skills and thus create their own character archetype. Each character is defined by a social class, profession, and faction. Social classes are a character’s background that defines what professions are available. Professions define what a character did BEFORE they became an adventurer. Factions define what the character’s believe in the most. All of this defines a character’s background and beliefs but does not hamper their ability to advance and become whatever they want. Obviously they don’t get the inherent bonuses for social class and profession, but characters are never limited by a given character class or archetype. This is the same method as the aforementioned d100 systems.

According to Cakebread & Walton, Renaissance Deluxe has expanded content in Factions, Equipment, Alchemy, Witchcraft, and Bestiary. The Sanity and GM chapters are new plus quick rules are included for combat and naval combat.

OVERALL

I hate to say this because it sounds biased, but this is by far my favorite implementation of the d100 systems that include OpenQuest and Legend. For as much as I like both of those systems, Renaissance removes the things I don’t like about those systems. It removes some of the combat complications of Legend while adding more options compared to OpenQuest. The only drawback I see is that it’s tied too heavily to Clockwork & Chivalry in terms of only offering Alchemy and Witchcraft along with equipment that is tied heavily to to early modern Earth. While this is a slight drawback, it does mean that other settings will require new mechanics/options in those areas (although remember that Renaissance is designed to recreate the early modern era with a fantasy twist). However, due to its inherent compatibility with OpenQuest, RuneQuest, and Legend, you can easily pull from any number of already available sourcebooks and core setting guides for that information.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 9 out of 10 I applaud Cakebread & Walton with their continued improvements to their publication quality from their beginnings with the 1st edition of Clockwork & Chivalry up to Renaissance Deluxe and beyond. There are some very little things in regards to cleaning up the formatting, but they’re completely minor and by no means interfere with the content. However, this is just a sidebar to what is truly awesome about Renaissance Deluxe. Early Modern and Black Powder Fantasy artwork is something you do not come across very often. Following with the style of artwork found in Clockwork & Chivalry, Renaissance Deluxe has an excellent collection of rustic feeling artwork depicting Early Modern times and the technology within the core mechanics. While you may not think that means much, Black Powder Fantasy and the Early Modern period is somewhat rare in role-playing games and you don’t see a lot of period-appropriate artwork.

Mechanics: 10 out of 10 This may sound a little biased, but the Renaissance system removes all the mechanics I find to be bulky in Legend (RuneQuest II) while avoiding the overly simple implementations from OpenQuest. It is an excellent implementation of the d100 mechanics that harken back almost 35 years. Yes it is tied directly to the era it’s meant to represent, but it can easily be modified for similar eras or other interesting settings due to the strength of the core mechanics.

Desire to Play: 8 out of 10 If you are looking for black powder or historical fantasy set in the early modern period, then Renaissance is the perfect fit. However, it does have a slight drawback in that those themes are integral to the system and are difficult to avoid. If you want to change the flavor to match a slightly different theme, there are lots of bits and pieces that need to be adjusted. In addition, I hate to say it, but I find the d100 mechanics in Renaissance, compared to its counterparts, to be much more favorable for quicker game play and more flexibility (depending on which one you’re comparing it to). Renaissance’s familiarity due to its core mechanics predecessors can make for some quick starting games as you don’t really need to learn a lot of new mechanics.

Overall: 9 out of 10 I definitely recommend the Renaissance d100 system as an excellent comparison to its predecessors. I also definitely recommend it for those wanting a game set in a black powder setting. These are two things that Renaissance Deluxe does very, very well and it’s worth taking a look at if you’re shopping for a new game system.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Renaissance Deluxe
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Kingdom & Commonwealth Omnibus 1
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/03/2012 03:14:56

This is a excellent historical 'war-torn' English campaign that manages to evoke enough magical realism into the setting to make it come alive. There are a series of eccentric NPCs to add colour and a detailed narrative that would keep most adventurers happy for months, and it's isn't too dissimilar to classic campaigns like Warhammer's Enemy within in this respect. The presentation and layout is nicely done, and it's all well bookmarked. All this alone would be worthy of 4 stars, but the exemplary service I recieved when dealing with a technical issue bump it up one more! The follow on Omnibus 2 is even better though..



