Homebrew Quality: Identical Twins. Looking for Feedback

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Homebrew Quality: Identical Twins. Looking for Feedback

Postby Damon » Tue Aug 21, 2012 5:02 am

One of my players wants to play as a pair of identical twins. The Cohort quality has been serviceable in this regard so far, but I feel it's lacking, especially concerning leveling the two of them up. Looking for any glaring problems with it or thoughts on how to improve it.

Identical Twins --- Fate
You have an identical twin; create another character using the rules described in Chapter 3: Character Creation. You control both characters. They are the same age, gender, and share the same parents. Neither twin may select a bloodline quality if the other has selected a different bloodline quality. The second twin must take the "Identical Twins" quality as well.

The twins gain experience, destiny points, and other rewards as if they were a single character, and these can be allotted to either twin. However, if one twin has a higher score in a particular ability than the other, the twin with the lower score can upgrade his score for half the experience it would normally cost. Similarly, if one twin has more bonus dice in a particular specialty, the twin with fewer dice can add dice at half cost. If one twin has a quality the other does not have, he can add it at half cost (leaving half a destiny point, spendable only on another half-price benefit unless upgraded to a full destiny point for 25 exp). These discounts only apply after initial character creation.

These twins are identical: either can claim to be the other without making a deception check as long as neither twin is marked or maimed in an obvious way. You may choose to distinguish yourselves from each other voluntarily as well: different hairstyles, manners of dress, tattoos, etc. If another character has reason to be suspicious, he or she may make an awareness check (empathy applies) against the combined passive deception checks of both twins.

If one of the twins dies, the other loses this quality and the Destiny Point invested in it. You may continue adventuring as the surviving twin.

As long as the twins are adjacent to each other, increase their combat defense and intrigue defenses by +2.


The leveling scheme is designed to allow the twins to progress together: the half-cost provision is to encourage the twins to remain similar: they would naturally have very similar aptitudes and interests. Balance-wise, as long as the twins are using the same build, the two of them will improve at about 75% the rate of a normal PC. If the player assigns all exp to one twin, that twin will improve at a normal rate. If he assigns them both exp but with different builds, they will improve at around half the rate of a normal PC.
Last edited by Damon on Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:51 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Homebrew Quality: Identical Twins. Looking for Feedback

Postby Tao Jones » Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:32 am

I like it a lot! One change I'd make, though, since our biggest example of (well, nearly-identical) twins from ASoIaF are male and female, I would take out the requirement that they be the same gender, and I'd only allow them to pass off as each other if they are the same gender.

That, and I'd add that they support each other in Intrigues just as in Combat, so I'd give them both +2 to Intrigue Defense when involved in the same Intrigue and working towards the same objective.

Funny enough, I like that if an identical twin takes the Maester or Man of the Kingsguard qualities, since he loses all other Fate qualities he stops being an identical twin! In such a case I would probably rule the player has to play on as the twin with said quality as a regular character, relegating the other twin (who would also lose the quality) to NPC status (with the potential for them to become a Nemesis, even!).
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Re: Homebrew Quality: Identical Twins. Looking for Feedback

Postby Mrjamespj » Tue Aug 21, 2012 7:15 am

I really like the quality, with your permission may I borrow this for my game? As 2 of my NPC characters are twin brothers of the heir, I have made them similar stat-wise but this quality would be really useful.
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Re: Homebrew Quality: Identical Twins. Looking for Feedback

Postby coldwind » Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:02 am

A mechanic note - how do you pay half price for a Quality? Benefits are gained through investing Destiny, so you may mean that Destiny points are half-cost, but if so, it may feel awkward to put a restriction on how such Destiny points can be invested.

And on a general note - being a father of (fraternal) twins, cousin to identical twins, and nephew to identical twins - I've seen no evidence to suggest identical twins are any more motivated or Likely to pursue similar skillsets as any other pair of siblings.
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Re: Homebrew Quality: Identical Twins. Looking for Feedback

Postby Tao Jones » Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:45 pm

coldwind wrote:And on a general note - being a father of (fraternal) twins, cousin to identical twins, and nephew to identical twins - I've seen no evidence to suggest identical twins are any more motivated or Likely to pursue similar skillsets as any other pair of siblings.


Well, the abilities in the game are basically skillsets, not strictly inborn talent. Twins would have at least a greater potential to pursue similar skillsets than any two random siblings would, since they're genetically identical. Of course, there is the effect of culture on that, and modern culture teaches us that we should be independent and unique, which probably has a lot to do with the lack of a trend in modern society. In medieval society, though, this philosophy didn't prevail, since most people were farmers and it was a dangerous time, and standing out could have gotten you killed on the whim of some Lord or knight.

My point is that without the imperative towards individualism pervading the society, twins are at least more likely to adapt similar skillsets, if only because two heads are better than one. No matter what you do, having a "training partner" to bounce ideas off of is extremely helpful, and especially so if that partner is genetically identical to you.

Good point about the half-price thing, though... that might a bit tougher to crack, although like most issues, it's easily solved by the players working cooperatively with the Narrator and being open about their intentions for character improvements. If it were my game, I'd just tell the twins player that when they buy Destiny Points, they need to declare right then whether they intend to use it to invest in a specific quality if they want the discount. Otherwise, just don't give it to them half-price.
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Re: Homebrew Quality: Identical Twins. Looking for Feedback

Postby DaimosofRedstone » Wed Aug 22, 2012 3:12 am

I like it, but as i see it the point is (or at least seems to be to me) not Cersei&Jamie but the old, old trope of twins nobody can tell apart and who (almost) share one life.
Think Prestige.
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Re: Homebrew Quality: Identical Twins. Looking for Feedback

Postby TheSmilingKnight » Wed Aug 22, 2012 3:18 am

DaimosofRedstone wrote:I like it, but as i see it the point is (or at least seems to be to me) not Cersei&Jamie but the old, old trope of twins nobody can tell apart and who (almost) share one life.
Think Prestige.

