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Song of Fire and Ice Roleplaying Game, posted by Derek

So, I took a look at Green Ronin’s Song of Fire and Ice Roleplaying Game. I’m actually pretty interested. It’s actually fairly unique (at least among the systems I know) in mechanics. It’s sort of like a lot of things, but doesn’t match any of them.

It’s mainly based on attributes, which is fairly true to the books.  Your attributes define the number of dice you can roll – 2 is base, 7 is, I think, max.  When you’re testing, you roll a number of d6 equal to your attribute, and sum them, to try to beat a target number. The interesting bit is the bonus dice piece – skills and training are represented by bonus dice (which can’t exceed your attribute dice).  But bonus dice are extra – you roll more dice, but still only choose a number of dice equal to your attribute.  So you get *better* results with bonus dice, but it’s never above what someone can achieve naturally with some luck.

Then there are degrees of success, which seemed dumb at first, but I’m liking.  Say your target number is 12, for a very hard challenge.  Your ST might declare that it’s a very hard challenge, and requires extraordinary success.  So you have to beat the target number by 3 for each degree.  If you need a third degree success, you have to sum up to 18 (12+3+3).  Which seemed, at first, as simply a way to make it 18 without making it 18.  But the example makes it a bit more interesting.

They give the example of a man who wants to sing the dirge for a lord’s dead son.  Which is very hard (12).  But then he wants to do it in the lord’s throne room, which makes it third degree.  Simply making it 18 is pass/fail (sure, the ST can mod the failure, but….).  Making it 12 x3 means that you have gradiations. So If you roll a 13, you succeed, but not enough. If you roll an 11, you just fail.

The other bit is that age makes a huge difference, as does status. The older you are, the more XP you have to spend on attributes (basically point buy).  Also the more responsibilities you have. A young adult gets less stats, but can basically do whatever.  The same for skills – more age == more XP == more skills.  But on the flip side, you have Destiny points (which is where I get really impressed).  Destiny points are a lot like Fate point from Philip’s Narrowlands, but (sorry man) better.

You get between 7 and 0 Destiny points (youth get 7, venerable 0).  Destiny points are used to buy merits, which give bonuses (pretty nice ones). You can also get flaws, but not very many (also, adult and above has a default flaw) to add merits.  Any Destiny points you *don’t* spend become your action point pool.  You can spend them, and they regen at important story points.  They give you bonuses, but nothing huge – auto succeed at a minor task, convert a bonus die to a real die, stuff like that. Alternatively, you can burn them, which lowers your total pool, but gives you a much bigger benefit. So a youth gets more potential, which they can invest at the first, or save for more luck.  Age assumes you’ve already spent some to get to an older age….

It’s really pretty cool.

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