• 28 Replies
« on: July 02, 2010, 02:42:23 PM »
Okay, this thread is gonna be to talk about the characters to play in the game, their moves, and how to divide them up. Right now I'm working on the assumption of playbooks as in standard AW, but Gregor Vuga's Sagas of the Icelanders has a more modular approach (that's divided by gender! Damn!) that looks cool. So I'm open to other suggestions.

Under the assumption of 'defined playbooks, no duplicates' as in the regular game, I'm thinking it works best to have the players be members of the same house, which still leaves plenty of room for cooperation and competition.

Okay, so, I want to do some pretty extensive hacking, but I'm thinking that the following character types will be "inspired by" the standard playbooks listed, meaning not just borrowed and modified moves, but the sort of role they play in relation to one another:

  • The Lord - Hardholder
  • The Lady - more complicated, I want the option of being a female lord, basically, or playing up her expected gender role (skinner moves?)
  • The Maester - a funky mash-up of Savvyhead and Angel, but probably not as good at healing as the Angel
  • The Septon/Septa - stuff from the hocus, but a little less wacknut by default
  • Sworn Sword/Man at Arms/Retainer - gunlugger
  • Vassal (or the heir?) - Chopper
  • Craftsman - operator?
  • Sell Sword - battlebabe?

Okay, so I can't think of any sort of driver analogue, and obviously the missing brainer is a big hole, especially since I do want there to be some subtle weirdness (prophetic dreams, skinchangers, et cetera). Moreover, any more jobs I can think of from the Ice and Fire direction start to seem super specialized and less genre-central, like sailors or singers or what not.

Oh, also, I don't want this to be a 'no girls allowed' kind of game, and right now the lady is the only role up there really 'for' women in the setting. Oh, and the septa. But there are lots of powerful and influential women in teh series, and there should be in the game too!

So who's got some ideas on why the above sucks or what other characters should be available and anything else?

Re: Playbooks
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2010, 04:17:47 PM »
Driver-analogue... how about some sort of mounted character who spends some of his time away from the holding; perhaps a high messenger, or otherwise someone who moves between areas on some sort of business for the Lord? I've only read the first book, so I'm not sure how it fits, but it's a thought.

Any involvement (esp. as a playbook) for the Night's Watch? Or would that be too distanced from the centralized, all-one-house structure you have so far?

What about more elegant swordplay, in the vein of Water Dancing? Perhaps as the Battlebabe, or as it's own thing.

Just some thoughts.

Re: Playbooks
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2010, 04:22:51 PM »
Hmmm, a messenger/outrider type very well might work for something like the driver (i.e. an impetus for mobility among the players).

And so far, I have (sadly) been excluding the Night's Watch, much as I love them. My thought process is kind of to get 'normal' Westeros workable, and then see how the more exotic stuff like Night's Watch and the Free Cities and Dothraki and all the rest fit in.

And yeah, good call on the Water Dancerism. I love Syrio Forel. One option would be to make the 'Retainer' able to cover that, but it's a distinct enough concept that it just might deserver its own playbook.

Re: Playbooks
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2010, 10:12:18 PM »
I don't think you necessarily have to address this through game design. If it's your intention for any gender to play any character type, then just leave it at that. The books have several examples of character acting outside expected gender roles (Brienne "the Beauty" of Tarth, forex). If a player wants to play a female knight or an influential lady, they should just make a character as usual and chalk themselves up as the exception to the rule.

Hmm, now that I think about it, however, it would be interesting to have a special move that kicks in "when you are challenged on account of your gender"...

Re: Playbooks
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2010, 10:16:28 PM »
Have you read the Maestro'D yet? I think some modification of it could work really well; it's not hard to imagine a lord having this guy on hand who manages the feasts and takes care of (and schmoozes) the guests, and so on.

Re: Playbooks
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2010, 04:50:40 AM »
I have read the Maestro D', and using him as a basis for a seneschal type character isn't a bad idea at all, thanks!

Re: Playbooks
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2010, 04:52:42 AM »
Oh! Or as a smallfolk innkeep (or have the option to be either).

