You may have heard that I’m interested in The Queen’s Cavaliers, a kickstarter project currently funding. I am enjoying reading the beta / playtest version posted for backers, and one thing that is of interest about the mechanics is that a character starts with two “classes.”
This is the sort of thing that makes me wonder about the setting-reflected issues of the system. The classes are literally dripping with setting meaning: Barrister is one of them, for example. Mechanician. Charmweaver, yes but even “Provincial.” The whole idea of a “Provincial” character class takes me back to games like Warhammer, Runequest, or more recently Burning Wheel, where you have life paths and you can create a character who comes from humble beginnings.
Right now the game simply states that you have two, but doesn’t explain, setting-wise, why you have two. To come up with setting-reflected reasons for the two classes part, you could be as literal as to say “every Cavalier has two classes because only those with a panoply of competence and talent are ever chosen to be a Cavalier.”
Or one class is your birth-class, the class your family is involved in and the other is the class you chose upon your adulthood, when you were emancipated from your family and set forth into the world. This would seem to hold true since the classes you choose reflect the Social Rank you’ll eventually hold.
One of the things I love the most about stories like Brust’s The Phoenix Guards and its companion Five Hundred Years After (and hence, almost every Musketeer story ever) is that the characters are approachable and full of life, they will dice and drink and brawl in taverns, but you come to realize they are Persons of Import back home, Baronesses and Counts and the like. So this is another way the character creation system rings true.
The friction between the two classes create an interesting frisson in the setting as well. That friction can feed the drama of the story, for characters such as the Provincial/Provocateur or the Alchemist/Virtuosa. How about Barrister/Fusilier (if you don’t win in court, you can shoot someone?). In every case, the combinations bring the question, “How did you get this way?” which helps spur interesting answers.
I think I’ll continue to write about The Queen’s Cavaliers some more in the near future, but I wanted to say “thank you” to the people who sent the Kickstarter over $9,000. Because of that, I will be writing a 16-page adventure for the game! I’m excited to be a part of the project while at the same time I’m a backer / bystander / player like everyone else.