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Kingdom & Commonwealth Omnibus 1
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Kingdom & Commonwealth Omnibus 2
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/24/2012 20:02:41

These contain my favourite parts of the Kingdom and Commonwealth campaign to date, especially going to the moon! The presentation is easy on the eye and consistent with the core book, and perfectly readable on both Mac and PC. Probably the best fantasy campaign I've read since Warhammer's Enemy Within and very similar in tone. Recommended.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Kingdom & Commonwealth Omnibus 2
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Clockwork & Cthulhu
by Mark G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/07/2012 02:25:15

I'm afraid I am not very good at writing these kind of things so I will keep it short. What can I say about Clockwork Cthulhu apart from buy it and buy it now it's a great and previously unexplored setting for Cthulhu with enough information contained within to help get your imagination bubbling away. But do I really need to say more than its Cthulhu and Steam punk madness combined into one insanely fun setting.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Clockwork & Cthulhu
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Clockwork & Cthulhu
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/06/2012 05:41:45

So, yes, the combination of setting and mythos works in case you were wondering, and there are some pretty good adventures included in the book. You don't need the Clockwork and Chivalry book to run it, provided you have the Renaissance rules (freely downloadable), as it is self contained with a primer on the backstory of the 17th century English setting included. It possibly begs the question as to why they couldn't have just gone the whole hog and made it a standalone core-rulebook, however. The Cthulhu Mythos seems to be ubiquitous in gaming as it clearly works as a versatile backstory that can overlay any historical setting, although some may get jaded with it after a while, and yearn for something new. The quality of writing, layout and design is excellent though, and I've no doubt it will be a popular book for those fans who have already tried out it's mother game.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Renaissance - D100 black powder SRD
by christopher H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/22/2012 20:27:04

find product good, lay ou is goodt. for free product it is deftly a good down load!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Renaissance - D100 black powder SRD
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Clockwork and Chivalry 2nd Edition Core Rulebook
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/01/2012 06:19:54

Originally published at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2012/06/01/tabletop-review-clockwork-and-chivalry-2nd-edition/

The original Clockwork and Chivalry was a D100 system based off Mongoose Publishing’s RuneQuest II rule set. With Mongoose losing the Runequest license back in 2011, Clockwork and Chivalry creators, Peter Cakebread and Ken Walton decided to evolve Clockwork and Chivalry, using the OpenQuest rules and the original Runequest SRD as a base while putting their own spin on it. The result was the Renaissance system, which was used for the Second Edition of Clockwork and Chivalry. While different in some details, the general mechanics remain the same. So those familiar with either the 1st Edition of Clockwork and Chivalry or Mongoose’s Runequest will be at home with the new Renaissance system.

For those that may not be familiar, Clockwork and Chivalry is set in the 17th Century during the English Civil War. At this time the Crown and Parliament were at war with each other for control of the kingdom, while many other factions are trying to influence the outcome of the conflict. But this England isn’t an exact historical recreation of our own world. In the world of Clockwork and Chivalry, magic and alchemy is real and giant clockwork machines are used as weapons of war. So it does have some fantasy elements as well while using real world history as a foundation. Just do not expect to find elves, dwarves, or other demi-humans running around. They are not present like they were in Cubicle 7’s Victoriana, so if your role-playing must include pointy ears, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

Clockwork and Chivalry characters have seven main stats called characteristics. They are strength, constitution, dexterity, size, intelligence, power (which represents a characters will power) and charisma. You determine your strength, constitution, dexterity, power and charisma by rolling 3D6. Your size and intelligence are determined by rolling 2D6 and adding 6 to the result. There are also some secondary stats called attributes that are calculated using your base characteristics. You have damage modifiers, hit points, movement rates, major wound levels (Damage taken from one attack over this amount cause serious or grave wounds. More on this in the combat section.), and if you use witchcraft, you also have a Magick attribute.

The attribute generation is simple and straight forward. Your base characteristics will be familiar to anyone familiar with a D20 based system, with power being somewhat analogous to wisdom. The secondary attributes are simple to calculate, and after a short time you should be able to calculate them on your own without referencing the book.

