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Learnedguy
2008-12-25, 05:35 AM
So, I'm playing with the thought of basing a campaign for my group on George R.R Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series setting using the 4e rules. Now, this made me think;

How would you guys stat out the different characters in the in the books?

For instance, Jon Snow. Is he a ranger using the new Beastmaster template perhaps?

Let's give it a go:smallamused:!

(For fun and argument, feel free to add the good ol' alignment system as well!)

ShaggyMarco
2008-12-25, 06:32 AM
Jon Snow would definitely be a beastmaster Ranger with Bastard Sword proficiency. Bran might also be a beastmaster Ranger.

Theon is an Archer Ranger, as is Anguy.

Arya's a Rogue. Sansa? Inspiring Warlord? NPC with no class?

Most characters are probably Fighters or Warlords.

Kurald Galain
2008-12-25, 07:34 AM
It strikes me that 4E is eminently unsuitable to model a gritty fantasy novel like ASOIAF in.

Satyr
2008-12-25, 07:56 AM
I would even add that of the many, many roleplaying games out there, D&D 4th edition is probably one of the worst systems for emulating the more plausible, more substance than style environment of A Song of Ice and Fire. The third edition version was bad enough, but had still some connections how reality looks like, a matter 4th edition is completely unconcerned with.

SmartAlec
2008-12-25, 08:06 AM
I might disagree and take the opposite stance - because 4th Ed gives cool powers to all classes, once you strip out the magically-flavoured classes (and are left with Fighter, Rogue, Ranger and Warlord), you can happily roleplay in Westeros and still have a battle system you can have a lark with. Make encounters a bit tougher (because the PCs are fighting humans of comparative skill, rather than monsters), and you're away.

KKL
2008-12-25, 08:25 AM
The third edition version was bad enough, but had still some connections how reality looks like.

snrk

That never fails to make me chuckle.

Willfor
2008-12-25, 09:12 AM
To make a character from ASoIaF using 4E I would: Use one of the official roleplaying systems for the series and then pen in "This is totally 4E :D" along the top of the sheet.

:smallsmile:

I like 4E well enough, but it's just WRONG to use for this type of setting.

Satyr
2008-12-25, 09:41 AM
I might disagree and take the opposite stance - because 4th Ed gives cool powers to all classes, once you strip out the magically-flavoured classes (and are left with Fighter, Rogue, Ranger and Warlord), you can happily roleplay in Westeros and still have a battle system you can have a lark with.

Firstly, people in Westeros have no cool powers. They are ordinary people where the most outstanding abilities are stuff like prophetic dreams. Not even the most legendary Archers would ever fire more than one arrow at the same time (because it is plainly a very bad idea), which is not even an exploit for a 4th edition Ranger. People in Westeros do not heal suddenly because their captain shouts at them loudly; they are likely to be crippled for Life when trhey are injured or die from putrid, infected wounds. 4th edition has no chance whatsoever to emulate the more realistic combats of ASOIAF. In A Song of Ice and Fire, combat is a severe threat for a person's life. It is a catastrophe. That doesn't fit whatsoever to a set of rules where injuries are minor inconveniences at best, and everyone is completely regenerated after having some sleep. In a Song of Ice and Fire, violence is often a very And it has even fewer chances to come close to the numerous, numerous major characters who are complete non-combatants. Bran, Cathleen, Daenarys, Sansa, Samwell, Cersei and Jaime after his injury are all major characters, none of them would have any chance in a serious fight without much luck.




The third edition version was bad enough, but had still some connections how reality looks like.

snrk

That never fails to make me chuckle.


The D20 version of ASOIAF was a bit less cineastic than standard D&D; it was still far away from a good fit, but had some more interesting ideas.


To make a character from ASoIaF using 4E I would: Use one of the official roleplaying systems for the series and then pen in "This is totally 4E :D" along the top of the sheet.

I had quite high expectations towards the new ASOIAF game, but after I read the quickstart rules, this was replaced with great disappointment. The game is as bad as 4th edition for emulating A Song of Ice and Fire, but from a completely diffferent perspective (Destiny Points? In a setting notorious for the bad luck and severe consequences of stupidity of the characters as A Song of Ice and Fire? Did they read the books?). The best system for A Song of Ice and Fire would probably be the Harnmaster Rules.

Cubey
2008-12-25, 10:28 AM
I'd say 4th edition DnD is bad for emulating George RR Martin's setting, but you can still try, just do not expect stellar results. {Scrubbed}

Inyssius Tor
2008-12-25, 11:18 AM
I'd say 4th edition DnD is bad for emulating George RR Martin's setting, but you can still try, just do not expect stellar results. {Scrubbed}

Hey, I happen to be a 4on, and I totally support the counter argument. Systems have distinct styles, and 4E's style is AMPED WAAY UP; it would take a considerable amount of work to model a setting where people are normally crippled or killed when hacked at with a sword, and it would probably be easier to just use a less cinematic system to begin with.

KKL
2008-12-25, 11:30 AM
The D20 version of ASOIAF was a bit less cineastic than standard D&D; it was still far away from a good fit, but had some more interesting ideas.

I realize that. However, 3e/3.5e is as far removed from reality as 4e is.

Learnedguy
2008-12-25, 01:40 PM
As expected most people didn't want that filthy 4e to touch their precious ASoIaF:smalltongue:

Don't worry about minor details like compatibility now. I'm quite capable of fixing that myself:smallamused:

Instead, see this is a fun training for your imagination:smallbiggrin:!

kay, Jon Snow I'd pin as a ranger yeah. And Robb I suppose some kind of warlord multiclassed to ranger? Probably inspiring I suppose. Arya would probably work quite nicely as a rogue yeah. Brone is probably a twf ranger.

