A Setting Sourcebook for A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying
By John Hay, Lee Hammock, James Kiley, Michelle Lyons, John Newman, Brett Rebischke-Smith, and Mark Simmons
DEVELOPMENT: JiM KiLEy Editing & Additional Development: BriaN E. KirBy Art Direction and Graphic Design: HaL MaNgOLD COver Art: SLawOMir MaNiaK Interior Art: NOaH BraDLEy, CHriSTOPHEr rEaCH, BriTT MarTiN, DaViD NaSH Cartography: KEiTH CurTiS Green Ronin President: CHriS PraMaS
Green ronin Staff: Bill Bodden, Steve Kenson, Jon Leitheusser, Nicole Lindroos, Hal Mangold, Chris Pramas, Evan Sass, Marc Schmalz A Song of Ice & Fire Chronicle Starter is ©2011 Green Ronin Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved. Reference to other copyrighted material in no way constitutes a challenge to the respective copyright holders of that material. A Song of Ice & Fire Chronicle Starter, Green Ronin, Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying, SIFRP, and their associated logos are trademarks of Green Ronin Publishing, LLC. A Song of Ice and Fire is © 1996-2011 George R. R. Martin. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to Print one coPy of the electronic version of this Product for Personal use. Green Ronin Publishing
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TaBLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION ........................3 The Noble Houses.................. 5
HouSe Barnell ............................ 6 History ............................................6 Holdings .........................................7 Characters .....................................11 Muddying the Palette ...................17 HouSe BartHeld ........................ 17 History .........................................17 Holdings.......................................19 Hart House ...................................20 Davain’s Forge ...............................21 The Guardhouse: Robert’s Hammer........................21 Characters .....................................22 Muddying the Palette ....................29 HouSe dulver ............................ 29 History ..........................................29 Holdings .......................................31 Characters .....................................33 Muddying the Palette ....................40 HouSe Kytley ............................ 41 History .........................................41 Holdings .......................................43 Hammerstone................................45 Characters .....................................46
Muddying the Palette ....................53 HouSe MarSten ......................... 53 History .........................................53 Holdings .......................................54 Hartshorn ......................................56 Characters .....................................57 Muddying the Palette ....................63 HouSe tulliSon ......................... 63 History ..........................................63 Holdings .......................................64 Mountain’s Reach ..........................67 Characters .....................................68 Muddying the Palette ....................74 MarKet town ............................ 76 History ..........................................76 Locations.......................................77 Characters .....................................79 new HouSe locationS ............... 83 Durain’s Forest ..............................83
Riverthorn .....................................89 Port Maril......................................94 traditional eventS................... 99 Tourney of the Brothers.................99 The Festival of the Fires ...............101 The Mummers’ Joust ...................102 intereStinG PlaceS ...................103 The Septry at Shattered Rock .....103 The Stranger’s Farmstead ............104 Hardhand’s Folly ........................105 Hag’s Mouth ...............................105 Stag’s Moor .................................105 Maelys’s Crossing .......................105 Orphan’s Hill ..............................106 Harren’s Justice ............................106 The Troupe of Casque & Wren ...107 The Barrow Plain ........................107 Smalls’ Defense ...........................107
The Iron Plot .................... 108
SynoPSiS ....................................108 act i .........................................109 act ii .......................................114 act iii ......................................123 afterMatH ................................125 rewardS ....................................125
The Riverlands ..................... 75
The continent of Westeros is rich in its history, varied in its cultures, and practically overflowing in noble houses. One of the memorable qualities of the Song of Ice and Fire series is the amount of detail given to the noble families, each with unique heraldic devices and evocative mottos. From the roaring giants of House Umber in the North to the Princes of Dorne residing in Sunspear, these noble houses reside on or hold dominion over much of the land on the continent and its nearby islands. The A Song of Ice and Campaign Guide contains information about all of the houses George R.R. Martin has written about up to A Feast for Crows. What it does not contain, however, is the story that has yet to be written…the chronicle of your house.
One important thing to note about the Chronicle Starter is that at heart it is a big, worked example of what a group can do with the house system presented in the core rulebook. This is not a book about creating setting canon, but showing you how you can use the tools in SIFRP to get a chronicle going and doing a lot of the heavy lifting for you.
THE NOBLE HOuSES
Each of the six houses described in the first chapter is suitable for a group of four players to take over and run for themselves. The houses all contain a number of primary characters with pre-determined attributes, as well as write-ups of notable secondary characters, in case the players would prefer to determine their own abilities and come into glory on their own. Although each of the houses described in this chapter are aligned to a different major house, all except House Marsten are based within the Riverlands in order to maximize the potential for them to be used in conjunction with each other. Obviously this requires the Tullys to be extremely tolerant of houses on their lands aligning themselves with other families. Since the realm is still at peace in the time in which A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying is set (as Robert Baratheon still sits the iron throne), this forbearance is assumed. Of
THE CHrONiCLE STarTEr
The A Song of Ice and Fire Chronicle Starter is designed to provide players with a way to begin forging their own path in Westeros, with a selection of noble houses scattered about the Riverlands, some additional locations within the Tully lands ready-made for exploration outside the players’ stronghold, and an adventure to both these elements together. The Chronicle Starter is also an excellent resource for the Narrator, providing ready made houses that can be used as allies or enemies of characters’ house.
a NOTE ON STaT BLOCKS
If you’ve read previous A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying books, you may have noticed that the way in which character stat blocks are presented has changed somewhat. Probably the most significant change is the manner in which the Combat Defense attribute is listed. While the recent Pocket Edition notes that CD is equal to Agility + Athletics + Awareness + Defensive Bonus (from shields or parrying weapons) - Armor Penalty (pg. 69), stat blocks will no longer include the latter two equipment adjustments. This is to reflect the fact that characters need not be combat focused, and even those that are will not always be armed and equipped. Additionally, the passive Awareness target number, Movement and Sprint scores and Personal Gear listing will no longer be included in order to streamline the stat blocks further.
This section adds a number of new locations to this region of Westeros to the ones previously established in A Song of Ice and Fire. Chief among these new locales is Market Town, a village that struggles to maintain its independence from the nearby noble houses. Esra Stone, Market Town’s mayor, has become rather adept at playing these houses against one another in order to maintain his own power. Market Town and the other locations within this chapter each contain descriptions of their history, notable features, and important personages in much the same fashion as the house section. In fact, the players could easily adopt one of these locations for their house—or view them as new areas to conquer, should they have a more acquisitive bent. This section also includes a selection of other interesting places in the region, and some suggested events that you can drop in as flavoring to your ongoing chronicle or use as a springboard to a new series of adventures.
course, you should feel free to alter allegiances or shift the locations of the houses as needed to better fit your group’s chronicle. Similarly, most of the houses, and the characters who inhabit them, would be considered to be on the good side of the moral spectrum—or at least a lighter shade of grey than many of the characters who inhabit Martin’s books. Players looking for a noble family that scheme as adeptly as the Lannisters or kill as nonchalantly as The Mountain that Rides may need to make some adjustments. The Chronicle Starter attempts to make the majority of the characters at least somewhat sympathetic, but not to the point that they become boring milquetoasts to play. However, we’ve also included a section entitled “Muddying the Palette” at the end of each house section, which can help make the players’ home house a little bit darker.
THE irON PLOT
Tying together the new houses and locations is an adventure revolving around the plans of a force of ironborn reavers to wreak havoc in the region—with the assistance of someone inside one of the region’s houses. The adventure presents two potential paths of play in case the players have selected a house being used in the plot. Although the players should be able to counter the ironborn threat, the question of what to do next is left unanswered. The adventurers could decide to rip the threat out at the root—or find a way to use it to their own advantage. The choice is entirely theirs.
THE HOuSES aT a gLaNCE
If your players have already created characters and are simply in need of a place of their own, this chart lists all of the vital statistics of each house presented in the first chapter. Numbers that appear in parentheses represent the points that have already been invested to improve the house.
HouSe naMe Barnell Bartheld Dulver Kytley Marsten Tullison alleGiance Stark Baratheon Lannister Frey Arryn Tully defenSe 39 (30) 30 (30) 42 (40) 25 (20) 42 (40) 40 (40) influence 18 38 (20) 38 (35) 26 (20) 46 (10) 23 (10) landS 33 (32) 40 (40) 34 (34) 31 (31) 30 (30) 25 (25) law 29 20 24 22 24 18 PoPulation 36 18 17 35 32 24 Power 40 (39) 11 (10) 21 (21) 23 (21) 41 (41) 20 (17) wealtH 18 (10) 43 (30) 61 (55) 31 (20) 33 (25) 48 (45)
THE NOBLE HOuSES
The players in the game of throne are the noble houses of Westeros and this chapter details six of them: some new, others old, some prosperous, others beset by troubles. While they do not have the wealth and power wielded by the great houses to which they have sworn their loyalty, these houses of the Riverlands do have noble titles, and some of their members have great ambitions—or secrets. While the noble houses and their lands and bannermen are (relatively) at peace now, there are no guarantees it will stay that way. Life in the Seven Kingdoms is harsh, even during the peaceful years following the toppling of the dynasty of the dragon kings. There are secrets and conflicts aplenty within each of the houses and potential troubles brewing between them. The material in The Iron Plot chapter outlines one way the peace of this corner of the Riverlands may fray and tear apart. The houses in this chapter serve two main purposes in your own A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying chronicle. First and
foremost, you and your players can choose a particular house to serve as home to the players’ characters. They may either take on the roles of characters associated with the house in its description or feel free to replace some of those characters with ones of their own creation, perhaps changing some of the tenor of the house in the process. The players can also use the house creation rules from the core rulebook to modify the house to better suit their vision and that of the chronicle. Second, those houses not adopted by the players as their own become the neighbors—and therefore potential allies and rivals—of the characters’ house. The houses, and those who rule them, all have agendas and goals of their own, some of them in conflict with those of the characters and their house. Of such conflicts are the stories of Westeros made, with alliances, intrigue, plotting, and outright war with the other houses awaiting the players as the chronicle unfolds. Do the characters, and their house, have what it takes to play the game of thrones and win?
The Noble Houses
Heraldry: A portcullis over a red and blue chape field. Motto: “Never Falter.” Located near the Green Fork at the northern end of the Trident, House Barnell rules from the supposedly cursed fortress of Castle Grenward. A young house founded during Robert’s Rebellion and loyal to House Stark, House Barnell struggles to find its fortune with little more than a strong arm to its name.
House Barnell is a young house, not even twenty years old. Born out of the Usurper’s War, it has claimed the last lands of a dying house to rise to nobility. Now its future lies in uncertain territory as two brothers contest to inherit their father’s title, although neither has a fully legitimate claim. Until the Battle of the Trident, Ser Tomas Barnell had been a lowly hedge knight of little remark aside from his skill with mace and shield. Tomas’s father, Ser Garret, had likewise been a hedge knight who was ever reminding Tomas of their poverty and common station. From a young age, Tomas was determined to earn his family the full honor and wealth of a noble title. When his father was slain chasing bandits while in service to the Tallharts of Torrhen’s Square, Tomas took up his father’s arms and armor to find his long desired noble title. His chance came during the Battle of the Trident, during which Tomas Barnell fought alongside the Stark forces aiding the Baratheon cause. During the battle Tomas inadvertently saved the life of Eddard Stark by taking a spear meant for the Lord of Winterfell. He was rewarded for his luck with a choice assignment in the wake of the battle; among the dead was Lord Ollier Darry, a loyalist lord with a relatively poor holding that represented the closest fortified position to the battlefield. Along with a number of Stark bannermen, Tomas Barnell was dispatched to take the castle so it could be used to house the wounded from the battle. The castle was easily taken due to the fact that Lord Darry had taken all but a token force with him to battle. Soon after, Eddard Stark marched south to King’s Landing and Storm’s End, leaving most of the wounded at Castle
Grenward to catch up in the weeks to come. Eventually Tomas Barnell was left in charge with a handful of soldiers to hold Castle Grenward and to care for the remaining wounded. Tomas Barnell sat out the rest of the war in Castle Grenward, and the smallfolk of the region say he did a much better job seeing to their security and wellbeing than the deceased Lord Darry. With Darry dead without an heir, his house vastly weakened by Robert’s Rebellion, and Tomas Barnell doing a sufficient job controlling the territory, Tomas was elevated to a lord following the conclusion of the war. Finally he had obtained his goal: owning land as Lord Barnell, lord of Castle Grenward and a bannerman sworn to House Stark. Unfortunately this windfall did not come without tragedy. Sonya, the smallfolk woman Lord Barnell had been involved with for many years, died of fever soon after he was awarded his title. Sonya had already borne Lord Barnell a son, Garret Snow, fourteen years before, but Garret had been born out of wedlock—Tomas, often traveling in service to various lords, had not even known of the child until the boy turned three. Some smallfolk suspect there was foul play in Sonya’s death. Lord Barnell faced widespread pressure to marry according to his new station; that pressure eventually led to his marriage to Alianna Frey, one of the many grandchildren of Lord Walder Frey and herself a widower with a son. Lord Frey considered her to have little political use due to persistent rumors that the woman carried a curse, so marrying her to a fledgling lord seemed little sacrifice and would place the new Lord Barnell in debt to House Frey. While the Lord and Lady Barnell are cordial in their relationship, no one would mistake it for anything more than friendship. Lady Barnell’s son Daveth never saw the same love and attention from his step-father that his step-brother Garret did. Between having a bastard as the favored heir and rumors of curses House Barnell has created no end of gossip among the locals. Combined with Lord Barnell’s low birth, these blemishes have made them social pariahs in the Trident. While Lord Barnell is an outcast in matters of intrigue, his personal skill in battle and as a leader of men does him much credit. He earned glory for his young house during the Greyjoy Rebellion, leading his personal guard, the Company of the Morningstar, on battles to take Botley Castle and Pyke itself. During his time away the neighboring lords learned that Lady Barnell was no wilting flower; she and the remaining soldiers in her service fought off a bandit gang that was foolish enough to attack her and her escort while she was out riding. By the time Lord Barnell returned from putting down the rebellion, House Barnell had cemented its reputation as a militant house that values martial prowess and cunning, even if it is a little deficient in the courtly arts.
The Noble Houses
HOuSE BarNELL OF grENwarD
lieGe lord: lord eddard StarK of winterfell Defense 39 Influence 18 Lands 34 Law 29 Population 36 Castle Grenward (Small Castle, 30), Expendable 9 Expendable 18 Grassland Plains with River, Road & Hamlet (24), Densely Wooded Plains (10) House Fortunes -2 House Fortunes +3 Company of the Morningstar (Elite Personal Guard; 13 Power) Automatic (0) Discipline Company Grenward (Veteran Garrison; 7 Power) Automatic (0) Discipline at home or Routine (6) away Awareness 4, Endurance 3, Fighting 4 Jarion’s Siege Engineers (Veteran Engineers; 7 Power) Routine (6) Discipline Athletics 4, Endurance 4, Fighting 5
Riverroad Riders (Elite Cavalry; 12 Power) Automatic (0) Discipline Agility 4, Animal Handling 4, Fighting 5 Endurance 4, Knowledge 3, Warfare 4 - Expendable 1
Michael Growne (Artisan, 10, House Fortunes +1) - Expendable 8 total HouSe fortuneS Modifier +2
More recently strife has entered the halls of Castle Grenward as Daveth Barnell has reached eighteen years of age and the question of which son will inherit has become an immediate concern. Tomas favors Garret, while Alianna favors Daveth, and Garret is technically a bastard even if he is a recognized one. This is further complicated by the fact Garret has no interest in succeeding his father, having little skill in managing lands or dispensing justice, while Daveth is far more skilled in such matters. The whole issue would be settled by a child of Lord and Lady Barnell, but so far their limited attempts at producing an heir have proved fruitless. Lord Barnell has no male siblings to serve as his heir, so it seems he is stuck with a reckless bastard and a weakling scholar. While House Barnell is not bound in familial love, it is bound in loyalty and friendship, but is that stronger than a father’s pride?
Here are the holdings of House Barnell.
DEFENSE: 39, iNVESTED: 30 (CaSTLE grENwarD)
Castle Grenward is situated within a few leagues of the ford where the Battle of the Trident was fought. The castle is an ancient structure, pre-dating the Targaryens and thought to have been built to protect nearby farms. The castle is of Andal construction and legends say it is at least five hundred years old, though there is no record of who controlled it before the Targaryen Conquest and the rise of the Tullys in the Riv-
erlands. In those ancient days, Lord Edmyn Tully awarded control of Castle Grenward to House Ferros, a small banner house in their service. House Ferros became the first to suffer from what smallfolk in the area call the Grenward Curse. During the revolt of the Faith Militant, a group of zealots managed to sneak into Castle Grenward and killed every member of House Ferros, ending the line forever. House Tully quickly reclaimed the castle and awarded it to another bannerhouse, House Wellyn, but within a few generations, House Wellyn was stricken by a plague that wiped out the entire family. Again House Tully awarded Castle Grenward to another loyal house, only to see it wiped out during the Blackfyre Rebellion. This trend has continued on up to the current day with House Darry only taking possession of Castle Grenward in the wake of the War of the Ninepenny Kings. Now House Darry seems all but doomed and the whispers among the smallfolk say it was Castle Grenward that brought them low. Several have already begun to wager about how long House Barnell will last before the Grenward Curse ends its line as well. The castle itself is not large, but it is solidly built. The outer wall is large and thick, broken only by a single gate that opens on a road that links up to the Kingsroad a short distance away. The large walls create ample space within the castle to allow soldiers to drill regularly. Several stables and bunk houses have been built against the outer wall to provide extra housing for the troops under House Barnell’s banner. The keep itself is a small structure built around a single tower that sits
The Noble Houses
at in the northwest corner of the yard, allowing anyone in its highest levels to see for miles in all directions. The keep is very simple, consisting of a single large feasthall and audience chamber, kitchen, and rooms in the tower for the Lord and Lady Barnell and their children. The castle has no maester or septa, though Lord Barnell hopes to attract a maester when his fortunes improve. The castle is fed by a series of wells and Lord Barnell always makes sure to have several months of provisions in reserve just in case of siege, as unlikely as that may be. Many of the smallfolk in the region still consider Grenward Castle to be cursed and will not spend the night in the castle, something that does not make Lord Barnell’s work any easier. The castle is said to be haunted by the many who have fallen victim to its curse, something even Lord Barnell is reluctant to deny. Everyone who spends more than a fortnight comes away with some manner of strange story to tell, most of which involve ghostly apparitions in the corridors, weeping coming from empty corners, and eerie lights walking the tower and the battlements. While none of the soldiers admit to being afraid of these disturbances, few keep watch alone if they can help it. Castle Grenward’s large outer wall allows a great deal of room for expansion, something that Lord Barnell has been looking at for several years now. He hopes one day to rival Casterly Rock or Winterfell.
Lord Barnell has never been one for courts, intrigues, or gossip, favoring martial matters. His house’s lack of influence reflects this since Lord Barnell has spent little time seeing to the political needs of his house. Lady Barnell and her son work to counteract his inaction, but they have years of ignored invitations, rude rebuffs, and unintentional insults to overcome. The issue of the heir to House Barnell has yet to be settled and likely won’t be until the house’s influence increases. If Lord Barnell were to die there is much debate to whether the house would survive the transition without a named heir. The whole matter would be settled if Lord and Lady Barnell produced their own heir, but so far their limited attempts have not borne fruit.
LaNDS: 34, iNVESTED: 34 PLaiNS (graSSLaND) 6, PLaiNS (DENSE FOrEST) HaMLET 10, rOaD 5, riVEr 3
The territories surrounding Castle Grenward are common of the fertile land of the Trident, mostly dominated by farms with one major wooded region known as Grenward Forest. For the Trident region it is an average-sized parcel of land with a large population of smallfolk, most of whom are farmers. The land is crossed by a number of well-kept roads, the maintenance of which Lord Barnell thinks to be a matter of defense more than of trade or communication. There are no fords across the Green Fork save the Twins a distance away, making travel difficult. Building a bridge across the Green Fork within his territory is one of Lord Barnell’s major goals for the near future. Castle Grenward sits on the border between the farmland and Grenward Forest, neatly bisecting the house’s land in an east/west divide. The forest has been subject to as much smallfolk superstition and rumors as the castle that guards it. It is said that the forest is home to the ghosts of the First Men who settled here; these ghosts are said to sometimes aid those who get lost there. Some smallfolk claim these ghosts are protecting an ancient Godswood deep in the forest, but such stories are usually only half believed. Some stories become intertwined with the legend of the Grenward Curse, leading to a tale that the ghosts in the forest are somehow trying to remove the corruption of Castle Grenward. These extrapolated stories are popular among children and drunks, but few smallfolk ascribe motivations to events so far beyond their
The Noble Houses
ken. Lord Barnell has been encouraging some of his smallfolk to begin logging the forest so that he can use the wood in pet construction projects, increase the amount of farmable land, and develop another source of income. The Green Fork runs through House Barnell’s land, watering the surrounding farms but allowing little in the way of transportation. This length of the Green Fork is too shallow and too rocky to allow deep-water boat travel, but some locals use canoe-like, shallow draft boats to traverse the river. These rafts are not large enough to help in transporting goods of any appreciable size, but are useful in moving people. High water levels in the spring from snowmelt and rain allow more adventurous merchants to try to float their goods down the Green Fork on barges, but few opt for the risk when so many well-maintained roads are available. Many local children grow up swimming in the river during the summer months, but every few years one of them gets too adventurous and is either drowned by the current or smashed against the rocks. Some locals say the spirits of those children still haunt the river, drawing in more children to join their watery torment. The hamlet of Wellyn, founded by the long-gone House Wellyn, is the only settlement of note controlled by House Barnell. It has fewer than a hundred inhabitants, though this number expands to almost ten times that figure during festivals in the harvest and planting seasons. Wellyn is a good distance from Castle Grenward and attempts by past rulers of Castle Grenward to settle the town’s population around the castle have had little success due to fear of the Grenward Curse. Lord Barnell has given up on such concerns and simply travels to Wellyn when he must, using such trips as an opportunity to give his cavalry a good workout. Wellyn is the major trading center within House Barnell lands and it sees a steady stream of traders and merchants for most of the year despite its small size. These merchants trade tools, clothes, and other goods for food, which they usually take north. Most smallfolk in the region do all their trading at Wellyn, and its services include a smith, barrelcaster, wainwright, midwife, and woodwright. The town has no official leader aside from Lord Barnell, but the town wainright, Jacob Tubby, has become something of the voice of the community in recent years due to his outgoing nature and willingness to stick his nose in anyone’s business. Lord Barnell often consults with Jacob Tubby in matters concerning Wellyn, something that is giving the man a swelled head. Barnell. The problem is one of perception, not force, as Lord Barnell clearly has the soldiers to enforce his will on the region, but invests little effort in preventative measures, having no constabulary or agents in Wellyn to keep an eye on things. What crime is found is punished with severe force; Lord Barnell is well known to favor execution for livestock theft and removing a hand for even minor theft. There is little organized crime in the area, and Lord Barnell responds with overwhelming force to any bandits that try to move into his territory, but itinerant thieves are a common problem due to the proximity to the King’s Road. Most of these thieves steal livestock. There have been a string of thefts of metal ingots from the smithy in Wellyn of late, but the culprits remain free. Thus far no thieves have been foolish enough to try and steal directly from House Barnell.
Most subjects of House Barnell live in the farms that are scattered across their land or live on the edges of Grenward Forest. Local smallfolk live in multi-generational families with the responsibility to the land being handed down from father to son. There is no more room for new farms in House Barnell’s lands so at Daveth’s suggestion Lord Barnell has been encouraging the second sons of his subjects to move to Grenward Forest to help the new logging operations.
POwEr: 40; iNVESTED: 39 ELiTE PErSONaL guarD 13, VETEraN garriSON ELiTE CaVaLry 12, VETEraN ENgiNEErS 7
Despite Lord Barnell’s harsh punishment of any criminals he is brought, crime occurs regularly in the lands of House
Lord Barnell prides himself on the military forces of House Barnell, seeing them as the true measure of a house’s power. With over three hundred soldiers at his command he has one of the larger forces in the region, but the process of building this force has kept his house’s wealth from increasing. Since the house’s founding, Lord Barnell has built up his personal guard, which he calls the Company of the Morningstar. They have accompanied him in every major battle he has fought; most members have been with the house for at least ten years. The Company of the Morningstar is well respected in the region and endeavors to do its lord proud, on the battlefield or off. The commander of the Company of the Morningstar is Kieran Orell, the captain of the house guard who served with Lord Barnell’s father years ago. Company Grenward is the garrison force permanently assigned to Castle Grenward and more specifically with protecting Lady Barnell. These soldiers are not as skilled or as respected as the Company of the Morningstar, but they are still well trained and treated. Company Grenward and
The Noble Houses
COmPANy Of THE mORNING STAR
Elite Personal Guard * 13 Power autoMatic (0) Discipline Athletics 4, Endurance 4, Fighting 5
Veteran Garrison * 7 Power autoMatic (0) Discipline at home or routine (6) away Awareness 4, Endurance 3, Fighting 4
Elite Cavalry * 12 Power autoMatic (0) Discipline Agility 4, Animal Handling 4, Fighting 5
JARION’S SIEGE ENGINEERS
Veteran Engineers * 7 Power routine (6) Discipline Endurance 4, Knowledge 3, Warfare 4
the Company of the Morningstar see each other as rivals, mainly due to the fact Company Grenward has not had a chance to prove itself since protecting Lady Barnell from bandits when they were left behind during the Greyjoy Rebellion. They are itching to find a way to show their mettle on the battlefield. The most recent addition to the forces of House Barnell is the Riverroad Riders, a cavalry unit that Lord Barnell formed to allow him to exert military force across his territory with greater speed. Recruited from the Company of the Morningstar and various soldiers who have served with Lord Barnell in the past, the Riverroad Riders have yet to be involved in anything more dangerous than harrying bandits. Considering the expense that went into equipping the Riders they are desperate to prove their worth to Lord Barnell. Garret Snow has taken to riding with the Riders, effectively taking command of the unit. When Lord Barnell was first assigned to hold Castle Grenward he was assigned a single siege engineer, Jarion Urgont, to make sure the castle was secure. Jarion has remained in the service of House Barnell ever since, in time building up a skilled corps of engineers who see to the defenses of the castle and the maintenance of its siege engines. Of all the units under House Barnell they are the least interested in combat, being more tradesmen than soldiers.
The Noble Houses
wEaLTH: 18, iNVESTED: 10 (MiCHaEL grOwNE (arTiSaN))
A good half of the territory controlled by House Barnell is farmland that makes use of the fertile soil and plentiful water of the Trident. These farms primarily grow grains and vegetables and produce far more than House Barnell consumes, thus creating one of the main financial assets of the house. The secondary source of income for the house is lumber from Grenward Forest, but these operations have been slow going so far due to the legends about the forest. Unfortunately for the house coffers, Lord Barnell has a habit of giving away excess foodstocks to allies or stockpiling it in Caste Grenward instead of arranging for its sale. This is one of the many reasons for the continuing poverty of House Barnell, though Castle Grenward is well prepared for a protracted siege in the event one occurs. House Barnell also funnels much of the money it does make into improving its defenses, as Lord Barnell continually works to expand his military forces. Lord Barnell has used some of his house’s meager wealth to attract the services of a master smith named Michael Growne. Lord Barnell has had Growne working to equip the soldiers of House Barnell with the best weapons and armor available. This endless work has driven Growne to the point of grumbling to other servants in the castle about being overworked. When drunk he sometimes boasts about looking for employment elsewhere, where he might be treated with more respect. Thus far these complaints have not reached Lord Barnell.
LORD TOmAS BARNELL
Agility 3 Animal Handling 3 Athletics 4 Awareness 4 Endurance 4 Fighting 5 Status 3 Warfare 3 Will 3
Bludgeons 3B Reputation 1B Command 2B, Strategy 1B Dedication 1B
coMBat defenSe HealtH 10 12 intriGue defenSe coMPoSure 1 9 9
deStiny PointS drawBacKS: Flaw (Agility)
BenefitS: Bludgeon Fighter I, Head of House
arMS & arMor
Scale arMor: AR 6, AP -3, Bulk 2 Morning Star Large shield Dagger 5+2B 5-1D 5 4 Damage 2 Damage 2 Damage Shattering 2, Vicious Bulk 1, Defensive +4 Fast, OffHand +1
Following are the personages of note in House Barnell.
LOrD TOMaS BarNELL
Tomas Barnell’s life did not begin well, his first breath coinciding with his mother’s last. His father Garret, a poor hedge knight, did not blame his son for her death. Instead Garret blamed his own inability to afford proper care and food for his wife in her time of need. His father’s guilt instilled in Tomas a drive to gain wealth and power not for his own use, but to protect his family and friends. Tomas’s intense ambition often leads others to think him greedy or power-hungry, but in fact he is driven by making sure those he cares about never suffer due to his lack of being able to provide for or protect them. Tomas spent most of his childhood traveling with his father, learning to fight as soon as he could hold a weapon.
During these years his father served with most of the major houses of the North, allowing Tomas to become familiar and make friends within these noble families. He is still fondly remembered among the Karstarks, Mormonts, and other houses as a tough young child always looking to learn more about fighting. Tales of his childhood among the houses of the North often embarrass him today. After years of faithful service, Ser Garret Barnell died fighting bandits while in service to the Tallharts and Tomas immediately took up his arms and armor. Tomas served with several families before earning the respect of the Karstarks while defending their lands from wildlings. An approving word from the Karstarks got him added to the forces Eddard Stark brought down from the North during the War of the Usurper. His service to House Stark led to Tomas saving Eddard Stark’s life by tripping into the path of a spear meant for the Warden of the North. This deed was rewarded when Lord
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jects safe, and themselves in relative comfort. While the two disagree at times, for the most part each leaves the other to attend to certain responsibilities: Tomas handles martial matters while Alianna handles societal niceties. Tomas has little patience for Daveth, thinking him a weakling boy who needs a few good beatings to toughen him up. His efforts to fix this have not been successful. Tomas’s martial experience colors his perspective on all facets of life. He values a strong arm and a good suit of armor far more than book learning, ledgers, and other less exciting pursuits. He has little interest in court and only attends those social functions he is required to, thus knowing little of his noble neighbors and having little to no contact with them. Tomas believes the key to running a noble house is a strong military, a well defended castle, and loyal subjects, often forgetting that someone has to find a way to pay his soldiers, fund his castle maintenance, and feed his subjects. So far Alianna and the castle steward Farris Leed have been able to keep things under control, but the fortunes of House Barnell are not getting any better. Tomas secretly yearns for some new conflict to arise that will allow him to demonstrate that his preparations have not been wasted. Settling the matter of his heir is Tomas’s primary concern; he wants to name Garret as his heir but Garret was born out of wedlock. Tomas does not feel Daveth has what it takes to lead militarily, even though Daveth has organizational and social skills far in advance of his step-father. Lord and Lady Barnell have tried to conceive an heir, but thus far the only result of these efforts has been a great deal of discomfort. Tomas has no brothers so the future of House Barnell beyond the current generation is much in question. Tomas lacks the station or influence necessary to prevail on His Grace to legitimize Garret, but a few successes in the field in service to Lord Stark might change that. Tomas also wants to build a bridge over the Green Fork to better allow his troops to cross his territory, but this will bring him into direct conflict with House Frey, since they control the only ford over the river. Lord Barnell is little concerned with their anger, seeing his enterprise as being one of security, not trade, but this will likely come back to haunt him. He also wants to attract a maester and perhaps a septon to Castle Grenward, though he must increase his family’s funds for this to happen. While the benefits of a maester and septon to a house are obvious, he also secretly hopes they can help him find a way to avoid the Curse of Castle Grenward. Already Tomas has seen several ghosts in the castle and he is concerned they signal the imminent demise of his house. He is willing to do just about anything to avoid this fate.
