DM advice on setting (Westeros / Ice & Fire / Game of Thrones)


Conversions


I'm thinking about DMing a play by post for a few friends, and I've decided that I love Ice and Fire, and it'd make an interesting and fun setting. What I'm having trouble deciding is this: Do i want to make it take place IN westeros, or do I want to allow for more high-fantasy? I can say that magic is newly coming back with the dragons (mentioned in one of the chapters with Daenerys), and that full blooded races of non-humans are rare but playable. This would make my world diverge slightly from the world of the books (which i do want) but it might break the world a bit. another option is to make it very low fantasy, and allow only humans and no magic whatsoever for PCs. The last option is to make a Westeros-like world in which magic and other high-fantasy elements are perfectly integrated into the world.
I'm a big fan of high fantasy, so the first and third options look like fun. Both could be a lot of work, but the second may be too restrictive, and to be honest, a bit un-inspired.
Thoughts?

Spoiler:

Just as an aside: I'm thinking about having the pcs start in the fighting pits in Meereen, have a few gladatorial matches together, and then escape a few days/weeks before Daenerys' attack on the city. They can travel wherever, they please, and from there the storyline of the books will play out in the background (the war of five kings will have started, but word would not yet have reached the PCs.


Well, I think that if you keep using PCs and NPCs without much magic then even unmodified Westeros will play out nicely, but you must be wary of the more mystical monsters as they count on PCs having magical gear.

Dark Archive

stjohnmccloskey wrote:

The last option is to make a Westeros-like world in which magic and other high-fantasy elements are perfectly integrated into the world.

I'm a big fan of high fantasy, so the first and third options look like fun. Both could be a lot of work, but the second may be too restrictive, and to be honest, a bit un-inspired.
Thoughts?
** spoiler omitted **

A Westeros-like high-fantasy world is probably your easiest bet. Keep the names, alter the history slightly (not necessarily what happened, but how), and spread the classes around; druids in Westeros will be from the north, Clerics in the south, Rangers on the Wall, Fighters and Cavaliers will be most knights, Wildlings will have Barbarians and Witches, and so on. I'm not sure there's a place for Gunslingers or Paladins at all, but that's your call, obviously. While Monster antagonists would probably be fine, you might want to limit PC races to Human and Dwarf (or Halfling), just to keep the right feel.

The other option is to stick as close to the books as possible and find a copy of Iron Heroes or the official Song of Ice & Fire RPG. :)


I suggest that this thread be moved to the Conversions section of the forum. You might get more feedback there.


Personally, I don't like campaigns where magic is supposed to be rare, but where there's no way of enforcing that aspect (other than the GM giving the player a dirty look). I'd rather have a no-magic campaign (maybe using some bits and pieces from Iron Heroes) or a regular magic campaign (which would probably end up more like Dragon Age than ASOI&F).

Sovereign Court

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Ask your players what they think/want. Personally I wouldn't want to play in anything but a human only low/no magic setting for Ice and Fire. Also I wouldn't use Pathfinder. I would lean towards Burning wheel or BRP. Interesting topic though let us know what you end up doing.


Much of the world of Westeros doesnt make sense if you suddenly have wizards, oracles, etc wandering around. So, my conclusion is that Pathfinder is by far the wrong choice for that setting. Besides, Pathfinder is neither built for social conflicts or mass battles, which are more important to westeros than dungeon crawling.

Have you looked at the official ASoF&I RPG? Its emphasis on social skills and intrigue highlight why you should use a system other than Pathfinder.

My personal recommendation would be Burning Wheel, with its emphasis on dynamic narrative and the Duel of Wits system which is perfect for all the intrigue in Westeros.

If you still want to use a d20 system and something more akin to what you're used to, FantasyCraft is better suited for low-magic worlds and would be much better at capturing the feel of the world.


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+1 regarding Burning Wheel as a better System for that setting.

Otherwise, i think that you should ban most of the Spellcasting classes, until the Magic is back into the world.

In order to keep my comment spoiler free, i would state that its a Low magic setting while the dragons are dead. As its said in the books, "magic died with the dragons"

Liberty's Edge

unopened wrote:

+1 regarding Burning Wheel as a better System for that setting.

