The Hot Iron
- Pick or Roll Age : Youth, Adolescent, Young Adult, Adult, Middle Age, Old, Very Old, Venerable.
- Pick or Roll Status : Any from 1 to 6.
- Determine Role : Expert, Leader, Rogue, Schemer, Warrior
- Determine Background : Come up with at least one important event that shaped your life.
- Determine Goal: What does your character want?
- Determine Motivation: Why does your character want what he or she wants?
- Virtue: Name at least one virtue or quality about your character.
- Vice: Name at least one vice or character flaw possessed by your character.
- Find Age to determine Starting Experience.
- Purchase Status first.
- Allocate all remaining Experience.
- Find Age to determine Starting Experience.
- Allocate Experience between Specialties.
- Find Age to determine starting Destiny Points.
- Invest Destiny Points into benefits up to the maximum allowed by Age.
- Find Age to determine required drawbacks.
- Select drawbacks that most closely match concept, specifically your vice.
- Roll a Status test to determine starting coin.
- Spend at least half your starting coin on possessions.
- Calculate Intrigue Defense: Awareness + Cunning + Status
- Calculate Composure: 3 × Will
- Calculate Combat Defense: Agility + Athletics + Awareness
- Calculate Health: 3 × Endurance
- Armor Rating (AR): Find your armor’s AR (Table 9–2: Armor), and note its effects on your character sheet.
- Calculate Weapon Damage: Fill in weapon statistics from Table 9–3: Weapons.
Pick or roll your age
The very first decision you must make at the concept phase is your character’s age. Responsibility and duty fall upon young shoulders by necessity, for one can never know with certainty when war or calamity will claim the lives of a parent, and when such a tragedy occurs, it falls to the heir to take up the mantle of leadership in their lost parent’s stead. Of course, most children lack the luxury of a comfortable childhood, and even those of non-noble birth work hard to learn a trade or even take up a position in the Night’s Watch at a shockingly young age.
Finally, life expectancy is not long, and few people live on into the twilight years, falling victim to an accident, disease, or crime well before they join the ranks of the elderly. For all of these reasons, the age of adulthood is far younger in Westerosi eyes: women are marriageable upon their first flowering and men are deemed adults as early as thirteen.
Rather than focusing too closely on a character’s actual age, characters fall into a particular age group that both represents actual age and the level of expectations placed upon that individual. Your choice of age group helps you define your character’s place within your group, but it also has mechanical repercussions, as shown later in this chapter. Before moving forward, select one age category for your character.
|3d6 roll||Starting Age|
|5-6||Young Adult (14-18)|
|12-15||Middle Age (30-50)|
|17||Very Old (70-80)|
Youth – Infant to 9
Sometimes called summer children, youthful characters were born after the War of the Usurper and Greyjoy’s Rebellion. They have generally known peace throughout their short lives. Tommen Baratheon and Rickon Stark are both youths.
Adolescent – 10 to 13
Like youths, adolescents were born in the peaceful years that followed the War of the Usurper, but were probably born just before, during, or shortly after Greyjoy’s Rebellion. Example characters include Arya Stark and Sansa Stark.
Young Adult – 14 to 18
Young adults are entitled to the full benefits and responsibilities of other adults in the Seven Kingdoms. These characters were born just before or during Robert’s Rebellion. A great many smallfolk of this age group are orphans of the war, and many young nobles have had the mantle of lordship thrust upon them with the premature deaths of their patriarchs in the war. Jon Snow and Robb Stark are young adults at the beginning of A Game of Thrones, while Joffrey becomes a young adult later in the series.
Adult – 18 to 30
Adult characters are old enough to remember the mad reign of King Aerys and the events that led up to the War of the Usurper. Even if they didn’t fight in Robert’s war, undoubtedly they felt its effects. Most noble-born adults supported King Aerys against Robert or joined the Storm Lord in his rebellion. Though Robert pardoned all of the lords who fought for Aerys, it is a mark that few forget.
Middle Age – 30 to 50
Characters of middle age have lived through much of the troubles that plague the Seven Kingdoms to this day. The eldest of this group likely recall the War of the Ninepenny Kings and may have had kin who fought alongside Ser Barristan Selmy and Brynden Tully against Maelys Blackfyre. Most of this generation recall the reign of Aegon V, therise and fall of Aerys, and the tragedy that led to the War of the Usurper. As with adult characters, their loyalties to the crown or the rebel during the uprising may haunt them still.
