A Song of Ice RPG

Talk about Green Ronin's A Song of Ice and Fire RPG, based on George R.R. Martin's best-selling fantasy series. Winter is here!

Postby VoNl0cK » Sun Apr 29, 2007 5:45 am

Well, another french advice (shorter: rand, alrdy said the main things :green: )

- About character progression; in agot, it's far more complicated that gaining xp or whatever, and there's 2 main reasons to this:
    In asoiaf, characters gets upper (ie: jon, dany, petyr, janos), but some (if not many) gets lower (ie: jaime, sandor...). Btw,progression can be deadly quick (ned, who gets from hand to prisonner (then executed), sansa, but Janos slynt as well), or slow and progressive, as goes dany, or petyr. So progression should be bidirectionnal (and not in so many games where you only improve your character through stories)Youv'e noticed this progression has different aspects, bringing us to the secon point:
    Social progression need to be as, I would even say far more, important than physical progression. And ascending is generally slower and harder than descending in agot (except ppl like Janos)


    Of course, there'll be no classes or level stuff, they've nothing to deal with asoiaf.

    I would also ask for more informations about everydays life of a noble, from examples of food in westeros (trully, i think dinner is one of the best place for social interaction) to tasks of steewardship, how taxes works, troops raising, etc.

    And yes, we definitly need:

    -at least some castle maps (a first man one style, and an andal one)
    -rules for jousting, and creating truly different knights
    -different timelines allowing to play with different npcs than those from the books (we want to play to play "at" agot, not agot), the blackfyre rebellion, after the books...
    -And definitly yes, a kick-ass campaign !
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Postby _x_ » Tue May 01, 2007 4:05 am

Great news. Espiecally about the fact that a new system is being designed ground up, EXACTLY the way GoO should have gone.

I for one think GR should use their experiance with the Career system of wfrp 2 to use here, and develop a character generation system that is similar. That would fit very well with the world of ASOIAF. Anotehr thing that would be nice is the fact that wfrp 2's system only requires one or two d10 dice to play, and thats it. Less dice = less hassle.

Most people have said the usual needed things that we know are needed to make the game ASOIAF (gritty combat, diseases, politics, rules for social intrigue, tourney rules, mass battle rules, naval warfare, dark sorcery, etc) and I obviously agree with them, as will all fans of the books.

A few things though:

While there may be social rules, which are resolved through dice, that mechanic should NEVER overshadow the roleplaying aspect. Especially in ASOIAF, where a character's image, their cfonnections and the power of their tongue and wits is far more important than many other things.

Templates should not be used. As I mentioned before, either use a wfrp type career system, or use specialized classes (less rigid though than in other systems) but please do not make the system completely open ended. Otherwise we are going to start seeing characters that are excellent swordsmen, lancers, crack shots with bow, and with 0 diplomatic skills and virtually no depth.

Plus, a career type or class based system makes a game much easier for newcomers to pick up. (for instance, gurps is a nightmare game for a newcomer to start playing)

As for maps, while important I don't think a main rulebook is the place for them, nor for adventures. Perhaps a supplement, or a free web download.

Also I think a 2008 release date is rather optimistic, it will probably be pushed back to mid-late 2009 (so say, exactly 2 years from today)

Lastly, I hope there are oppertunities for fans of both books and rpg's to contribute; I personally would not mind writing something for the new rpg.
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Postby Anomandaris » Tue May 01, 2007 4:58 am

In relation to what i think would make a great ASoIaF RPG i am on the complete other side than _x_

I don't like linear systems (for example : 1d10 or 1d20), too random. I really like dicepools. I don't mind a little hassle *g*

I really hope there will not be classes/careers like in D20 or WFRP 2. Open-eded all the way. Templates should be there for a more easy way in (for example for rpg-noobs).
Otherwise we are going to start seeing characters that are excellent swordsmen, lancers, crack shots with bow, and with 0 diplomatic skills and virtually no depth.

I really don't see how this comes from an open ended pointbuy system? The systems i know never produce very potent characters at the beginning. I see that danger far more with a class system like d20! In the end, powergamers can do their munchkinism with every system.
Characters with no depth come from classes and careers imo. Every character has the same starting feats, skills whatever.

I agree on the social rules. They should not be there to replace roleplaying but to strenghten it with rules.
The problem is you allow a PC to role for combat. So to be fair, there must also be a system for PCs who want to specialize in the social-area. Otherwise i could argue you have to "roleplay out the combat as well". I suggest that good roleplaying of social events can get you bonuses on your role.

And no maps in the mainrule-book :o I really hope there will be a map. Even better, a map and some detailmaps.
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Postby higgins » Tue May 01, 2007 5:34 am

Anomandaris wrote:I don't like linear systems (for example : 1d10 or 1d20), too random. I really like dicepools. I don't mind a little hassle *g*

I totally agree with this. I always hated the randomness in d20. The dice shouldn't matter more than the skill. I like when dice are derived from the skill.

Anomandaris wrote:I really hope there will not be classes/careers like in D20 or WFRP 2. Open-eded all the way. Templates should be there for a more easy way in (for example for rpg-noobs).

Is any of you familiar with Over the Edge character creation system? It basically uses careers as well, but they are without exeption all player defined.

And also, every character in ASOIAF has his/her inner logic which drives his/her actions. This should definetly be a part of the character sheet. The Riddle of Steel's Spiritual Attributes model this kind of things rather well, and Burning Wheel has similar mechanics as also (I don't own the BW book but I've read the previews).

_x_ wrote:Otherwise we are going to start seeing characters that are excellent swordsmen, lancers, crack shots with bow, and with 0 diplomatic skills and virtually no depth.

I proposed a priority based character creation system on the previous page. This is simple to get even for newbies and leaves no area with a zero value.

Anomandaris wrote:I see that danger far more with a class system like d20! In the end, powergamers can do their munchkinism with every system.
Characters with no depth come from classes and careers imo. Every character has the same starting feats, skills whatever.

I couldn't agree more. The system should encourage player to be creative, not showing him a list with options to combine!