(by the way, don't bother trying to apply class level to people who are cleary non-combatants)

Willfor
2008-12-25, 02:11 PM
As expected most people didn't want that filthy 4e to touch their precious ASoIaF:smalltongue:

Don't worry about minor details like compatibility now. I'm quite capable of fixing that myself:smallamused:

Instead, see this is a fun training for your imagination:smallbiggrin:!

kay, Jon Snow I'd pin as a ranger yeah. And Robb I suppose some kind of warlord multiclassed to ranger? Probably inspiring I suppose. Arya would probably work quite nicely as a rogue yeah. Brone is probably a twf ranger.

(by the way, don't bother trying to apply class level to people who are cleary non-combatants)

... But you just said to treat it as training for our imaginations? In my imagination, Cersei is level 28 wizard with 8 int.

chiasaur11
2008-12-25, 02:15 PM
You seem unclear.

He said a song of fire and ice.

As the order is reversed, the logical assumption is that it's ASOIAF's bizarro twin.

Thus, 4e would be, judging from all the comments here, perfect.

Learnedguy
2008-12-25, 02:22 PM
... But you just said to treat it as training for our imaginations? In my imagination, Cersei is level 28 wizard with 8 int.

Your wit is simply staggering my good lord:smallyuk:


You seem unclear.

He said a song of fire and ice.

As the order is reversed, the logical assumption is that it's ASOIAF's bizarro twin.

Thus, 4e would be, judging from all the comments here, perfect.

Whoops. Embarrassing:smallredface:

(fix'd)

Willfor
2008-12-25, 02:32 PM
Your wit is simply staggering my good lord:smallyuk:

The DM let her have a special Level 1 At-Will spell that he homebrewed.

Cloud of Failure:
At Will * Failure
Standard Action - Area: N/A
Target: N/A
Attack: Intelligence vs Will
Hit: Nothing happens. At all.
Miss: Your character does something stupid at the DM's discretion.

Her player uses this as her exclusive attack. She has only managed to get to level 28 because none of the stupid things she has done has managed to kill her. Yet.

Learnedguy
2008-12-25, 02:36 PM
The DM let her have a special Level 1 At-Will spell that he homebrewed.

Cloud of Failure:
At Will * Failure
Standard Action - Area: N/A
Target: N/A
Attack: Intelligence vs Will
Hit: Nothing happens. At all.
Miss: Your character does something stupid at the DM's discretion.

Her player uses this as her exclusive attack. She has only managed to get to level 28 because none of the stupid things she has done has managed to kill her. Yet.

"What doesn't kill me makes me stronger":smallbiggrin:

Satyr
2008-12-25, 02:54 PM
I realize that. However, 3e/3.5e is as far removed from reality as 4e is.

I don't disagree. D&D is a particularly bad choice for plausible roelplaying games, without some major modifications. For grittier settings and moods, I alwmost always suggests the adaptation of less flashy systems, even when the origal system way D&D or D20 based (Dark Sun is a prime example. It doesn't really fit to the default rules but becomes a pristine setting once you adapt it to a better suited system).


As expected most people didn't want that filthy 4e to touch their precious ASoIaF

No, that works completely both ways. I does not want ASOIAF-style violence, consequences and versimilitude in my D&D 4 games, either. That would complete destroy the mood and style over substance hilarity of the game.

SmartAlec
2008-12-25, 02:58 PM
Firstly, people in Westeros have no cool powers.

Well, thinking of them as 'cool powers' is wrong. But as far as slick combat manouvers go, it works. Characters do have those. Water dancers do, that's for sure. Ser Arthur Dayne wasn't one of the greatest swords in the Seven Kingdoms because he just hacked and hacked.


People in Westeros do not heal suddenly because their captain shouts at them loudly

Maybe not healing as in having their wounds closing instantly, but...


She could see the bright finger of blood running across the knight's forearm, the wetness inside the elbow joint... The sellsword seemed to be getting stronger. His cuts were leaving their marks now. Deep shiny gashes gleamed all over the knight's armor, on his right thigh, along the front of his gorget. The moon-and-falcon rondel over Ser Vardis's right arm was sheared clean in half, hanging by its strap. They could hear his laboured breath, rattling through the air holes in his visor.

"Enough, Ser Vardis!" Lady Lysa called down. "Finish him now, my baby is growing tired."

And it must be said of Ser Vardis Egen that he was true to his lady's command, even to the last. One moment he was reeling backward, half-crouched behind his scarred shield; the next he charged. The sudden bull rush caught Bronn off balance. Ser Vardis crashed into him and slammed the lip of his shield into the sellsword's face.

If that ain't a Westeros-style healing surge, I don't know what is. :smallsmile:

Ok, non-combatants don't fit - so, don't play non-combatants. A knight and his men-at-arms at a tournament, a band of wildlings or members of the Night's Watch on a ranging... even the classic 'group of characters' brought together for a Lord's purposes. Plenty of options to get enmeshed in the game of thrones and tread into political danger whilst being combat-capable.

Satyr
2008-12-25, 03:13 PM
Well, thinking of them as 'cool powers' is wrong. But as far as slick combat manouvers go, it works.

No. It doesn't. Westeros Characters are limited by relatively harsh applications of natural laws, D&D exploits aren't. Fighting doesn't work that way as described in D&D. Especially when it comes to the direct descriptions inside the book and completely opposite rule effeects in D&D. Brom describes that he would fight Ser Gregor only in a light chain hauberk explicitl to be harder to hit than in a heavy plate armor. Characters without armor die when they are hit with a weapon. An excellent fighter with a wooden sword has absolutely no chance to win against an armed and armored fighter, even when the latter one is a certified idiot. Characters who suffer from cold lose body parts.



If that ain't a Westeros-style healing surge, I don't know what is.
Stupidity that leads to Sit Vardis' early and violent death. If he had yielded, he would have survived, andi t adn't changed anything about the result of the duel.