Old – 50 to 70
Old characters were born during Aegon the Unlikely’s rise to the throne and lived through the War of the Ninepenny Kings and all the wars and troubles that followed. Those of this generation tend to have a longer view of House Targaryen and recall the honor of this ancient house. As with middle-aged characters, old characters may have fought in the War of the Usurper, but the eldest of them were likely too old to participate.
Very Old – 70 to 80
Rare is the individual that lives to such an advanced age, and those who have lived this long join Walder Frey. These characters have seen the rise and fall of kings, numerous battles, and kingdom-wide warfare. If these characters fought in a war, it was likely in the War of the Ninepenny Kings.
Venerable – 80 or older
Very few men and women live to see their eightieth year, and fewer still live much longer. Of the ones that still retain their wits, they may recall good king Daeron II and perhaps even had parents or family who fought in the Blackfyre Rebellion. Maester Aemon of the Night’s Watch is an excellent example of a venerable character.
Status is another important component to defining your character’s concept. A person is judged by the quality of their birth, their legitimacy, the purity of their blood, family history, and numerous other factors that are often beyond an individual’s control. Those born to common parents are lumped in with the rest of the smallfolk, rarely given a moment’s thought beyond the responsibility of any lord to attend to the people living in his domain. Thus, characters of better birth often have an easier time maneuvering in the halls of power than do their lesser counterparts.
For all the benefits Status might bring, it also comes with great responsibility. Characters of a higher rank must devote time and attention to the affairs of governing, often at the expense of developing other talents and abilities. In addition, characters with high Status find it much harder to move about without being recognized. In a world where enemies hide behind every corner, anonymity can be a great asset.
As you may have noticed, I have omitted the ‘house creation’ stage because you will be part of a known house. Due to the setting/premise it will not be appropriate to have a status 6 character in the party. I will allow you to buy down to Status 1, but this will make you a servant/slave. I don’t advise it!
Table 3–2: Starting Status
|2d6 Roll||Starting Status||Available Position||Example|
|2||2||No limit||House retainer, common hedge knight, freeman|
|3–4||3||32||Sworn sword, guardsman, squire|
|5–9||4||16||Ranking member of household, maester, junior septon, landed knight, noble bastard|
|10–12||5||8||Banner lord, ward, courtier, septon, advisor|
|-||6||4||Lord of the house, heir, lady, offspring|
Basically, have an idea of what your character will do. You all know how RPGs work, if your character has a specialty that doesn’t fit the campaign you’re gonna have a bad time! So figure out what you want to do.
While thinking about your character concept, you should think about where your character is from, what he achieved, and why your character is a cut above the nameless and faceless smallfolk of the Seven Kingdoms. You should come up with at least one moment, one event that shaped your life, but it’s better to determine one for each age category you are above youth. The particulars of each aren’t important yet, and the event could be as simple as saving another PC’s life or having fought for King Robert in the war. If you need some help sparking an idea, roll 2d6 and compare the result to Table 3-3: Background Events table.
|2||You served another house (page, sworn sword).|
|3||You had a torrid love affair.|
|4||You fought or were involved in a battle.|
|5||You were kidnapped and escaped, were ransomed, or rescued.|
|6||You traveled across the narrow sea for a time.|
|7||You achieved a significant deed, maybe saving the life of your lord, killed a giant boar, and so on.|
|8||You kept the company of a famous individual.|
|9||You were present at a significant tournament (competing or watching).|
|10||You were involved in a villainous scandal.|
|11||You were falsely accused of wrongdoing.|
|12||You were held hostage by another house as a ward or prisoner.|
These are all ideas of how your character can be, you can choose as little or as many motivations, virtues, vices and goals as you like, and of course they do not have to be from the above table. Please do choose at least one vice, perfect characters are boring ;)
With a clear idea of your character in mind, you’re ready to improve your abilities. All characters begin with rank 2 in each ability. Using the starting Experience determined by your character’s age, you can improve an ability by purchasing additional ranks. The higher you improve an ability, the more Experience it costs. During this step, you must spend all Ability Experience, and you must purchase your Status rank first. Costs are shown on Table 3-8: Ability Improvement.
