Tag Archives: FGU

Chivalry & Sorcery & Eyestrain, Part III

Just The Factors, Ma’am

Last week, as you may recall, we left our intrepid heroine with a huge pile of really crappy stats. This week, we feed those crappy stats into a bunch of functions, equations, and what-not to produce some probably crappy values. Let’s see!

First up on the Eyestrain Agenda is Body. This is found by adding up all the various Body bonuses. I have a +2 for my size, and a +1 for my Constitution and a -1 for my Strength, so, +2. When I get around to picking a career, I get to add another number to this, but let’s keep that +2 in mind.

Fatigue: Fatigue is, basically, hit points, of the non-vital variety. For a while, D&D 3.0 experimented with “Wounds” and “Vitality”, with Vitality being the “hit points” that wore away from small wounds, exhaustion, and so on, while “Hit Points” were actual, serious, damage. Guess what? C&S did it in 1977. Based on my limited understanding of the chart, I roll 2d6 for Fatigue, and with the luck that’s been plaguing this character since her birth, get “4”.

Next up is my carrying capacity. I have a Strength Factor of 0.1 and a Constitution Factor of 0.1, so I multiply the total, 0.2, times my weight of 130 lbs. I can carry 26 lbs.

My Military Ability Factor, which tells if I can master tactics, be bold in battle, etc, is found by adding Intelligence, Wisdom, Strength, Dexterity, and Charisma, dividing by 10, then adding on a bunch of modifiers. When all is said and done, it comes out to 1.2, on a scale of 1 to 10. This gives me a Command Level of 0.6 . Since I’m not a trained fighter (I don’t think… no one’s asked me yet…) I subtract 2 from the Military Ability Factor and 1 from the Command Level.

At this point, it’s becoming evident I need to pick a class, as most of these charts and tables want me to have one. No classes have been described or listed yet. Indeed, looking through the rules, there’s no one section that says “Pick a Class”. There’s sections on fighting, on “Thieves, Brigands, and Assassins”, a huge-ass section on magic, but no obvious “Here’s the classes, pick one.” I think I will bleep over my “Personal Combat Factor” for now until I figure this part out. So what’s next?

My horoscope. Of course. And it’s in the Magician’s Chapter, naturally. A 78 tells me I’m a Capricorn, and if I’m understanding the vague and confusing rules on “well aspected” or “poorly aspected” properly, I’ll do best as a thief, a farmer, or an other. Since my Dexterity is the Stat Which Sucks The Least, I guess I’ll go with thief.

Going back to the PCF (Personal Combat Factor, weren’t you listening, dumbass?), it’s my Carrying Capacity/10 (2.6), plus my Military Ability Factor /2 (0.5), plus Dexterity/10 (1.1) + Class Factor, which is … not listed for a Thief. I guess that’s “Other Men”, or 0.5. This totals to 4.7, on a chart that can get as high as 50.

OK, time for Phobias. I rolled a 55, so I have one phobia, but I really should figure out my social class first, it seems. Of course, that’s on the next page…

Well, there’s a bit of luck. My father was a Noble, and I am his firstborn daughter! This might explain why I’m even still alive. Of course, with my poor Charisma and Appearance, he’s probably having a hard time marrying me off, and I don’t exactly bring anything else to the table — with a Strength of 2, I can barely carry a mop bucket around. Fortunately, I rolled that I am a “good” daughter and am welcome to stay at home.

Of course, as nobles go, Daddy was pretty lame — a Landed Knight only. This gives me a starting status of 5. In theory, I could work out how much land Daddy held, but doing so would require first detailing the entire feudal system of holdings and how they’re divided up, which seems a futile effort. (You see what I did there?)

At this point, I’m a little vague as to where to go next; it mostly seems to be writing down my (crappy) thief skills and buying equipment. So I will call this one done, and the next time someone waxes all nostalgic about how games used to be “simple” and “didn’t have all these rules”, find a way to print out C&S with a readable 12 point font and then beat him to death with the three or four reams of paper such an effort will produce.

PS: Since I’m a Noble, I add +15 to my phobia roll, so I have two phobias. I have xenophobia and demophobia, fear of strangers and fear of crowds. Oh, yeah, Daddy must be having a hell of a time finding a marriage partner for me. Ugly, weak, scared to meet new people and scared to go to social events. You know, dying during character creation in Traveller is more fun than this…

Chivalry & Sorcery & Eyestrain, Part II

Prepare To Wear Out Your Dice

OK, let’s begin!

When last we left our intrepid hero, we had finished writing the introduction, but we hadn’t actually gotten around to creating a character. As noted in that section, you don’t pick a race, per se… you roll for your race. I’m surprised no game in the Cambrian Age didn’t have you roll to see if you were even in the game at all… oh, wait, that would be Traveller. (Infamous, and wonderful, for the fact your character could die before the game even began.)

We begin with Prime Requisites, which is what most other games just call “attributes”. I’m going to give C&S a pass on this one. The vocabulary of RPGs was still in a state of serious flux; this wasn’t some nineties¬† attempt to be different using all the same concepts but giving them goofy names (“Align the chakras of competence in opposition to the hazards of regret.” “What?” “Roll for initiative.” “Oh.”). The rules note, in very small type, that if your life horoscope is well aspected, you can reroll one crappy state.

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Chivalry & Sorcery & Eyestrain

Chivalry & Sorcery

One reason I started doing my character creation walkthroughs was the fact that, well, I have over 2000 RPG items, and I’ve barely used any of them for actual gaming, despite playing constantly for the past 32 years or so. With such a cornucopia, it’s hard to decide what to do next, as I have games ranging from the common to the obscure, from the classic to the just-published.I’ve been looking a lot at the goofier, gonzoier, heavy metal, stuff from the “classic era”, but when D&D came out, there were a lot of reactions to it. Really, for the first few years of RPG history, every game was, in some way, a response to Dungeons & Dragons — some were slavish imitations of it, some were D&D on acid trips, some were “D&D but in a different genre but we copied over a bunch of stuff from D&D because it’s the only template we had for designing an RPG”, and some were more profound statements of disagreement with the design ethos of D&D. One of these rebuttals, Tunnels & Trolls, was pretty much the only game of the era consciously and deliberately designed to be simpler for the sake of simplicity.

This article isn’t about Tunnels & Trolls, as you’ve probably figured out from reading the frakking title. It is about another Noun & Noun game, one which looked at D&D and said “Unhistoric! Simplistic! Balderdash!”. That game, of course, is Chivalry & Sorcery, the SCA Authenticity Fascist to D&D Ren Faire dude wandering around in a T-Shirt saying “I’m just here for the wenches”.

This is Chivalry & Sorcery

This is D&D

Any questions?

Anyway, read on for more!

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Space Opera

Space Opera is one of the classic FGU (Fantasy Games Unlimited) RPGs, meaning, it has insanely detailed and complex rules and a reputation for nigh-unplayability. When I was 16, I was able to roll up characters in it. Can I do so now that I’m 43 and “spoiled” by games like D&D 3.5, GURPS, and FATE? We shall see…

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