Kurald Galain
2008-12-25, 03:30 PM
He said a song of fire and ice.

As the order is reversed, the logical assumption is that it's ASOIAF's bizarro twin.

Thus, 4e would be, judging from all the comments here, perfect.

Not at all. The bizarro twin of ASOIAF would obviously use a hybrid of the FATAL rpg with Teenagers From Outer Space.

Kurald Galain
2008-12-25, 03:32 PM
I realize that. However, 3e/3.5e is as far removed from reality as 4e is.

Yes, but in a completely different direction. 3E is a poor match for ASOIAF because it's very high magic, and Westeros is not. 4E is a poor match for ASOIAF because it runs on game mechanics, whereas ASOIAF runs on grittiness. Either is like serving potatoes with chocolate sauce - you might like potatoes and you might like chocolate, but the combination is just... wrong.

Learnedguy
2008-12-25, 04:02 PM
Yes, but in a completely different direction. 3E is a poor match for ASOIAF because it's very high magic, and Westeros is not. 4E is a poor match for ASOIAF because it runs on game mechanics, whereas ASOIAF runs on grittiness. Either is like serving potatoes with chocolate sauce - you might like potatoes and you might like chocolate, but the combination is just... wrong.

Grittiness is just a question of narrative.

Making Westeros compatible with 4e is easy for me:smallamused:


Ok, non-combatants don't fit - so, don't play non-combatants. A knight and his men-at-arms at a tournament, a band of wildlings or members of the Night's Watch on a ranging... even the classic 'group of characters' brought together for a Lord's purposes. Plenty of options to get enmeshed in the game of thrones and tread into political danger whilst being combat-capable.

See?

SmartAlec
2008-12-25, 04:08 PM
No. It doesn't.

Syrio's last stand is a good example of the use of minions in ASoIaF, in my eye, and Ser Vardis vs. Bronn an example of a well-armoured Fighter against a higher-levelled swordfighting Ranger. Yes, using a healing surge and continuing the fight when you're clearly losing is not smart.

I get the feeling this is going to turn into a discussion about taking hit points and combat abstractions literally if I continue, and judging from what I read here, you're someone who does take them literally, so I might just have to agree to disagree here.

Learnedguy
2008-12-25, 04:39 PM
I get the feeling this is going to turn into a discussion about taking hit points and combat abstractions literally if I continue, and judging from what I read here, you're someone who does take them literally, so I might just have to agree to disagree here.

There's nothing wrong with this thread taking a little side turn into that either. I think it's rather interesting to use game mechanics and plaster them against another medium, literature this time around.

Kurald Galain
2008-12-25, 05:22 PM
Making Westeros compatible with 4e is easy for me:smallamused:

Then explain how in Westeros a major part of the cast suffers from long-lasting nasty injuries, whereas in 4E everybody is automatically completely healed whenever they sleep for eight hours?

Learnedguy
2008-12-25, 05:37 PM
Then explain how in Westeros a major part of the cast suffers from long-lasting nasty injuries, whereas in 4E everybody is automatically completely healed whenever they sleep for eight hours?

Easy. Don't do it towards your PC's unless they want you to.

Long lasting injuries is a brilliant way to flavor your NPC's, but it''s not anything I'd force on my players unless they specify it. That would just be jackassery. (With that said, superficial injuries that doesn't actually matter mechanically might give them a sense of danger, so that's actually a pretty good idea now when I think about it

Imagine having the scars to prove what your pc has gone through when the game ends!)

Kurald Galain
2008-12-25, 05:45 PM
Easy. Don't do it towards your PC's unless they want you to.
In other words, houserule. See, that's my point :smalltongue:

4E is about lots 'n lots of combat (and resurrection is trivial if you need it); in ASOIAF, combat causes you do die, and resurrection is non-existent. Yes, you can hammer a screw into the wall; but wouldn't it easier to simply use a screwdriver?


Imagine having the scars to prove what your pc has gone through when the game ends!)
Yep, that's pretty cool. I know several RPGs that do that, all of which would be more suitable for ASOIAF than 4E is.

SmartAlec
2008-12-25, 05:55 PM
Then explain how in Westeros a major part of the cast suffers from long-lasting nasty injuries, whereas in 4E everybody is automatically completely healed whenever they sleep for eight hours?

A lot of people in Westeros suffer serious, disfiguring injury, but surprisingly few of such injuries we see in the story occur in a face-to-face combat situation. I don't think any houseruling is needed.

Kurald Galain
2008-12-25, 06:02 PM
A lot of people in Westeros suffer serious, disfiguring injury, but surprisingly few of such injuries we see in the story occur in a face-to-face combat situation.
That's not the point. In 4E, a night's sleep heals you of all injury, regardless of whether that injury was incurred in face-to-face combat.

If you're saying that there should be injuries that do not disappear after a night's rest, then I'd agree, but I'd also have to point out that it runs counter to both the rules and the design philosophy of 4E. Again, you can hammer a screw into the wall; but wouldn't it easier to simply use a screwdriver?

Satyr
2008-12-25, 06:11 PM
Syrio's last stand is a good example of the use of minions in ASoIaF
No, again. Syrio fights against Boros Blunt, the worst knight of the kingsgard, who is slow and onyly an average fighter at best. Syrio loses and is killed by the other knight, because his wooden sword can not penetrate the armor of Blunt or the other Guardsmen. A minion is an enemy who falters after any hit. Syrio is not able to hurt anyone of his attacker's he can only slow them down. The situation is the exact opposite of a representation of minions.


Easy. Don't do it towards your PC's unless they want you to.