Now we move on to selecting the characters’ previous experiences prior to adventuring. This is where you determine the social class, profession, and faction of your character. The most important of these is your social class, for it will affect your profession choices. Your choices are Peasant, Townsman, Middle Class, Gentry, and Nobility. You really want to put some thought in to thia decision. You social class for one determines your starting money amount. The higher the class, the more money you have to start. Also each class gives you bonuses to the common skills every character starts with, as well as giving your character access to other advanced skills. Each social class is different in these regards. Finally, the most import aspect of character creation your social class affects is your profession. Different professions are available to each class, and if you want to play sailor for example, you can be of Nobility. There are just some jobs that nobility would not lower themselves to. Just like if you are a peasant, you cannot be a cavalier. Someone of such a low social standing would never be accept into such highly respected positions.

This is the point in the character creation process you really need to have good idea of the character you want to play. I recommend looking over all the professions before selecting your social class, finding the profession you want then selecting the appropriate social class. Otherwise you may find that your townsman is locked out of becoming an alchemist.

The final portion of character creation is selecting your faction. The English Civil War, while primarily involved the Royalists versus the Parliamentarians, had many other groups trying to influence the outcome. So there are many choices when it comes to what faction you wish to be a part of. You can of course choose to be a Parliamentarian or Royalist. You can also be Catholic or Presbyterian. For the more evil of character, you can also be a Satanist or a member of the Horsemen’s Word. You even have the choice of Self-Interest for those that’s primary motivation is benefiting themselves. There are twenty-five different factions in total. All have a different world view and ideals they live by. You might even think of factions as a sort of alignment system, since each group has a specific set of belief they follow.

Your Righteousness points also come into play when dealing with the various factions of the game. Righteousness points represent how dedicated to the cause of your faction. A starting character’s Righteousness points are equal to the sum of their charisma, powers, and faction zeal. If you have a lot of righteousness points, then you are a zealot of your cause. If your points drop to zero you could be converted to another cause. These come into play when you get into a debate with a rival faction. Say you get into an argument with a drunken Royalist at the tavern; you both would make a roll against your Righteous points. You would try to roll under your RP, while the opposing character would do the same. You would compare the results of the check and depending on what was rolled; you and your opponent could either gain or lose RP points, showing how persuasive both parties were. Righteousness points will also change if a character is victorious or defeated by an opposing group, or if the character hears of a overwhelming victory or defeat of his group. This one would come in to pay when the player hears the results of major battles he’s not directly a part of. Overall I find the concept of righteousness interesting. Often times over the course of a war, a person’s convictions to one side waxes and wanes, and I think this does a good job representing that. However, some players may dislike the idea their character may be converted to a different belief system, strictly based on die rolls.

Now let’s talk about the professions in a little more detail. In all there are thrity-seven different professions to choose from. Each profession has a social class requirement and provides bonus to common skills and some advanced skills as well. These professions really run the gamut of 17th Century society. You can be a farmer or a merchant, a ruffian or an outlaw, or if you want something a little more dignified, a courtier or a scholar. If magic is more your thing, you could choose witch or devil’s horseman. Each profession has a detailed description as well, giving you a good idea of the type of people the profession usually attracts and what their work details. These professions represent your life before the game begins and whether you continue on this work in the game is up to you. With so many choices of professions are a bound to find several that spark interesting character concepts.

With so many possible character concepts, having a cohesive adventuring party develop out of some very different professions and social classes can be a difficult task. To aid in this, a random event table is provided that players can roll on and it provides little hooks that can be used to connect to players. By using this you can develop reasons why players know each other and would be willing to take part in dangerous adventures with each other. The initial, “Why do these characters know each other?” is always something I’ve struggled with when running games, so having a nice little chart I can use to connect everyone makes my job as game master a whole lot easier.

After choosing your faction, social class and profession, you can now determine your skill values. Every character starts with certain common skills these are basic things such as close combat, first aid, perception, range combat, dance, and athletics. Also depending on your social class and profession, you will have more advanced skills that not everyone else has. The values for tour skills are determined by using your characteristics. Some skills will add two characteristics together to get your value. Others may be two times one characteristic. That results ends up being your base value. Now is the time you add in any bonuses provided by your social class or profession and that gives your final skill total. Now whenever you go to use a skill you roll a percentile and attempt to roll under your score.

The combat system works the same way. Roll under your range or melee combat value it hit. Characters that are being attack also have defensive options as all. When hit with a close combat attack or hand thrown missile weapons, a character can once per round try to dodge or parry the attack; this give the character a change to either reduce the amount of damage taken or avoid it all together. This adds an extra dynamic to combat and more resembles an actual sword fight.

