New to Ice and Fire

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!

New to Ice and Fire

Postby Ferretz » Sat Mar 28, 2009 12:37 am

Hi,

Just picked up the pdf of Song of Ice and Fire from Drivethroughrpg. I haven't' read the novels or anything, so I have a couple of questions.

First, is it necessary to have read the novels at all? Is it strongly recommended for playing this game?

Second, one of the games I played years back was the AD&D game Birthright. I get the feeling that this is something along the same lines. Would that be correct? Are there much of Birthright in this setting?

And I noticed a small detail. In the rules for various weapons, few rpgs seems to get spears right. Most spears can be used in one hand, and are most often combined with a shield. The ancient Greek did it. The Romans did it. Just about everyone in the Middle Ages did it. But in many rpgs, spears are two-handed weapons, and there seems to be no special training or ability to be able to use it in one hand. Wonder why this is..

Well, I'm beginning to like this game, from what I've seen so far. :)

Eirik
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Postby Hunter » Sat Mar 28, 2009 12:51 am

So: Welcome in the world of Westeros :D

No it's not necessary to have read the novels. At least not for understanding the rules. Of course there is not a lot of background in the rulebook, so it's on you to invent most of the background for your adventures. At least till the campaign setting is published.

And yes, aSoInF has at least the same idea as birthight. But the systems are very different to one another.
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Postby Ferretz » Sat Mar 28, 2009 1:04 am

Interesting, I really liked Birthright, although being a Tolkien fan, I the more traditional elements like elves and dwarves. People say it's been "done to death" but I feel that the mood of Tolkien is very seldom seen in an rpg these days. Song of Ice and Fire, despite having no elves and dwarves, comes pretty close to the style of Tolkien in other regards, I think. Well, that's based on my first impressions, of course. :)

E.
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Postby Kilted Raven » Sat Mar 28, 2009 1:41 am

The Americans have referred to GRRM many times as 'the new Tolkien', but I think we can forgive them for that :)

The setting does share some similarities with Tolkien, in that he's taken a broadly ancient British setting, twisted it and advanced it. But in his case he's gone more towards the Arthurian route while also drawing heavily from stuff like the War of the Roses. You'll see a lot of nods to British history in the background (The First Men, the Andal Invasion, the Dornishmen, the Rhoyne), but he's essentially recreated Arthurian Britain, while stripping out the Mallory-inspired elements that crept into the tales throughout the last few centuries.

It's brutal, violent, political and very well detailed. The books are quite hefty, but like Tolkien you find yourself taking away an exceptionally detailed world with a very strong backstory. The biggest Tolkien similarity is that he puts so much history into his world that the main story feels like it's just been dropped into a larger ongoing world, rather than having a fairly thin history tacked on after the main narrative was written.

You will certainly see similarities to Birthright and also to Pendragon, but you can run a game very happily with no more knowledge of GRRMs background than 'nearly-Britain', or you could simply drop late Medieval Britain on top of the system and go with that.
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Postby LordofSaxony » Sat Mar 28, 2009 10:33 am

As mentioned, it has a vibe of War of the Roses with a touch of Arthurian, sort of. It has magic, but not a whole lot. Magic is more of a narrative tool, at least during the earlier portion of the story. Magic IS there, but it's dark, secretive, and not a common thing in the lands (at least in the 7 Kingdoms).

I would say that you wouldn't have to read the books at all to run this game successfully. You could probably get away with just reading the information in the book, and perhaps even reading some of the information found on the net (westeros.org, wiki, etc) to get a better understanding. Although, I would recommend reading the books just because they are good.

If I had to pick keywords that represent the game.. they would be.. Family, War, Intrigue, Sex, Incest, Backstabbing, Alliances, Friends, Secrets, Swords, Low-Magic, Morales, and Faults. I could probably go on, but that's enough I think. The story isn't about "Good vs Evil" like in a lot of other books, where there is always a "good knight" vs some sort of "evil wizard" type of thing. Instead, a lot of the characters have the good and the bad in each of them. The world for the most part is grey. Even the most vile of people in the books could have some good qualities, so it's always sort of a double-edged sword. You get to see the viewpoints from a lot of different perspectives. I'll say this very vague to not ruin anything, but you start the series from a perspective of a single family, then soon after you'll come from another perspective (family/person). At first you'll say that "Ohh wow, those people are evil!" yet when you flip to their side, they usually have reasons as to what they are doing. In the end I think it makes the reader feel sort of sympathetic to all sides in one shape or form.

Anyhow.. I'm sort of ranting lol.
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Re: New to Ice and Fire

Postby warden » Sat Mar 28, 2009 3:46 pm

Ferretz wrote:Hi,

Just picked up the pdf of Song of Ice and Fire from Drivethroughrpg. I haven't' read the novels or anything, so I have a couple of questions.


Welcome!

Ferretz wrote:First, is it necessary to have read the novels at all? Is it strongly recommended for playing this game?


No, you don't but I strongly recommend it because they are very very good. Do yourself a favor though, avoid reading the character descriptions in Chapter 11 because there are quite a few spoilers.

Ferretz wrote:Second, one of the games I played years back was the AD&D game Birthright. I get the feeling that this is something along the same lines. Would that be correct? Are there much of Birthright in this setting?


Yes, you can decide to run a noble house, build your resources, and wage war, but you can do a lot more as well. IT really depends on how you want to focus your game.
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Postby Slynt » Sun Mar 29, 2009 10:59 am

I'll go against the grain and say YES; read George RR Martin's series. My guess is it will blow you away. But lay off chapter 11 of the RPG PDF until you have read the series ;)
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Postby Ferretz » Sun Mar 29, 2009 11:09 am

I skimmed the pdf a bit, and it's too late, I read some of the spoilers. But that's ok. I think I'll pick up the first book one of these days. Sounds interesting :)

E.
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