Limits on Destiny Point use?

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Limits on Destiny Point use?

Postby HelgiBergmann » Thu Jul 19, 2012 9:59 am

Could you burn a Destiny Point to get out of a situation that's really hopeless? The rules say you can use it to 'avoid certain death', and 'escape a nasty predicament' but I'm wondering if there is a limit on what you can do.

In the game I run, a player had surrounded another player with 10 of his personal guard. The surrounded PC had 2 DPs, but I ruled that there was nothing he could do with 10 swords raised against him. I'm beginning to doubt my decision, and wondering whether players should be able to get out of *any* situation, if they burn a Destiny Point.

Last night, a PC was meeting with the King of Westeros in our game, and was trying to double-cross him (not extremely wise, I know) and the King used 'Read Target' on him, during their intrigue, and sensed that the PC used deception in the last exchange, so the King thought he was being betrayed and ordered the PC executed. There the session ended. I'm wondering whether the PC should be able to get out of it. They are in the Red Keep, there are very many guards, the Kingsguard is there, in the City are many Gold Cloaks, etc. It would be very difficult to escape.

So what I'm wondering is, should the player be able to "avoid certain death" as per the rules, and you should just create a series of events whereby he can survive?

I'm a fan of verisimilitude and realism, and I of course realize that I can rule this as I see fit. I am however extremely uncertain, and I am starting to believe that it should perhaps be ruled like this: "Burning a Destiny Point allows the Player to 'edit the story' in such a way as to help his character greatly in a time of need, such as escaping death, or an extremely difficult situation. Burning the Destiny Point (always) works to save the character from his troubles, unless another Player or a Major NPC burns a Destiny Point to counter-act it".

Examples of situations in the books that seem like they could be interpreted as being inspiration for the 'Burning a Destiny Point' rule are:

- Tyrions escape from his trial at the Eyrie
- Tyrion's survival of the battle of the Blackwater
- Arya's various escapes, for instance from King's Landing after Ned's death
- Ned Stark discovering the secret of the Lannister's incest (a major clue)
- A certain vegetable themed knight's survival of a certain battle
- Daenerys getting out the House of the Undying
- etc

This means that the Players have more power, which is probably a good thing, however it does limit the potential for drama a bit if players know they can always save themselves (unless they run out of DPs).

Your opinions, kind sers (and ladies)? :D
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Re: Limits on Destiny Point use?

Postby Legate » Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:58 am

Well, in the case of the guy surrounded by the 10 sworn swords, he could have burned a DP to dictate the terms of his deafeat (ie be left for dead, and crawl off once the sword slingers left.)

The guy charged with treason...either he or another group member could plead his innocence to the King and burn a DP to succeed at the task. There is another option the player could take the black, and it would solve the question of DP use. :wink:
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Re: Limits on Destiny Point use?

Postby superbat_99 » Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:15 pm

For either case the burning of a destiny point would allow for the character to choose the type of defeat. In the first case he could demand single combat, be taken into custody, or have all his money and armor and possessions taken.

In the second case he could once again demand a trial, be banished from the country, or put in prison and have the destiny point allow a situation of escape or for a great lord the king needs to intercede.
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Re: Limits on Destiny Point use?

Postby DaimosofRedstone » Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:26 pm

I am a fan of the players evoking the interest of the wrong people.
Maybe somebody needs a new patsy for an intrigue. Maybe somebody wants him to run because it helps their chances. Maybe one or more of the sworn swords working for someelse on the side (nothings ever certain in Westeros after all).

Note:
The DP means the player gets out. It does not mean it will be pretty.
It is kinda like a wish from a genie.
Last edited by DaimosofRedstone on Thu Jul 19, 2012 2:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Limits on Destiny Point use?

Postby Legate » Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:37 pm

To put in a little cinematic tension he could demand trial by combat if he is 1) of Noble birth and 2) reasonsonably good with a blade. You could call it either way, myself as a Noble it is his right (and the trial it self would not require a DP). Depending on how it ends he could burn one to dictate how he is defeated.

I also like the idea of the other players using intrigue to set up a fall-guy very GoTs.
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Re: Limits on Destiny Point use?

Postby SerJerk » Thu Jul 19, 2012 3:53 pm

As other have said, the first case would just let him dictate the method of his defeat. In the second, it could be used to allow him to escape with his life, but perhaps not pleasantly. Maybe the DP burn gives him an opportunity to escape his cell, but then he has to flee the Red Keep and risks being apprehended again. I think the DP could be justified to get him out of an immediate situation, like escaping a locked room, but not for something as big as escaping the Red Keep itself.
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Re: Limits on Destiny Point use?

Postby DaimosofRedstone » Thu Jul 19, 2012 3:55 pm

Or it could... and provice a 'story opportunity' on the way (my players have learned to fear that phrase). :D
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Re: Limits on Destiny Point use?