Which is complete failure to represent the attmosphere of A Song and Ice and Fire, where everyone can die. The high risk for the main protagonists is oe of the defining feature of the narrative and completely unhinged by a rule like this. I have the impression that such an adaptation would be High Fantasy RPG in Westeros at best, but wouldn't have much in common with ASOIAF apart from the names.


A lot of people in Westeros suffer serious, disfiguring injury, but surprisingly few of such injuries we see in the story occur in a face-to-face combat situation. I don't think any houseruling is needed.

No, again. At least one POV character is shown to be crippled for life, many, many of the secondary characters have significant combat injuries; even more so, these combat injuries are absolutely character-defining traits and the relative common honorific names based on injuries show that this is also an important issue for the culture of Westeros.

SmartAlec
2008-12-25, 06:14 PM
That's not the point. In 4E, a night's sleep heals you of all injury, regardless of whether that injury was incurred in face-to-face combat.

If you're saying that there should be injuries that do not disappear after a night's rest, then I'd agree, but I'd also have to point out that it runs counter to both the rules and the design philosophy of 4E. Again, you can hammer a screw into the wall; but wouldn't it easier to simply use a screwdriver?

Yes, but I honestly can't think of any screwdrivers that fit this screw exactly. There's a chance there isn't one. Or, that there is one, but I or someone in my gaming group won't like it. In that kind of situation, I'd be tempted to go with what I know, rather than look around for something else that'll take time to learn, implement, et cetera. If that means hammering in the screw, so be it! At least the screw's in there and I can hang something on it.

And at the end of the day, a system's just a system; a method for determining resolution. Exactly what that resolution means in in-character terms is up to the individual. If it means that all wounds are healed after a rest, ok. If it means that the character was never wounded but that his fighting spirit is replenished, then ok. If it means that the character is steadily accumulating a series of scratches, scars and light wounds but can ignore them, ok. As long as you're playing in the spirit of A Song of Ice and Fire, I don't think the minutiae of the system you use matters.


No, again. Syrio fights against Boros Blunt

Meryn Trant, in fact. He's not exactly brilliant, but he's not portrayed as the buffoon Blount is. As for Syrio, he does kill or incapacitate the men with Trant.


Five men were down, dead or dying by the time Arya reached the back door that opened on the kitchen. She heard Ser Meryn Trant curse. "Bloody oafs," he swore, drawing his longsword from his scabbard.


No, again. At least one POV character is shown to be crippled for life, many, many of the secondary characters have significant combat injuries.

Secondary characters don't matter. Secondary characters aren't the PCs. The Dm can give them all the crippling injuries he or she wants; no houseruling needed there. I'm not saying that no primary character takes injury; I'm saying that the majority occur as a result of what would be a roleplaying situation, not a face-to-face combat situation.

Mr.Bookworm
2008-12-25, 06:19 PM
Let's see...

It would require heavy, heavy houseruling, but it could work in 4E. Though as about 20 gajillion people have pointed out, 4E isn't really even close to what you want.

1) Drastically reduce healing surges. You have 1, 2, or 3 of em' a day, and that's it.

2) HP is Con at first level, +1, maybe +2 every level thereafter.

3) Disallow all power sources other than Martial.

4) Mess around with the skill system. I can't say how without looking at it, but make it so you can't do superhuman feats with it.

5) No magic gear. Replace it with "masterwork" gear that provides bonuses. A castleforged blade might be a +1 or +2, and valyrian steel might be a +5 or +6.

6) Change armor. Heavier armor provides a higher "armor" bonus to AC, but penalizes your Dex score. (Note: Chainmail is heavier than plate armor) Possibly do a conversion of the "Armor as DR" thing from 3E.

7) Add rules for infection, and other nasty effects of combat.

8) I would probably also lose the "half-level to near everything" part.

9) Make wounds heal much, much slower.

And that's just off the top of my head. There's probably more.

Learnedguy
2008-12-25, 06:23 PM
In other words, houserule. See, that's my point :smalltongue:

Actually, a change in narrative. So it's my point, not yours >:D!!

But yes, I'd house rule quite a bit. For instance Martial would probably be the only power source available to the players, and rituals wouldn't exists (or actually they does, as the most of the spellcasting seems to be of a ritualish nature, but frankly, I'd handwave that anyway)


Let's see...

It would require heavy, heavy houseruling, but it could work in 4E. Though as about 20 gajillion people have pointed out, 4E isn't really even close to what you want.

Frankly I think many of those houserules are unnecessary. Let's cherry pick a little:


1) Drastically reduce healing surges. You have 1, 2, or 3 of em' a day, and that's it.

Why bother?


2) HP is Con at first level, +1, maybe +2 every level thereafter.

As hp is an abstraction and a question of narrative (something I as the DM has almost full control off) there's actually little reason to gimp my players by taking away their precious health points.


4) Mess around with the skill system. I can't say how without looking at it, but make it so you can't do superhuman feats with it.

Not necessary if I keep the game at low levels. Which I would.
Exp gain is frankly speaking not an absolutely necessary part of a good gaming session. You can have lot of fun playing through a campaign without gaining a single level.


7) Add rules for infection, and other nasty effects of combat.

This would only work to slug down the game into an uninteresting session of playing doctor.


9) Make wounds heal much, much slower.

Why yes! But at the same time, as hp is an abstraction determined by the narrative, why would I seriously injure my players unless I had some motive behind it?

---

In case you guys haven't noticed, I don't believe that the combat mechanics are that important when I want to tell a story:smalltongue:

Sure, I could stat up everything using GURPS or some other incredibly modular thing, but at the same time I could just use something that roughly looks like what I want after quick paint job and then call it a day.

The important thing is that everyone is enjoying themselves.

Tsotha-lanti
2008-12-25, 06:25 PM
RuneQuest seems like a fair fit - either the older systems or (if you don't actively hate your players) the newer, slightly less lethal one. (Where it takes a critical hit to kill you immediately, rather than a normal hit.) Drop hero points and ignore magic, and you're there.

