From Chainmail to D&D Next
Blades of the Iron Throne
This is a true Sword and Sorcery game, with a strong focus on character. The system has a learning curve due to some of the different way it approaches things and its detailed combat system. This is a player driver game, with a cinematic and tactical combat system. The combat system focus on individual tactical choices, and is surprising playable once learned.
Combat consists of a series of “Limelights.” A Limelight is an indefinite series of Combat Rounds. A Combat Round is two Exchanges. An Exchange is where the Attacker and Defender each choose a Maneuver, and resolve them. A Maneuver is something like (for the Attacker) Cut, Thrust, Beat, or Feint; or (for the Defender) Parry, Evade, or Block. Combat in Blades is Deadly, Detailed, Challenging to master, and Dynamic.
Characters have driving goals, that are character created. Advancement is centered around working towards those goals. This creates a game where characters have strong motivation to accomplish something, and are forced to make choices that matter to create a personal story.
Play this game when you want a detailed, crunchy combat system that attempt to simulate the tactical choices of a real fight. Also when you are looking for a game that is player character action driven. This game is at the top edge of my crunch tolerance, but the reality of the combat keeps me wanting to play.