Postby Legate » Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:00 pm

Burn a DP, get out of the locked cell. Getting out of the Red Keep should be RP'd out. However, what do you once you are free? I hear Bravos is nice this time of year.
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Re: Limits on Destiny Point use?

Postby HelgiBergmann » Thu Jul 19, 2012 5:49 pm

What does "Avoid certain death" mean to you? Could Ned Stark have escaped Ilyn Payne's sword by doing that? An execution is "certain death" and I'm wondering what the words "avoid certain death" mean here, and what it allows you to do. By a direct reading, it seems that if you are certainly going to die, you won't if you burn a DP. What it doesn't say is how. Again, reading the rules-as-written, as intended it seems that there is no inherent limit on what can happen to save you. Should you see it as "When you would certainly die, burn a Destiny Point to create a situation whereby you do not die, but are presumed dead"?
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Re: Limits on Destiny Point use?

Postby Legate » Thu Jul 19, 2012 6:34 pm

An execution is not, necessarily, "certain death" if a reasonable case could be argued to the king, and he is a reasonable person (not like Joff) then the execution could be rescinded in favour of another option(ie take the black, exile, etc.) Either of these could be examples of burning a DP.
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Re: Limits on Destiny Point use?

Postby SerJerk » Thu Jul 19, 2012 6:41 pm

Exactly - the "how" is fuzzy. In game-terms, Eddard was apparently fresh out of DP. If he's had a DP, he could've burned it and maybe Joffrey would've gone along with the plan to send him to the Wall.

I take it to mean whatever would've otherwise caused your death (execution, killing blow, lightning strike, etc) instead leaves you alive. The conditions of your survival depends on the situation. Maybe you're just unconscious, maybe you're thrown into a dungeon/sent to the Wall, maybe you're simply able to slip away from the danger before you die but still have to evade pursuers to make a getaway.
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Re: Limits on Destiny Point use?

Postby Legate » Thu Jul 19, 2012 9:34 pm

Going on what is presented in the Campaign Guide Eddard Stark is listed with 1 DP; which i am guessing was burned up at the end of the his little altercation with The Kingslayer and his men. That is why he wasn't able to use one to save his life. At least if the happenings of the novel had occured in an RP setting. :)

The concept of the DP is to give you the option to get get out of trouble, you as a player and the GM have to come up with the how. One of the things I like about the system.
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Re: Limits on Destiny Point use?

Postby BeardedDork » Thu Jul 19, 2012 9:36 pm

Ned had just burned his last DP fighting the Kingslayer, he is middle aged and didn't have too many left anyway.
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Re: Limits on Destiny Point use?

Postby coldwind » Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:53 am

If you want to think of it mechanically, it could also be seen as - Ned arrested for treason, likely to be executed. Burns destiny to avoid certain death (deal with Varys and Cersei to take the black), but then Joffrey burns one to cancel Ned's.
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Re: Limits on Destiny Point use?

Postby Willem Manderly » Fri Jul 20, 2012 8:04 pm

@ coldwind, totally agree. When you have 2 PC's or even a primary NC involved, you can have a war of DP's and not everyone gets a ribbon. You win or you die, right? Possible that someone as skilled as Syrio could lure the attackers to eliminate some of themselves, but it would be a statistical miracle to survive more than a few rounds. Gotta get creative using the DP - an ally with a rope, a falling chandelier, a hole in the floor, intrigue the other PC into giving it a night to think it over (then escape.) I think that between 2 PC's the captive is running out of DP's faster than the captor and so trial by combat is going to have decreasing odds.

Against the King I would definitely burn a DP and try to take the black, or burn a DP to have some ally help me into the Black Cells. There are many ways to die and many ways to escape the Black Cells. Very interesting story possibilities.

With Ned, even if he still had a DP, if you were playing him true to his character you would choose not to burn a DP once Joff showed his true colors and reneged on the deal. Ned would rather die with honor - his house will continue. This is best with a Noble Houses style campaign. As GM I would gift any DP the martyr had to his heir. If you notice Robb also chose death when faced with such a conglomeration of betrayals, pride, and deceit. Sometimes you can win the role-playing, but you necessarily will lose the character.
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Re: Limits on Destiny Point use?

Postby Mrjamespj » Wed Jul 25, 2012 7:06 am

I would like to add in the Theon situation, maybe he used a DP to avoid certain death in Winterfell, but the section on burning a destiny point says the character is removed from play until such a time as the narrator puts them back in, so whilst he lived, he was still taken away and tortured and came back as Reek, so he didn't die and therefore the destiny point technically worked, but he was still pretty screwed up from it all.
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Re: Limits on Destiny Point use?

Postby DaimosofRedstone » Wed Jul 25, 2012 7:53 am

Though i would count that as a pretty messed up maneuver if any GM pulled that.
Breaking a character so bad it is not the character anymore and then claiming that he *technically* is still in the game is a bit of a douchy move.
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Re: Limits on Destiny Point use?

