[The Queen's Cavaliers] Less than 48 hours left on TQC kickstarter!

edited June 2014 in Directed Promotion
Hi everyone,

I'm working on a new game, The Queen's Cavaliers -- a Baroque, clockpunk fantasy adventure game, inspired by The Three Musketeers and other swashbucklers.

We've playtested it several times at conventions (Strategicon) and local game stores, but now I've got a playtest packet pretty much ready for people to look over, constructively criticize, and potentially playtest.

If you're interested in helping, please let me know (e.g. via email) and I'll send you a download link.

Thanks in advance!

Edit: Links! Where the web page will eventually go, Facebook page


  • Oh heck, I'm being too coy these days. Forget emailing me -- here's a link where you can download the playtest packet.

    Just shoot me some feedback of some kind if you take a look.
  • Hey love the art work on the web page and face book have download, :) will get back to you.
  • In French, you can't say "Maitresse de la Jeu", as "jeu" is a male name. You must say "Maîtresse du Jeu" (MJ) : as a matter of fact, "MJ" is the direct French translation of "DM" (MJ = Maître du Jeu, or Meneur de Jeu).
  • I am a bit at a loss here.

    Let's take the sneak example(playtest p.4). So I beat the guards roll with 12>11. Then I still have to spend one effect point for not being noticed by the guard? And still 4(!) more for moving undetected, although a) i beat the guards perception roll and b) i already spent effect on not being noted??
  • Saladdin, thanks for the French check! I had that as a place filler and I was going to check with a French speaker about it. But that got filed away with "stuff to do later." I probably will just change all of the JM/MJ stuff back to GM anyway. :D
  • semiomant, I don't think it works that way but I need to check over the docs and see if I mistakenly gave that impression. You'd need only the one success point in this case -- the move undetected should be a free move (in combat), I think.
  • By the way, there are going to be 5 sessions of The Queen's Cavaliers at Gateway 2013 (Strategicon) in Los Angeles at the end of the month.
  • I played The Queen's Cavaliers last Saturday evening at Strategicon and had an excellent time.

    I liked the basic mechanic of roll your dice, compare to the opposition, and then if you succeed, buy effects with your successes and narrate them. Good solid fortune in the middle mechanics.

    I enjoyed the way that gaming the dice encourages players to play to their character's advantages while not feeling straightjacketed. For example, we were out on the docks when the town guard showed up. They had some men on the rooftop with muskets and others inside the warehouse. I looked at my stats and noticed that I was good at Parry but pretty bad at Dodge, plus I was much better at Lunge (the main swordfighting attack skill) and pretty crappy with my pistol. So I rolled an attack at a guy in the warehouse, dropping a die because I was changing locations. I got lots of successes so I was going to be able to Yield him out of the fight (make him surrender/run) and had enough to earn a style point. Knowing that, I narrated that I crashed through the warehouse window, tucked into a roll that took me right into the guys legs, and came up with my knees on his chest and sword at his throat politely requesting his unconditional surrender. Fun stuff.

    Basically, the game allows for as much narrative control as you need to flavor things up to the hilt ("of course there is a counterweighted rope there that can launch you up to the roof if you want there to be") without forcing it in ways that can lead to blank page syndrome.

    The character sheet and combat playsheet were excellently well designed. I very quickly felt like I had a handle on the basics of the system and how to make it work. Very clean layouts and well presented information.

    The game has a fun sense of feminism and gender play. Playing strong female characters seems to be subtly encouraged (though it is far from mandatory) by both the setting and the mechanics.

    The mechanics felt well thought out and robust. Just the right amount of "completeness" without too much "long lists of stuff to wade through".
  • Rob, thanks for the feedback, I enjoyed playing with you and everyone else at the con!
  • I played this at a Strategicon over the weekend.

    I think it's one of the funnest combat & skill systems I've ever come across. I loved how 'push-button' the game was -- so many hooks and levers to express the character during the course of play.

    It has Cortex Plus leanings but is much more fiddly; I mean that in the best possible way. Where Cortex Plus breaks down for me -- I find myself rolling the same thing over and over and over, the narrative interpretation is the only thing changing -- Queen's Cavaliers robust ability to 'spend' on specific methodologies and actions really delivers a very satisfying experience in play. I always felt I was able to finesse actions and skills in a huge variety of ways, through vivid interaction of dice rolling and story needs in the particular moment.

    The passion system was really nicely done as well; we didn't get into that as much as I would have liked.

    Anyway, I really think you have a winner on your hands here.

    I will say, however, that given the genre -- Three Musketeers derring-do 'pulp' -- you need to have a sub-system in place for dealing with mooks and minions. Rachel had us splitting the dice pools but even there that felt like it got quickly difficult to fight more than two opponents. Again, this doesn't fit the genre where my guy should be holding off four swordsmen and quipping while doing that.

    I'll say that I think I've found the perfect system for Iron Kingdoms.

