Winter is Here! How Are You Going to Play It?

Waiting for Winds of Winter to come out? Does the winter weather give you more inspiration to run your games? Eagerly anticipating the last season of Game of Thrones? Sounds like the perfect time to start an A Song of Ice & Fire (ASOIAF) or Game of Thrones campaign! However, with the license expired in 2017 for Green Ronin’s A Song of Ice & Fire, what system options are available for players?


It should be noted that Green Ronin is still selling its stock of ASOIAF RPG products (both print and PDF) and if you want to use them, that option exists. You can also get Guardians of Order D20 version as well, should you want that. Either might be worth having just for the background material alone. There is also Fantasy AGE by Green Ronin that could work for you. If you are looking to run a campaign or even just a one shot, here are a few other suggestions.

Magic World

Magic World is the first system that came to mind, partly because I am working on a setting for it at the moment and partly because I think BRP handles any fantasy incredibly well. The sorcery is dark and limited to those with a high POW (Power) score. The combat is extremely gritty and deadly, with criticals that feel brutal. It is also a system that handled a previous IP very well, Stormbringer and Elric!. Basic Role Playing has the chops to handle a long term grimdark fantasy very well. The drawback is that it lacks an inherent narrative architecture, making the storytelling elements of ASOIAF heavy lifting for the GM.

Warhammer (any edition) / Zweihander

Warhammer is the very definition of a grim European-centric world with chaos and knights and just plain misery. Any game in the Warhammer franchise or its close cousin Zweihander should be able to handle Westeros extremely well. In addition, the Warhammer lineage includes some great adventures and adventure arcs, real iconic stuff. These would make great examples for how to put together your story in Westeros.

Pendragon

Likely the most obvious game that comes to mind for many. You have knights, quests, chivalry, and if magic exists, it is dark. Pendragon also takes a long term or generational view of game play, which fits the dynastic politics of Westeros. A focus on English mythology plays into similar inspirations that George R.R. Martin has tapped into.

Cthulhu Dark Ages

An oddball system that might seem out of place, but bear with me a moment. Cthulhu Dark Ages (CDA) has (almost) the right time period. If you want a game that focuses more on the dark magical lore of Westeros as opposed to big scary folk in armor using cuss words and hacking off heads, then something like CDA might well be the game. Especially if you see some Lovecraftian ideas in ASOIAF.

Adventures in Middle Earth

Adventures in Middle Earth (AME) and The One Ring from Cubicle 7 handle a literary IP world with great finesse. The structure of an AME game allows for the GM and players to again focus on a long term campaign, over many seasons or years. As a basic system, 5E is familiar and easy to get into for most players. It might require some changes in classes, backgrounds, and folk but those changes should be minimal and there are already great examples.

Star Trek Adventures

Why would you use a science fiction game for emulating a dark and gritty fantasy world? The answer is simple: Star Trek Adventures (STA) handles episodic play and support characters very well. It is baked into the system itself. If you wanted to run a campaign based on the show as opposed to the books, then STA by Modiphius might be the way to go. You could even hack something together by combining Conan with STA!

This article was contributed by Sean Hillman (SMHWorlds) as part of EN World's Columnist (ENWC) program. If you enjoy the daily news and articles from EN World, please consider contributing to our Patreon!
 
Sean Hillman

Comments

LuisCarlos17f

Adventurer
Song of Ice & Fire is like Lord of the Rings, and to a lesser extent, Dragonlance. Good, great stories, but closer options for a spin-off with your own PCs. To play in Westeros is better to create a mash-up with your favorite RPG, or at least with a system your players are used.

* A off-topic question. If my PCs is an archer with a fire arrow and I shoot it to the wildfire over water and I destroy Stannis Baratheon's fleet. How many XPs reward are for me, or are for the crossbower-warlord gnome who gave the order?
 

Hugh Acton

Villager
HeroQuest would be a good system for the narrative aspects and could handle the political escalation quite well. Of course there is GURPS, which I have heard, is where it originated.
 

SMHWorlds

Explorer
* A off-topic question. If my PCs is an archer with a fire arrow and I shoot it to the wildfire over water and I destroy Stannis Baratheon's fleet. How many XPs reward are for me, or are for the crossbower-warlord gnome who gave the order?
Make a Persuasion (Charisma) check, DC 30 against Season 2 Gnome-Warlord's enormous popularity. If you can beat it, he gives you some small share of the credit. So 25% XP. If you fail, the Boy-King takes your share of credit and has you executed.
 

Dioltach

Adventurer
With some slight tweaking, the Wheel of Time d20 RPG could take you a long way. I've already used it for a campaign in Middle Earth.
 

Zardnaar

Hero
Song of Ice & Fire is like Lord of the Rings, and to a lesser extent, Dragonlance. Good, great stories, but closer options for a spin-off with your own PCs. To play in Westeros is better to create a mash-up with your favorite RPG, or at least with a system your players are used.

* A off-topic question. If my PCs is an archer with a fire arrow and I shoot it to the wildfire over water and I destroy Stannis Baratheon's fleet. How many XPs reward are for me, or are for the crossbower-warlord gnome who gave the order?
If it was D&D its a milestone (level up), AD&D 2E bonus xp for kewl/campaing climatic thing, 3E/4E do whatever.

The DM did set it up for you to do that. You could be in for a windfall of xp in 1E or BECMI but even then you only get 1 level and 1xp short of the next one. At the end of the battle either way levelling up (or the equivalent) would be on the cards IMHO.
 

R_Chance

Explorer
I'd go with the GoO version. If I was using a Green Ronin I'd default back to True 20. An adaptation of Adventures in Middle Earth would be interesting (5E) if you were involving PCs in some serious quest type stuff. The setting's pretty low magic -- in terms of the players anyway... I like 5E but cutting the magic out would be fairly drastic. That's not hard with True 20 and built in in GoT (GoO) and AiME… OK, must focus on my own game... needed homebrewing in progress... *crack of a whip* back to it! :)
 

Sadras

Explorer
Currently playing in ASoIaF campaign in Westeros. We have a few house rules but the system works incredibly well to handle that setting.
 

Caliburn101

Explorer
Actually Conan:Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of requires very little converison to run this very well. The skills and combat work well for it, the period is Medieval (as it is based on the books not the pastiche or movies) and the Sorcery is almost identical. Get a GoT sourcebook and make a few minro changes to background titles and you'd be pretty much ready to go.
 

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