H‚rnmaster definitely seems like a good fit, mechanically.

Pendragon is an obvious one, really. The Major Wounds are intended to model precisely the medieval level of chirurgery where real injuries will never completely heal...

Unisystem and GURPS could do it, but they can do anything.


I'd probably go with Pendragon, because it's a very light system that does a satisfactory job at modelling medieval-style combat, and everything else is left pretty vague. It's easy to use or ignore traits and passions.

Kurald Galain
2008-12-25, 06:25 PM
Imagine how ASOIAF would work under 4E rules...

Chapter one. Robert Baratheon visits Eddard Stark. Jaime throws Bran out of the window, leaving him permanently crippled and in a coma. After eight hours, he instantly awakes and is no longer crippled, but unable to speak from suffered trauma houseruled in by the DM. In less than an hour, Catelyn, who has the Ritual Caster feat, casts Remove Condition on him. He spills the beans, and Jaime gets thrown in prison.

Chapter two. Cersei feeds Robert a lot of alcohol so that he will get killed during the hunt. Because alcohol doesn't actually give penalties to either Nature rolls or combat, he survives and returns home to brag about it. Exasperated, Cersei borrows a scene from Basic Instinct and coup-de-graces him in his sleep with her dagger. The next day, the royal priest casts Raise Dead on him so he can go hunting again.

Chapter three. Drogo gets upset with the upstart Viserys, and "crowns" him with molten gold. Since this is an improvised weapon, it deals 1d3 points of damage. Viserys taunts him a second time and farts in his general direction.

Chapter four. Petyr Baelish wins, because he is that much of a bastard regardless of the ruleset used, and convinces the rest of the group to play Call of Ctulhu next week.

SmartAlec
2008-12-25, 06:26 PM
and rituals wouldn't exists (or actually they does, as the most of the spellcasting seems to be of a ritualish nature, but frankly, I'd handwave that anyway)

Some rituals fit. Any Maester would seem to have Animal Messenger, for example. And the way ASoIaF is going, magic may well become more prevalent before the series is out - will just have to wait and see.

Doomsy
2008-12-25, 06:31 PM
If you want the feel of A Song of Ice and Fire, people die. They die horribly. They die often. They don't take slashes to the belly and pop up again, they don't have fun little special moves, they don't have inspiring commands. They smash into each other in the hell of combat and bad, bad things happen. People get boiling oil dumped on them and they die horrifically. Wildlings sneak up on them in the middle of the night and slit their throats. They get run over by horses and every bone in their body snapped and broken.

It is gritty because it is realistic. D&D 4E is a happy fun combat game. You'd almost be better off using CoC. You screw up, you get a foot of steel through your guts and you're done. Bad luck with a poor roll, a smart ambush, you die, no backsies. Valer morghulis.

Secondly, D&D 4E is heroic fantasy. You want heroes, you look for another damn series. The right thing in A Song of Ice and Fire can get you killed and nothing to show for it. Everyone with heroic characteristics also has negative ones as well, and D&D is not set up to handle that well without a lot of homebrewing. A knight who loyally serves a master but rapes and kills, including unarmed babies, just for the hell of it and because he was not told not to? Oh, that alignment debate could rage for days and is largely stupid - the man is just a bastard, and a giant of a one at that. Most of the major heroes and figures in A Song of Ice and Fire are decidedly unheroic or they die very quickly. The main characters uniformly have committed murder, fled repeatedly from combat, slain unarmed men by surprise, prepared to kill kings during peaceful meetings with the full intent of going through with it, slain people they were sworn to protect and then guarded a maiden with their lives, mocked everything a knight stands for and slain unarmed children without a second thought and then gone through with defending another. Others, even the 'good' ones, have actually ordered the slaughter of civilians.

We're not into the heroic here, people. This is gritty, realistic fantasy. You do what you have to get by. There is no such thing as being so powerful that someone can't stick a knife in your back or kill you at a peaceful party in a single surprise move. You don't want D&D 4E for that, period. If you try to fit it into that game, you're not playing A Song of Ice and Fire, you're just using the names. You're basically doing the Hollywood treatment.

Your choice, though. I'd just say if you really want the flavor, you want something a lot more lethal and morally gray. If you just want to play around in that world and be big damn heroes, go for it.

Learnedguy
2008-12-25, 06:45 PM
Tssk, while I edited my last point people suddenly decided to take interest in my thread:smallyuk:



We're not into the heroic here, people. This is gritty, realistic fantasy. You do what you have to get by. There is no such thing as being so powerful that someone can't stick a knife in your back or kill you at a peaceful party in a single surprise move. You don't want D&D 4E for that, period. If you try to fit it into that game, you're not playing A Song of Ice and Fire, you're just using the names. You're basically doing the Hollywood treatment.

Well, yeah? I'm not a genius like George R.R Martin nor am I trying to write a book.

I'm playing a game with friends. I set my expectations accordingly.

Mercenary Pen
2008-12-25, 06:59 PM
A lot of the difficulties people are having seem to be related to the conflict between recovering full HP with an extended rest vs. permanent/long-term disfigurement as a result of being battered by physical weapons...

Considering certain elements of 4e (for example the fate of former users of the eye/hand of vecna), I'm not entirely certain these concerns are truly justified.



The hand of vecna consumes its owner, body and mind. The character dies instantly, and his/her body crumbles to dust. Even if the character is raised from the dead, he/she forever carries a handless stump as a souvenir of having once wielded the Hand

However, I think there is actually a conceptual fix that could solve those perceived issues:

Firstly, HP and healing surges are considered to be a measure of your determination to stay in the fight as much as they are a token of the physical damage you have taken.

