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Thread: Suggested rule changes to the Chronicle System Core Book

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    Suggested rule changes to the Chronicle System Core Book

    As the SIFRP Line has officially come to an end and the Chronicle System Core Rulebook is on the way, I decided to open this thread to give some suggestions on balance changes for the "Chronicle System 2.0 Relaunch".
    These suggestions come from a threat in the old SIFRP House-Rules forum and have been (mostly) designed and tested by my old SIFRP group, with the help of some fellow theorycrafters on this forum.
    Please note that these changes were originally made based on the "SIFRP Game of Thrones Edition".

    Feel free to express your opinion on these rules if you want and let me know if you find something I overlooked.
    If you comment on the rules (meaning: commenting on game mechanics) please state what error you have found and a way to fix it.

    Character creation

    Character creation in SIFRP is one of my favourite things to do.
    It is simple, once you have memorized the rules it's a quick thing to do and when you know what you want there are a lot of ways to achieve your goal.
    But there is one thing that's bothering me: Experience levels at different ages.
    There is a difference in Experience and Destiny Points the older your character gets and I actually really like this concept, but problems arise with automatic Drawbacks that come with age and a limitation to the number of Drawbacks you can accumulate by the number of Benefits you have.
    Let me give you a quick example:
    > A Destiny Point is worth 50 XP (That's what it costs to buy an additional DP during play)
    > A Young Adult Character starts with 180 + 60 = 240 XP and 5 DP (= 250 XP), for a total of 490 XP
    > An Adult Character starts with 210 + 80 = 290 XP and 4 DP (= 200 XP), also totaling 490 XP, but is forced to take 1 Flaw without getting a DP for it.
    Assuming both Characters start with 3 Benefits (maximum allowed) and maximum Drawbacks (just for math's sake), it would come to the following:
    > Young Adult: 240 XP, 3 Benefits (150 XP), 5 DP (250 XP) for a total of 640 XP
    > Adult: 290 XP, 3 Benefits (150 XP), 3 DP (150 XP) for a total of 590 XP
    As you can easily see, there is a clear gap between those two after finishing creation because of the Auto-Drawback reducing the number of DP you can get from Drawbacks.
    To solve this, I altered the numbers for XP and Bonus-XP in the same way it is done from Old onwards, adding an additional 40 XP per auto-Drawback.
    This change reduces the gaps caused by auto-Drawbacks significantly while still not getting you the full worth of playing a Young Adult or younger Character.
    It is not 50 XP because I do not want to encourage players to amass as much Drawbacks as possible for Point-Benefit, but to encourage them to play older Characters without worrying about disadvantage.

    Replace the entries in Tables 3-8: Ability Improvement and 3-9: Specialty Cost with the following:
    Adult: 230 XP, 100 Bonus XP
    Middle-Aged: 260 XP, 120 Bonus XP
    Old: 310 XP, 160 Bonus XP
    Very Old: 360 XP, 200 Bonus XP
    Venerable: 410 XP, 240 Bonus XP

    Skill-based character creation table:
    Note: This table was designed by fellow theorycrafter Zorbeltuss. Thank you, mate

    This alternative System for character creation does not rely on age, but on the level of skill a character has achieved in his field of knowledge. All in all, it makes for slightly stronger characters, but enables the option to play a master of his craft out of the box, even at a relatively young age.
    If you want to use this system, it should be used by all player characters, although you could also use it as an alternative to the age-based system described above if you just want to play, for example, a highly trained but still young fighter like Loras Tyrell, while the rest of your group goes for the age-based table. In this case, you should grant age-based characters the chance to take more than 3 benefits at character creation.
    If you want to use this system, choose how skilled your character should be in his craft, whatever that may be, and assign your Experience points as normal.

    Apprentice: 210 XP, 80 Specialty XP, 6 Destiny Points, 0 forced Drawbacks, maximum of 3 benefits, maximum of 5 unspent destiny points.
    Journeyman: 240 XP, 110 Specialty XP, 5 Destiny Points, 1 forced Drawback, maximum of 4 benefits, maximum of 2 unspent destiny points.
    Master: 270 XP, 140 Specialty XP, 4 Destiny Points, 2 forced Drawbacks, maximum of 5 benefits, maximum of 1 unspent destiny point.

