Ok, disclaimers first, nothing to do with guild ball, move along.
One of the best things about role-playing, is its adaptability. I know I’ve droned on about this before. But in the same way as a small gaming company thinks ‘I’d love to play a minatures game based on Roman gladiatorial combat, where’s my kickstarter going with this?’, I think how about if I ran a RPG campaign based on…? You’ve got to love the intrigue in Game of Thrones, even if you’re a reader rather than a watcher. And how about having the players as characters, with their own commands…(Warning, starting to sound like a minatures game).
It’s been made clear that GoT is based, at least in part, on our own Wars of the Roses. And if you take away the fantasy element, I’m sure it could be one of many similar historical settings. So I wanted to recapture the intrigue, the menace, and put my own spin on it. It’s for 4 players, one of whom is the lord, the other 3 his advisors/aides. One will be a political advisor, a right hand man. One will be head of his small permanent army, chief bodyguard. Need another, so how about including magic, having a court mage? Then I need a setting, with lots of potential for scheming. I ruled out the UK, as I was looking on a grander scale, and felt navies might complicate things unneccessarily. Germany in the 1200s. A powerful emperor, lots of powerful sub-rulers, conflict with a powerful head of church. A feudal system, to allow for knights, who provide their lord with troops when asked. If they’re loyal.
If I make our lord something like a duke ( must research orders of nobility), then he has to look up at the princes and emperor, and look down at his knights. Perfect. And let’s tie magic with religion, make bishops magic users. So I need a system. Normally for anything like this, it’s Pendragon, great for dynasties, knightly behaviour. But I need detail, and I need magic. Rolemaster it is then perhaps with some Pendragon aspects incorporated. This makes the lord and bodyguard Fighters, the advisor either a Fighter, or perhaps a Rogue. Then the court mage will be something like a Seer, mentalist magic-user, specialising in information gathering etc. I don’t want fireballs and summoning demons. Bishops can be Clerics with spells to enhance their preaching, control others. So clearly there needs to be defence against control. How about relics? Say the Holy Cross is broken into a million splinters. Possession of one of these offers defence against control, perhaps power in other ways. When you put 2 splinters together, they merge, become 1 larger splinter. If ever anyone recreated the whole Cross, they’d become basically god.
So our lord has to stay on the right side of the Emperor, not annoy any of the powerful Princes, keep his knights loyal, stay faithful to the Pope, and try to collect splinters by any means. Think that’ll work?