Secondly, physical disfigurement and similar conditions would be represented not so much by HP damage as by homebrewed 'afflictions' that would be bestowed in combat and, whilst not working exactly like 4e-style diseases (or maybe, with a bit of work, you could create proper 4e disease tracks for losing a limb/having molten gold tipped over your head, etc.), would only be curable by the Remove Affliction ritual, or if the DM decides this doesn't violate verisimilitude too much, possibly by Raise Dead as well.

This would seem an appropriate fix to the issue of a character re-growing both legs and one arm overnight by taking an extended rest, and would actually do so without ditching vast tranches of the 4e mechanics.

It's not going to be an easy solution in practice, simply because the setting you're tailoring it towards is inherently grittier than 4e was designed to represent, but with a little bit of work, the results might well be rewarding.

Hope that would be of use to somebody.

Dacia Brabant
2008-12-25, 07:02 PM
I guess the bottom line is that A Song of Ice and Fire is not a roleplaying game, and if it were it would end up as a TPK every session--multiple times every session. You'd spend more time making characters than playing them unless they were all pregenerated mooks.

Something like that really seems better-suited to the kind of abstraction you find in a board game like Axis and Allies or Diplomacy, because it's just not that fun to have your personal characters get hosed all the time.

Or, y'know, you could drop the insistence on hardcore, everyone-is-screwed-including-the-PCs realism and just run with the flavor of ASoIaF, with references and plots and themes and stuff. My 4e group uses it as a source of inspiration, along with a lot of other "grimdark" things, but we don't let that get in the way of our having fun with the game system.

Learnedguy
2008-12-25, 07:05 PM
Something like that really seems better-suited to the kind of abstraction you find in a board game like Axis and Allies or Diplomacy, because it's just not that fun to have your personal characters get hosed all the time.

Yeah. Personally I think a Total War: Westeros would be the best thing since sliced bread:smallbiggrin:

Doomsy
2008-12-25, 07:13 PM
I meant that capturing the flavor of that particular world is immensely hard to do in a game as geared towards 'heroic' and 'fantasy' as D&D is. Look at how people die in that series, how often, and how that affects the tone. Most of the main characters who have survived for a long period of time have done it because they're non-combat. Death happens and it happens fast and brutally. Fight scenes rarely last more than two pages at best, and they're not 'parry slash parry' usually - they are brutal, nasty, and usually really fast. Life is cheap as hell. 4E is a little too easy on the players to really achieve that kind of result and as a result, well, "Hey, let's go raid the Others/Casterly Rock/Storm the Free Cities! for quick XP" can become an option.

And that is just freaking wrong.

SmartAlec
2008-12-25, 07:24 PM
Westeros. It's not as bad as you think.

Good men exist. More than half of the Seven Kingdoms were ruled by fair-minded or reasonable men at the beginning of the story: Jon Arryn, Eddard Stark, Doran Martell, and Hoster Tully. Mace Tyrell and Robert Baratheon don't seem that bad. Other characters such as Brienne, Jon Stark and many of the Night's Watch, Davos Seaworth and even Tyrion Lannister emerge as the story goes on. Some are alluded to in the past - Rhaegar Targaryen, for example. The stories Jaime tells of Ser Arthur Dayne seem almost fairytale-like. The bad apples start trying to worm their way to the top as the story opens, but Martin has confirmed that a Feast for Crows is as darkest point of the story. Things in Westeros can, and likely will, be bright again. Most people are just trying to get by, as in most settings.

Alignment isn't always complicated in Westeros. 4th Ed's alignment system isn't particularly complicated at all. Westeros even includes my personal three standards for Lawful Good, Lawful Neutral and Lawful Evil: Eddard Stark, Stannis Baratheon and Tywin Lannister, respectively.

Not everyone who enters into combat is horrifically maimed or killed. Great feats of arms are possible, and they even occur. Jaime Lannister literally waded through an army, cutting down people in his way, and didn't take a scratch. Tyrion Lannister fights at the forefront of two major battles, and the only lasting wound he has to show for it came from treachery. A one-armed blacksmith veteran fought the king of the giants in combat and though he fell, he succeeded in taking the giant king with him. Some are incredibly tough, can survive enormous amounts of punishment and can be walking around soon afterwards - Shagga son of Dolf, for example, or Ser Gregor Clegane. Some warriors seem almost untouchable - Barristan Selmy being the obvious name to throw in here. There's more martial heroism and cinematic swordsmanship in aSoIaF than one might think, and more to combat in Westeros than just blood and guts on all sides.

There's more magic in the world than at face value. Old spells are becoming efficacious again. Ancient magical swords are among the greatest treasures of noble families. Dead men and women have come back to life. Flaming swords, foretelling, magical assassination, cursing, necromancy, possession of animals and other wonders occur during the books. We see magical doors and a woman who walked through fire unburned. The wights and the Others are a supernatural enemy; dragons and giants are not myths in Westeros, but are real.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, I don't think a campaign set around a Song of Ice and Fire necessarily needs the industrial quantities of grit that some are recommending.


Yeah. Personally I think a Total War: Westeros would be the best thing since sliced bread:smallbiggrin:

http://www.twcenter.net/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=721

I haven't seen much progress on it for a while.

There's also a Song of Ice and FIre mod for Mount and Blade.

Dacia Brabant
2008-12-25, 08:36 PM
I meant that capturing the flavor of that particular world is immensely hard to do in a game as geared towards 'heroic' and 'fantasy' as D&D is. Look at how people die in that series, how often, and how that affects the tone. Most of the main characters who have survived for a long period of time have done it because they're non-combat. Death happens and it happens fast and brutally. Fight scenes rarely last more than two pages at best, and they're not 'parry slash parry' usually - they are brutal, nasty, and usually really fast. Life is cheap as hell. 4E is a little too easy on the players to really achieve that kind of result and as a result, well, "Hey, let's go raid the Others/Casterly Rock/Storm the Free Cities! for quick XP" can become an option.

