[RPG] What’s a good system for a short adventure / one-shot in Westeros


Since I am thinking about running a short adventure (one or two sessions) set in Westeros for some roleplaying amateurs, and I personally think the Song of Ice and Fire RPG Rules by Green Ronin might be too heavy and complex, I am looking for light-weight alternatives.

My gamers know the world mostly by the TV series, and i would like to run it combat- and action-focused, and with low to no magic.
The players should play lowborns, so grim and gritty rules would match my thoughts quite well, which is why i was thinking about WFRP rules, but there is a problem with the magics and the careers.
I thought about Savage Worlds as well, but i dislike the freak roll opportunities – I would prefer it a bit more reliable.
I think D&D is too heroic and too magical as well.

And that's where my deeper knowledge of systems ends.

To sum it up, i am looking for a system that:

  • Has low to medium complexity
    • For comparison I would rate Savage Worlds and D&D5 medium complex, while DSA (The Dark Eye) would be high complexity.
  • Has quick combat
  • Can do Fantasy without magic (or with magic as a non-crucial aspect)
  • Can be nasty and grim and lethal, if you are not careful
  • Is somewhat reliable (preferably no exploding dice)
  • Preferably does not use character-classes
  • Preferably focuses on simulation rather than narration

Best Answer

The Sword, the Crown, and the Unspeakable Power (SCUP) is designed to emulate the political fantasy found in A Song of Ice and Fire, but it doesn't do everything you're looking for. SCUP is currently in beta, so you would need to contact Wheel Tree Press to get the latest draft. If you're curious how it plays, I Podcast Magic Missile recorded a ten-episode run of SCUP.


  • It's Powered by the Apocalypse and stays close to Apocalypse World rules-wise, so it inherits getting started quickly, a lot of the grittiness, and the way mechanics and narration are tied together.

  • It can do one shots, but a few sessions will help establish the setting and give more opportunities for the Faction rules to have an effect.

  • Quick combat. PCs are tougher than most NPCs. Characters can be killed outright if they're captured, helpless, etc., but the game is generally more about wheeling and dealing between characters.


  • It has playbooks (eleven to choose from), which might be too close to character classes for what you're looking for. The Beloved is closely tied to an Unspeakable Power (Melisandre), and the Voice influences those in power (Littlefinger). At the less overtly powerful end, the Screw is a professional torturer (probably in the employ of the Crown), the Spur captains a militia, and the Black Hood is more of a thief/assassin type.

  • Magic is present and available to everyone (Gaze into the Unspeakable Power), but it is not something players want to do lightly. Some playbooks offer more powerful moves (Harness the Unspeakable Power); you could limit access to these.