Featured Product: Clockwork & Chivalry – Character Creation (Part 3)


Clockwork & Chivalry Part 3: Character Creation
By Aaron T. Huss
Learn more about Renaissance Deluxe here

Welcome to part 3 of the Featured Product series for Clockwork & Chivalry, published by Cakebread & Walton. Part 3, Character Creation, takes a look at the ins and outs of creating actual characters and how they’re designed.

You can learn a lot about a new system or setting just by creating a character, or group of characters. From this seemingly simple exercise, you get a feel for how the mechanics are introduced, how the setting is incorporated into the mechanics, and how easy it is to flip through that book (or PDF) and put everything together. To get the full feel of the power of the Renaissance system and how it’s utilized within Clockwork & Chivalry and Clockwork & Cthulhu, I decided to create characters set in Clockwork & Cthulhu that could be ported to Clockwork & Chivalry without further changes.

When you look back through the Renaissance system’s roots, it doesn’t diverge that much from the RuneQuest and OpenQuest family. You roll your basic attributes using 3d6 and 2d6+6 (depending on the attribute) and assign them as desired. From these base attributes, you create your character’s basic skills as a sum of two attributes are multiple of a single attribute. Once the base points are deciphered, add in modifiers from your social class, character type, and faction. Then you get a collection of 250 points to spend plus any bonus points acquired from making connections between characters. Renaissance has a good amount of skills to choose from, residing nicely somewhere between rules-lite and skill bloating. For comparison, Renaissance removes the skill formatting from RuneQuest II, such as the many different types of combat skills.

Taking influence from Fear the Boot, I went ahead and created a group template. The concept was simple: using The New Mission faction, I created a group of “monster hunters” for Clockwork & Cthulhu and Clockwork & Chivalry. The team is led by a Witch Finder supported with knowledge and muscle. I wanted to create a team that was capable of interesting investigations while at the same time being able to handle themselves in battle. However, because I was working with my group template, I wanted to focus more on being able to survive the horror of the Cthulhu Mythos and not just combat it. Thus, the skill focus includes a fair amount of Lore, Persistence, and Resilience.

Other than having to weed through the bookmarks of the core rulebook, and do a lot of scrolling, I found character creation to be quite enjoyable. Although the Renaissance system uses a character type, as does its predecessors, it removes the concept of character class by allowing every character full access to every skill available to create the desired character. Thus, you can have a scholarly swordsman and turn him into someone rooted deeply in the occult as he adventures along. Characters are created with their life up to this point in-mind, instead of defining their role in the future. Character types and social classes defined one’s past, but not their future. This allows you a lot of creativity to create your character while giving them some type of defining traits (i.e. their past experiences).

It is easy to say that character creation is flexible and creating varied characters is relatively easy to do. However, there are a lot of skills for distributing points amongst and deciphering the right one can be tricky. Because of the limitation to how many bonus skill points can be added to a single skill, I found myself having to distribute those points amongst skills I didn’t really care about. However, at the same time, I sometimes found myself stretching my skills points too thin and wished for certain characters to be better at a skill I could no longer increase. I’m sure this limiting factor is done for game balance, but I definitely should have paid more attention to the Advanced Skills… Advanced Skills can be your friend during character creation, allowing you to make very interesting features about your character and what they’re capable of doing.

When all is said and done, I definitely had a great collection of characters that fit my group template. I was very satisfied with the character type selection and how they worked with the social class and factions. The characters will hopefully be available as a download for anyone to utilize.


Character creation is fun and it really demonstrates the basic ins and outs of how characters are utilized within a system, but how well that creation fits on the actual character sheet can be another story. Clockwork & Chivalry comes with its own character sheet, although Clockwork & Cthulhu does not. While this might not seem like a big deal, there are 3 basic attributes in Clockwork & Cthulhu that do not appear on the regular character sheet. That’s okay though, I just wrote them in.

The character sheet is very usable and has lots of space for those who cannot write very small. All the Basic Skills were listed along with their calculation values and Advanced Skills were provided an empty space with lines to fill them in. I found myself quickly running out of space for the Advanced Skills and felt this could be an issue as my adventurers aged. The backside of the character sheet (or page 2) had a lot of open space for equipment and faction information along with space for Alchemy, Witchcraft, Spells, and notes about Fatigue. The Fatigue notes could have been drastically decreased in size to make room for more Advanced Skills space on the front by shuffling a few other things around. The font is quite large, and comparing this to other character sheets, some of the space could probably be better used. The logos could also be made much smaller to allow for more space otherwise.

However, the functionality of the character sheet is definitely high and all the most pertinent information for every character (read as non-spell using) is contained on the first page. This is probably the section that will get referenced the most as combat in Clockwork & Chivalry is quite dangerous and the game doesn’t center on it (like some fantasy systems we’re all familiar with).


So here’s a very brief look at the characters of The New Mission:

  1. William Eason: William is a middle class witch finder and the leader of The New Mission group, based in Oxford. His main concerns are the protection of the surrounding land, but is keen to hunt down all that threatens mankind. His mission is supported by individuals he handpicked for their expertise.
  2. John Sharpe: John is a middle class scholar with an expertise in the occult. He is not a member of the occult, but rather has studied it for several years and even performs lectures to better inform those who wish to combat it. John is a close friend of William’s and was the first to sign-up for his quest against the supernatural.
  3. Elizabeth Walsingham: Elizabeth is a townswoman paracelsan physician with an eye toward supernatural injuries. Although young compared to many professional physicians, she has seen a fair number of injuries due to encounters with the occult and understands how to treat them. She was chosen for her medical abilities and her ability to gather what she needs, such as secret information, from other townsfolk.
  4. Samuel Hopkins: Samuel is a townsman watchman from Manchester. He is athletic and intelligent, with an eye toward understanding the laws around him as much as he enforces them. While seeming as a hired thug, Samuel was chosen for his insight into the world of noble secrets as much as for his ability to fight and shoot. As a watchman, Samuel knows many underground contacts and knows things many nobles would kill him for knowing.
  5. Francis Knowles: Francis is a townsman mechanical preacher, and an amazing engineer. Being the youngest of the group, Francis comes with fresh ideas and wishes to use his clockwork knowledge to better his fellow townsfolk. He has no concerns with the civil war and is as comfortable around alchemists as he is other engineers. He dreams of a life where the two can live side-by-side to better humanity, instead of worrying about who will win the war. Although a supporter of the Parliament, he knows his knowledge can be combined with the elements to beat back that which stalks the night.

PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 4 | PART 5

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