A Game of Thrones

Ser Walter Langley
Written by his player - Jesse

I see her everytime I enter House Magmar. Her beauty still shines even to this day. I let myself fall into a vivid dream of the life we could of had together. Eli, I whisper, how I love thee. We lock eys from across the room. A man can be the greatest king, the mightest warrior, or the richest merchant prince, even her husband, but never would she look at them with those eyes of jade as she looks at me, her true love. Eli hides her gaze as the Lord of the house enters.

Roland you bastard, my thoughts cry out in jealousy. You may have taken her in body but not in mind and soul. Eli loves me still, her eyes tell me that. Lord Magmar speaks, but I dream of better days. Back then we were young and strong of heart. When we bled, we bled nobility. Those were good days. We were inseperable back then, Roland and I. We both won our knighthood during Robert’s rebellion against the Mad King. Roland married early and started a family. I had not yet found my true love. I was there to celebrate the birth of his only son, Rickard. I was there for him during the death of his first wife, Lyianna. When all hope had left him, I propped him up and gave him hope. There wasnt a fight we dare not win , on the battlefield or in the tavern halls. I had his back and he had mine. Brothers in arms till the end. Then we both saw her and that all changed.

The tournament games had arrived to the island and every noble house across the land fielded there best. We both had made our way through the jousting tournament. Besting our way through countless opponents until we eventually met each other face to face on the field. As the squires were leading the horses to the line, I looked up and saw her. Never in my life had I seen true radiance. A beautiful face among the faceless crowd. I lost my breath as all time seemed to stop. “My lord,” I heard my squire speak. “Thy horse is ready, good luck.” I waved him off as I tried to swallow the lump in my throat. My concentration had been broken. I steadied my horse and waited for the trumpet to sound as I scanned the field. Roland too had notice her, but he was much more brash about it. He pointed to her with his lance and called for a good luck kiss. She gave him a wave as the trumpets sounded. Deep inside me something erupted, no longer did I see a friend but an arch rival. The prize would be mine.

I yelled the command for the horse to charge. Raising my shield to defend, I steadied the lance and prepared to thrust as roland charged closer and closer. Our lances met and deflected off each others shield as we pass by one another. I reached the end of the line first and pulled back on the reins with a loud “whoa,” to turn around. I raised my visor and looked onto the crowd. We locked eyes. They say true love does not exist, but here in this place I had found it. She did too. She let go of her silk handkerchief onto the tournament field. I jumped off my horse and rushed to pick it up, but Roland had the same idea. We bounced off each others armor. I scolded him to back off as he yelled “I saw her first.” I felt a tug on my shoulder, “Ser.” My squire awoke me from my dream.

“Walter.” Lord Magmar spoke. “What is the current situation with the bandits?” I gathered my thoughts befor I spoke. “Forgive me my Lord, my thoughts were elsewhere,” I replied. Lord Magmar, countered with a smug look, “they been doing that a lot lately.” The room ruptured in laughther. I went on with my report.

We ended up fighting for the handkerchief on the ground. It took seven men to break us apart. The judges kicked us out of the jousting tourney. Our fathers were not pleased. Roland barked in disgust. I at least had her handkerchief. Silky smooth to the touch and smelled of summer roses. I waited for her after the games. Introducing myself, as Ser Walter Langley, eldest son of Brynn Langley. I handed back her handkerchief and asked for her name. She said her name was Lady Elinora Flint, but I could call her Eli. I would be the only man ever to call her by that name. Though our affairs were held in total secret, we had planned to announce our love, but it was not to be. War had come again.

Word had come down that all the loyal banners were gathering for a war against Lord Balon Greyjoy’s rebellion. For a time, Roland and I put aside our differences and fought alongside together as one. The final battle was to take place at Pyke. An old fortress castle. Lord Baratheon was able to breach the wall under the old south tower. Roland and I rushed in behind Lord Eddard Stark. We took arrow fire up from the tower. Several of the men were felled. Lord Stark ordered an attack on the tower thru its breached foundation. It was a bloody fight on the stone stair ways all the way to the top. Lord Stark was nearly cut down when Maron Greyjoy appeared behind a door. Lucky for him, Roland was right behind him and caught Maron by surprise. He ran his long sword straight thru. The tower started to lean, the damage from the breach was too much. Lord Stark, gave the order to fall back. I saw Maron crawling towards his weapon. I let him be and ran back out. The old south tower collapsed, taking all those within it to their deaths. Eventually the battle was over, Lord Greyjoy had surrendered.

