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Ian Plumb
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Before Advanced Dungeons and Dragons was released Edward E. Simbalist and Wilf K. Backhaus wrote a combat expansion for Dungeons and Dragons called Chevalier. In short it was a combat expansion that brought a strong medieval feel to combat, rather than the core system's more fantasy feel. When Gary Gygax rejected the material Ed and Wilf brought other contributors in and they created a stand-alone role-playing game called Chivalry and Sorcery which was released shortly after AD&D.

Chivalry and Sorcery introduced a number of new concepts to the role-playing community. Firstly, in terms of combat, a round of combat was a set duration. Within that timeframe a character could perform a number of actions. How many actions was determined by the combat capability of the character. As a result, C&S wasn't an "I Go, You Go" combat system. Rather, when facing a superior opponent, they might be capable of attacking more frequently -- or vice versa.

Secondly, C&S introduced the concept of a component-based magic system. In C&S, Basic Magic refers to spells affecting the elements of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. The elements can be manipulated through specific spells -- Create, Detach, Affix, Amplify, Concentrate, Intensify, Accelerate, and Remove. These spells can then be cast in succession to produce an effect -- Create Fire, Detach Fire, Accelerate Fire will create a ball of fire that may be hurled to the limit of the wizard's range. On the other hand, there is no Fireball spell. It is up to the player of the wizard character to understand which component spell combinations produce which effects. Just as importantly, the elements can be combined to create new effects. Create Sand, Create Heat, Intensify Heat, Detach Sand, Accelerate Sand hurls a ball of molten glass at the target...

Finally, Chivalry and Sorcery steered the player away from the fantasy setting and towards a medieval setting. This may not seem revolutionary but back in 1977 the emphasis in FRPGs was the dungeon crawl, where a scenario involved traveling to a massive underground lair with hundreds of interconnected rooms and in each room there would be a monster to be defeated and some amount of treasure to be taken. C&S introduced the concept of "realistic" gaming, where the emphasis in game design involved creating a setting for the game that made sense. Monsters didn't simply live in a room waiting to slay or be slain by an adventurer. Rather, monsters had as much purpose in their existence as people -- and people were capable of behaving like "monsters". This push towards a more realistic setting was supported by the game having a strong medieval feel to it.

The first edition rules certainly had flaws and limitations. There were gaps in the logic in the magic rules which required the gaming group to establish extensive house-rules. There was no skill system really (everything was driven through the character class). The second edition of the rules was produced under Fantasy Games Unlimited. It had better production values and the rules were much tighter. In addition a number of Sourcebooks and Expansions were produced which gave further insight into the intents of the designers and contributors.
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Paulie Powersword
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Do you think it is a good game?
Is it a viable contender? Or has it's ship sailed, been boarded and overtaken by better games? Would you recommend that I buy it, should I stumble across it?

And great overview, btw. But it doesn't answer my questions above
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Ian Plumb
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Paulie Powersword wrote:
Do you think it is a good game?
Is it a viable contender? Or has it's ship sailed, been boarded and overtaken by better games? Would you recommend that I buy it, should I stumble across it?


By today's standards this isn't a great game. However, for any gamer who wants to understand where gaming started this is a valuable piece of history. I may be wrong but I think C&S was one of the first half-dozen RPGs on the market. Each game that came out after D&D was, in some way, a reaction to it. C&S shows us that even in the earliest days there was a craving for more realism in the rules and in the setting.

Regards,

Ian P.
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Jon A
England
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Paulie Powersword wrote:
Do you think it is a good game?
Is it a viable contender? Or has it's ship sailed, been boarded and overtaken by better games? Would you recommend that I buy it, should I stumble across it?

And great overview, btw. But it doesn't answer my questions above


The core of C&S is that it really sets out to model a medieval society, rather than imposing modern values on a medieval setting, as D&D does. It also displays a rather more mature outlook than the typical - 'goblins are evil because they're goblins'. As a game system it is far from perfect, and the magic system is clearly designed with plenty of ideas but far too few examples in the early editions.