Stark assigned Tomas to take and control Castle Grenward, which in turn led to his gaining a landed noble title, his life’s goal finally coming true. In the years since then, Tomas has learned that noble life is not what he expected. He is constantly short of funds, never feels he has enough troops, and suffers as the pariah of the local noble social circuit. He still works to provide his family with security as best he can, but now it seems he can never make them safe enough. For many years Tomas loved a common woman from Karhold by the name of Sonya, who gave him a son, Garret Snow. Tomas supported Sonya and Garret but never married her, dreaming that he might someday have the lands and means to really provide for them. Sonya died of fever shortly after Tomas became Lord of Castle Grenward, casting him into despair for months. His son by Sonya, Garret, is the most important thing in the world to Tomas and is the only surviving reminder of the lost love of his life. Garret disappoints his father with his womanizing and troublemaking but so far Tomas’s love has allowed him to overlook these incidents. Tomas’s marriage to Alianna Frey is one of political necessity alone. Tomas and Alianna may never be in love, but they have a functional partnership; each sees their continued cooperation as the best way to keep their sons alive, their sub-
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LaDy aLiaNNa BarNELL
One of the many grandchildren of Lord Walder Frey, Alianna’s family saw her as bad luck from the day she was born. Her parents both died in a springtime flood on the day of her birth and similar events have followed her for her entire life. Her wetnurse died of fever when Alianna was two years old and the maester who taught her as a child died of heart failure when she was twelve. Alianna’s childhood was a lonely one, despite her many cousins, nieces and nephews. She was ostracized for her bad luck and her orphan status, and the Freys were only too ready to be rid of her when she was married to Ser Silas Oberyn, a knight in service to House Tully. By that point her reputation had spread and no other man of higher station would have her. Despite the inauspicious beginning of their relationship, Alianna and Ser Silas did come to love each other and within two years she had borne him a son, Daveth. Daveth was a sickly child, so his parents focused on teaching him more scholarly arts, with Ser Silas sparing no expense for the boy’s tutelage, donating all his winnings at tournaments to such concerns. Alianna thought that after Daveth survived several childhood diseases her curse was over, but it was not so. While serving the Tullys, Ser Silas was killed at the Battle of the Bells, leaving her a widow with a son to care for and little in the way of an estate to do it with. With her husband’s death, Alianna again became a pariah as House Frey was not interested in bringing someone so obviously cursed back into their household. Lord Walder Frey looked for another option and found one a year later in the form of Tomas Barnell, a newly minted lord who deeply needed someone with courtly experience by his side. Lord Frey was familiar with the tales concerning the nature of Castle Grenward, and thought it would be one of the few places best suited to send his cursed granddaughter. Arrangements were made quickly and the two wed in a small ceremony at Castle Grenward. The Freys assume that since Lord Barnell has no family outside his son that the house will be wiped out soon by one curse or the other, giving House Frey a claim to the house’s land. A lifetime as an outsider has led Alianna to believe that eventually everyone will turn on her and that she can only count on herself. The first exceptions to this were Daveth and Ser Silas, but then Ser Silas — the first man to not treat her like an unlucky penny — was taken from her. Through all this she became a controlled, willful, but quiet woman. She has learned to endure jibes and taunts, to pay no mind when she is ignored or forced out. Instead she feels herself to be above such petty concerns, projecting an aura of authority and stub-
LADy ALIANNA BARNELL
Awareness 4 Cunning 3 Deception 4 Fighting 3 Language 3 Knowledge 3 Persuasion 4 Status 3 Will 4
Notice 1B Logic 1B Bluff 1B
Bargain 2B, Convince 1B Breeding 2B
coMBat defenSe HealtH 8 6 intriGue defenSe coMPoSure 1 10 12
deStiny PointS drawBacKS: Cursed
BenefitS: Authority, Dutiful, Keen Senses
arMS & arMor
Dagger 3 1 Damage Defensive +1, Off-Hand +1
bornness that has let her force her way through many uncomfortable social situations. She refuses to be brought down to the level of those who would insult or oppose her. Unfortunately, these coping mechanisms have left Alianna a cold woman. The only person in this world she truly loves is her son Daveth and there is likely little room in her heart for anyone else. Lord Tomas Barnell she has befriended since he treats her fairly and respects her opinion on matters he knows little about, but the relationship will never develop into love. Alianna sees Garret as an annoyance, but she knows that he has been a good friend to Daveth. More than anything, Alianna wants to prove to House Frey and all the others that treated her as a pariah that she is better than that. She feels the way prove her point is to ensure the continued survival of House Barnell, and that living well will be the best revenge. Alianna is not concerned about the opinions of others, even at court, instead focusing on concrete sources of power and influence. Since Lord Barnell has little interest in court, Lady Barnell has become the house’s ambassador, visiting neighboring houses as she can, often with Daveth in tow. She is adept at games of court, but is most concerned with forming worthwhile alliances, not with gossip or
The Noble Houses
lesser matters. That said, she is not above going out of her way to cause trouble for House Frey and their allies where she can. Alianna believes the best chance for the continued survival of House Barnell is the selection of her son Daveth as its heir. So far she has been unable to convince Lord Barnell of this, but continues to try. She keeps an eye out for some great task she could assign to her son to earn him some credit in his step-father’s eyes, especially if the task is more cerebral in nature. Alianna accepted long ago that her son was not a warrior born and is instead extremely clever. spent his first few years with his mother Sonya, who was a cook in the household of House Karstark. Tomas Barnell did not wish to marry Sonya until he could provide the life he thought she and his son deserved, and Garret’s conception was an unexpected turn. Indeed, Barnell did not see his son until Garret was three years old, since his duties kept him away for so long. These long periods of separation from his father would become the norm for Garret Snow. Garret spent these years with the children of Karhold, becoming their leader, though what he usually led them into was trouble. From a young age Garret developed a taste for life’s finer things, such as sweetmeats and pastries. These were beyond his parents’ wealth to provide, so he sought out these luxuries on his own—even if it meant stealing. Garret never aimed higher than a tray of gamebirds, but it was enough to get a few beatings and a reputation in Karhold. When his father summoned Garret to come join him at Castle Grenward at age twelve the people of Karhold were glad to be rid of a boy they saw as a troublemaker. Within months of arriving at Grenward, Sonya died of fever. Garret placed no blame for her death, but after hearing the stories the smallfolk tell of the castle he is not so sure. Sonya raised Garret for the first twelve years of his life, during which he rarely saw his father, so while Garret respects and obeys his father he truly loved his mother. He can sometimes be found stalking the halls of Castle Grenward at night, hoping to catch a glimpse of his mother’s ghost. Secretly he hopes to find some way to bring her back and undo the curse, but he knows that is foolishness. Garret spent the next eight years with his father learning about fighting, riding, and other matters of knighthood. Garret is more of a thinker and planner than his father, but he will never be the great warrior his father is. Through training with the Karstarks, Garret picked up the basics of swordplay with ease, but he did not have his father’s raw power and fortitude. His father was pleased with his sword skills, but not so pleased by some of the less honorable habits Garret had picked up in Karhold. In Castle Grenward, Garret has access to many of the luxuries he once stole for in Karhold, but now that he was a young man who saw something else he wanted: women. Within a few months of arriving in Castle Grenward, Garret had developed a reputation as a cad, which his father did his best to stop. Lord Barnell’s efforts largely consisted of extra weapon drills and chores. The chores
Born of the only woman Tomas Barnell ever loved, Garret Snow is very much the favored son of House Barnell. Garret
Agility 4 Animal Handling 3 Athletics 3 Awareness 3 Endurance 4 Fighting 4 Marksmanship 3 Persuasion 3 Stealth 3 Thievery 3 Warfare 3 Will 3
Ride 1B Notice 1B Long Blades 2B Seduce 1B, Intimidate 1B Steal 1B Strategy 1B
coMBat defenSe HealtH 10 12 intriGue defenSe coMPoSure 1 7 9
deStiny PointS drawBacKS: Bastard Born
BenefitS: Armor Mastery, Long Blade Fighter I, Lucky
arMS & arMor
SPlint: AR 8, AP -3, Bulk 2 Longsword Shield Dagger 4D+2B 4D 4D 4 Damage 1 Damage 2 Damage Defensive +2 Defensive 1, Off-Hand +1
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didn’t stop Garret’s carousing, but they did slow him down. Lord Barnell thanks the gods every day that his son has not already sired a bastard with these liaisons. In more recent times Garret has become just one more oddity in a house of oddities, a bastard born of a smallfolk woman who is an accepted part of the household. Garret’s wild and lecherous ways do not help his reputation, and other local lords joke that they will lock up their daughters if House Barnell brings its bastard son on a visit. Garret spends most of his time drilling with his father’s soldiers, particularly the Riverroad Riders. He can often be found out riding with the Riders or drinking with them in taverns in Wellyn, and they have begun to look to Garret for leadership. The appointed leader of the Riders, Captain Fenrick Atell, does not appreciate this usurpation and is looking for any poor behavior to report to Garret’s father. Garret Snow is a man of cunning and passion. He goes after what he wants with all his heart, much like his father, but Garret wants very different things. While Lord Barnell seeks security for his family, Garret seeks adventure and enjoyment. Being a clever and self-effacing sort, Garret admits he is shallower than his father, or even his step-brother. Garret struggles with the fact he will never be his father and so tries to be his own man. At his heart Garret Snow is the romantic his father never was, always questing for a better life just because it’s better and exciting, not for any greater cause. Garret realizes he would quickly lead House Barnell into ruin if he were made its head, so he pushes his father to recognize Daveth as the heir instead of himself—or for his father and Lady Barnell to have a child of their own. He realizes this is cutting off his best chance at living the life he wants, full of women and comfort, but he thinks he wants to obtain those things on his own merits and without hurting his family’s fortunes in the process. Despite their differences in personality and goals, Garret and Daveth are good friends. Garret tries to get Daveth out into the world to experience life and learn how it all really works away from ledgers and books, while Daveth tries to get Garret to think a little more and act impulsively a little less. Garret also likes his step-mother, but doesn’t have much in common with her. Most of their interactions are her scolding him for some recent improper behavior. dom gust of wind. His mother and father accepted this and encouraged other pursuits for him, buying him all manner of books and employing a maester to teach him. As a child Daveth wanted nothing more than to grow up to become a maester and spend his days in study. The death of Ser Silas opened Daveth’s eyes to how the world really worked. His teacher left, his books were sold, and his own family saw him as a weight to be offloaded as soon as possible. At age ten Daveth’s mother married Lord Barnell and Daveth moved to Castle Grenward, counting himself lucky to get the room at the top of the tower that had been inhabited by the maester the Darrys had in their service. The man had died during Robert’s Rebellion, but most of his tools and books remained in the tower where he had left them. Daveth immediately went to work figuring out how to use the tools and reading all the books he could. While Daveth has never received maester training, he knows much of their arts and looks to learn more. Whereas Daveth’s mother and father encouraged his studies, his new step-father had little interest in his continuing such activities. Lord Barnell thought Daveth a weakling from the start and this opinion has never changed. Lord Barnell has spent many hours trying to teach Daveth swordplay, riding, and archery, but Daveth has proved inept and uninterested in any of these. Garret has likewise helped try and teach Daveth some manner of military skill in the hope of increasing his stature in Lord Barnell’s eyes, but has met similar problems. While Daveth has little skill in matters martial, he has a keen head for numbers, management, and social interactions—even exceeding his mother in the latter regard. In the last few years Daveth has assisted the castle steward, Farris Leed, in overseeing the castle’s management, and his efforts have increased the profits of the castle substantially. Lord Barnell does not notice these successes, aside from using the money to hire more troops. Daveth is confident that if he was given actual control of the house he would be able to increase its funds and influence. Daveth takes after his mother, favoring logic and cunning over passion and emotion. Daveth sees the austere façade his mother puts up and tries to emulate it, but while he is much like her, years of living with Garret have changed him somewhat. The two are friends and Garret’s impulsive nature and ambition have helped Daveth get out of his shell. The two
From an early age, it was evident that Daveth would never be a great warrior like his father Ser Silas. He was slim of body and weak of arm, and looked like he could be felled by a ran-
The Noble Houses
complement each other well, Garret providing the muscle and skullduggery while Daveth uses his brains and scholarly training. On more than one occasion, Garret has drafted Daveth into a scheme to bed a girl—schemes which rarely work out the way either lad had hoped. It is evident to Garret and Lady Barnell that Daveth is the best choice to take over as the head of House Barnell, but neither Lord Barnell nor Daveth sees that. Lord Barnell thinks Daveth a weakling, while Daveth, ironically, agrees that he doesn’t have what it takes to be a proper lord. Daveth believes that being a noble lord is all horses and swords since that was what his father and step-father focused on. Daveth feels he must prove his worth both to his step-father and himself if he is to become Lord Barnell, an end result that both Garret and Lady Barnell support. And while he denies that he wants to lead House Barnell, Daveth knows he could lead it to greatness with just some more organization and social graces, especially if he has Garret at his side. Daveth’s overall goal is to undo what he sees as the harm Lord Barnell has inflicted on House Barnell. He hopes to improve the family’s wealth by focusing on the house’s farming and lumber operations rather than adding more soldiers. He would raise the family’s influence by spending time at the courts of neighboring houses, in contrast to his stepfather, who favors his own hearth. Daveth also wants to put to rest the stories of the Curse of Castle Grenward and its ghosts once and for all, thinking such stories have no place in this age of reason and logic. Daveth has yet to experience any of the supernatural activity at House Grenward and dismisses stories of it as the results of drinking. What his actual purpose in denying the superstitions, however, is to protect his mother, since he believes she equates the castle’s curse with her own.
FarriS LEED, STEwarD
When Eddard Stark urged Farris Leed to come to Castle Grenward eight years ago to help the newly ennobled Lord Barnell set up his household, Farris was an energetic man with a full head of hair. Now he is a skeleton of a man rendered almost bald by the frustration of his position. Farris also lost much of his good humor in those years, as he had to cut corners and take out loans to support the military forces Lord Barnell required. He has grown accustomed to meeting unreasonable demands, but his recent interactions with Daveth Barnell give him some hope that eventually someone with an actual grasp of how a noble house runs will be in charge. Hopefully Farris can keep the books sufficiently balanced until then.
Awareness 3 Cunning 4 Language 3 Knowledge 4 Persuasion 4 Status 2 Will 4
yOUNG ADULT ExPERT
KiEraN OrELL, CaPTaiN OF THE guarD
Lord Barnell has known Kieran Orell longer than anyone else in Westeros. Kieran served several for several years with Lord Barnell’s father among the houses of the North and has known Lord Barnell since he was six. When Tomas was ennobled he brought Kieran to Castle Grenward to serve as the captain of his guard and Kieran then built the soldiery of Grenward from the ground up. Kieran now functions as the commander of Lord Barnell’s personal guard, the Company of the Morningstar. Kieran is loyal to the point of death to Lord Barnell, but often embarrasses his lord with stories of Lord Barnell as a child. Despite his loyalty, Kieran has been showing his age lately, sleeping past muster and proving unable to keep up with his men during weapon drills. Lord Barnell refuses to see the effect of the years on his old friend and Kieran will admit no weakness, so it will require some serious mishap for Kieran to be removed from his position. Garret has been slowly assuming some of Kieran’s responsibilities, but has done so discreetly, out of respect for him and in the hopes he can keep the man from embarrassing himself.
Charm 2B Stewardship 2B, Breeding 2B
coMBat defenSe HealtH 7 6 intriGue defenSe coMPoSure 12 2 9
BenefitS: Courteous, Expertise (Stewardship), Favored of Nobles
arMS & arMor
Dagger 2D 1 Damage Defensive +1, Off-Hand +1
The Noble Houses
MiCHaL grOwNE, CaSTLE SMiTH
House Barnell has never had much money in its coffers, but four years ago the house gained an unexpected windfall when Lord Barnell performed particularly well at a tournament held by the Tullys. He used the winnings to acquire the services of a master smith by the name of Michal Growne with the goal of better arming his troops. Before coming to Castle Grenward, Growne had worked in King’s Landing and thought he was leaving the city to serve a wealthy and powerful lord. He has been disappointed ever since, especially considering the work load that Lord Barnell expects from him. Growne mutters now about leaving Castle Grenward to find service elsewhere, but is too scared of Lord Barnell to do so currently.
House Bartheld is a minor lineage, born thirty years after Aegon’s landing when a serving boy saved Lord Raffin Baratheon from assassination. One of Baratheon’s banner knights is said to have knighted the lad on the spot. Ser Hamish Bartheld went on to prove that even a serving boy could rise to great heights. Although he was never brilliant—or even very good—as a soldier or a statesman, he developed a reputation for honor and loyalty that served him and his descendents well. To this day, House Bartheld is a family where good faith is regarded more highly than skill or cleverness. Ser Hamish developed a huge appetite for everything life as a noble offered. By the time he died, he was obese, red-faced from drink, and suffering from several venereal diseases. The first Bartheld took his degeneration with good humor and, it is said, died with no regrets. The Barthelds emulate their eponymous ancestor, though most are more careful with their health. All of Hamish’s children—trueborn and bastard—did well for themselves in their own way. Some became Maesters at the Citadel or took the Black and several were knighted as well. Despite gaining some respect as a family, without land, the Barthelds were dependent on the Baratheons for wealth and station. In return, the Barthelds have served the Baratheons as squires, chamberlains, companions, bodyguards, and bedwarmers and prospered. The most cynical Barthelds claimed—but never within earshot of their patrons—that House Baratheon never granted them holdings of their own to keep them dependent, so that the Baratheons could continue to enjoy the fruits of Bartheld labor. Although they maintained a close relationship with House Baratheon, the Barthelds also acted as procurers and bodyguards for other houses, for a price. Rumors persist—vociferously denied by the Barthelds themselves—that the family whored its sons and daughters in the hard days after the Dance of Dragons. These stories continue to stain the House’s reputation. Brom Bartheld, the first true lord of the house, began his career as a knight in service to King Robert’s father. He was also a friend of Lord Jamys Kytley, called the Sybarite, and a frequent guest at Jamys’s extravagant parties. When Brom’s cousin Tobias Bartheld tried to open Broms’s eyes to Jamys’s abuse and neglect of his smallfolk, Brom refused. Jamys was his friend, and that was all he would let himself see. Brom and his sons, including one who served Robert as a squire, joined Robert’s Rebellion and distinguished themselves in battle. Although Brom survived the Trident, two of
MuDDyiNg THE PaLETTE
If you’d like to make House Barnell a bit darker in tone, consider that Alianna and Tomas don’t really love one another; each knows that the other accepted the marriage because they had no choice. Their bitterness has led their sons Garret Snow and Daveth Barnell not to become close friends but rather enemies. Alianna and Daveth scheme to ensure Daveth’s rise to power, while Garret and Tomas do much the same on Garret’s behalf. Players of other houses could easily become embroiled in these incestuous plots.
Heraldry: A brown boar running on a black field. Motto: “Joy in Service” Although it was loyalty to House Baratheon that initially raised the Barthelds to the nobility, the denizens of Hart House later became known for hosting indulgent—some might even say depraved—festivities each year, at which an ever-changing roster of guests would drink deep of their host’s hospitality. Fittingly, the most recent lord of Hart House abdicated his role to his grandson so that he could pursue the hand of Lady Yve of House Tullison. The new master of the house, Davain Bartheld, is much more conservative than his forbears, which is not sitting particularly well with most other members of his family.
The Noble Houses
his four sons did not. As a form of compensation for the family’s years of service and Brom’s sacrifice, King Robert finally granted House Bartheld land of its own. House Bartheld was given the territory of House Asrig, which had lost all its sons in the war fighting on behalf of the Targaryens. House Asrig had been the worst kind of nobles. Inspired by the cruelty of the Targaryens, they had satisfied their desire for luxuries and companionship at the expense of the smallfolk and indulged in cruel, extravagant punishments. Lord Leofrick Asrig was particularly fond of punishing entire families or villages for the misdeeds of a few. On one memorable occasion that a peasant insulted his wife with a bold stare, Lord Leofrick gave the man’s friends and neighbors a choice: either they delivered his eyes to the castle, or he would send his knights to claim ten. Upon hearing of the death of her husband and sons, Lady Inez Asrig had ordered every village and fortification burned to the ground and set fire to the castle from the inside. Brom Bartheld arrived to discover that his new house seat had been devastated. All the major structures and most of the villages had been destroyed and the peasants were traumatized and distrustful, eager to believe that their new lord was just as bad as the old one.
When Hart House was complete, Brom celebrated with a huge feast. The party won Brom many allies and goodwill from his creditors. Inspired, Brom turned his native hospitality into a tool. Since then Hart House has hosted a variety of colorful characters, from young men avoiding duels they can’t win to young women avoiding suitors they can’t shake to old lords reliving glory days they can’t repeat. Brom Bartheld boasts— without revealing any details—that Hart House has hosted at least one septon and his lover, and helped a pair of star-crossed lovers avoid their families long enough to be married in secret. Young Davain Bartheld, Brom’s oldest grandson, is the current lord of the House. Brom retired unexpectedly and left Hart House—his aging squire, Dart Rivers, in tow—to seek the hand of Lady Yve Tullison. Davain is something of a black sheep, an ascetic in a family of sybarites. Davain has already alienated some of his wilder family members by toning down the yearly party. Davain’s father was particularly insulted by his decision to hire businesslike middle-aged servers rather than attractive girls, and his uncle Kent was annoyed to discover that Davain has banned hunting parties from departing Hart House with more than a single wineskin. Davain’s cousin Fendrel, on the other hand, is concerned that overabundant sobriety will hurt the house’s standing. The Barthelds
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thrived under Brom’s hospitality and permissiveness, and he is afraid that sobriety and propriety will ruin them. Fendrel Bartheld, currently a guest of Hart House, is probably his cousin Davain’s worst enemy. Though Davain has the right of inheritance, Fendrel resents him and feels that Davain is not a proper Bartheld. He schemes to disgrace Davain and replace him. However, Davain is not completely alone. His uncle Tobias remembers that summer will not last forever. With winter surely on the horizon, he believes that House Bartheld will benefit from more sober leadership. Not all of his sons agree, but at least one of them, Ser Alec, is Davain’s ally, though his duties to the crown keep him away from Hart House.
JaMyS THE SyBariTE aT HarT HOuSE
A little more than a week into Jamys’s last visit to Hart House, the lord was challenged by one of Brom’s smallfolk who claimed that Jamys had seduced his teenage daughter. Her prospects were ruined, and he demanded Lord Kytley offer compensation. Enraged at the cheek, Kytley paid the price in steel, as he slew the farmer, but allowed the family to keep the weapon used in the deed. Jamys left a letter for Brom, with payment for the farmer’s lost taxes, and left. Brom never spoke publicly about the incident, but Jamys Kytley was never welcomed back to Hart House and Brom never accepted another of Jamys’s invitations, though he was as warm as ever when they chanced to meet elsewhere. Relations between House Kytley and House Bartheld have been strained ever since.
House Bartheld has the following holdings.
DEFENSE: 30, iNVESTED: 30 HarT HOuSE (HaLL) 20, rOBErT’S HaMMEr (TOwEr) 10
The seat of House Bartheld is a huge manor rather than a true castle. Brom commissioned an image of the Baratheon arms to be fixed over the front door. The house is full of stag imagery, from the frolicking stags on the tapestries to the stag’s head newel tops to the huge stone stags that flank the entrance. A trained eye notices that although it was not built to repel a siege, Hart House is not entirely defenseless. The walls are made of good stone, well laid and well mortared, and doors are made of stout wood banded with iron. Much of the house’s decorations are placed so that right-handed attackers charging up the stairs will entangle their swords in tapestries and statues, leaving them open to attack from right-handed defenders charging down at them. Secret passages in the wine cellar lead to safety and collapse with a good kick to the right timber. Most importantly, Hart House is situated on a bluff overlooking a forested valley. In order to reach the manor, attackers would have to make their way up the slope, in full view of the house. Although not a castle by any means, Hart House was built by a man who had survived the rule of a mad king and the bloody war to unseat him, and it takes care of its inhabitants.
Bartheld, King Robert’s grandfather’s confidante, are still admired by the great houses. House Bartheld’s reputation for hospitality wins it many friends and a great deal of influence. On the other hand, the Baratheons kept the Bartheld family dependent upon them for more than two hundred and fifty years, and everyone knows it. Nobody in Westeros even pretends that House Bartheld has the power to determine its own fate.
LaNDS: 40, iNVESTED: 38 (LigHTLy FOrESTED HiLLS wiTH a ruiNED CaSTLE 13, PLaiNS 5, HarTViLLE (HaMLET) 10, SOuTH yarD (HaMLET) 10)
House Bartheld’s holdings consist of two domains: the lightly forested hills rising on the highlands and the valley grassland below. House Bartheld’s smallfolk live in two hamlets. Hartville supports Hart House and houses the peasants who work in the vineyards further up in the highlands behind the manor and South Yard farms the fertile soil of the valley. A ruined castle, the haunted remains of the House Asrig seat, squats in the forests near Hart House. In the fifteen years that he was the head of House Bartheld, Lord Brom built Hart House, repaired an Asrig watchtower into Robert’s Hammer, and planted a vineyard in the highlands behind Hart House. He could probably have achieved more, had he not been occupied by filling Hart House with fine wine and pretty girls.
iNFLuENCE: 38, iNVESTED: 20 (FENDrEL BarTHELD)
House Bartheld is a minor house with a colorful history. Characters like Hobb Bartheld, who died almost a hundred years ago protecting Esme Baratheon’s virtue during a bandit attack while on the way to the Eyrie and Ser Kyle
The Barthelds keep their peasants happy, and happy peasants do not become bandits. However, Brom never devoted much of his energy to patrolling his lands, and banditry became en-
The Noble Houses
HOuSE BarTHELD OF HarT HOuSE
lieGe lord: KinG roBert BaratHeon i Defense 30 Influence 38 Lands 40 Law 20 Population 18 Power 11 Wealth 43 Hart House (Hall, 20), Robert’s Hammer (Tower, 10) Fendrel Bartheld (Heir, 20) Lightly Forested Hills with Ruin (13), Plains with two Hamlets (25), Expendable 2 House Fortunes -5 House Fortunes +0 Robert’s Hammer: (Green Garrison; 3 Power) - Routine (6) Discipline at home or Formidable (12) away - Awareness 3 Expendable 1 Anton Black (Artisan, 10, House Fortunes +1), Maester Forthwind (10, House Fortunes +3), Vineyards (10, House Fortunes +3), Expendable 13 total HouSe fortuneS Modifier +2 Hart House Guardians: (Green Personal Guard; 7 Power) - Easy (3) Discipline - Fighting 3
demic along the borders of his land. Davain is not so tolerant, however, and he intends to wipe them out. The most pernicious group of bandits around Bartheld lands is the Black Serpents.
wEaLTH: 43, iNVESTED: 30 (aNTON BLaCK (arTiSaN) 10, MaESTEr FOrTHwiND 10, ViNEyarDS 10)
House Bartheld is unusually wealthy for a minor house. Years of Baratheon patronage and Brom’s successful vineyards have contributed to the house’s growing fortunes. The members of House Bartheld can count on a stipend if they need it. More importantly, if war comes to Bartheld lands, the family can afford to hire excellent mercenaries.
Most of House Bartheld’s smallfolk are hardworking, practical people who care very little for the affairs of nobles, so long as they can live unmolested in their farmsteads and hamlets.
POwEr: 11, iNVESTED: 10 (grEEN PErSONaL guarD 7, grEEN garriSON 3)
House Bartheld only has a small force of untested soldiers at its disposal, mostly made up of peasant volunteers hoping to improve their lot in life through service to the nobility. House Bartheld has no banner houses, navy, or cavalry. House Bartheld must answer House Baratheon’s call in battle, but when they do it will be with only one or two troops of light infantry.
House Bartheld’s seat is the extensive estate at Hart House.
THE wiNE CELLar
Hart House’s wine cellar is one of the best in Westeros. Brom Bartheld knew nothing of wine—except that he liked to drink it—but he consulteda variety of Maesters schooled in winemaking when the time came to build a wine cellar, and he spared no expense on its construction. As a result, the cellar is naturally maintained at the perfect temperature and humidity for aging fine wines. The dark, cool recesses of the cellar are also a perfect place for trysts that should not see the light of day. Many nobles and their servants, men and women who are married, but not to each other, and stranger pairings have found a place in Hart House’s wine cellar. Before he left Hart House to pursue Lady Yve, Brom often joked that he should arrange for a basket of blankets and pillows by the cellar door.
HART HOUSE GUARDIANS
Green Personal Guard * 1 Power eaSy (3) Discipline Fighting 3
Green Garrison * 1 Power routine (6) Discipline at home or forMidaBle (12) away Awareness 3
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NEw wEaLTH HOLDiNg
ViNEyarD Vineyards yield wines that can generate additional income.
requireMent: HillS or PlainS; realM (any But tHe nortH) inveStMent: 10 tiMe: 24+2d6 MontHS
Owning a vineyard grants a +5 bonus on House Fortune rolls.
The vineyards of Hart House are similarly impressive, though by chance instead of design. The soil of the highlands behind Hart House are perfect for growing a wide variety of grapes and producing several wines that are increasingly popular in Westeros. In addition to renting out some of the surrounding lands, wine sales from Hart House make up a significant part of House Bartheld’s income.
THE graND BaLLrOOM
The grand ballroom is another of Hart House’s attractions. The grand ballroom is huge—practically its own wing—with marble floors, a huge chandelier, and a mirrored ceiling. Like the rest of the manor, the ballroom is covered with stag imagery. Stag mosaics feature prominently on the marble floor and on the tapestries. The marble floor can be heated in winter by an underground furnace. Between the mirrored ceiling, the heated floor, and the chandelier, the ballroom is ready to reproduce the feeling of a midsummer night even in the depths of winter.
Bartheld’s sons and every other man and woman killed in Robert’s Rebellion. Brom was adamant that this part of the garden be a place of solemnity and respect, and Lord Davain has continued this edict.
Hart House is not a pious place. The manor lacks a godswood entirely, and the sept is a small building off to one side. The sept is well made, but unassuming and infrequently used, As evidenced by the dust on the seven-sided crystal and bas relief images. Still, it is a place of peace and quiet in a house that is often full of madcap activity. Brom never acquired the services of a septon, and Davain has shown no inclination to do so either.
Davain’s forge is quite new, commissioned by the nobleman upon inheriting Hart House. The forge resembles any city’s smithy, but with the finest tools and highest quality steel. Davain doesn’t shoe horses in his spare time; he makes fine daggers and beautiful swords. Davain’s forge is situated as close as possible to the manor, but far enough away that the noise and smell doesn’t bother his guests. Although everyone refers to the smithy as “Davain’s Forge,” Davain is not the only one to work the forge. Anton Black became Davain’s friend and mentor while Davain fostered with the Swanns at Raintree. When Davain came into his inheritance and moved to Hart House, Anton came with him.