I did not know at the time , but during the celebrations at Lannisport, for his act of saving the life of Lord Stark, Stark offered Roland whatever he wished. He spoke only one word, Elinora.

I threw the first punch when he told me he was to wed Elinora. “Bastard”, I cried, as my fist felt the pain of contact with his thick jaw. Friends since childhood and brothers in arms, this man right here was like a brother to me and yet at this very moment he was my most hated enemy. We both knew for a long time this moment would come someday. The fight was on for the greatest prize of ours lives, Elinora’s love.

Roland countered with a punch to my gut as he yelled, “Walter, it is done, by order of Lord Stark!!” “No!!”, I yelled. It was a solid blow as I flew across the dining table. Food and drink splashed everywhere as servants ran from the room. Roland approached and grabbed me as I laid Stunned. I reached over with my right arm for the ham bone lying on a plate and swung it across his face. A loud “smack”, echoed in the dining room, as Roland fell back against the stone wall. With a quick jump to my feet, I leaped at him from the table, coming down with a perfectly placed elbow….but he moved just in time. My face ate stone as I felt a tooth chipped. A hard kick to the body followed but I took it in stride. “She loves me!!, I cried as I staggerd to my feet. Roland smirked and was about to say something when I fired with my one two in quick succession. They hit true as his body spunned around like a rag doll but he caught himself on one of the dining room chairs.

“Walter, you may love her, but she is mine now!, get over it!”, Roland yelled as the wooden chair flew at me with blinding speed. I dodge with a quick step to the right towards the wall and I came back strong with a right hook to Roland’s face. In anger Roland drew his sword. I parried his swing and we cursed each other as we locked swords. By now, several other guards and knights had entered the room. Roland yelled at them to, “stay out of it!!” I pushed forward with a lunge towards him, but it was easily countered. “Face the truth, Walter. House Magmar is stronger. A marriage to a Flint will be better served by a Magmar than a Langley”, scolded Roland. No matter how much it hurt, Roland spoke the truth. House Magmar had more resources and more men. A marriage to a Flint was a better pairing, politcally and tactically. But it did not matter, I had true love on my side.

‘Enough!!”, yelled Roland’s father. The men breaking us apart. “All those battles fought, and this is the one that tears your friendship apart, for a woman! I’m an old man. One day soon, Roland will take over this house. Same for you Walter. When your father and I are gone, these banners will fall to the both of you to lead. Walter, listen to me. Roland won Elinora’s hand by right of deed. Can you truely deny him this right? And you, roland my eldest son. You knew the path this choice would lead for your friendship, and yet you made it.”, the elder Magmar spoke with a stern voice.

“Walter, this is the reality of your world. You dont have to like it, and I know you will never forgive him. But for the sake of your family honor, and the continued strength of this alliance, will you stand by my son?”, pleaded Roland’s father. I saw Elinora, enter the dining room. I looked over at her for consule and she nodded back to me, knowing I had no choice but to sacrifice our love.

“For love and honor”, I said as I looked over to Roland. “You god damn right”, he replied.

Will Walter win his lady-love, for we all know being a noble in Westeros comes with many dangers ….

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Chimaera
Written by his player - Sherm

The man flashed his dazzling smile to the crowd, brushing his spiked blond hair back out of the way of his blue eyes. The women, entranced, smiled back. The men, bedeviled, simultaneously sneered openly in contempt, and stood mesmerized in awe and jealousy. His fingers strummed the lute. Music poured forth effortlessly, long years of training and repetition making the difficult easy. Those long fingers, more feminine than masculine stroked songs of ice and fire from the dark wood of the aged instrument. His music was an extension of his will, and his will was strong. It circled the room, bewitching all who heard the sweet tones. But behind the smile and his delicate voice the man raged. He’d been sent to this island as a gift. A trade between not so friendly powers. A pawn in a game of thrones. Though he’d been amongst these islanders for years – he would never be one of them. He would never allow that to happen.

“Chimaera, they call you?” Bellowed a behemoth of a man. Lord Blount by name. “You appear more of a sparrow or perhaps a morning dove. With hands and voice like a woman!”