Anomandaris wrote:And no maps in the mainrule-book :o I really hope there will be a map. Even better, a map and some detailmaps.

I think _x_ meant the castle and stronghold floorplans someone wanted to see. I agree that this kind of detail would be a bit too much for the main rulebook. I would love a "Castles and Strongholds of Westeros" game supplement though. And yes, adventure should be a pdf or something. I want my campaign setting book full of setting information!

But as for the maps... I want a huge colourful shiny Westeros map that I can place on my wall! Some of my friends have Middle Earth maps on their walls. I want a Westeros map, dammit! :)

P.S.
I'll fix the links if I get my 5 posts together! :(

Edit: Links fixed.
Last edited by higgins on Wed May 02, 2007 11:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby REG » Tue May 01, 2007 5:51 am

Oh, well. I still have my AGoT. 8)
Anyhoo, just some random thoughts...

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Postby Fobok » Tue May 01, 2007 7:36 am

I have to say I'm quite happy to hear that Green Ronin got the license. While I'm a bit disappointed I'll have to buy a new core book, after paying so much for the GoO version, but I totally understand the reasons why, and I'm hoping this is an opportunity to have an even more fitting system. To me, there's a few elements that should be in place.

1. Combat should be scary. This shouldn't be like D&D where most of the character options involve combat. Even for Knights, charging into battle should be a last resort, not the first.

2. Political systems. To me, one of the drawing factors in the setting is the political situations. And, while playing GoO's Game of Thrones RPG, I've had entire game sessions which have been dealing with shifting alliances, betrayals, and so on.

3. Intrigue. Specifically, characters like Varys and Petyr should be an option. Have systems for gathering information, arranging assasinations, and so on.

3. Back to combat: Big battles. This is one area the GoO book was lacking. A lot of the combat in the books aren't classic 'adventuring party' combats, but the giant battles with hundreds to thousands of troops.

4. Customization. Tywin, Ned, and Hoster were all heads of major Houses, but besides a few common skills among them, had vastly different skillsets and personalities. I don't want to see a system that would make them all the same.
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Postby SnowDog » Wed May 02, 2007 12:09 pm

Since the books tend to rely much on politics of the world it would be interesting to know what sort of playing is encouraged. Is it the usual party like approach where all PCs are more or less friends with similar agendas or do they represent different factions (noble families) and actually scheme behind each other's back? I don't really know which one would be a better approach but if latter then maybe some kind of meta-game mechanic would be needed to keep track of various alliances vassals and fiefs etc.
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Postby VoNl0cK » Thu May 03, 2007 10:55 am

By the way, I think this is the opportunity to try a new things :

In asoiaf, each chapter is focused on a character, and there's no way in the rpg to keep all the PC all together everytime. So I think the Main character that aren't involved in a scene should play second hand NPCs; this would provide a deeper sense of the universe. But this can be a bit confusing for some players, I must admit.

And noone's annoying while everyone can do what he wants.But GM must be careful that players roleplay correctly NPCs, and not in their own PC interests, but hell, if you don't trust other players, stop playing in this group !

This will be the most usefull in games where you play important character; ie if you're the spouse of the lord, what will you do while they go hunting or raiding (at my table, a hunting scen can last hours !), so just relax and start playing some hunter ! (or a bandit or whatever ths GM needs)

So maybe some rules about this could be very interesting (for example each character has enough NPCs around him that can be played by others players, so that every player has his own NPC to play for each PC!)

What do you think of this ?
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Postby SnowDog » Thu May 03, 2007 12:21 pm

This sounds a bit like troupe style playing in Ars Magica or even the meta-game aspect in Burning Empires where each player has his/her turn to do something (including the GM who is actively opposing PCs in that game). Interesting aspects in both games but I have not tested either of them so I can't say how well they work.

One way would be to focus for one PC at a time and give other players some GM made characters that support or hinder the PC. But this is a lot of prep work for GMs and if PCs are part of opposing factions this might be a bit hard to play...

On the other hand this could be handled with some kind of warband-like idea (from Inquisitor or Mordheim etc.) where PCs' henchmen are handled more or less by GM and opposition is handled by other players. This could be an interesting twist to normal games :)
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Postby higgins » Thu May 03, 2007 12:50 pm

VoNl0cK wrote:In asoiaf, each chapter is focused on a character, and there's no way in the rpg to keep all the PC all together everytime. So I think the Main character that aren't involved in a scene should play second hand NPCs; this would provide a deeper sense of the universe. But this can be a bit confusing for some players, I must admit.

The bare thought of that send chills down my spine. :)

Not that the idea is bad... But it wouldn't be only confusing to the players, it would be making the GM to give HUGE amounts of information about NPC's in advance, stripping him the power of controlling anything in a scene and keeping him unaware of why certain desicions are made by the NPC's (unless he does VERY through interviews with the players afterwards). It would also set the game on a very fixed path, with GM unable to change anything if he whishes to do so, because he's given out too much information to do that. Purely my personal opinions though. Don't let yourself be discouraged, and give it a try! :) Here's my theory however:

I've been running a chronicle in which PCs are rarely together for a couple of years now. I have 5 players, and... this is like running 6 games all at once. One for every player and the major one that binds the others together. Going by your method... It would square the number of games. Do you know anyone capable of running (5 squared + 1 =) 26 games? I sure would want to be that person, but seriously... Hat off and a bow to the ground to the group that manages to pull off that stunt successfully. :D

...

But from a pure market view? Ever heard of Wraith: the Oblivion? This had players play 2 characters at once, with one having very fixed goal. Every character had a darker side which plotted to destroy him, played by another player. Arguments inside one's head. While having a cult following, it was never a market success. Maybe it was because of its dark tone, but... These kind of games are waaaaay complicated. ;)
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Postby Rand » Fri May 04, 2007 10:45 am

I like the idea of many characters and I was about to ask for it myself…
I don't think it would be that hard to handle if each player has a main character, and many secondary ones. Secondary roles do not need as much attention and time as first roles, they're in the game to deepen the main character, and to allow players not to get bored while not playing their PC.
I'm taking a simple example here: When Tyrion is bane from the vale and thrown out in the mountain of the moon with Bronn, there's only to players, and the other should have wait, but instead of this, they come by as wildling. Now we have Shagga son of Shagga who is definitely a secondary character. There's no real plot concerning Shagga, but the player can have fun, tribal roleplay and epic battle. It's sound better to me than just waiting for hours in the other room while Tyrion finishes his own business.