    Benefits

    Benefits are one of the most important parts of (mechanical) character creation because they grant you special abilities and bonusses in a field of specialisation.
    Problems arise when some Benefits of are just way better than others, forcing players who want to be competitive into a specific style of playing (Axe Fighter vs Sword Fighter for example).
    Because of this I have houseruled almost all weapon-specialised Fighting benefits.
    For a better understanding of how I came up with the rules:
    I sorted the weapon-specialised benefits (Axe Fighter, Bludgeon Fighter, etc) in two groups: Benefits which use bonus dice and benefits who grant other bonusses.
    In these two groups I sorted the benefits in Ranks (XXX Fighter Is, XXX Fighter IIs, XXX Fighter IIIs) and streamlined their effects in group I while tweaking effects and prerequisites in group II.

    Group 1: Bonus dice-spending benefits

    Level 1:
    Axe Fighter I: As written in the core rulebook.
    Bludgeon Fighter I is replaced by:
    "Whenever you are armed with a bludgeoning weapon and roll a fighting test to attack a foe, you may sacrifice a number of bonus dice to knock your foe senseless. If you hit your opponent, that opponent substracts -1 from each test result for every bonus dice sacrificed until the start of his next turn."
    Braavosi Fighter I is replaced by:
    "At the start of each round of combat, you may sacrifice a number of bonus dice of your fencing specialty to focus on your defenses. For one round, increase the defensive bonus of your Fencing weapons by +1 for every 2 bonus dice sacrificed. If you are armed with two fencing weapons, this bonus applies to each weapon.
    Long Blade Fighter I is replaced by:
    "Whenever you are armed with a Long Blade and roll a fighting test to attack a foe, you may sacrifice a number of bonus dice to control your enemies movements. You and / or your opponent move 1 yard in any direction of your choice for every 2 bonus dice sacrificed. This functions as a maneuver action as described under the advanced combat rules and may not be combined with said action.

    Level 2:
    Axe Fighter II: As written in the core rulebook.
    Bludgeon Fighter II is replaced by:
    "Whenever you are armed with a bludgeoning weapon and roll a Fighting test to attack a foe, you can sacrifice all of your bonus dice to crush your opponent. If you damage your foe and get at least two degrees of success, that opponent takes a wound in addition to any damage the attack deals. The wound does not reduce any damage."
    Braavosi Fighter II is replaced by:
    Requires Fighting 5 (Fencinbg 3B), Braavosi Fighter I
    "When armed with a fencing weapon, you can perform a variety of maneuvers so deflect incoming attacks. If you attack a foe with a fencing weapon, you can sacrifice all of your bonus dice too increase your combat defense by +1 for every full 5 points of your test result for one round. This benefit can be combined with the effect of Braavosi Fighter I as long as you have at least 2 bonus dice left to sacrifice.
    Long Blade Fighter II is replaced by:
    Requires Fighting 5 (Long Blades 3B), Long Blade Fighter I
    "Whenever you are armed with a Long Blade and roll a Fighting test to attack a foe, you can sacrifice all of your bonus dice to cause a severe wound. If you damage your foe and get at least two degrees of success, that opponent takes a wound in addition to any damage the attack deals. The wound does not reduce any damage."

    Level 3:
    Axe Fighter III is replaced by:
    "Whenever you are armed with an axe and roll a Fighting test to attack a foe, you can sacrifice all of your bonus dice to threaten a crippling wound. If you damage your foe and get at least two degrees of success, he gains a wound in addition to any damage the attack deals and must succeed on an Endurance test against your Fighting result or permanently gain the Maimed quality. An opponent may burn a Destiny Point to avoid gaining this quality."
    Bludgeon Fighter III is replaced by:
    "Whenever you are armed with a bludgeoning weapon and roll a Fighting test to attack a foe, you can sacrifice all of your bonus dice to crush your opponent. If you damage your foe and get at least two degrees of success, he gains a wound in addition to any damage the attack deals and must succeed on an Agility test against your Fighting result or get knocked to the ground. An opponent who is knocked down may only take one lesser action on his next turn. An opponent may spend a Destiny Point to avoid getting knocked down."
    Braavosi Fighter III requirements changed to:
    Fighting 6 (Fencing 4B), Braavosi Fighter II
    Long Blade Fighter III is replaced by:
    Requires Fighting 6 (Long Blades 4B), Long Blade Fighter II
    "Whenever you are armed with a Long Blade and roll a Fighting test to attack a foe, you can sacrifice all of your bonus dice to cut your opponent down. If you damage your foe and get at least two degrees of success, he gains a wound in addition to any damage the attack deals and must succeed on an Endurance test against your Fighting result or permanently gain the Maimed quality. An opponent may burn a Destiny Point to avoid gaining this quality."


