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.