Tim hummed and finally looked away from Jason to scan the crowd. “I was thinking…”
“Anything but that,” Jason drawled and quickly had to catch himself to avoid falling out of his chair when Tim shoved at his shoulder with more force than necessary.
“I was thinking,” Tim started and paused again, chewing his bottom lip. “You trust me. In some ways at least.”
Jason frowned at him. “Okay?”
“Okay.” Tim huffed a breath and turned back toward him with an intensity that had Jason leaning back a bit away from him. “You’re not seeing anyone.”
“Fucking hell Tim,” Jason said when it clicked. “You want me to be the one you take home tonight?”
Crime and Compassion Chapter 3-Jason’s POV
E rating | Friends with benefits | Case Fic | Demi Jason | Promiscuous Tim
read more here!
Even now, even as far as I've come, I will preface any complaint (or hell, any Comment, Question, Concern) with "I don't want to be an asshole, but"
And many times, my partner will look at me with his warm, dark, unreadable eyes, his face still and serious, his heavy eyebrows puckering together the only tell he is concerned
And he will reply, mildly and evenly, slowly, "Babe, that's not being an asshole. That's having an opinion."
The First Age of Fantasy RPG: Chivalry and Sorcery
When talking about the beginnings fantasy RPGs and the first age of fantasy tabletop games, “Dungeons and Dragons” is the name that comes to mind. The first fantasy RPG, the alpha archetype of fantasy games, the founder of the genre, the big game… But there were other “first fantasy games”, other names that had their own career, gravitating or eclipsed by D&D. There were other “Great Old Ones” of fantasy RPGs, each with its own influence and impact on the overall genre. D&D was never alone… and this is the (rushed) presentation of one of these games.
CHIVALRY AND SORCERY
First published in 1977, by Fantasy Games Unlimited. Created by Edward E. Simbalist and Wilf K. Backhaus. A second edition in 1986, a third in 1996. A “light” edition in 1999 and a “rebirth” edition in 2000. An “Essence” release in 2011 and a fifth edition in 2020.
Chivalry and Sorcery is considered to be one of the first “rivals” of Dungeons and Dragons (though it isn’t that hard given D&D was THE big thing at the time). Its creators wanted to correct the “lack of realism” that was their main complaint for D&D, and so they decided to have their fantasy role-playing game be set in a specific time period and geographical era: medieval France. Heavily inspired by medieval chivalry and traditional wargames, “Chivalry and Sorcery” is a game of knights in a Christian country during a feudal era, involved in fief-based political plots, tournaments and other courtly love affairs. As in real-life Middle-Ages the social hierarchy is strict and social status is an integral component of your character (and you can’t even chose it – social status is randomly determined with die). Belief in astrology is even translated as the astral sign of a character being important to know if they have bad luck or a good fate. However “Chivalry and Sorcery” avoids the traditional fantasy roads influenced by Jack Vance, Fritz Leiber or Michael Moorcoc : there are elves and dwarfs of course, as they are still classics of a fantasy RPG, but they are in this game exceptional and rare beings, definitively not part of the “normal” occurrences and encounters. The main influences are rather the tales of the Round Table, French medieval architecture, and historical treaties on the Middle-Ages. In fact, the second edition pushes a bit further the realism by defining three specific time eras (Early Feudal, High Chivalric, Late Feudal) in which various types of equipment, weapons and machinery are available. Overall, the rules and mechanics of the game are more complex than what was usual for a roleplaying game at the time.
BUT despite its “historical” and more “detailed” focus, even being called “The Medieval Re-enactment Game”, “Chivalry and Sorcery” still has “sorcery” in it. Magic and wizards do exist in this game, though again magic is put under the lens of medieval Christianity: on one side you have priests using a thaumaturgic form of magic to perform miracles, and on the other evil warlocks practicing necromancy and demonology. But one big change this game offered compared to early D&D : magic practitioners could actually fight like warriors – wield weapons, wear armors, kill people by pure natural force – while knights could try themselves at a bit of spells and enchantments. But beyond that, Chivalry and Sorcery still bears the strong influence of D&D on it: character classes, treasures to find, monsters to kill, ability levels and character alignments (though the D&D morality is here slightly twisted to fit Christian medieval morals: for example “Good” becomes “Saintly”, “Evil” Diabolical” and what is between them is “Worldly”, while the Lawful/Chaotic/Neutral line still stays). On the flipside, “Chivalry and Sorcery” had an influence on several other elements of RPGs that are now very usual and traditional, even to the point of D&D including these influences: we are mostly talking about “critical hits” and “monster levels”. C&C notably tried to get away from the “dungeon crawl” idea of early D&D to rather explore campaign-styles of gaming, and it also tried to give more importance to “out-of-adventure” sessions (especially for magic practitioners, as these sessions were essential for them to learn their spell or enchant their items).
