Clockwork & Chivalry
In a 17th century that didn’t quite happen lies a world of mud, blood, mayhem and magick. England is fast descending into anarchy. A multitude of political and religious factions struggle for supremacy. Magickal pollution taints the countryside. Creatures long dismissed as legends awake. Obsessive scientists meddle with the very elements of nature. Crazed inventors create mad machines.
Fanatics of every persuasion vie for power, while war, famine and witchcraft stalk the land.
The king is dead. Oliver Cromwell and the gigantic clockwork war machines of the New Model Army do battle with the cavalier-alchemists of Prince Rupert for control of the country, while ordinary folk struggle for survival.
In a world where every man is against his brother, can you and your fellow adventurers – armed with musket, sword, clockwork and magick – hold back the tide of war?
Alchemists, diggers, dragons, ghouls, engineers, mercenaries, puritans, ranters, royalists, satanists, thieves, witches… which side are you on?
Clockwork and Chivalry is a historical-fantasy role-playing game based on a D100 system of rules. We are based out of Texas Tech, and have been playing since August of 2012. We currently have a party of five, but we’re always looking for more people who may be interested!
We picked C&C for two reasons. The first is the setting. Clockwork & Chivalry is a fantasy game set within a historical timeframe. Jack (the GM) is a big history buff and the setting could not be passed up. More setting info can be found further down in the document.
The second reason for choosing this game is the rule system. C&C’s basic rules are very easy to learn, but they can be adapted to be incredibly in depth. The Clockwork & Chivalry rules are based on a D100 system. What this means is most skill checks are done by rolling two D10s. One dice represents the tens place while the other represents the ones (For example, if a 5 and then a 2 are rolled, the result is 52). Skills are rated on a percentage, and succeed when a player rolls lower than their skill (A character with a 65% in Gun Combat would have to roll a 65 or lower to make a hit with his pistol). Also, character creation in C&C is relatively simple, and should not take too much time before play can begin. An explanation of character creation can be seen further in the document.
Clockwork & Chivalry is set during the English Civil War in 1645. However, the setting is an alternate history in which scientists have finally unlocked the magical powers of alchemy, and at the same time ingenious engineers are developing complex, yet practical (and sometimes deadly) clockwork inventions. The country is divided politically into the Royalists and the Parliamentarians, while ordinary citizens are trapped in the middle of the conflict. The war is not only based on political motivations, however. It has also become one of religion. The Puritan movement supports parliament, while the Anglican Church (and their uneasy allies, the Catholics) supports the Royalists. The chaos of the war has led to the flourishing of many other factions and religious sects. There are those that espouse radical social change, while others are motivated by more personal reasons. Some have even renounced God, and turned to Satan as witches and warlocks. But wherever their allegiances may lie, the truth is most people want to see an end to the war and a reunited England.
The Civil War has devastated the country. Thousands of lives have been lost, and the two sides are locked in a stalemate. The Battle at Naseby was the deadliest yet. The Battle Alchemists and Cavaliers under the command of King Charles I clashed with Oliver Cromwell’s New Model Army, and its elite Clockwork Regiment. Parliament was able to capture (and later execute) King Charles and send the Royalists into a retreat. However, Cromwell’s army suffered massive losses in the battle, and with their clockwork war machines wound down, the Parliamentarians were unable to strike the deathblow. This allowed the Royalists to regroup with the forces of Prince Charles, who arrived at Naseby too late to change the outcome of the battle. Now, both forces are in an uneasy ceasefire as they gather their strength for a second round.
Parliament currently controls much eastern England and part of Wales, while the Royalists command the western half. At the beginning of the war King Charles relocated the royal court to Oxford. Oxford University has been at the forefront of Alchemical research, and most Alchemists are trained there. Parliament has a firm grip on Cambridge, which is home to the country’s largest collection of clockwork engineers. Meanwhile, London, the largest and wealthiest city in Europe, is in a unique position. Although it is within Parliament territory, it is divided. Officially, it is still the capital of England and the home of the Parliament. Realistically, people of a wide variety of political and religious persuasions live within its walls. Finally, trapped between the two factions are the Debatable Lands. These three counties are not in the firm control of either force and have suffered the worst of the war. Both armies have little regard for the welfare of peasant farmers, and have requisitioned (in other words, stolen) large amounts food, livestock, horses, and weapons from the populace. With the winter fast approaching, many will face the possibility of starvation.
Making a character for Clockwork & Chivalry is a relatively simple process. Character creation is semi-random and should be done together as a group. However, players can determine some aspects beforehand. The steps to make an Adventurer are as follows:
1. Characteristics- these stats are determined by rolling dice, and then assigning each result to a Characteristic. The scores then determine many things about an Adventurer. The Characteristics are Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, Power, Charisma, Size, and Intelligence.
2. Attributes- these are determined by a character’s Characteristics. They are Damage Modifier, Hit Points, Major Wound Level, and Movement Rate.
3. Skills- There is two sets of skills, Common and Advanced. Common are skills that all Adventurers have access to. Advanced skills require specific training and the Advanced Skills an Adventurer has access to are based on their Social Class and Profession. Skills are based on a percentage system, and their starting level is based on an Adventurer’s characteristics. The base level can be raised later in the character creation process.
4. Previous Experience- this is where the player has the most influence. This is also where the player can flesh out their character’s back-story in game-play terms. There are four parts to Previous Experience:
a. Social Class- This represents the caste that the character was born into. Social classes range from peasantry to nobility. Each class offers bonuses to different sets of skills, and gives access to different advanced skills. Social Class also determines which Professions the player can choose and the Adventurer’s starting wealth.
b. Profession- An Adventurer’s Profession is what they did before the events of the story. Accordingly, a character’s profession has an effect on what bonuses and advanced skills the Adventurer gets at the start of the game. Social class limits which professions a player can choose for his/her character. (A note: There are over 30 different professions to choose from. However, to be honest, several are better suited towards NPCs than Adventurers. I won’t enforce it, but I will point out which professions should be skipped over.)
c. Faction- a character’s Faction determines what cause they consider most important in their life. Most Factions are political or religious in nature, and some are more zealous than others. If you don’t find a faction you want, there is always the Self-Interested (Type) faction, which is unique to each character. Factions affect game play through the Righteousness mechanic, which represents verbal debates and attempts at conversion between two characters of different faction. It is possible for a player character to be converted to another cause in this way. This mechanic isn’t central to game play, but has led to some interesting situations!.
5. Free Skill Points- At this point all players are given 250 points that can be used to raise the level of a character’s skills. The player can also spend 10 points to give a character access to an advanced skill he/she wouldn’t normally have. This is also the point at which Alchemists pick their starting spells.
6. Connections and Events- This is the point to develop a character’s back-story. A character can also have some kind of connection to the rest of the party. Some background events can be randomly generated. The GM will award extra skill points for players who do a good job of fleshing out the background details.
7. Finishing Touches- This is where the character’s small details are decided. The player chooses their character’s Name, Nationality (The most likely heritage of a character is English, but Scottish, Welsh, and Irish backgrounds are common. Players can also consider other European nationalities, or maybe a more less common background, such as freed slave or a traveler from the Middle East. I’ll accept any background, so long as it fits within the background events established earlier and the player can adequately explain how their character began their adventure). The character also receives a set of equipment appropriate to their class and profession. The player describes the looks of the Adventurer (if you’d like, you may draw a picture). Finally, all characters receive 2 Hero Points. Hero Points are used to dramatically affect the game. This includes trying again on a failed roll, decrease the effects of Major Wounds, prevent a character from dying, or design a brand new spell or clockwork machine.