Still this might be possible only with a light system and quick character creations. I thought to use this multi character idea in my own D20 campaign but I couldn't, as I can't get all the character's build and usable quickly enough...

Another good thing with multi characters is that when your main character die, the player can simply chose one of his other roles and transform it as major figure. Like when Ned dies, and Rob suddenly become King of the north and war leader while he was only a teenager in the early chapters.

And last, but not least, by giving to the player the opportunity to create more than one character, you allow the world to be wider. Because player's built characters will bring more diversity and depth to the world. Because player usually spend more time working on their characters than the game master would on each of his NPC...

So creating a multi PoV RPG is certainly a win for the players and for the gamemaster. And for those who don't think so, there's still the option of creating only one character and don't care about it...
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Postby higgins » Fri May 04, 2007 12:13 pm

Rand wrote:I don't think it would be that hard to handle if each player has a main character, and many secondary ones. Secondary roles do not need as much attention and time as first roles, they're in the game to deepen the main character, and to allow players not to get bored while not playing their PC.

This is totally different from what was offered before though. Maybe it was with the wording ("scene"), but I felt it more like GM having prebuilt an entire legion of NPC's and when Tyrion enters the inn, the other players start flipping their secondary sheets going "A travelling bard here! Could I pop in with him?" and "Is there a dark corner this character could be at?" I could have misenterpreted though.

About the thing you offered... Something similar has been done in my country and while I wasn't in that game, I heard it was a success. Each player had two characters and nobody but the GM and the player himself didn't know who was the main character. But anyhow, this could be just be an chapter of running a game in a different style in the GM section.
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Postby Rand » Fri May 04, 2007 2:57 pm

higgins wrote:And also, every character in ASOIAF has his/her inner logic which drives his/her actions. This should definetly be a part of the character sheet. The Riddle of Steel's Spiritual Attributes model this kind of things rather well, and Burning Wheel has similar mechanics as also (I don't own the BW book but I've read the previews).


I would like to say a word on these, because the idea is great, but can be dangerous.

As far as I can tell, spiritual attributes have two purposes, which I summarize as such:
* The first is to help your character succeed when he act according to his conviction
* The second is to give the character experience point when the conviction comes into play.

About the first side, I would say it might be good in some games, but I don't see that working this way in AGOT. Being true, faithful or honourable don't help you win a fight. More frequently in deed it will help you loos the war as your opponent can use your ideals to trick you in a trap. That's sad, but that's how I understand the universe.

About the second on the other hand, I had to say its brilliant as it pushes the player to seek the same thing as his character. When a character act according to his motivation, he became stronger, which is an interesting thing. So we will have the player chasing every opportunity for their characters to pursue their motivation, and we create quick and easy psychological profiles. The honourable acts honourably, and the greedy acts greedily. That's good.
But this is a double edge tool. By writing psychological traits or motivation on the character sheet, we might soon have the player act only according to the specific trait he wrote during character creation. And the psychological profile soon becomes a stereotype, which restricts player's freedom instead of guiding him.

A sew month ago, I had converted Shadows of Yesterday keys of personality (which are very close to spiritual attributes) to AGOT D20, but I finally decided not to used them, because I didn't want to enclose the character in a single line of thought...
And still I like the idea of spiritual attribute, so I gess I wil have to take a choice someday.
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Postby Maester Luwin » Sat May 05, 2007 1:26 pm

[quote="Rand"]Another good thing with multi characters is that when your main character die, the player can simply chose one of his other roles and transform it as major figure. Like when Ned dies, and Rob suddenly become King of the north and war leader while he was only a teenager in the early chapters.

And last, but not least, by giving to the player the opportunity to create more than one character, you allow the world to be wider. Because player's built characters will bring more diversity and depth to the world. Because player usually spend more time working on their characters than the game master would on each of his NPC...[/quote]

Hey Rand! I agree totally with what you said. Another thing this does is allows players to try more than one type of "class" or "template", whatever you want to call it. AGoT setting is certainly deadly. I think it allows both the GM & the players to experience something close to the books themselves... allowing the main characters to shine on a given night but always shifting to another the next. This will also allow the GM more time to develop a player's plotline between adventures. Just my two coppers. Thanks Maester Luwin
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Postby Rand » Sun May 13, 2007 9:53 am

I just think of somethink else that might be usefull in the game: Estate management.
As most of the characters are highborn, they have vast amounts of money, but a lot of people will rely on them.
I don't wan't to keep track of every silver stag spent by the character, but I need a way to warn the player when the spend to much, or they will buy every sellsword on their way, every field they will walk, every ornamented plate they will see.
While there's no need for something complexe, I think it should be good to have gidelines, and maybe a few rules to help us. Does it cost much to call a maester from the citadel, to build a warship or to hire a hundred swords for a forenight?
Also, how do the highborn spend money. If they buy to much, will a suit from the Iron bank of Braavos come and claim the debt, or will the people starve and riot?

That's not in the novels, but as a gamemaster, that's something I need to build a consistent world around the players...
And if that's not in the book, I will design my own houserules to cover this, like I did with AGOT D20.
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Postby SnowDog » Fri May 18, 2007 11:11 am

This seems to look a lot like Pendragon. Although my exposure to it is very limited I don't mind the estate keeping if it otherwise stays in the theme tha GR intends the game to play...
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Postby khaalis » Mon May 21, 2007 12:50 am

Here is my $0.02 worth.

Overall – My first instinct is to vote for using True20 as a starting point for a New mechanics system, adapting it with new or "borrowed" mechanics to specifically fit SoI&F, rather than making SoI&F fit any single existing system. There are some fantastic ideas in True20 that lend themselves very well to the world, but need to be tweaked to make them have the right feel for Westeros.

