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Of the two historical Westeros settings I presented earlier,  my prospective players have chosen option one: FATE of the Dragon Throne. They want a continental, large scale campaign but don’t yet have many ideas on what issues to put in the setting. I’m going to start the ball rolling on detailing the big picture.

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The basic set up is old King Aegon “The Unworthy” Targaryen was as bad at ruling as he was good at whoring. He gave Blackfyre – the sword of Dragon kings – to his favorite bastard Daemon, and gave only disdain to his lawful heir Daeron. Although his sister-wife was a pious as a nun, the king felt Daeron wasn’t his real son.

The social classes of Westeros are King as the highest, lords, nobility, commoners, oath breakers, bastards then the lowest – kin slayers. As a final fuck up, Aegon legitimized all his dozens of bastards on his death bed. The sons he had by noble women were called Great Bastards, and could now be considered full lords. Daemon, born of the king’s cousin Daena, is the grandson of two Targaryen kings!

Current Affairs of State

DAERON_IIThe year is 194 after Aegon’s Landing and King Daeron Targaryen has spent the first ten years of his reign repairing the damage of his debauched father. He’s encouraged trade with foreign nations to reduce the debts owed to lords across the Narrow Sea. There’s no time for tourneys and festivals as business takes priority over ceremony. The only familiarity most have with the king is his face on gold coins. New taxes make these a rare sight.

Issue: Its said “Distracted Daeron cares for Coin over Kingdom”

Face: Maekar Targaryen, Prince of Summerhall, 4th son of Daeron. Aspects: The Dragon must be Respected and I’m the Warrior Father Should Be.

The 20 year old prince travels the north and west lands representing the busy king and ensuring his newer laws are understood and obeyed. Maekar resents this posting as beneath him but was told he must learn diplomacy that doesn’t rely on his mace.

The King’s Hand, Riverland Lord Ambrose Butterwell, tries to buy the people’s loyalty for cheap. He’s announced numerous new holidays as an accuse for drunken festivals where his merchant allies make coin. Traveling Septon priests have been bribed to preach pro-Daeron sermons and report popular opinion. Lords critical of the Throne are ruled against in disputes and the other party is indebted for the injustice in their favor.

Issue: The Greedy Hand Sells Lies and Buys Loyalty.

Face: Ambrose “Milkblood” Butterwell, Lord of Whitewalls, Hand of the King. Aspects: True Power is a Hefty Purse and A Man who Pleases has Only Allies.

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House Targaryen

 

Threats on the Horizon

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Older lords shun Ser Daemon Blackfyre as a vain bastard. To make up for his soiled heritage, he holds himself to the utmost standards of nobility. The knight fights with amazing martial skill, many view the handsome and deadly Daemon as the resurrection of Aegon the Conqueror. He never speaks against his crowned half-brother, whom Blackfyre feels sorry for, and wishes his grace let him wed princess Daenerys – Daeron’s sister. Daemon’s noble kinsmen whisper dissent for him.

Threat: Beautiful Blackfyre rules Hearts and Tempts them to Treason

Face: Ser Aegor “Bittersteel” Rivers, Great Bastard of Aegon. Aspects: Cheated by Bastard Birth and Revenge Burns in my Dragon’s Blood.

Rivers is close to his half-brother Daemon and has his trust. Blackfyre is noble but naive, so cynical Aegor takes a protective role over him. As king, Daemon would allow Bittersteel to achieve the power he deserves, so he works to promote the youth and undermine faith in King Daeron.

If Princess Rhaenyra had won her war, she would have been the first ruling Targaryen Queen. Daena “The Defiant”, her grand daughter, would have ruled in turn. Daemon Blackfyre is her only child and her chance to set the royal line the way it should’ve been. Trained in tactics and an experienced player of the game, she controls House Velaryon – her mother’s family. The lady uses their naval power to smuggle and raid riches to secretly fund House Blackfyre. The trade King Daeron fosters is feeding his rivals, and not even Daemon or Bittersteel know it.

tumblr_m85vazBOlC1qlll6ko1_500[1]Threat: The Forgotten Queen Secretly rules the Narrow Sea

Face: Daena Targaryen, Former Queen of Baelor, King of the Seven Kingdoms. Aspects: A Woman’s Will is her Strength and My Beloved Son is the True Dragon.

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House Blackfyre

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“Alright, you’re characters have fought hard in the Riverlands but now it’s time for some fun festivities.” announced the game master.

“The King’s uncle, Lord Tully, invites you to attend his wedding to one of Walder Frey’s daughters at the Twins. Hopefully, the union will restore strength to the army of the North!”

The players look at each other with absurd faces. GAME OF THRONES OVER, MAN!

The worst part about running in the setting of a great story is the damned great story! Thanks Mr. Martin for your beautiful art, which has sparked my own creativity – now, get the hell out the way.

A Song of Fire and Ice is still being composed and I don’t want it to drown out my own li’l melody. I can’t really add on until it’s done and I don’t want to tarnish such a saga. The future is still in motion – like Yoda said while he popped open a can of Pepsi to earn Lucas another few million dollars.

This leaves us the rich history of Westeros, where only a few nerds such as myself have delved.

Option 1 – FATE of the Dragon Throne

A hundred years before Danerys married Kharl Drogo, King Aegon Targaryen IV, the worst king in the history of Westeros, legitimized his bastards on his deathbed. This created dozens of heirs in royal line. Shortly after, one of his royal oopsies made a play for the throne. It becomes known as the Blackfyre Rebellion.

The events are far enough from the series to have narrative freedom, but still feel like GoT. I didn’t make this up. I read this in the Hedge Knight series. George R. R. Martin is spilling over with fucking talent.

A game requires conflict and this is a good one. Player characters need a Trouble or Struggle to define themselves against. Daemon Blackfyre is this great warrior with lots of charisma. The crowned king Daeron Targaryen is a bookish administrator trying to focus on fixing the damage his father did. Uber jock versus Super nerd on an epic scale!

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Nerd.

The players I have lined up are mostly unfamiliar with the setting. A few think of GoT as “D&D with lots of talking”. There’s only a little magic in Westeros and few other tropes of medieval fantasy games. How can I run GoT AND fulfill comfortable expectations?

Option 2 – FATE of the Seven Lands

Six THOUSAND years before the death of King Robert of the House Baratheon – ruler of the First Men, the Andals and the Rhoynar, the first Andals conquered the Vale of Arryn. They brought with them the Seven Gods and steel to the wild spirited First Men with their many Old Gods. The invaders aim to spread the Faith to the seven lands of Westeros, civilize hundreds of clannish kingdoms and destroy the wierding powers of the Great Weirwoods with their inhuman keepers.

Whether the players play First men, Andals or whatever else, this mythic age holds only potential. I see it as sort of GoT with classical Roman flavor. The Andals as the Romans battle with their steel spathas ringing against bronze scale armor of the “barbaric” First men.

Add in the Crusades with the themes of old tradition versus alien ideas.

This is a vaguely detailed setting in GoT’s past where there was magic and sorcery. This is where the supernatural powers that Brandon is learning about were much more common. The Children of the Forest used dark magic to destroy a peninsula! Snarks and Grumpkins REALLY do prowl the dark woods doing evil faery tale shit! Dire wolves? Dire bears, boars, mammoths, dire EVERYTHING!

orcmountWhich would you choose? Why?

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