Big selection of adventures key to success

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!

Big selection of adventures key to success

Postby Zapp » Wed Mar 11, 2009 2:20 am

As life goes on, I find I have less and less time to create adventures from scratch. That goes doubly for a game like SIFRP where the entire point is to emulate rich story-lines. Put bluntly, this is a game where random dungeon hacks don't cut it.

My question now that the game's been released, is this:
Do Green Ronin have extensive plans for immediate SIFRP support in the scenario department?



Far too many potentially interesting game lines have floundered because (at least to me) there haven't been made available enough good adventures, and not quickly enough.

A few examples from the top of my head to make this at least slightly constructive..:

Specific games such as Midnight and Thieves World as well as more generic ones like HARP and True20. Very few readily available ready-to-use adventures translates into no success.

Contrast this not only with D&D (especially the 3PP support at the start of 3E) but also specifically with GR's Freeport line. This is the level of campaign support a game needs - Freeport could survive on its own, if it were a completely stand-alone game with a unique game system (at least from an adventure support stand-point). Another game is Warhammer (WFRP), which was saved in part by the scores of free adventures Black Industries made available on its site.

Sorry to say it, but I'm worried GR will create one or three adventures for SIFRP and then be content pushing out background material and player's guides only. This won't be enough for the game to gain a life of its own.

(I really want to hope GR has a secret plan to quickly generate a solid base of adventures for customers to choose from, but I'm not sure I dare to... Of course, this game screams for epic campaigns such as Masks of Nyarlathotep or Enemy Within - or indeed the one GRRM himself is still writing, but what I'm asking for is marginally less ambitious... :) )

Again: writing adventures for SIFRP means reaching a certain level and so won't be a walk in the park, so this game in particular will need professional designers to help kick-start it!
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Re: Big selection of adventures key to success

Postby warden » Wed Mar 11, 2009 8:19 am

Zapp wrote:As life goes on, I find I have less and less time to create adventures from scratch. That goes doubly for a game like SIFRP where the entire point is to emulate rich story-lines. Put bluntly, this is a game where random dungeon hacks don't cut it.

My question now that the game's been released, is this:
Do Green Ronin have extensive plans for immediate SIFRP support in the scenario department?



Far too many potentially interesting game lines have floundered because (at least to me) there haven't been made available enough good adventures, and not quickly enough.

A few examples from the top of my head to make this at least slightly constructive..:

Specific games such as Midnight and Thieves World as well as more generic ones like HARP and True20. Very few readily available ready-to-use adventures translates into no success.

Contrast this not only with D&D (especially the 3PP support at the start of 3E) but also specifically with GR's Freeport line. This is the level of campaign support a game needs - Freeport could survive on its own, if it were a completely stand-alone game with a unique game system (at least from an adventure support stand-point). Another game is Warhammer (WFRP), which was saved in part by the scores of free adventures Black Industries made available on its site.

Sorry to say it, but I'm worried GR will create one or three adventures for SIFRP and then be content pushing out background material and player's guides only. This won't be enough for the game to gain a life of its own.

(I really want to hope GR has a secret plan to quickly generate a solid base of adventures for customers to choose from, but I'm not sure I dare to... Of course, this game screams for epic campaigns such as Masks of Nyarlathotep or Enemy Within - or indeed the one GRRM himself is still writing, but what I'm asking for is marginally less ambitious... :) )

Again: writing adventures for SIFRP means reaching a certain level and so won't be a walk in the park, so this game in particular will need professional designers to help kick-start it!


The problem is adventures really aren't profitable, which is why you only really see them for DnD. Only 1 in 4-6 people buy them (i.e. the Game Master), and then only if he finds the subject matter interesting. What I would like to see is some free adventure support in the form of free downloads that GM could use. Perhaps a larger campaign ssistants guide that has story hooks and 3 or 4 fully fleshed out adventures would also be possible.
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Postby hedgewizard » Wed Mar 11, 2009 8:23 am

I can see the point you're aiming at; and while I am not sure it is totally correct, as someone with very little free time myself, I would also love to have a bevy of plots/stories/campaigns at my disposal.

I imagine, though, that it is very hard to write anything very epic unless it is well outside of the timeline already established by GRRM. There is is an obvious issue of conflicting with canon, which I suspect would mean GRRM would have to be significantly involved in proofing something, and we all know how long that process can take...

Most GM's wouldn't mind running a splintered version of the world (i.e. one where dramatic changes to the houses occurred) but from a license perspective it might be difficult to craft something that is too epic.

Would you be interested in something akin to Plundered Vaults or similar? i.e. a series of one-off adventures that GMs could work to link?
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Re: Big selection of adventures key to success

Postby Zapp » Wed Mar 11, 2009 4:09 pm

warden wrote:The problem is adventures really aren't profitable

I am acutely aware of this.