Also, when it comes to dice, I prefer simplicity and consistence. I personally am not a fan of Dice Pools as I do not like having to roll dozens of dice to determine a success or failure of an action.

The Feel of the World:

Politics & Intrigue: The majority of the books revolve deeply around Politics. If I had to nail the entire series to one concept, this would be it. However, it should not dictate the entirety of the game system as it is viable to have a game in Westeros that does not involve the core politics, though it still forms a strong backdrop. The system should allow a game that either uses Politics and Intrigue as a backdrop to more specific story lines, or to allow a game that focuses primarily on the political intrigue game.
• As mentioned in earlier posts, the systems needs to quantify social interactions. However, even though as role players we all wish to have every social interaction played out by players, this is often just not feasible. Nothing personal to gamers around the globe, but sorry not every player is good at roleplaying social encounters, and some people have little to no social skills to begin with in real life much less be able to pull them off in game. With that said, however, I see 2 routes to go with social interactions.
- Simplified: Using this approach leaves 90% of the social interaction up to the player, using something as simple as a single Die Roll to determine success or failure of an attempt in low-impact situations (such as non-critical story element interactions such as shop_owner_01).
- Detailed: Using this approach develops a more complex social interaction system that enhances a social encounter into almost a “battle” of its own. This idea would basically make a social interaction a form of Social Combat, similar to how a warrior gets to play out physical combat.
• There needs to be either a mechanics system or a highly detailed section explain to GM’s how to create a political intrigue environment, including how to manage information, secrets, histories, etc. Political intrigue games are very similar in many respects to a poker game. It is all about knowing your opponent, realizing their motivations, their tells, how they play the game as well as knowing your cards (information) and when to hold or play them.
• You need to allow for a system that both creates a living world around the PCs, but also allows the PC’s to guide the story. There is nothing worse for a player than to be in a world where they feel they have no impact or that they cannot shape the world they way they wish because the “story” is already defined. A classic example was the original appearance of Dragonlance set during the War.
• There should be a very clear line between royalty, nobility, commoners and outlanders. However, the political structures for lands outside of Westeros such as the Free Cities should also be included.

Prophecies: The world of Westeros is deeply entwined with Prophecies (e.g. Bran, Daenerys, the Ghost of High Heart, Jojen, Jon, Melisandre, Patchface, and many others). These are a strong aspect of the underlying fabric of the world, a world of re-emerging magic and threats. The system should include a system (or at least a highly detailed section) that helps GM’s to produce the correct feeling of the Prophecies.


Specifics for the feel of Westeros: Mechanics & Systems

Realistic Characters: A more Skill/Feat oriented character progression and advancement. This should Not include a class system as in d20. A “fluid” and generic character building system would be more fitting. However, a simple template similar to True20 warrior, expert, adept might still be fitting. In Westeros, people are simply people. They have different skills and talents, but there is no real distinction of “classes” in Westeros. However, there should be certain skills/professional talents that are restricted to certain backgrounds. For instance those from the Iron Isles are more apt to have seamanship skills than those from the Vale. I’d love to see a detailed Traits and Flaws oriented system that defines each character’s “edges” and “weaknesses” in the world.

Realist Combat: Combat should be kept to a somewhat familiar system, but should be dangerous for the inexperienced, yet heroic for players skilled in combat. All combat should not be left to luck. More skilled fighters should rule a battlefield, yet they should NOT be nigh invulnerable (i.e. high level D&D). Gregor is a frightful opponent but is still proved to be mortal when facing Oberyn. However, skill alone is not enough. Each true master fighter has their own “style” which allows them to flourish in the right environment. For example a Water Dance is more adept at solo duels than fighting in a mass melee. Another aspect to real combat is real injury. Something like the True20 status bar is a good start, but the system NEEDS an actual wound system that encompasses broken bones, bruised, amputations, cuts, etc. The system should NOT be as simplified and generic as Hit Points. I would even like to see an applied “Flaw” system for permanent wounds such as Jamiw

Warfare: Additionally, the world needs to include interesting (and somewhat simple) rules for Mass Combat. War is a defining theme in Westeros. Mass Combat needs to allow for rules for leadership skill, troop morale, number of troops involved, terrain, types of units, and tactics, etc. I do not want to have detailed Warhammer style combats and stat cards for each unit, but a simplified system that denotes a forces overall effectiveness based on its comprised parts that can be weighed against the enemy’s overall rating and adjudicated by tactics to determine a mass combat outcome. Another aspect here is that you have to keep in mind that the characters are “special” and should not be simply another “fighter_01” in the ranks of a 100 sword. A PC’s actions in mass combat should be allowed to influence a battle and should focus primarily on special tactics and focused events rather than simply being in the middle of the mass melee.

Tournaments: As already mentioned, tournaments are a major aspect to the world’s environment among the nobles of Westeros. A system that allows a PC to be involved in tourneys and to rank themselves in the noble lists is a necessity.

Realistic Healing: The healing skills should be highly detailed, getting into specifics of wound treatment, treatment of disease, poison, etc. There is nothing so “uninvolved” as a healer oriented character such as a master revolving their entire play experience around a single “heal” or “medicine” skill check. I might even like to see differentiation in skills for first-aid, trauma treatment, disease treatment, poison treatment, etc.

Organizations: The world of Westeros is filled with specific organizations. A system should be in place for characters to get involved in these organizations. Also, PCs should only gain access to specific skills/feats based on these associations. Examples would be: Squires & Knighthood, Faceless Men, Maesters, Specific Faiths (e.g. R’hllor), Specific types of Magic (e.g. Worgs), Specific Fighting schools (e.g Water Dancer), Specific Regions (e.g Dothraki, Ironmen, etc.), Specific Houses (e.g Lanister, Frey, etc.). These should not be classes, but a system that employs mechanics to define the character’s association with the organization and focuses their skills to the skills most appropriate to those organizations. The world has many very specific organizations which have their own secrets, oaths, talents and skills that need to be preserved, but also allow players access to this aspect of the world.