    Group 2: Bonus-granting benefits

    Level 1:
    Brawler I is replaced by:
    Requires Fighting 4 (Brawling 2B)
    Brawling weapons in your hands gain the staggering 1 quality. In addition, you deal +1 damage when brawling.
    Pole-Arm Fighter I: add the following
    "Opponents may spend a lesser action to roll an Agility (Balance) test against your Fighting result to avoid being knocked down."
    Short Blade Fighter I: add the following
    "If you are using two short-blades, add up the Piercing bonus on your attack for a total of +2."
    Spear Fighter I is replaced by:
    Requires Fighting 4 (Spears 2B)
    "As a Greater Action, make a normal attack against a single opponent. If you miss, you may immediately make a second attack at any other foe within your reach. If this attack hits, it deals damage equal to your Weapon damage –1."
    Water Dancer I requirements changed to:
    Fighting 4

    Level 2:
    Brawler II is replaced by:
    Requires Fighting 5 (Brawling 3B), Brawler I
    "Brawling weapons in your hands gain the powerful quality. In addition, you may add your Athletics rank to your Fighting result when brawling.
    Pole-Arm Fighter II is replaced by:
    Requires Fighting 5 or Athletics 5, Pole-Arms 3B, Pole-Arm Fighter I
    "When you use a pole-arm to pull a rider from his mount, you may convert your pole-arm bonus dice into test dice. When you attempt to Knockdown your opponent, you may convert half your strength bonus dice into test dice."
    Short Blade Fighter II requirements changed to:
    Requires Fighting 5 (Short Blades 3B), Short Blade Fighter I
    Add: "If you attack in the same round you have drawn your blade, your opponent counts as surprised."
    Spear Fighter II requirements changed to:
    Fighting 5 (Spears 3B), Spear Fighter I
    Water Dancer II requirements changed to:
    Fighting 5, Water Dancer I

    Level 3:
    Brawler III is replaced by:
    "Whenever you succeed on a Fighting test to hit an opponent with a brawling weapon, you may choose to sacrifice two degrees of success to stun your opponent. Compare your test result to your opponents passive Endurance result. If it equals or beats the passive result, your opponent is stunned. A stunned opponent loses all regular actions and may attempt to recover on his next turn. To recover, the opponent must succeed on a challenging (9) Endurance test which causes one point of Fatigue or be forced to try to recover on his next turn. If the recovery attempt fails, the opponent gains a cummulative +1B for following attempts to recover. If the opponent should succeed, he gains, and can immediately use, one lesser action."
    Pole-Arm Fighter III is replaced by:
    Requires Fighting 6 (Pole-arms 4B), Pole-arm Fighter II
    "With a hard thrust of you pole-arm, you can pin your opponent. Make a Fighting test as normal to attack an opponent as a Greater Action. If you succeed and achieve at least two degrees of success, you knock your opponent to the ground and prevent him from spending any actions. Your opponent can try to break the pin by beating you on an opposed Athletics (Strength) test. Your bonus dice from the pole-arm specialty apply to the opposed test. You may also choose to yank your weapon free, which requires an Athletics (Strength) test as a Lesser Action against a difficulty of 3 + the opponent's Armor Rating. A success frees the weapon and every additional degree deals the weapon damage again. This counts as a Knockdown action."
    Short Blade Fighter III requirements changed to:
    Fighting 6 (Short Blades 4B), Short Blade Fighter II
    Spear Fighter III is replaced by:
    Requires Fighting 6 (Spears 4B), Spear Fighter II
    "Spears in your hands gain Piercing +1 for every Strength Bonus dice you possess (minimum 2). If the spear already has the Piercing quality, instead increase it by said amount.
    Water Dancer III requirements changed to:
    Fighting 6 (Fencing 4B), Water Dancer II

    Honorable mentions:

    Heirloom
    Heirloom is one of my favourite Benefits - well, it could be, if it wasn't absolutely useless mechanics-wise.
    Quick explanation: You get a Valyrian Steel Weapon (awesome!), which has Damage +1 compared to a 'standard' superior weapon (which all nobles should have).
    This is worse than Weapon Mastery (which is already really bad), because it does not apply to all weapons of that category (all Longswords for example) but only to your family's valyrian steel longsword, which could not be at hand, get stolen, etc.
    If you choose to take a Two-handed, Powerful weapon (if you intend to do that I advise you to use my Armor fix, otherwise you will die) you can just take 1B in Strength to gain +1 damage with not just a single Greatsword or all Greatswords but with ALL Powerful Weapons, meaning 10 XP grant you a way better Benefit than this Benefit, which costs you essentially 2 DP (= 100 XP, because you need Heir to buy it) and can be taken from you by a dirty thief at night.
    "BUT IT'S A VALYRIAN STEEL SWORD!" I can hear you cry, and you're right. A Valyrian Steel Weapon should grant some awesome Benefits for the Price and be a highly valuable asset for a House.