Finally, the grounds of Hart House—the gardens surrounding it and the forest in the valley below—are immaculately tended. The forest exists to be hunted in and ridden through. Like the rest of Hart House, both the garden and the forest have seen many licentious uses, with one exception. A simple stone monument in the garden commemorates Brom
THE guarDHOuSE: rOBErT’S HaMMEr
The so-called guardhouse is really more of a small castle. This is the place to which inhabitants of Hart House will retreat
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if they are ever attacked. The guardhouse is a single tower ringed by a tall crenellated wall. The secret passages from Hart House’s cellar emerge nearby, making it an ideal refuge. Behind the wall are a storehouse, a small forge, and a barracks. Robert’s Hammer is not a particularly strong fortress, and it isn’t meant to be. Rather than holding off a determined siege, it is meant to save the lives of the people inside it. Robert’s Hammer should be just difficult enough to overwhelm that an invading force is likely to take the battle elsewhere, leaving its inhabitants to escape. Robert’s Hammer is also situated so that it can act as a watchtower and warn the smallfolk and the inhabitants of Hart House of an approaching attack. retirement, Davain became the master of Hart House. He is a tall, well-favored man of nineteen. Davain has a steady sort of face: handsome, but not wildly so, with straight teeth and, strong, symmetrical features. Davain’s resemblance to his grandfather is striking, though he looks very little like either of his parents. Davain has a large frame and powerful shoulders and arms. Despite his family’s history of Baratheon dalliance, Davain has golden hair, tanned skin, and bright blue eyes. He is the picture of a young lord of Andal blood. Davain was fostered with his mother’s cousin, Terrowin Swann, at his castle in Raintree, south of Storm’s End. Under Terrowin’s tutelage, Davain grew up to be a hard working and disciplined young lord, full of a sense of responsibility to his family and his smallfolk. The members of House Bartheld were shocked when Brom walked away from his royal gift and left Hart House and leadership of the house to Davain. Brom is unreasonably fond of his serious grandson, and Davain is equally fond of his eccentric, decadent grandfather. King Robert was incensed by what he saw as Brom’s insult—to abandon a lordship and a holding that were gifts from His Grace, in pursuit of a woman! The royal family has not visited Hart House since Davain became Lord Bartheld, and Robert vows that they will not while he draws breath. Lord Davain is married to Lady Ayleth nee Swann. Renly Baratheon brokered the marriage while they were still children. The couple met on their wedding day, but they have found happiness together: Ayleth is a passionate, mischievous woman who brings joy to her dutiful husband’s days. Davain spurns most of the pastimes seen frequently at Hart House: hunting is a dangerous frivolity when food can be more easily acquired by a trained huntsman; arms training is serious business, not a matter for jests and wagers; art and poetry are best appreciated in solitude and contemplation; and whoring or getting drunk and seducing each other’s wives is a complete waste of time and leads to duels, heartbreak, and bastards. Davain’s hobby is blacksmithing. When the mood strikes him, Davain designs and smiths objects of beauty and usefulness, like swords and knives. He sometimes makes tavern puzzles for good friends and small children, and once made a statue of a rose out of fine steel beaten into petals and meticulously pieced together as a gift for his wife. Davain has only been the lord of Hart House for a year and a half. In that time, he has taken steps to fortify Hart House, expand the garrison at Robert’s Hammer, and hunt down the bandits lurking at the borders of his territory. He has not— as many of his kin feared he would—withdrawn the offer
These are the people who comprise House Bartheld, as well as their notable retainers.
LOrD DaVaiN BarTHELD
Lord Davain Bartheld is the son of Jerome Bartheld, Brom’s eldest son, who fell during Robert’s Rebellion—and Thea Bartheld (herself a child of House Dondarrion). Upon Brom’s
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of hospitality that draws nobles to Hart House and is the source of much of House Bartheld’s influence. However, he is a sobering influence on Hart House. He has told some of the wilder regulars, starting with the infamous Hoster Smallwood, that they would not be welcome to Hart House if they did not curb their excesses.
LORD DAvAIN BARTHELD
Agility 3 Animal Handling 3 Athletics 3 Cunning 3 Endurance 3 Fighting 4 Persuasion 3 Status 5 Warfare 3
yOUNG ADULT LEADER
Ride 1B Strength 1B Logic 2B Long Blades 1B
LaDy ayLETH BarTHELD
Davain Bartheld’s wife is tall and slender, with long hair that is so light blond it seems white in the right light. Her skin is pale and delicate and flushes bright red with the slightest exertion or embarrassment and her eyes are a bright, teasing green. Ayleth dresses to take advantage of her coloring and slender figure, either in pale gowns that make her seem ethereal or darker, dramatic colors that offset her complexion. Like many noblewomen of the decadent south, Ayleth makes looking her best an art form. Ayleth Bartheld is more than ornamental, however. Ayleth is intelligent, and is skilled at reading people so that she can tell them what they want to hear. She is deft at implying things without promising anything, and she is as hard to fool as she is adept at fooling others. Most importantly, Ayleth loves the court life. She thrives on the whirl of Westeros’s social scene, the schemes and backroom deals, the dancing and flirting. When she walks into a room, she commands attention. Ayleth was born to House Swann, a household loyal to King Robert, and was raised to be a courtier in King’s Landing. Her father, Dominic Swann, was controlling and overbearing. He was determined to craft his daughter into a weapon to be used for the good of her House. In order to have time to herself and her thoughts, Ayleth learned to creep silently through the depths of the family castle and pick the locks of abandoned rooms with her hairpins. At first, Ayleth was not happy to be married to Davain Bartheld. She had hoped to win the eye of a more important noble from one of Westeros’s great houses. However, the earnest young lord won her over with kindness and respect, and she fell in love with him against her will even before Brom
coMBat defenSe HealtH 8 9 intriGue defenSe coMPoSure 2 10 6
BenefitS: Blood of the Andals (Persuasion), Head of House, Honor Bound, Long Blade Fighter I
arMS & arMor
Half Plate: AR 9, AP -5, Bulk 3 Greatsword 4+1B 6 Damage Powerful, Slow, Two-Handed, Unwieldy, Vicious
took his leave of Hart House. Ayleth takes a slightly maternal attitude towards her husband. He certainly has his skills, but when it comes to the schemes of the lords and ladies of Westeros, he is barely more than a child. He has invited his cousin Fendrel into his home, made Fendrel his heir, and does nothing to protect himself from Fendrel’s schemes. Ayleth wants to protect Davain from the true duplicity of the nobility, in part to let him focus on his strengths, and in part to preserve what she sees as his charming innocence. Ayleth has discovered that Hart House, with its constant stream of noble visitors, is an ideal place for her. She can play host, curry favor with her guests, and use that favor to improve
THE SONS OF BrOM BarTHELD
Brom is the oldest surviving Bartheld, though he has retired from his duties. His oldest living son is Ser Walder, a retainer attending Renly Baratheon, and Ser Kent, a commander in King Robert’s military. Walder has three children aside from Davain: Osmund, who became a Maester at the Citadel and serves the household of Lord Erik Fell, Ser Edmund, a permanent guest of Hart House, and Ser Raffin, who took the black. Kent has two children: Ser Fendrel, a schemer who vies with Davain for control of House Bartheld, and Ysme, another of Hart House’s inhabitants.
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LADy AyLETH BARTHELD
Agility 3 Awareness 3 Cunning 4 Deception 3 Knowledge 3 Language 3 Persuasion 4 Status 5 Stealth 2 Thievery 3 Will 3
Education 1B Charm 2B Sneak 2B Pick Locks 1B
coMBat defenSe HealtH 8 6 intriGue defenSe coMPoSure 2 12 9
deStiny PointS drawBacK: Haughty
BenefitS: Attractive, Charismatic, Magnetic
her standing and the standing of her husband. Unfortunately, she is addicted to the game of the noble social scene. She loves to dance and flirt, and in the eyes of some, she leads men on. Davain seems to understand that she is only playing, but others—like Ser Corbin Celtigar—might not understand. If she is not careful, she might lead herself and her husband into a deadly trap.
arMS & arMor
daGGer 2 1 Damage Defensive +1, Off-hand +1
SEr COrBiN CELTigar
Those who have heard Ser Corbin Celtigar’s reputation as a womanizer are surprised by his appearance. Corbin’s face is not particularly good-looking, with the exception of his blue eyes. His features are squashed and slightly asymmetrical and he has an ugly scar on his forehead. He is short but powerfully built, with dirty blond hair. But Corbin’s charm becomes clear as soon as he speaks; he is disarmingly witty, with a quick smile and an easy laugh. He has a gently self-deprecating sense of humor and no false dignity. Most importantly,
Corbin genuinely likes people—even the smallfolk, and especially women—and wants them to be happy. Unfortunately, Corbin has a tragically short temper and disregard for propriety. He seems obsessed with bedding every woman he can find. Corbin’s appetites are the reason he is at Hart House. Corbin was found abed with Bonnie Spider, the wife of Tyvin Spider, an infamous duelist with close connections to House Lannister. Rather than let the son of a vassal get killed, but unwilling to personally intervene, King Robert sent Corbin to Hart House to wait it out. While tempers cool in King’s Landing, Corbin cools his heels at Hart House, bothering the maids and washerwomen. While grateful for the sanctuary, Corbin dislikes his host. Although Davain keeps his opinions to himself, Corbin sees Davain’s disapproval in every word and gesture. Although he has not directly chastised Corbin directly, Davain keeps the attractive young serving girls away. Furthermore, Corbin has always had an irrational dislike of tall men. Worst of
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SER CORBIN CELTIGAR
Agility 3 Animal Handling 4 Athletics 3 Cunning 3 Deception 3 Endurance 3 Fighting 5 Persuasion 3 Status 4
Animal Handling 3
Awareness 3 Cunning 4 Healing 3 Knowledge 5 Diagnose 2B, Treat Ailment 1B, Treat Injury 1B Education 2B
Long Blades 3B Seduction 2B
Language 4 Persuasion 3 Status 4 Will 3 Stewardship 2B
coMBat defenSe HealtH 8 9 intriGue defenSe coMPoSure 1 9 6 coMBat defenSe HealtH
7 9 intriGue defenSe coMPoSure 1 11 12
deStiny PointS drawBacKS: Lascivious
BenefitS: Anointed, Long Blade Fighter I, Sponsor
BenefitS: Knowledge Focus (Astronomy), Knowledge Focus (Nature), Maester drawBacKS: Crippled, Flaw (Agility)
arMS & arMor
BreaStPlate: AR 5, AP -2, Bulk 3 Bastard Sword 5+2B 4 Damage Adaptable
all, Corbin has conceived an abiding lust for Davain’s wife, Ayleth. He mistakes her flirting for real attraction. Corbin Celtigar is a typical guest of Hart House. Although not a Bartheld, he is stuck at Hart House until his contacts tell him it is safe for him to return to King’s Landing. His boredom means that he is eager to stir up trouble for the sheer fun of it. He is eager to show up Davain and maneuver Ayleth into his bed—both at the same time, if possible— which could embroil him in any number of plots. He’s loyal to King Robert, but such loyalty is hardly his chief motivation.
Hart House’s Maester is not an imposing figure. Forthwind is a swarthy middle-aged man of average height with curly black hair, and mild, dark grey eyes. Forthwind has poor muscle definition and a little more fat on his frame than perhaps he should, giving him a soft appearance. His face is round and young-looking, despite his 43 years, with full lips and a lumpy nose. His fingers are particularly pudgy. Forthwind prefers
simple tunics and trousers to his black robes. He is understandably proud of his Maester’s chain, however, and is never without it. Like many Maesters, Forthwind keeps a pet raven, Malevolent, an ill-tempered creature who despises everyone but her master. Forthwind walks slowly with a raven-headed cane. He was born with a club foot, his right foot twisted inwards so that he has to walk on the outer edge. Forthwind is quite open about his origins and considers his ascent to the Maesters to be one of his proudest achievements. Many Maesters are the youngest children of the nobility, raised with expensive private tutors and libraries, not the crippled sons of peasants. Forthwind was born in a small town not far from Winterfell, where even in the long summer, deformed children rarely survive. He did survive, though, and even prospered. He left the North as a teenager when he decided that he was sick of struggling to fit himself and his abilities into a world better suited to men with whole bodies and less intelligence. He traveled to Oldtown
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on foot and by hitching rides with passing farmers and traders. It took him the better part of a year. The Maesters were impressed with his dedication—and more impressed with his intelligence and self-education—and admitted him to the Citadel at once. Forthwind is happy with his assignment to the Barthelds. He enjoys life at Hart House, with its numerous guests, their varied appetites, and their ill-considered schemes and passions. Forthwind considers himself an observer, here to serve Hart House, monitor the seasons and the heavens and report his findings to the Citadel, and enjoy the fine offerings of Hart House’s kitchens. Forthwind’s main vice is food, which he enjoys with gusto. Although he is not a cook himself, Forthwind has made a study of wine and is a brilliant sommelier. He has a dark red copper link in his Maester’s chain to prove it. Forthwind is an easy-going man, genuinely fond of most of Hart House’s inhabitants. He likes that Lord Davain respects his learning, enjoys flirting harmlessly with Lady Ayleth and suggesting recipes to the cook, Bevan Sand. Forthwind was close to Lord Brom and may miss him more than anyone in Hart House, except possibly Davain himself. looking for a strong father figure, though he didn’t know it. Davain rightfully credits Anton with making him the man he is today, and when he came to Hart House, he invited Anton to come with him. Anton is a big man with tan skin and wiry black hair. He is rarely seen outside the forge and usually wears a smith’s sturdy clothes and leather apron. His mannerisms are quick and forceful. Most of the teeth on the right side of Anton’s mouth are gone as a result of a fight when he was fourteen and his voice is muffled. Davain has a lot of practice understanding him, but most others find it difficult. Anton listens carefully, but rarely speaks.
Hart House’s chief cook is a tall, narrow Dornishman with dark skin, dark eyes, and dark, curly hair. His features are too sharp and his eyes too beady and close together for him to be handsome, but he is a little exotic looking. Bevan’s face has an odd resemblance to Hart House’s Maester Forthwind’s, a similarity made comical by Bevan’s lanky build as compared to Forthwind’s pudge. Like any good chef, Bevan samples his food constantly as he cooks. He says he’d be as pudgy as Forthwind if only he could slow himself down; he dashes throughout the kitchen, constantly ensuring that everything is just so. Bevan is very good at what he does and resents any interruption or meddling in his kitchen. He considers himself lord and master of the kitchen, worthy of the same respect as King Robert on his throne.
Anton Black performs two primary functions at Hart House. First, he is a master artisan, keeping the manor’s blades sharp and providing a source of income and prestige. Second, he is Lord Davain’s mentor and confidante. Anton was born into the service of House Swann at Raintree. His father was a hostler and his mother was one of the Maester’s assistants. As a child, Anton was full of nervous energy and frustrated creativity. His parents thought that he was doomed to either be killed in an accident or fight or get into serious trouble before he was fully grown. Fortunately, Raintree’s smith saw that Anton had potential and took him under his wing. He gave Anton a trade, but more importantly, Robin taught Anton discipline. When Robin died, Anton took over as Raintree’s smith and held the position for several decades. When Davain arrived at Raintree, Anton saw a kindred spirit. Davain was also full of energy and without discipline. Anton felt he had no choice but to save Davain the way he had been saved. He first attracted Davain’s by implying that learning how to make swords would make Davain a better fighter. Davain declared that he was “done with” Anton five times during the course of his childhood at Raintree, but Anton always managed to draw him back. Davain himself was
LOrD BrOM BarTHELD
Although a member of House Bartheld, Lord Brom, the former head of the house and master of Hart House, currently resides at Mountain’s Reach as a semi-permanent guest while he woos the beautiful Lady Yve Tullison. Said to be slightly mad, Brom has abdicated his responsibilities in favor of his grandson Lord Davain, although he is still the most senior member of House Bartheld. Furthermore, Brom is fiercely proud of Hart House and dotes on Davain. Brom cherishes all his grandchildren—each one reminds him that it is a miracle that any of his sons survived the Trident—and Davain is his special favorite. If trouble comes to Hart House, or Davain needs his help, Brom is sure to return—but he may not be entirely welcome. King Robert elevated Brom to lordly status after centuries of Bartheld family service to House Baratheon, and Brom abdi-
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cated this responsibility just a few years later. If Brom isn’t as mad as they say, he must realize that further involving himself in Baratheon family politics could be downright dangerous for his grandson. See page 73 for more details about this eccentric personality. ing himself to the service of some potent lord. Instead, Edmund spends his days at Hart House in the company of his manservant Reginald, reading and writing poetry, compiling histories of Westeros, and studying the properties of herbs and minerals like a peasant farmwife. Edmund doesn’t even pursue a beneficial marriage to the daughter of an important, influential, or wealthy lord. If he had been born a Lannister, Edmund would have been pressured to join the Faith or the Maesters or take the black a long time ago. However, no one can deny that Edmund has the trait the Barthelds hold most dear: absolute loyalty. Several important lords consider Edmund a friend and confidante, and he has kept their secrets in the face of bribery, threats, and blackmail. Although a mediocre swordsman, at best, Edmund has faced more than one duel to protect the honor of his friends. He took a wound defending Lord Gyles Rosby’s skill as a general and was nearly killed over an insult to Ser Addam Marbrand’s wife. Hart House has become Edmund’s home, though he makes frequent trips to visit his friends in King’s Landing, Lannisport, and other cities and castles of Westeros. Edmund is a slender young man with delicate features and a middling complexion. He wears his auburn hair cut short. He and Davain have the same intensely blue eyes, inherited from Brom. Edmund dresses well, in Bartheld colors, and rarely bothers to carry a sword. In addition to his storied honor, Edmund is actually quite shy. He prefers the company of Reginald and his few close friends—including Lord Davain.
Davain Bartheld would be surprised to discover that the leader of the Black Serpent Band, the largest group of bandits in his domain, is a woman. Cecily was fifteen years old when her home was destroyed in one of the final battles of Robert’s Rebellion. Her family was killed and the nobles they served were entirely wiped out. With nowhere to go, Cecily fell in with a traveling band of similarly displaced peasants. The peasants eventually turned to banditry to survive, and Cecily joined them. She surprised everyone with a tremendous capacity for violence and talent for leadership and eventually became the leader of the band. Cecily is a pragmatic woman. She has become accustomed to life as a powerful woman in a sexist society. She has raided villages and disrupted trade up and down Westeros for a decade and a half, staying long enough to enrich herself, but not so long as to get caught. The territory around Hart House has been ideal for the past five years. The lords have seen to their pleasures in the manor, leaving the countryside to Cecily and her band, so long as the Black Serpents weren’t too bold. Cecily isn’t sure what to do about Davain Bartheld. He’s a different sort of nobleman than what she’s used to. The smallfolk say that he sees to their needs instead of his own and spends time and resources improving his domain. It’s past time to move on, but this new lord makes Cecily wonder. Maybe, after all these years, it’s time to become legitimate. Cecily is a tough-looking woman of thirty, as scarred and muscular as any knight. She keeps her brown hair cut short and wears masculine clothing, but makes no effort to hide her gender. Cecily is swarthy and dark-eyed. Some of her men are unsatisfied with a female leader and would kill her and take over the band if they could. As a result, Cecily always goes armed and armored.
SEr FENDrEL BarTHELD
Fendrel fears the consequences of his cousin Davain’s ascendancy. He is an inveterate schemer and dedicated pleasureseeker, but still devoted to the fortunes of House Bartheld. Unlike Davain, he believes that Bartheld should continue to curry favor by catering to the needs of powerful nobles from Westeros’s great houses, especially Baratheon. Fendrel is involved in many schemes that exploit the desires of surrounding nobles, but he is very focused in his goal: he wants to replace Davain as the master of Hart House and the head of House Bartheld. Fendrel is a reasonable man. He does not wish to diminish House Bartheld’s standing. He believes that everything he does is for the good of the house. Second, Fendrel is reluctant to actually kill his cousin Davain. Although a schemer, Fendrel is a Bartheld. Fendrel knows his task would be easier if he could simply hire someone to kill Davain for him, but he
SEr EDMuND BarTHELD
In any other family, Edmund would be considered a failure. Edmund—Davain’s little brother—is a passable swordsman, but shows no interest in mastering that or any skill appropriate to a nobleman. Neither does he show interest in swear-
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is confident that he can achieve his goals without resorting to kinslaying. Fendrel Bartheld is a tall, slender man of twenty-three with pale yellow hair, fair skin, and gray eyes. Fendrel’s vice of choice is the attentions of skilled prostitutes—an affectation he shares with his grandfather Brom—and he indulges whenever he can. Fendrel is a philosophical and deeply reflective man with a quick wit honed on the classics. women raped as punishment for the misdeeds of their fathers and brothers. Rowan had only avoided fighting in Robert’s Rebellion thanks to his youth. He was also the oldest ablebodied male in his village; all the others had been conscripted by House Asrig and either killed or maimed in the fighting or decided to make a new life in some other part of Westeros. Brom likes to tell the story of their first conversation. Rowan had come to the tent city set up where Hart House would soon be built to ask the new lord for help, and Brom, impressed with his pluck, had offered him a job. Rowan considered the offer for a long time, and then asked: “Are you going to be a good lord, or a great fat pigfucker like Leofrick Asrig?” Brom laughed so hard he nearly fell out of his camp chair. He hired Rowan Clay on the spot. One of Brom’s knights made Rowan a knight a few months later after helping bring an infamous Asrig retainer to justice. In the fifteen years since that meeting, Rowan Clay has grown into an impressive man. He is tall and broad-shouldered, with muscles developed by years of swordplay. Rowan wears his shoulder length dark hair tied back in a knot at the base of his neck; his wife Rose loves his hair, and it is his one vanity. Rowan’s eyes are dark brown, but flash gold in the light, and his skin is burned into a perpetual tan by the sun. Rowan bears a two handed sword Lord Davain made especially for him. Rowan and his wife live in the second largest house in Hartville and have two small children. Rowan cultivates a reputation as a simple armsman. He speaks with a lazy drawl and pretends to be more provincial than he is. While the accent is genuine, Rowan is a skilled tactician and a shrewd judge of character, and he has traveled over a great deal of Westeros in Brom Bartheld’s service. Rowan finds it convenient to be underestimated by the nobility. He knows most lords and ladies—and even his fellow knights—will view him as a jumped-up peasant no matter what he does, and doesn’t care. Rowan is still fond of Lord Brom, but he is glad that control of Hart House has passed to Lord Davain. With Lord Davain’s support, Rowan hopes to make House Bartheld more militarily secure and eliminate the bandits lurking on the borders once and for all.
Rose Clay, wife of Ser Rowan Clay, leader of House Bartheld’s military, serves as Head Housemaid for Hart House. Rose is average height for a woman and pleasantly round, with a fair complexion and pale hair. Although she is quite pretty, her most striking feature is her intense, intelligent green eyes. She is twenty-eight years old, but has the presence and confidence of someone much older. Rose projects competence, practicality, and grace. She has a very dry sense of humor; most people don’t notice when she is making fun of them. Rose is especially skilled at gently mocking the nobility, who she is fond of in a patronizing way. She thinks people born to wealth and power just aren’t practical like ordinary folks. Rose is the mistress of Hart House’s cleaning staff and has a great deal of influence with the steward and his staff as well. She has used her position to place herself at the center of Hart House’s gossip. Anything seen or overheard by anyone in the manor’s staff eventually finds its way to Rose. Rose has used this situation to make herself an asset to the masters of Hart House. Rose doesn’t pass along everything she hears, only the tidbits that the lord might find useful. In the old days, she reported directly to Lord Brom, but Lord Davain isn’t as canny or willing to compromise as his predecessor. Instead, she reports to his wife, Lady Ayleth. Rose has significantly more intelligence, energy, and ambition than her position requires, and so amuses herself by sitting in the center of the webs of Hart House gossip. Just as her husband serves the family with her sword, Rose does her best to keep the Barthelds safe with her ears.
SEr rOwaN CLay
Ser Clay, leader of House Bartheld’s forces, was a commoner, born and raised in House Asrig’s territory. The Asrigs were not good lords, but they were favorites of the Targaryens, and their excesses were never punished. At fifteen, Rowan had already seen men killed and maimed for imagined crimes and watched
LaDy ySME BarTHELD
Hart House is also the home of Lady Ysme Bartheld, one of Westeros’s most unconventional young noblewomen. Ysme was only two years old when Brom came into the land where Hart House now stands. One of her earliest memories of is Brom trying to explain why it was so good for the family that
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they were now landed nobility. The best he could come up with was “now that we have land, no one can tell us what to do.” Today, Ysme continues to act as though the family land means that no one can tell her what to do. That isn’t to say that Ysme is out of touch with reality. Rather, she knows that unlike her ancestors, who were dependent upon their patrons, there is a place she can always call home. Since she is no longer dependent upon anyone but her family—who she knows will never let her go hungry or homeless—she sees no reason to live by the laws that have constrained Westeros’s women for hundreds of years. As a result, Ysme has grown into an uncontrollable young woman. She runs wild through the halls of Hart House and through the hills and forests of the surrounding countryside. Brom was convinced that Ysme would never settle down, and he gave her the run of Hart House. Lord Davain continues this tradition. Since the family is on the outs with His Grace, Ysme can no longer go out of her way to embarrass the family at court in King’s Landing. For Ysme, exile to Hart House is a blessing, not a punishment. Ysme is fair-skinned and dark haired, with intense hazel eyes. She is very pretty, in a young and wild sort of way; more than one noble given to poetry has compared her to the Children of the Forest. Ysme cleans up well, but is uncomfortable in formal clothes and makes no effort to hide it. Despite her declaration that she will never marry, Ysme still occasionally entertains suitors at Hart House. She leads them on long enough to humiliate them, but some desperate noblemen hoping to enrich faltering houses take this as reason to hope. Davain has no idea what to do with his wild little cousin, so he ignores her. His wife, Ayleth, has made an effort to reform her, but when she was rebuffed, she slid into the same way of thinking. Only Davain’s cousin Edmund has anything to do with Ysme on a regular basis. The two seem to share a bond.
Heraldry: A black Pickaxe on a copper field Motto: “Earth Yields” High above the green and growing Riverlands in the rocky crags and stony canyons of the mountains between Riverrun and the Banefort, Deepen Hall perches like a vulture over a herd of fatted calves. House Dulver, which claims the ancient mountain fastness as its seat, does little to assuage that impression. Shrewd, grasping and mean, the Dulvers hover on the edge of richer lands with hungry eyes on their neighbors, ready to make a meal of any one who falters. Though nominally sworn to House Lannister, Lord Dulver’s first loyalty is ever to his own ambitions.
Mudge the Bronzeman, say the Dulvers, was the first of the First Men to dig in the earth of Westeros, and it is to him that they trace their line and the founding of their name. It was from Mudge’s forge that the First Men armed themselves with spears and swords to drive out the Children of the Forest. It was the axes that Mudge made that cut down the weirwoods. But the Dulvers were known for practicality rather than zealous loyalty. When the peace was made, they planted a godswood within the walls of Deepen Hall and spoke their vows before the Old Gods. When the Andals came, the Dulvers built a seven-sided chapel and Lord Dulver took an Andal wife. And when Aegon came, they learned to love dragons. Whatever else may be said of them, the Lords Dulver knew where power lay, and strive in every generation to see that their allegiances lay with it. For all their cunning, though, the Dulvers have rarely been rich or powerful in their own right. Their holdings are small, remote and poor—stony hills and spare pastures. Their people are few. The Dulver knack for knowing which way the wind blows has served mainly to ensure survival rather than promote enrichment. Leastwise until Lord Harald Dulver took the lord’s chair.
MuDDyiNg THE PaLETTE
Brom didn’t yield up his holding out of adoration for Lady Yve Tullison. Instead, he drunkenly challenged Robert Baratheon one night—he doesn’t even remember precisely what he said. Robert stripped the main of his title and sentenced him to death, and now he’s on the run. Davain holds House Bartheld for himself—for the time being—but he has his own men hunting for Brom. He dearly hopes that he can find Brom and turn him in to the king in order to retain his own power and independence.
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Lord Harald’s father, Lord Hemmel Dulver, called Pinchpenny, was a notorious skinflint. It’s said around the tavern tables that the late Lord Dulver was so miserly that it took his lady wife locking herself in her chambers for a month for him to agree to serve more than turnip gruel and cider at their only daughter’s wedding. For all his reticence to spend coin on luxury though, Lord Hemmel had a miraculous nose for a bargain. He employed a veritable legion of factors combing the countryside for goods that might be acquired on the cheap. He bought up the goods of impoverished houses, the discarded weapons of defeated armies, brass hinges and bronze urns, books and candlesticks and iron tools. And when he had filled the cellars beneath his hold, he had his miners dig more. When Lord Hemmel perished of a chill in his forty-third year (taken from his cellars while counting great casks of iron nails) he left his heir his name, his lands, and a hundred cellars stuffed to bursting with the castoffs of seven kingdoms. Some might count this a burden, but Lord Harald had two things his father had always lacked—ambition and the willingness to sell. There was little enough wheat among the chaff Lord Hemmel had gathered, but Lord Harald found it all. Through pa-
tience, will and a vicious knack for haggling, the new Dulver found buyers for the strangest things and in the strangest places. Every penny that came to him he sent back out to bring in more. And while he had his father’s nose, young Harald had a more discerning eye. By the time of Robert’s Rebellion, Lord Harald was doing a brisk business taking the lead and tin and copper that the mines upon his land would yield and turning them into gold and steel and more. He had also got himself a Lannister wife by way of Lannisport, a cousin to Lord Tywin and the Lannisters of the Rock. And when Lord Tywin kept his men at home, so too did Harald Dulver. Each time a messenger arrived below his gates, Lord Dulver threw them open and welcomed them most warmly, be they Robert’s men or Aerys’. But when they asked for men he had but to show them around the castle and let them see his ill-manned walls. “I have but blind old codgers and callow boys, my lords,” he said. “But I cannot let you go emptyhanded.” And so he sent them each away with casks packed with salt pork or wayns laden with new boots, but never men. When finally Lord Tywin marched from Casterly Rock, Lord Dulver met him on the road with three hundred foot behind him. As the Dulver men joined the Lannister host
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and marched on King’s Landing, Lord Lannister asked from whence these men had come. “My cellars,” said Lord Harald. “I had misplaced them behind some turnips. I hope His Grace will understand.” And so Lord Dulver’s turnips and the Lions of the Rock marched up the road to sack the city before bending the knee to a king. In the years since Robert’s Rebellion, House Dulver’s fortunes have advanced steadily, if slow. The mines that dot their holdings are not so rich as their cousins’, yielding lead and tin and copper instead of silver or gold. But even kings need chamber pots and spoons. When his neighbors need a thing, Lord Dulver can provide. Arrows, swords or the men called Dulver’s Turnips. Grain or salt or seeds. Two of everything in his cellars, it’s said. And acre by acre, Lord Harald’s domain grows because the Dulver always takes his price. There is, in fact, as much of Deepen Hall below the earth as above it. Dulver’s Turnips hid in them. And it’s said that more than one rival or unwelcome relative has disappeared into them over the years. Any time they’ve shown any signs of running out of room, the truth of Lord Hemmel Dulver’s words is proven—you can always dig another hole. In recent years Lord Dulver has acquired a parcel of land north and east of Stony Heath, and with it a small tower house of stone and timbers. His younger son, Ser Horas Dulver, holds it in his name with his young wife and a small complement of men from the castle’s garrison.
iNFLuENCE: 38, iNVESTED: 35 SEr waLTON DuLVEr (HEir) 20, HOraS DuLVEr (SECOND SON) 10, aND HELEN DuLVEr (DaugHTEr) 5
Lord Harald Dulver and Lady Falyse have three children: their firstborn son and the heir of Dulver, Ser Walton Dulver; his brother Horas Dulver; and the youngest—a daughter named Helen. Full descriptions of each will appear in the character section to follow.
