Building on the streamlined OpenQuest rules (which were in turn derived from the MRQ1 SRD), the second edition of Clockwork and Chivalry comes storming out of the gate and into a growing pack of games building on the foundation of either Mongoose's Legend/RuneQuest rules or Chaosium's BRP system. For those who do not know, OpenQuest is a fantasy game, a retro clone of earlier editions made possible by the OGL, much like the many Old School Renaissance games were made possible by the d20 SRD material.
One "fault" that I had with the OpenQuest rules were fixed in Clockwork and Chivalry was the lack of Professions. I like Professions because it is a way for players to customize their characters, without adding a lot of detail. Professions can emulate the best parts of class-based RPGs, without some of the drawbacks that go with class-based gaming. Clockwork and Chivalry also crank up the Faction/Cults rules, by giving them a bit more mechanical strength. The addition of the idea of Righteousness Points is a little complicated at first, but they give a reason to have a Faction/Cult on your character sheet, besides just because of the fact that you can get some extra skills. For a game set in the 17th century, I think that this particularly helps to make your characters more of a part of the world of the game.
Some faults that I had with this present game:
I'm not particularly a fan of the naming conventions for spells. I understand that they are intended to give spells a more "authentic" feel, but the grammar of the spells' names just come across as forced to me. And while I like the idea of Satanists and Satanic Witches in the game, I'm not as happy with making the Satanic Witch more powerful than other forms. I understand why the authors choose this route, but I don't particularly agree and that is something that would more than likely get house ruled into a change for me. I do like the effort that the authors put into making a justification for an adventuring group, and in putting some effort into making these groups fit together. That is something that can be a hurdle for many group, trying to justify why their characters are together, and it is particularly helpful in a historical game such as this one.
A starting character in this game is not only flavorful, and starting with story ideas that can be developed from the first session, but they are not handicapped. This is definitely a game that is about capable characters doing big things in their world. It is also nice that the Professions are set up with historical fidelity, as well as ways around those "restrictions," if the group wants to play the game more ahistorically.
This game does not scrimp on background or or setting material, so the group that wants to run a fantasy game outside of the box of the usual standards of fantasy gaming, or the group that wants to run historical settings but may not as expert on the time period as they feel that they should be are both supported by the setting material in this. There is more than enough background material for England and the important personages of the time and place to get even the most historically undereducated of people up and running for campaigning in this world. There are also a couple of very good starting adventures (complete with premade characters) to get games rolling.
In short, Clockwork and Chivarly is a very solid game, one that builds on the strong foundation of d100 gaming. If you are looking for a fantasy game that is well-designed and that goes outside of the boundaries of what you will traditionally find in a fantasy RPG, this is the game for you. I am looking forward to seeing what comes next with this line, and the supplements that are forthcoming look exciting and will greatly expand the game and the world.
[4 of 5 Stars!]