So like Olenna Tyrell's Left & Right?
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Re: Homebrew Quality: Identical Twins. Looking for Feedback

Postby Damon » Wed Aug 22, 2012 4:40 am

DaimosofRedstone wrote:I like it, but as i see it the point is (or at least seems to be to me) not Cersei&Jamie but the old, old trope of twins nobody can tell apart and who (almost) share one life.
Think Prestige.


Right, Cercei and Jamie are (obviously) non-identical.

Prestige-like antics would be entirely possible with this, based on how difficult it is to tell them apart, sure. That sort of manipulation is probably beyond the characters I wrote it for, since they're kind of oafs, but I can imagine schemers and rogues could come up with some impressive antics, for entertainment purposes or political deception.

TheSmilingKnight wrote:So like Olenna Tyrell's Left & Right?


Yes, Horas and Hobber Redwine are, I believe, described as identical. They would possess this quality.

Mrjamespj wrote:I really like the quality, with your permission may I borrow this for my game?


Of course.

Tao Jones wrote:That, and I'd add that they support each other in Intrigues just as in Combat, so I'd give them both +2 to Intrigue Defense when involved in the same Intrigue and working towards the same objective.


My attempt was to balance it against the Cohort quality: going too far beyond the raw mechanical potential of that quality wasn't something I wanted to do. Might there be some situationist merit to the idea? Sure.

Funny enough, I like that if an identical twin takes the Maester or Man of the Kingsguard qualities, since he loses all other Fate qualities he stops being an identical twin!


He loses fate qualities tied to his house (qualities like "heir" and "head of household") not all fate qualities. While there's obviously SOME connection between this quality and one's house, they are not intimately connected. Joining the Night's Watch wouldn't make a character lose his "warg" quality, even though he inherited that quality from his parents: this quality would be no different.

coldwind wrote:A mechanic note - how do you pay half price for a Quality? Benefits are gained through investing Destiny, so you may mean that Destiny points are half-cost, but if so, it may feel awkward to put a restriction on how such Destiny points can be invested.


That's a good point: not a great answer for that, except as written, it means you pay half a destiny point, leaving you with half a destiny point left over (with which you can buy another half-cost quality).

Not as elegant as I would like, but oh well.
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Re: Homebrew Quality: Identical Twins. Looking for Feedback

Postby Tao Jones » Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:42 am

Damon wrote:He loses fate qualities tied to his house (qualities like "heir" and "head of household") not all fate qualities. While there's obviously SOME connection between this quality and one's house, they are not intimately connected. Joining the Night's Watch wouldn't make a character lose his "warg" quality, even though he inherited that quality from his parents: this quality would be no different.


Well, according to the newest errata on Benefits (available HERE), both Maester and Man of the Kingsguard have the following lines put in at the end of their entries:

"Taking this quality results in the loss of all other Fate qualities, though you regain invested Destiny Points for losing the quality."

Brother of the Night's Watch only strips you of Head of House/Heir, but these two were specifically changed, hence my comment.

As far as the Intrigue bonus goes, maybe give players the option of choosing Combat or Intrigue when they take the Benefit?
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Re: Homebrew Quality: Identical Twins. Looking for Feedback

Postby ceranko » Thu Aug 30, 2012 10:36 am

It would be really cool if one were a warg and the other had the greensight.
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Re: Homebrew Quality: Identical Twins. Looking for Feedback

Postby Damon » Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:32 pm

Tao Jones wrote:Well, according to the newest errata on Benefits (available HERE), both Maester and Man of the Kingsguard have the following lines put in at the end of their entries:

"Taking this quality results in the loss of all other Fate qualities, though you regain invested Destiny Points for losing the quality."


I don't understand the purpose of that change at all: why would you cease to be a warg by joining the Kingsguard? The quality functions fine as printed: I don't see why the change was needed at all.
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Re: Homebrew Quality: Identical Twins. Looking for Feedback

Postby Flagg » Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:40 am

I, too, find that odd. Apparently there's no such thing as a famous maester.
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Re: Homebrew Quality: Identical Twins. Looking for Feedback

Postby Tao Jones » Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:17 pm

I do agree, it's an odd change that doesn't seem to have been thought out. Just figured I'd point it out for those concerned with such things.

Also, I would make the claim that Cersei and Jaime were identical twins, even though opposite-sex identicals are technically impossible IRL, since they specifically talk about how they were impossible to tell apart as children until their hormones kicked in. I think it's probably one of GRRM's bits of low fantasy that he injected for story's sake, like Gregor's combination of stature and inhuman muscle, another technical impossibility by the laws of physics.
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Re: Homebrew Quality: Identical Twins. Looking for Feedback

Postby Damon » Wed Sep 12, 2012 8:13 pm

Tao Jones wrote:Also, I would make the claim that Cersei and Jaime were identical twins, even though opposite-sex identicals are technically impossible IRL, since they specifically talk about how they were impossible to tell apart as children until their hormones kicked in. I think it's probably one of GRRM's bits of low fantasy that he injected for story's sake...


Seems unlikely: GRRM uses real-world genetic concepts as plot elements, ie "blond hair is recessive" which seems to indicate his world's genetics work more-or-less like ours do. I'll note, also, that inbreeding (Tywin and his wife were first cousins) will produce a higher rate of of genetic similarity in siblings than normal; because the parents share several chromosomes, fewer combinations of chromosomes are possible in their children. This seems a more likely possibility to explain the uncanny resemblance.
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