    Add the following to the description of the Heirloom-Benefit:
    In addition, when openly displaying your heirloom, you may add your Status Rank to the result of any test to Charm, Intimidate or Seduce.

    Notorious Duelist (originally from Spark to Powder, changed to Fighting weapons)
    Requirements: Fighting 4 (Any specialty 3B), Status 3
    “Your skill with weapons and willingness to use them has not gone unnoticed.”
    You gain a +1B on Status (Reputation) Tests whenever your skill at Fighting may impress or frighten others. You also may add a bonus equal to the number of your Fighting bonus dices to your attempts to use the Intimidate Technique in Intrigues. Finally, you gain a +1B to all Fighting tests when dueling.

    Acrobatic Defense changed to:
    "As a Lesser Action, you may add twice the number of bonus dice in Acrobatics to your Combat Defense. You may not use this benefit when you are burdened with Bulk 1 or greater. The bonus to your Combat De-fense last until the beginning of your next turn."
    This is a fix to Fighters stacking Acrobatic Defense with Shields and possibly even Shield Mastery. You can either use AcDef or Shields, but not both.
    You could use an Off-Hand parrying weapon with Defensive though.

    Selfmade Benefits:
    Blood of the War-born (Heritage)
    Requires Athletics 4
    You are descended from a line of renowned commanders and inspire great discipline. You are tall and muscular and your voice echoes over the battlefield.
    Improve the Armor Penalty of any Armor you wear by +2 (so -4 would become -2). When attached to a unit in battle improve the discipline of one additional, adjacent unit by -3. You also retain your ability to issue orders even when attached to a unit.

    Pistolero
    Requires Agility 4, Marksmanship 5 (Longarms 3B)
    You are able to shoot your pistols on the move with superior accuracy.
    When using the Dodge or Sprint action in combat, you may also make a -1D standart attack with a pistol. You may perform this attack at any point of your movement against an opponent in front of you.

    Quick Fire (Conversion of Double Shot)
    Requires Marksmanship 5 (Longarms 3B)
    You are trained in firing two pistols at the same time.
    As a Greater Action, you may fire two pistols at once. Roll two tests using your full Marksmanship, but take -1D on each test. You may fire your pistols at the same target or at two adjacent targets.

    Close quarters Expert
    Requires Fighting 5 (Brawling 3B)
    You have mastered the synergy of body and weapon and are able to utilize your tools in unexpected ways.
    You may wield any weapon with Reach 1 or lower as if it were a Brawling-weapon. If you use a Reach 1 weapon this way, increase its Training by 1B.





    Combat

    Combat is an important part of the world of A Song of Ice and Fire and although I have already changed a lot of combat essentials by tweaking the benefits there are still some major flaws in the combat system.

    Armor

    As described in a few other threads heavy armor often leads to taking more damage than a character would've taken in lighter armor.
    This happens due to damage scaling with Degrees of Success which are calculated based on Combat Defense, which is modified by armor penalty.
    But the real reason behind the damage problem are the rules for critical strikes. Because of how critical strikes are scored (beating the opponents CD*2 with your Fighting roll) a knight in (supposedly) superior armor will take a critical almost every attack. This critical grants his opponent +2 base damage in the best case, +4 base damage if he had a good roll (or loads of dices) which scales up to +4/+8 damage at 2 DoS, +6/+12 at 3 and +8/+16 at 4 DoS, making armor completely useless (actually contraproductive even).
    My group tested several ideas to fix this problem and we decided to simply buff Plate Armor (Bulk 3 Armor) to have 2.5 times their armor penalty as armor rating.
    The following new stats apply to plate armor (Stats are sorted AR/AP/Bulk):
    Breastplate: 5/-2/3
    Splint: 8/-3/3
    Brigandine: 10/-4/3
    Half Plate: 13/-5/3
    Full Plate: 15/-6/3

    Adaptable Weapons:

    RAW Weapons with the Adaptable Quality are completely useless and in any case worse than their alternatives.
    Because of this I decided to come up with a rule to make Adaptable weapons a more versatile approach to combat which requires thinking ahead and moving at the right time for range benefits.
    Replace the Adaptable Quality (Page 157 Core Rulebook GoT Edition) with the following:
    "An Adaptable weapon is designed for use with one or two hands, granting the wielder greater versatility.
    When you wield this weapon in two hands, increase the weapon's damage by +1. You may also attack opponents one yard further and at no penalty."