Some fun facts and trivia:
# The game already implemented the idea that a character could have a specific phobia, or a form of mental illness.
# The magic in the game is referred to as “Magick”, and beyond Christian beliefs about miracles and witchcraft, the magic system of the game was actually heavily inspired by “Real Magic” (Isaac Bonewits). For example the occult tarot plays a role in the system : there are 22 levels of Magick in total, to correspond to the Major Arcana. There is also among the numerous types of magic a “Basic Magick” focused exclusively on the four classical elements (fire, air, water, earth) with eight possible abilities: create, remove, detach, accelerate, amplify, intensify, concentrate or affix. And there’s also a LOT of magic classes: “Natural wizards” (instinctual magic, learning magic through grimoires, enchanting objects, shamanism…) ; “Mystics” (an esoteric and hermetic form of magic based on Kabbala, Power Words and Mystic Squares…) ; “Minor Arcana” (specialized magic, such as alchemy, magical artificiers, witches, warlocks, hex masters…) and finally “Major Arcana” (“traditional” fantasy wizards such as conjurers, enchanters, necromancers…). Overall the Magick system of C&C is praised for its complexity and subtlety… but it is also criticized for it, making it quite hard to get into for someone not well-versed into RPGs.
# On a similar note, the combat system of C&C was highly praised and was one of its “qualities” over the very simplistic battles of early D&D : with the introduction of concepts such as “fatigue points”, “critical hits” and “bash”, C&C managed to create more complex battles and more realistic fights between characters.
# The first edition of “Chivalry and Sorcery” did the same thing as early editions of D&D : completely rip from Tolkien. As a result in the first edition of the game Hobbits can be found, the dwarfs are said to have seven “fathers under the mountain”, the elves are referred to as “Noldors” and there’s even talks of balrogs and “rings of power”! Of course, it was all soon eliminated thanks to the power of Copyright.
# When creating a character (beyond species, social status, astral sign and moral alignment (called “natural inclinations”), seven main characteristics have to be defined: dexterity, strength, constitution, intelligence, wisdom, appearance and voice. From these primary characteristics will be defined secondary ones: “carrying capacity”, “military ability”, “personal combat factor”, “command level”, “charisma”, tiredness, life-points, etc…
# Given the creation of a character is a long and tedious process that usually takes several hours in league with the game master, C&C isn’t the kind of game where you just pause the game when your character die so you have another one replacing it. Death is kind of a big deal and kind of final, so the games of C&C tend to try to avoid high mortality rates.
# Speaking of game masters: “Chivalry and Sorcery” is actually the first RPG EVER to use the term “game master”.
The second edition of the game did not change many things from the first one: it was mostly created to simplify and clarify the first edition, as well as correct as few mistakes and unclear points – though the removal of most fantasy elements (due to being Tolkien-taken) and the addition of a “skill” system are noticeable. The third edition however was a MASSIVE change which was heavily criticized for “losing the soul” of the game – most notably all references to the Middle-Ages were entirely removed, all the European influences are absent, the realism is mostly thrown out of the window, and instead we have a great return of traditional fantasy, a simplification of magick, as well as rules and systems being made more “flexible” so players could have much more freedom and range when playing. This third edition became HIGHLY divisive as older fans did not recognize the game they fell in love with, but on the other side this simplified game was discovered by a lot of newer and younger players that liked it – enough for a fourth edition to be made, the “Rebirth” one. The Rebirth edition added back medieval elements to the setting, reintroduced deleted favorite mechanics (the “Bash” mechanic) and gave back some subtleties of the magic system – all very much welcome by the fans ; but the result was now an uneven set of rules for the game, as the Rebirth edition only half-corrected the “great wipe” of the third edition.
After that I know there’s a bunch of editions and sub-editions launched on Kickstarter and found on the Internet – though honestly I don’t know much about them…