With your Narrator’s permission, you can reduce an ability to 1 and gain an extra 50 Experience points to allocate to other abilities.
Table 3–8: Ability Improvement
|Age||Ability Experience||Maximum Starting Rank(Except Status)|
|–1||1||Gain +50 Experience|
|+1||3 (or 1 for new Language)||10|
|+2||4 (or 2)||40|
|+3||5 (or 3)||70|
|+4||6 (or 4)||100|
|+5||7 (or 5)||130|
Agility measures dexterity, nimbleness, reflexes, and flexibility. In some ways, it describes how comfortable you are in your body, how well you master your movement, and how you react to your surroundings.
Animal Handling addresses the various skills and techniques used to train, work, and care for animals. Whenever you would regain control over a panicked mount, train a dog to serve as a guardian, or train ravens to carry messages, you test this ability.
Athletics describes the degree of training, the application of physical fitness, coordination, training, and raw muscle. Athletics is an important ability in that it determines how far you can jump, how fast you run, how quickly you move, and how strong you are.
Awareness measures your senses, how quickly you can respond to changes in your environment, and your ability to see through double-talk and feints to arrive at the truth of the matter. Whenever you perceive your surroundings or assess another person, use Awareness.
Cunning encapsulates intelligence, intellect, and the application of all your collected knowledge. Typically, Cunning comes into play whenever you might recall an important detail or instruction, work through a puzzle, or solve some other problem, such as researching and deciphering codes.
Deception measures your gift at duplicity—your ability to lie and deceive. You use Deception to mask your intentions and hide your agenda. You also use Deception to pretend to be someone other than who you really are—to affect a different accent or disguise yourself successfully.
Endurance measures your physical well-being—your health and hardiness. Your Endurance determines how much punishment you can take, as well as how quickly you recover from injury.
Fighting describes your ability to wield weapons in combat. Whenever you would attack unarmed or use a hand-held weapon, test Fighting.
Healing represents skill with and understanding of the accumulated medical knowledge throughout the world. Rank in this ability reflects an understanding of health and recovery; the highest ranks represent talents held only by the greatest of maesters.
Knowledge describes your general understanding and awareness of the world in which you live. It represents a broad spectrum, ranging from history, agriculture, economics, politics, and numerous other subjects.
Language is the ability to communicate through speech or, among the best educated, through the written word. The starting rank you have in this ability applies to your knowledge of the Common Tongue spoken throughout Westeros. When you improve this ability, you may improve your ability with the Common Tongue or choose to speak other languages.
Marksmanship represents your skill with ranged weapons, to use them appropriately and accurately in combat. Any time you make an attack using a ranged weapon, you test Marksmanship.
Persuasion is the ability to manipulate the emotions and beliefs of others. With this ability, you can modify how others see you, shape their attitudes towards others, convince them of things they might not otherwise agree to, and more.
Status describes the circumstances of your birth and the knowledge those circumstances grant you. The higher your rank, the more likely you will be able to recognize heraldry, the better your reputation, and the stronger your knowledge of managing people and lands.
Stealth represents your ability to creep about unseen and unheard. Whenever you would move without being noticed, you test Stealth.
Survival is the ability to get by in the wild—hunting, foraging, avoiding getting lost, and following tracks. The Survival skill is important for a variety of people in that hunting remains an important method of providing food for one’s family, especially in the more remote corners of Westeros.
Thievery is a catchall ability for any skill involving larcenous activities. Examples include picking locks, hand tricks, and general robbery.
Warfare describes a character’s talents at managing the battlefield, ranging from the ability to issue commands and possessing strategic knowledge for maneuvering armies, to tactical knowledge for dealing with small engagements.
Will is your mental fortitude, reflecting the state of your mind’s health and endurance. It represents your ability to withstand fear in the face of appalling violence or supernatural phenomena and also serves as the foundation for your ability to resist being manipulated by others.
Where rank represents the result of natural talent combined with training, specialties reflect a narrowing of a character’s focus, the result of specific development in one of the many areas that an ability might represent. Specialties, like abilities, are ranked from 1 to 7. They are designated as a number attached to a B (for “bonus”). So if you have rank 2 in the Axes specialty, you note it as “Axes 2B.” Remember, your specialty rank cannot exceed your ability rank, though it can equal it. Unlike abilities, which start out with a default rank of 2, specialties start out with a default of 0, which is to say, characters have no specialties by default.