Postby Mrjamespj » Wed Jul 25, 2012 9:11 am

Yeah I totally agree, I was just thinking it might be one of those times where "how far does a destiny point go?" It's gonna save you, but it's not gonna "save you" if the situation is really really bad.
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Re: Limits on Destiny Point use?

Postby DaimosofRedstone » Wed Jul 25, 2012 10:38 am

-When defeated, decide the consequences of your own defeat.
-Add a significant detail to a scene, such as gaining a major clue,
finding a way out of a nasty predicament, or some other significant
and useful element that moves the story along in your favor.
-Avoid certain death. When you use this option, your character is
presumed dead and is removed from the story until such time as
the Narrator deems it appropriate for the character’s return.

Rules as written, there would be no situation such as Theons.
Unless i deliberatly want to turn my character from Theon into Reek.
But the GM cannot do (unless i am colossaly stupid and he has it in for me).
As for 'how far does a DP go?'
All the way.
When i am defeated I decide the consequences of my defeat. That means that is not even certain death.
Certain death presumable would be me falling, in front of witnesses, from a 2 miles (yes, i said miles) high cliff and them hearing the splash at the bottom (or maybe somebody even see somebody hitting the ground).
In other words, all PCs in Game of Thrones have at the very least Super Villain Death Immunity (they die but get better so to speak) and even partial Plot immunity.
Destiny points grant a player the option to co-gamemaster.
And that is quite something, so from the rules as written there are no limits to what a DP can do apart from the boundaries of your conscience and attention to the story.
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Re: Limits on Destiny Point use?

Postby Mrjamespj » Wed Jul 25, 2012 11:47 am

Fair enough, you make a good point there Daimos! :)
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Re: Limits on Destiny Point use?

Postby Masked Brute » Tue Aug 14, 2012 9:38 am

So, a situation.

A noble is stabbed in the back by a knight, with a strike that sends something like 20 damage his way. He could take a Wound and yield, but it's made clear that this is an assassination and they will kill him if given the chance.

So instead of being defeated and burning a DP to decide the terms of his defeat, he asks if he can burn a DP to "Avoid certain death." The GM and other players hadn't noticed that use before, but after an initial reading he's allowed to do that, the scene ended on a frame of his body draped over the table as the backstabby knight's lord finished his meal.

Later in the same session the noble was reintroduced as barely clinging to life, and eventually he was given a Flaw that would hurt his attempts to ride as well as a Nemesis in the form of the lord that had tried to have him killed (although this was also tied to the violent actions of the character's bastard brother when he found out what happened).

My question is... what would you have done there? Would folks have denied him that particular use of the DP, had his body disappear entirely for a while before he came back, injured him more, or less?

Just curious, as it really does seem the use that's most open to interpretation (outside of, maybe, the "major clue" one).
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Re: Limits on Destiny Point use?

Postby Zorbeltuss » Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:43 am

Burning a DP is so significant that you shouldn't be getting flaws and drawbacks to be allowed to stay alive.
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Re: Limits on Destiny Point use?

Postby Mrjamespj » Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:45 am

I wouldn't have him left on the table or anything, I'd have said the lord who ordered it has him dragged to the edge of town and left out for the crows to feed on or something, and instead he crawls away incredibly wounded, but alive, or something to that effect.
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Re: Limits on Destiny Point use?

Postby DaimosofRedstone » Tue Aug 14, 2012 2:36 pm

I agree.
As is you go scotfree for the bruning of a DP (as you should, as it is HUGE).
So in this example he would have been attacked, left for dead and TA-DA up he pops again as good as new (unless THE PLAYER decides otherwise).
The variety with all the crippling would have been MY pick as a GM to keep the character in play (crippling is often much rewarding and conductive to the game than simply killing the fuckers off).
And if you are a GM you can ALWAYS kill off the PCs so you should not make a habit out of it anyhow.
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Re: Limits on Destiny Point use?

Postby Cap_T » Wed Aug 15, 2012 1:03 am

Pretty much how I would have ruled. Burning a DP to avoid certain death does only that. It stops a character from shuffling off to that great character sheet holder in the sky. That in itself is huge so I would limit that effect to that and nothing else.

There could and probably should be consequence for getting so close to your death and then surviving. Applying drawbacks is reasonable in my book. If a PC wants to avoid those it’s going to cost some more DPs.

How the character survived does need a bit of explanation. I would probably let the body disappears for a while as well (Mrjamespj’s -dragged out to have the crows to feed on him, or rescued by a servant that may have anterior motives is some suggestions). It’s up to the Narrator to reintroduce the character when he deems it is appropriate.

Great image. A body draped over the table, his life ebbing away while the man that orchestrated the would be murder calmly finishes his meal... Cue some dramatic music and fade to black.
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