The lands of House Dulver are known as Stony Heath, which is a fairly average-sized holding situated in the hills and mountains north of the Tumblestone between the Banefort and Fairmarket. A narrow, but exceptionally well-made road branches off from the River Road and wends its way up the hills to the gates of Deepen Hall, the seat of House Dulver who holds lordship over the lands about.
LaNDS: 34, iNVESTED: 34 (MOuNTaiNS 9, HiLLS 7, COaST 3, HaMLET 10, rOaD 5)
The Stony Heath is comprised mainly of low, rocky mountains and rolling, sandy hills. The farming is poor and is mainly restricted to onions, potatoes, carrots and turnips. This is something of a sore spot among the Heath’s inhabitants given the unmitigated bounty of the riverlands just a short way east. The acquisition of a small tract of a northern neighbor’s lands has given the Dulvers hope to add some greater variety to their pallet of crops. Lord Dulver has dispatched his younger son to oversee the development and cultivation of these lands, but so far the young Dulver has borne no useful fruit. In fact, some have taken to calling young Horas Dulver “Blackthumbs” after the failure of three crops in one year. Perhaps the family’s words, they say, do not extend to crops and harvests. Small herds of sheep and goats also roam the hills, gleaning sustenance from the sedges and gorse that speckle the land in tufts. On the thin stretch of coast his lordship holds on Ironman’s Bay a few fishermen also ply their trade, bringing in salmon and shellfish and sweet red crabs. The one extravagance you’ll find on the Heath is the narrow path called the Digger’s Road. Laid in the days before the Andals came, the road wends its way through valleys and over hills to Deepen Hall, every mile paved with stone. Once it
DEFENSE: 42, iNVESTED: 40 (DEEPEN HaLL (SMaLL CaSTLE) 30, TOwEr 10)
Deepen Hall is small as castles go. It was built some ten thousand years ago by the First Men using crafts long since lost. The castle sits on the shoulder of the Deepmont, a low, round-topped mountain. Its walls, towers and keep are all built of stone quarried from the mountain itself. In those dark and distant years, the builders of the First Men carved away the lower slopes of the Deepmont and left sheer cliffs broken only by a narrow causeway curling up and around to end before the great bronze gate. Towers flank the gate facing south with another, taller tower looming at the far end to look out over the hills to the distant waters of Ironman’s Bay. Between these three towers rises the main keep like a fist thrust up from the body of the mountain, the curve of its peak making a natural motte. Within the walls a half-dozen wells keep the castle in water and stables and outbuildings line the inside of the walls. Below the keep are the fabled cellars that gave Deepen Hall its name. Stories say the mountain itself is hollow as an old gourd, and while this isn’t entirely true, the cellars do go deep.
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HOuSE DuLVEr OF DEEPEN HaLL
lieGe lord: lord tywin lanniSter of caSterly rocK Defense 42 Influence 38 Lands 34 Law 24 Population 17 Deepen Hall (Small Castle, 30), Tower 10, Expendable 2 Ser Walton Dulver (Heir, 20), Horas Dulver (Second Son, 10), Helen Dulver (5), Expendable 3 Mountains (9), Hills with a River, Hamlet and Road (25) House Fortunes -2 House Fortunes +0 Veteran Garrison; 7 Power - Automatic (0) Discipline at home or Routine (6) away - Awareness 3, Endurance 4, Fighting 4 Power 21 Trained Engineers; 5 Power - Challenging (9) Discipline - Endurance 3, Fighting 3, Warfare 3 Green Support; 3 Power - Formidable (12) Discipline - Endurance 3 Sept on the Heath (15, House Fortunes +3), Mine (10, House Fortunes +5), Maester Falstan (10, House Fortunes +3), Karly Kays (Artisan 10, House Fortunes +1), Persal Littlefoot (Artisan 10, House Fortunes +1), Expendable 6 total HouSe fortuneS Modifier +11 Trained Archers; 6 Power - Challenging (9) Discipline - Awareness 3, Marksmanship 4
was a river of bronze flowing out from the hall as swords and spears suits of mail. The coming of steel put an end to that, but the road itself endures.
the hills. They serve the needs of the teamsters driving wayns, though poorly. And most of all, they dig.
Aside from the narrow trade road running from Deepen Hall to the River Road, the Stony Heath is a largely trackless and desolate land, dotted with isolated crofts, cottages and mining camps. There is little worth stealing by the measure of most bandits and by dint of that fact alone, banditry is but a minor problem. The garrison mounts regular patrols of the road and the route to Ser Walton’s tower, but circuits of the hills and mountains are rare and irregular. From time to time some band of desperate men will take refuge in one or another of the valleys creasing the Heath. At those times Lord Harald sends his son with the garrison in force to root them out with steel and fire.
POwEr: 21, iNVESTED: 21 (VETEraN garriSON 7, TraiNED arCHErS 6, TraiNED ENgiNEErS 5, grEEN SuPPOrT 3)
No lordly family holds its seat for ten thousand years by letting their swords go to rust. Lord Dulver, though not a martial man himself, knows the value of keeping strong men and steel about him. His garrison is strong, well-trained and regularly drilled by Lord Harald’s bastard uncle and masterat-arms, Gambol Hill. A force of well-armed crossbowmen stand his walls as well, ready to rain death down on the rare force that might assault Deepen Hall. Along with his combat troops, Lord Dulver maintains an expert force of sappers and engineers. On those occasions that Lord Dulver must bring his banner to bear in the service of his liege lord, it’s most often the case that his engineers are the men most wanted. If indeed the need is great, the hills and valleys about the Heath can also be gleaned to assemble an able, if unseasoned, corps of laborers.
The only thing thinner on the Heath than the trees are the people. Shepherds’ cottages dot the valleys and poor farmers crofts huddle on the hills. Mining camps squat over holes in the ground grubbing out the lead and copper and tin that the earth of Stony Heath will yield. The largest concentration of smallfolk lives in Copperton, the little hamlet that huddles at the foot of the Deepmont serving the needs of his Lordship and the castle. They butcher his sheep and cut peat from the bogs on the seaward side of
wEaLTH: 61, iNVESTED: 55 (SEPT 15, MiNES 10, MaESTEr FaLSTaN 10, KaryL KayS (arTiSaN) 10, PErSaL LiTTLEFOOT (arTiSaN) 10)
Rich is a word that is often attributed to the lords of the Westerlands, but where most of his fellow bannermen (and his liege as well) count their riches by the dragon, Lord Dulver’s wealth lies mainly in the goods he stores in his cellars and the talent he houses within his walls. It was not always so.
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Not so long ago, House Dulver was as poor as the lands it held. Old and hung with history, but poor. Ever since the Andals brought steel to Westeros and condemned the bronzemen of Dulver to be makers of sconces and chamber pots, House Dulver has struggled to make its way. Lord Hemmel’s obsession might have beggared the ancient house, but his son’s timely ascension turned obsession into innovation and reversed a house in decline. Through wise stewardship, wily trading and a healthy dose of luck, Lord Harald has improved his family’s fortunes immensely and seems likely to continue doing so. Among his assets Lord Harald counts the service of a masterful stonemason in Karyl Kays. Building or breaking, Master Kays knows as much about stone as any man in the West. And as miners go, Persal Littlefoot has few equals. It’s said he can smell copper in a bale of hay cut three years before. Though Lord Harald is not much given to luxury, the advancement of his House’s fortunes has afforded him one. It was seven years ago that he sent to the Citadel at Old Town and six since Maester Falstan came to serve. Short, bald, and gaunt with a thick wattle under his chin that waggles when he works his jaws, Harald Dulver has on occasion been likened more to a turkey by those who have only ever seen him. Sharing the man’s company dispels such notions in short order. His lordship’s jests tend toward gallows humor; when he laughs, his beak of a nose bobs up and down and the flesh of his throat wags back and forth. There is a hunger that gleams in his dark eyes. Hunger of a patient sort. The sort that knows that eventually, in time, you will grace his table. He is not a man of martial bent, but noble blood demands a son learn the ways of axe and sword. Lord Dulver was a competent, if never brilliant, fighter in his youth. Now in middle age, he keeps his wits as sharp as swords and uses them far more often. “Battles are for young men,” he is fond of saying, “I win my wars with sheep and wayns.” And indeed, his lordship is known by all who’ve dealt with him to be a demon at the negotiation table. Lord Harald has always had a head for business and a knack for finding use in what others have dismissed as useless. Like his cousins the Lannisters, Dulver takes what is offered. It’s a popular saw among the smallfolk that ‘under Deepen Hall you’ll find two of everything.’ And indeed, no one who comes
SEPT ON THE HEaTH
Lord Wyland Dulver, called Pious Will, was the third Lord Dulver to rule the Heath after the conquest of the Andals. He was the second to hold Deepen Hall with Andal blood in his veins and the last to set foot in the godswood that had once been the pride of his family. Lord Wyland burned the godswood in the thirteenth year of his rule and built a stable over it. At the foot of the Deepmont he raised a sept with stone quarried from the bowels of the mountain. When it was completed, it’s said, he entombed his seven children, one beneath each altar and put his lady wife beneath the doorstep. Then, he hung himself and ended his line. A nephew came from Tarbeck Hall to take up the seat and the Dulver name went on.
House Dulver is comprised of the following family members and people of import.
LOrD HaraLD DuLVEr
Called the Vulture of Dulver by his neighbors—either for his looks or his manner—Harald, son of Hemmel, was never a handsome or happy man. Age has done nothing to improve either his looks or his disposition.
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to his hall in need is turned away. But Lord Dulver asks his price and nothing is given away for free. With his lady wife and their sons he is a dutiful husband and father, but not warm. Indeed, anyone would be hard pressed to name a soul that enjoys the love of Harald Dulver. But if he is not loving or loved, he is respected. Lord Harald takes care of his own, be they kin, knights, sworn swords or smallfolk. In return, he demands firm, unswerving loyalty. None go hungry under Lord Harald’s rule, and all must give their due. Lord Harald does not put much stock in friendship and indeed, has no friends of a personal nature. The closest thing he does have to a friend is Short Tom Tinker. Ever since Harald found the old man shuffling over the hills in the first wicked blows of an early blizzard and brought him home to Deepen Hall, no doubt saving his life, Tom has been Harald’s faithful agent and confidante. More even than Lady Dulver, Tom is privy to the inner workings of Lord Dulver’s plans and machinations and Lord Dulver trusts the old tinker further than he trusts any man in life. Lord Harald’s chief concern is the advancement of his house. He is driven to acquire power and advantage the way his father was driven to acquire things. Warfare has never been this Dulver’s strongest suit. Harald prefers to gather power through garnering wealth, favor, and land—and he is not above the use of force if the odds are in his favor. The westerlands are renowned for their gold and silver mines, but the Dulver lands have only ever yielded up the basest of metals and Harald Dulver is keenly aware of this. He prides himself on knowing the location, quality and annual yield of every mine between the Neck and the Dornish Marches. He spends a great deal of time pondering ways he might wrest even a moderately fruitful vein of iron from whichever lord holds it. Lately he has had his eye on just such a thing. Given over to some up-jumped natural son of a Tully, this tract of ground on the edges of the Vale could well be a fruit ripe for the picking. Lord Dulver has only met the young Dunstan Tullison, but the impression Harald took from the meeting was eminently encouraging. The Lord of Mountain’s Reach is as gullible as he is brave and Lord Dulver is already hatching plans to give brave Dunstan precisely enough rope to hang himself and his entire bastard family. What he doesn’t realize, however, is that someone in his household is making plans of their own, and they may well result in Lord Dulver making a much more overt—and bloody—move for the land, and that right soon. Harald Dulver regards his people much as he does any other resource at his disposal, though a resource deserving of far greater consideration than the wagons of ore yielded up by his mines. His lordship regards his family as most precious of all, and it is just this regard for his sons and daughter that is at the root of the trouble that is building. Lord Harald suspects the septon of the Sept on the Heath of co-opting his son and heir, Walton, and filling his head with useless drivel about the gods and knighthood. Thus far this idea remains but a shadow in Harald’s mind. Walton is a dutiful son and while Lord Harald was displeased with Walton taking vows as a knight, the boy at least makes a good show of listening to his father’s lessons on the principles of good stewardship. Should the young heir exhibit some sign of open rebellion, though, Septon Arlyn may well find himself shouldering the blame for a rift between the lord and his firstborn, whether he deserves it or not, and the price he will pay will be very steep indeed.
LORD HARALD DULvER
Animal Handling 3 Awareness 4 Cunning 3 Deception 3 Endurance 3 Fighting 3 Language 3 Knowledge 3 Persuasion 5 Status 4 Warfare 3 Will 3
Ride 1B Empathy 2B Memory 1B Bluff 1B Long Blades 1B
Bargain 2B, Intimidate 1B Stewardship 1B
coMBat defenSe HealtH 7 9 intriGue defenSe coMPoSure o 11 9
deStiny PointS drawBacKS: Flaw (Athletics)
BenefitS: Evaluation, Head for Numbers, Head of House
arMS & arMor
Mail: AR 5, AP -3, Bulk 2 lonGSword SHield daGGer 3+1B 3 3 3 Damage 1 Damage 1 Damage Defensive +2 Defensive +1, Offhand +1
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SEr waLTON DuLVEr
Walton Dulver is the firstborn son to Lord Harald and Lady Falyse Dulver. While Walton bears his father’s name one need only look upon him to know he is Merys’ son through and through. Where Lord Harald’s frame is spare, Walton is stout and strong. Where Lord Harald is short, Walton stands better than six feet tall. Good Walt, as he’s called by his father’s sworn men and smallfolk, has yellow hair and a ready smile. There are those that point to the young heir’s size and mien and whisper that Lady Falyse, in her Lannister pride, has given Lord Harald a cuckold’s horns. The trouble is, no one can figure out what poor mad sot would lie with her long enough to sow a son in her womb. The tasks of stewardship have never come easy to Walton, either. Despite his father’s relentless drilling, Walton is only a middling manager at best. Dutiful and devoted as a son and heir should be, Walton has done his best to learn the lessons his father has worked so hard to teach, but Walton was made for the yard rather than the hall. If Walton was indifferent in his lessons on lordship he was anything but when it came to learning the ways of arms and warfare. Under the tutelage of his great uncle, the bastard Gambol Hill, Walton excelled with sword and shield and soon proved himself a match for any man in the castle. On his twelfth nameday, Walton was made squire to Lord Harald’s younger brother, Ser Horas Dulver. For four years he served until in his sixteenth year a party of ironmen came raiding along the shore where Dulver lands abutted those of their northern neighbor, Lord Faltyse. Ser Horas and a troop of men from the garrison went down to meet the raiders and drive them off, but Ser Horas took an arrow and the arrow took his life. As he lay dying, young Walton stood over him and rallied the Dulver men. They were too few to drive the ironmen off, but they held long enough for Lord Faltyse to come to their aid. Together, Faltyse’s men and Dulver’s threw the ironmen back into the sea and there on the battlefield, Lord Faltyse, himself an anointed knight, gave Walton his knighthood. “Might be I could get a good ransom for you, boy,” Lord Faltyse said standing over young Walton. “But the look on your father’s face when I send his son back a knight by my hand is worth more than any ransom in Deepen Hall.”
SER wALTON DULvER
Agility 3 Animal Handling 3 Athletics 3 Endurance 4 Fighting 5 Language 3 Status 3 Warfare 3 Will 3 All Others 2
yOUNG ADULT fIGHTER
Running 1B Bludgeon 2B, Spears 1B
coMBat defenSe HealtH 8 12 intriGue defenSe coMPoSure 1 7 9
BenefitS: Anointed, Heir, Armor Mastery
arMS & arMor
Half Plate: AR 10, AP -5, Bulk 2 Morning Star War Lance Large Shield 5+2B 5 5 –1D 3 Damage 7 Damage; 1 Damage Shattering 1, Vicious Bulk 2, Impale, Mounted, Powerful, Slow, Vicious Bulk 1, Defensive +4
Lord Harald was not a demonstrative man. Walton’s lord father rarely praises good work, but makes a point of chastising the bad. A son wants warmth and the good regard of his father and when that is not forthcoming, he will seek it elsewhere. Walton found his acceptance at the feet of his great uncle Gambol and the Septon of the Sept on the Heath, Arlyn of Maidenpool. Septon Arlyn was all that Walton’s lord father was not. Beloved by the commons, jovial, encouraging, devoted to the gods and prodigiously fat. As Walton was growing up, the Septon was the most learned man in the district and so saw to the young heir’s education. It was Arlyn that instilled in him respect for the gods, and Arlyn who gave him his easy way with the smallfolk. After his knighting, it was Arlyn that anointed Walton with the seven oils and made him a knight for good and true.
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Ser Walton still craves his father’s approval, but he works, too, to be his own man and find his own path. He tries to learn the lessons his father works to impart because he knows that in time he will come into his inheritance and he wants desperately to do honor to his father’s name. Walton is a good man, devoted to his family, dedicated to his vows, and sincerely reverent of the gods. He is no zealot, though, and is fond of the pleasures of the flesh. A drink shared with his men, a rich meal in a warm hall, and the occasional willing wench (though he often wakes of a morning with a mind to repent) serve to soften the edges that come with the Dulver aim and endear young Walton to those who will, one day, serve him as they do his father.
SHOrT TOM TiNKEr (HiLL)
Short Tom Tinker was born Tom Hill, as low a birth as ever there was and so long ago, he likes to say, even his mother’s like to have forgotten it ever happened. Even he seems to have forgotten where he came from, or has chosen not to remember. Each time he tells the story that city that surrounds the streets he was born on changes. One time it’s an alley behind a brothel in Golden Tooth, the next a butcher’s porch in Ashemark. Ask a third time and he’ll tell you he was born upon a radish wayn on the road to Lannisport. Whatever the truth of his birth, Tom Hill was apprenticed to old Hollis Tinpenny some fifty years gone and has wandered the westerlands ever since. Hollis Tinpenny has been dead thirty years, but left young Tom his mule, his packs, and the names of every village, farm and croft between Oldstones and Crakehall. The packs have been mended a hundred times and the names Hollis gave him have died and come again, but the ancient mule still brays when it rains and carries Tom’s goods and tools on the tracks and trails of the west. Tom is a bent old man these days, never tall but shorter now after years of hauling his things from village to village. Most of his hair is gone, but what’s left rings his head, bristly and gray. He has bird’s eyes, black and sharp, and a large, bulbous nose somewhat gone to red from the wine that warms him against cold nights upon the road. He’s more bone than meat and wears a quilted coat against the chill as well, ‘to keep the warmth the wine makes!’ he says. Tom knows everyone and everyone knows Tom. Lowly fishwives and highborn ladies alike come out when they hear his packs come jangling up the road. Tom mends their pots and kettles, sells them candles, salt and spice, and tells a merry tale or two and gets a meal, sometimes even a bed of a night. And all the while, he watches, he listens, he sees. It was a bitter winter, and lean, the year Tom met Harald Dulver. Harald was but the heir of his house back then. That year had been a thin one for Tom, else he would not have been upon the road so late, looking for silver and a place to spend the winter. Harald had been out upon the Heath as well when both men were surprised by a sudden, early blizzard that came blowing off Ironman’s Bay. Harald was
SHORT TOm TINkER
Animal Handling 3 Awareness 5 Cunning 3 Deception 4 Fighting 2 Language 3 Language 2 Knowledge 3 Persuasion 4 Stealth 3 Survival 3 Thievery 3 Will 3
Empathy 1B, Notice 2B Memory 2B Act 2B, Bluff 2b Short Blades 1B Common Tongue Myrish Streetwise 2B Charm 1B Blend In 2B Pick Lock 1B
coMBat defenSe HealtH 9 9 intriGue defenSe coMPoSure 0 10 9
BenefitS: Connections (Westerlands), Trade (Tinker) drawBacKS: Crippled, Flaw (Endurance)
arMS & arMor
Padded arMor: AR 1, AP 0, Bulk 0 Heavy Crossbow Stiletto 2 2–1D 4 Damage 2 Damage Long Range, Piercing 2, Reload (Greater); Slow, Two-handed, Vicious Piercing 2
The Noble Houses
ahorse, well-fed and warmly dressed, but Tom’s poor year had left him hungry, threadbare and leading his mule on foot, unwilling to leave his goods by the road and save his shoes the wear. When the wind came up and the snow came down, Short Tom nearly froze to death. Harald came upon him on the road. Harald tied the half-dead tinker on his horse and led both mule and horse up the road to Deepen Hall through drifts and wind and blinding snow. Short Tom Tinker spent that winter with the Dulvers and many an evening over wine or ale trading stories with young Harald. When the Spring came, old Lord Dulver had gone into the cellars and would not come out again. Harald was the Lord now and Short Tom was in his service. More winters have come and gone since then, summers, springs and falls as well and through them all Short Tom Tinker has been Harald Dulver’s eyes and ears out in the world, a valuable service for a lord who looks greedily at land he dreams of owning. Tom wanders for a time, a month, a year, a season, and comes back to tell Lord Harald what he saw. Short Tom grows old. He is not so spry as once he was. He bought a horse a few years back, a shaggy little garron from the north to spare his feet. In all his years of wandering, Short Tom has never carried a sword. ‘And now,’ he says, he’s ‘far too old to start.’ His wit and words serve just as well, and better. But against the day when they don’t he keeps a crossbow in his packs and a long, thin dagger in his boot. ‘More for scaring than for stabbing,’ he says. ‘But if stab I must, then let me stab a bit of suckling pig over a cup of Arbor gold.’ year he served in the great sept before shedding his fine robes for the brown habit of a begging brother and began the wandering journey that would end, at last, in the Sept on the Heath. For three years, Arlyn walked the tangled web of roads that winds through the riverlands, into the westerlands and back again. He learned a great many things in those years: to be poor, to be hungry, to dress and treat the wounds and ailments life layers on the smallfolk who dig the earth and feed the kingdom. As he learned those lessons, the smallfolk to whom he ministered came to know him. Six years ago Septon Arlyn came up the Dulver road bearing messages for Lord Harald and Septon Quayle of the Sept on the Heath. When he arrived, Septon Arlyn found his holy brother in poor health, and old. On the night before Arlyn was to depart the Sept and take up the road again, Septon Quayle collapsed of a stroke. The old man would never rise from his bed again. What began as a brief visit became a vigil. Without a maester at Deepen Hall, the burden of caring for the old man fell to Septon Arlyn. He did so dutifully, and alone. Septon Quayle had few friends among his holy brothers, having been a dour and humorless man in life, and the Sept on the Heath, while rich in history, had never been a posting much sought among the order. Through the long year of Quayle’s decline, Septon Arlyn was the only member of the faith to attend the old man. Upon the occasion of his death, Septon Arlyn (who had, in that year, grown fond of the folk that lived about the Sept and, truth be told, rather fat) spoke the words over Septon Quayle, gave his body over to the Silent Sisters, and took up his post. It wasn’t long before Septon Arlyn and the young heir of Dulver, Walton, struck up a warm friendship. Lord Harald, though he had the respect and devotion of his smallfolk, did little to make them love him. What their lordship could not win and would not pursue, the people of the Stony Heath showered on Septon Arlyn. With his ready grin and generous nature, it was hard to find anyone who had met him that did not love him. He spent as much time in the hamlet and wandering the hills tending to the faithful as he did preaching in the sept. He saw to the ailments of the common folk, delivered their chil-
At the foot of the Deepmont, nestled into the last curve of the causeway that climbs the mountain to the gates of Deepen Hall, sits the Sept on the Heath. Perched high above, the Vulture of Dulver rules the land. But below, the Merry Grouse (for so the smallfolk call Septon Arlyn) rules the people with a ready grin and an easy laugh. Septon Arlyn began life as Arlyn Qargyle, third son of a landed knight sworn to the lord of Maidenpool. His father’s holdings were poor and with King Robert’s peace firmly established in the Riverlands, there were two stout young men ahead of him in line for the meager inheritance his father would leave. Not given to fratricidal scheming, Arlyn was packed off to King’s Landing to study under the Most Devoted. On his nineteenth nameday, Arlyn said his vows in the Sept of Baelor and gave up the name of Qargyle. For another
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dren, blessed them and bestowed upon them their names. He saw them married, and buried. He tended them in life and in death. He was generous with the sept’s coffers, living frugally and giving out as alms all coins that came in at the offering but the barest minimum necessary to maintain the sept in good order. Just as the smallfolk did, so too did Walton Dulver come to love Septon Arlyn. With no maester, the young heir’s education also fell to the septon. And as Walton fell short of his father’s idea of lordship, he found in Arlyn an alternative. A different way to rule. Ser Walton’s affection for the septon has made Arlyn an unwilling and unknowing rival to Lord Harald. Arlyn did not set out to win anyone’s affection; it is simply his nature to do so. He would be dismayed to learn that in teaching Ser Walton of the Faith he has in some way supplanted the young heir’s father and shocked to find that he has, in the process, gained Lord Harald’s resentment. Thus far there has been no confrontation, but should Ser Walton make clear to Lord Harald his preference for the septon’s style of leadership over his father’s, a confrontation cannot help but be close behind. Septon Arlyn is a portly man, his chief vice being a great fondness for food. Given his position as the much-beloved septon of the only sept in the district, he has no shortage of invitations to table in the homes of parishioners who are eager to lay as welcoming a meal before him as possible. He is sandy-haired, red-faced, and his eyes glimmer gaily as he makes kind japes of himself and all those around him. In his years wandering he learned the right end of a cudgel; though he is by no means a fighter, he can hold his own if need be. Most often, though, Septon Arlyn prefers to rely on an easy smile and the stature of his office to dissuade those that might do him harm. Septon Arlyn has few ambitions of his own, generally being content to serve good people in the name of the Seven. He is, however, a charismatic man and quite astute once he turns his mind to a subject. Should he find himself in the right company he would not be the first man elevated despite his own lack of aspiration.
Animal Handling 3 Awareness 3 Cunning 3 Deception 3 Endurance 3 Fighting 3 Healing 3 Language 4 Knowledge 4 Persuasion 3 Status 3 Will 4
LaDy FaLySE DuLVEr
Lady Falyse was born a Lannister in a manor house upon a hill in the city of Lannisport. Her marriage to Harald Dulver has never been much more than dutiful. As duties go, though, it could have been far more onerous than it was. Harald Dulver was not a handsome man, and his house was not powerful nor particularly wealthy in comparison to the rest of the westerlands, but it was ancient and thick with history and Harald was clever, shrewd, ambitious, and at least not cruel or deliberately hurtful. And Falyse was not a Lannister of the Rock, but rather the third daughter of a distant cousin to Lord Tywin and his get. The heir of Dulver seemed a good match for young Falyse. Twenty years on and Falyse (now Lady Dulver) still feels so of her marriage. Her husband is astute in the management of his holdings and each day of his rule has seen the fortunes of their family advance. Lady Dulver lives secure in the knowledge that her sons will inherit a greater domain than her husband did and her daughter’s prospects are good for a very profitable marriage. If there is little love in the marriage, it is a small price to pay. Lady Falyse does not often take part in her husband’s councils. The vagaries of mine yields and the price of wool at
Bludgeon 1B Treat Injury 1B Education 2B
coMBat defenSe HealtH 7 9 intriGue defenSe coMPoSure 1 9 12
deStiny PointS drawBacKS: Forgetful
BenefitS: Authority, Favored of Smallfolk, Pious
arMS & arMor
veStMentS: AR 1, AP 0, Bulk 1 Mace SHield 3+1B 3 2 Damage 1 Damage +2 Defensive
The Noble Houses
market do not interest her, but she runs her household as her husband rules his domain, with skill, wisdom and a willingness to squeeze the use out of every scrap. Lady Falyse is not so cool as her husband, though. She knows the names of all those that serve under her roof. She knows their families and the circumstances of their lives. She congratulates them on the birth of a child or grandchild and consoles them upon the death of their loved ones. If Lord Harald and Lady Falyse differ it’s on the subject of faith. Falyse grew up dutifully attending services in the sept at Lannisport. From the time she left her mother’s breast, she was in the care of a septa who saw to her education in all matters of faith and womanhood. The lessons stuck and Falyse came to her marriage with an enduring reverence for the Seven and those that were sworn to their service. For the majority of their marriage Lady Falyse’s faith has been a non-issue. She and the children would descend the causeway for regular services in the Sept on the Heath. Lord Harald abstained, as was his wont. There was no need for discussion on the matter. But when their firstborn was anointed, the subject was broached, and like opening a cask of rotten smelt in the middle of a banquet, what had been a peaceful, profitable marriage suddenly suffered from the stink in the air. The tension lurks beneath the surface of things and rarely surfaces as more than short comments from either Lord or Lady Dulver, but each of those words is a dry twig on a growing heap of tinder. Should there be a spark—a gesture made by Walton perceived as rebellious by his lord father, a confrontation between Lord Harald and Septon Arlyn—then that tinder could become a blaze. under his dubious protection will utter the name Blackthumb in his hearing. When the dam on Horas Dulver’s wrath finally breaks there will be many a wailing mother in the newest of the Dulver lands.
Little Helen is just six years old, far too young to be hatching schemes of her own. She has her mother’s fair hair, her father’s quick mind, and a daring curiosity all her own. Helen is her mother’s treasure. Lady Falyse rarely goes anywhere without her daughter. She dresses the girl in clothes to match her own and bears the burden of little Helen’s education on her own shoulders. Helen’s father treasures her as well, though for entirely different reasons. Even though her flowering is still years away, Lord Harald has already turned Maester Falstan to making lists of potential husbands. When Helen is at last of marriageable age, no one will say she made a poor match.