Otherwise, i think that you should ban most of the Spellcasting classes, until the Magic is back into the world.

In order to keep my comment spoiler free, i would state that its a Low magic setting while the dragons are dead. As its said in the books, "magic died with the dragons"

Add me to the suggestion of Burning Wheel for this. In fact my group is considering starting a short story playing Burning Wheel in a campaign setting in Westeros after Game of Thrones. The system is gritty enough for that truly medieval feeling that ASoIaF conveys


I'm not going to avoid spoiling the plot for those who haven read the books :p
To be honest i'm leaning towards the idea of making the world diverge slightly. I'm probably going to go with my first option, in which case wizards will be out because they require a magical infrastructure. Sorcerors seem to make sense with the dragons return, and i think clerics, druids, paladins, rangers, and bards all have a place as well. (paladins might only belong to the order of the warriors sons but there is definitely a place for them).
To show that magic is new in the world i might have each player start with one level in an npc class, then pick up a class level in the fighting pits, where they might realize that they can suddenly do some minor magic, or maybe just get better at fighting :p
The reason im using pathfinder is simply because i love it :) that's honestly it. I really love the high fantasy of it. Im ok with my world being different from ice and fire to use this system.


Actually I'd use paladins as the idealistic young knights like Brienne of Tarth and Loras Tyrell :)


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Zmar wrote:
Actually I'd use paladins as the idealistic young knights like Brienne of Tarth and Loras Tyrell :)

Barristan Selmy could out-paladin Loras Tyrell on the paladiniest day of his life with an electrified paladinning machine!

Liberty's Edge

stjohnmccloskey wrote:


The reason im using pathfinder is simply because i love it :) that's honestly it. I really love the high fantasy of it. Im ok with my world being different from ice and fire to use this system.

While that's half the battle, I suggest -- humbly -- that how your players feel about that is equally as germane.

I personally wouldn't play a high fantasy Westeros, because it would not longer BE Westeros. While I appreciate that your view is very different, it does seem to me that your players' views on this need to be taken into account, too. Have you asked them?

And as for Selmy -- he might be out Paladinning Ser Loras -- but he'd still be dead if he ran up against him. Time is not kind to the aged here -- or in Westeros...


I'm of course going to talk it over with my players, but I'm the only one who's read the books, two of them have seen the game of thrones tv series, and the other has no idea what's going on with it.

I'm ok with my world not being westeros, i do like the political climate and I'm familiar with the geography and such. It's a great setting, for (sorta) crunchy reasons, even if i give up the gritty low-magic-ness.

As for loras, if you haven't read through at least feast of crows dont look

Spoiler:
Loras might look paladin-y but he still f!#$s his sister and cousins - which may or may not be evil, i guess you could debate it (still makes you want to be sick) but it is treason AND it breaks his vows as a knight of the kingsguard. D: I feel like Brienne doesn't have any real religious flavor like the warrior's sons do

Shadow Lodge

Have you tried looking at this: A Game of Thrones RPG


I haven't seen a d20 one, but that is more than I'm willing to invest :P I haven't got money to throw away at more rpgs. To be honest I'm looking to bring the setting to Pathfinder, I'm not looking to play an rpg in westeros :)


I've read through Feast of Crows, but I don't remember Loras doing this... Can you point me at least to chapter (It has been a long long time since I've read it).

Paladin's don't exactly need a religious ben IMO, just a belief in the cause of good. And Brienne has that.

And toward Barristan - a hell of a Paladin :)


Ha. Yeah I did some prep for a Westeros game. Players were going to be Lannister guards (the one's that injured Stark). Travel, fight, be at important events, able to influence them. It was going to also use clips from the show to set some scenes. Another game idea got chosen by the players, but here is some prep.

Skill system
AD&D thief. You buy into certain skills and up the d100 with a simple point buy sort of thing (character points).