Rank in a specialty confers an equal number of bonus dice. Whenever you test an ability, and it’s a situation where your specialty applies, roll a number of test dice equal to your ability rank and bonus dice equal to your specialty rank. However, you only count a number of dice equal to your test dice (which is to say your ability). Say you have Fighting 3 and Long Blades 2, and you’re attacking a fearsome hedge knight. When you attack, you roll five dice (three test dice and two bonus dice), and add up the best three.
Feel free to be creative and make your own specialties. There are some examples in the book, but these are not set in stone.
|Youth||40||Agility||Acrobatics, Balance, Contortions, Dodge, Quickness|
|Adolescent||40||Athletics||Climb, Jump, Run, Strength, Swim, Throw|
|Young Adult||60||Animal Handling||Charm, Drive, Ride, Train|
|Middle Age||100||Cunning||Decipher, Logic, Memory|
|Old||160||Deception||Act, Bluff, Cheat, Disguise|
|Very Old||200||Endurance||Resilience, Stamina|
|Venerable||240||Fighting||Axes, Bludgeons, Brawling, Fencing, Long Blades, Pole-Arms, Short Blades, Spears|
|Bonus Dice||Experience Cost||Healing||Diagnose, Treat Ailment, Treat Injury|
|1||10||Language||Common tongue, Old tongue, Trade tongue, High Valyrian, Valyrian, Dothraki, Asshai, Ghiscari|
|2||20||Knowledge||Education, Research, Streetwise|
|3||30||Marksmanship||Bows, Crossbows, Siege, Thrown|
|4||40||Persuasion||Bargain, Charm, Convince, Incite, Intimidate, Seduce, Taunt|
|5||50||Status||Breeding, Reputation, Stewardship, Tournaments|
|6||60||Stealth||Blend In, Sneak|
|7||70||Survival||Forage, Hunt, Orientation, Track|
|Thievery||Pick Lock, Sleight of Hand, Steal|
|Warfare||Command, Strategy, Tactics|
|Will||Concentrate, Coordinate, Dedication|
Destiny Points and Benefits
Destiny Points and benefits are next. As with other aspects of character creation, age determines how many Destiny Points with which you start the game. Younger characters have less experience and fewer opportunities to lose Destiny Points by escaping danger and death. You can invest some of your starting Destiny Points into benefits
Spending Destiny Points
You can spend a Destiny Point at any time, even when it’s not your turn, though it’s polite to let other players finish their turns first. You may only spend a single Destiny Point at a time for any one of the following effects.
- Gain +1B. This die can exceed the normal limits on bonus dice.
- Convert one bonus die into a test die.
- Remove –1D.
- Bestow –1D on opponent.
- Take an extra Lesser Action.
- Ignore Armor Penalty for one round.
- Improve or worsen another character’s disposition by one step.
- Negate another character’s use of a spent Destiny Point.
- Add a minor detail to a scene, such as a shoddy lock, a minor clue, or another useful but small element that can move the story along.
- Activate environmental quality.
- Ignore environmental quality.
Burning Destiny Points
As with spending Destiny Points, you may only burn one at a time. A burned Destiny Point can achieve any one of the following results.
- Convert all bonus dice into test dice.
- Add +5 to your test result.
- Automatically succeed on one test as if you had rolled the Difficulty exactly.
- Remove all damage and injuries (though not wounds).
- When defeated, decide the consequences of your own defeat.
- Transform another character’s successful test into a failed test.
- Automatically compel another character in an intrigue.
- Permanently remove the penalties associated with a negative quality.
- Negate the effects of another character’s burned Destiny Point.
- Add a significant detail to a scene, such as gaining a major clue, finding a way out of a nasty predicament, or some other significant and useful element that moves the story along in your favor.
- Avoid certain death. When you use this option, your character is presumed dead and is removed from the story until such time as the Narrator deems it appropriate for the character’s return.
You may also use destiny points to buy benefits for your character. There is a rather lengthy list of benefits in Chapter 5 of the rule book – so please look there to complete your spending.