SEr gaMBOL HiLL
Gambol Hill is the natural son of Lord Harald’s grandfather, Lord Willas Dulver—called the Girlfather for the eight daughters he got on his lady wife before finally sowing a male heir in her womb. Once she’d borne her husband the son he sought, Lady Dulver counted her duty done, it’s said, and turned her husband out of her bedchamber. When Lord Willas got a boy on a shepherd girl out on the heath a dozen years later, she had little to say on the matter. Gambol was a stout boy and grew into a stout young man. He was clever, too. There were a great many whispers around the Stony Heath that it was his natural son that Lord Willas preferred over the odd young man that was his trueborn heir. Legitimization from the crown was an expensive request in those days, and the insult to his wife’s family would have been intolerable. So Gambol Hill stayed a bastard and in time came into the service of his half-brother. Gambol had proven himself an able student at arms, and after that a more than able teacher. He’s been master-at-arms in Deepen Hall for twenty years and few know the lay of the land as he does. Long ago, when his father was lord, Gambol decided to stay out of family politics, but neutrality isn’t blindness. Gambol saw his halfbrother’s madness, his nephew’s promise and he sees the storm brewing in the Dulver family now. Maybe it’s age that’s softening his resolve, or maybe it’s the memory of the house he came into, divided on itself, but Ser
Young Horas, just seventeen his last nameday, is much like his father in both manner and appearance. Sadly, he has inherited precious little of his father’s acumen. He is a poor manager, sums vex him something terrible, and he has never been any great shakes in a fight. What he does have, though, is a certain sort of low cunning well-suited to scheming, cheating, and tyranny. When Lord Dulver acquired a swathe of good, green farmland and turned it over to his younger son, Horas did his level best to withhold his baser impulses. But as crop after crop has failed, the youngster’s restraint has failed. Thus far he has limited his cruelties and depredations to poor travelers and others that will, should their fortitude prove insufficient, not be missed. But it won’t be long before one of the smallfolk
The Noble Houses
Gambol Hill is more and more considering confronting the Dulver men. Young Walton loves him and looks up to him as he might a father. Lord Harald respects his uncle and just might listen if the old man had something to say. But then again, Gambol’s name is Hill, not Dulver, and a bastard learns caution early and for a reason. Perhaps he could avert a family disaster, but he’s just as likely to get himself turned out for his trouble. For now, he waits and watches and hopes. for the sin of greed,” he says. Each time he’s sought after nobler ores, disaster has followed soon after. The last time he lost a son to poisonous stones that came up out of a silver mine he’d sunk. Before that he lost a leg hunting for gold in the hills Ashemark, and the time before that his favorite mule in a flood while sifting for gemstones on a little stream that feeds the Mander. After his son, old Persal decided he’d rather live poor than die rich. Persal has spent the last 25 years digging copper and lead out of the hills of the Stony Heath and, when need arose, heading up Lord Dulver’s sappers. No one is more cunning at digging tunnels than Persal Littlefoot. Thus far, Littlefoot hasn’t tested his curse digging for iron. On the Heath he’s had no opportunity to do so, but Lord Harald’s been asking questions about the best lands for iron and the means for harvesting it. Persal has enjoyed a rare comfort in his lordship’s service. If Lord Dulver comes into the rights to iron-rich lands, Persal will have a decision to make.
Karyl Kays is a broad man of middling height with blunt fingers and shoulders like a bull. He descends from a line of stonemasons near as long as the Dulvers they’ve served. It’s the Kays who’ve cut near every stone out of the Deepmont, the Kays alone that know how deep the cellars of Deepen Hall go. The Dulvers have always kept them well, and the Kays have returned the favor with good and faithful service. There are few in the westerlands who know as much as the Kays about the cutting and shaping of stone, and stone is one of the few things the Stony Heath has in abundance. People come from across the seven kingdoms to the Stony Heath for Dulver stone and the Kays men to work it. Stingy as Lord Dulver is known to be with every other commodity at his disposal he is uncommonly generous in hiring out his master stonemason. The reason for that is simple: Karyl Kays is a spy. Karyl Kays’ knowledge of stone and masonry gives him a unique insight into the strength of a castle’s fortifications. He has just as keen an eye for defensive weak points. Granted, the information he gleans from his surveys of Lord Dulver’s neighbors is unlikely to yield immediate gains, but Harald Dulver plans for the long term. With Kays’ help, his lordship has assembled siege plans for half the castles in the Riverlands and a fair number of those around King’s Landing as well. Karyl Kays grows old and has no sons to take up his tools. His wife died years ago without bearing any children and Karyl has never remarried. Loneliness wears upon him as the years pass. If the right woman were to come along, there is little Karyl Kays would not do for love.
Maester Falstan is a newcomer to Deepen Hall, but it didn’t take him long to discern the reason he was brought within its walls. Before Falstan came, Septon Arlyn was the most learned man in the district as well as the most popular. Lord Dulver, unable to match the septon’s easy manner with the smallfolk, hired Falstan to subvert his place as healer and scholar. Falstan, however, has a grander vision than simply tending to wounds and reading yet another dusty tome. He has already taken Lord Dulver’s measure, and decided that if the house’s standing is to improve, then he will need to take steps to ensure it. To that end, he has begun isolating Dulver’s other advisers so that he can become the sole voice Lord Harald turns to for advice. And that advice will point to a clear destination: battle.
MuDDyiNg THE PaLETTE
House Dulver doesn’t need much prodding to become downright antagonistic toward its neighbors. Give Harold Dulver a bit larger military, make Maester Falstan a bit bolder in his plans, or change the relationship between his son and his septon such that Septon Arlyn is no longer a positive influence on the lad, but rather just as power-hungry as Lord Dulver. Perhaps this last leads to internal conflict in the house—or perhaps House Dulver turns its eyes outward.
As the old saw goes, Persal Littlefoot has forgotten more about mining than any man in the westerlands has ever known. He can smell copper and shits lead. But he’s “cursed by the gods
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Hammerstone, the great seat of House Kytley, was completed early in the house’s rise to glory. Begun by Theobald the Smith, it was his son Lord Osmer Kytley who would improve upon Theobald’s plan and see Hammerstone to fruition. Smithton, the central jewel of Kytley’s demesne, grew to prominence alongside House Kytley’s fortunes. The furnaces belched forth smoke at all hours, rendering bog iron into ingots ready for casting. The metal, harvested nugget by nugget from the swamps, contained too many impurities, which made it too unpredictable for easy blacksmithing. When the bog iron was used for casting, however, this same flaw created tools and implements that were harder than normal iron, and resistant to rust. Merchants plied the waterways, and made the journey from the Kingsroad to trade in Smithton’s market square. Generations of smallfolk rose and fell, always thankful to have the gentle hand of House Kytley to protect them from fire, famine and war. Grateful, at least, until the rule of Jamys Kytley, known afterwards as Jamys the Sybarite.
Heraldry: Chevronelly of five gules and sable, over an anvil argent. Motto: “Fire Hardens. The Hammer Shapes.” Fire hardens iron, and the hammer’s blow shapes it to usefulness. This has long been the motto of House Kytley, and seeing the fires that have ravaged the land and blow after blow to their reputation, they continue to keep faith that the Smith has great plans for them. Like the molten metal fresh from the anvil, they are well heated, and well shaped; they wait only for the quenching moment to be created anew.
Aegon the Conqueror’s wrath with King Harren of the Isles was great, and the burning of Harrenhall created a gap in the rule of the Riverlands. In his need to see the smallfolk cared for, Aegon raised up several new houses from those who served him faithfully. Theobald Kytley, known as Theobald the Smith, forged the weapons that graced a full company of Aegon’s soldiers, and the quality of craftsmanship was so high that Aegon took notice. When the war was over, Aegon raised the Kytley line to nobility in order to watch over the king’s lands in the marshy north of the riverlands. The new king reasoned that with weapons of such quality, no brigand band would cross their territory without having to bleed for it. House Kytley has taken great pride in their mastery of swamp and bog since then, and executed their royal duties with expertise and pride.
JaMyS THE SyBariTE, aND THE war OF THE uSurPEr
After many long years failing to produce an heir, Edric Kytley, the twenty-first Lord of Hammerstone, grieved over the wasting death of his wife. Scandal flared when, less than a fortnight after her death, Lord Edric took one of her ladiesin-waiting as his second wife. Such scandal disappeared quickly when his new wife, Johanna, provided him a son and heir within the year. Johanna would give birth to five other children in the next seven years, though Edric held his firstborn son dear to him and spared no expense in seeing to the child’s happiness. Fear for an unstable future led Lord Edric to follow King Aerys’s banner in the war. The family’s loyalty to the Targaryen line extended beyond the bounds of a single man, to any of their blood. Lord Edric fell during the Battle of the Trident, an arrow transfixing his throat. King Robert, merciful in victory, called House Kytley’s offense paid upon the death of Lord Edric and the house was preserved. Fortunately, Edric’s death would prevent him from seeing what became of his overlybeloved child and the ruin brought to House Kytley’s name. Jamys Kytley, called the Sybarite, would remember nothing of his father’s grace and kindness, only that no pleasure, experience, or whim should be denied him. A degenerate, he allowed Smithton’s furnaces to grow cold and the land to go untended while squandering House Kytley’s fortunes on
THE gLOry OF HOuSE KyTLEy
From its founding, House Kytley has tied its fortunes to the flow of bog iron and the careful tending of its smallfolk. The rich riverland soil proved fertile ground for a young house, and Kytley grew into a house of influence and power that remembered always to bend a knee to the Iron Throne, the Lords of Riverrun, and The Smith above all the seven.
The Noble Houses
progressively more lavish parties. The excesses at his soirees fueled rumors of Jamys’s depravity—nothing and no one was off-limits. Jamys found something close to a confidant in the hedonistic Brom Bartheld, and the early part of Lord Jamys’s rule saw a bond form between Hammerstone and Hart House. Like all other things entrusted to The Sybarite, this bond was undervalued and destroyed. When one of House Bartheld’s smallfolk confronted Lord Jamys and demanded dowry for his now-deflowered daughter, the Lord of Hammerstone agreed—of a sort. He demanded a trial by combat, then made certain that the first blood drawn was the farmer’s last. He informed the man’s family that they could keep the sword as dowry—and that he had more in reserve should they wish another payment. While Jamys paid Brom for the loss of revenue, relations between Hart House and Hammerstone soured and have never recovered.
grEyJOy’S rEBELLiON, THE irON raiDS aND THE DEaTH OF JaMyS
Six years of Jamys’s excesses weighed like a decade upon smallfolk and noble alike. Lavish expense left little money to repair defenses or pay soldiers, and the Kytley lands proved too tempting to resist when Balon proclaimed himself King of the Iron Islands. His reavers put Smithton to the torch, and destroyed farmhouse and smithy alike with little concern for an organized resistance from Hammerstone. Indeed, the Ironmen went so far as to assault the seat of Kytley with torch and ram, and reduced the once-great structure to the ruin it is today. When the call went out for swords to aid King Robert, Lord Jamys rallied his smallfolk. While historians will call this his sole act of nobility, it is likely that Jamys desired more the wealth of new experiences a war might bring than he did harbor a sense of responsibility. Jamys proved himself incapable of following even the most basic tactics, and notoriously held a wild revel the night before the assault on Lord Balon’s fortress. Whatever his motives for entering the conflict, Lord Jamys was slain by an ironman’s axe and thrown into the sea, ending his rule of Hammerstone.
LOrD aMBrOSE, THE aLLiaNCE TO HOuSE FrEy, aND BEyOND
Despite a number of young bastards presented at Hammerstone, many of whom bore Jamys’s features, the Sybarite left no trueborn sons. The death of Jamys passed the rule of
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HOuSE KyTLEy OF HaMMErSTONE
lieGe lord: lord walder frey of tHe twinS Defense 25 Influence 26 Lands 31 Law 22 Population 35 Hammerstone (Hall, 20), Expendable 5 Walder Kytley (Second Son, 10), Merild Kytley (5), Expendable 11 Wetland with Stream and Small Town (24), Wetland with Stream and Ruin (7) House Fortunes -2 House Fortunes +3 Hammerstone Infantry: (Trained Infantry; 7 Power) - Routine (6) Discipline - Athletics 3, Endurance 3, Fighting 3 Hammerstone Longbowmen: (Green Archers; 4 Power) - Formidable (12) Discipline - Marksmanship 3 The Smithton Watch: (Trained Garrison; 5 Power) - Easy (3) Discipline at home or Challenging (9) away - Awareness 3, Endurance 3, Fighting 3 The Bogwalkers: (Trained Guerillas; Power 5) Challenging (9) Discipline - Stealth 4, Marksmanship 3 - Expendable 2 total HouSe fortuneS Modifier +5 Power 23
Maester Thomnas (10, House Fortunes +3), Julyan the Smith (Artisan 10, House Fortunes +1), Expendable 11
House Kytley to his younger brother Ambrose, the sixth of Edric’s children. Lord Ambrose excelled in books and learning, and had studied in the Citadel in preparation for donning the robe and collar. He was recalled from his studies to serve as Jamys’s Castellan before he could forge his chains, fortunately for House Kytley’s future. Upon accepting the rule of Kytley’s lands, Lord Ambrose took as his wife a daughter of House Frey, and pledged his loyalty as bannerman to that great house. The last nine years have seen a slow increase in House Kytley’s fortune; Smithton was rebuilt, smallfolk tend the land again, and Lord Ambrose has begun to repair the damage done by Jamys’s nightmarish reign.
iNFLuENCE: 26, iNVESTED: 20 waLDEr KyTLEy (SECOND SON) 10, MEriLD (DaugHTEr) 5
The current heir of Hammerstone, Robert Kytley, has been removed from the House and lives as a ward of House Mallister. Should House Kytley gather enough influence, Robert’s return would be the first place to expect them to invest their gain. In the meantime, Lord Ambrose has two other children—Robert’s twin sister Merild, and his youngest son Walder. While not currently the house’s central figures, they are old enough that their actions and their lives are politically significant.
House Kytley stands on the knife’s edge that separates death and anonymity from prestige and fortune. Their holdings are tightly packed and their resources stretched to the breaking point. Any further disaster could undo everything for which Lord Ambrose has struggled, but any gains that are made can only drive his dreams forward.
LaNDS: 31, iNVESTED: 31 (wETLaND wiTH STrEaM aND SMiTHTON (SMaLL TOwN) 24, wETLaND wiTH STrEaM aND HarDHaND’S FOLLy (ruiN) 7)
House Kytley still controls a great deal of land. However, much of what it holds consists of bogs and wetlands; regions unsuitable for the farming and industry that support other houses. Instead, new industries—bog iron and linen—form the core of House Kytley’s revenue. Swine, with few space requirements and a love of mud, are more commonly seen than cattle or horse. If the narrow waterway that passes through Kytley’s lands ever had a name other than Smith’s Fork, it has long since vanished from the memory of the smallfolk. While never growing to a really significant size, the Fork provides critical supplies of clean water to Smithton and the surrounding lands.
DEFENSE: 25, iNVESTED: 20 (HaMMErSTONE (HaLL) 20)
Hammerstone, the seat of House Kytley, has fallen into disrepair since it days of glory. Once a castle in its own right, much of the current structure is in ruins and only the central keep and its associated great hall are at all defensible.
The Noble Houses
House Kytley’s primary domain contains the small town of Smithton, finally begun to recover from the damage it suffered under House Greyjoy’s raids. The smelting furnaces once again render bog iron down into usable ore, while the flax-heckling houses of the Linen-makers guild have awakened a new crop to pull from the boggy soil and further House Kytley’s influence. Much of Smithton’s industry is still dedicated to providing for House Kytley and Hammerstone, which overlooks the city from its small manmade hill. As Smithton’s population and influence grow, more and more of its industry is available to turn towards richer markets and it won’t be long before Kytley Linens have a definitive presence in Market Town.
While House Kytley’s rule over Smithton is strong, the swamps and the sheer amount of land under their control make it difficult for Lord Ambrose’s law to extend everywhere. Bands of bandits and marauders sometimes take up arms in the inaccessible regions of House Kytley’s demesne, and can sometimes establish a substantial grip on the area so long as they don’t over-reach themselves and force the Lord of Hammerstone to act. The most successful of these, Jerrold Blackbow, held the region in fear for over a decade. Poets and storytellers draw regularly from the well of Jerrold’s reputation, though the romanticized tales overlook the cutthroat’s brutality in favor of making him a kind of folk hero. Smithton is no respite from the crime that plagues the outlying lands. The city is badly overcrowded, its population swelled by the Ironborn raids a decade before. As a result, the law is handled quickly and with relative independence by the city’s garrison. Their red and black cloaks are a constant presence, and many young children aspire to join their disciplined number.
Several miles from Hammerstone, deep in the boglands, sits a painful reminder of the price of failure—the ruined hall known as Hardhand’s Folly. Erected by Harwyn Hardhand at a time when the Ironmen controlled much of the Riverlands, it was already uninhabited when Aegon the Dragon broke King Harran the Black. What happened to its occupants is unknown and the smallfolk consider the entire site cursed. The appearance of witch-lights in the surrounding swamp, and the treacherous nature of the ground have done little to change the ruin’s reputation.
Smithton contains the bulk of the population of House Kytley’s lands, and many areas of the town are overcrowded. Refugees from the ironmen’s raids fled to the city and even nine years later they have remained rather than rebuild their old burned farmsteads. Outside the town’s protection the population becomes much scarcer. Small collections of houses clump together in the arable regions, and often have broad expanses of marsh between themselves and the next community. Word travels slowly in the wetlands as a result, brought only by travelling Septons or the occasional, mistrusted, traveler.
Trained Infantry * 7 Power Standard (6) Discipline Athletics 3, Endurance 3, Fighting 3
Green Archers * 4 Power forMidaBle (12) Discipline Marksmanship 3
POwEr: 23, iNVESTED: 21 (TraiNED iNFraNTry 7, grEEN arCHErS 4, TraiNED garriSON 5, TraiNED guEriLLaS 5)
Hammerstone itself is guarded by a unit of trained infantry led by Ser Morys, and supported by longbowmen recruited from smallfolk hunters who show aptitude with the weapon. In addition to these, two special units extend Lord Ambrose’s power to the furthest reaches of his lands. The most visible sign of House Kytley’s power in the region, Smithton’s well-trained garrison is responsible not only for the city’s defense in an attack but also for handling civic issues from crime to flooding and house fires. Lord Ambrose
THE SmITHTON wATCH
Trained Garrison * 5 Power eaSy (3) Discipline within Smithton or cHallenGinG (9) away Awareness 3, Endurance 3, Fighting 3
Trained Guerrillas * Power 5 cHallenGinG (9) Discipline Stealth 4, Marksmanship 3
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has outfitted the Watch personally, and makes a point of having their commander elected from the ranks. The current commander, Captain Harald Crakepole, has held his position for 5 years, and makes monthly reports to the Lord of Hammerstone regarding the goings-on within Smithton. Culled through rigorous training from the scouts and trackers who know the swamps best, Lord Kytley’s Bogwalkers were created to use the land against any who would invade. By tradition, the Bogwalkers are lead by one of their own, rather than an anointed knight, and Boyden Withars, the current commander, rose up from the ranks to his current position. Clad in browns, grays, and greens to match their surroundings, the Bogwalkers take great pride in their skills and often arrange competitions amongst themselves, or against Ser Morys’s patrols. Stories abound of their ability to blend into their surroundings, and they do little to discourage the spread of their own legend.
wEaLTH: 31, iNVESTED: 20 (MaESTEr, arTiSaN)
Much of House Kytley’s wealth is tied to the production of bog-iron and linen, and the supply of these items is considered crucial to the House’s future. So far, the twin thrusts of Kytley industry have brought substantial money into Hammerstone’s coffers. Lord Ambrose has used this to good effect: hiring a Maester from the Citadel, and restoring the smith-in-residence at Hammerstone (which Lord Jamys had disbanded). In addition to providing superior weapons for House Kytley’s forces, having the smith has also restored an important tie to the family’s past.
HaMMErSTONE, THE SEaT OF HOuSE KyTLEy
Begun by Theobald the Smith as a motte and bailey fortification to stand guard over the city of Smithton, Hammerstone grew quickly into a fully staffed, if small, castle. Under Lord Osmer Kytley’s careful direction, stone replaced the wooden palisades and great hall grew within these defenses to host visiting nobility from across the Riverlands. The White Anvil of Kytley blazed forth on proud pennons that snapped in the breeze and reminded all who sat in residence. Now, however, Hammerstone is a shadow of its former glory. Halvgrim Dead-eye led a group of Ironman raiders deep into the heart of Kytley lands, and when Lord Jamys failed to mount any resistance they put the castle to torch and ram. The once fine ramparts, built from quarried limestone,
now lie mostly in ruins of ramshackle blackened stone. In the nine years since the raiding times, Lord Ambrose has struggled to regain his House’s lost status among the Riverlands houses. He knows that without a proper seat there is a limit to how much he can hope for, but limited resources have made restoring the entirety of Hammerstone an out-of-reach goal. What he has repaired is the central structure, more of a keep than a true castle, though there are enough rooms to house the family and any guests that might arrive. Kytley’s great hall still maintains the airs of bygone days, though a look from the hall’s leaded windows allows any visitor to see the ruin that belies those airs.
Hammerstone’s great hall is a monument to House Kytley’s glory. Broad and deep enough to fete even a royal entourage, it feels cavernous to the considerably smaller groups that are typically entertained. Portraits of the Lords of Hammerstone, from Theobald to Lord Ambrose, decorate the long walls, and a pair of tapestries depicting House Kytley’s founding flank the high table that overlooks the rest of the hall. The heavy timbers at one end still bear to soot and char from the Dead-Eye’s raid, while those at the other end are
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freshly replaced. Leaded glass windows at regular intervals allow light into the hall, and reflect the simple tile work that covers the floor. In times of feast and festival, fresh rushes are brought in to absorb the mess of revelry, but most of the time a visitor’s boot steps echo in the too-large room. propagated among the smallfolk to imply that two people are having an affair.
This section contains the notable people who are in or serve House Kytley.
House Kytley’s kitchens and cellars flourished under the hedonistic appetites of Lord Jamys. Unfortunately for their master, Hewrey Pace, the current Lord of Hammerstone does not share his brother’s proclivities. The hearth still burns, but the parade of exotic ingredients has turned over to simple meats, breads and root vegetables. The cellar still holds a fine example of wines from across Westeros (and even some from as far as the Free Cities) but Lord Ambrose pays them little mind save when hosting an important guest. Even then, he relies on Master Pace’s judgment, rather than any knowledge of his own.
LOrD aMBrOSE KyTLEy
Ambrose Kytley held two beliefs sacred as a child; the figures in his books were more interesting than his family, and that he need never worry about the future of his house. As it would turn out, both were incorrect. Seven years junior to his brother Jamys, Lord Edric saw little need to groom young Ambrose for leadership. Childhood illness kept the boy from being active in the martial games and competitions that occupied other boys his age, and Ambrose quickly adapted to a world of books and study, rather than one of sword and steel. In what he considers his father’s only act of affection for him, Ambrose was sent to the Citadel in Oldtown. As a novice in the Citadel, his love of books and history served him well, and he earned the copper link at an alarmingly young age—the first in what many of his teachers expected to be a fine chain. And then his father died fighting in Robert’s Rebellion. Rumors of Jamys’s degeneracy filtered even as far as Oldtown. The new Lord of Hammerstone pulled his brother from the Citadel and installed him as the House’s Steward—better to turn his own attentions toward his unending search for pleasure. Ambrose, previously unconcerned by the actions of his family, could only stand and watch as his brother covered the Kytley name in layers of filth. When the Greyjoy Rebellion began, Ambrose supported his brother’s decision to take part. The rumors that circulated after Jamys’s death—of a case of wine delivered to the coast from Kytley cellars, of Jamys’s clumsiness and disorientation when he had previously been an exceptional swordsman—were ignored in the light of a new and well-educated hand on the tiller of House Kytley’s future. The new Lord Kytley embarked on a mission to restore the family’s name to the greatness it once held. He recognized the House’s degraded political position and acted quickly to shore up what remained of his family through politics—a means with which he became quite savvy. Marriages of expedience were arranged for his three eldest sisters, all to minor houses Ambrose felt to be on the rise within the Riverlands. His fourth sister, Hawys, he kept unmarried as insurance
House Kytley has long dedicated their efforts and the prayers to The Smith out of all the Seven. From their forebear Theobald the Smith, to the bog iron that built their early fortune, to the family motto itself, House Kytley believes themselves shaped by the fire and hammer of The Smith. As such, where other houses might have kept a full sept in their midst, House Kytley has kept only a smithy and a smith-in-residence. House Kytley’s smithy is decorated with images of its patron, and worship comes not from the organized chanting of Septons, but rather from the rhythmic chime of hammer on iron. Julyan, the current smith-in-residence, recognizes the sacred nature of her calling to House Kytley and has dedicated herself to the work with a piety born of a drive for perfection.
No discussion of Hammerstone would be complete without a moment dedicated to its once-great defenses. The redoubt of white limestone is blackened and cracked, and the crenellated towers are collapsed upon themselves. In places, enough remains to give some idea of their scope, but even these pieces are too precarious to offer protection. The honeycomb nature of the ruined wall and the tower bases creates tiny ‘rooms’ where a small group of people might meet without being seen, and the phrase “in the walls” has
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LORD AmBROSE kyTLEy
Awareness 3 Cunning 4 Endurance 3 Knowledge 4 Language 3 Persuasion 4 Status 4 Warfare 3 Will 3
Education 2B Charm 1B, Convince 2B, Incite 1B Tactics 1B Coordinate 1B
coMBat defenSe HealtH 6 9 intriGue defenSe coMPoSure 1 11 9
BenefitS: Head of House, Charismatic (Charm), Knowledge Focus (History and Legends) drawBacKS: Flaw (Athletics)
arMS & arMor
Mail: ar 5, AP -3, Bulk 2 Longsword Dagger 2 2 3 damage 1 damage Defensive +1, Off-hand +1
against a future need for treaty or arrangement. To gain much needed protection from the predation of the Houses around Kytley lands, Ambrose abandoned Kytley’s traditional fealty to Harrenhal and bent his knee to House Frey and took one of Lord Walder’s daughters as his wife. Flying the Towers of Frey from the rampart seemed a small price to ensure that the White Anvil of Kytley would also fly. Lord Ambrose’s driving goal is the return of his family to its past glories; a process he knows will be as slow as the fall was precipitous. While an inspiring leader and eloquent, he looks back with fondness upon his time in the Citadel. Indeed, the day does not dawn when he does not wonder if the Maester’s chain would have weighed less than the signet ring he now wears. His heir’s current status as the ward of House Mallister, the result of a clumsy accusation by his wife Braya, vexes him. To that end, he has brought in Maester Thomnas to groom his second son, Walder, for the possibility of rule—determined
not to repeat the slight his father gave him. While Ambrose dotes on his daughter Merild, he tries to remain distant— knowing that one day she will be married off for the best interests of House Kytley. Lord Ambrose strikes many as a Maester on first appearance—he wears his family colors only at grand occasions, and prefers the somber gray tones of the Citadel in his daily wear. His thin frame and dour nature bring him off as older than his years. He is ever with a book close at hand either for reading or recording his thoughts, and though few see it, his much-prized copper link rests beneath his shirt suspended from his neck by leather that one day hoped to be chain. Over the coming year, Ambrose plans to risk much to return his son Robert from House Mallister. Despite his public denunciation of his wife’s claim, he holds the Lord of Seagard partly responsible for failing to prevent the Ironman raiders from reaching shore. He knows he must proceed cautiously, or young Robert will pay with his life. This pressure weighs upon him, but the Lord of Hammerstone recognizes that whatever the outcome it secures the future of his House. In the short term, he protects House Kytley with every means at his disposal — he will preserve Kytley for his sons, which ever one ends up sitting in the seat of power.
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instead found him to be patient and affectionate towards her, if a little bookish. Lady Braya resents her family’s hold over her husband, and would love nothing so much as to see House Kytley eclipse House Frey in the Riverlands. She also knows that such an event would be unlikely given her husband’s honor-bound life, and so has shared everything she could with Maester Thomnas instead and hopes that he can find something useful in her childhood memories of Frey’s inner workings. The loss of her first-born, Robert, to House Mallister’s “protection” bothers her less than Lady Braya expected. More importantly, her “clumsy threat” towards Seagard has given her husband the motivation and drive that even Jamys’ disgraceful behavior could not. Of her other children, she spends the most time with young Walder, more at peace with his unpredictability than she is with wide-eyed and quiet Merild. She is content to let her husband plan for the future of House Kytley, and works instead to undermine her former family. Well aware of her nephew Ryman’s taste for drink and women, Lady Braya has groomed a lady-in-waiting to serve as a lure for him. Her hopes hang on the Late Lord Frey outliving her brother Stevron, and plans to have her claws in Ryman well set should he be made heir.
LaDy Braya FrEy KyTLEy
If the Freys are stoatish, than Lady Braya is an ermine; pale, lithe, and so different as to seem at first glance unrelated. Her heart is an open book, and her eagerness to be an individual apart from the crowd of House Frey has given her cause to embrace her life in House Kytley. She revels in the ability to partake fully in the pomp and celebration of a noble house, and is the first to step out for a dance, whether a stately pavanne or low-born reel. Woe, however, to those who assume that her free spirit assumes a lack of wit. Her rule over the smallfolk of the House is absolute, and she is her husband’s match at numbers and figures; no groat stays unaccounted long in the House’s registry. Her skill at thrift is the source of jest and amusement among the smallfolk—it is said she could fund a wedding feast with two silver stags and a basket of hay. Such jokes are carefully kept out of her hearing, for her rage is as legendary as her tightfistedness. She understands that Lord Ambrose married her out of need for her father’s protection, and at first feared that her husband to be would carry the same madness that afflicted Lord Jamys. In the nine years since their marriage, she has
LADy BRAyA fREy kyTLEy
Agility 3 Athletics 3 Awareness 3 Cunning 4 Deception 3 Language 3 Persuasion 3 Status 4 Will 5
Logic 1B Bluff 2B Common Tongue Seduce 1B Breeding 2B, Stewardship 1B Dedication 1B
coMBat defenSe HealtH 9 6 intriGue defenSe coMPoSure 1 11 16
BenefitS: Attractive, Courteous, Stubborn drawBacKS: Flaw (Marksmanship)
arMS & arMor
Dagger 2 1 Damage Defensive +1, Off-hand +1
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Broad in girth and smile, quick with a warm embrace and eager to partake in food and drink with fellows of any station Maester Thomnas is, at first glance, a direct opposite to the common portrayal of a Maester as lean and ever-hungry. Only those whom he trusts enough to allow behind his façade are allowed to see how close to the stereotype he can follow. While he believes in the Maester’s position as a servant of all of Westeros, Thomnas also believes that a light kept in the corner shines less brightly than one on a pedestal. To that end, he has served as a sounding board for Lord Ambrose’s plans and has worked alongside him to shape House Kytley’s future. In the Citadel, Thomnas admired Ambrose’s natural aptitudes as an Acolyte. Now that he has seen the boy grow into a leader of men, that admiration has turned to respect. He accepted his appointment to House Kytley with pleasure, and found all three of Ambrose’s children to have, if not the aptitude, certainly the eagerness for learning that he so admired in their father. Though he shares Lord Kytley’s desire to drive the house forward, they often disagree on the method. Unlike Ambrose, Thomnas understands and accepts the role deception and bluff plays in the Great Game. And when those tools fail, his knowledge of healing teaches best how to harm. While he knows he could never bring Ambrose fully to his way of thinking, Thomnas also takes pleasure in being the one Ambrose comes to when the straight and dutiful path won’t get what he wants. Thomnas holds knowledge important above all things—he understands the power that knowledge wields. Despite his willingness to engage in deception and trickery, he holds his vows to the citadel and his oath to Lord Ambrose as truegiven and would not conceive of breaking them. Besides, he takes a great deal of pleasure from being the poisoned dagger in Ambrose’s armory. Maester Thomnas knows Ambrose plans to put leverage against House Mallister to win back his son, though he isn’t certain of Lord Kytley’s method. On his own, he has been shipping tools and supplies to some of the Clans, part of an effort to build good will should House Kytley need allies. Over the next year, Maester Thomnas plans to reduce supply shipments and claim Mallister interference, hoping to stir the clans into more aggressive action and further split the attentions of Mallister and his allies.