    Good job.
  • Thanks, Denys! I'm looking at the mooks question and seeing what I can do to improve the experience. I'm glad you enjoyed the game. I will tell Rachel you liked it!
  • I ran into the same thing with mooks. I had extra successes and wanted to Yield out 2-3 at a time, but all I was allowed to do was finish off 1 and then rack up style points and advantage. Which still gave me something to do with my extra success, but it made the combat last more rounds than it needed to.

    And on the flipside, you probably need a super easy way for mooks to just add to each other on 1 attack. Maybe they add an extra d6 to the roll (and a higher die type if they are higher ranking baddies). That would make it super fast for the GM to throw groups of not very effective bad guys at the party in great numbers.
  • I have a super easy way for mooks to work together, I probably just forgot to use it. :D

    (When you assist someone, you can add your competency die or your specialty rank dice to their pool, done.)

    The main thing is that I need to work out how to kill mooks quickly and effectively. Without breaking other stuffs!
  • Oh yeah, I think you did do that competency or specialty die thing. I forgot.
  • edited September 2013
    Different opponents can have different success charts that apply to them. So I am thinking that a mook (rabble) adds the following to the success table:

    +: Affect an additional rabble target

    Affect an additional rabble target: You apply your success effect (yield, wound, etc.) to an additional rabble target in the same area.

    ... which might let you disarm three guys at once, which is cool and probably not all that overpowered.
  • After playing at Strategicon, I ran this for my regular gaming group, who trend more toward storygaming over traditional RPGs. Though skeptical at the size of the character sheet, they enjoyed it as the mechanics supported the story well.

    We addressed the rabble by allowing a character to spend their successes across multiple targets with no penalty (e.g. 4 Success Points could be 2 Yield to 2 different rabble). While this felt nice, I think mechanically you're usually better off focusing on one opponent, so Caoimhe's suggestion will probably match the work better (though the angry privateer simultaneously wounding two rabble that dared board her ship was a nice scene).

    One thing we tried that was fun was giving the privateer's ship rough stats like a character. When I asked what kind of ship she had (i.e. what's built for), we fleshed out a quick equivalence of:
    Verve = Might: robustness and firepower of the ship (how strong the hulls, how many cannon, etc.)
    Affinity = Crew: the quality of the crew (training, experience, health, etc.)
    Guile = Speed: the speed and maneuverability of the ship (swiftness, ability to go over shoals, etc.)
    Then the captain assigned a d6, d8, and d10 to it. When the crew was helping the captain repel boarders, she added the ship's Crew die to her Lunge pool (rather than rolling for the whole crew as their own set of rabble). When in a foreign port and the captain telling the crew to stay sharp and keep a low profile (i.e. don't get drunk and start fights), they added the Crew die to her Inspire roll. When trying to outrun the pursuing ship, she added her ship's Speed die to her Explore roll. We did have a challenging time coming up with appropriate skills that the captain would use to command her ship, so we tended to use Inspire for nearly everything.

    One thing I found myself asking as the GM is why I was rolling opposing dice for unopposed actions (3d6, 3d8, 3d10, etc.), rather than just assigning a difficulty (e.g. That's simple, you need a 9). However, then I had the brainstorm of the GM having a Success List to go shopping from with their Success Points from the roll that the PC failed against. The list should be things to make failure interesting, rather than just more bad. I think the GM Hard Moves list from Apocalypse World is a good starting point. A good GM will do this anyway, but you may as well have the mechanics support and prompt it.

    One of the big things we all commented on is that we would like to see social "combat" fleshed out to a similar degree to regular combat. You can reuse existing mechanics like Yield and gaining Advantage, but you would be using social skills to do it. You may even be able to map skills one-for-one (Deceive does a Feint equivalent, Inspire does a Lunge equivalent, etc.). I think Burning Wheel's Duel of Wits is an inspiration, but dial back the complexity to be like the existing QC physical combat. This ties in with our other idea that the skill specialty Society could be it's own skill set with three versions of it, which would give some more nuance to the social skills and support social combat more. (Den suggested History to fill the place of Education's now empty slot).

    I have more notes at home from the debrief with the group that I'll share, but I just wanted to offer up some of the thoughts so far.
  • However, then I had the brainstorm of the GM having a Success List to go shopping from with their Success Points from the roll that the PC failed against. The list should be things to make failure interesting, rather than just more bad. I think the GM Hard Moves list from Apocalypse World is a good starting point. A good GM will do this anyway, but you may as well have the mechanics support and prompt it.

    That's a good idea. Maybe keep it simple and then the GM can recontextualize as she sees fit. e.g. Gain Advantage, the Situation becomes more Complicated, Separate Them, etc.
  • Yeah, I need to add in some GM moves to complicate (not necessarily make worse) the situation. Those will be going on the MJ screen which I've been working on, for easier reference.

    Also, I do agree about social interactions. I wanted to make sure the swordfighting works first before moving on to the rest.

    Thanks for the playtesting! Please email me with the names of your players so I can include them with a proper credit in the final game.
  • Concerning ship stats, I think that's a good idea, and similar to one I have been planning out: giving organizations/companies/groups/parties their own stats as a group that can be used by the players.
  • Just for the heck of it, here's a tiny little business-card sized character sheet for TQC. I'll probably never use these though!

