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A Festival of Blades - Cavaliers of Mars

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  • A Festival of Blades - Cavaliers of Mars

    Well, I decided to buy the new advance pdf of Cavaliers of Mars developed by Rose Bailey (according to the credits). I will admit that although I recently started reading and using Chronicles of Darkness, I have yet to purchase Demon the Descent or Vampire the Requiem which I know Rose was the most involved with. Nevertheless, I will see what I can see here. This is my first look at the game itself and I don't really know anything about it.

    As I have pointed out before, I am primarily an Exalted Player and ST within this community and from the Far East, so consider these factors when reading my impressions.

    The cover art looks quite sublime with its dominating red color perhaps symbolizing the destinies and fates within. The building bear hallmarks of Western architecture but there is something else about how they are put together that makes them look like amalgamations. The snakes feel more Indian to me and the heads seem rather surprised that they don't have bodies. The adult and the child are vastly different from each other. The adult is robed and pointing somewhere; the child is somewhat hesitant in posture and motive.

    The introduction provides the opening pitch about the setting on Mars and the inhabitants known as Martians. Next is the rules

    How can I know if what I claim I know to be true is rejecting the idea that there is something I might not know? How can I know if what I claim I don't know to be true is rejecting the idea that there is something I do know?

  • #2
    The rules seem pretty Okay at first glance, but I can't really judge them by just looking at them. The example of combat shows how swift combat can be when using dice to determine the outcome of the fight. I like the use of Strain and Conditions over more conventional methods of tracking health and defense. I certainly welcome the use of narrative distance and map space, something which allows Exalted to excel as well with its own Range bands.

    And now the characters. Zilla seems to be a Sibyl or Sophia since she is able to use gifts that grant her oracular powers. She also appears to be the daughter, (fifth one) of a merchant in Vance.
    Lucio is a Jack or Mercenary with a variety of talents related to his soldier training as well as his underground tricks. Sisera Ipato is a noble born Cavalier who is able to travel the sands and Canals using mounts and other means. Certainly an interesting set of characters.

    Edit: I skipped Ksenyia Malaya an Assasin of both secrets as well as people, a scholar and poisoner all in one person who starts at the lowest rung of society.
    Last edited by Ostarion; 08-26-2016, 07:58 AM.

    How can I know if what I claim I know to be true is rejecting the idea that there is something I might not know? How can I know if what I claim I don't know to be true is rejecting the idea that there is something I do know?


    • #3
      Thanks for reviewing!

      Cavaliers of Mars Creator
      Retired CofD Lead

      Check out my guides to Vampire and my indie games!


      • #4
        Okay, I managed to finish the actual book, and I must say that I like the lack of an answer as to "why mars?" and it occurred to me that the question doesn't need an answer. Whenever the full book comes out, I hope it leaves the reasons for why people live on mars plural or undefined. Of course there is also the added detail of the blue star being an ill omen at least in one fortune teller's shop.

        There are hints of other cities and locales besides Vance among the written material such as Zodiac. Transportation seems to be advanced although I hope that the science fiction elements are de-emphasized in the full setting book.

        To elaborate, my problems with space travel are that other worlds seem very homogeneous in fiction, simply because an author is limited by their experience and cultural world view. For example, if you read Chinese science fiction that takes place in space, there isn't alot of emphasis on alien races and scientific laws along with their categorizations. More emphasis is generally put on the relationships of characters, the cultivation of the soul, and the search for a truth. Essentially social development is more important but still limited to what Chinese authors believe the future to be like. On the same note, Star Trek may be wonderfully liked but the worlds it portrays really only feature one culture of one species. Hence I hope Mars has a much richer tapestry of fictional cultures.

        Looking back at the basic rules, I would say that the presentation of the rules at first is what I disliked so I think in a full book, layout and added examples would help. The battle system was well explained using the example so I hope the rest of the rules are similarly explained when space is not so constrained.

        I'll try to run this sometime soon so I can complete my impression, it would be rather unfair otherwise, like judging a board games rules without actually playing it.

        How can I know if what I claim I know to be true is rejecting the idea that there is something I might not know? How can I know if what I claim I don't know to be true is rejecting the idea that there is something I do know?


        • #5
          I'm going to see if some of my players want to give this a shot as well. I think the combat rules in particular are rather intriguing. It loops like combat is going to be rather chaotic.

          I also adore the motivations. My first character that spring to mind is some kind of romantic bodhisattva, who seeks to foster loving relationships wherever he goes. If he were in the jump start adventure, he would seek to avenge the prince on Lady Aldonza's behalf.


          • #6
            I will test de the quickstart but I have already some questions:
            First why the characters don't kow each other already? They will have to work together without any trust in their fellows (I think we'll spent some time to play their meeting)

            About the combat rules: what happen when you want to do a stunt before a strike but your Stunt dice is lower than the strike dice? Is it possible to create a maneuver to switch some dice. Like "Flexibility: you exert Grace to switch two dice after the roll."

            I'll post a feedback soon.


            • #7
              DocDandy, you could actually run it that they do know each other if you wish. These things are simple to set up. You could set up your own maneuvers of course, however, me personally, I like the the idea that my stunt may not be able to be pulled off as maybe my character has stumbled in something they did not expect or what have you and cannot pull the stunt off in time. But again, that's just me. Did you back the project by chance? The full kickstarter manuscript was released to all those who backed the project. It gives a lot more in depth information (of course). Personally, I have run the quickstart 7 times now total (and started a full campaign just a couple weeks ago) and cannot recommend it enough. Trust me when I say, the fixing, hazards, astrology and so much more, create an amazing tabletop experience. If you need anything let me know as I'm running my campaign weekly on Roll20.

              "Kinda I want to" - Trent Reznor