Posted on March 18, 2019
One of the games I own but haven’t played is Chivalry & Sorcery. I have three versions of it:
- Chivalry & Sorcery: The Rebirth (this is the 4th edition of the “main” line of the game – available for free on DriveThruRPG)
- Chivalry & Sorcery Light
- Chivalry & Sorcery Essence (available on DriveThruRPG via my affiliate link here)
The games are sorted above from most rules heavy to least. In truth, even Chivalry & Sorcery proper is not so much “rules heavy” as it is “complete”. There’s a lot of detail, but the rules themselves are not terribly complicated to use. Although the game has a distinct 90s feeling to the layout, all the tables and options and details make me enjoy thumbing through the books and think wistfully about playing. Almost all “serious” gamers I know have several games they have never played in their collection, in addition to several they will never play again. I’d really like to play C&S. While these books are currently in that “games I have never played” section of my collection, I’d really like to change that.
One of the regular players in my King Arthur Pendragon campaign made the observation not long after we started to play that the game system could be adapted to be a pretty fun A Song of Ice and Fire roleplaying game. While I am inclined to agree, and spent a few weekends working on a conversion, I eventually stopped working on it for a few reasons:
- It was hard coming up with regional traits and passions for most regions of the world, frankly.
- Pendragon’s “killer mechanic” is the personality trait system. In principle this should be great for A Song of Ice and Fire, however, I feel that most players would emphasize the “negative” traits (perhaps because of how salacious the Game of Thrones TV show is), and there would really be minimal social penalty and next to no “literary penalty” to doing so. The world of ASoIaF is more cynical than Arthur’s Britain. In play I suspect there would be less conflict between “positive” and “negative” traits and more simple indulgence of the negative traits.
- Pendragon also has a defined “downtime” in the Winter Phase. Each session should be 1 year of the campaign, speaking generally. This would mean the whole of the events from King Robert visiting Winterfell to now, for example, would take only a few sessions depending on whether you preferred the book’s pacing or the TV show’s pacing.
- Pendragon is about playing knights. You can also play ladies. There are more characters from more backgrounds than just those two in ASoIaF.
The more I think about it, the more I think a Pendragon version of ASoIaF would be fun, but not particularly faithful to the source material, which would be one thing if it was D&D, but almost sacrilegious to do to a game so perfect for its source material as Pendragon.
However, C&S seems to address these issues for me rather nicely! I can neatly side-step my difficulty in selecting regional traits etc by leaving those personality details up to the players, the personality trait system would not be present to be abused (replaced with some useful mechanics instead for influence), downtime is more flexible, and you can play any character from any social background. C&S also has a suitably low-key magic system (which would lend itself to tweaking to match the spell casting seen in ASoIaF), so I wouldn’t necessarily need to rule-out player character magicians as Pendragon 5th edition encourages.
So maybe A Song of Ice and Fire is my best shot to find players to play Chivalry & Sorcery with me… we will see!
Posted on March 13, 2019
This is an adventure location from my English Civil War Lamentations of the Flame Princess campaign. It is intended to take place in 1642, and uses the alignment system from England Upturn’d (which you can find on the blog of the module’s author, Barry Blatt, here: http://expanduniver.blogspot.com/2014/04/cavaliers-and-roundheads.html). Some spells from Vaginas Are Magic! are also included.
Kingston-upon-Hull, or Hull, is a town build where the river Hull joins the Humber, in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Its population in 1642 was about 6000 people. On 23 April 1642, the Governor of Hull, Sir John Hotham, refused the King entry to the town, acting on the orders of Parliament to prevent the King from obtaining access to Hull’s arsenal. After fruitless negotiations, King Charles was forced to withdraw without entering the city. In July 1642, the King will lay siege to the town.
Sir John Hotham, himself a Parliamentarian, estimates that Hull is 5/7 in favour of the King in the present dispute. The wealthy elite, however, embodied by the corporation, is Parliamentarian in its sympathies. The town is mostly moderate (non-separating) Puritan in its religious allegiance, although the previous vicar did succeed in a few “Laudian” projects, including beautifying the churches of St Mary and Holy Trinity.
Sir John Hotham, 1st Baronet of Scorborough
Level 3 Anglican Fighter, Cavalier Republican, 52 years old
Sir John Hotham has been Governor of Hull once before, that time at the direction of the King. Parliament re-appointed him, and sent him with his son, Captain John Hotham, at the head of a troop of horse, to take control of the city and its defenses, to prevent the arsenal there from falling into the hands of the King. An old politician-soldier, he is regarded as untrustworthy and duplicitous in the finest tradition of politicians, and hard and heavy-handed in the finest tradition of soldiers. King Charles has pronounced him a traitor.