Cunning 3 Endurance 3 Healing 4 Knowledge 5 Language 4 Language 2
Diagnose 3B, Treat Injury 2B Education 2B, Research 1B Common Tongue High Valyrian
coMBat defenSe HealtH 5 9 intriGue defenSe coMPoSure 1 7 6
BenefitS: Knowledge Focus (Astronomy), Knowledge Focus (Heraldry), Maester drawBacKS: Flaw (Agility)
arMS & arMor
Dagger 2 1 damage Defensive +1, Off-hand +1
SEr MOryS OF OLDMiLL, MaSTEr OF arMS
With his gray hair cropped close to his skull, and his skin criss-crossed by scars, Ser Morys looks every bit the grizzled hedge knight despite almost a decade in the service of House Kytley. Lord Ambrose personally selected Ser Morys from the tournament field, and the knight has returned the favor by dedicating himself to the Lord of Hammerstone with the fervor of the redeemed. His service has allowed him to rise up through the House, and he now sits as the Master of Arms for House Kytley— though he refuses to improve his armor or repaint his shield lest he forget his humble beginnings. He seldom talks of his days as a masterless knight, only that he travelled the Riverlands and points north, and fought whatever threats endangered farm and hamlet for the few groats that the smallfolk could pull together. His concern for the people of the land has never abated, and he feels a close kinship with them brought on by his time among them.
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SER mORyS Of OLDmILL
Agility 3 Animal Handling 4 Athletics 3 Endurance 4 Fighting 5 Marksmanship 3 Survival 3 Warfare 4 Will 3
Agility 3 Awareness 4 Cunning 4 Deception 4 Knowledge 3 Language 3 Persuasion 4
Dodge 2B Ride 2B Resilience 1B Long Blades 3B, Short Blades 1B
Empathy 2B, Notice 2B Bluff 2B
Charm 1B, Incite 1B Stewardship 2B
Status 3 Will 4
coMBat defenSe HealtH 8 12 intriGue defenSe coMPoSure 1 6 9 coMBat defenSe HealtH 8 6
intriGue defenSe coMPoSure 1 11 12
deStiny PointS drawBacKS: Flaw (Endurance)
deStiny PointS drawBacKS: Flaw (Agility)
BenefitS: Sponsor (Lord Ambrose), Anointed
BenefitS: Cautious Diplomat, Treacherous
arMS & arMor
BriGandine: AR 8, AP -4, Bulk 3 Dagger Longsword 5+1B 5+3B 1 Damage 4 Damage Defensive +1, Off-hand +1
Lord Edric’s youngest daughter, Hawys always expected to be used as a political pawn; an arranged marriage to seal one of her father’s contracts. When Edric died, Jamys ignored her in favor of his own desires and she first had a taste of what it might mean to be free. And then Jamys, too, died and all her plans were undone. Her younger brother, now the head of the family, married off all his sisters save her and she despises the reminder of what she could have had. Thin to the point of cadaverousness, it often seems that the only thing that keeps Hawys alive is her resentment of Lord Ambrose. She knows enough of politics to stay just this side of decorum, and has embraced the power her uniqueness grants her. She knows that her younger brother cannot risk shaming her or turning her out until young Merild is old enough to make a viable marriage contract, but has resolved to punish him for not marrying her off when he first came to power.
He has even less to say of his days prior to becoming a hedge knight (and with good reason). During Robert’s Rebellion, Ser Morys remained loyal to the Targaryen King, and struck down his own Lord and brother rather than see his House turned over to the side of the Usurper. That Lord Ambrose knows this, and has promoted Ser Morys anyway, says much of both men. Ser Morys broods quite often, and the ghosts of his past trouble his sleep. His waking days are spent keeping his personal demons at bay through rigid discipline and personal devotion. The only place his discipline wavers is in regards to his Lord’s elder sister, Hawys. Though he knows he should not, he cannot help but think of her. Her encouragements—a clandestine meeting here, a servant-passed token there— keep his hope alive, and fuel his desire to prove himself worthy of what he knows he cannot attain: the quietly held hope for land, a keep, and a wife that would cement his fortunes to the family he has come to serve.
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Hawys prowls the halls around her suite of rooms, a gaunt figure in flowing grays, and is quick to abuse anyone who comes near her—smallfolk or noble alike. The only person spared her wrath is the knight, Ser Morys. At first, she accepted his advances to mortify her brother, but since then she has felt the ice in her heart warm towards the old horseman. Of late, she has badgered her brother to build a keep to protect a part of his demesne, and secretly hopes that he will acquiesce and grant both the tower and her hand to his Master of Arms.
Twin sister to Robert, she and her brother have felt from birth to be two parts of a single whole. Every experience—a meal, a flower, a piece of stone—had not happened until one had shared it with the other. The two children often acted as a single entity, and were seldom seen out of sight of each other. That ended the day Robert was taken to Seagard, and since then Merild has felt incomplete. Experiences that she has not shared with Robert feel only partly real, and she needs his confirmation to know that they happened as she remembers. Bright and a quick study, Merild used to look forward to her lessons with Maester Thomnas. Now it is another bit of tedium, like the needlework she is expected to do. She has learned enough of her family’s history to worry if her unceasing need for her twin’s presence is a sign of hereditary madness, some remnant of Jamys’s evil echoing down her lineage. She tried to broach the subject with Maester Thomnas, but he dismissed her fears as childish imaginings. For the time being, Merild hopes he is right. And she hopes Robert can be returned to the family before the old Maester can be proven wrong.
aDaM riVErS, MaSTEr OF KENNELS
Shaggy and feral in appearance, lean of limb and always hungry—there is little to differentiate young Adam Rivers from the hounds that are his charges. It is only on closer look that one notices the pride in his bearing and the gleam in his eye when his hounds fell elk, deer, or boar. Bastard-born, Adam is content to tend to the kennels, and makes few requests of House Kytley that are not directly aimed at improving the lot of his dogs. He remembers Ser Morys from his days as a hedge knight, and held out hope at one point that the older knight was his actual father. His mother corrected that foolish notion, however, and told Adam his father had died years before. Since then, he has forced himself to be content knowing nothing more of his origins. Adam has developed an interest in the kitchen-master’s daughter of late, an interest which she seems to return. While it does not distract him from his duties, it is not uncommon to find one or the other slipping across the courtyard of Hammerstone to visit. While he suspects her father would not approve, he is certain that Collys will agree to marry him as soon as he has gathered enough money to support her. Until then, he bides his time, and trains the hounds.
Bright and fair, Walder is the spitting image of his mother and approaches the world with the same sense of charm and childlike wonder. Most regulars who dwell within Hammerstone have learned to look twice when they hear the fiveyear-old’s musical laughter because he is likely to be underfoot or running past. For now, he is allowed to be a boy and he has a boy’s passions—running, climbing, and playing among the animals without concern for his station. While Lord Ambrose and Maester Thomnas feel that the time has come to begin Walder’s studies, Lady Braya has so far stonewalled the effort. Instead, young Walder spends each day in pursuit of whatever has seized him at the moment while the rest of Hammerstone gives him berth.
At nine years, the heir to Hammerstone should have been transitioning from childhood to the learning of adolescence. Unfortunately, his lesson came quicker than anyone could have expected. A prisoner to ensure his father’s proper behavior, the young heir finds himself alone among his enemies instead of within the house in which he was raised. Robert is, paradoxically, known by his absence far more than he ever was as a member of the house. Currently in the custody of House Mallister, he nonetheless has had a place set for him at every meal and his birth celebrated as though he were standing in the door.
wENEFryD aTuS, LaDy iN waiTiNg
Wenefryd has adapted well to life within Hammerstone, and few realize that only a few years ago the dark-eyed girl was being brought within the walls for the first time. The last of her family fell in a raid by the ironmen, and Lady Braya had the child brought to the castle rather than leave her on her own. Now 16 years of age, Wenefryd has given Lady Braya
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no reason to regret that decision in the 8 years since being brought to Hammerstone. She foretells her mistress’s moods as others might predict the weather from a wisp of cloud, and she sees to the Lady Braya’s needs with quiet devotion. Wenefryd is fiercely protective of her savior, and very careful about who she lets through to Lady Braya. She has even confronted the Lord of Hammerstone on occasion rather than let one of his foul moods infect her lady. Her proximity to power has given her a taste of a life she hadn’t thought possible, and she plans to do everything she can to stay in her mistress’s favor. they were the bones of her body, and knows of alcoves and redoubts that are unknown even to Ser Morys. A woman grown now, the walls that raised her have become a cage she longs to escape. She works in her father’s kitchen to the best of her ability, but her every moment free is spent with Adam Rivers. What started with her fascination in his stories of the lands beyond the walls has grown into a powerful romance that she is certain he returns. As of yet, he has not asked her father for permission to wed, and his tardiness in this has become a point of consternation for Collys. She has seen some of the other kitchen drudges eyeing her, and she has decided that if he will not act out of love then perhaps she can spur him into action with jealousy.
HEwrEy PaCE, MaSTEr OF THE KiTCHENS
That a man who spends his days surrounded by food could somehow remain as gaunt as Hammerstone’s Master of Kitchens is a mystery easily solved, all it takes is a moment’s observation. Called the Rook by the drudges when they believe he is out of earshot, the nickname fits him perfectly. Tall, dressed in dark clothing to hide stains, and aquiline in features, Hewrey flits from place to place in the kitchen, and from the kitchens to the slaughterhouse, the smokehouse, or the cellars as he sees the need. Even when he is in a place for a length of time, he is never still—his hands tremble constantly under the energy that fuels him. The new Lord of Hammerstone vexes the Rook constantly. His talents, once the talk of Harrenhal and Hart House, are wasted on a lord who prefers blancmange over braised goose livers. He continues the effort to change Lord Ambrose’s palate, and revels in the feasts and parties where he has free reign to showcase his skill. Of all his responsibilities, Hewrey holds the cellars most important. He considers himself an expert at pairing drink to dish so that the two complement each other. He misses the rule of Lord Jamys, under whom the kitchens and cellars received such allowances as to become a fiefdom unto themselves. Lord Ambrose has cut back on the expense, and the Rook, once liberal with exotic spices, has learned to hoard and scrimp rather than do without.
Egger Raulin, while not a resident of Hammerstone, visits so often that many have assumed that he maintains quarters in the hall. In truth, he finds the castle’s stone walls drafty and colder than his own warm manor house in Smithton, but he comes to the castle regardless. Comfort and convenience are far less important to him than being near the seat of power. The head of the influential linen guild in Smithton, Raulin works hard to maintain Lord Ambrose’s ear to insure the best possible treatment for both the smallfolk growing the flax, and those who work within his heckling and spinning houses. He is not ashamed of the wealth his position has brought him, and sees it as his due for seeing to the welfare of his guild in much the same way as a Lord profits from the work of his lands. For obvious reasons, this is not a comparison he makes in front of the Lord of Hammerstone. Indeed, his behavior towards Lord Ambrose borders on the sycophantic. Guildmaster Raulin knows that House Kytley wants to expand its influence into Market Town, and he plans for Kytley linens to be at the forefront of that expansion. Currently, he is willing to play the willing servant of Hammerstone, but if he feels that Lord Ambrose might turn against him Raulin has no qualms about moving to more aggressive means of getting his way.
As the Rook’s only child, young Collys has lived her entire life within Hammerstone’s walls. Her mother died giving birth to what would have been her brother, and her father’s responsibilities made him inattentive at best. She has learned, therefore, to entertain herself through exploration and discovery. She knows the stones of her home as though
JuLyaN THE SMiTH
With her broad shoulders, muscular arms and soot-covered face, Julyan is often mistaken for a man at first, or even third glance. When her father had no sons to carry on his craft, he decided to teach Julyan instead, and she has spent much of her life between the blistering heat of the forge and the cold iron of the anvil. As can be expected, not all were so eager
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to see a woman wield the hammer and tongs, and what was dismissed as a novelty became a threat as her skill surpassed many older, more established craftsmen. Behind her leather apron, beats a fierce pride in her art, and more than once she has defended her smithy and her work with well-placed fists. She is currently the smith-in-residence for Hammerstone, a position she views as tantamount to being a Septa for a family that venerates The Smith above all the other Seven. Julyan concentrates on her work above all else, and is dedicated to producing pieces of superior quality and beautiful artistry. Marsten, a bannerman to Erreg the Kinslayer, during one of the defining battles of the Andal invasion. Near the current site of the Bloody Gates, Erreg and his men met the forces of the First Men, but they had underestimated the strength that desperation would give to those who fought to save their lands. Erreg was cut off from his larger party and surrounded, and it seemed that he might meet his end. Petyr saw through the chaos of the battlefield, however, and fought his way to the side of his lord, turning the tide of the battle and saving Erreg’s life. In return for his great service, Erreg gave Marsten his choice of lands in what would be known as the Vale of Arryn, stating that he “should always have such a one to guard his back.” Erreg’s statement has become the watchword for this family, and through the centuries they have remained one of the most trusted bannerhouses for House Arryn. As with every significant family lineage, there are both bright and dark spots. One of the infamous legends of House Marsten is that of Carnwyn the Mad, the wife of Petyr’s great-grandson, Lord Willem Marsten. Carnwyn was a niece of King Stefen and a member of the Arryn family. She gave Lord Willem seven strong sons and ruled by her lord’s side with legendary grace and beauty. It was said theirs was a true love match, the like which never comes to pass. Tragedy befell the house, however, when he went riding with his men along the border of his lands, investigating an incursion by the Clans (who lived and raided even then). His horse trod upon a snake lying in the road and reared up, throwing Lord Willem to the ground and dashing his head against the rocks. When Lord Willem’s body was brought back to the keep, it’s said that the Mother turned her face away and the Stranger entered the hall. Carnwyn saw the body of her husband and ran weeping to him, screaming inconsolably. She could not be parted from his body and stayed with him until night fell, speaking to no one, until the entire household had fallen asleep. She rose, washed her face and hands, took a dagger, and slew first her sons and then herself, falling on the blade when she had finished. The only one to escape was Diermad, the youngest, who had hidden in the stables upon hearing of his father’s death and was thus spared. It was through Diermad that House Marsten survived, carrying forward. He married an Arryn lady named Jeyne, and the two rebuilt the House from its great tragedy. Despite his sorrowful young life, he was known as Diermad the Joyful, as he and Lady Jeyne had ten children live to adulthood and most of them wed and had children as well. He had a long life during peaceful times, and did a great deal to restore stability to House Marsten.
MuDDyiNg THE PaLETTE
You might wish to replace good Lord Ambrose with his demented uncle Jamys the Sybarite. Perhaps the old man hasn’t passed away yet, and he’s continuing to rip the house apart.
Heraldry: Per chevron sable and vert, a lightning bolt argent Motto: “Let the Heavens Reign” Amid the foothills of the Mountains of the Moon, House Marsten guards the western border of the Vale of Arryn. A proud house, still with the blood of the Andals within its veins, though recent years have seen it falter under cruel circumstance. Alliances and intrigue are all that remains of Marsten’s once-vaunted strength. Can such weapons still prevail, however, against the threats of time and steel?
The blood of the Andals runs deep in the Vale of Arryn. The Seven live here as nowhere else in Westeros, kept ever in the minds and hearts of the Vale’s inhabitants. The Andals, the wild race that wrested the lands from the First Men, have their roots here in the Vale and in House Marsten. Of the Houses still in existence, only House Arryn has a more venerable Andal lineage, tracing back to the Kings of Mountain and Vale. As befits a family with such a long history, the events that brought House Marsten to its historical stature are well known throughout the Vale. The House was founded by Petyr
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Throughout the time of the Andals, House Marsten remained strong, adding figures of legend to its halls. Kieran the Just famously made peace with the local barbarian clans, while Stefan the Pious saw visions of the Seven and renounced his inheritance to join the Faith. It was in his honor that a sept was built in Hartsbridge, and he served as septon there for decades. Eventually, however, Andal rule came to an end. Had House Marsten been pledged to another family, it might have meant their end. Following Aegon’s Landing, House Marsten stood with its king until the Arryns were forced to bend the knee. Even then they bowed only when their lord bade them do so. After accepting Targaryen rule, however, they stood always in House Arryn’s shadow, serving loyally for many centuries. During the Dance of the Dragons, the house distinguished itself again by working with Aegon II to wipe out the Targaryen branch in the Vale that supported Rhaenyra, a move which gained House Marsten the current seat of Hartshorn, once a Targaryen castle, along with that family’s former lands. Most recently, House Marsten rode with Lord Jon Arryn against Prince Rhaegar and King Aerys during Robert’s Rebellion, fighting alongside the Arryn banner to overthrow Targaryen rule once and for all. Unfortunately, the most recent lord of House Marsten, Lord Corben, lost his two oldest sons and heirs in battle. This seemed the beginning of a decline for the house, as ill-fortune has dogged its heels ever since, culminating in Lord Corben’s sudden death three years later from a plague that also claimed his remaining son, young Willem, who was only five years old. He left behind his widow, Lady Isobel, and his young daughter Corrine. Lord Corben’s brother, Mikael, vanished after Robert’s Rebellion, leaving his only daughter, Gwyneth, in the care of his brother. He is presumed dead, but there are rumors that he supported the Targaryens and left Westeros rather than live under Baratheon rule. Since Lord Corben’s death, Lady Isobel Marsten has ruled the house with a firm but light hand. Although many suitors have approached her since her husband’s death, she has refused them all. As Lady Corrine is now becoming of age, however, interest in House Marsten has revived, and the western foothills are under continual siege by lords and knights young and old who see the Marsten lands, name, and bride as a potential windfall waiting for the right man to take hold of it. Lady Isobel has no intention of letting her husband’s name be wiped out, however. Her ability to retain control of this valuable burden, however, has yet to be seen.
House Marsten’s stats and narrative elements are featured in this section. While this is a comprehensive overview, players and narrators may feel free to add their own details or embellish as needed to work House Marsten more easily into their chronicle.
DEFENSE: 42, iNVESTED: 40 (HarTSHOrN)
House Marsten is fortunate in its lands, as the steep hills and rocky terrain that cover the bulk of the House’s holdings make them easily defensible. A medium-sized, navigable river has its headwaters in Marsten lands, making for easy transportation to the east through the lands of House Corbray. The
HOuSE MarSTEN OF HarTSHOrN
lieGe lord: lord Jon arryn of tHe eyrie Defense 42 Influence 46 Lands 40 Law 24 Population 32 Power 41 Wealth 33 Hartshorn (Castle, 40), Expendable 2 Lady Corinne Marsten (First-born Daughter, 10), Expendable 36 Mountains with Stream (10), Hills with a River and Small Town (30) House Fortunes -2 House Fortunes +3 Trained Garrison; 5 Power - Easy (3) Discipline at home or Challenging (9) away - Awareness 3, Endurance 3, Fighting 3 House Kriegar (20), House Lyras (10)
Green Cavalry; 6 Power - Routine (6) Discipline - Animal Handling 3 Sept (15, House Fortunes +3), Marketplace (10), Expendable 8 total HouSe fortuneS Modifier +4
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town of Hartsbridge is home to the only bridge crossing the river and serves as the gateway to Marsten lands. The house seat, Hartshorn, is an old but well-built castle.
iNFLuENCE: 46, iNVESTED: 10 (LaDy COriNNE MarSTEN)
Of Lady Isobel and Lord Corben’s children, only the youngest daughter, Corinne, has survived. She is now thirteen and of an age for betrothal. Her mother, Lady Isobel, has ruled the house since her husband’s death.
LaNDS: 30, iNVESTED: 30 (HiLLS 7, riVEr 3, SMaLL TOwN 20; MOuNTaiNS 9, STrEaM 1)
The lands of House Marsten are the envy of many. Surrounded by rocky, steep foothills and stark mountains beyond, a fertile river valley runs through the heart of it. The pride of the area’s inhabitants is an ancient stone bridge that spans the river, which is rumored to have been built during the time of the First Men. A small town, Hartsbridge, has grown up around the bridge, since it provides one of the few easy river crossings as well as a rare place for goods and services to be traded among the more remote hamlets and inhabitants. In addition to the town and the bridge, the lands have an additional point of pride: the Maiden’s Veil. This waterfall in
the western mountains is nothing compared to Alyssa’s Tears, but it is considered blessed by the Maid and has a reputation as a holy site. It is said that girls who bathe in the waters below are blessed by the Maid and will have good fortune in the next year. Virgins throughout the Mountains of the Moon make their way here yearly to ask the Maiden’s blessing and show their piety. The castle and the town have no shortage of fresh water or food. Their larders are well stocked with produce, game and fish, leading those from other parts of Westeros to comment on the unexpected civility of a visit to Hartsbridge. Although it is only a small town, trade and the natural abundance of the area mean that it is surprisingly affluent. If it were not for the strong presence of the Marsten family, the Clans (or other houses) would have snapped up Hartsbridge and the surrounding lands long since.
For the smallfolk who live and work within Marsten lands, life is calm and peaceful. The attacks by the Clans that happen throughout the Vale happen only rarely here. The market brings its share of trouble, of course, but nothing too serious. Folks expect that—money and strangers together are a recipe
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for trouble. The House garrison keeps a patrol in the town to keep the peace, while more serious charges are brought to Lady Isobel for her to mete out justice. To defend the valley, House Marsten maintains a castle garrison that defends the town as well. This garrison is run by Ser Markus Elridge. Ser Markus has lived in the Vale for most of his life. He is also the driving force behind the formation of a new unit of cavalry, rebuilding and replacing the unit led by Lord Corben during Robert’s Rebellion. The unit is expensive and took time and resources to form, but it’s finally in place. The biggest obstacle facing them now is simply their youth and inexperience—something only time can correct.
While there are smallfolk who live among the hills, tending flocks, the majority of the population resides in and around Hartsbridge. The river valley is home to most of the fertile ground within Marsten lands, and so most of the farmers and smallholds stay within a mile on either side of the river. Rock walls form a patchwork grid between the farms, giving the appearance from the mountains above as emerald tiles lining the sparkling water. The smaller hills are home to vineyards, while the land in the river valley proper is given over to fruit orchards and vegetable farming. Two of the more common products that hail from here are a fine hard cider and wine of moderate quality. Rather than costly wood and iron, most of the buildings in and around Hartsbridge are built of stone. The town is home to a marketplace in the town commons, a small sept and an attached school, a blacksmith, a cooperage, a mill, and a halfdozen small merchants and traders, in addition to two proper inns and a tavern.
wEaLTH: 33, iNVESTED: 25 (MarKETPLaCE 10, SEPT 15)
The Seven have shown favor to House Marsten over the years in both their fortunate location and their fertile lands. The family paid back this debt of fortune by building a marketplace in which both locals and traveling merchants could sell their wares, and a sept, to bring worship of the Seven to the people under their care. The marketplace is run by Luke Seldon, the mayor of Hartsbridge. Septon Aeryn oversees the sept and the faithful in his charge as well.
The castle known as Hartshorn initially belonged to a lesser branch of the Targaryen family, who took it from House Taryk, a sworn ally of House Arryn who broke faith with the Kings of Mountain and Vale to fight against the Targaryen invaders. House Taryk was wiped from the face of Westeros by the Targaryens, and their lands were given to one of Aegon’s commanders, his cousin Rhenyr, in thanks for his support. It was the Targaryens who built Hartshorn, Rhenyr Targaryen’s standard being the silver stag’s head in profile on a green field. During the Dance of Dragons, Rhenyr’s descendant, Aeden, supported Rhaenya Targaryen. When House Arryn chose to fight on Aegon II’s side, the Warden of the East then called his banners against Aeden Targaryen and Lord Edric Marsten answered, putting Aeden and all his family to the sword. In thanks for his service, House Marsten was granted the former Targaryen lands and castle, which they have held ever since. It’s said, though, that the ghosts of Aeden and his lady still walk in the halls at night. Perhaps that has contributed to the exceptional piety of the Marsten family throughout the generations. Hartshorn Castle is the most defensible structure within House Marsten’s lands. In the event of attack or natural disaster, all the smallfolk women and children are expected to
POwEr: 41, iNVESTED: 41 TraiNED garriSON 5, grEEN CaVaLry 6, HOuSE KriEgar 20, HOuSE LyraS 10
House Marsten has, throughout the years, acquired banner houses of its own. Two more recent houses, House Kriegar and House Lyras, cemented alliances with House Marsten during the past hundred years by marrying into the household. While these younger families are thus technically allied with the Arryns, in truth it’s the Marstens’ call they heed. Should House Marsten ever break faith with House Arryn, it is likely that they’d need more than help than these two houses could supply. Between the support of men and arms, however, along with the ability to fortify and defend their valley, the cost of removing House Marsten would be very high.
Trained Garrison * 5 Power eaSy (3) Discipline at home or cHallenGinG (9) away Awareness 3, Endurance 3, Fighting 3
Green Cavalry * 6 Power eaSy (3) Discipline Animal Handling 3
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take shelter within its walls. It has an outer wall as tall as most buildings, while the inner walls and towers are two stories tall, with an inner courtyard and the lord’s house, stables, and warehouses within that. It is considerably smaller than any of the great castles, but still a fine structure regardless, with architectural details that mark it as clearly of Valyrian inspiration. Unusually among families of this stature, the Marstens keep no maesters among their household. When the last one was unable to prevent the deaths of Lord Corben and young Willem, Lady Isobel dismissed him from service and has refused to hire another.
The grandest room in the keep, the hall is where Lady Isobel holds court for the smallfolk of her realm and administers disputes. It is austere, with a high ceiling and gothic arches. Tall thin glazed windows line the west wall, sending down slanting beams of light across the entire hall throughout the afternoons. The walls are white, covered with plaster and ornamented with painted scenes of the Maiden’s Veil, the Seven, and portraits of Marsten lords and ladies throughout the generations.
THE iNNEr yarD
Inside the tall inner walls of the castle lies the Inner Yard. The most protected clear ground in the whole of House Marsten’s lands, all the castle buildings are within this space, along with a considerable clear area in the center, along with a kitchen garden, a small flower garden, and open space in the center for animals to graze, people to walk, and anything else that needs room and open air. Buildings accessible from the Inner Yard include the main keep with the lord’s hall and chambers, the family sept, the stables, the granary and storehouses, the kitchens, and a small smithy. Access to the cellars and the catacombs is also available from here.
The architects of Hartshorn knew that some things should not be left in the open, and so they not only built up into the sky, but also tunneled into the earth. From within the inner yard there’s a door that leads to stairs that descend into the earth. From there one finds what was once a dungeon built of stone, with rooms that have bolts still placed in the walls to hold shackles, and where floors slope slightly to drain whatever liquids might collect in an underground room with no windows. These rooms are largely in disuse, though those closest to the stairs have been co-opted for use as root and wine cellars.
THE FaMiLy SEPT
Once the seat of worship for this part of the Mountains of the Moon, this small sept was replaced as a general place of worship when the Marstens had the new sept built in Hartsbridge a few generations ago. This small building now acts as schoolroom for the children and the home of private devotions and ceremonies for members of the family and the household. Septa Heloise is charged with the care of the sept; her chamber, a small pair of rooms, is above the main chamber, accessible by stairs in the back of the building.
This section includes the primary characters in House Marsten, both within the household itself and in Hartsbridge.
LaDy iSOBEL MarSTEN
The lord of House Marsten by default, Lady Isobel has become known as a formidable woman throughout the Vale. Born into House Darry, a bannerhouse of the Tullys with a proud past of service to the Targaryens, Isobel was considered a good match
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and had a great many suitors. She was allowed an unusual amount of influence over her betrothal, however, something for which her father, Ser Willem, took a great deal of criticism. When her betrothal to Lord Corben Marsten was announced, however, it was agreed that an excellent match had been made. That it seemed to be a love match as well just fed the flames of gossip and drove rebellion by daughters against their fathers’ wishes to a degree not seen in years. That was thirty years ago, however. Now Isobel is a handsome woman, but no longer the beauty she once was. She has given birth to four children and buried three of them, leaving only her youngest daughter Corinne to take House Marsten forward into the future. Isobel’s dark blond hair is slowly turning silver. She has blue eyes and fair skin, a good figure and the sense to dress it well. She is in her forties, yet looks years younger than her age. Isobel is clever, loyal, and intelligent. She is faithful to her dead husband, rejecting all the suitors that have come in the years since his death. She is just to the people in her charge, charitable to those in need, and devoutly devoted to the Seven. She is also determined to see the Marsten name carried on somehow and to see Corrine, the last heir, safely provided for. There are secrets around both her daughter and the house steward, however, that could see all her work undone. In the days before Robert’s Rebellion, Robert Baratheon took shelter with the Marstens as he and Lord Jon Arryn sought to gain support for his cause. He could not help but notice Lady Marsten, and by the morning hours, long after his host was unconscious, Robert had found his way to her chambers and took what he believed was a willing partner. Baratheon left the next day, and Lady Isobel spoke of what had happened to no one. When she found herself pregnant again, none thought twice about it and she attempted to put it from her mind completely. One look at Corinne’s dark locks, however, next to Corben’s Marsten copper and her own gold makes it clear to anyone with an interest that something untoward took place. Lady Isobel denies any suspicion utterly, of course. She has never set foot in King’s Landing since Baratheon took the throne, nor has Corinne. To the world, her daughter is the rightful child of Lord Corben, and she will defend her daughter’s birthright to the death—whosoever’s death that might be.
LADy ISOBEL mARSTEN
Awareness 4 Cunning 4 Endurance 3 Fighting 1 Healing 3 Knowledge 4 Persuasion 4 Status 5 Will 4
Notice 1B Memory 1B
Treat Injury 1B Education 1B Charm 2B, Convince 2B, Intimidate 2B
coMBat defenSe HealtH 8 9 intriGue defenSe coMPoSure 1 13 15
deStiny PointS drawBacKS: Flaw (Endurance)
BenefitS: Dutiful, Head of House
LaDy COrriNE MarSTEN
Lady Corrine Marsten is one of the most unusual of creatures in Westeros north of Dorne: a female heir. She was not supposed to be the heir to House Marsten: far from it. Her two
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eldest brothers had died before she was born, however, and her youngest brother, the last true heir, died three years ago of the same fever that killed her father, Lord Corben. Lady Corrine is thirteen years old and has recently come of age. Her body is still developing, but she shows every sign of becoming equally the beauty that her mother was. With her black curls, pale blue eyes, and fair skin, she has the potential to break many hearts along the way. She has little in common with her mother in personality, however. Where Lady Isobel was always strongwilled and a deep thinker, Lady Corinne is still a child in many ways, sweet and straightforward in her words and deeds. She has mastered the rudiments of manners and courtly ways, but she sees little of the currents that go on behind polite words and pretty manners. Lady Isobel has tried to educate her daughter, but also does her best to shelter her from a potentially dangerous world. Corrine wishes she were not the heir, but is determined to fulfill her duties as best she can. She is fond of Gareth and has a secret crush on him, though anyone familiar with the ways of teenage girls can see it. She is aware that they would never be allowed to wed, but Gareth’s kindness to her and good looks keep her secretly sighing over him. He has done nothing to encourage her, but it’s been noted often how she would clearly prefer to spend time in his company over that of the guests and suitors who have begun appearing at Hartshorn. While most are willing to consider childhood affection as sufficient reason, Lady Isobel has taken notice of it as well and is resolved to put a stop to it before things get out of hand.
