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FAQ 6 years 4 months ago #10

  • Michael
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Whyever Sword And Sor­cery?

Because Sword & Sor­cery is sadly under­rep­re­sented in what con­sti­tutes con­tem­po­rary fan­tas­tic fic­tion. We find this all the more lam­en­ta­ble as Sword & Sor­cery is one of the old­est, quite pos­si­bly the old­est thread in what con­sti­tutes the tapes­try that is fan­tas­tic fic­tion. We feel that its mer­its should once again be more widely appre­ci­ated and hope that we can con­tribute some­thing to prop­a­gat­ing them.

Because we find that Sword & Sor­cery is an emi­nently suit­able model for the kind of gam­ing we enjoy. We like our games to move fast and to be full of excite­ment, thrills, and rous­ing action. Sword & Sor­cery does deliver admirably and all those counts, much more so than a lot of con­tem­po­rary fan­tas­tic fic­tion with its some­times pon­der­ous pre­ten­tions.

And last but not least because we really enjoy Sword & Sor­cery. A lot.
Bow down: I am the emperor of dreams;
I crown me with the million-​colored sun
Of secret worlds incred­i­ble, and take
Their trail­ing skies for vest­ment when I soar.

Clark Ash­ton Smith, The Hashish Eater or The Apoc­a­lypse of Evil
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FAQ 6 years 4 months ago #11

  • Michael
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Cus­tomis­ing Blade of the Iron Throne

What other gen­res apart from Sword & Sor­cery is Blade suit­able for?

At the core of Blade of the Iron Throne lies the fact that it is designed for out­stand­ing PCs play­ing through cin­e­matic action adven­tures in which they are the main pro­tag­o­nists, not merely the sup­port­ers of the peo­ple who are the real pro­tag­o­nists. The term “action adven­tures” does of course encom­pass com­bat, but is cer­tainly not to be lim­ited to it, and “cin­e­matic” is not sup­posed to mean “unre­al­is­tic” (even though the capa­bil­i­ties of many Blade PCs may push the bound­aries of real­ism), but rather emu­late the way action and adven­ture movies show­case their pro­tag­o­nists and have them reg­u­larly achieve things that are beyond the capa­bil­i­ties of com­mon men. Think on how the Indi­ana Jones movies are cin­e­matic, and you’ve got it.

Finally, any cam­paign of Blade should have no limit to what the PCs can achieve within the set­ting.

Any game that ful­fills these require­ments will work fine with the mechan­ics of Blade of the Iron Throne.

What will not work are:

Games where the PCs are either ordi­nary or just above-​average folk.

Games that put their empha­sis not on action, but on intrigue or social inter­ac­tion, or worst of all, that only occa­sion­ally putting the spot­light on the PCs’ ho-​hum, every-​day life within the set­ting.

Games that glo­rify the set­ting. You can for exam­ple play Blade in Middle-​Earth, but if you do, there must be noth­ing the PCs can’t achieve, includ­ing things like destroy­ing Sauron, using the One Ring for their own pur­poses, and sail­ing to Aman.

With any of the above, Blade of the Iron Throne would require con­sid­er­able to even major rework­ing to func­tion at all, and the result would likely not run smoothly, but always feel like bits and ends cob­bled together. We feel the result not worth the effort, and would advise groups who want to play in any of these styles to look toward other sys­tems; they will be bet­ter served by them.

So, what can Blade of the Iron Throne be used for, then?

Sword & Sor­cery of course, and, with some addi­tional work, its cousin, Sword & Planet.

His­tor­i­cal adven­tures, pro­vided that their his­tory is merely the stage dress­ing in front of which the PCs’ mighty actions unfold, and not a pro­tag­o­nist in its own right that is to be explored and inter­acted with in detail.

Main-​stream fan­tasy with Orcs, and Elves, and Dwarves, again pro­vided that the set­ting doesn’t steal cen­tre stage from the PCs.

Space opera, though of course only with con­sid­er­able addi­tional labour to come up with all that high-​tech stuff.

Pulp adven­tures in the vein of “The Shadow” and “Doc Sav­age”, if you know what we mean (and if you don’t, don’t worry, you won’t be likely to use Blade for this genre any­how). It would of course require some work for the more mod­ern tech­nol­ogy of the ‘20s &30s.

Steam­punk, though it would, again, require quite a bit of work to come up with the addi­tional steamtech stuff needed.

But we really advise you strongly that at first at least give the set­ting of Xoth and the intended genre of Sword & Sor­cery a try. Dur­ing playtest­ing and later on, we heard from many play­ers who were at first reluc­tant to take the plunge with both, but every sin­gle one of them was hap­pier for doing so. Not only did using Blade of the Iron Throne for what it is designed for give them an appre­ci­a­tion of what it does and doesen’t do (which is invalu­able for any cus­tomi­sa­tion one may later do), they also found giv­ing Sword & Sor­cery a try just once a great expe­ri­ence. We are con­fi­dent that you will enjoy it too.
Bow down: I am the emperor of dreams;
I crown me with the million-​colored sun
Of secret worlds incred­i­ble, and take
Their trail­ing skies for vest­ment when I soar.

Clark Ash­ton Smith, The Hashish Eater or The Apoc­a­lypse of Evil
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FAQ 6 years 4 months ago #162

  • Michael
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Rolling Dice In The Open

Why are all rolls sup­posed to be in the open?