Flaws represent the ravages of time, the accumulation of nasty wounds, and the effects of life on your character as he ages and develops. To reflect the dangers and perils of the Seven Kingdoms, characters accumulate flaws and drawbacks. A flaw imposes –1D on one ability. You may burden the same ability with multiple flaws, but the penalty dice cannot exceed your rank in the ability –1. Thus, if you have 3 in Athletics, you couldn’t take more than two flaws in Athletics.
Drawbacks, on the other hand, are less painful to a specific ability, but they impose challenges that affect many aspects of your character.
The best way to select a drawback is to choose one that ties in to your chosen vice or vices. If one doesn’t quite fit, work with me to come up with something that does fit.
|Middle Age|| A flaw for any of the following abilities:
Agility, Athletics, or Endurance
|Old||Any one plus a flaw for any of the following abilities: Agility, Athletics, Awareness, Cunning, Endurance, Fighting, or Marksmanship|
|Very Old||Any one plus a flaw for any two of the following abilities: Agility, Athletics, Awareness, Cunning, Endurance, Fighting, or Marksmanship|
|Venerable||Any one plus a flaw for any three of the following abilities: Agility, Athletics, Awareness, Cunning, Endurance, Fighting, or Marksmanship|
Table 5–2: Drawbacks
|Bastard Born||—||Lose your family’s surname and take –1D on Persuasion tests against characters with a higher Status.|
|Bound to the Bottle||—||Have an unhealthy appreciation for alcohol.|
|Childhood Disease||—||Reduce Health by –2.|
|Craven||—||–1D on all tests in combats and intrigues.|
|Crippled||—||Reduce Movement by –2 yards.|
|Cruel Insanity||—||You cannot see the consequences of your actions.|
|Cursed||—||Risk of impotent Destiny Point.|
|Debt||—||Purchases cost twice the normal amount.|
|Disturbing Habit||—||You have an unusual compulsion.|
|Dwarf||—||–1 yard Movement, –1D on Persuasion tests to Charm or Seduce.|
|Eunuch||Male (once)||You’ve been cut.|
|Fear||—||You are afraid of something.|
|Feeble||Old or older||Your advanced age cripples you.|
|Flaw||—||Take –1D on all tests with a specific ability.|
|Forgetful||—||Re-roll 6s on Cunning tests.|
|Furious||—||Your first Persuasion test in an intrigue must use Intimidate; –2D on Seduce attempts.|
|Haughty||—||Propriety overtakes your good graces.|
|Haunted||—||You are tormented by past memories.|
|Honor-Bound||—||You are compelled to speak the truth.|
|Ignoble||—||–1D on Persuasion and Status tests.|
|Impaired Sense||—||Fail Awareness tests related to missing sense, –1 yard Movement.|
|Inept||—||Re-roll 6s on Agility tests.|
|Lascivious||—||Your first Persuasion test in an intrigue must use Seduce; –1D on Charm.|
|Marked||—||Re-roll 6s on Persuasion tests.|
|Mute||—||You cannot speak.|
|Naïve||—||You are easily deceived.|
|Outcast||—||Reduce Status by 2.|
|Poor Health||—||Reduce Endurance test results by –3.|
|Reviled||—||You are despised.|
|Sickly||—||–2D on Endurance tests made to resist hazards and ailments.|
|Supreme Arrogance||—||You are blinded by your station.|
|Threatening||—||Others are nervous around you.|
Determining your starting possessions comes next. All characters begin play with a set of common clothes appropriate for their gender, boots or shoes, and a dagger. Heirs also begin play with a signet ring. Record these possessions on your character sheet.
Next, roll a Status test (roll [status]d6 and sum them). The result is how many gold dragons you begin with to purchase your starting possessions. Obviously, you don’t begin with a sack full of gold; rather, this starting fund reflects your accumulated possessions. You must spend at least half of your starting coin. You may keep the rest in reserve or invest it into your house as you wish.
Chapter 7: Equipment includes full price lists and descriptions for all the common sorts of equipment one might find in Westeros.
Intrigue Defense = Awareness + Cunning + Status
Composure = 3 × Will
Combat Defense = Agility + Athletics + Awareness + Defensive Bonus (from shields or parrying weapons) – Armor Penalty
Health = 3 × Endurance
Armor Rating (AR): Your AR is determined by the type of armor worn
Damage: Look up the weapons in Table 9–3: Weapons on page 152 of the core book and calculate the base damage for each weapon