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Pas­sions are an unusual kind of attribute for char­ac­ters in Blade of the Iron Throne – unusual not only inas­far as they are entirely made up by the player, but even more so in how they are as much an attribute of the player as of his character.

On the sur­face, a Pas­sion is some­thing a char­ac­ter wants to achieve – res­cu­ing some­body, get­ting revenge on some­body, attain­ing some goal, or any­thing else the player can think of. When­ever the char­ac­ter is in pur­suit of the thing he has a Pas­sion for, the Pas­sion attribute aids him in his die rolls to achieve this goal. On this level, Pas­sion attrib­utes can be regarded as that bit of extra drive and resolve that sets apart the hero from the com­mon man.

On a deeper level Pas­sions serve to com­mu­ni­cate to the ref­eree aspects of the story that the player wants to tell through his char­ac­ter. In other words, at a broad level what the player wants the game to be about for his or her char­ac­ter. If a player endows his char­ac­ter with a Pas­sion to “Wear the crown of Aquilo­nia upon a trou­bled brow”, this is the player’s way of telling the ref­eree very clearly that he would like to have adven­tures where his char­ac­ter has oppor­tu­ni­ties to fur­ther this goal. Com­mu­ni­cat­ing this clearly serves a dual purpose:

For ref­er­ees, the com­mu­ni­ca­tion serves as a pointer and an inspi­ra­tion in cre­at­ing scenarios.

For play­ers, com­mu­ni­cat­ing their wants and expec­ta­tions clearly serves as a vir­tual guar­an­tee that they will expe­ri­ence sce­nar­ios that really engage their inter­est. This is how the Pas­sion attribute is really also an attribute of the player and not just the char­ac­ter: From among the spec­trum of pur­suits that are plau­si­ble within the frame of ref­er­ence that is his character’s fic­tional per­son­al­ity, the player selects those pur­suits that inter­est him and ele­vates them to Passions.

On yet another level Pas­sions assure that char­ac­ters in Blade of the Iron Throne stand head and shoul­ders above lesser men and are equipped to achieve great things: The player decides what he would like his char­ac­ter to achieve or at least pur­sue. He makes this into a Pas­sion attribute. In cre­at­ing a sce­nario, the ref­eree reviews the char­ac­ters’ Pas­sion attrib­utes and cre­ates mate­r­ial that engages one of more of the Pas­sions of each of the player char­ac­ters. By hav­ing Pas­sions that engage with the sce­nario pre­sented by the ref­eree, the char­ac­ters are more suc­cess­ful in brav­ing the sce­nario than aver­age guys would be.

And there is still more to Pas­sions, like serv­ing as a reward mechanic dri­ving char­ac­ter devel­op­ment and unit­ing a group of quite pos­si­bly rather diverse player char­ac­ters in pur­suit of one com­mon goal or of at least mutu­ally sup­port­ive goals. You can find out even more about those aspects of Pas­sions in the pages of Blade of the Iron Throne.