However, adventures is also the driver for all rpg sales.

After all, most play groups don't have GMs who have the time and energy to make everything up.

So, yes, you're right. However: honestly, profit isn't what I wanted to discuss here.

Instead, my point is that SIFRP comes with certain levels of expectation.

It is definitely not the kind of game where it will be enough to create one or two "example" adventures and perhaps a longer series of scenarios.

There really isn't any point in converting generic fantasy adventures from other games, and the theme and tone of the game pretty much discourages simple "kick in the door" adventures.

The game desperately needs a good selection of adventures created specifically with GRRM's world in mind, and this thread is just me making sure Green R knows about it... :yar:
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Postby Arcmagik » Fri Mar 13, 2009 1:01 pm

While adventures may not be profitable of themselves. The point was that they help keep the game system alive because if the GM has adventures to purchase then they can run a game which makes their players want to purchase the books for the long-haul instead of a massive book share at the table with one book. It seems alot less GMs have the ability to make their own adventures nowadays as seen by the success of the Dungeon Magazine, the Pathfinder Adventure Paths, and such products.

I do feel that this game will benefit greatly from adventures and I don't know if I will start a campaign until Peril at King's Landing comes out because I don't have the time to create complete adventures for my players. If I didn't have an adventure to act as a template it would mustly become a mesh of randomly thought up components...
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Postby jhilahd » Fri Mar 13, 2009 6:41 pm

I think that White Wolf's supplemental line SAS works this sort well.

It adds ideas, adventures, plots, and NPC without the need of print.
PDFs are the way to go for this to be profitable.

They could be small(a dozen pages at most) and priced so that picking it up would feel like a great buy for the consumer.

But I agree we need some kind of lead for adventures for groups. If nothing else, examples of play.

The Campaign guide might flesh this out, I can only hope. I can start and often carry on a long term game with a mix of politics and intrigue. But not everyone can. And those people need to be shown how to do it. How to run a game that doesn't have 1 or 2 political/intrigue/romance encounters and the rest are sieges and tourney's.

Even if it were to be a weekly post from the writers, or better yet, those of us who play the game.

I'm starting to ramble....
Sorry, just my two cents.
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Postby Zapp » Sun Mar 15, 2009 2:56 pm

In addition to one or two stand-alone campaign-sized supplements, a campaign arc (like the Adventure Paths) would work wonders.

SIFRP really is a game that begs for big story arcs and inter-connected adventures! :)

Let's hope it doesn't take GR two years to arrive at such a situation - at that time the game might well have sinked back into half-obscurity like so many other half-abandoned a-supplement-a-year game lines sleeping their beauty sleep until their publisher is forced to turn off life-support.
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Postby warden » Sun Mar 15, 2009 4:02 pm

Zapp wrote:
Let's hope it doesn't take GR two years to arrive at such a situation - at that time the game might well have sinked back into half-obscurity like so many other half-abandoned a-supplement-a-year game lines sleeping their beauty sleep until their publisher is forced to turn off life-support.


I'd love to see an aggressive release schedule for the the game, ala Mutants and Masterminds, but the other thing to consider is approval times from GRR Martin, which may also delay things. I also would not mind other settings/corebooks using the rules, I find them elegant...
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Postby Davechan » Tue Mar 17, 2009 4:45 pm

Campaign-wise, I think that a model akin to the AEG L5R/7th Sea Box Sets could work very well for SIFRP. (RPGnet reviews for City of Lies here and here for those unfamiliar with them). Basically, these contained a lot of detailed information on a given city (Ryoko Owari and the Imperial City in the 2 L5R ones, Freiburg in the 7th Sea one), including locations, NPCs, culture and all that jazz. In addition, there was a relatively detailed story arc, containing some pre-generated adventure elements, and a whole raft of plot hooks and story seeds provided for the GM to use, which tied in with the public information the Players were provided with in their own book. I think that this style of campaign - even though the "Big Box" seems to have largely gone out of vogue these days - would suit SIFRP well.
I'm not sure that the "Adventure Path" model would work so well with SIFRP, as I think one of the major strengths in both the game and the setting is that the Players can approach problems in so many diverse ways, and have a meaningful impact on the world around them. If an adventure path is designed to play "straight out of the box", it has to make certain assumptions about who is alive and dead, what issues have been solved, and how they have been dealt with. I think that a SIFRP adventure would by its nature have to be fairly open-ended and adaptable, or else constrain the players in a fashion that might be unsatisfactory.
A compromise might be an adventure path style campaign where certain decisions about the PCs are made for them. For instance, based around a predetermined House with set loyalties, goals, and probably power structure. This would probably relegate the PCs to being "subservient" members of the House, but in doing so allow them to be guided in a more in-character and less overt-GM-fiat fashion.
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Postby Ser Barristan » Wed Mar 18, 2009 7:26 am

I think a book similiar to the Dungeon Delve (4e) would work good here if tweaked just the right way. 20-30 short missions/advntures would be ideal to help fill in with a campaign arc. All that would need to be included with the mini hook is how to tie it into each of the geographical areas as broken down in the rulebook.

