In this blog, we take a look at the world of A Song of Ice and Fire through the lens of the hit HBO series A Game of Thrones and the game systems of A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying for some ideas on how to incorporate themes and elements of the show into your own SIFRP Chronicles. There may be spoilers for both the books and the show, so be warned!
Season 3, Episode 4: “A One-Handed Kingslayer”
In the episode “And Now His Watch is Ended,” Ser Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth have been taken by the vicious Locke, who deprived him of his hand at the end of the previous episode.
At one point, Locke’s men begin tormenting poor Jaime unmercifully – tricking him into drinking horse piss, and eventually kicking him contemptuously over and over while he flails about, weak from injury and fatigue. They taunt him the entire time and basically begin to strip him down. By the time they’re done with him, he is a man beaten.
Since this form of torment and torture seems to make up a fair chunk of the story with a number of characters this season, let’s look at some mechanics for those type of wholly unsavory scenes. These mechanics are going to look at the infliction of injury as a form of Intrigue, whether that means is by torture or simply contemptuously beating down a weaker or less-skilled opponent.
A Word of Caution: Though we all know that Martin’s setting for A Song of Ice & Fire is a brutal, ugly place to live sometimes, please remember the main purpose of playing in a roleplaying game: to have fun. To this end, please respect the limits of your players. Before playing through any of the sorts of scenes these mechanics might inspire, check with your players. Figure out what their limits of personal taste are, and respect them. If necessary, resort to the mechanics and pull a “fade to black” for the precise details, and then get on with the good stuff. You know, like the player character’s revenge for what was done to him!
Torture (Intrigue Action)
If a target is incapacitated in some way, whether because they are defeated in battle, bound and imprisoned or for some other reason, a character might enact violations upon their physical well-being in order to mentally break them. Using this method, a character may utilize his Fighting or Healing skills as Intrigue skills. The torturer may substitute his Intimidate, Act or Bluff specialties in place of any Fighting or Healing specialties. This approach can only be used to mimic the Intimidate Technique.
Contemptuous Strike (Combat Action)
In battle, a skilled warrior might display his contempt for his enemy by casually striking out at that foe in such a way that demonstrates he might have greviously injured him, but simply chose not to. This is handled as a normal attack roll against the greater of the target’s Combat or Intrigue Defense, though the attacker may substitute his Intimidate specialty for any Fighting or Marksmanship specialties that might otherwise apply. The first degree of success applies as physical Damage; the remainder applies as Influence as though an Intimidate action were being taken. A character who is defeated through Influence or Frustration has no fight left in him or her, in addition to the other effects of being defeated in an Intrigue by the Intimidate Technique.
Joe is a developer for Green Ronin’s Blue Rose AGE line. He has worked in the tabletop gaming industry for nearly twenty years, during which he’s been a fiercely outspoken advocate for LGBTQ+ inclusion, both in the industry and in the games we make. He is also a novelist, with his first novel Sacred Band garnering starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews and Publishers Weekly. Both Sacred Band and his second novel, Shadowtide, are available now from Nisaba Press. Joseph lives in Portland, Oregon with his fiancé A.J.