[Night's Watch] A Song of Ice and Fire

Wall Guard? Winter Guard? Anyway…

Greetings, gentlemen. This is incidentally my first post on these forums after a short period of lurking. What I want to do in this thread is to present the work I’ve already done on a ASoIaF hack for Mouse Guard and invite any interested people to help me hammer it out. My intention is to release the final version much like the Realm Guard people did, with Luke’s permission, of course.

There is already a “Song of Mice and Fire” thread (fantastic name by the way), but that ports part of ASoIaF’s plot to the Mouse Guard world, while I’m trying to do a full hack.

So, this started when I offered to run MG for my group and not all of them were keen on playing mice (crazy, I know), so I immediately suggested that we play in Martin’s world - the parallels were obvious to me: The Night’s Watch is a caste set apart, a brotherhood of people sworn to protect the realms of men from whatever is beyond The Wall. So we pretty much played MG as written, but skipped the “mousey” parts and changed them for human ones.

I intend to compile a more thorough conversion, which will touch on all the important bits and help other people play members of the Night’s Watch if they wish to do so.

On to the crunchy bits…the below is a summary of a longer text on my HD.

  1. first of all, pretty much all instances of ‘Mouse Guard’ are renamed to ‘Night’s Watch’. ‘Guard’ is renamed to ‘Watch’.

  2. Recruitment
    Concept - think about your character
    Watch Rank - Builder, Watchman, Ranger, Ranger Patrol Leader, Steward
    (builders maintain the wall, Watchmen watch, Rangers go beyond the Wall, Stewards run and command the Watch).
    The character’s age and ability are determined same as in MG, based on the above ranks.
    Human Nature - At the moment I have Family, Glory and Pride and Safety and Comfort as human nature. I’m open to suggestions. There are a couple of questions to adjust Nature.
    Where Were You Born - The North, The Iron Islands, The Riverlands, Vale of Arryn, The Westerlands, The Reach, Stormland, Dorne, The Crownlands
    I haven’t assigned Traits and Skills to these yet, but it should be like MG.

Skills and Wises are picked same as in MG. I decided to rename Apiarist to Herdsman (as in RG) and change Insectrist into Animal Handler. I don’t think we need a separate Ride skill, but if you think otherwise, tell me. (Animal Handler also covers the training of Ravens, Dogs, Direwolves etc.).
The Loremouse skill is changed into a Maester skill. They can’t talk to animals but can interpret foreign languages and customs, old legends, coded messages, raven cries…
I don’t have a fresh list of Wises yet, but I’ll be working on it.

There is magic in Westeros, but the Night’s Watch don’t use it, so I don’t think it’s necessary to put it in (for now). Otherwise I’d handle it as a maneuver-like check (your MoS allows you to buy effects).

Circles and Resources
Handled same as in MG, but the questions are a bit different.

The mousey-sounding traits are renamed (Big Paw becomes Rough Hands, Oldfur becomes Greybeard etc. …like in RG). Sharptooth, Wolf’s Snout and Longtail are thrown out. I suggest new traits like Bastard, Faithful…

Fur Colour

Change to “Appearance”. Unless someone has a better idea.

Cloak Colour
Becomes Heraldry or something of the like. Although family names don’t matter in the Night’s Watch, most members still have some sort connection or another to one of the noble families to the south.

Scale of Might
6. Old dragons
5. Kraken, The Others
4. Young dragons, Mammoths
3. Wights, Direwolves, Giants, Bears, Aurochs…
2. Men, Cave Lions, Shadowcats, Lizard Lions

  1. Children, Dogs, Ravens, Manticores

(if you’re using obsidian weapons against them, The Others count as being one step lower)

Watch Duties
Maintaining the Wall when it’s melting, going on patrols, fighting off Wildling raiders, gathering wood and other resources, going south to recruit new members, carrying mail…

This is my biggest (and possibly only) problem here. Westeros doesn’t have seasons as such. Yes, Winter is coming, so the escalation from warm to cold is there and the shift from a “great spring” to a “great winter” could happen within the period of one earth year, but it doesn’t get warm again after that for a long time. Or maybe there even won’t be a winter…so, I don’t know really. It probably can work as written, but it doesn’t feel right.

Some ideas what seasons can be replaced with…“Wildling Advance” or maybe even “The Others”. I don’t know.

So, anything I’m missing? Any suggestions or ideas, critiques? Anyone willing to help me with this?

I, for one, am very eager whenever MG hacks come along. I’ve not considered Realm Guard for the simple fact that it lacks magic. Does the A Song of Ice and Fire book skip magic too? That’ll be odd for a human-based RPG, fighters, clerics, wizards, and rogues are all staple of Tolkien-themed RPGs.

Be sure to put the night’s watch oath in there like the MG oath.

For Seasons I’d just make it always winter. Fits the fiction.

Instead of cloak color could your watchman have a nickname?

Nature: I like Family, Shelter (instead of safety and comfort), Ambition (instead of Pride or Glory). I’m trying to turn them into verbs, but not having luck yet.

Or it could just be a splash of colour, something about the watchman that sets him apart, that makes him stand out, be it a scar or an unusually fine black cloak sent from home or a sword with a wolf’s head hilt, made of Valaryian steel.

There is magic in the world of Westeros but it’s very confined to rare individuals (not unlike LotR, perhaps, where Gandalf is the only magic-using protagonist). I don’t remember any magic-users being members of the Night’s Watch…I’d rather that magic be confined to the use of “magical” traits - worshiping the old gods, talking to the trees, things like that perhaps.

“Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night’s Watch, for this night and all the nights to come.”

Those sound like very good suggestions. I don’t think they absolutely need to be verbs as long as it’s clear what you can use nature for, in this case it’s more about acting in favour of certain situations than acting in a certain way.

Great, I think that’s going into the next rewrite.

I love the oath!! Um, until the wife and children part… Actually, that’s all that feels wrong with me (I’m a married guy with 2 sons, so go figure :D), the rest I really dig!

I like your ideas a lot. I am a huge fan of the books and am looking to run a campaign and have not chosen a system yet. However, I worked on another hack using only humans and have some suggestions based on that.

I suggest not defining nature by race but instead by lot in life (which fits better into the genre). For example, all humans might have Nature: Shelter (I prefer Escaping as we all instinctualy want to survive). But then they might choose one based upon their status before the watch. So a noble might have Ambition (or Lead or Command), a Maester might have Advise, a low-born might have Serve, etc. The other one might be Family for most people but since Brothers of the Night’s Watch give up their families upon taking their oath, I would switch it to Brotherhood for them.

Thus a non-watch noble would have Nature: Shelter (or Escaping), Ambition (or Lead or Command), and Family.

The same noble after joining the watch would have Nature: Shelter, Ambition, and Brotherhood.

If you wanted a fourth, I would base it upon their job in the watch. A Builder would get climbing perhaps (or building), a Ranger would get hiding, and a steward would get Command. In this case, don’t use command or lead for nobles as above.

I would like to hear how your game is going.