The game will be run with the song of ice and fire role-playing game all you need to understand the rules is the ‘A song of ice and fire, roleplaying, a game of thrones edition’ which covers the core rules of the game, a basic rundown of the setting and the tools needed for you to make a character. The game shall be run through an IRC client with a dicebot. There are some key bits of information about how the game will be run as well as some extra rules to go over.
State of play:
Piglet Knights is just like any other cooperative game, it is expected that you will treat your fellow players as you would like to be treated and deal with any concerns in a mature manner, it should not be necessary to inform you of what good conduct is, so I won’t. If you have any problems in game then talk to the GM and fellow players to help find a resolution.
In Piglet Knights there will be three tiers of characters, main characters, side characters and background characters. Main characters are the PCs, their main adversaries and major cannon characters. These characters are fully developed and have access to destiny points, benefits and control their houses as applicable. They shall form the focus of the story and are the only ones to gain XP, glory and other rewards.
Side characters will have names and personalities but will not be entirely fleshed out, they will make up a number of lords, adversaries and allies that facilitate the story rather than drive it forth. When a scene at hand doesn’t involve one of your PCs you will be allowed to mantle a suitable side character in order to contribute to the scene should the scene allow. Side characters will draw their basic skills and stats from set templates and do not get destiny points or benefits; they can however take wounds, injuries and frustrations to grant them some survivability.
Background characters are exactly what it says on the tin. Notable background characters are Guardsman number 8 and hand maiden number 3, not to mention dirt farmer number 57. These characters are little more than background decoration that only ever really react to the PCs or their adversaries. These characters do not even get wounds, injuries and frustrations and are usually dealt with in a single roll at a set target number rather than a competitive roll.
This standard is the basic premise that will keep the game flowing from scene to scene and allow players to pick up and run with new characters off the cuff rather than fill out endless character sheets to fill out multiple parties off in all the distant corners of Westeros.
Hierarchy of characters:
There are of course some things to be considered when managing the characters like we will in this game and these have a number of impacts on how the game will flow. The PCs will take centre point on their scenes and the scenes will be shaped by their particular talents and their focus while side characters that are mantled by other players will play a smaller part and will have a simpler interaction during the scene.
For example; there are two characters at a jousting event, one is jousting, and the other is in the stands placing bets. In the case that the jousting knight is a PC and the gambler is a side character, the jousting will take centre stage and will be carried out with full jousting rules while the bets will be handled with a persuasion roll to bargain good odds. If however the gambler was a PC and the knight a side character then the haggling in the stands would be a full on intrigue whilst the joust would be a horsemanship test to decide the outcome. If both are PCs then there would be full jousting rules and full intrigue rules at play.
This is not to say that side characters do not have their part to play however, nor that they will never have to do anything complicated. When a side character can also work with a PC in their particular specialty they can aid them through an intrigue or a combat without simplifying the rules to suit the tone. The tone of a character should therefore be carefully considered when you make a character as it will set the tone of their scenes, if you are not interested in leading a battle, do not make a general. Some examples of characters and tones form the cannon are as follows;
Ned Stark, hand of the king, warden of the north:
Tone, high stakes intrigue and leadership
Robb Stark, king in the north, military genius:
Tone, diplomacy and battles
Arya Stark, rouge and survivor
Tone, stealth, deception and murder
Bran Stark, Warg and cripple
Tone, assorted fur-faggotry and Hodor
Sansa Stark, Hostage and bride, key to the north
Tone, lemon cakes and feelings
Jon Snow, Brother of the nights watch, knows nothing
Tone, combat and exploration, a dash of intrigue
As you can see there is a wide variety of character archetypes and each has their own tone to set for their scenes. Any who are familiar with the books or the TV adaptation will also note that not all the characters excel at the themes in their tones and failure can be horrible in Westeros. Electing to play a character that might not be skilled enough to handle what might be expected of them or who like Tyrion Lannister charging across a battlefield will find themselves in unexpected situations will have a turbulent and interesting time of things.
When making your character then please communicate what tone you expect for your character to the GM but also expect curve balls from time to time as the GM finds new ways to challenge you or the narrative consequences of players choices lead you to new things.
When you do not have a PC in play you can mantle a side character if possible or sit out on the scene if you prefer. Not everyone will be interested in the same things and there is no reason to force everyone to march along with an intrigue scene if they don’t like intrigue. Mantling a character is as simple as picking someone out who is in the scene and applying a suitable stat-template and personality to them. It is best that the side character selected is someone who would be working with the present PC/s.
The rulebook provides a good outline for how to run a game and we shall stick to that as we can. A story arc consists of several scenes strung together as a conflict is built and then resolved with characters gaining experience and other rewards when a story is complete. These scenes can use different characters in different locations doing different things but still orbiting the thrust of the story.
The problem arises when you must consider, what part does my brother of the nights watch play in a alliance negotiation? The answer is none. Players will have the ability to acquire a stable of characters with whom to interact with the world (more on that later), but not every story will involve every character and matters would be quite convoluted and strained if they did. The character system is created with this in mind; you can easily mantle side characters in the proximity of the story to partake in a session or two where none of your PCs are able to interact with the story.
The final problem is if a PC is removed from the story all together, what if my noble is sent off in exile or the back brothers? What if they are locked away in a dungeon? Side stories and side scenes can be run for PCs out of the loop so to speak, after a session is done or arranged for another date. As for PCs incapacitated in a cell, well, there are ways and means of winning them back, usually by paying a ransom or mounting a rescue, there is also retirement. This will be sorted out in more detail on a case by case basis.
More so than in other pen and paper games the players and their characters are separate entities in piglet knights and are treated as such. Life can be short and brutal in Westeros and even with destiny points to burn a player should be prepared for the worst concerning their characters; further more players are expected to jump from one character to another across a game and so will be even more detached from their characters. Please do not think of this as not having ownership over something in the game, but instead as having a stake in the overall narrative and gaming experience you are building together with others.
In keeping with the spirit of the game, players will have their own rewards separate to their characters, glory will be a player resorce rather than a character one, as such it can be used as normal to grant bonus dice to any character you play and add resources to any of the active houses. Further more it can be used to buy any of the following:
For 5 glory, pick any of the following;
Create a new PC from scratch from any active house
Adopt a side character and elevate them to a PC with standard character creation rules
For 10 glory, pick any of the following;
Create a new PC from scratch without restriction
Adopt a house from a PC as an active house and build it with the house rules
For 15 glory;
Create a new active house without restrictions and build it with the house rules
As you can see the players can acquire a more characters rather easily and even have multiple houses and their interests in play. This is designed to mirror the growing complexity of the novels and their web of alliances and characters who rise and fall across the series. As well as add a batch of extra characters to carry on the story with ease or explore different tones and story arcs as a player likes.
At the start there is one active house and all players get one PC affiliated to that house. Players joining in the intern make a single PC affiliated to any active house the players have unlocked.
As a rule, it is not the intention to create PvP here which these rules give scope to happen as players adopt and wield houses of their own creation across all the different kingdoms. This is counter productive to the game which is a cooperative experience and while it is okay to make houses and characters that have conflicts and rivalries with existing ones, players should bear in mind that a proxy contest between players championing houses is not in the interests of piglet knights as a game. While PCs are personally assigned and owned on a player by player basis, houses are open property and belong to the group as a whole despite who designed it.
The game is about having fun, so lets try and have some.