Because rolling in secret allows the ref­eree to fake results, and by fak­ing results, take the plot into a direc­tion he wants to – in effect, rail­road­ing.

If the ref­eree really, really wants or thinks he must have a cer­tain out­come to a Check, he can offer Drama to his play­ers to accept that out­come. That way, if he rail­roads the plot, he at least has to pay an indem­nity to the play­ers.

But what about rolls for those things going on in secret, hid­den from the PCs’ eyes?

These are made in the open, too, though the ref­eree is not required to state what exactly he is check­ing for.

How­ever, to pre­vent the ref­eree from abus­ing this priv­i­lege by rolling friv­o­lously, until the dice come finally up with the result he wants, he has to state roughly what the Check is for, against whom it is directed (if applic­a­ble), and the QoS required for it to be suc­cess­ful. He would for exam­ple have to state: “If I achieve three suc­cesses, some­thing bad is going to hap­pen to [character’s name].”

But isn’t this too though on play­ers? The ref­eree won’t after all be able to fake any­thing to give the PCs a break, or even safe them from death.

Yes, but then again, he is not sup­posed to. We think that Blade PCs are already tough enough to deal with most any­thing, even more so as the play­ers can always resort to Drama to pur­chase lucky breaks for their PCs. Throw­ing fur­ther “free­bie” breaks to the play­ers, would, in our opin­ion, really be over­do­ing it. And if a group feels that this is still too tough on their already immensely capa­ble PCs, it can decide to use the optional rule about the use of Drama to avert PC death.

But what about melee? Rolling in the open will imme­di­ately give away the size of the MPs, remov­ing the tac­ti­cal ele­ment of hav­ing to guess the size of an opponent’s MP.

Not nec­es­sar­ily. As nobody is required to use up all one’s melee dice dur­ing any given Round, bluff­ing is still pos­si­ble – even though in our expe­ri­ence, nobody both­ers with that any­way.

Still, know­ing the size of an enemy’s MP in Round one has two effects which are inten­tional:

It adds an ele­ment of uncer­ti­tude to Round one, dis­cour­ag­ing play­ers from “going all in” with their melee dice imme­di­ately, which we think is good and fur­thers more inter­est­ing com­bats.

It allows play­ers to be more forth­right from Round two onwards, enabling them to fin­ish their melees as quickly as such capa­ble heroes are actu­ally sup­posed to; panache instead of end­less pre­var­i­ca­tion is the name of the game in Sword & Sor­cery, and thus, Blade of the Iron Throne.
Bow down: I am the emperor of dreams;
I crown me with the million-​colored sun
Of secret worlds incred­i­ble, and take
Their trail­ing skies for vest­ment when I soar.

Clark Ash­ton Smith, The Hashish Eater or The Apoc­a­lypse of Evil
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FAQ 6 years 4 months ago #198

  • Michael
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The Rule Of Iron

Why are ref­er­ees absolutely not allowed to change rules?


Because a game, ses­sion, or cam­paign of Blade of the Iron Throne is not their game, ses­sion, or cam­paign of Blade of the Iron Throne, but the entire group’s. He owns none of these things; the group does. Con­se­quently, he does not have the province to change the frame of ref­er­ence in which play­ing takes place (i.e. the rules); this right does belong to all par­tic­i­pants jointly, who, after all, will have to act within this frame of ref­er­ence.

And there’s another rea­son, and that’s to pre­vent rail­road­ing. Maybe you can recall the socalled “Golden Rule” of White Wolf games, the one that pro­claims that the ref­eree has the right to, at any time, dis­re­gard any rule if he deems it good for the story. Spelled out dif­fer­ently, this means no less than that the ref­eree has the right to arbi­trar­ily pre­scribe the out­come of any PC or NPC action, whether opposed or unop­posed. When the ref­eree wants a char­ac­ter to suc­ceed, he does, and when he wants him to fail, he does. The direc­tion into which the events move are thus entirely in the hands of the ref­eree – the ulti­mate rail­road­ing device.

In Blade, the PCs, and through them, the play­ers, are meant to drive the plot. The only direc­tions of events that are closed to them are those that they fail to bring to pass by their own very con­sid­er­able capa­bil­i­ties, that is, where they fail their Checks. In Blade, we are deal­ing with pow­er­ful PCs who are sup­posed to accom­plish much, and who are equipped to accom­plish much; the ref­eree has no busi­ness dic­tat­ing what they should and should not accom­plish.

The ref­eree may thus never ever dis­re­gard, change, or add any rule with­out his group’s con­sent. And this most def­i­nitely, and even espe­cially, encom­passes the rule that all rolls are made in the open.

When the group and not the ref­eree has, by major­ity vote, dis­cre­tionary power over the rules, does that mean that the play­ers can force what­ever mechan­ics they like upon the ref­eree, requir­ing him to run with them?

No. Play­ers can pro­pose changes to the rules, but any player’s pro­posal can be vetoed by the ref­eree. If he doesn’t veto the pro­posal, it is dealt with exactly like a pro­posal made by him­self: The group as a whole, with the ref­eree as one among equals, decides by major­ity vote, with ties being bro­ken in the referee’s favour.
Bow down: I am the emperor of dreams;
I crown me with the million-​colored sun
Of secret worlds incred­i­ble, and take
Their trail­ing skies for vest­ment when I soar.

Clark Ash­ton Smith, The Hashish Eater or The Apoc­a­lypse of Evil
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