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Markhart
10-29-2014, 11:45 AM
Hey guys,

I am setting up a game for the first time, and I just had a few questions.

First and foremost, how is the best way to determine established house resources, and holdings. Is it just something I'm going to have to come up on my own?

Secondly, my players have certain questions about general internal balance. Such as which units they should invest in, or if banner houses are worth such a large investment compared to the troops you could have.

Thirdly, are there any overtly bad character investments they should avoid?

Normally we aren't very concerned about things this crunchy and gamey, but I read on reddit that some investments really can break the game, in both ways.

I really appreciate the help, guys.

easl
10-29-2014, 05:51 PM
First and foremost, how is the best way to determine established house resources, and holdings. Is it just something I'm going to have to come up on my own?

Not sure there are any 'official' house stat values. You might ask other GMs for their values. OTOH if you're asking for descriptive information (what the land is like, what banner houses serve each lord), the Campaign Guide has a ton of useful info. Including stat blocks for loads of NPCs.


Secondly, my players have certain questions about general internal balance. Such as which units they should invest in, or if banner houses are worth such a large investment compared to the troops you could have.

With a newbie group I'd be pretty forgiving. If they build a house and decide in the next session they want to change it, let them. Or concoct some story hook or plot that could give them what they want. Let's say they picked a banner house and are unhappy about it; they decide they want troops instead. Okay, as GM I might insert a plot hook like this at an appropriate time: "House Blather has sent a secret emissary to treat with you. They will offer you several units of troops in exchange for a treaty or marriage. However, this will greatly anger your banner house, house Tweedledee, who are Blather's dire enemies. If you take the troops, they may defect." Voila! You've just exchanged a banner house for troops...and have some nifty story hooks for the future.


Thirdly, are there any overtly bad character investments they should avoid?

There's an old thread where someone does a rundown of every benefit and drawback in the game. I had some quibbles with some of the evaluations but overall its very good. Sorry I can't be more specific, but look through the thread titles and you may find it.

As a GM, I would look over PCs for selections of drawbacks that the PC is never likely to play into; I don't like such things, they seem too much like powergaming for free points to me. But that's just my preference, YMMV. In any event, ASOIAF has LOADS of ways to build such PCs. The all-melee specialist that takes 3 drawbacks that only affect intrigue, for instance. So if you don't like that sort of thing either, you're going to have to watch for it, because it's a very real possibility.

I really appreciate the help, guys.

Good luck! And remember its a game; if someone makes a mistake in chargen or house gen and it results in the group having less fun, I personally see nothing wrong with letting them correct their mistake so the group has more fun.

Wontkins
10-29-2014, 07:53 PM
House Resources: If you're looking to save time, take a look at the Chronicle Starter for pre-made Narrator houses. You don't necessarily have to follow the way the rulebook generates house resources for all the NC houses. If you want to pit your players against a house with a specific value, just 'rule 0' that thing. And you don't have to assign ALL the resources if you don't expect your players to interact with the house very much.

It sounds like your players are too hesitant to even stick their toes in. Balance doesn't guarantee fun. Some players love combat, others love Intrigue, and some just want to pick pockets. There's no way for us to tell you, or for you to divine, what will hook your players into their characters/house. If you show them the options and nothing excites them, ask them what they want to do in the SIF universe. Is their favorite character from the show/books Syrio? Water Dancer I and II, bam. Do they find heart trees and CoF interstings? Godswood Holding & Greensight benefit. The best thing to do is just start playing, like the previous poster mentioned. Once the players get familiar with how everything works, they'll see what they like and dislike, then they'll ask for ways to make changes, either by spending DP to get rid of Drawbacks or rerolling a character. Lastly, tragedy is a part of the universe, so if they invested in a bannerhouse but decided they dislike it, don't feel too bad about destroying it. There are many ways to regain resources lost in investments (Glory, House Fortunes, etc).

I don't know what things the reddit poster was speaking of about breaking the game. The only time my game broke was in the very beginning when I misinterpreted rules and I thought Intrigue Technique effects occurred after every exchange -- I had a player make the big bad's disposition become Affectionate in only a few rounds.

Below I'll go into the optimization from the board mentioned by Easl:
Benefits (combat)
Never: Accurate, Braavosi Fighter II, Deadly Shot, Fury, Hail of Steel, Longblade Fighter I & II (get Expertise instead), Sinister,
Strong: Armor Mastery & Improved Armor Mastery, Triple Shot, Fast, Polearm Fighter I & III, Short Blade Fighter I & II, Spear Fighter I, Water Dancer I & II
Amazing: Berserker, Brawler II, Double Shot, Expertise
Axe Fighter I -> II -> III: STRONG -> AMAZING -> STRONG
Bludgeon Fighter I -> II -> III: STRONG -> STRONG -> AMAZING
Benefits (Intrigue)
Never: Authority, Compelling, Favored of Smallfolk/Nobles, Sinister
Strong: Attractive, Terrifying, Treacherous
Amazing: Magnetic, Famous
Drawbacks (any)
Avoid Flaws affecting: Agility, Athletics, Awareness, Endurance, Cunning, Status, Will
These flaws do -1 before multiplying when calculating stats.

If you're worried about your characters becoming too strong, don't allow them to take Expertise. But I wouldn't worry about it. Let them minmax. A good GM should have a better grasp of the rules than his players, and thus be able to create deadlier opponents. Have a armored knight PC who can't be beaten in a sword fight? Pit him against a mounted archer with a longbow from long range. By the time the knight reaches melee range, he'll be a pincushion. A Bludgeon Fighter with a warhammer will destroy his armor too. There's always a bigger fish. There's no way to make a character who is strong in everything. Nobody can master Combat, Intrigue, AND Warfare.

Did you get all your questions answered?

tl;dr Don't worry so much about balance, but more about what will challenge your players and hook their interest.