I.E. a warship has been raiding the local area - causing destruction and looting. You have to put an end to this menace before your citizens take out their frustrations on their Lord (you) who has failed to protect them. Provide us with a basic concept of the group doing the raiding and then breakdown different options based off where our group is located.

Greyjoy - a rival has started raids on your people, you must respond!
Tyrell - Greyjoy ships after years of peace have begun to prey upon your tradeships. Time to act is now or your prestige will suffer in King's Landing.
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Postby Zapp » Thu Mar 19, 2009 10:18 am

Ser Barristan wrote:I think a book similiar to the Dungeon Delve (4e) would work good here if tweaked just the right way. 20-30 short missions/advntures would be ideal to help fill in with a campaign arc.

Well, I understand the value of short unconnected scenarios.

In SIFRP's case, however, a three-room miniscule scenario is, in my opinion, far too little to conjure up any kind of story-line. Which is precisely what SIFRP needs.

After all, I'm not playing SIFRP for random hack'n'slash. (That stuff D&D does better!) I'm playing SIFRP because it has a fully realized world and where choices have consequences. Much like WFRP, in fact.

So a better model (than Dungeon Delve) would be Plundered Vaults, a WFRP supplement which contains six fully realized scenarios.

In other words the page count would be split not by thirty, but six.
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Postby Allavandrel » Thu Mar 19, 2009 1:04 pm

Zapp wrote:So a better model (than Dungeon Delve) would be Plundered Vaults, a WFRP supplement which contains six fully realized scenarios.


Then, I suggest a model similar to the original WFRP version 'The Restless Dead', where the scenarios could be played separately or as part of a mini-campaign.
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Postby hedgewizard » Thu Mar 19, 2009 1:25 pm

I also think the Plundered Vaults style is the way to go; and it's probably much easier to produce as well. Let the Narrator decide how to work them together if they feel the need, or offer some suggestions in the product, but distinct one-off scenarios with some good meat to each would be preferred.
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Postby Davechan » Thu Mar 19, 2009 3:23 pm

I think there's a fair bit of merit to the "Dungeon Delve" model. The problem with story-intensive prewritten adventures is the number of assumptions you have to make about the players. What if the adventure is about a major Lannister plot, and the players are all loyal upstanding vassals of House Lannister? And at the point you're making all the stories generic, so that any party can happily plug and play, you're losing a lot of the setting details. A book that provided stats and setups for different combat encounters (Sieges, massed Major House battle, skirmishes in the forest with bandits, bar-room brawls) could be really useful as a grab-bag for Narrators, if they need to come up with something on the fly, or just if the stats and stuff are the bits that bog down adventure design for them. You could even put in bare-bones intrigue plots, I guess "Person A wants to get their son married to B, but C wants to break it up, and person D is actually his brother in disguise", where you could slot in appripriate characters to your game.
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Postby Slynt » Fri Mar 20, 2009 5:54 am

My suggestion would be that we, the players of the game, write down our adventures/notes/ideas, collect them in a thread, and make PDFs out of them for others to use.

I don't really see the need for a lot of adventure modules, it's better to put the players in the setting and let them choose their own course, provided they are familiar with Westeros.

But I wouldn't mind writing up a (campaign) adventure for "A Song of Ice and Fire" and make a PDF for it if anyone's interested.

But first I need to become more familiar with the rules (and the five pages of errata already :green:
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Postby Amani » Wed Mar 25, 2009 6:58 am

Slynt wrote:But I wouldn't mind writing up a (campaign) adventure for "A Song of Ice and Fire" and make a PDF for it if anyone's interested.


I'm interested. I write most of my own material, but I'm always looking for new ideas to keep things fresh or just to take some of the load off.
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Postby Amani » Wed Mar 25, 2009 7:02 am

Alternatively or in addition to, we can start a new thread specifically geared toward giving story/campaign ideas.
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Postby NeoSamurai » Wed Mar 25, 2009 9:51 am

I agree that adventure campaigns/books are not the way to go. However, I do see the benefit of having a book that's a collection of vignettes and encounters of an intrigue bent that could be used for GMs that aren't intrigue proficient to construct their own schemes for their villains. If not a collection of vignettes/encounters, maybe something designed that could make machinations easier to implement for the GM suitable for Westeros.

just a thought.
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Postby Allavandrel » Wed Mar 25, 2009 10:11 am

The innovative idea of each PCs controlling a House sounds very exciting!!! :D

However, I need some help in the form of a scenario/campaign where this concept is used.
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Postby kckolbe » Wed Mar 25, 2009 10:35 am

I would strongly recommend staying away from such a style unless extremely comfortable with rules, the setting, and generating plots. Basically it's like GMing multiple games at once, and is a lot to bite off.
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Postby Irontruth » Wed Mar 25, 2009 9:54 pm

I think you might be surprised how easy it is to fabricate some stories using what is already existing. If you are using a timeline near the current one of the books, you have a myriad of characters and relationships to draw upon.