    Equipment

    Superior Armor:

    In the old Campaign Guide, there were several NPCs using "Superior" Plate Armour with different Stats from original Plate Armour.
    Also, in both the old Core Rulebook and the GoT Edition if you have the Man of the Kingsguard Benefit you will be supplied with castle-forged Plate Armor.
    But sadly there are no rules for superior armor in either the core rulebook or any supplement (Spark only has Proofed Armor which is more effective against bullets).
    So let's take a look at Superior Armor from the old Campaign Guide:
    - Robert Baratheon wears a Superior Full Plate with AR 11, AP -5, Bulk 3 (+1 AR, -1 AP)
    - Barristan Selmy wears Superior Full Plate with AR 11, AP -6, Bulk 2 (+1 AR, -1 Bulk)
    - Jaime Lannister wears Superior Full Plate with AR 11, AP -6, Bulk 2 (+1 AR, -1 Bulk)
    - Renly Baratheon wears Superior Full Plate with AR 10, AP -5, Bulk 2 (-1 AP, -1 Bulk)
    - Stannis Baratheon wears Superior Plate and Mail with AR 7, AP -3, Bulk 3 (Regular Splint Armor, Plate and Mail doesn't exist)
    - Robb Stark wears Superior Mail with AR 6, AP -2, Bulk 1 (AR +1, AP -1, Bulk -1)
    - John Arryn wears Superior Plate and Mail with AR 7, AP -2, Bulk 2 (Splint with -1 AP, -1 Bulk)
    - Oberyn Martell wears Superior Scale Armor with AR 6, AP -2, Bulk 1 (AP -1, Bulk -1)

    - Victarion Greyjoy wears Excellent Full Plate with AR 11, AP -5, Bulk 1 (AR +1, AP -1, Bulk -2)
    - Tywin Lannister wears Excellent Full Plate with AR 10, AP -5, Bulk 3 (AP -1)
    - Mace Tyrell wears Excellent Full Plate with AR 10, AP -5, Bulk 3 (AP -1)
    - Loras Tyrell wears Excellent Full Plate with AR 10, AP -6, Bulk 2 (Bulk -1)

    I don't know where those numbers come from, especially because there is nothing like "excellent" gear listed in the rulebook.
    Superior weapons are listed (also called castle-forged, which is a quality also mentioned on the Kingsguard Benefit) and grant +1 to your Fighting roll for doubled cost.
    From the numbers above we can assume that Superior Armor will modify two of the three categories by +1 (AR) or -1 (AP, Bulk), which is the case in 7 of 12 cases (7/10 if we ignore Stannis' regular Armor and Victarions nonsense Plate from space).
    As the price for superior weapons is doubled I'd suggest the same for superior armor.
    Houserule would be as follows:

    Armor Quality
    Superior armor, also known as castle-forged, is made specifically for the wearer by one of the most renowned smiths of westeros.
    It is often heavily decorated with the Insignia of the wearer's noble house and often the personal sigil of the master who forged it.
    Superior armor allows you to choose two of the following modifications: Increase AR by 1, decrease Armor Penalty by 1, decrease Bulk by 1.
    You may not choose the same modification twice and you may not alter modifications after purchasing your superior armor.
    Superior armor costs twice as much as regular armor and may only be made and repaired by a master armorer, requiring the Artisan (Smith) Holding to purchase.

  2. #2
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    Re: Suggested rule changes to the Chronicle System Core Book

    Quote Originally Posted by Tubalkain View Post
    As the SIFRP Line has officially come to an end...
    It has!? Please, give me a link for this official announcement because I haven't yet seen anything to this effect.

    EDITED: Found the blog post and while its sad to see the end of the Westeros line, we can hopefully have more fun with the system in other settings.
    Last edited by Gurkhal; 04-12-2018 at 05:40 AM.

  3. #3
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    Re: Suggested rule changes to the Chronicle System Core Book

    Quote Originally Posted by Gurkhal View Post
    It has!? Please, give me a link for this official announcement because I haven't yet seen anything to this effect.

    EDITED: Found the blog post and while its sad to see the end of the Westeros line, we can hopefully have more fun with the system in other settings.
    Just out of curiosity (I haven't tried the Chronicle System yet, though I heard good things about that and would certainly give any non-Westeros Version a try): Has a core-book actually been announced or even been suggested? I can only find this post, which promises further material under the Chronicle System header, but no such thing as a core book,

    I guess if there should be one down the line, we will find out after the GR summit this weekend ...

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