Behind the massive figure of Lord Blount, whose girth was so large as to force the serving girls to change their path and circle him as if he were some beached leviathan, there were snickers and outright roars of laughter from the crowd. All male. Some of the women smiled demurely, but most shot eyes of fire at their drunken, foolish male companions.

“Enough of the womanly songs, tell us a ribald joke!” said ser Blount, swallowing seeming gallons of ale in great gulps from his tankard. Foam rose around the edges of his mouth and was trapped in his thick beard. Heavy droplets fell, staining his tunic. His bald head sweaty in the rooms torch lit twilight. The lord had long passed drunk.

Chimaera stopped playing. For a moment there was silence in the hall. “A joke ser Blount? You like to laugh? I would think that after all these years of having the ladies laugh when you dropped your pants, laughter would be the last thing you’d like to hear.”

The room exploded in laughter. Men guffawed into their drinks, and the ladies smiled. Lord Blount didn’t see the humor in the situation. His eyes narrowed and his round face clouded red. Thick, ringed fingers grasped the pommel of his sword. The lord’s men, seeing he was not taking the bard’s jab lightly, put down their own cups and their hands sought their own swords. The moment froze, all was quiet as if a storm approached. A storm of swords.

“I apologize good ser. I meant no offense. I was simply saying that if a woman saw a man’s manhood the tremendous size yours obviously is, they could do naught but squeak out a terrified laugh to cover their fear! Come, let us drink and tell ribald tales of the fires of manhood and that deep well we all seek to quench our lusts!”

The storm abated. Fizzled before it could begin.

With that, the bard picked up a tankard from a near table and swigged deeply before jumping upon the very same table and beginning to tell the tale of The Maiden and the Unicorn. He smiled his big smile and his blue eyes flashed. Hands freed themselves from the entanglement of swords and laughter and frivolity once again filled the room. Next came The Clash of Kings and the audience howled to hear of the one-balled king. But, as he played and sang, behind the smile and the jokes, Chimaera raged. They think me the simpleton and jester. The dung heap for all their discarded wit. One day they will all know. They will feel my teeth sink into their throats and tear their worthless lives from them. I will sow woe and ruin in my wake and then they will know that the blood of lions runs in my veins.

This is a very interesting character, one that will be in the middle of events both great and terrible …

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Haydon Borodin
Written by his player - Dave

Heydon, a common man of 32 years and not of noble birth, has seen many trials in his life. Native to the Island of Skagos, being a man of the North has made him strong in the face of many rigors. Whether through snow or cold, Heydon remains undefeated in the numerous challenges he has faced. Unfortunately, the most recent of which altered his life forever. It was but a year past, whilst hunting in the highlands near Kingshouse, Heydon encountered a large and vicious brown bear. Boldly, Heydon clashed with the beast and battled it to within an inch of his own life. When the battle was done, it was Heydon that roared victoriously. Unfortunately, the victory came at a terrible price. Heydon’s left leg, drenched in blood, would forever pain him and become lame. To this day the limp remains as a constant reminder of what would later be called Heydon’s final battle. If they only new of the challenges yet to come for Heydon Borodin…

In the year since his encounter with the beast, Heydon has encountered more trials, although of an entirely different sort. Once a fierce warrior and Master-of-Arms of Kingshouse Garrison, his injury would inevitably change him forever. Hobbled of step, leading his men in drill has become more then difficult. Moving with his troops in formation upon a field of battle is now an almost impossible task. As a result, Heydon stepped away from his duties as Master-of Arms. A new role would present itself however – a role that would inevitably consume him and perhaps one day even be his undoing.

No longer fit for the duties of Master-at-Arms, Heydon would soon find himself addressing more domestic matters in House Magmar. A position of both honor and stature would be thrust upon him like a damp blanket thrown over an open fire. Heydon’s pride would not be quelled by such an honorable offer however. Cadwyn the Crow was the sitting Steward of House Magmar at the time of Heydon’s encounter with the beast. Whether from his venerable age or from shear ineptitude, Cadwyn was responsible for many of the losses in holdings for House Magmar. The population declined, the lands grew ripe with banditry, and the coffers inexplicably ran dry. Lord Magmar, seeing his already meager holdings fall further into despair, “relieved” Cadwyn of his duties and soon thereafter appointed Heydon as the new Steward of House Magmar. That very day, the clouds parted and a ray of light shown down upon Magmar Tower. Interpreting this as a sign, the Lord decreed “A dawning of a new age was upon them.” Thus, a new beginning and a bright future was ushered in for House Magmar (so it was told).