Combat
The Lace and Steel combat system. It's a swashbuckling card based game, and can lead to fights very much like what was seen in the show and the books (it can also be very gritty and hack and slash). It is basically an attack and defence game, with fatigue, low hp, armour soaks. Lace and Steel also easily transfers to mounted combat or lance tourneys.

Also added some special abilities bought with character points.

Magic
Was going to pretty much keep magic right out of it. The Lannisters aren't that involved with magic, not like some of the other factions. If the players came across those few who can actually use magic, then they would be facing powers they didn't understand with mechanics they didn't know. Melissandre seems to use magic on you, and you drop dead from poison. Exciting.

It could have been a great game. I'd like to run it someday. Spar with Sandor or Jaime, backhand Septas, compete in the tourney, wench, face palm at mad Joffrey, mow down Stark and Baratheon soldiers, flee from lost battles.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

For Fire and Ice, I would use d20 Modern rules for classes (Pathfinderized for skills, combat, etc., but still using Con Score as Massive Damage Threshold, with Toughness also increasing this by +1 per hit die), and then have the regular Pathfinder core and base classes be advanced classes. For example, to be a Fighter, you need +3 BAB, proficient in Light and Medium Armor, Proficient in Martial Weapons. For a sorcerer, you need a Wild Talent feat, 3 ranks in Spellcraft, 1 rank in bloodline skill, etc. etc.

EDIT:

I once played in a low magic, just humans D&D game. The DM and the 1 magic-user used an alternative spell system, and it was really neat because the rest of the characters didn't know the rules for magic, and neither did the rest of the players!!! It made it REALLY interesting and fun. It was also a pretty slow advancing campaign. Over a year or so, we only got up to 3rd level. But we had a lot of fun. I think they used the Elements of Magic sub-system.


Zmar:
Chapter 35. it could be argued that the blue bard was making things up, but he accuses Loras and then at cersie's command changes his story away from it, which suggested to me that what he said first was the truth, and that was altered by Cersei. Maybe I'm reading into it wrong but there certainly was a lot to suggest that Margery and Loras might have taken a page from the Lannister twin's handbook

I like alternative magic systems because the current one is a bit broken :P I do quite like the idea of playing with something like your suggestion SmiloDan. I was thinking that they'd be slave gladiators to start with, and would start with one level in an NPC class, and then they could gain levels as they pleased from there, The setting will be low magic to start, and then as the players become more powerful, they'll see that other magic is becoming more powerful too (everything stemming from the return of the dragons...I'm thinking about making Valyrian steel become more powerful over time. Originally it might start out with just a +2 enhancement bonus, but every few levels, as the "magic-ness" of the world increases, valyrian steel might pick up more enhancement, and perhaps specialize (if ice was still around it might pick up the icy burst ability etc.)


What about Valyrian steel as Adamantine instead? Cutting normal metal, nigh impossible to work...


There actually is/was a d20 game of thrones rpg. It is out of print but you should have a look on ebay and for used copies through book stores/game stores. If you search for 'a game of thrones d20 rpg' it comes up on amazon. Its pricey, but it does a whole lot to take 3.5 dnd to Westeros, so it might be worth it. I own a copy and all the flavor text alone was worth the book.


I thought about making it Adamantine, but to be honest that doesn't seem to cut it unless I do decide to make it a very low magic campaign. It could be adamantine and enchanted.

Thanks Kolokotroni, someone else posted it, but I'm moving to study abroad in the netherlands for 6 months, so i'd rather spend the 65 bucks on a trip to italy for a weekend or something :P I haven't got enough money to throw away if i want to make the most of my trip I'm afraid


+1 to that :)


stjohnmccloskey wrote:

I thought about making it Adamantine, but to be honest that doesn't seem to cut it unless I do decide to make it a very low magic campaign. It could be adamantine and enchanted.

Thanks Kolokotroni, someone else posted it, but I'm moving to study abroad in the netherlands for 6 months, so i'd rather spend the 65 bucks on a trip to italy for a weekend or something :P I haven't got enough money to throw away if i want to make the most of my trip I'm afraid

Thats fair, in which case i would search the boards for rules ideas on low magic and low magic item games. Westeros is orders of magnitude less magic then the default pathfinder assumption and you are going to need to make changes with either the game system or the setting.

