Queensberry Rules: Celestial Engine

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Walt Ciechanowski
Posts: 294
Joined: Fri May 03, 2013 11:29 am

Queensberry Rules: Celestial Engine

Post by Walt Ciechanowski » Fri May 29, 2015 5:26 pm

Queensberry Rules: Celestial Engine
While preparing for convention season I wanted to streamline the Celestial Engine rules for people unfamiliar with the system. I came up with this short and sweet version and I thought I'd share it to collect some feedback! (This version also lowers the potency of cogs a bit).

1. There are no more free uses of cogs (this includes the dice bonus/penalty for magic and firearms). Instead, you must use a Fate point to activate your cog bonus.

2. Each cog offers a +2 dice bonus to a single roll. Entropy cogs may only be used for change. This generally involves injury, transformation, revolution, inspiration (including new inventions), manipulation, and social rolls (where the intent is to change minds). Order cogs may only be used for stability/maintenance. This generally involves protection, resolve, concentration, focus, maintenance (using scientific skills), and healing. Given that a Fate Point is being burned, this should be interpreted liberally.

3. Cog dice can be stacked with each other and other dice in a pool normally. Exploding dice and automatic success rules apply.

4. If you use a Fate Point against a Liberator or a Templar, you may use your target's cog bonus against them (as an Archon from the other side works through you). Normally, you can't use this bonus if you and the target are on the same side (e.g. a Templar can't use it against a Templar), but there are exceptions, especially if the target has 'lost his way' in the eyes of the appropriate archons. Note that this use is reliant on the whim of the archons; sometimes it works, sometimes it won't, depending upon circumstances.

5. If you use a Fate Point against a Liberator or a Templar and you are an agent of Harmony, then by choosing to do so you have chosen a side and the Celestial Wheel turns you one cog the other way (e.g. Lady Dutton is an agent of Harmony. She uses a Fate Point against Sir Tellingham and is informed by the GM that he is a Templar. If she chooses to use his 2 cogs of Order against him then she can, but she is now a Liberator and considered to be Entropy 1 on the Celestial Engine.

6. Liberators and Templars give off an aura that can be read magically or divined through other means. Liberators and Templars with three cogs are always discernible to other Liberators or Templars (even if they only have one cog). Such sapients are usually called Libertines (Entropy) or Saints (Order).

7. Under this system supporting characters need fate points too, but as they aren't adventurers, their fate points work a little differently. Notables* get 3 fate points +1 for each cog (or 1D+2 fate points if you'd rather be random). They can use these fate points like any adventurer - indeed, many of them use Scripting Dice to slip away and fight another day!

Standard supporting characters don't have fate points per se, but any adventurer can be acted against (per Point 4 above) once per scene as if they had (yes, this does mean that a single supporting character can do this multiple times in a single scene, so long as she is acting against a different adventurer each time).

*Notables are supporting characters that play a prominent role in a penny dreadful. Notables are usually villains, although a particularly important ally or contact may also be considered a notable. There are likely only one or two notables per session; any supporting character may be upgraded to 'notable' status and any notable may be downgraded to a standard supporting character depending on his or her prominence in a given session.
Walt Ciechanowski
Victoriana Line Developer
Cubicle 7 Entertainment

Walt Ciechanowski
Posts: 294
Joined: Fri May 03, 2013 11:29 am

Re: Queensberry Rules: Celestial Engine

Post by Walt Ciechanowski » Sat May 30, 2015 12:12 pm

Edited to add fate points.
Walt Ciechanowski
Victoriana Line Developer
Cubicle 7 Entertainment

SharazJack
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 10:17 pm

Re: Queensberry Rules: Celestial Engine

Post by SharazJack » Fri Jun 05, 2015 8:38 am

I am interested in trying these rules in the campaign I am running. I think the players may have an easier time remembering this version. Also, I have been dealing with the trouble of a player with a gunfighter character with 3 cogs of Order.

Getting rid of the free cog bonus would help a lot. I wonder if only 2 dice per cog is too low for the cost of a Fate Point, especially for characters with only 1 cog.

I have a two questions on point 4. When you say "use a Fate Point against a Liberator or Templar," is this in addition to your normal bonus for using a Fate Point or are you using a Fate Point specifically to activate this use? Does the benefit of this use come in the form of bonus dice for the 'attacker' or black dice for the target?

Finally, I have a minor comment on point 7. Perhaps I am being a bit picky, but I think it would be better to use the term 'Major NPC' instead of 'Villain.' I will use significant NPCs in my games who are worthy of such bonuses should the players be unwise enough to fight them but, are not really villains.

Walt Ciechanowski
Posts: 294
Joined: Fri May 03, 2013 11:29 am

Re: Queensberry Rules: Celestial Engine

Post by Walt Ciechanowski » Mon Jun 08, 2015 4:16 pm

SharazJack wrote:Getting rid of the free cog bonus would help a lot. I wonder if only 2 dice per cog is too low for the cost of a Fate Point, especially for characters with only 1 cog.
I like the way 2 dice flattens the power curve amongst 1 Entropy, Harmony, and 1 Order. Do you burn a Fate point for the automatic success, or risk getting nothing in order to potentially get multiple successes?

I ran the numbers and preferred 2 cogs to 3 - it keeps higher cogs manageable. Feel free to keep 3 dice per cog intact and let me know how they work for you!
SharazJack wrote:I have a two questions on point 4. When you say "use a Fate Point against a Liberator or Templar," is this in addition to your normal bonus for using a Fate Point or are you using a Fate Point specifically to activate this use? Does the benefit of this use come in the form of bonus dice for the 'attacker' or black dice for the target?
When you burn a Fate Point in this manner you add your opponent's celestial dice to your pool instead of using your own. Obviously, this trick helps those closer to Harmony more than those that have more cogs.
SharazJack wrote:Finally, I have a minor comment on point 7. Perhaps I am being a bit picky, but I think it would be better to use the term 'Major NPC' instead of 'Villain.' I will use significant NPCs in my games who are worthy of such bonuses should the players be unwise enough to fight them but, are not really villains.
We use 'Villain' generally to reflect important NPCs. Perhaps 'Notable' would be a better moniker?
Walt Ciechanowski
Victoriana Line Developer
Cubicle 7 Entertainment

SharazJack
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 10:17 pm

Re: Queensberry Rules: Celestial Engine

Post by SharazJack » Wed Jun 10, 2015 5:40 am

Thank you for the clarifications. I hadn't thought about how it would scale with more cogs. By looking at it as a risk/reward analysis, it makes sense to me. I plan on trying this in my campaign.

P.S. I think 'Notable' is a good choice.

Walt Ciechanowski
Posts: 294
Joined: Fri May 03, 2013 11:29 am

Re: Queensberry Rules: Celestial Engine

Post by Walt Ciechanowski » Sun Jun 28, 2015 3:00 pm

Edited the top post.
Walt Ciechanowski
Victoriana Line Developer
Cubicle 7 Entertainment

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