• This game is under the Fantasy, Medieval & Action/Adventure genres.
  • The game system is Blade of The Iron Throne.
  • This game contains mature content.
Blade Campaign
This is a low fantasy game using a low fantasy system, Blade of The Iron Throne. If you want to play in worlds more akin to The First Law, Game of Thrones, Conan, or The Lies of Locke Lamora than to Dragonlance, Drzzt, or Middle Earth this may be the place for you...

In short it uses the Blade of The Iron Throne game system, the spiritual successor to The Riddle of Steel. Combat is fluid, deadly, and as reliant on player decisions as it is character sheets. Magic is dark, terrifying, and rare - it is never utilitarian, and learning the arcane mysteries involves hunting for their secrets, not spending a development point to suddenly have "level two spells." If there are monsters at all, they are Grendel, Dracula, or Ahab's Whale; central to a story arc and not to be trifled with.

The system mechanically makes the story about the characters and their motivations rather than GM Hook. Conan wants to kill Thulsa Doom because of revenge, Locke Lamora wants to get filthy rich as a gentleman bastard, Cersei wants her kid on the throne,  and Caul Shivers wants to be a better man by escaping his past. None of them have a quest given by Gandalf.

So to do you pick your character's driving goals and motivations via specific game mechanics(Passions), which the GM then builds the plot around. Conveniently, pursuing your character's goals and not how many encounters or how much time has passed is also what drives XP (so to speak), and you're at your most powerful while involved in actions pursuing your goals. The GM just provides the tableau in which it happens. As such, the story is yet to emerge...


Housekeeping

-The game will be played via a text chat client in specific sessions, time TBD by the player group. The backside work like character sheets, out of session conversations, and so forth will be held on the forums here as a game.

-Consider this an R rated game. Violence, machinations, and a sometimes grim outlook on humanity are all quite vital to most low fantasy stories. Bad things may very well happen to good people, death is a thing, and the world is unpolished. That said, this about the story, not an excuse to see what extremes of social misanthropy can be tested for the lulz. If you couldn't imagine HBO publishing it or Joe Abercrombie writing it, it won't happen here.

-I am targeting a group of 4-6 people (GM plus 3-5 players) as the sweet spot for this game.

-If you don't have the system, fortunately for you it is both readily available (drivethrurpg) and affordable ($5.95 or $9.95 for the black and white or color pdf.) I can also give you a loaner at first.

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Still here? Some useful points on the game system to help you decide if this is right for you:

Combat Is fluid and heavily player involved. Based in historical martial arts, a premium is placed on decision making and intuition. It does not work on the "I hack you, you hack me, whoever runs out of HP loses" approach. You have a limited pool of dice to spend over back to back actions, and an array of historically accurate maneuvers ranging from simple attacks to feints, binds, hooks, ripostes, and the like to choose from. While you can attack simultaneously (it tends to end much like you would expect- faster guy lives, slower guy's big cleaving axe swing never makes it there because he has a rapier in his eye), most of the time there is a clear aggressor and defender. Deciding how to attack and defend, and how many of your limited dice to commit this time, are major decisions.

You might undercommit on an attack and find you were parried easily - now you've been placed on the defense until you can recover the initiative. You might overcommit to an attack and find that your momentum is used against you in a riposte, or that while you very successfully beat his spear out of the way, you have nothing left to drive home a killing blow with.

Other intuitive things are also present...a pikeman will have an easy time against a knife fighter if he can keep him on the outside, but if the knifefighter gets in tight (through any number of binds, weaving, or such) the balance is suddenly reversed.

Needless to say, if you do put six handwidths of steel through someone's stomach or shatter someone's shin with a mace, that's pretty much the end of it.


Character Driven Plot The GM provides the setting and the world, but the direction of the plot is driven by characters. In essence, each character has Passions, which serve as bonus dice whenever they are directly pursuing a given goal. As you make further progress or take greater risks for that goal, the GM awards you more dice. Eventually you complete your story arc (or decide you no longer want to pursue it), at which point those points can all be converted to character advancement. Its an elegant system - the Passions let the players tell the GM what type of story they want based on what their characters want, and character advancement is directly tied to players pursuing those goals. No need for filler or grinding, and no need for the railroad of doom.

Example: Bob has decided his character, Quintus, wants to avenge the betrayal of his father. His Passion is currently at three for that goal. When he asks around the counting houses about who financed the mercenaries that stormed the family estates, he gets three extra dice for gathering information. When his questions cause a brawl to break out, he gets three extra dice in the brawl. Newfound leads to a certain senator in hand, Quintus walks out of the chaos with his Passions improved, and four dice for any future related actions. If he decides to randomly attack a city guard, no such extra dice are available. This spirals upwards until an appropriately saga worthy climax - a midnight assault on the senators house, or a showdown in the forum perhaps - or until Bob gets bored of avenging his dead dad (Quintus realizes that perhaps his father was a complete scoundrel wo brought this on himself, and that storming a senators house at midnight might end poorly.) Then all those bonus dice get converted into points that can be used for character advancement.

Magic Uncommon - the book suggests that in low fantasy, sorcerers and wizards are typically antagonists and that players should not feel any need to have one in the party - dark, and corrupting. This is the stuff of dooms and weirds, of communing with demons, of witchfire and enslavement. You do not just bound down to the wizard's guild, figure out how to inscribe feather fall, and then hop down a cliff with it. Finding the secrets of magic is a processing of delving deep and dealing with alien and otherworldly powers, not gaining a level. Using it is dangerous to yourself and others. Magic items are not +2 longswords, they are Excalibur. There aren't many of them, and they are artifacts of destiny, not a 5% increased chance to hit.

Mechanically, this means that there are a bunch of thematically appropriate spell types you van play with, but no one cares about learning the differences between frost ray and fire ray and acid ray, and frankly there is no "utility" magic. If it would seem out of place in a saga, it isn't here. As with combat, you have limited dice to be split between actually casting the spell and then containing it's effects. Unlike, say, Shadowrun where the price of a bad cast is a nosebleed, uncontained magic can end very poorly for it's user.


Monsters If these come up in a story arc - and they very well may not, as heavily armed men can be more than terrifying on their own - it is because they are important. There is no such thig as a faceless orc army in this system, or a starter tribe of goblins for you to go kill. The plot of Beowulf isn't "he fought eighteen lvl 3 grendlings in twelve rooms before a lvl 5 Grendel bossfight". If you are dealing with a monster, expect it to be off-screen, a quest in its own right, and a helluva fight when it gets to it.

Power Level Characters start as exceptional, but not superhuman, individuals and follow a points based advancement system from there. A competent solider might have 8-10 dice in his dice pool, a thug 6-8, while an arena champion might have 16. The average PC will have 10-16 (prior to passions) combat dice depending on where they focus their efforts. Even your Face will probably be able to handle himself against a mook, but even your combat monster might not want to see if he can fight a whole squad.