Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Song Of Ice And Fire Roleplaying: Adventures In The Seven Kingdoms (A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying) A Song Of Ice And Fire Roleplaying: Adventures In The Seven Kingdoms by Robert J. Schwalb

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

With the upcoming HBO mini-series based on A Game of Thrones, there is buzz again about George R R Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series.

The other day, my gaming group tried out the quickstart rules for this roleplaying game, and I was quite impressed. At no time did I feel lost, that I was just playing a generic fantasy role playing game with no purpose but to slay monsters. We were all members of the same house, a young lord, who has taken over the house at the age of 14; his uncle, the proud knight; his bastard brother who dreamt of one day becoming the master of horse; the young squire, who has hidden her gender in service to her dream of becoming a knight; and so on.

So I picked up the rulebook. I have the ugly orange cover, but the rules are well done, and my original feeling that this game will ground you in a noble house is born out. There is a chapter telling the players how to design their own house. Players will get to decide on building castles, towers, and other buildings to hold their lands. They will have to chose between devoting resources to defensive fortifications, political influence, lands, law, population, military power, and wealth.

Like any role playing game, there is a chapter on combat. There are also chapters on intrigue and large scale warfare. Seduction, poisoning, lies, and the rest of the staples of court intrigue are covered.

The rules follow the books very closely. You can create a character like any of those found in the books. You can be a cripple who has had his third eye opened and can see through the eyes of his dire wolf, like Bran Stark. You can be a noblewoman who stays within the boundaries of her class and gender while striving to protect her house and family like Catelyn Stark. Or a dwarf (human) nobleman with a big mouth and bigger wit like Tyrion Lannister. And so on.

Besides gold and experience, the players also work for glory. Glory is a resource for their house, which can be spent to improve the house's fortunes.

The cover art is annoyingly bad, but some of the other illustrations are fine.

If you wonder about roleplaying in a fantasy world based on a series that is not complete, this game is set just *before* Game of Thrones. This is a very low magic world, which is quite refreshing.

Recommend for George R R Martin fans who are also gamers. Or should it be the other way around?

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Terrior 2010

This weekend McMinnville hosted the first Terrior writing conference. Ursula K. LeGuin was the opening speaker, who presented a rather funny take on storytelling, and why it's better to make things up as opposed to stick to the facts.

"Fact is hard to come by, and is very controversial. You are more likely to connect in a shared reality with your reader if you write Fiction."

She went on to liken life expeience to compost. "You never know what will come up. You think you're planting a petunia, and up pops an eggplant. This is good. Go with your eggplant."

On falling book sales: "The majority of people have never read for pleasure and never will. That's OK. There are more readers than writers, and it's your job to find a way to write and get paid for it."

There were many other speakers and workshops, and I took away useful ideas from each one I attended. The offical site: http://artsallianceyamhillco.org/pages/programs.html#Anchor-Terroi-29856