Even if you think some of the major magic classes are ok in your modified westeros you will need to deal with magic items. Westeros is certainly not overflowing with magic rings, swords, rods etc the way that the default pathfinder game is. I am currently running a low magic item game. I solved the issue with giving the players internal abilities as they level up rather then a rotating inventory of magic items, if you are interested i can link you to the thread where i post my idea (there are many others floating around here on these boards).

If you do go high magic you should be careful about the kind of game you want to create. Much of the political intrigue that makes the song of ice and fire so entertaining would run into the cell phone problem (a term for issues where a whole movie plot would have and should have been solved with a cell phone). Divination magic, the ability for individuals to travel great distances quickly, or to communicate secretly, as well as alot of other utility spells can REALLY screw up political plotlines. If if a high level god could have just ASKED the gods who jeoffy's real father was, cersie would have been executed, her children exhiled or simply shamed into irrelevance and stannis Ned would have installed Stannis on the throne after a single book, perhaps sooner. Would have been kind of anticlimactic dont you think?


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hogarth wrote:
Zmar wrote:
Actually I'd use paladins as the idealistic young knights like Brienne of Tarth and Loras Tyrell :)
Barristan Selmy could out-paladin Loras Tyrell on the paladiniest day of his life with an electrified paladinning machine!

So did he lose his paladin powers before or after watching his king burn innocent people alive in their armour and continuing to serve said king until he was killed and himself defeated in battle..


That's a really good point. My original idea on how to deal with this problem would be to let magic grow very slowly, but youre right, it would quickly ruin the setting. I've also been mulling over ways to make magic less...reality altering. I like the idea of making bad saves 1/2 and good saves 3/4. I'm not sure how to deal with divination though. Divination DOES exist in the world already...And divination is always DM dependant, so i suppose that the easiest solution would be to just make divination even more vague than usual, and make communication magic slow, expensive, and unreliable so that crows are often preferable.
Also, divine magic will be interesting because with the seven, god's internal motivations may be at conflict, which might make it more managable?
Rhollor on the other hand...well...Melissindre essentially WAS told by god that jamie was joffery's father.
it's definitely something I'll have to think on though, so thank you! :)


Dan E wrote:
hogarth wrote:
Zmar wrote:
Actually I'd use paladins as the idealistic young knights like Brienne of Tarth and Loras Tyrell :)
Barristan Selmy could out-paladin Loras Tyrell on the paladiniest day of his life with an electrified paladinning machine!
So did he lose his paladin powers before or after watching his king burn innocent people alive in their armour and continuing to serve said king until he was killed and himself defeated in battle..

What exactly is the paladin code of Kingsguard?


Zmar wrote:
What exactly is the paladin code of Kingsguard?

Ye gods (old and new)! I don't think anyone is suggesting that every Kingsguard member would be a paladin in D&D terms!!


I didn't read through everything here, but wanted to point out that there is A Song of Ice and Fire RPG already on the market. From what I've seen of the book it is a rather true-to-the-setting system. IIRC it is a d6 system, but was pretty mechanically sound, and conducive to a more narrative type of play. Just something you might want to check out, even it if it's just to look at their setting guidelines.


hogarth wrote:
Zmar wrote:
What exactly is the paladin code of Kingsguard?
Ye gods (old and new)! I don't think anyone is suggesting that every Kingsguard member would be a paladin in D&D terms!!

Seems like it would make more sense for them to be their own custom cavalier order.


There was a dragon mag a few years back that has an article on Westeros and using it as a campaign world. They suggested no magic, low magic or normal high fantasy. So you are not far off what they suggested. This is definately a situation where encounter choice, intrigue and setting make or break the endeavor.


Kingsguard would swear it's own oath and for a paladin there it would be a code IMO. I think that service to the king would be first and foremost on this list...


Well on the other hand they seem to be able to break their oaths without losing any abilities, which tells me that while they do swear oaths, those oaths are not integrated into their class :P


Heh, I guess that some are just not Paladins ;)

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