Captain John Hotham, the Younger
Level 5 Anglican Fighter, Cavalier Republican, 31 years old
John Hotham is an energetic cavalry commander, who fancies himself one of the more capable military officers in England, and believes that the coming war will give him a chance to prove it. He is held in higher esteem by Parliament than is his father, and keeps a close eye on his father’s activities in Hull. Their relationship has become strained by jealousy and distrust.
Reverend William Styles, Vicar of Holy Trinity Church
Level 1 Puritan Cleric, Roundhead Republican, About 40
Reverend Styles has recently been appointed as Vicar of Holy Trinity, having replaced the “Laudian” Reverend Richard Perrott, who died last year. He also holds the office of Lecturer, which comes with a generous wage. His appointment blocked the Archbishop of York from appointing another Laudian cleric. He has not yet removed the “popish idolatry” which Reverend Perrott had re-installed in Hull’s churches as part of the Laudian beautification project, but can nevertheless be relied upon for a zealous sermon in the finest Puritan tradition.
Peregrine Pelham MP
Level 0 Puritan, Roundhead Republican, 40 years old
The second Member of Parliament for Hull (the other member, Sir Henry Vane, is at this time in London serving as Treasurer of the Navy), Pelham is a former merchant and sheriff.
Alderman Henry Barnard
Level 0 Puritan, Roundhead Neutral, About 40
Not a Royalist as such, but as mayor opposed Hotham refusing entry to the King. He was replaced as mayor, but is still part of the core group of aldermen who govern Hull. He resents Sir John Hotham.
Alderman James Watkinson
Level 0 Anglican, Neutral Royalist, 61 years old
A former MP and Hull’s only Royalist Alderman, he was “invited to leave” the town shortly after Hotham refused entry to the King.
Lord George Digby, aka Jacques Berruyer
Level 1 Anglican Fighter, Cavalier Royalist, 39 years old
Intelligence +1, Wisdom -2, Charisma +2
Languages: English, French, Spanish
Lord Digby is a hot-tempered English politician. He is well-educated and accomplished, and very good looking. These should be considerable advantages to a politician, and Lord Digby might make a very good politician if not for his emotional instability. A restless, dashing romantic, Lord Digby has been described by a former friend, the Earl of Clarendon, as “the only man I ever knew of such incomparable parts that was none the wiser for any experience or misfortune that befell him.” Perhaps for this reason, he fled the House of Lords in February just ahead of being arrested for treason by order of Parliament. After sailing to and from the Netherlands, he was captured on his return trip from York to the Queen (presently residing in the Dutch Republic). At this moment, Lord Digby is disguised as a humble French sailor, and is held prisoner at Castle Hull.
At some point (ideally involving the PCs as intermediaries or witnesses), “Jacques” will tell his gaolers, in broken English, that he has some important information to tell the Governor, which will help Parliament. Not long after, he will be interrogated by the Governor, and will secretly reveal his true identity to Sir John Hotham, trusting Hotham not to reveal him further and hand him over to face Parliament’s charge of treason. A few days later, in a further interrogation, Lord Digby will negotiate the surrender of Hull with Hotham, securing Sir John’s agreement that if the King comes again before the town’s gates with a single regiment and fires a single shot against the walls, the Governor will consider his duty towards Parliament discharged and admit the King. Like so many of Lord Digby’s negotiated agreements, this won’t actually pan out, of course, but Sir John Hotham will subsequently allow him to escape and flee to the King at Beverly.
Colonel William Ashburnham
Level 1 Anglican Fighter, Cavalier Royalist, 38 years old
Currently held prisoner in a comfortable castle cell, as befits a gentleman. He was taken prisoner on the same ship as Lord Digby aka Jacques Berruyer, but did not disguise himself. He will happily pay a reward (200sp) to any PC who facilitates his escape, and will add another 50sp if the PCs also affect the escape of his “loyal Frenchman”. If the PCs find out the Frenchman is really Lord Digby, who is wanted by Parliament, Colonel Ashburnham will increase the offered reward for helping both men to escape to a total of 500sp. Naturally, this payment cannot be made until both men are freed and able to escape to the King’s camp.
Mayor Thomas Raikes
Level 0 Puritan, Roundhead Republican, About 40
Newly elected mayor for the second time (last having held the post in 1633), Thomas Raikes is an able administrator and well-respected member of the community.