Re: Playbooks
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2010, 05:59:37 PM »
First of all: yay!

You definitely need a playbook for the Spider (master of spies).

I think a modular approach could work very well, too. Have moves per culture, profession, and nature, and PCs pick from those. That would allow otherwise difficult characters like wardens to be implemented.

Re: Playbooks
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2010, 06:01:58 AM »
Christian, that's not a bad idea on the modular approach. I'm thinking about it very hard.

On the one hand, I like the way that prepackaged 'classes' with included social roles builds in 'what to do' and 'what sort of conflicts are likely' from the get go, with almost no work. I think a more traditional (heh, yes, I'm aware of the irony of calling something that was once 'cutting edge' traditional) 'build your own' approach requires the players to have very clear ideas on what they want their character to do in the game, what kind of social role to play and so forth.

This ties into some thoughts I've been having but not sharing about incorporating 'qualities'. As I re-read the stuff on the knife and candle hack, I realized that it was coming fairly close to a 'generic stat and specific skill' type system, and I'm not positive that's what I want to do here. On the other hand, without doing that, the moves might not leave much room for expansion with 'qualities'.

I guess at root, this whole issue gets at how much (and what, exactly) of AW I want to keep in the hack, and how much to change. I just want to make sure any changes are to better serve the game I'm going for, and not just be changy changefulness for change's sake.

Re: Playbooks
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2010, 08:01:49 PM »
  • Vassal (or the heir?) - Chopper
I believe the term the books use for "A guy with a pack of knights in service of a lord" is "bannerman."
I'll also second a desire for a "Spider" playbook.

Re: Playbooks
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2010, 04:43:01 AM »
Well, not to be a pedant, but aren't bannermen only the large houses in service of the 'main' house of a region (e.g. like Karstark to Stark, and so forth)? I seem to remember their being some distinction between bannermen and 'regular' guys sworn to a lord. But hell, 'bannerman' is a cooler name, so you're right that I should go with it.

And I can't believe I overlooked poor Varys. Some spideryness seems called for.



  • 342
Re: Playbooks
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2010, 09:05:13 AM »
I wouldn't worry about having an straight version of each playbook. Just throw driver out.
A player of mine playing a gunlugger - "So now that I took infinite knives, I'm setting up a knife store." Me - "....what?" Him - "Yeah, I figure with no overhead, I'm gonna make a pretty nice profit." Me - "......"

Re: Playbooks
« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2010, 04:18:58 PM »
Hey Chris,

   Yeah, it's not so much that I'm like "oh man, I gotta keep it as much like vanilla AW as possible", and that's why I'm looking at correspondences with the playbooks. It's more that the playbooks as is do a really good job of creating a pretty dynamic situation with characters going at different, interesting angles to one another, with just enough setting creation built in to make thins unique and interesting while still leaving lots of room to grow.

So, I see the driver's role being a goad not to just hang out at the same old hardhold all the time. He's got a vested interest in going places and so forth. I'm just wondering if Ice and Fire needs a similar role fulfilled, regardless of whether or not it's anything like 'driving'.

Re: Playbooks
« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2010, 05:01:44 PM »
Well, not to be a pedant, but aren't bannermen only the large houses in service of the 'main' house of a region (e.g. like Karstark to Stark, and so forth)? I seem to remember their being some distinction between bannermen and 'regular' guys sworn to a lord.
Strictly speaking, I believe a bannerman is a knight who is responsible for raising an army in his lords service. The term comes from his right to carry his own banner into war to act as a rallying point for his troops.
I guess the playbook could be expanded to handle guys like mercenary captains, who have a similar gig but aren't sworn to a lord and therefore aren't strictly speaking "bannermen" though.



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Re: Playbooks
« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2010, 12:22:28 PM »
I like what you're doing with Qualities in the other thread, and I like that more than I like Apocalypse World style Playbooks. I think maybe Playbooks would be a good starting point but man how would you cram all the really great concepts of the protagonists into niches? Like the Noble bastard turned Night's Watchman or the reviled dwarf noble turned general turned fugitive.

Qualities are the way to go here I think.
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