And that is just freaking wrong.

I see what you're saying, and I don't disagree, but I would argue that the flavor is something that can be achieved through NPCs and world-building, and having players and the GM all agree on keeping the power level and adventuring direction under control and within the setting's milieu. None of those are all that difficult except the adventure direction, which like you say in 4e and most of D&D is designed around lots of number-crunchy combat.

My group tries to encourage descriptions with successful strikes, especially ones that drop someone to bloodied or unconscious/dead, to make it seem a more grisly affair than dice being rolled and numbers added and subtracted, but this does tend to make combat scenes take a lot longer to resolve. One combat can last half a session, but they are nasty, brutal affairs that make us use everything we can to survive. Bad things are described as happening to NPCs and presumably will happen to PCs if they fail, which turns out to be a pretty good motivator for heroism (protect the people we care about) and realism (protect yourself first/don't be stupid). We haven't had any PC permanently maimed or anything like that though, mostly because that sucks and isn't fun (yes I know, this breaks realism, but it's a game so fun trumps everything) but I'm sure we would if a player agreed to it.

Oh, and while I'm thinking about it, I like the definition of Hit Points in D&D as the amount of life-threatening damage you can avoid until getting cut down (0 HP or less), not the amount of mortal injuries you can physically sustain until it's too much. A 100-hp Fighter isn't getting stabbed in the gut or burned to a crisp by every hit or spell, he's expending energy to get out of the way of it just in time, until he runs out of energy and takes one that puts him down to 0 or negatives, then it's a deathblow. (A miss or Evasion would therefore be something that didn't take any extra effort to avoid.)

KKL
2008-12-25, 08:42 PM
Either is like serving potatoes with chocolate sauce - you might like potatoes and you might like chocolate, but the combination is just... wrong.

You never know; it might be tasty.

Satyr
2008-12-26, 06:36 AM
Yes, but I honestly can't think of any screwdrivers that fit this screw exactly. There's a chance there isn't one. Or, that there is one, but I or someone in my gaming group won't like it.

Translation: I don’t know may systems and I am too lazy to look or adapt, so I take whatever I have at hand and don’t really think about other consequences.


In that kind of situation, I'd be tempted to go with what I know, rather than look around for something else that'll take time to learn, implement, et cetera. If that means hammering in the screw, so be it! At least the screw's in there and I can hang something on it.

Yeah, all you got is a hammer, so every problem will look like … etc.


And at the end of the day, a system's just a system; a method for determining resolution. Exactly what that resolution means in in-character terms is up to the individual.

The rules are meant to support the intended atmosphere of the game; that is their only obligation. If they fail in this regard, they are bad rules. Bad rules are a punishment, and I for one do not play at all before I play badly. As should anyone who has a minimum standard.


As long as you're playing in the spirit of A Song of Ice and Fire, I don't think the minutiae of the system you use matters.

Only that rules who work absolutely contrary to the atmosphere of the game are a massive hindrance asnd fail to fulfil their purpose. The rules represent a part of how the laws of physics in the game world work like and if the fail to represent them accordingly, they fail relatively completely. D&D4 doens't even come close to "How things work in Westeros".


Secondary characters don't matter. Secondary characters aren't the PCs. The Dm can give them all the crippling injuries he or she wants; no houseruling needed there. I'm not saying that no primary character takes injury; I'm saying that the majority occur as a result of what would be a roleplaying situation, not a face-to-face combat situation.

Oh, and how they matter for a RPG campaign. Tywin, Euron, Robert, Stannis and Renly as well as Rob are all secondary characters and they are certainly among the most important characters in the story so far.
When you play a campaign like this, you do not copy and paste the POV characters to the character sheets, you take the characters of the supporting cast as an orientation and cameos and tie-ins for the rest of the characters. Characters like Dagmer Cleftjaw, Qhorin Halfhand or Vargo Hoat are much better orientation for characters than the noble brats for many, many campaigns.



Unisystem and GURPS could do it, but they can do anything.

I could probably write a Unisystem Westeros mod within a day or two, based on my Unisystem: Dark Age stuff I have at hand. And it would be a more heroic, more suspenseful and more suiting system for A Song of Ice and Fire than any permutation of D&D could ever be. In fact, I plan to write it up when the new ASOIAF RPG becomes as disappointing as the preview looks like.


I'd probably go with Pendragon, because it's a very light system that does a satisfactory job at modelling medieval-style combat, and everything else is left pretty vague. It's easy to use or ignore traits and passions.

I always found that the traits and passions are the essential and coolest part of Pendragon, and represent the system’s most important selling point. The combat is somewhat bloodless and colorless, though.



It is gritty because it is realistic. D&D 4E is a happy fun combat game. You'd almost be better off using CoC.

Almost? CoC is certainly a better system for A Song of Ice and Fire than . Tsotha-Lanthi already mentioned the old Runequest rules, which are basically the same system with adjustments for setting and mood.


Secondly, D&D 4E is heroic fantasy. You want heroes, you look for another damn series. The right thing in A Song of Ice and Fire can get you killed and nothing to show for it.

Nah. D&D in general and 4th edition is anti-heroic to the extreme. Super-powered characters are completely unsuitable for heroic tales. Heroism comes from facing unlikely odds and personal determination to overcome inhumane challenges and obstacles, and that doesn’t really fit with characters that have little to no challenge with the obstacles at all. Heroism derives from risk and imminent danger, and that is actively hindered through too powerful characters. Per Default, characters in A Song of Ice and Fire have much more potential to be heroic than any D&D character.


Most of the major heroes and figures in A Song of Ice and Fire are decidedly unheroic or they die very quickly.