Luck/Karma/Action/Conviction Point style mechanic: The books are very cinematic and these basic mechanics systems make that much more feasible. Wits, Luck, Gal, Guts, Instinct or whatever you want to call it is a core staple of the feel of the books. These point system ideas cover this well IMHO, especially Conviction from True20, though I believe it needs to have a refined and expanded list of what can and cannot be accomplished by using said points.

Advancement: A new advancement system to the classic levels and XP would be welcome. A system such as Shadowrun’s Karma or a system that grants XP specifically to the skill used would be intriguing.

JMHO.
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Postby SnowDog » Mon May 21, 2007 1:23 am

Prophesies are usually very hard to get right. They have to be very vague or such that PCs can't do much about them. If someone have ideas how to implement prophesies well into an RPG I am impressed, honestly.

Still, I'm not saying that it should not be tried. I'm just saying that implementing them is hard, at least in my experience.
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Postby higgins » Mon May 21, 2007 3:14 am

khaalis wrote:Realistic Characters: A more Skill/Feat oriented character progression and advancement. This should Not include a class system as in d20. A “fluid” and generic character building system would be more fitting. However, a simple template similar to True20 warrior, expert, adept might still be fitting. In Westeros, people are simply people. They have different skills and talents, but there is no real distinction of “classes” in Westeros. However, there should be certain skills/professional talents that are restricted to certain backgrounds. For instance those from the Iron Isles are more apt to have seamanship skills than those from the Vale. I’d love to see a detailed Traits and Flaws oriented system that defines each character’s “edges” and “weaknesses” in the world.

I agree that having classes is not a good idea, yet I don't think there should be "feats" as we know them. I think it would be wrong to give player a bunch of character options to combine. What I'd like to see, is player-defined options, which would encourage players to create imaginative and original characters.

khaalis wrote:Advancement: A new advancement system to the classic levels and XP would be welcome. A system such as Shadowrun’s Karma or a system that grants XP specifically to the skill used would be intriguing.

Yes! No levels! Please! I want it to be plain IMPOSSIBLE for players to figure out relative game statistics by some single action from NPC. I always hated the "Oh, he reincarnated his ally... So, he must be at least a level 7 druid with a Wisdom of at least 14, which means he has Fort save +5 or greater and Will save +7 or greater. Better use something against him that allows a Reflex or no save. In any case, he's able to turn into a bird and flee. If he's actually a level higher, he might be able to perform 2 attacks in a round... etc."

The levels are desgined to give a good overview of the general power level of a character to see if he can manage some encounter. I don't think this kind of predictability would be appropriate for ASOIAF. :)

Rand wrote:As far as I can tell, spiritual attributes have two purposes, which I summarize as such:
* The first is to help your character succeed when he act according to his conviction
* The second is to give the character experience point when the conviction comes into play.

About the first side, I would say it might be good in some games, but I don't see that working this way in AGOT. Being true, faithful or honourable don't help you win a fight. More frequently in deed it will help you loos the war as your opponent can use your ideals to trick you in a trap. That's sad, but that's how I understand the universe.

The point behind The Riddle of Steel's name comes from Conan (here's the Wiki explanation). Basically, it means people are stronger if they fight for something they believe in. For example, if Ned fought the Lannisters men, in TRoS, he'd recieve +3 dice from his "Hate Lannisters: 3" (just an exemplary Spiritual Attribute)... If he had been forced to help Lannisters however, he'd recieve -3 because he had despised himself of what he'd be doing.

So, being true, faithful or honourable does help you win a fight in TRoS, but no, it doesn't help you for being lured into traps. In fact, these kinds of Attributes can make it easier. So, I find it making sense that no-one doesn't want to face a righteous knight in a fair fight (unless the other combatant has his relevant Spiritual Attributes in use as well).

Rand wrote:About the second on the other hand, I had to say its brilliant as it pushes the player to seek the same thing as his character. When a character act according to his motivation, he became stronger, which is an interesting thing. So we will have the player chasing every opportunity for their characters to pursue their motivation, and we create quick and easy psychological profiles. The honourable acts honourably, and the greedy acts greedily. That's good.
But this is a double edge tool. By writing psychological traits or motivation on the character sheet, we might soon have the player act only according to the specific trait he wrote during character creation. And the psychological profile soon becomes a stereotype, which restricts player's freedom instead of guiding him.

A sew month ago, I had converted Shadows of Yesterday keys of personality (which are very close to spiritual attributes) to AGOT D20, but I finally decided not to used them, because I didn't want to enclose the character in a single line of thought...
And still I like the idea of spiritual attribute, so I gess I wil have to take a choice someday.

Well, in TRoS, one person has five different Spiritual Attributes, which can change during play. This doesn't put player into a single line of thought. And if 5 is still too few for you, the number of Spiritual Attributes can always be raised. :)
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Postby Rand » Mon May 21, 2007 8:44 am

First, I have to say that I agree on most of Khaalis words.
...But not on every thing.

khaalis wrote:My first instinct is to vote for using True20 as a starting point for a New mechanics system, adapting it with new or "borrowed" mechanics to specifically fit SoI&F, rather than making SoI&F fit any single existing system. There are some fantastic ideas in True20 that lend themselves very well to the world, but need to be tweaked to make them have the right feel for Westeros.

GoO already made a D20 based Westeros. While I understand the differences between AGOT D20 and True20, I don't think it should be a good idea to create similars products. I think GR should go where GoO wasn't. And GoO was D20.


khaalis wrote:Realistic Characters: A more Skill/Feat oriented character progression and advancement. This should Not include a class system as in d20. A “fluid” and generic character building system would be more fitting. However, a simple template similar to True20 warrior, expert, adept might still be fitting. In Westeros, people are simply people. They have different skills and talents, but there is no real distinction of “classes” in Westeros. However, there should be certain skills/professional talents that are restricted to certain backgrounds. For instance those from the Iron Isles are more apt to have seamanship skills than those from the Vale. I’d love to see a detailed Traits and Flaws oriented system that defines each character’s “edges” and “weaknesses” in the world.