    TQC Micro Character Sheet
  • edited September 2013
    Maybe move the stats you track, like combat advantage and style points and yield taken out to the borders of the card, so you can put a token on them?

    You'd probably want to use a second card for your skills (so you don't have to flip your card over if you're tracking tokens on it). And maybe the competency die should be with the skills.

    Moving all those things out to the edges should give you more room for your equipment bonuses and just plain writing in your clothes - which is important!
  • Working on some revisions to the game this week. I should have a 0.9.3 playtest packet out within a week or so. Mostly minor changes, the system is going pretty solid for what I've got -- just need to work on some expansion of the material and the system.

    Another playtest tonight!
  • I'm working on putting the kickstarter page together. Can anyone take a look at it and tell me what you think?

    Draft: The Queen's Cavaliers Kickstarter

  • Caoimhe:

    this is perhaps your best piece of art on that page:

    Maybe make it more front and center?

    Also, this one is excellent and feels more like the 'social' aspect of your game. Just remarking on it:


    Is that boarding-action/piracy black and white piece going to be finished for the Kickstarter? I love the implied action and fun.

    The language in the first paragraph -- I have a suggestion for that last sentence.

    Combat is flexible and designed to be entertaining, with more options than simply doing damage from round to round.

    Suggested revision:

    "Combat -- and indeed all skill use -- is incredibly flexible. It's been designed to be entertaining with numerous options that allow for lots of creativity while still being mechanically robust. You'll have a blast choosing the various ways to apply your abilities."

    or something like that.

    Reason is you shouldn't bury the innovate nature of your system -- as someone who's played probably 150 different rpgs over the years, yours felt new and cool. Especially key is that the system doesn't accomplish its goals in a purely handwaivey method; you spell out options in your skill write-ups.

    Perhaps add a Fate conversion to your stretch goals? Not sure how popular Gumshoe is -- if I know a hundred gamers, I'm the only one who's ever used it more than once -- but Fate seems like the most beloved of engines right now in the rpg hobby zeitgiest.

    Anyway, hope the feedback helps.
  • I decided to take out the alternate-system stretch goals, and I am taking to heart all that you have said here. I am gonna get additional help on the kickstarter because I'm too close to the system to see what's cool about it. Thank you for the feedback!
  • Here is the latest piece of artwork for TQC, I realized I hadn't shared this here.

    One thing I want to stress with my artists going forward is the inclusion of a variety of racial backgrounds, such as the swordfighter on the left, and not just white Europeans.

  • edited January 2014
    OrcCon in Los Angeles is coming up from February 14 to 17, and we're going to be running four games of The Queen's Cavaliers for your enjoyment!

    OrcCon event listings

    Life’s Sweetest Reward

    Date/Time: Friday, February 14 at 8 p.m.
    GM: Caoimhe Ora Snow

    Love, exciting and new! Set a course for adventure in the seas of Ekalia as you're assigned to guard the Queen's envoy to a noble wedding - - a marriage that the enemies of Gallinea want to make sure never happens! TQC is a swashbuckling, clockpunk fantasy adventure RPG. Come aboard, we're expecting you!

    The Brat Pack

    Date/Time: Saturday, February 15 at 9 a.m.
    GM: Rachel Tolliver

    Officially, you have been sent as escort for Prince Phillipe on a diplomatic mission. Unofficially, you are on a punishment detail to chaperone a playdate between royal youngsters. A unexpected change in schedule means you are going to have more than you bargained for.

    Sullied Hands

    Date/Time: Saturday, February 15 at 8 p.m.
    GM: Caoimhe Ora Snow
    Maturity: 13+

    It is the last days of the bitter, twenty-year war with Albia, and the Gallineans are preparing for a major assault when word comes of a fearsome Albian doomsday plot. Gallinea needs hero(ine)s - - but none can be spared. Just you and the other criminals, murderers, and madmen. Survive this suicide mission, and you go free.

    The Visitor

    Date/Time: Sunday, February 16 at 9 a.m.
    GM: Rachel Tolliver

    The King and Queen of Albia are coming to visit for the first time since their youngest son Carolus became the Prince-Consort. Carolus is understandably excited, but a surprise visit from an old rival may be more than anyone bargained for.
  • Hey everyone, I've launched a blog to talk about The Queen's Cavaliers.

    The Queen's Cavaliers design blog

    Check it out!
  • The kickstarter for The Queen's Cavaliers is live and running!

    The Queen's Cavaliers at kickstarter

    PDF, softcover, and hardcover editions are available to backers. Please take a look at our kickstarter, thanks!
  • The Queen's Cavaliers kickstarter has met our initial goals and several stretch goals as well. There are about 5 days left in the kickstarter so if you haven't yet, please consider checking us out!

    Some of the completed stretch goals include a Creative Commons licensed SRD, an adventure by oWoD veteran Sam Chupp, and an expanded sailing/piracy section by Berin Kinsman.

    The Queen's Cavaliers RPG -- Kicktraq Mini
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