Combat in Clockwork and Chivalry is rather lethal when compared to your typical roleplaying gaming. If you take more than your major wound level in damage from one attack, you consult the major wounds table. Using the ones die roll from the attack roll, you cross reference this chart and determine hit location and the results of the hit and additional effects that this blow had. You could end up with losing an eye and receiving facial scars, or you receive a nasty stomach wound and start losing 1 hit point a round until you are patched up. Or if you take a bad blow to the heart, you die instantly. So even the mightiest of heroes can be maimed or killed in Clockwork and Chivalry. So players should not expect to be able to hack and slash their way through every situation. Sometimes running is the best solution.

When it comes to magic in Clockwork and Chivalry, there are two distinct flavors: Alchemy and Witchcraft. Alchemy draws itS powers from the elements while witchcraft draws it’s from much darker places. Alchemy is the more acceptable of the two, with would-be alchemist documentation being freely available in the Oxford University library. Witchcraft, much like you would imagine, is feared by the populace and there are those that will hunt down and kill witches or those mistaken for witches.

For alchemical spells to be cast, the alchemist must first construct a philosopher’s stone. This stone acts as a magic power battery, and as the alchemist cast spells power is drained from the stone until it is an empty useless rock. To create a philosopher’s stone an alchemist must make an alchemy check for every hour of construction. Every hour of construction adds two magick points to the stone, but on a failed check it’s possible a mishap happened that can cause serious damage to the alchemist and those around him. Anything from taking major damage from an explosion or suffering permanent constitution loss due to noxious fumes can happen. This is why very large, powerful stones are rare. They are too dangerous to construct. After successfully making a stone, the alchemist can then cast spells, which each spell draining its magick point cost from the stone until the stone is down to zero MPs. At this point the stone is useless and the alchemist must make another. Also the Alchemist must make an Elemental Casting roll of the appropriate element, success meaning the spell works and failure meaning the alchemist was unable to control the elemental forces and at times this can have dire consequences.

Witchcraft is a much darker form of magic. Yes, there are the unaligned “good” witches if you will, but the most powerful are the satanic witches. Witchcraft uses to stats when casting spells, the witchcraft skill and the Magick attribute. The witchcraft skill roll determines if the spell succeeds. The Magic Attribute determines how strong the spell is and how powerful of spells can be cast. The reason satanic witches are the most powerful? Only those that are aligned with Satan can increase their magic score after beginning the game. Much like the dark side of the force tempts people with power in Star Wars, so do the dark powers of witchcraft in Clockwork and Chivalry.

I’ve also been torn when it comes to magic systems in role playing games. I tend to prefer the Vancian style of magic where, if a caster uses a spell, it just works. The spell system of Clockwork and Chivalry is far from Vancian magic. The magic comes across more wild and people have less control over it than they would like to think. Fumbling a skill roll for either form of magic can have dire consequences, requiring rolls on their respective fumble charts. The results can then be anywhere from an annoyance to very lethal. It does help play into the common peoples wariness of it though, considering even the “experts” have issues controlling the forces they claim to control. This lack of control fits in with the game setting nicely and for this particular game works far better than Vancian magic.

Now we go from the magical to the mechanical as talk about clockwork devices and their creation. The clockwork devices range from massive machines of war capable of turning the tide of any battle to a bible page turner. Clockwork devices can be constructed to perform most any task and the book provides a nice variety of both military and civilian clockwork devices. While the list of clockwork devices is quite nice, most players will at some point want to build a device of their own creation. Fortunate for them as rules for clockwork creation are provided.

Clockwork creation is a three step process: design, funding, and construction. The first stage is where the GM and player work out what the device will do and how complex it is to construct. This involves some work on the GMs part has he has to determine the complexity and effects on his own. Some guidelines are given but this is more of an art than an exact science. So new GMs to the system may find this daunting since the possibility exist to create a game breaking device if you give in to the player too much. I highly recommend any GM to reference to the predesigned devices and use them as a reference for what should be allowed in the game. Anything that does way more than anything in the book, I probably wouldn’t allow just because of that game breaking potential. After the GM and player work out the complexity and game effects, then the player makes a clockwork design roll. This determines how well the character’s design process went. If all goes well, they could complete the design quicker than expect or the devices works a little better than originally intended. Rolling poorly however can result in either wasted time, as it takes longer than expect to design, or worse, the device has a design flaw not obvious to the designer. After the initial design stage we move on to the funding stage.