I don't like the word feat, because it is so strongly attach to D20 system. Some character might be given som specific abilities, like wargs, or faceless men, but I don't think that's the core of the system. Creating a big list of options, all giving small edges to character talents is a waste. waste of time for character creation, waste of pages in the core book to explain every single avantage, waste of immersion when you realise that not having the correct option don't allow you to do what your character should be able to do.
Players like to rig their characters, and wizard understood this when they design D20, but roleplaying, especialy in Westeros, should not be about character optimisation.

As for classes... May the mother have mercy. Classes are a good way to quickly create suitable characters, but then its more like a curtain that forbid it from natural evolution and bind it to a restricted path. Classes can't exist in westeros, because people can't be restricted to a small archetype.
People from the iron Island are certainly good on a ship, but other character might learn that as well, and with practice become better thant any ironborn.

Still, I think there's need of a Edge/flaws system, as being a dwarf is a flaw to tyrion, and being a warg is a edge to Bran.


khaalis wrote: Warfare: (...) Another aspect here is that you have to keep in mind that the characters are “special” and should not be simply another “fighter_01” in the ranks of a 100 sword. A PC’s actions in mass combat should be allowed to influence a battle and should focus primarily on special tactics and focused events rather than simply being in the middle of the mass melee.

Yes and no.
Pc are special, but in all battle description I've read in the SoIaF, when a character is in the middle of a battle, it's chaos. Certainly, he can seek opportunities, but it's not given to him. Like every thing in the book, there a risk.
I think the best way to influence a battle is to command, not to be in the lines. Commanding allow you to have a global view of the battle field. Fighting give you a great sense of confusion, and in most case, you can't even tell how many people you killed, or when and how you get hurt.
Still, if you lead your men, they will be happy to see you fight with them, and you win on leadership and moral what you lose on awareness and tactics.
Also, Once the battle is engaged, it seems to be quite hard to change orders and tactics, so commanding is more about predictions.


khaalis wrote:Realistic Healing: The healing skills should be highly detailed, getting into specifics of wound treatment, treatment of disease, poison, etc. There is nothing so “uninvolved” as a healer oriented character such as a master revolving their entire play experience around a single “heal” or “medicine” skill check. I might even like to see differentiation in skills for first-aid, trauma treatment, disease treatment, poison treatment, etc.

On the other hand, while you play a maester, you don't like spending all your points on medic skills. Being able to do something else is good as well.
And As most players don't know much about medical, solving a medical probleme with a single medicine roll don't shock me that much. I've spoke to my players, and they don't think medicine is the main focus of the game. It should be kept simple and easy to play.
But I agree that the healing is slow and players keep wounds for a long time. It's the gaming act that should be fluid and easy.


khaalis wrote:Organizations: The world of Westeros is filled with specific organizations. A system should be in place for characters to get involved in these organizations. Also, PCs should only gain access to specific skills/feats based on these associations.

Sounds like Prestige classes to me. :)
I like the idea to handle houses and organisation in the same way, but I don't like the "class" feeling you put in it.
Being a member of an organisation, or a noble house might be a simple edge, like having giant blood or being a warg. The main gain you get from the edge is influence over the lands and mens, and certainly material advantages as well.
Being a member of the church of R'hllor may allow you to learn spécific spells, but you still have to learn them.
It m'ight be exactly what you mean't, but I'd rather be sure...


khaalis wrote: a system that grants XP specifically to the skill used would be intriguing.

I've never seen a well balanced system with this paradigm.
Because there always skil you use far much than other, and in the end you become very good in a few skills, and stay bad in all the others.
Moreover, does it realy work that way in the books?
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Postby higgins » Mon May 21, 2007 9:23 am

I totally agree with what you said, Rand, especially about characters. I really like Over the Edge character creation system where the starting character consists of Central Trait (character concept, basically) with two Side Traits and a Flaw. These are all player defined!

So, basically Tyrion might be Smart Bookworm with Wicked Tongue, Keen Wits and Dwarfism. Personality traits like his lustful and gluttonous habits might be presented with his Spiritual Attributes or something alike.
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Postby khaalis » Mon May 21, 2007 11:04 pm

higgins wrote:I agree that having classes is not a good idea, yet I don't think there should be "feats" as we know them. I think it would be wrong to give player a bunch of character options to combine. What I'd like to see, is player-defined options, which would encourage players to create imaginative and original characters.


The semantics of Feat, Talent, Powers, etc. can be whatever you like it to be. I do think that a system akin to this is better than “player defined” anything, at least IMHO. I personally, do not like systems where too much is left to the player’s imagination as to what they can and cannot do. I believe in some form of limits. “Mage” (White Wolf) for example, is very difficult system to run because there are little to no defined boundaries on what you can and cannot do. A system akin to Shadowrun would be a good starting point for a classless and level-less system. However, this means that every ability needs to be defined in a purchasable system, such as skill points or “feats/talents/powers/etc.”.

higgins wrote:I totally agree with what you said, Rand, especially about characters. I really like Over the Edge character creation system where the starting character consists of Central Trait (character concept, basically) with two Side Traits and a Flaw. These are all player defined!
So, basically Tyrion might be Smart Bookworm with Wicked Tongue, Keen Wits and Dwarfism. Personality traits like his lustful and gluttonous habits might be presented with his Spiritual Attributes or something alike.


IMHO, this isn’t even an RPG game system. Why even bother having an RPG system if characters are this completely undefined? This is a pure story-telling scenario that anyone with half-a-mind any decent gaming experience can do without a single book and only a few notes jotted on paper to help remind people of their character concept. Just state what your character is, and the GM tells you what you can and cannot do and basically tells the players a story with the players helping to move the story along by telling the story of their actions. The only “RPG Book” you need for this is purely fluff about the world, which in all reality can be simply found on the web between the official GRRM forums, the Westeros/SoI&F wikis and the unofficial Westeros site. The most you might need is a 2-3 page summary of what some example “archetypes” of personalities might be based on region and/or house and what some example flaws and character traits might be.

