Monday, July 25, 2011

Experience with Chivalry & Sorcery?

Of the roleplaying games I have had a long-time love/hate relationship with, Chivalry & Sorcery is perhaps one of the strongest such beasts. I can't recall how many times I have pawed through the second edition sourcebooks—and later the first and second edition rulebooks (thanks again, Brad)--alternating between wonder and puzzlement.

The striving for a high degree of historical feudal verisimilitude with a deep level of detailed subsystems covering everything from handling the annual grain harvest to peasant jacqueries to the caloric intake of various foods (heck even an entire section devoted to how food is cooked and its in-game effects) has had a powerful pull on me.

Just as equally the pure fiddliness of its rules systems and identity confusion have just as powerfully repelled me. (How do the fantasy tropes work in a clearly European medieval society with a Christian Pope no less?)

Sadly I haven't had any personal play experience to sift it all out. I know for a short time in the late 70s and early 80s riding D&D's fad tidal wave that it was reportedly selling thousands of copies a year. Clearly it must have clicked with a number of play groups across the country, yet I have run into so little, lasting discussion of it.

So brethren, any experiences with playing this game in any of its iterations? Was it a positive, negative, or mixed experience? Why? How much by the book play did you use?

And of course, ever popular with me, how much of the domain play rules sections did you use? Ever run a manor? Use some of the magnificently flawed sourcebook material such as the mass combat rules or mercantile systems?

Inquiring minds want to know.

[Editor's Note: a follow-up post on Crushing Skulls can be found here.]


  1. heh!
    never played it - periodically peruse it with chaotic mix of respect and dread... (also)

  2. Wow, Chris, do I have to comment on every post you make about C&S?!?

    Yes, I have played it. In all of its glorious (and not so glorious) iterations. Except for the last one, which is really a sort of 1.5 version, completely unlicensed yet definitely more worthy of the title C&S than the semi-putrid 3rd edition...

    Basically, it would take me quite a bit of space to answer you fully, so I think this is blog material for tomorrow morning.

  3. Yes, Brad, that is your role. Look forward to reading your thoughts on it.

  4. I've only played it a couple of times, and I don't think that I ever really understood it in play. Mostly, I just look at it for inspiration.

  5. Played the first edition, still have it here. It really took things into some interesting areas. There is a lot of stuff packed into that red soft cover book...