LADy CORINNE mARSTEN
Agility 3 Awareness 3 Healing 3 Knowledge 2 Language 3 Persuasion 5 Status 4 Stealth 3 Warfare 1 Will 4
Quickness 1B Empathy 1B Education 1B Charm 1B
coMBat defenSe HealtH 8 6 intriGue defenSe coMPoSure 6 BenefitS: Heir drawBacKS: Naïve 9 12
Gareth was a foundling, left on the doorstep of the house sept and discovered by Lady Isobel on the way to her morning devotions. The same age as her second son, he shared a wet nurse with Erryk (her youngest son) before being placed in the care of the servants. Corben and Isobel decided that when he grew of age, he would be placed in the service of the Seven and become a septon. He showed a decided talent for management and husbandry, however, and thus Lord Corben apprenticed him to the house steward instead against his wife’s wishes. With the disasters that have befallen House Marsten and
Hartshorn, it has been extremely fortunate that someone of Gareth’s talent has been available to assist in managing the estates. That does nothing to ease Lady Isobel’s doubts about denying the Seven their due. In truth, Isobel’s concerns are less devout than secular. Lord Corben was never known to be unfaithful, but as Gareth grew, a marked resemblance between the child and Corben’s lost brother, Mikael. Whether the boy was Mikael’s or Corben’s get was irrelevant. What was important was that the child be sent away. Now Isobel’s sons are dead; Gareth might be a possible heir, if there were any proof of his parentage. Luckily, no such proof exists... and Isobel will make sure it never does. The bigger threat is the growing affection between Gareth and Corrine. As Lord Corben’s last child and heir, Corrine holds the future of House Marsten in her hands. If Gareth were merely a commoner, any liaison between them would be bad enough. If he were Corben’s (or even Mikael’s) son, however, such a link would be unthinkable. Of course, that ig-
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Agility 3 Animal Handling 3 Athletics 3 Awareness 3 Cunning 3 Endurance 3 Fighting 3 Language 3 Knowledge 4 Persuasion 3 Status 4 Will 5
SER mARkUS ELRIDGE
Agility 3 Animal Handling 4 Athletics 4 Awareness 2 Endurance 4 Fighting 5
Dodge 1B Ride 1B Run 1B Decipher 2B Short Blades 2B
Dodge 2B Ride 1B Strength 1B Notice 1B Long Blades 2B Intimidate 1B Command 2B
Marksmanship 3 Persuasion 2 Status 3 Warfare 3
Stewardship 2B Coordinate 1B
coMBat defenSe HealtH 8 9 intriGue defenSe coMPoSure 1 7 9
coMBat defenSe HealtH 8 9 intriGue defenSe coMPoSure 3 10 15
deStiny PointS drawBacKS: Flaw (Agility)
deStiny PointS BenefitS: Head for Numbers
BenefitS: Long Blade Fighter I, Long Blade Fighter II
drawBacKS: Bastard Born, Flaw (Agility)
arMS & arMor
Mail: AR 5, AP -3, Bulk 3 Longsword Dagger Crossbow, Light 5+2B 5 3 5 Damage 1 Damage 4 Damage Fast, Off-hand +1 Long Range, Reload (Lesser), Slow
arMS & arMor
Dirk 3+2B 1 Damage Off-hand +2
nores Corrine’s parentage as well. Isobel knows that Corrine might not be Corben’s daughter. If she isn’t, then blood would be no barrier to the young lovers. Isobel will never admit to it, however; no question of legitimacy will ever stain her last child’s name. Gareth is aware of Corrine’s regard for him, but dismisses it as the affection she might feel toward a father or brother, seeing as how he is ten years her senior. An age difference of that span can be but a minor issue when it comes to relationships, however. If it continues, it may very well pass the point of denial even for him. Gareth is tall and thin, with intelligent brown eyes and striking copper-red hair. He suspects he is related to the Marstens somehow, but without knowing who his mother was (much less his father) there is no way to prove it. Occasionally this troubles him, but then he sees Lady Isobel and Corrine and what the nobles’ lives are like, and he thinks better of it. He may not be the heir to House Marsten, but he is its keeper nearly as much as Lady Isobel. For now, he is satisfied.
SEr MarKuS ELriDgE
Born the third son of a knight’s family, it was made clear to Ser Markus that he would have to earn his way in the world rather than it being handed to him. He was neither a scholar nor a septon by nature, preferring horse and sword to book and candle. Basic equipment and a decent horse were all his family was able to bequeath upon him when he came of age, but that was enough for him. He took his gifts, earned his spurs, and left his home determined to make a name for himself.
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His chance came during Robert’s Rebellion. While traveling through Mountain and Vale, looking for a lord in need of another sword, he found Lord Corben gathering his men to follow Baratheon into battle. Unwilling to turn any extra swords away, especially ones that came with their own equipment and were already trained, Corben accepted Ser Markus into his service. Eldridge proved himself a leader in battle, able to inspire his men and give sound orders. He quickly rose in responsibility and honor. He was at the Marstens’ side on the Trident, fighting to protect Lord Corben when his sons, Stefen and Paul were killed. He bore their bodies home on his horse, walking the entire way behind Lord Corben in honor of his liege. Lord Corben rewarded his loyalty by placing him in command of the house garrison. Ser Markus is a warrior, born and bred. He moves stiffly now and then as a result of age and the wounds he has suffered, but with a sword in his hand he might be a man of twenty again. He has dark brown hair, touched with grey at the temples, and serious, dark eyes under heavy brows. He serves Lady Isobel faithfully and would protect Corrine with his life, feeling nearly as much a father to her as if she were his own. Truth be told, he has realized that he is falling in love with Lady Isobel, but thus far his wishes remain unspoken. He would rather remain close at her side as a friend and loyal retainer than be sent away as a rejected lover, as she has rejected so many suitors before him.
LaDy gwyNETH MarSTEN
Beautiful and fair, with blonde hair and green eyes, Lady Gwyneth is the only child of Lord Mikael Marsten. Her mother, Lydia (formerly of the Tyrells) died in childbirth. Lord Mikael never remarried. At the age of seven, her father vanished and she was left in the care of her aunt and uncle. Lady Gwyneth has currently been sent away to House Tullison in the hopes of attracting the eye and heart of Lord Dunstan. Lady Isobel would be happy to see her so suitably wed (and removed as competition for Corrine), but thus far there is no news. Lady Gwyneth is clever and stubborn, having watched the intrigues of her aunt from a young age. Unless some objection is found, Lady Gwyneth is likely to win the day and become a Tullison after all.
Luke Seldon is the mayor of Hartsbridge, which means primarily that he handles the daily business of the town, adjudicates disputes among business owners, and collects the rents due to the Marsten family (minus a small percentage of his own). Luke is the ideal face of benign corruption. He is charming in an avuncular way, does care about Hartsbridge and is willing to do his job, but if a bribe or two should come his way or if the repairs for this or that in town are delayed, who will be the worse for it? Since Lord Corben’s death, Seldon has lost most of his fear of discovery, the only thing that kept him relatively honest. He has begun to cement his power base, quietly blaming the lack of oversight in the town on Lady Isobel and bemoaning the lack of a lord to keep things in order. Seldon is of average height with heavily thinning hair, watery grey eyes, and a paunch for a belly. He talks often about his exploits in Robert’s Rebellion, but if he actually had any they were very long ago now.
LOrD MiKaEL MarSTEN
Lord Mikael Marsten was the younger of two brothers born to Lord Payton Marsten. His older brother, Corben, inherited the house, lands, and status, while Mikael inherited no small amount of wealth...and a grudge that he was not the heir to go with it. The trait of loyalty runs deep within Marsten blood, and Mikael was both friends with and loyal to Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. When the War of the Usurper happened, Mikael tried to convince Lord Corben to stay true to the king rather than to slign himself with Lord Jon Arryn. He failed at this, and, rather than join his brother, Mikael picked up his own sword and left the house to fight for his prince. When Rhaegar fell at the Trident, it was placed upon Lord Corben to find and surrender his brother for the new king’s justice. But Mikael never returned to Hortshorn. A step ahead of his pursuers, he was last seen boarding a boat for the east. There have been no sightings of him since that time and he is presumed dead.
The sept in Hartsbridge may not be the largest or most beautiful in Westeros, but Septon Aeryn is quite content to be its septon. With a holy site nearby and a town and noble family counted among the local faithful, he feels he has the religious lives of those in his charge well in hand. Septon Aeryn is of modest ambition. Born to Riverlands smallfolk, he was given to the local sept as a child, there taught to read and write along with the mysteries of the Seven. He is in his late-thirties, tall and thin with brown
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hair and a penetrating gaze. If he were not godsworn, there are many families who would happily see him wed their daughters, but that is not to be. The only thing that bothers Septon Aeryn is that the Marsten family rarely comes to worship at the town sept, keeping their prayers and ceremonies in the old house sept, away from the townsfolk. When Lord Corben was alive they came more often, but Lady Isobel rarely does, nor is Septon Aeryn easily able to gain an audience with her.
LOrD KELLaN KriEgar
Lord Kellan is the lord of House Kriegar, A tall brooding man, he is of a dour, unhappy disposition. His lands, in the mountains just to the north of Marsten’s holdings, are constantly under attack by the clans. Once he could rely upon House Marsten to provide swords to fight back the incursions, but Lady Isobel has ordered the troops to remain close to home since Lord Corben’s death. Lord Kellan’s son died last year trying to defend the keep against the clans and that tragedy has turned him against Lady Isobel. For a house to change allegiances is rare, but not unheard of. Of all the bannerhouses in Mountain and Vale, House Kriegar’s allegiance is the most fragile. If someone else offered the swords to protect his smallfolk and home, House Marsten could well stand to lose a great deal of power.
Septa Heloise is the family septa, retained to see to the education and care of Lady Corrine. She also leads family worship services in the Hartshorn sept, acts as an advisor to Lady Isobel, and ministers to the spiritual needs of the rest of the household staff as well. This might seem like a lot, but Septa Heloise was blessed with an insatiable curiosity and a wellspring of energy that makes the industrious ant look lazy. She has wispy brown hair and a quick, determined way of moving, and does her best to ensure that her charge is kept on task at all times.
Hare is the town smith and farrier, keeping horses shod and plows sharp and blades repaired. He is not a weaponsmith or armorer, but Ser Markus would rather have someone keep the horses and tack in good repair regardless. Hare is well liked in town and is often chosen to represent the merchants from the market to Luke Seldon in disputes, a fact for which Seldon bears him little love.
The Marstens do not keep the services of a Maester, but that was not always so. Maester Leopold was a part of the Marsten household up until three years ago and still has contacts in Hartsbridge whom he sees on occasion. He and Gareth maintain a correspondence. Gareth has tried to convince Lady Isobel to bring Maester Leopold back, but she flatly refuses to consider it. Maester Leopold currently has lodging in Gulltown and works as a tutor for the sons of minor nobles. It is unusual that he has not yet been assigned to the service of some other noble family, but he has gained permission to stay where he is. Why he wishes to stay, however, is another question entirely.
Of all the merchants and smallfolk who come to the market, the undisputed king of them all is Lyndan Flowers. Bringing exotic and storied items from across Westeros and all throughout the east, Flowers is a mountebank of the first water, entertaining his audience even as he sells his trinkets and treasures. He always has bits of information he’s willing to part with for the right price. He’s been trying to get an audience with either Lady Isobel or her steward, Gareth, in order to deliver one such morsel, but thus far he’s been unsuccessful.
LOrD aarON LyraS
The lord of House Lyras, Lord Aaron is one of the Lady Isobel’s staunchest supporters. His family has been a bannerhouse for House Marsten for generations. Lord Aaron himself has a modest keep on the outskirts of Marsten lands, with his portly but pleasant wife Selma and their seven children. They have little in the way of fortune, but are one of the cornerstones of Mountain and Vale.
The town’s most honored (and ancient) inhabitant, Rhaemon gets respect throughout Hartsbridge. He’s rumored to be almost 80 years old, enough that his hair is thin and white and his clouded violet eyes see very little anymore. Supposedly he was descended from the local Targaryen family branch that once lived here, but he has no relatives now and relies on a pension he receives from the Marsten family and the kind-
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ness of his neighbors. He keeps a dovecote at his home with only a couple of ravens in it, and he’s rumored to know how to use them as a maester does, though no one in town ever saw a chain around his neck. With the war over, Ser Joston was left a soldier without any battles to fight, and so became a hedge knight. He traveled the lands of Westeros for five to ten years before coming across the mining camps on the western edge of the Mountains of the Moon, and it was in this unlikely place that he found his destiny. Joston arrived in the camps minutes before clansmen swept out of the mountains, howling their barbarian war cries, intent on slaughtering the miners, stealing the camp’s women and anything else they could carry away. Joston organized a hasty defense of the camp, and, though several miners were killed and Joston was seriously injured, managed to drive off the raiders. As the smallfolk tended to his injuries, they told Joston of their near-daily battles for survival in defense of their claims. Taking it upon himself as a true knight to provide for their protection, Joston taught the miners how to defend themselves. According to his instruction, the smallfolk surrounded their camps with ditches filled with sharpened wooden stakes, and constructed mantlets covered with wetted leather to provide cover from arrows both hot and cold. He trained men and women alike to fight using their picks, axes and shovels, and children to standby with pails of water and dirt to fight fires. After several months, the smallfolk began holding their own against the clansmen and, while the attacks never ceased entirely, the clans began to seek out other, easier, targets just as often as they raided the camps. The appreciative miners and their families began to refer to Joston as “Lord Ser,” regardless of how many times he told them he was bastard born, and no lord. Joston arranged for the iron ore produced by the miners to be transported to Riverrun, and there the smallfolk beseeched the Warden of the Riverlands to make Joston their lord in name as well as in deed. Impressed by the noble behavior of his natural son, the Lord of Riverrun sent a raven to Aegon III, citing the accomplishments of his bastard, and asking for Joston to be ennobled. In 145, the King granted the Lord’s request, and gifted Joston with the lands around the mining camps for the new House. Now a lord in truth, Joston set aside the bastard name Rivers and took up the surname Tullison, in honor of his father. Shortly after his marriage to Lady Casserdre of House Piper, Lord Joston began to build his seat on a small spur of the Mountains of the Moon, using the stone quarried as a byproduct of mining iron for the construction. Completed in 150, Joston named his small castle Mountain’s Reach. The castle was designed to incorporate the rocky terrain as part of its defenses, giving Joston’s Rock (as it shortly became known) the appearance of having grown out of the mountain.
MuDDyiNg THE PaLETTE
Lady Isobel suspects that which, to date, only Jon Arryn has puzzled out. She has seen what her daughter Corinne looks like, and what Robert’s other by-blows look like, and believes she knows the true parentage of the royal children. She may try to ensnare the players in her own suspicions—especially good for a group of players that hasn’t read A Game of Thrones, of course.
Heraldry: Red mountains on a blue field. Motto: “Stone Endures” Set on the edge of the Riverlands, among the rocky outcroppings on the westernmost face of the Mountains of the Moon, House Tullison rose from the humble beginnings of its founder to a place of prominence among the lesser Houses of the Seven Kingdoms. As a loyal ally of House Tully, House Tullison looks to the heart of the Riverlands for guidance and fuels the defenses of its namesake House with iron from its mines.
According to family lore, Joston Rivers, the founder of House Tullison, was born around 115, the natural son of the Lord of Riverrun. The Lord claimed Joston as his child, but sent him to be fostered at the Eyrie to protect the bastard against the machinations of his disapproving wife. Joston showed potential in the martial arts from an early age, and was made a squire to one of House Arryn’s sworn knights. At the age of 14, Joston accompanied his master to the armies of Aegon II, and continued to provide faithful service through the war that would become known as the Dance of the Dragons. By war’s end, Joston had come to his majority and was knighted by his grateful master.
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ing. It is in, and directly around, Joston’s Rock that the majority of the population lives.
Lady Casserdre presented Joston with nine healthy children, five of whom survived childhood and ensured the continuance of the line. Joston died age 48, from a festering arrow wound suffered while fighting the clans. During Robert’s Rebellion, Lord Sterl of House Tullison answered the call of Lord Hoster Tully and went to war against the mad King Aerys II. At the Battle of the Trident, Lord Sterl met his end, leaving his wife, Lady Moraine, in charge of his two-year old son Dunstan, and his newborn daughter Yves. House Tullison continues to follow the example of Lord Joston to this day. Its soldiers protect the smallfolk villagers and miners from the ravages of the clans, and the Tullisons have maintained close ties to Riverrun as bannermen and through the trade of iron ore. Tullison iron has gained a reputation for its high quality, filling the coffers of the House to overflowing. With a steady supply of stone from the iron mines, construction on Joston’s Rock has never really ended, making it one of the most secure castles in the Riverlands.
iNFLuENCE: 23, iNVESTED: 10 (LaDy yVE TuLLiSON)
Upon the death of Lord Sterl at the Trident, young Dunstan became the lord of the House, leaving Lady Yve as the regent until he marries and produces a son of his own.
LaNDS: 25, iNVESTED: 25 (MOuNTaiNS 9, LOrDSViEw (HaMLET) 10, rOaD 5, STrEaM 1)
House Tullison’s rocky holdings center on a small spur of the Mountains of the Moon. Few crops can survive to flourish here, though some animals (like goats) find enough sustenance to make herding them worthwhile. The verdant fields of the Riverlands supply the majority of the food eaten on Tullison land. If some calamity were to drastically reduce the amount of food imported from the Riverlands, or Joston’s Rock should come under siege, the seat maintains a two-year supply of food stores, mainly in the form of dried goods. The ironically-named Torrent is a moderately sitzed stream that runs through Mountain’s Reach, supplying the castle and its inhabitants with fresh water. Other, smaller streams, some mere trickles, can be found here and there, but the Torrent and a few guarded wells are the main sources of fresh water for the area. Excepting the odd weirwood or grove of more common trees, the Tullison holdings offer few sources of lumber. Situated between the Riverlands and the snowline, the lands
Following is an overview of both the mechanical and narrative elements of House Tullison’s holdings.
DEFENSE: 40, iNVESTED: 40 (MOuNTaiN’S rEaCH)
The castle named Mountain’s Reach by Lord Joston—and called “Joston’s Rock” by nearly everyone else—remains the primary defensive structure to be found in the Tullison hold-
HOuSE TuLLiSON OF MOuNTaiN’S rEaCH
lieGe lord: lord HoSter tully of riverrun Defense 40 Influence 23 Lands 25 Law 18 Population 24 Mountain’s Reach (Castle, 40) Lady Yve Tullison (Regent, 10), Expendable 13 Mountains with a Road, Stream and Hamlet (25) House Fortunes -5 House Fortunes +1 Mountaineers: (Veteran Guerillas; 7 Power) - Routine (6) Discipline - Athletics 3, Marksmanship 4, Stealth 4 Power 20 Castle Garrison; 5 Power - Easy (3) Discipline at home or Challenging (9) away - Awareness 3, Endurance 3, Fighting 3 Green Support; 3 Power - Formidable (12) Discipline - Endurance 3 Expendable 3
Mine (10, House Fortunes +5), Sept (15, House Fortunes +3), Ren Alyard (Artisan 10, House Fortunes +1), Maester Haelis (10, House Fortunes +3) total HouSe fortuneS Modifier +8
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around Joston’s Rock are slightly cooler than the lands dominated by the Trident and its forks. Other than Joston’s Rock itself, the only settlement of any size is Lordsview, a hamlet sheltering in the shade of Joston’s Rock’s walls (see the population section for more details). Not long after Lord Joston completed the initial work on Mountain’s Reach, he began construction of a road to link his castle to the Kingsroad. Completed by his son, the River Road is the only major road to be found in Tullison lands, and is a vital connection to the Riverlands. It is down this ditched and cobblestoned road that iron ore flows from the mountain to the Green Fork and down to Riverrun or other buyers. In return, food, lumber and other goods necessary for the survival of the House trundle back up the road on carts and wagons, headed for Joston’s Rock or Lordsview. Rarely washed out (thanks to the stone-lined ditches that parallel it), the River Road is wide enough to accommodate two moderately sized carts travelling side-by-side. Larger transports dominate the road, requiring smaller ones to undertake the laborious procedure of pulling off into the ditches to make way.
The same clans that harassed Joston Rivers still plague House Tullison to this day. Even though Joston’s descendants have continued his tradition of teaching the smallfolk how to defend themselves, the clans represent a constant threat, especially to the smaller mining camps out of sight of Joston’s Rock. The two most numerous and active clans in the area are the Black Goats and the Rock Chewers. Since Lord Joston’s time, House Tullison has trained rangers in mountain fighting. Ser Mather Warrens is the current head of these rangers, called the Mountaineers. The Black Goats takes their name from the black-dyed goat’s hide cloaks that they wear, and are led by a man named Horag. Preferring to attack by night when the black of their cloaks conceals them from view, the Black Goat clansmen are the boldest of the local clans, and have been known to go raiding down the River Road, hoping to catch merchants on their way to Joston’s Rock. The Rock Chewers mix rock dust into their meals, in the belief they are taking the strength of the mountains into their bodies. Less daring than the Black
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Goat clan, the Rock Chewers seek out solitary travelers and small camps on which to prey. The depredations of the Rock Chewers are led by a clansman named Kashal. Both clans have developed an interesting initiation rite since Joston’s day (and they dispute exactly who came up with the idea first). Before either a boy or a girl is allowed to take part on a raid, they must prove their courage by sneaking up to Joston’s Rock and leaving their mark as a bloody handprint on the walls. on the site of the camp from which Joston oversaw the construction of Mountain’s Reach. No more than a half-dozen buildings in size, Lordsview is home to smallfolk without a place in Joston’s Rock. It boasts an inn, a whorehouse, and a small trading post.
POwEr: 20, iNVESTED: 17 TwO SMaLLFOLK LEViES 2*, TraiNED CaSTLE garriSON 5, VETEraN guEriLLaS 7, SuPPOrT (MiNiNg aND CONSTruCTiON CrEw) 3
The Mountaineers are the eyes and ears of House Tullison in the mountains. Led by Ser Mather, the rangers monitor the activities of the clans, patrol the River Road until it meets the green of the Riverlands, and generally attempt to maintain law and order outside Joston’s Rock. Well paid, equipped, and trained, the Mountaineers are the pride of Tullison’s military and every child that grows up under their watchful eye dreams about growing up and joining their ranks. Usually found busy at work on the continuing expansion of the castle, the construction and mining crews can provide a rough-and-ready support unit in times of war. On the rare occasions that smallfolk levies are called up by House Tullison, they are led into battle by the House weapon master (currently Ser Cranston).
The majority of the population to be found on the Tullison holding is concentrated in, or around Joston’s Rock. In place of small farms and houses that dot the rest of the Riverlands, here a traveler is more likely to encounter mining camps or small clusters of huts that serve as home to goatherds. While each camp or miniscule community might have a shared lot dedicated to scrabbling out a few meager crops, these gardens only produce enough food to help feed the families that tend them. No matter how small, each community is apt to be fortified by iron stakes (wood is more expensive here) and other such defensive measures intended to dissuade would-be raiders. Huddled against the south wall of Joston’s Rock is the hamlet of Lordsview. Local legend says that the village stands
wEaLTH: 48, iNVESTED: 45 (rEN aLyarD (arTiSaN) 10, MaESTEr HaELiS 10, MiNE 10, SEPT 15)
The iron mines burrowed into the west face of the Mountains of the Moon are the lifeblood of House Tullison. The wealth produced by the mines has allowed the House to attract the services of Master Smith Ren Alyard, whose forges produce the arms and armor of the House; the counsel of Maester Haelis; and the construction of a sept overseen by Septon Weyls (all of whom can be found in the characters section). The political influence of House Tullison can mainly be felt by the loans granted to poorer (though no less noble) Houses, and with whom the Tullison’s decide to trade their iron ore. The merchants of Market Town (see p. 76) have contributed to the groaning coffers of House Tullison in no small way. While the House technically has a claim to the land Market Town is built on, most Tullison Lords have been smarter than to kill the goose by attempting to take the town by force.
Green Peasant Levy * 1 Power Hard (15) Discipline Population -2* Survival 3
Trained Castle Garrison * 5 Power eaSy (3) Discipline at home or cHallenGinG (9) away Awareness 3, Endurance 3, Fighting 3
Veteran Guerillas * 7 Power routine (6) Discipline Athletics 3, Marksmanship 4, Stealth 4
mINING AND CONSTRUCTION CREw
Green Support * 3 Power routine (6) Discipline Endurance 3
*Most smallfolk receive defensive training; however, the levies only reduce population if they are called up in times of war.
Built with rock quarried from the iron mines, Mountain’s Reach is one with the terrain on which it rests. Even as it has
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grown from its original design over the century and a half since Lord Joston first set eyes on it, the castle has remained true to the first Lord’s vision. Three walls surround the inner keep, north, west, and south, while the mountain itself serves as the fourth, impregnable wall to the east. From a distance, a traveler might assume Joston’s Rock was part of the mountain. With stone being the most plentiful building material to be found in the area, every permanent construction inside Mountain’s Reach is made of stone.
Entrances to the iron mines can be spotted all over the Tullison lands, even inside the walls of Joston’s Rock. The mineshafts inside the castle are among the oldest active mines in the area, some of them going back to the days before Joston Rivers. Other than to produce the high quality iron ore for which House Tullison is known, the mines also provide shelter for the smallfolk of the region in times of trouble. When the signal fires high atop the towers of Joston’s Rock blaze, the smallfolk know an enemy is approaching the mountain and they hurry to seek refuge inside the castle. Dead end shafts where the iron has played out are used for storage, converted into rough-and-ready shelters, and serve as temporary housing for smallfolk whose homes have been ravaged by the clans.
House Tullison is proud to be self-sufficient when it comes to the arms and armoring of its soldiers. With the exception of bows and crossbows, every piece of military equipment used by House forces is made inside the castle grounds. Master Smith Ren Alyard, and his numerous journeymen and apprentices are capable of making full suits of plate mail as well as the chain and breastplates worn by the majority of the troops. Swords, daggers, maces and all other sorts of weapons are made and maintained in the forges. In times of war, the smallfolk levies are equipped with military versions of the picks and axes they use daily.
stained glass windows on each side that portray stylized images of the Seven. Inside, the sept is aglow with candlelight reflecting off highly polished stone floors and benches. Septon Weyls oversees the sept, offering guidance and worship to the faithful. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Smith and the Warrior are the two aspects of the Seven that are venerated most frequently here.
THE graND HaLL
The Grand Hall of Mountain’s Reach is where Lord Dunstan holds court each day to hear the words of his people. It serves double duty as a dining hall when other nobles come to call. The walls of the Hall are lined with tapestries depicting the triumphs of House Tullison and images of mighty heroes –such as Baelor the Blessed– honored throughout the Seven Kingdoms. The Lord’s chair in the Grand Hall is made from carved stone and tradition holds that no cushions may be placed upon it. The Lord that would rule House Tullison must endure as stone endures. Glass windows set near the ceiling provide natural light during the day, while at night the Hall is lit by torches, charcoal burning braziers and the light of the great fireplaces that line it.
Situated inside the walls of the castle, the sept at Mountain’s Reach is the only formal place of worship to be found for leagues. As such, religious smallfolk in the area travel to the sept for ceremonies like weddings, funerals and religious observances. The building that forms the sept was built specifically for the purpose of worship and is seven-sided, with
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This section is devoted to the personalities to be found in the mountainous holdings of House Tullison.
LOrD DuNSTaN TuLLiSON
With an easy smile, and a friendly demeanor, Lord Dunstan is difficult not to like. His perpetually wind-tossed brown hair and wide blue eyes give Dunstan the look of a child at play, even at his ten-and-seven years. Following the death of his father, Dunstan was raised by his mother and the old Maester Donnen to honor his duty to House Tullison, and to the smallfolk and lands given to their care. Dunstan is thoughtful, intelligent and highly capable in both the rocky terrain that every Tullison must learn to negotiate, and in the practice yard where his mace splinters opponent’s shields before thudding home. Dunstan isn’t without his flaws, however, and one flaw in particular is particularly worrisome for the other members of his House. Simply put, Dunstan is open and honest, and far too trusting, to the point of being gullible. He takes what people tell him at face value, without looking for deeper motivations.
He believes the nobles that come to Joston’s Rock seeking to trade for Tullison ore when they tell him that the deal being offered is good for both Houses. He believes the smallfolk thief when the thief apologizes for his ill-deeds and swears to tread a different path. He believes in tales of dragons, and giants, of snarks and grumkins. This isn’t to say Dunstan is a fool. He just tends not to question. Repeat offenders brought before him for the Lord’s justice surprise him with their behavior, but that surprise doesn’t keep him from handing down harsh sentences when he realizes he’s been tricked. Like many other naïve individuals, Dunstan grows wroth with those he realizes have betrayed his trust. Fortunately for House Tullison, Dunstan’s gaffes are kept to a minimum by tactful oversight of his rule. This service to the House was first provided by his mother and Maester Donnen, and now by his sister and the new Maester, Haelis. As an unmarried noble male past his majority, Dunstan
LORD DUNSTAN TULLISON
Agility 3 Athletics 3 Endurance 3 Fighting 4 Language 3 Knowledge 4 Persuasion 3 Status 5 Survival 3 Warfare 3 Will 3
yOUNG ADULT LEADER
Strength 1B Stamina 1B Bludgeoning 2B
coMBat defenSe HealtH 8 9 intriGue defenSe coMPoSure 4 9 9
deStiny PointS drawBacKS: Naïve
BenefitS: Bludgeon Fighter I, Hardy, Head of House
arMS & arMor
BreaStPlate: AR 5, AP -2, Bulk 3 Mace Knife 4+2B 4 3 Damage 1 Damage Shattering 1 Defensive +1, Off-hand +1
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should be married or at least betrothed by this point in his life. Some smallfolk whisper that Dunstan has no interest in a woman’s affections, but there’s no evidence that he prefers the touch of a man, either. Thus far, his sister and Maester Haelis have managed to keep him free of the influences of a wife that would use House Tullison’s wealth for her own ends over what they see as the good of the House. Still, neither sister nor Maester can keep prospective brides and their fathers from visiting Joston’s Rock, and one of the pretty maids (like the tenacious Lady Gywneth) is bound to capture Dunstan’s interest, eventually—whether Dunstan craves the attention of women or not, he knows that he must marry to keep House Tullison alive. Dunstan’s naïveté also expresses itself in another, far more dangerous, way. The young lord craves adventure. Having grown up on maester’s histories, Dunstan desperately wishes to place his name in the annals of history. Each time the ravens bring word of a conflict, his sister and Maester Haelis do their utmost to convince Dunstan not to interfere. He pesters Ser Mather with requests to join the Mountaineers on patrol, and has drawn up plans on several occasions to raid the villages of the clans, only to be dissuaded at the last minute by the combined efforts of Ser Mather, Ser Ulbert and Maester Haelis. In each case, his concern for the lot of the smallfolk levies he’d be forced to call up to manage a successful attack has been the deciding factor. In an attempt to quench this mad impulse for glory, Lady Yve has lately asked Ser Cranston to train Dunstan on the proper use of a lance. She hopes that if Dunstan can learn to joust, he might be satisfied with the mock battles provided by the lists and the tourney melees. Dunstan is eagerly looking forward to the next Tourney of the Brothers (see p. 99).