I'm putting in a tourney in my story, in the year 288, held by Mace Tyrell at Highgarden. I'm combining a couple tourneys that were different to accomodate my story, but it took me about 2 hours of prep work to pick out 10 characters, know intimately who they were and give them reasons for being at the tourney.

My PC's have their own goals and ambitions and will get to choose who they want to butt heads with to reach them.
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Postby Zapp » Fri Mar 27, 2009 8:48 am

I should probably add that for you who create your own adventures, this drive of mine to have GR sell campaigns and fill the "space" with SIFRP-related off-the-shelf gaming, in no way should be taken as a threat to your own creative juices.

That is, there should be no reason for you to oppose ready-made adventures. :)
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Postby Irontruth » Sat Mar 28, 2009 7:03 pm

I'm not opposed to them, I just know that every indicator from every publisher seems to indicate that published adventures have a lower rate of return in general compared to rules and campaign supplements.

I think GR does really awesome work in the adventure department, Freeport being a shining example. Part of the appeal of Freeport though is the portability of it in general. A SIFRP adventure is going to deal with a smaller audience (it is true, not every RPer has read these books, and not everyone who reads the books RP).

I guess what I was trying to say was there is a plethora of information already available. There are probably over 100 available NPC's, with at least some available information (sometimes only a sentence or two), but if you're read the books, you'll have some knowledge of the vast web of relationships between them. Half the battle in my experience is having fleshed out NPC's who have goals and desires, GRRM has done this leg work for you. The more your players are willing to accept alternate outcomes, the easier this becomes.
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Postby Arcmagik » Sat Mar 28, 2009 7:40 pm

We weren't talking about them making a bundle of money for the adventures. We were talking about the fact that adventures are the wheels in which a system line drives on.

Not everyone has the time to put into creating a full-fledged adventure actually from as popular as the Paizo's AP and Pathfinder is it would suggest that quite a few don't have the time. It maybe alittle easier to create an adventure off the cuff with some adventure hooks but this is really the same thing. Thus the point is that adventures give the GMs with no time the ability to run a complete game as well as provide a template for GMs with alittle more time that will take the adventure and make it their own or create completely new ones from the template. This is important because the more GMs the system has appeal too and is usable by them then more groups will play the system and therefore the system makes more money.

I am one of those examples... I would love to run a SIF game and even bought the pdf but I don't have the time to do adventure after adventure to run a campaign and therefore I won't be running one which means I won't introduce my group to the system and world which means there will be no reason for them to go out and purchase the RPG so that is a lost of five potential buyers just because one person that would run a game if he had a campaign path.
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Postby Siroh » Sat Mar 28, 2009 9:44 pm

Actually, in my opinion, supplements are the backbone of any game system. Adventures are good for those who like them, and I've bought my fair share for someone who rarely if ever uses them, but I don't find them drool worthy. The thing that intrigues me about Paizo's Pathfinder setting is the setting itself, and the art direction and concept art for the setting. When I work off the cuff as you put it, I always have a better flow, even if I have to stop and jot down notes. Me working from a 'fully realized adventure' I didn't write or put in just as much effort as one I did write is a bit f a train wreck. When I'm in busy GM mode my style suffers horrendously.

Also, I think the idea of the board members writing their own adventures up and submitting them is great. How realized is 'fully realized' to you? I prefer to have broad swaths of hooks and encounters ideas to use than descriptive text for every room, because my players tend to skip around or do what they want, ignoring half or more of the "planned path" It happened 2 weeks ago. The players went through encounters #1 and #2, and skipped right to the end of the adventure based on their actions, ignoring a substantial portion based on their choices.

What I'd want is a campaign book that lists the major and minor players, what their goals are, their plans to achieve those goals, their statistics, and then encounter hooks with a general outline of timing. Anything too linear wouldn't have the multi-layered flavor that makes Westeros such a great novel series, but I'll admit excellent writers can make a multi-layered plot work in a really linear format. Something like this but slightly more rigid than my description is the Plot Point campaign that Pinnacle uses for all their major Savage Worlds settings.
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