Now that the character has their design, they have to find a way to pay for it. The cost is determined by the complexity level, the size, weapons, armor and speed (if a vehicle) of the device. The more complex, the more weapons, the better the armor and so on, the more it will cost. This phase is where the GM can have some fun roleplaying with the players, as they try to find a way to pay for the construction of their creation. Maybe the local lord will fund the creation provided they will do some dirty work for him. Maybe they’ll be all to charm some rich merchant into investing in their new creation. The possibilities are limitless and the creative GM will find a way to tie the funding in with the great story of the campaign.

Now that the money has gather it’s time to construct the device. The complexity level determines the time it takes for construction and the size determines how many helpers are needed. At the end of the first day of construction and every week thereafter, a Craft (Clockwork) roll is made. If the roll succeeds construction continues as normal. If it fails construction is delayed. If it was a fumble then the construction mishap chart is rolled on. This is where characters can suffer industrial injuries or severe damage can be done to the device ruining raw materials, increases the cost and construction time of the device.

There is a lot to the clockwork creation system. The design process involves a lot of fudging by the GM to create a device. The cost of the device must be calculated, funding sources must be obtained as well as raw materials. Then the construction itself involves several roles and possibly a month or more of in game time, not to mention the in game time spent creating the device. It’s a rather exhausting process that can easily take a character out of the game for a while, during the design and construction. It reminds me a lot of magic item creation in other systems. It always really time consuming and most players will be excited at first to create something of their own, then realize the amount of work that goes into it and say never mind. I think the same will apply for the clockwork construction rules. I like the rules overall. They make sense, but they are too time consuming and when mixed with the amount of GM fiat required, I really don’t see them being used that often.

Lastly we’ll talk about the setting itself. As I admitted earlier, my knowledge of The English Civil war is minimal. Fortunately a wealth of information is provided so you do not have to be a 17th century scholar to run a compelling game of Clockwork and Chivalry. The background of the lands is provided which helps set the stage for the civil war. The major players for both sides are profiled. You also are given information on the current customs, the legal system, fashion, and other aspects of daily life. There’s just enough detail to give the GM an overview of the society, without getting bogged in minutia. A map of the providences of England and Wales are provided along with who controls each. There is a lot of information in the background chapter. It’s actually overwhelming in some ways, since this time period was heavily personality based and there are a lot of important figures on both sides of the war. My thought is to just skim this chapter and focus on the parts need for your game, then read the rest as needed. There is too much to consume at once and don’t expect your players to know everything either. Just carve out the parts you need and focus on that, and you can run an enjoyable game. No need to get bogged down in details you won’t need.

A small bestiary is present. It has a mix of everything from the undead to dragons to wild animals. Running just fourteen pages, it’s a little on the small side, but most of the combat in the game will be human versus human so I can understand the lack of depth in this. Still I’m sure a GM will want a type of animal or creature not listed and it will be up to them to stat them out themselves.

Clockwork and Chivalry is an interesting system especially if you’re looking for something from your standard D20 fair. The base mechanics are simple, just expect to spend some time referencing charts since just about every system be it spell casting, combat or device creation involves them. Combat can last longer as well because of the parry and dodge mechanics, as it slows the game down a little while increasing the realism. Overall I like Clockwork and Chivalry. The setting is rich and not overplayed out like many other games. Mechanically it’s easy to understand, even though the chart referencing can slow the game down. The Clockwork creation aspect isn’t extremely newbie GM friendly, but I’m not expecting it to see much us either so it shouldn’t be a major concern. If you are looking for something different from the standard D20 fair, give Clockwork and Chivalry a chance. It’s one of the better D100 systems out there and after a few sessions you’ll be running epic battles between witches and clockwork ballistae.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Clockwork and Chivalry 2nd Edition Core Rulebook
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Clockwork and Chivalry 2nd Edition Core Rulebook
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/18/2012 07:37:13

If you were a fan of the first two editions of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, then you'll love this. The OpenQuest based rules are well modeled to the genre, and this really is a meaty, well laid out book. There is a rich vein of British black humor, some thoughtful magic systems (Alchemy, Witchcraft and Clockwork inventions), and the society of the setting is well illustrated through a multitude of Career choices, and political factions. The history of the English Civil war is also well researched, although I must stress this is very much a fantasy setting, rather than a pure historical game. With some good adventures in the back to get going, and a set of Campaign supplements that are on a par with Warhammer's Enemy Within campaign, there is a lot of fun to be had in this game. I only wish they could have called it something a bit more dramatic sounding.....like Warhammer, f'rinstance....