Heroism and early death aren’t opposites; the first one almost forcingly determines the second aspect. Many characters in ASOIAF ae indeed very heroic and probably much more so than any 4th editon fighter wading through the carcasses of soaughteed minions (the minion rule is active sabotage of heroic gamplay, for example).


[quote= Doomsy]You're basically doing the Hollywood treatment.

Well, yeah? I'm not a genius like George R.R Martin nor am I trying to write a book.

I'm playing a game with friends. I set my expectations accordingly.

When you adapt a narrative, stay true to the spirit and mood of the original work, especially when you feel a certain respect for the original author. Everything is just shallow or ignorant. I don’t know what your friends are like, but if they know ASOAIF and want to play a game that catches the mood of that setting, sacrificing exactly this mood for using D&D4 is going to be nothing but disappointing. If they are not interested in the setting, but really want to play 4th edition, why bother with this specific and especially bad suiting background for that game?



I guess the bottom line is that A Song of Ice and Fire is not a roleplaying game, and if it were it would end up as a TPK every session--multiple times every session. You'd spend more time making characters than playing them unless they were all pregenerated mooks.

Because it doesn't fit to D&D it is a bad background for Rolepaying games? Only when you reduce roleplaying to combat and dungeon-delving, which is a particularly shortsighted, hidebound or arrogant limitation. Roleplaying games are a medium and as such can tell every single narrative you can think off. In many good campaigns, combat is not important, or does not ever appear at all.


Westeros. It's not as bad as you think.

I never said that. Still, the consequences of injury, stupidity or trust are much more severe than in the typical D&D game, where injuries have no consequence at all and death is a mediocre inconvenience. I doesn’t even mention the complete failure of any alignment system to represent the non- one dimensional characters of ASOIAF.


There's more martial heroism and cinematic swordsmanship in aSoIaF than one might think, and more to combat in Westeros than just blood and guts on all sides.

There is more heroism in it exactly because of the high risk attached to combat; taking out the risk would also diminish the heroism.

@ Learnedguy: Why do yxou want 4th edition for this and not a better suited system?

TomTheRat
2008-12-26, 08:20 AM
Honestly, use the WOD rules, have everyone create a regular template from the core WOD 3.5 book. Make all weapon based damage count as aggravated.

No magic of any sort.

Bam, you have a brutal combat system and much better skill handling. As a bonus you have virtually no houseruling.

edit: or you play in 4e DnD but make every character start with a dX hps, where the X is the classic value. 10 for fighter, 8 for cleric etc. Then they never get any more when they level up. You can let them get whatever powers they want because one or two hits with a sword will kill anyone. By level 3 nobody will ever survive more than a round or two of toe to toe combat.

Yakk
2008-12-26, 12:21 PM
So, let's step back.

Do you want to play using the world background of ASoIAF, or do you want to engage in genre emulation in ASoIAF?

ASoIAF is: (cliches)
An ensemble cast

Magic is reawakening, and strange

Death is easy

There is No Reward for Nobility

If everyone hates you, probably someone will kill you

The Left and doesn't know what the Right hand is doing

Power doesn't make Right, but Right doesn't make reality

There is a Doom that is coming

All of your petty machinations will come to naught

...

How many of these do you want in your RPG?

You can, as noted, simply use the world of ASoF&I as an inspiration for a background, and then play a completely different genre within it. One in which the great powers of the land are moving by the genre of ASoF&I, but the players are exceptional and end up blazing a trail ... until they don't.

...

Note that porting written fiction directly into an RPG doesn't generally work. Written fiction is a very very different medium than an RPG, and many of the conventions don't translate very well.

SmartAlec
2008-12-26, 01:14 PM
Translation: I donít know may systems and I am too lazy to look or adapt, so I take whatever I have at hand and donít really think about other consequences.

I'm not seeing it. What 'consequences'? You make this sound so very serious, but I don't think there's anything, any conflicts between mechanics and setting, that can't be solved by a little selective exclusion (removing the more egregiously magical aspects of the game), tweaking the difficulty of the combats, getting into the spirit of the setting, and a bit of mental dexterity on the part of the players.

You've put me in a place where this is going to have to become a member-waving contest if I'm to justify myself, but so be it. On my shelf I can see Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, both 'classic' edition and 'new' edition'; Pendragon, original edition; the official A Game of Thrones RPG, by Guardians of Order; Decipher's The Lord of the Rings RPG, which has an impressive de-emphasis on magic; and the third and fourth editions of Ars Magica, which have rather unforgiving combat/injury systems and might be an interesting way to cater for a character like Melisandre.

You're probably right that one of these could do it 'better'. But after some thought, I don't think any of these will do it appreciably better, not when the vast majority of the setting detail will likely be handled in roleplaying situations. I can see two fundamental 'shapes' for an aSoIaF campaign - an intrigue-heavy campaign, in which combat might well take a back-seat, or a campaign set at the Wall, where the supernatural will become prevalent enough for 4th Ed's combat system to pass muster. Either way, it'll work well enough.

Weezer
2008-12-26, 01:51 PM
As hp is an abstraction and a question of narrative (something I as the DM has almost full control off) there's actually little reason to gimp my players by taking away their precious health points.

One of the key differences that ASOIAF has from other fantasy is that everyone dies. There are no heroes that can take insane amounts of damage, the more experienced you are the better you are at defending yourself. if you stab Jaime, arguably the best knight with the most combat experience, he would have no better chance of survival than if you stabbed a peasant (assuming the same severity of the wound and same level of care). Using 4e HP a knight like Jaime would be able to take many times the number of wounds that the peasant could take before dying, creating an insurmountable disconnect with the feel of ASOIAF.
If everything is an abstraction and follows your narrative, just play free-form and not a system with severely unrealistic methods for dealing with combat and survivability.