For the moment, though, I just wanted to share a couple of quotes. The first is from Scott Bizar's introduction to the rulebook:
Chivalry & Sorcery is the most complete rule booklet ever published. Its very completeness creates problems in the mass of rules to be absorbed. However, the useful suggestions within the rules for how to run a C & S campaign will more than compensate for any difficulty in mastering the volume of rules.In his introduction to The Chivalry & Sorcery Sourcebook published a year later (1978), Bizar's introduction begins with the following:
In the summer of 1977, when we first released Chivalry & Sorcery, we believed that we had published a truly complete game that would never need a supplement. That the book you are now reading exists, demonstrates how wrong we were. C & S is indeed the most complete game ever created, but it is an ongoing campaign and new aspects of the campaign are constantly coming to light and need codification. For these reasons we have created the Sourcebook.Now, on one level, it's amusing to see Scott Bizar attempt to recast his original boast about the completeness of C&S. It's a very easy thing to do, too, since he frequently made such statements about FGU's games (something similar is said in his introduction to Space Opera, for example). On the other hand, pay attention to what he says about C&S being "an ongoing campaign." It's an odd statement on the face of it, but makes more sense when you realize that, as authors Simbalist and Backhaus made clear in the original rulebook, the game is actually a codification of a system created by the University of Alberta's Fantasy Wargames Society to address problems they had with the lack of context for "dungeon and wilderness adventures," which is to say, problems they had with Dungeons & Dragons.
As I understand it, the earliest version of C&S was, like so many early RPGs, a set of house rules for OD&D and the story goes that Simbalist and Backhaus initially thought of submitting their work to TSR for publication as a supplement to D&D. That didn't happen for a variety of reasons (I've heard at least two versions of the tale) and Chivalry & Sorcery as an independent game was born. But the process of house ruling that had led to the creation of this game out of OD&D was still ongoing, even after the rulebook was published in 1977. Simbalist and Backhaus were still playing their campaign and still adding new rules and clarifying existing ones. That's what Scott Bizar was referring to in his introduction to The Sourcebook.
You know what? I find this really appealing. It suggests that C&S was a game that was actually played rather than having been designed solely for the purpose of being sold. It's not a consumer product but a product of passion. That's why I love OD&D's supplements so much (the first three anyway), which feel as if they were the results of someone's having used the LBBs and, through play, come up with new options, additions, and modifications to them. To my mind, that's how an RPG should be developed, not according to a preplanned product schedule created independent of -- or in contradiction to -- actual play. I realize that adopting such an attitude would pretty much doom roleplaying to being a largely hobbyist endeavor, but would that be such a bad thing?