No matter how "fantastic" the setting, the basic laws of the universe should apply.Here, I think we very strongly see a difference between Gygaxian and C&S-ian naturalism. The Gygaxian variety is more concerned with verisimilitude than with simulation. C&S, on the other hand, is very much about simulation, as even the short passage above demonstrates. Throw in some high-handed rhetoric about players -- and other designers -- who don't know enough physics, chemistry, and biology and it's very easy to see why I had the impression of the game I did back in the day.
This fact about the nature of the universe -- any universe -- has been all too often lost on many game designers and players alike at one time or another. Part of the problem is that many players themselves are still acquiring a working knowledge of basic physics, chemistry, and biology -- as well as any other relevant science. There will be someone out there ready and eager to interject at this point that "it's only a game". I agree, but I will remind him that role games necessarily and inevitably simulate environments. Players have been too thoroughly conditioned by their own life experiences and have acquired enough knowledge about what happens in their own world to make setting it aside far too difficult. It is too much to expect of players to demand that they accept an arbitrary universe conceived by the Game Master which has natural laws too far removed from those of our real world. Water flows downhill, not up. Rocks do not suspend in midair (unless comprised of ferrous material and buoyed up by an electro-magnetic field). Living creatures can be damaged and killed by physical agencies. These are the facts of science. Why should it suddenly be different in a "fantasy" world?
A Game Master bent on violating natural laws should be required to present detailed explanations of the "laws" of his universe which conflict with those we know prior to playing in his world. Any surprises in this area are simply inexcusable.
In this passage at least, Chivalry & Sorcery definitely comes across as the game of guys who take it a little too seriously and look down their nose at those who don't share their degree of obsessiveness. Of course, as with many things, that's not the whole story, as is evident even within the "Designing C&S Monsters" section from which I've quoted. Still, there's no question that C&S was one of those games that appealed primarily to those who'd already played D&D and found it unsatisfying, not because it was confusing or poorly written, but because it wasn't a good enough simulation. It's a game that was, in some sense, somewhat parasitic upon D&D, because it depended on dissatisfaction with D&D as an engine for generating its players.
That's nothing new by any means. Just as Benjamin Jowett was reputed to have said that all of Western philosophy consists of a series of footnotes to Plato, so too one might argue that all of RPG design consists of a series of footnotes to Gygax and Arneson. C&S definitely feels that way to me, at least right now, but I reserve the right to change my opinion as I absorb more of these fascinating rulebooks.