Heydon has become a much different man in his new seat of power. Bitter and conflicted, his temper rages at the slightest indiscretion. Many that once called him friend and mentor now look upon him as taskmaster and tyrant. Whether from a growing feeling of inadequacy or from the burden of responsibility placed squarely upon his shoulders, only Heydon knows the true reasons for his bitter demeanor. One thing is for certain, the fearless Master-at- Arms is no more. Only the Steward remains. For weal or woe, the road ahead promises to be quite different from the road that was left behind.

ILL OMEN: In the end, perhaps the beast shall roar victoriously after all. Only time will tell…

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Character and House Creation

The group sat down together to create the Noble House. The only stipulation I had was it would be in the North. The original rolls weren’t too bad for the House, but then came the history. With three rolls for the house history, they got Doom, Defeat, Glory. The house stats took a big hit with the first two history rolls.

Looking at what was available, they decided on the Island of Skagos, and House Magmar. That worked for me, since not alot has been said of the island in the books. The only mentions were that they (1) Ate the hearts of their fallen opponents, and (2) Rode unicorns into battle. Those I got from GOO’s D20 version of the game. They decided that the unicorn’s were because their horses’ barding would include a horn that would make them look like unicorns.

Now for a short history.

Nine years ago, Lord Balon Greyjoy proclaimed himself King of the Iron Islands and tried to break from King Robert’s rule. Once again King Robert Baratheon was helped by his childhood friend Lord Eddard Stark. Lord Eddard and King Robert called their banners – among them Lord Magmar of Skagos Isle.

The Ironborn took to raiding along the coast. Balon’s brothers Euron Croweye and Victarion burned the ships at Lannisport. During this, Balon’s heir Rodrik was slain. On their return they were trapped by King Robert’s brother Stannis Baratheon. Stannis shattered the Ironborn fleet in the battle that followed. Balon’s second son Maron was slain when King Robert’s forces assualted Pyke.

Lord Roland’s heir Rickard Magmar was also slain in this battle. Rickard was his only child and his wife Lady Sherise Glover had died a few years earlier. During the battle of Pyke, Lord Roland’s sword was the blade that slew Maron Greyjoy while fighting side by side with Eddard Stark.

In the aftermath Theon Greyjoy, Lord Balon’s only surviving son, was placed with the Starks as a ward to ensure Balon’s loyalty. Because of his loss, and the way he fought with honor, Lord Eddard rewarded Lord Roland with the hand of Elinora Flint, a much sought after prize among the Lords of the north.

In the ensuing nine years, Skagos has been relatively peaceful. The occasional raiding party of wildlings and pirates, but nothing of dire trouble. Lord Roland and Lady Elinora have had a daughter, Lyanna – named after Eddard’s sister who was tragically killed in Robert’s Rebellion. She is now 7 years old.

This fits with Glory being the last of the histories rolled, and thus the latest for the house.

The characters that were created all have nice hooks built into them. Only Chimaera has read all the books, Ser Walter has read some and is familiar with some of the story-lines of the novels, and the other two are blank slates when it comes to Westeros.

This is also my first campaign in ALOT of years. Seriously – the last campaign was an AD&D 2nd edition one! I had GM’d a few one-shots with this group, and have been playing with this group almost two years at the start of this campaign in May 2009.

We rotate DM’s with a two-week on, two-week off schedule. We play two weeks of this campaign, then two weeks of a 4E D&D campaign DM’d by Jesse (Ser Walter Langley), then back to this campaign. I like it, it gives a break in between to adjust the story, and it keeps me from getting “GM Burnout”.

As I decide to do this, we’ve played four session. I didn’t plan ahead enough to take very good notes, and in some places my memory fails me. So, for the first four sessions, there will only be basic info, and not much in the way of dialog.

I’m going to have to play with the timeline and story-line of the novels to set my campaign in it. I will also branch off of George R.R. Martin’s story at some point, as I will have to finish the campaign long before the novels are done. So you’ll have to forgive me when things take a change from the established story-line.

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