[Actual Play] Journey to Kings Landing

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!

[Actual Play] Journey to Kings Landing

Postby sophmelc » Mon Jul 14, 2008 1:22 am

This last weekend I managed to get a group of people together to run through the quick start adventure. I thought people here might be interested so here is a quick AP with my very brief thoughts. Feel free to ask any questions, and I'll try to answer them.

The adventure was a pretty simple one and didn't have any surprises but it did have plenty of opportunity to have a play around with the new rules.

The dice pool system was easy and in my mind unintrusive. The same basic mechanic is used whether you're fighting, hiding or charming someone.

I had been a little unsure about the Intrigue rules (basically a form of social combat), but after a very quick Intrigue between the Maester and the Innkeeper I think they will add an interesting dynamic to a section of the game that is usually left to roleplaying and the whim of the GM.

The group really got into the swing of the roleplay and there were some amusing moments when Ser Merek wanted to see how the stable boy "handled the shovel", not to mention most of the people in the group finding the stable boy's fondness of horses questionable.

My one issue, and this is something I think will become clearer with more play, is that the combat rules seemed particularly brutal. While I do know that they are meant to be harsher than your average "high fantasy" game a la DnD, the number of one hit take downs was pretty large. Perhaps the players just rolled well, or the GM read the rules wrong* (very possible!). Regardless I found the combat fast paced and from a GMing point of view easy to control. With 4 NPCs in the combat I never felt that it was getting out of hand.

My end opinion is that I liked it and I look forward to seeing the rules in their entirety.

*I was the GM :D
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Postby Zapp » Mon Jul 14, 2008 2:42 am

Achieving more damage than your opponents hit points is clearly possible.

However, that should not normally mean a "one hit take down", at least not for player characters and important non-player characters.

Be sure to read up on "Reducing Damage" on pages 15-16 of the Quick-Start, especially how you can always take a Wound to reduce the loss of hit points for a single attack to zero, no matter how brutal the attack is.

For "unimportant characters" however, getting defeated by a single attack should remain fairly frequent. (Again, this is covered by "Reducing Damage" on page 15). Whether you consider the NPCs in this adventure to be "unimportant" or not is entirely left up to each GM's discretion: if you dislike the one-shot kills, by all means use the full damage reduction rules for the bandits, especially as there aren't any more important NPCs in this particular adventure! (In a larger adventure, I would imagine four simple bandits to qualify as "not important" though) Keeping down the number of VIP NPCs is important for the reason that combat otherwise becomes very lethal for the PCs if they have to bring each and every lowly soldier down through all their Injuries and Wounds...

Thanks for the write-up! :)
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Postby MaesterM » Sun Jul 20, 2008 5:44 pm

I ran through the adventure this weekend, and my group did not have any one-shot takedowns when they fought the bandits. The bandits in the adventure were wearing chain mail. Did you factor in the damage reduction from that? My group actually found the mail a little frustrating to get through.
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Postby Ninasie » Mon Jul 21, 2008 10:04 am

I ran the adventure for my group too last weekend.

Overall I think everyone enjoyed the experience, I love the rules for taking injuries and wounds, whoever had the idea to let the player decide when or if they take an injury or a wound is truly inspired and you are awarded 1,000 cookies and 5 gold stars!

I found the rules for the intrigue "combat" to be a little clunky at first, but we quickly got into the swing of things.

The adventure does exactly what it's designed to do, in that it gives a good impression of what the rules are like in various situations.

Lastly the note on combat. It is deadly, the poor bandits didn't stand a chance not only where they outnumbered they were also outclassed. Ser Merik is capable of handling all four of the bandits on his own, as his armour makes him almost impervious to the bandits attacks.

With his defence of 5 (with shield) and armour rating of 10 a bandit with a weapon that has a damage rating of 2 would need to score a hit with six degrees of success to cause enough damage to breech his armour. That would mean rolling a total over 35+

If you upped the damage of the weapon to 4 then you would only need to get three degrees of success or roll a total of 15+ to score a damage on him.

In the game I ran both Ser Merik and Nicholas Rivers both defeated the bandits they attacked in a single blow.
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Postby Zapp » Mon Jul 21, 2008 11:54 am

Generally, the main problem is how Rank 2 has been labeled "average", and how this has been used in the Quick Start (and specifically its NPC stats).

A much better term for Rank 2 would be something like "untrained".

While the average character might have Fighting 2, that is because most people are completely untrained in the art of fighting. It should be reserved for peasants and tradesmen that haven't drawn steel against another man even once in their life.

I find it inappropriate that bandits in general should be given this low rank, and I find the term "average" does a disservice to the game.

Once you realize there's nothing "average" about the so-called "bandits" in the Quick-Start and their (lack of a) fighting ability (by their stats, they're nothing but untrained rabble, and very very far from representing the "dangerous men" stereotype) it makes much more sense how somebody in plate can wade in with almost no risk to himself.

My point is the combat/armor system isn't necessarily broken, as long as you consider that anyone with a decent shot at overcoming plate mail should have ranks of around four (in Fighting and Damage).

The short of it is simple: Rename rank 2 into "untrained" and the system immediately makes much more sense! :)
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Postby MaesterM » Mon Jul 21, 2008 11:56 am

Oh, and I forgot to mention, the stats for Corvin seemed to be missing.
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Postby Ninasie » Mon Jul 21, 2008 12:25 pm

I'm not suggesting that the combat mechanic is broken. What the combat mechanic does very well is differentiate between people who have little or no experience and well trained and experienced fighting people.

Players should be aware that if they have a non-combat character they should do their utmost to avoid combat. It works the same with intrigue, if you are not built to haggle and persuade then avoid it as best you can.

Games masters will have to take this in mind too, as someone that could give a knight a run for their money in a melee would defeat any lessor combatant without batting an eyelid.
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Postby Rhybard » Mon Jul 21, 2008 12:57 pm

MaesterM wrote:Oh, and I forgot to mention, the stats for Corvin seemed to be missing.

Unofficial stats for Corvin have been done up, and may be found under the Quick Start Rules Errata thread.
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Postby Zapp » Mon Jul 21, 2008 11:07 pm

Ninasie wrote:I'm not suggesting that the combat mechanic is broken.

And I did not suggest you were. :)

What I discussed was instead the fact that some players (not directed at you personally) might go ahead assigning Rank 2 to their NPC brigands and sellswords now that the QS has done so, thinking an "average" rating is appropriate for such characters. And furthermore, they might feel the combat system is broken when such characters face a very high difficulty if they are pitched against a fully armored opponent.

When the real problem instead lies in the fact an average soldier should not have "average" stats in fighting attributes. Just as anyone calling himself a "ranger" (or "poacher") should have a higher rank than 2 in woodland attributes. And anyone making his living selling and buying goods needing a higher rank than 2 in tradeslore.

This is the reason I feel Rank 2 has been given a somewhat unfortunate name, and that perhaps "untrained" would be a more appropriate label for it. This way, it would be easier for SIFRP GMs to avoid assigning that rank to the key attributes for any given character. :)
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