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ruined Empires - Airship Pirates
by Michael W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/27/2012 02:42:09

The full review can be read here: http://www.stargazersworld.com/2012/02/27/review-ruined-empires/

Ruined Empires is an 43-paged adventure for Abney Park’s Airship Pirates (read my review here) written by the games’ authors Peter Cakebread and Ken Walton. And as in the rulebook Abney Park’s Robert Brown was responsible for the Cover Design and overall layout.

The adventure was designed for a party of three to six players and serves in my opinion as a perfect introduction into the post-apocalyptic world of the game. I don’t want to give too much away about the plot of the adventure, but rest assured there’s something for almost everyone in the adventure. The story begins in Isla Aether, where they players are given the task by a powerful patron to find a treasure for him. But when they return victoriously things in Isla Aether have changed… and not for the better, when the players are concerned.

Even though the adventure is a railroading the story a bit, it still leaves a lot of opportunities for veteran GMs to do things their way. I haven’t had the chance to run the adventure myself, but I am sure it should be enjoyable for both players and GM alike.

Ruined Empires is a solid Airship Pirates and if you are planning to run a campaign, it definitely is a perfect way to introduce your players to the world.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Ruined Empires - Airship Pirates
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Abney Park's Airship Pirates
by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/16/2012 09:42:01

If the idea of playing a time-travelling/steampunk/airship pirate RPG set in the retro-future post-apocalyptic world of 2150 and based on the music and lyrics of a steampunk rock band from Seattle doesn't appeal to you by the time you've gotten this far into this sentence, then you probably shouldn't bother with the rest of this review.

Airship Pirates uses the Heresy Engine from Cubicle 7's Victoriana RPG. It's a simple dice pool system - skill checks consist of rolling a number of d6s equal to the character's appropriate Attribute + Skill combination, and counting the number of successes (1s and 6s - 6s "explode," or are rerolled and checked for additional successes.) "Black dice" (d6s of any other color) can be issued as penalty dice by the gamemaster, and rolled against the character's roll, with 1s and 6s canceling out the character's successes.

The Dramatic Systems section contains a great system for adjudicating dangerous situations, or "Perils," and the use of Fate points to increase the amount of successes, and "Scripting Dice" to alter the aspects of the story.

The Time Travel section is a great read, which advises against meddling with the flow of time, then proceeds to explain how it is done (since we all know it's going to happen anyway). There are tips for allowing the characters to meet themselves, change their own history (or someone else's), and dealing with minor and major screwups in the timeline.

Airship Pirates clocks in at just over 300 pages, with extensive sections on the history and culture of the ruined future, a GM advice section, a short bestiary, an introductory adventure, character sheet, pirate airship deck plan, and two maps. The entire full-color book is lavishly illustrated - the art is evocative and beautiful. I particularly enjoy the "photographs" of airships. The PDF is extensively bookmarked and is completely searchable.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Abney Park's Airship Pirates
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Abney Park's Airship Pirates
by Tracy M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/13/2012 07:05:53

It's fun, easy to read, and overall seems like a solid system.

My only complaint, and not worth docking on the rating, is that the PDF has a "textured" background, which prevented me from being able to read it on my black and white e-reader. If the background were clear, it would have been a little easier to read. Not a big deal, though.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Clockwork and Chivalry 2nd Edition Core Rulebook
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/07/2012 20:13:26

Building on the streamlined OpenQuest rules (which were in turn derived from the MRQ1 SRD), the second edition of Clockwork and Chivalry comes storming out of the gate and into a growing pack of games building on the foundation of either Mongoose's Legend/RuneQuest rules or Chaosium's BRP system. For those who do not know, OpenQuest is a fantasy game, a retro clone of earlier editions made possible by the OGL, much like the many Old School Renaissance games were made possible by the d20 SRD material.