Alderman John Ramsden
Level 0 Puritan, Roundhead Neutral, 30 years old
A relatively junior alderman from a wealthy merchant family, who lives near St Mary’s Church. He imports exotic goods from the continent (Amsterdam mostly) and sold Richard Fox the Malleus Deus, Tales of the Scarecrow, and the Sword which is Uncertain.
Level 5 Anglican Magic-User, Roundhead Neutral, 32 years old
Armour 12, 12 hp, Morale 9, Strength -1, Intelligence +2, Wisdom +1, Charisma +2
Level 1: Goat Perversion, Charm Person, Summon, Hold Portal, Sleep, Shield, Spider Climb
Level 2: Change Self, Magic Mouth, Levitate, Speak with Animals, Phantasmal Force, Force of Forbidment, Knock, Stinking Cloud
Level 3: Howl of the Moon, Speak with Dead
Spells typically Memorized
Charm Person, Shield, Spider Climb, Change Self, Speak with Animals, Howl of the Moon
Elizabeth Mawson is the last survivor of a coven of witches which operated in the East Riding of Yorkshire. When Yorkshire was beset by plague in the late 1630s, many blamed the onset of the dreadful disease on witches. Hull was devastated by the plague in 1637, during the previous term as governor of Sir John Hotham. Most of Elizabeth’s coven was caught up in the subsequent persecutions, and after being interrogated under torture, were tried and hanged to the jeers of townsfolk eager to be avenged for the loss of their loved ones to the plague. More information can be found in this hand-out. Elizabeth fled the town and has spent the last five years seeking the proper spells to help affect her revenge. Now that Sir John Hotham is back, so is she.
Already in turmoil, having found itself the playing board for the opening moves of the English Civil War, wrought by political disunity, Hull has another enemy within its walls – a werewolf, or so assume the townsfolk. Almost every night, Elizabeth casts Howl of the Moon upon an unsuspecting man, who spends much of the rest of the evening running through the streets of Hull, howling at the moon and attacking people like a wild animal. When morning breaks, Elizabeth’s unwitting instrument has no knowledge of what he has done (although the blood on his hands and teeth should really be a strong indicator that they did something terrible), and the people of Hull find new victims lying dead in their streets.
Posted on January 28, 2019
This brief post was inspired by Tenkar’s recent podcast about aging in AD&D 1e. Lamentations of the Flame Princess has aging rules (p35 of Rules & Magic) which kick in at middle age (40 for humans, 70 for halflings, 200 for dwarves). There are no rules given in LotFP for characters who have not yet reached the age of maturity. There are also no rules given for starting age in LotFP, so in our games we just assume that characters start as mature adults who are not yet middle-aged, and if it seems important for narrative reasons, we just specify the ages of our characters. I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with this approach, but sometimes you might want to play a younger character, and some players would rather roll a random starting age than to pick an arbitrary one (especially since this is a common part of character generation in many editions of D&D).
The age thresholds for humans and halflings in the table on page 35 of LotFP correspond roughly to the age categories in AD&D 1e (p13 of the DMG). Dwarves do not correspond so directly (aging rolls start at 200 for dwarves in LotFP and middle age starts at 151 in AD&D), but a similar age range is covered at least. Despite subsequent LotFP publications pronouncing “this ain’t Tolkien”, Rules & Magic has Tolkien-like ageless elves. I’m therefore basing the age ranges here on a rough combination of these two tables.
|Race||Young Adult||Mature||Middle Aged||Old|
“Normal” Starting Age in LotFP
When generating new level 1 characters, random starting ages can be determined as per the table below:
|Class||Random Starting Age|
Young Adult Characters in LotFP
In general, rather than start with modified ability scores as per AD&D, Young Adult characters should start play at level 0, since they have not yet had an opportunity to train for their careers as adventurers. Level 0 characters do not gain experience points in the conventional sense. Instead, a level 0 character has to pass a narrative milestone determined by the referee which represents the character’s transition from “normal life” to a career as an adventurer.
To randomly generate the starting age of a young adult character, roll as per the table below:
|Race||Random Starting Age for Young Adults|
Characters who start play as level 0 Young Adults gain their first level in a character class upon reaching the age of maturity given in the table below, if they have not already gained it through achieving a narrative milestone. Humans reaching the age of maturity can choose between Cleric, Fighter, Magic-User, or Specialist. Demihumans advance in their demihuman class.
|Race||Mature||Roll||Roll at -2||Roll at -4||Interval|
As usual, aging rolls (Save vs Paralysis) are made every Interval years, first with no modifier at the age given in the “Roll” column, then at -2, as per the age given in the “Roll at -2” column, then at -4, as per the age given in the “Roll at -4” column. If a save is failed, roll 1d6 to determine which ability loses one point: