Revised Review: Cakebread & Walton – Clockwork & Chivalry


Clockwork & Chivalry (2nd Edition)
Clockwork & Chivalry is an historical fantasy clockwork game (set during the English Civil War and powered by the Renaissance system) written by Ken Walton and Peter Cakebread and published by Cakebread & Walton.
By Aaron T. Huss

Learn more about Clockwork & Chivalry here
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This Revised Review is an update to the Clockwork & Chivalry 2nd Edition (powered by Renaissance) compared to its 1st Edition counterpart (powered by RuneQuest II). Additionally, much of the content from Renaissance Deluxe was extracted from this core rulebook and will be noted as such.

Read the Clockwork & Chivalry (1st Edition) review here
Read the Renaissance Deluxe review here

Without rehashing previously written review material, I will give a quick overview here without getting into much detail. Clockwork & Chivalry is an historical fantasy setting mixed with clockwork technology, based during the times of the English Civil War. The 1st Edition was written as a world book for RuneQuest II while this 2nd Edition was written as a standalone game and setting powered by the new Renaissance system (also available from Cakebread & Walton). This new version lays the framework for the Renaissance system and its black powder theme by mashing RuneQuest and OpenQuest, cleaning up some mechanics, tweeking others, and adding a bunch of flavor from that era. The setting has remained the same as the 1st edition and the base mechanics are the same as Renaissance Deluxe. Refer to those reviews for further details. The notes below are in regard to the update from 1st to 2nd edition.

To reiterate, the transition from 1st to 2nd edition sees Clockwork & Chivalry move from just a world book to a full core rulebook.

CONTENT

Introduction is your introduction to the goings on during the English Civil War, the alternate history of Clockwork & Chivalry, and the basics of what it is as a role-playing game. This includes the opening fiction that appeared in 1st edition.

Character Creation is a minor change as the base character mechanics from RuneQuest II to Renaissance are fairly minor. Besides the names of some of the skills changing, the basics are the same as Renaissance Deluxe.

Professions contains much of the same content from before along with incorporating some of the content found in some of the books from the Kingdom & Commonwealth campaign. These haven’t changed much from 1st Edition and includes much of what is in Renaissance Deluxe.

Factions is similar to Professions in that it matches much of the content from 1st Edition, probably expanded. As before, these factions match those from the English Civil War.

Skills contains the same as Renaissance Deluxe, an addition to the content from 1st edition.

Combat contains the same as Renaissance Deluxe, another addition to 1st edition. I do believe Renaissance Deluxe actually contains more options.

Rules and Systems are the situational rules from Renaissance Deluxe along with a collection of poisons and diseases.

Equipment and Services are the weapons and everyday items corresponding to the era. This seems to be a combination of 1st edition, Renaissance Deluxe, and new setting specific material. Again I do believe Renaissance Deluxe actually contains more equipment options.

Alchemy is an expansion from 1st edition and the same as Renaissance Deluxe.

Witchcraft is another expansion from 1st edition and the same as Renaissance Deluxe.

Clockwork is an expansion from 1st edition and seems to incorporate some of the material found in some of the books from the Kingdom & Commonwealth campaign.

Background is a significant expansion from 1st edition. It now incorporates a broader look at England and includes Wales and Scotland.

Bestiary is an expansion from 1st edition and seems to match much of Renaissance Deluxe.

Games Master is a deeper look at what’s available for the GM along with what the GM can expect from running a Clockwork & Chivalry game. This includes a collection of adventure seeds and quick-generation tools for farms, inns, and villages.

An Elementary Mistake is a clean-up from 1st edition with a bit more artwork.

The Naked and the Dead is another adventure, standing alone from An Elementary Mistake. It is a fun little urban romp and helps to bring out the fantasy aspects of the setting.

The Appendix contains a collection of the charts found throughout the book along with presenting a number of pre-generated characters.

OVERALL

I already am a fan of Clockwork & Chivalry. I am already a fan of RuneQuest II. I am now a bigger fan of the Renaissance-powered Clockwork & Chivalry as it incorporates my favorite parts of RuneQuest II and alters my those parts I didn’t really like, making them smoother and a little different (not better as that’s too opinionated, just different). I really like how the mechanics have been flavored to match the era and much of the base options have been expanded on. I also think it was a great value to incorporate some of the source material from the Kingdom & Commonwealth books into the core rulebook along with expanding the setting to Wales and Scotland. All-in-all, this 2nd edition is an excellent progression of Clockwork & Chivalry.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 8 out of 10
Publishing high-quality RPG products can be a difficult task. Those who do it for the first time often exhibit common mistakes and areas for improvement. As they continue publishing, the quality improves and the products get better and better. Clockwork & Chivalry demonstrates this concept with an improved layout compared to 1st edition. There are still some areas with fiddly bits that can be made to look better, such as white space and scaling of character portraits, but overall there is significant improvement over 1st edition. There is additional artwork in this new edition, but it still utilizes that 17th century-look that brought out the setting from the 1st edition (a very fitting look).

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
Besides the removal of certain RuneQuest II mechanics (or rather the alteration of them), the biggest change here is the theme of the new mechanics to match the early modern period and that of black powder fantasy. The changes show an excellent improvement and really help to establish the Renaissance RPG under its own umbrella with Clockwork & Chivalry as one of its showcases.

Desire to Play: 10 out of 10
Black powder fantasy, clockwork, and the early modern period are not as common as numerous other genres throughout the RPG universe. Clockwork & Chivalry, along with Renaissance Deluxe, really establish themselves as staples for these unique genres and give potential players and GMs a wealth of material to call upon for interesting adventures and campaigns. I think the d100 system comes through beautifully and fans of its predecessors may find a lot of enjoyment.

Overall: 9 out of 10
I don’t think I can speak highly enough of this new edition of Clockwork & Chivalry. Moreover, I don’t think I can speak highly enough of how it has sparked a new wave of early modern/black powder fantasy RPGs with the base Renaissance mechanics. Everything about this period comes through in this new edition, as much and more than it did in the 1st edition. Yes you’ll need to purchase a new book, but it’s definitely worth it.

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