One "fault" that I had with the OpenQuest rules were fixed in Clockwork and Chivalry was the lack of Professions. I like Professions because it is a way for players to customize their characters, without adding a lot of detail. Professions can emulate the best parts of class-based RPGs, without some of the drawbacks that go with class-based gaming. Clockwork and Chivalry also crank up the Faction/Cults rules, by giving them a bit more mechanical strength. The addition of the idea of Righteousness Points is a little complicated at first, but they give a reason to have a Faction/Cult on your character sheet, besides just because of the fact that you can get some extra skills. For a game set in the 17th century, I think that this particularly helps to make your characters more of a part of the world of the game.

Some faults that I had with this present game:

I'm not particularly a fan of the naming conventions for spells. I understand that they are intended to give spells a more "authentic" feel, but the grammar of the spells' names just come across as forced to me. And while I like the idea of Satanists and Satanic Witches in the game, I'm not as happy with making the Satanic Witch more powerful than other forms. I understand why the authors choose this route, but I don't particularly agree and that is something that would more than likely get house ruled into a change for me. I do like the effort that the authors put into making a justification for an adventuring group, and in putting some effort into making these groups fit together. That is something that can be a hurdle for many group, trying to justify why their characters are together, and it is particularly helpful in a historical game such as this one.

A starting character in this game is not only flavorful, and starting with story ideas that can be developed from the first session, but they are not handicapped. This is definitely a game that is about capable characters doing big things in their world. It is also nice that the Professions are set up with historical fidelity, as well as ways around those "restrictions," if the group wants to play the game more ahistorically.

This game does not scrimp on background or or setting material, so the group that wants to run a fantasy game outside of the box of the usual standards of fantasy gaming, or the group that wants to run historical settings but may not as expert on the time period as they feel that they should be are both supported by the setting material in this. There is more than enough background material for England and the important personages of the time and place to get even the most historically undereducated of people up and running for campaigning in this world. There are also a couple of very good starting adventures (complete with premade characters) to get games rolling.

In short, Clockwork and Chivarly is a very solid game, one that builds on the strong foundation of d100 gaming. If you are looking for a fantasy game that is well-designed and that goes outside of the boundaries of what you will traditionally find in a fantasy RPG, this is the game for you. I am looking forward to seeing what comes next with this line, and the supplements that are forthcoming look exciting and will greatly expand the game and the world.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Clockwork and Chivalry 2nd Edition Core Rulebook
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Clockwork and Chivalry 2nd Edition Core Rulebook
by Alexander O. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/31/2011 03:17:00

Having never played any of the flavors of Runequest, ever, it's hard for me to critique this core rulebook's rules (though I am a fan of the parent ruleset and was intrigued at the 1st set of Mongoose Runequest ruleset -- but that's another story). However, as a sourcebook and a spark of inspiration I can offer my opinions.

First off, the setting is one that I thought I was familiar with -- a swashbuckling setting with clockwork marvels -- but I was quickly proven wrong. The game is anchored in the time of the struggle of King Charles I and the English Parliament, with all the political and religious turmoil of that explosive era. Mix in alchemy, clockwork machines, and a changing view of the world, and you have an RPG already very different from the archetypal smooth talk and swordplay model of gameplay.

There rules for character creation seem pretty straightforward, with the 30+ professions and descriptions giving a great feel for the era. The Factions section (and their interrelated nature with the Righteousness mechanic) adds both flavor and potential richness to roleplay and gameplay possibilities.

The illustrated sections on Weapons and Armor will lend players and GMs alike passable expertise on the era's implements of war, and the sections on Alchemy and Witchcraft put a different spin on the traditional view of spellweaving in RPGs, while the section on clockwork devices help frame and make playable this particular conceit of the game. And the source material doesn't end there: maps of Britain, Scotland, Ireland, Europe and the New World; Wages and the Cost of Living, History, Important People, etc.

And there are sections on gamemastering this RPG, a couple of adventures to get you started, and a useful index to find all sorts of material in this dense, seemingly complete RPG corebook.

There are some problems with the PDF bookmarking of the my copy, but these can be easily rectified I'm sure in future iterations of the PDF.

All in all, a fine addition to my RPG collection.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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