On a non-personal note, from a purely business standpoint, GR would be cutting off their nose to spite their face with a system like this. Keep in mind that GR is a company first, RPGers second. Their primary goal is to make a profit off the license they have paid to acquire. To make a system so completely loose and undefined would leave them with an inability to make said profit as they would simply be releasing a nice Encyclopedia of the SoI&F world that maybe also acts as an “Art of” book as well. They need a game system that will allow for various types of play styles and that can be built upon for expansions. They have already said that this will be a Product Line not a single book.

Rand wrote:GoO already made a D20 based Westeros. While I understand the differences between AGOT D20 and True20, I don't think it should be a good idea to create similars products. I think GR should go where GoO wasn't. And GoO was D20.


I have to disagree slightly on this. Just because one vision entailed entirely the d20 system, it does not mean that GR cannot use some of the same concepts. I know not everyone agrees, but I think there are a lot of Good points to d20/True20. GR has a unique opportunity here to take the “best of the best” gaming mechanic implementations from the past 20 years and combine them into a cohesive system that works for the world of SoI&F. Just because people don’t like D&D or d20 doesn’t mean that the system doesn’t have its diamonds in the rough, and some of its core concepts shouldn’t be tossed out of the window simply because another attempt at AGoT used them.

If nothing else, I think the d20 skill system is still one of the best implementations of skills I have seen in many years of gaming. It’s a solid skill list, it can be easily manipulate for almost any genre and can even be used to combine into skill groups easily, if you like that concept rather than the core system. I do feel the system could use some tweaking however, taking other concepts from other systems and applying them as seen necessary, such as specializing in a sub-skill of a general skill.

Rand wrote:I don't like the word feat, because it is so strongly attach to D20 system. Some character might be given som specific abilities, like wargs, or faceless men, but I don't think that's the core of the system. Creating a big list of options, all giving small edges to character talents is a waste. waste of time for character creation, waste of pages in the core book to explain every single avantage, waste of immersion when you realise that not having the correct option don't allow you to do what your character should be able to do.
Players like to rig their characters, and wizard understood this when they design D20, but roleplaying, especialy in Westeros, should not be about character optimisation.


As I said above the term “feat” is simply semantics. Call it whatever you like, but overall the concept is the same – being a simply stated and defined ability that a character can acquire. Whether this is a spell, a power, a combat tactic, a trait, a social advantage, etc. these abilities aid to differentiate characters. In a world like SoI&F there are very specific abilities that can only be attained with the correct training. If not using a “feat/power/talent” style character build, then something like the GURPS system would be a possible solution as well.

Rand wrote:People from the iron Island are certainly good on a ship, but other character might learn that as well, and with practice become better thant any ironborn.


Yes I agree this is technically possible, but in SoI&F it is not so likely. To do so means the person in question dedicates themselves to that lifestyle. Someone who spends the 1st half of their life in the Riverlands will never be as adept as seamanship as someone who grew up aboard ships such as many Ironmen or sailors of the free cities. Keep in mind that a character’s background means a LOT in SoI&F. People are not only branded by their houses or by their geographic origin, but are also molded by it. A Northman, 99% of the time fits a certain cultural mold which is different from an Ironman which is different from a Wildling which is different from a Dornishman. Lannisters are different from Freys who are different from Starks. This “feel” of the world needs to be carried over into characters made for the world. A Stark for example is more than someone born with the name. They exhibit certain ethical, moral and even physical characteristics unique to the Starks. They are raised believing a specific set of values and beliefs and they have inherent lineage “abilities” that say a Lannister would not, such as the ability to be a Warg. Warg for example is a hereditary ability, not something anyone can simply “pick up” because they think its “cool”.

Rand wrote:Still, I think there's need of a Edge/flaws system, as being a dwarf is a flaw to tyrion, and being a warg is a edge to Bran.


This I completely agree with. Edges and Flaws are a staple in the SoI&F universe. The question is should these be separate from, or part of the same aspect that derives a character’s primary “abilities”.

For example, I do not see being a Warg as an “edge”. It is something far more complex and in fact should be part of the magic system in my vision of the mechanics. You should need to acquire the capability to be a “Warg” with some associated cost, such as a feat/power/talent style acquisition, a point buy like GURPS or an allocation slot like a Shadowrun Hermetic or Shaman. From there the raw genetic ability needs to be refined and trained. Not all Wargs are created equal. Jon and Bran are both full wargs, but Jon will never have the same talent at it that Bran does. In my mind, this is due to training paths. Jon is a warrior first, leader second and warg third. Bran is simply a warg. This is where a Feat/Skill system like GR’s Psychic’s HB and True Sorcery make a shining example of a working system taken from a d20/True20 standpoint. However, doing a system like Shadowrun’s mages could also work, where buying “warg” as a character option allows the player to by ranks in associated “warg skills” and/or “warg spells”.

Rand wrote:Sounds like Prestige classes to me.
I like the idea to handle houses and organisation in the same way, but I don't like the "class" feeling you put in it.
Being a member of an organisation, or a noble house might be a simple edge, like having giant blood or being a warg. The main gain you get from the edge is influence over the lands and mens, and certainly material advantages as well.
Being a member of the church of R'hllor may allow you to learn spécific spells, but you still have to learn them.
It m'ight be exactly what you mean't, but I'd rather be sure...


No, not necessarily PrCs. However, there are certain parts of the world that are VERY reliant on membership to an organization. There should be certain talents, skills, etc. (or whatever you want to call them) that can only be learned by members of a certain organization or house or region. However, there is a fine distinction between having an edge like “attractive” versus being a member of the Citadel (a Maester) or a priest of R’hllor. This needs to be included in the system’s mechanics even if it is simply to say a PC cannot be a Maester, similar to how a Shadowrunner cannot be a Corp or how a White Wolf Mage cannot in general be a member of the technocracy.

Rand wrote:I've never seen a well balanced system with this paradigm.
Because there always skil you use far much than other, and in the end you become very good in a few skills, and stay bad in all the others.
Moreover, does it realy work that way in the books?