Put it this way, Robin Hood never buys platemail. In D&D that can only be explained because he is a thief. In C&S its the way the world works. One of the problems of this is that the character generation process has to be tied in some way to the adventure, or v.v.
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Don holt
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I'd like to make a number of comments:

First, there are a number of us that are still developing the game. In fact, I am in the processes of writing a Vassal module to implement a C&S combat system. This is a computer tool used by players and a GM to aid face to face play. Vassal also allows remote play.

The module runs combat similar to the blows system with the Destrier additions by Wes Ives, but the blows have been replace by a time queue and action cards. The action cards allow a player to select an action for each arm and their legs using click buttons. The choice of action can not be seen by others. This choice generates events that are time stamped for the turn in which they will appear. The events are automatically placed in the time queue face down and are automatically drawn from the queue on the correct turn and phase. The result is simultaneous melee actions.

Though many calculations are automatically made (force of strike/bash) both the attacking and defending player roll against each other (1D100). The attacker rolls to see if the attacks connects. The defender rolls to see if edged/pointed weapons struck squarely, and can reduce the force of the strike considerably.

Experience and fatigue usage are automatically modified on the character sheet, when the action is taken.

In addition, I have developed a java script web page that takes the 30 minute character generation process to under a second. If you are running or have access to a perl cgi webserver, I can send you the perl script. The script also allows players to save the character on the webserver.

I run a C&S world online.
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Danny Stevens
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Brisbane
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I ran a campaign of C&S for about a year. I never really got into the simulationist detail but the mechanics and the supplements (especially Arden) made for a vivid, in depth world. The Vikings* supplement was a masterpiece in that regard with its in-depth examination of rune magic and viking society.

I agree that the C&S system launched a significant branch of the RPG collective. Particularly the need to tailor characters to the society. It was difficult creating and justifying a surf who was intended to go adventuring with a noble's son. This difficulty was the first time I started to consider the need to design new characters rather than base them on random dice rolls.

*Vikings was a supplement that I can't currently find an entry for here on the geek.
 
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The Vikings supplement is "Swords & Sorcerers". It's a sourcebook covering the Vikings, the celts, and the mongols.
 
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Laurence Gillespie

Sarles
North Dakota
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There are major problems with the "vikings" part of it.
 
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Mattias Elfström
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Laurence Gillespie wrote:
There are major problems with the "vikings" part of it.

We vikings are trouble makers.
 
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William Hostman
United States
Eagle River
Alaska
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Gaming in Greater Anchorage area, Alaska since 1978. Looking for Indy-willing RPG players in Eagle River (or willing to drive to Eagle River). Geekmail me if interested.
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Yes, this really is what I looked like when I uploaded that avatar. Not that it's quite current anymore.
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ianplumb wrote:
I may be wrong but I think C&S was one of the first half-dozen RPGs on the market.

Let's see...
D&D 1974
Empire of the Petal Throne 1975
Tunnels and Trolls. 1975 (Note: Editions 1-3 are not in the database, and 4th ed is 1977)
Boot Hill 1975
Metamorphosis Alpha 1976
Starfaring 1976
Monsters Monsters 1976
Bunnies and Burrows 1976

En Garde! (1975) is a borderline case - it can be used as an RPG quite easily.

So it's C&S is no earlier than 9th...

And then there's the rest of the class of 1977...
Space Patrol
Traveller Boxed Set
Empires of Magira
Superhero 2044
Flash Gordon & the Warriors of Mongo
Bifrost volume 1: Faerie
The Arduin Grimoire (arguably not a standalone)
Space Quest

Which could potentially push it outside the first dozen!
And I'm certain there is at least one I am not finding in the database that's dated in print to late 1975... Looking at JH Kim's list...
1975 The Complete Warlock (Published in The Spartan issue 9
1976 Knights of the Round Table (Little Soldier Games)
1976 Uuhraah! (Blackhawk Games) - cavemen vs dinosaurs.

Which push it out of the first dozen.
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