This is where a system like Shadowrun’s Karma shines. You raise individual skills, stats etc. as you can afford it by earned experience. However, it wouldn’t be hard for the system to give the GM guidelines on restricting what can be raised for the character based on their actions. A warrior who never fought a battle in the last 4 adventures should not be increasing their combat skills, and should instead hone the abilities they did use, whether it was stealth to avoid combat, negotiation skills, diplomacy, etc. Gregor for example is as skilled at combat as he is because he has seen more combat than most other men alive, combined with his sheer size and strength (giant blood?).

As to how it “works” in the books… this is a core problem with translating Fiction to RPG. When an author writes a raw fiction, they do not think of their characters as a mechanical entity in a game system. There is no such thing as a direct translation from fiction to RPG. As someone mentioned earlier, Arya is much younger but has by far more experience than Sansa, already having training or experience in a variety of advanced skills such as Water Dancing. One thing that also doesn’t translate from fiction to RPG is that people want to “improve” their PCs when they play an RPG. No one really likes playing in a stagnant system where you never improve beyond what you started with. However, unlike in d20, this doesn’t mean that when you do improve that you should be able to take any ability or improve any skill you like. If you never actually do anything stealthy, why should you be allowed to take ranks in a stealth skill? The system could easily include this type of information for GM adjudication.

All JMHO.
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Postby higgins » Tue May 22, 2007 7:05 am

khaalis wrote:The semantics of Feat, Talent, Powers, etc. can be whatever you like it to be. I do think that a system akin to this is better than “player defined” anything, at least IMHO. I personally, do not like systems where too much is left to the player’s imagination as to what they can and cannot do. I believe in some form of limits. “Mage” (White Wolf) for example, is very difficult system to run because there are little to no defined boundaries on what you can and cannot do. A system akin to Shadowrun would be a good starting point for a classless and level-less system. However, this means that every ability needs to be defined in a purchasable system, such as skill points or “feats/talents/powers/etc.”.

If too much is defined by the rules, people will start thinking in the terms of rules and plan their actions in regards of rules. This is not good. I've seen it happen tons of times in d20 and fallen into the same trap myself more than once.

khaalis wrote:
higgins wrote:I totally agree with what you said, Rand, especially about characters. I really like Over the Edge character creation system where the starting character consists of Central Trait (character concept, basically) with two Side Traits and a Flaw. These are all player defined!

So, basically Tyrion might be Smart Bookworm with Wicked Tongue, Keen Wits and Dwarfism. Personality traits like his lustful and gluttonous habits might be presented with his Spiritual Attributes or something alike.


IMHO, this isn’t even an RPG game system. Why even bother having an RPG system if characters are this completely undefined? This is a pure story-telling scenario that anyone with half-a-mind any decent gaming experience can do without a single book and only a few notes jotted on paper to help remind people of their character concept. Just state what your character is, and the GM tells you what you can and cannot do and basically tells the players a story with the players helping to move the story along by telling the story of their actions. The only “RPG Book” you need for this is purely fluff about the world, which in all reality can be simply found on the web between the official GRRM forums, the Westeros/SoI&F wikis and the unofficial Westeros site. The most you might need is a 2-3 page summary of what some example “archetypes” of personalities might be based on region and/or house and what some example flaws and character traits might be.

No, it's not a system. It's just the WAY system allows custom characters. The character creation system I'm talking about can be viewed here, and it can be attached to ANY skill system. Just figure out the relevant bonuses and there you go. It could be used with d20 too -- it wouldn't have levels, but it could be done.

khaalis wrote:On a non-personal note, from a purely business standpoint, GR would be cutting off their nose to spite their face with a system like this. Keep in mind that GR is a company first, RPGers second. Their primary goal is to make a profit off the license they have paid to acquire. To make a system so completely loose and undefined would leave them with an inability to make said profit as they would simply be releasing a nice Encyclopedia of the SoI&F world that maybe also acts as an “Art of” book as well. They need a game system that will allow for various types of play styles and that can be built upon for expansions. They have already said that this will be a Product Line not a single book.

To be frank, I seriously hope that GR won't be building their ASOIAF series for selling more and more RULES with every expansion. I want suggestions, advice, facts, maps, locations, customs, laws, people, a guide for building my own power groups and all those things I would't think of myself. Due the nature of ASOIAF, one cannot build their games just on the rules.
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Postby Aran MacFiona » Fri May 25, 2007 3:45 pm

After nearly a full year drifting alone in the limbo after GoO's forum died... I finally found this place ! :D
I'm pleased to see that Maester Luwin and other old timers from GoO's are here too. How you're doing guys ? :D

Since I finished the campaign I was playing and mastering (one of each) in ASoIaF, I wasn't as interested as before with news from this wonderful world. So I discovered that Green Ronin I bought the license only now. What a great news. I'm currently running a campaign with their Black Compagny settings. If they do as much a good job for an ASoIaF RPG as they did with the Black Compagny, I'm eager to put my hands on it ! :lol:

I've read this thread and I think Jason Durall got it right. This new rules should be easy enough so fans of ASoIaF that aren't already RPGamers could try and enjoy them. To acheive that it must be rule light for the basic mechanism, with options for those who want more complexity. Character should be class based (or template it doesn't matter how it's called) with options to customize your own PC for seasonned players. And the most important all the rules should be included in the core rule book so even if it's the only one ever bought, players can play the RPG. And of course background, lots of it, enough to understand the society of the Seven Kingdoms.
Details about each of the seven kingdoms could be in the following books. Ideally one book for each kingdom, with detailed maps and a description of each cities and a list of each noble house with their coat of arms and more, would be a dream come true. :wink: Then the same for the Free cities, the Dothraki sea, the slaver coast and other places. :lol:
Well it's a fantasy world after all so it doesnt' hurt to fantasize.
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Postby Anomandaris » Sat May 26, 2007 2:56 am

After reading a teaser for OtE i really hope that is not the way they will go. I like more "meat on the bone" for my rpgs, but YMMV of course.

Also, no classes, please. I totally disagree that templates and classes are the same thing. Okay, this is semantics maybe...but classes comes with levels (this is your classic D20 theme)...templates not so much. And I really hope that GR will depart from the D20/OGL things for this baby. But maybe that's just me :)
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