LADy yvE TULLISON
Awareness 3 Cunning 3 Deception 4 Language 3 Knowledge 3 Persuasion 4 Status 4 Survival 3 Will 3
yOUNG ADULT SCHEmER
Empathy 2B Bluff 2B
LaDy yVE TuLLiSON
Lady Yve is proof that beauty can be found even among the rocky heights of the Tullison holdings. Described as the flower of her House by more than one traveling singer, Yve has the blossoming figure of a woman of ten-and-five years and long, flowing raven tresses. The same wide blue eyes that give her brother the look of innocence instead serve to increase the magnitude of her beauty. Courted by men of both high and low station since her flowering, Yve has grown accustomed to –even slightly cynical about– the attention she receives. The combination of Yve’s comeliness, charm and the wealth of her House make her a prize, even as the daughter of a minor House. The fact that her brother remains unwed
Reputation 1B Orientation 1B
coMBat defenSe HealtH 7 6 intriGue defenSe coMPoSure 3 10 9
deStiny PointS drawBacKS: Fear (snakes)
BenefitS: Attractive, Charismatic, Courteous
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of morality that he seems ill-equipped to recognize on his own. Only then will she give thought to her own happiness. Adding to her reluctance to marry is the quality of the suitors that have, so far, come before her. If Yve were to find a man she was capable of respecting, she might rethink her position. Among the suitors that House Tullison is currently entertaining are Lord Brom Bartheld (a long-winded bore that is far too old for her), Lord Gawen Glover, and whichever Frey happens to be present (Lord Walder pursues possible marriages between members of his brood and both brother and sister). Yve typically refers (in private) to the men that come seeking her hand as “snakes,” which, given her fear of actual snakes, speaks volumes about her current attitude towards marriage to any one of them. Since her mother, the Lady Moraine, became ill, Yve has grown to rely more and more on Maester Haelis for advice and direction, and, increasingly, as a trusted friend she can confide in.
only adds to her appeal as it give suitors some hope that they might inherit rule if something unfortunate were to happen to Lord Dunstan. That is, as they say, the rub. Unlike her brother, Yve is as cunning and self-possessed as she is attractive. Taught intrigue at her mother’s elbow, Yve’s age belies her capability. She is only too aware of the fact that most of her suitors envision themselves sitting on the stone throne of House Tullison. So she uses her beauty as a weapon and her charm as a shield, flirting and blushing her way through attempts to ensnare her in marriage. The dance of intentions she performs is sad in a way. Like every girl, Yve dreams of true love and marital bliss, yet she willingly puts her duty to her House and her love for her brother before her own desires. Yve hopes to find Dunstan a good wife that will care for him, and gently guide him through the quagmires
SER mATHER wARRENS
Agility 3 Athletics 3 Awareness 3 Cunning 3 Endurance 4 Fighting 3 Language 3 Marksmanship 5 Status 3 Stealth 3 Survival 3 Will 3
SEr MaTHEr warrENS
The Warrens family has served House Tullison with distinction for several generations. While not quite a hereditary title, the last three Captains of the Mountaineers have all been Warrenses. Ser Mather replaced his father as Captain when the elder Warrens was killed by the same rockslide that gave Mather the long, jagged scar that mars his otherwise handsome features. Given a practice bow almost before he learned to walk, Ser Mather is feared by the clans as a deadly shot; they have taken to referring to him as Scarhawk. Rather than downplay his injury, Mather makes use of his scarred appearance to intimidate his opponents and has considered adopting the mark of a scar on his personal heraldry. Mather is long and lean, with short-cropped black hair and penetrating grey eyes. Normally clean-shaven, when stubble begins to crop up on his face after a long patrol, the hair around the scar is a silvery white. Other knights have been known to mock Mather for his preference of engaging enemies at a distance with his longbow and for his hide armor, both which suit his duties better than the up-close brutality of blade work. Mather answers mockery with a grin and a challenge. He wagers his longbow and 5 gold dragons
Bows 3B Sneak 2B Orientation 1B, Track 2B
coMBat defenSe HealtH 9 12 intriGue defenSe coMPoSure 1 9 9
deStiny PointS drawBacKS: Marked
BenefitS: Deadly Shot, Double Shot, Fast
arMS & arMor
Hide arMor: AR 5, AP -3, Bulk 3 Longbow 2 Hand Axes 5+2B 3 5 Damage 2 Damage Long Range, Piercing 2, Two-handed, Unwieldy, Vicious Close Range
The Noble Houses
against the weapons of the proud knights that view him with disdain that they can’t keep up with him for one day of patrol. As a result of these wagers, Mather has a fine collection of swords, maces and other melee weapons that he keeps in his chambers, much to the chagrin of their prior owners. Mather is fleet of foot, long of breath and nimble. Without the bulk of plate to encumber him, he scrambles over difficult terrain with ease, and without the presence of a longsword or other large melee weapon to entangle his legs, he can race ahead of challengers. Would-be challengers should be warned, though, that Mather is fond of relating less-than-flattering stories of his victories. This habit has earned him enemies and has very nearly resulted in duels. His duties as Captain of the Mountaineers keep him out of Mountain’s Reach for days at a time, but when he returns home he is greeted warmly by Lord Dunstan. The Captain is something of a heroic father figure to Dunstan, who badgers Mather to go hunting with him, or to allow him to join the patrols. The ranger agrees to the hunting trips, but politely refuses the assistance on patrols, reminding Dunstan that the Tullisons can replace a ranger easier than a lord. Mather is intrigued by the challenge posed by hunting in the Stag’s Moor (see p. 105) and has suggested the possibility of a hunting trip to Lord Dunstan.
Animal Handling 3 Awareness 3 Cunning 3 Healing 4 Language 3 Knowledge 5 Persuasion 3 Status 4 Survival 3
Diagnose 1B, Treat Ailment 1B, Treat Injury 2B Education 2B, Research 2B
coMBat defenSe HealtH 7 6 intriGue defenSe coMPoSure 1 10 6
BenefitS: Knowledge Focus (Nature), Knowledge Focus (Architecture), Maester drawBacKS: Flaw (Marksmanship)
Maester Donnen served House Tullison ably and well for over 50 years before succumbing to the sickness of old age. Upon his death, Lady Moraine sent to the Citadel for a replacement, and Maester Haelis was dispatched to them. In the three years he has served in Joston’s Rock, Haelis has learned the basics of survival in the mountains, as is expected of every member of the House, noble or smallfolk, and assumed the responsibility for the education of Lord Dunstan and Lady Yve. When Lady Moraine became ill, he did all he could to ensure her comfort and sent ravens to the Citadel in search of a cure. Noting early on the tendencies of Lord Dunstan to look before he leaps, Haelis offers counsel to the young lord, aided and abetted by Lady Yve, with whom he has become friends. Haelis is short, skinny and completely average in appearance. His brown hair and his brown eyes have never caught the attention of maidens, which is fine by him. He was the natural born son of some Riverlands lord that his mother never shared the name of and was sent off to the Citadel at an early age. The few people in Mountain’s Reach that are aware Haelis was bastard born tend to overlook the defect in light
of the useful service he provides. The links in his chain that represent knowledge of nature and architecture are what motivated the Citadel to send him to House Tully. Haelis can readily identify nearly any plant, insect, or animal and is equally adept at predicting the mercurial weather patterns of the Mountains of the Moon. His knowledge of architecture has been put to practical use in the ongoing construction of the castle and in the mines where his suggestions on cross bracing, and structural improvements have increased safety for the miners. Currently, Maester Haelis’ attention is focused on three separate goals. Despite his repeated failures to find a remedy for Lady Moraine’s illness, he is constantly seeking out new kinds of treatments, sending his ravens hither and yon for information and consultation with other maesters. Haelis and Lady Yve are of one mind on the subject of Lord Dunstan getting married; namely that every maid brought
The Noble Houses
before the lord must be vigorously scrutinized for signs of trustworthiness (Haelis has been responsible for sending more than one of the female Frey packing). As Lady Yve has grown to trust him more, Haelis has also been able to help her keep her potential suitors guessing. It is his counsel that has led to Yve never showing favor to one over the others, nor yet giving outright refusals that might offer offense. Some rumors suggest that it isn’t duty alone that leads Haelis to assist Lady Yve in her machinations. These same rumors claim that Maester Haelis is secretly in love with the young Lady and can’t bear the thought of seeing her with another man. being a humorous man. Once he sets his mind to something, Ren pursues it with single-minded determination. He considers his lack of humor to be strength that allows him to perform his duties without distraction, and he expects the same level of concentration from those who work in his forges. It’s hard to argue with the results. Because of Master Ren, the arms and armor used by House Tullison is as good as, or better than, any other House in the Riverlands. Ren keeps his graying black hair cropped close to his scalp and inspects the steel that leaves his forges with keen brown eyes. On the rare occasion that he can’t be found in the forges, working, Ren has been known to visit the whores in Lordsview. Ren is always on the lookout for a way to acquire Valyrian steel and the stories told about the treasures of the Barrow Plain (see p. 107) haven’t escaped his notice. He believes that he can unlock the secrets underlying the forging of the metal, if only he can procure a sample. The fact that no other smith since the fall of Valyria has been able to reproduce whatever techniques were used to create weapons that even the noblest of men would be tempted to steal, makes no difference. Ren sees it as the final challenge of his skill.
LaDy MOraiNE TuLLiSON
Born a daughter of House Dondarrion, Lady Moraine was wed to Lord Sterl Tullison at the age of ten-and-seven. The marriage grew into a devoted partnership over the years; Lord Sterl was kind to his wife and she bore him a male heir, Dunstan, and a daughter, Yve. When House Tully called the banners in support of Robert Baratheon, Lord Sterl responded, leaving Moraine to guide the fortunes of the House, counseled by Maester Donnen. Moraine proved a steady hand in Lord Sterl’s absence and when Sterl was killed at the Battle of the Trident she continued to conduct House affairs in her son’s name. Two years past, Moraine contracted a sickness that Maester Haelis could put no name too. She burned so brightly with fever that her dark hair fell out in clumps, yet she still shivered with chills beneath the blankets and furs piled atop her. By the time her fever broke, Moraine’s body had wasted away to near skeletal thinness, and her once vibrant blue eyes were dull with pain and confusion. Maester Haelis dosed her with every medicine he could think of, in hopes of sparking her mind back to wakefulness, but nary a one succeeded. The disease has appeared three more times since the onset of the sickness, each time weakening her further yet. While she clings to life, Maester Haelis refuses to abandon hope, and spends as much time as he can working on the elusive cure that will return her to health.
A bald, paunchy, good-humored man, Septon Weyls is a valued member of the Mountain’s Reach’s community. He oversees the prayers and offerings of the faithful, and always makes time for those in need. Mildly disapproving of the whores that live and work in Lordsview, he makes no move to bar them from the sept, and hears their confessions in the hopes of turning them to the path of virtue. From time to time, he asks Lord Dunstan to provide him with an escort so that he may visit the smallfolk outside Joston’s Rock, spreading the word and forgiveness of the Seven. Even though the Smith and the Warrior remain the most popular figures of worship in Mountain’s Reach, Weyls does his best to remind his flock that those are only two aspects of the whole that the Seven represents. With the aid of Maester Haelis, Septon Weyls keeps in touch with the septs of other Houses and shares his knowledge with Lord Dunstan and Lady Yve. It is in this manner that much of the news of current events in Westeros comes to Mountain’s Reach. Without a doubt, the most unbiased information the Septon gains in this manner comes from his fellows at the Septry at Shattered Rock (see p. 103). Weyls visits Lady Moraine weekly to pray at her bedside for healing, and assists Yve, in his own quiet way, in discouraging suitors
MaSTEr SMiTH rEN aLyarD
Oft referred to as the Bull of Joston’s Rock by the smallfolk, Master Ren is a large, burly man as strong as his nickname suggests. Lord Dunstan jests that the true reason people call Ren the Bull is for his stubbornness. Ren fails to see the humor in this joke, but no one has ever accused the smith of
The Noble Houses
for her hand by asking the men that come to visit uncomfortable questions about their faith. Any attention she lavishes on Old Gaunt (as she calls him in private) is sure to be forgotten by Brom by the time her other suitor has given up, and departed. Brom consoles himself with what he deems as his future wife’s “indiscretions” with the attention of the whores in Lordsview, who never cease to be impressed by his…vitality.
SEr uLBErT HiTE
The Captain of the guard at Mountain’s Reach is a stern, serious fellow that is considered to be a petty dictator by the men that are forced to report to him. Ser Ulbert brooks no dissent, has no time for excuses, and no mercy for any man that reports late for duty. He conducts weekly inspections of the weapons and armor kept by his men, and isn’t shy about using the whip to persuade repeat offenders to ferret out even the smallest hint of rust, or wear. Ofttimes, this sort of behavior might result in a fatal “accident” to befall the Captain, but Ser Ulbert is no man to be trifled with. Not only is Ulbert larger and meaner than any other man in Joston’s Rock, he’s also been known to defeat Master Ren in arm wrestling matches without breaking a sweat. Other than Lord Dunstan and the other knights in the castle, the only man Ulbert has friendly relations with is Maester Haelis. Ulbert and Haelis share a passion for the game of cyvasse, which was introduced in the castle by a Dornish mercenary in the employ of one of Lady Yve’s suitors. Ser Ulbert has repeatedly attempted to be reassigned to the Mountaineers, but Ser Mather doesn’t want him there. Ulbert was the first knight to accept Ser Mather’s challenge, and Mather still keeps the sword Ulbert lost on the wager over the fireplace in his quarters.
LaDy gwyNETH MarSTEN
Blonde, petite and pretty, Lady Gywneth is visiting Mountain’s Reach in hopes of wedding Lord Dunstan. Gwyneth is the niece of Lady Isobel Marsten by her late husband’s brother, Mikael. While it is true that a marriage between House Tullison and House Marsten would be certain to help the ailing coffers on the latter House, that isn’t the sole reason Gwyneth was sent off to woo Lord Dunstan. Lady Isobel sees the marriage as a good way of ridding herself of a possible rival of her sole remaining child for control of House Marsten. This is especially important in light of the fact that no one is quite sure whether Mikael lives or not. Always a bit of a wastrel, he was last seen on a ship headed for the east, and no one has heard of or from him since that day. Perhaps desperate to escape her circumstances, Gwyneth hasn’t been as easy to vanquish as previous maids that have come a-courting to Mountain’s Reach. She endures the icy silences and pointed jibes of Lady Yve, and ignores the subtle hints from Maester Haelis that she’s not welcome. Lord Dunstan is mildly interested by her company, but not so much so that Gwyneth could begin to hope she has managed to capture his heart. Still, the charade must be played out, and Gwyneth intends to either marry this young lord, or not return home. A few rumors have circulated among the servants at Joston’s Rock about the relationship between Lady Gwyneth and her escort, Ser Willain Marks. Thus far, Lady Yve hasn’t been able to confirm the rumors, but would love to do so.
LOrD BrOM BarTHELD
Tall, thin and cadaverously pale, Lord Brom is something of a permanent guest at Mountain’s Reach. Upon the death of his last wife, Brom began to look around for a younger woman to warm his bed and has set his heart on Lady Yve. When his attempts at arranging the match from afar met with failure, Brom left his manor in the hands of his oldest grandson and came to make his case in person. Arriving with Brom was his aging squire, a bastard by the name of Dart Rivers. Lord Brom and Dart haunt the halls of Joston’s Rock, often waylaying unsuspecting guests or serving folk to regale them with tales of Brom’s heroics during Robert’s Rebellion. A survivor of the Trident, Brom enjoys showing people the ruby ring he had made from one of the jewels Robert Baratheon smashed free from Rhaegar Targaryen’s armor. Lady Yve finds Lord Brom’s attentions to be repellant and slightly creepy, but refuses to have the old man barred from the castle. Brom is useful as a foil for overly persistent suitors.
SEr wiLLaiN MarKS
Tall, brash and handsome, Ser Willain is the kind of dashing knight that makes maidens swoon. Resplendent in his full plate armor, astride his white destrier, Willain is a vision to behold, even if he’s only a hedge knight. When Lady Isobel determined to ship Lady Gwyneth off to House Tullison to wed, she enlisted the services of Ser Willain as guardian, to protect her niece from the dangers of the roads. Willain claims to have been knighted by King Aerys himself, a claim that is exceedingly difficult to prove since the King is dead
The Noble Houses
and most of House Targaryen with him. However, since no one can disprove the claim, Willain retains the title ser, and the honor that accompanies it. Willain has enjoyed his time at Mountain’s Reach, showing off his jousting skills to an impressed Lord Dunstan and sparring with the Mountaineers. Rumors suggest he’s enjoyed more than just House Tullison’s hospitality. Smallfolk gossip pairs Ser Willain and Lady Gwyneth in a romantic relationship that features the good ser sneaking into her room every other night, and not reemerging until the first rays of dawn. If the rumors are true, the affair could lead to serious consequences for both Willain and Lady Gwyneth. At best, Willain would be forced to take the black, while Lady Gwyneth would be returned home to live out the rest of her life in shame. es. Ser Mather has begun to put two-and-two together, however, and is planning a surprise for Horag the next time the Mountaineers catch a whiff of an impending raid.
The leader of the Rock Chewers clan has a single burning desire: to drink wine from Ser Mather’s skull. Kashal was leading a raid on a smallfolk camp when Ser Mather and his father ambushed the clansmen from behind. Although he escaped, Kashal was shot in the buttocks by Ser Mather as he fled; a humiliating wound that forced Kashal to eat meals standing up, and sleep on his stomach for a month. Unknown to Ser Mather, Kashal was behind the rockslide that killed his father. Kashal was furious when the slide failed to kill both father and son, leaving his oath of vengeance unfulfilled. The Rock Chewers have watched with some jealousy the success of Horag’s raids on the caravans moving on the River Road. Thus far, Kashal has kept his clan from joining the Black Goats on the raids, which has led to some mutterings among the clansmen, and forced Kashal to kill one man to prevent a revolt. As much as he’d like to claim the goods and weapons from the traveling merchants, Kashal has refrained, instead skulking along in the wake of the Black Goats, and watching. He realizes that Ser Mather is bound to figure out Horag’s plan, eventually, and when Mather makes his move to ambush the Black Goats, Kashal intends to ambush the Mountaineers in return, and claim his revenge.
Horag’s legend among the Black Goats began when he left his bloody handprints on the walls of Mountain’s Reach at the age of ten-and-two, stealing a woman from Lordsview on his return trip. By the time he came to his full growth, Horag had already strung the tongues of the five men he killed on a necklace, and claimed leadership of the clan. Horag claims that his strength comes from his full, bushy beard, which he has never cut or trimmed since it began to sprout from his face. His black, goat’s fur cloak is trimmed in the silver coins he’s stolen from his victims and the longsword he claimed from the body of a dead Mountaineer is the pride of the clan. Lately, Horag has undertaken a strategy of raiding that is considered the height of tactical genius by the other clansmen. He sends the women and the weakest of the clan to attack a smallfolk camp, just close enough to Joston’s Rock for word of the attack to carry to the castle. Then, while the Mountaineers are busy chasing the dregs of the clan, Horag attacks a merchant traveling up the River Road. The attacks are coordinated by the position of the sun in the sky, with the raids on the merchants usually coming just as dusk approach-
MuDDyiNg THE PaLETTE
Dunstan hasn’t wed, not because Yve and Moraine can’t find a woman good enough for him, but because Davain and Moraine are trapped in a wicked and incestuous relationship (in this scenario, Moraine isn’t dying—or isn’t dying quite yet). Yve desperately wants to escape the demented household she finds herself in, but no suitable matches can be found. The players might be able to help her.
As caught up as the noble houses of Westeros can become in their own affairs, they do not exist separate from the land and peoples of the Seven Kingdoms, but as integral parts of them. This chapter helps to put the six houses from the previous chapter into context by describing the part of the Riverlands where they exist and pursue their particular goals. This chapter looks at Market Town, a free community walking the difficult line between loyalties to various houses and liege-lords, a place where characters of different allegiances can mix and mingle, as well as scheme and move against one another. Market Town has its own share of secrets and schemes, many of them belonging to its wily mayor, Esra Stone. The chapter offers sketches of corners of the Riverlands suitable as lands claimed by a new house of the players’ creation, should they prefer not to take any of the sample houses from the previous chapter as their own. Durain’s
Forest is a bandit-haunted stretch of wilderness and the keep of Rugar Hold is a small fortress suitable for a fairly new house. Riverthorn is a once-prosperous land ruined by plague, which wiped out its previous rulers, leaving their Rose Hall open to a house willing to take up the work of resettling its abandoned hamlets and farms. Port Maril is a small town with a questionable reputation but also a center of local trade (and smuggling) where the new Portmaster and Lord of the Storm Tower must deal with pirates and smugglers, either by rooting them out, or claiming a portion of their ill-gotten gains. The chapter concludes with a selection of traditional events and interesting places you can use as part of A Song of Ice and Fire chronicle set in the Riverlands, from the annual Tourney of the Brothers and the Mummers’ Joust to places like Stag’s Moor, the Hag’s Mouth, or the haunted fields of the Stranger’s Farmstead.
In the hundreds of years since Market Hill was first settled, Market Town has been a fort, a castle, and two different cities. It has been abandoned, razed by raiders, and destroyed by plague, but the people always return and rebuild.
The secret of Market Town’s persistence is its ideal location. A creek called Sky’s Daughter winds its way down from the Mountains of the Moon and across a fertile plain called the Lion’s Run before joining the Green Fork and flowing to the sea. In the center of Lion’s Run, Sky’s Daughter nearly encircles a tall, broad hill with a gentle slope and a firm bedrock base. With its commanding view of the surrounding territory, defensible position, easy access to prime soil and water, and good foundations, Market Hill is an ideal place to build a city, which is why generations have built and rebuilt one there. The first incarnation of Market Town was a fort called Arros built more than five thousand years before Aegon’s Landing by Andal invaders as they swept north across Westeros and made war against the First Men. When the battle lines moved north, Arros remained and became a small city. Centuries before the Targaryens’ arrival, Arros had become nothing but rotten timbers and abandoned structures. Local legends claim that the Children of the Forest took the inhabitants away, and might one day return for the city’s current inhabitants. The next incarnation of Arros was a walled city made of wood and stone built by the Andal Lord Larson Dally. This iteration of the city, called Hill Town, outlasted its founder and his family and was rebuilt many times. Hill Town survived until a generation after the Conquest, when it joined the Faith of the Seven’s revolt against the Targaryens and was burnt to the ground by dragonfire. Although the maesters of Oldtown record the battle as a slaughter, many of the smallfolk survived by fleeing to the surrounding mountains. The town’s leaders, however, were hung, drawn and quartered, and fed to dragons for their temerity. The Targaryens, never ones to waste prime territory, rebuilt the city as Dragonfire Hill in shortly thereafter and gave it to House Asrig. The name was chosen to remind the populace— most of whom were the sons and daughters of the survivors of Hill Town—of the price of defying Targaryen might. Perhaps as a result if this inauspicious beginning, Dragonfire Hill
never prospered. The townsfolk claimed that their home was cursed, haunted by the charred shades of their fathers and grandfathers. The dire prophecies came true almost two hundred years later, when the city was decimated by the Great Spring Sickness. Market Town’s newest incarnation was born just a few years later when the site was resettled by Tobis Stone, a bastard son of a disinherited Arryn daughter. The first inhabitants of Market Town were survivors of the Great Spring Sickness and ambitious smallfolk from Arryn holdings. The town has been nominally independent of the local noble houses ever since. Market Town managed to remain neutral during Robert’s Rebellion simply by being out of the way. It was similarly untouched by the Greyjoy Rebellion. Today, all the noble families with a claim to the area lay claim to Market Town. Each house has its own justification. The Barthelds say Market Town is theirs as the city once belonged to fallen House Asrig, whose lands were granted to the Barthelds by King Robert. Many argue that the claim is academic, however, as House Asrig had not held any noticeable dominion over the settlement since the Great Spring Sickness wiped out Dragonfire Hill. House Marsten’s justification is much more recent; they are willing to admit (or claim) that Tobis Stone’s unknown father is a Marsten if it means taking control of Market Town. House Barnell claims Market Town as part of the land granted to them by House Tully, as does House Tullison (Lord Tully himself has bigger fish to fry). House Kytley’s claim is even older than House Bartheld’s, but more dubious—they believe that Market Town never rightfully belonged to house Asrig at all, but was theirs all along. House Asrig’s claim, they say, was unjust and based on falsified documents.The House Dulver claim is economic. They claim to have bought the land from House Asrig shortly before the house was destroyed in Robert’s Rebellion, and although the royal copies of the transaction were destroyed in the sack of King’s Landing, Lord Dulver claims to have his own copies of the documents to prove it. Any house in the area that could take and keep Market Town would reap great benefits. Not only would the winning house gain income from Market Town’s taxes, victory would also be an expression of dominance over the defeated houses, something no status-conscious noble can ever forget. Rather than come to blows over Market Town, the local nobles are satisfied—for now—to leave the town as neutral ground. This situation satisfies the folk of Market Town as well. The people of Market Town are happy with paying taxes only to the crown—and that infrequently—and fifteen years is a long time to get used to the current state of affairs. Any-
one hoping to make Market Town theirs will have to outmaneuver the other houses and Market Town’s wily mayor, Esra Stone.
Market Town is roughly square, surrounded by a palisade wall with watchtowers at every corner. The walls are made of layers of old, solid wood and thick iron bolts. Some sections of the city wall date back to Dragonfire Hill or Tobis Stone’s resettlement. The watchtowers, on the other hand, are new stone. They date back to the tense days of Robert’s Rebellion, when the mayor feared that a local noble house might use the brewing conflict as an excuse to seize the city. In addition to the usual fortifications, Market Town’s watchtowers use a system of huge braziers and signal mirrors to send information from tower to tower quickly in emergencies. Market Town is divided into two neighborhoods. Old Town—built primarily out of old stone—is the rebuilt remains of Dragonfire Hill. Thanks to an old superstition that the old structures are haunted by the plague that destroyed
Dragonfire Hill and unsafe, Old Town is a poor neighborhood. Drunkenness and desperation are more common than crimes of violence or passion, but those crimes do happen. New Town, on the other hand, is the part of the city built since Tobis Stone’s resettling of the city. New Town is prosperous and clean, and the people are proud, happy, and ambitious.
MarKET SquarE aND THE raVEN’S PuB
Market Square is the heart of town, a dirt-floored plaza about twenty yards to a side. A weathered statue that might once have been an image of Tobis Stone marks the center of the square. Any details the statue might have once had are obscured by years of wear and layers of bird droppings. The statue is unusually popular with the local ravens, which has led to the statue being called the Raven’s Pub. If a Market Towner says “I’ll meet you at the Raven’s Pub,” he means that he’ll see you in Market Square. Market Towners have a habit of discussing dark business “under the Raven and the moon,” which means in the center of Market Square, at night. Even a skilled eavesdropper would be hard pressed to sneak up on
the Raven’s Pub in the night, and the darkness hides the features of conspirators from observation at a distance. Local traders have made a half-hearted effort to beautify Market Square. A small raised-bed flower garden surrounds the statue in the middle of the square and several of the surrounding shops have made their storefronts bright and attractive. For most of the week Market Square is a park. Young men and women come here to walk with their sweethearts, old men come to sit on the edge of the raised flowerbed in the center of the square and feed bread crumbs and corn to the ever-present ravens, and children come to play. On first day of every week, Market Square undergoes an amazing transformation. All the storefronts along the edge of the square expand onto the street, displaying their best wares. Locals who aren’t wealthy enough to own or rent storefronts on the square and merchants from all across the region set up stalls in the square. All kinds of products are available for purchase, from fine swords to butternut squash. Because Market Town only pays taxes to the crown, prices are extraordinarily low. (In game terms, Market Town merchants are considered to be Amiable towards most shoppers for the purpose of Bargain tests.) Other entrepreneurs come to feed and entertain the shoppers, filling the square with meat pie sellers, beer stands, jugglers, singers, and poets. Market Day is a lively, amiable chaos of sights, sounds, and smells.
Unlike most septs, Endra’s Sept is a relatively new building. It was built by the septa Endra Cooper ten years after Tobis Stone resettled the location. Market Towners had been avoiding the old sept—then one of the oldest buildings in town—out of fear that the plague that had wiped out the city had somehow sunk into the timbers of the building. Because the nearest sept was nearly a day’s walk away, the Faith feared that it was failing the people of Market Town. Septa Cooper walked all the way from the Starry Sept in Oldtown to ritually restore the sept. Endra’s Sept was originally a humble seven-sided building with an attached dormitory for the septa and her staff, a small hospital, and a few extra multipurpose rooms. Over the years, wealthy merchants hoping to buy the favor of the Seven have donated heavily to the sept, resulting in an increasingly ornate building. Today, Endra’s Sept is one of the few stone buildings in New Town. It stands two stories tall—vaulted ceilings in the chapel, two floors in the administrative and dormitory buildings—with white marble walls and stained glass windows. The simple cloth icons that Endra brought with her from Oldtown have been replaced by marble statues inlaid with precious metals (though the originals are still kept in a place of honor in the sept’s archives). Septon Finch and his staff live in a sprawling compound, complete with gardens and their own library. Although Market Towners are proud of their sept, most outsiders find it gaudy, and Endra herself would probably be horrified.
THE MaiDEN’S HOuSE
Market Town’s lone brothel, the Maiden’s House, is a twostory building in New Town, not far from Endra’s Sept. Like Market Square, the Maiden’s House is innocuous for most of the week and transforms on Market Day, with red lanterns in every window and women lounging in the street or leaning alluringly from the balconies. The Maiden’s House does a thriving business on the days surrounding each Market Day, as traveling merchants seek out the comforts denied them by the road. Dame Adrienne, the proprietor, aspires to build the Maiden’s House into a place of taste and class, like the brothels of King’s Landing and Lannisport, but it falls short. The girls are happy enough with their lot in life and the rooms are
clean, but the décor and the music are a little too gaudy and the accents a little too countrified. Still, The Maiden’s House is a better brothel than most in Westeros, and like the rest of Market Town, its inhabitants and proprietors are ambitious and determined. cities that came before it. This is where Mayor Stone and his closest allies—including Hadrian—scheme to keep the nobility’s collective hands off Market Town and stock the arms and armor they will need if it ever comes to blows.
Outside of Market Town, down the hill and across the plains to the east, past the fields and farmhouses, a forest clings to the foothills of the Mountains of the Moon. This wood represents the eastern edge of Market Town and the beginning of the noble houses. When the men who built Market Town came here seeking wood, they left empty-handed. Instead of trees to cut, they found an ancient and overgrown godswood. The folk of Market Town are generally adherents of the Faith of the Seven, but they refuse to cut down the ancient weirwood and its fellow trees. Today, those few Market Towners who seek the favor of the Old Gods take the journey to the godsgrove to be alone under the trees. The Old Faith has no clergy, but an old man called Peter Hasting is the Godsgrove’s de facto keeper. Despite arthritis in his fingers and knees, Peter makes the journey to the Godsgrove twice a week to brush fallen leaves from the moss. Peter is the man locals come to when they seek the blessing of the Old Gods, and Peter advises them in how to behave in the Godswood and how to pray.
The Town Hall is Market Town’s second-most ostentatious building, following Endra’s Sept (and followed by the Hall of All Guilds and the Maiden’s House). Town Hall is another stonework New Town structure, situated so that the back of the building has a balcony overlooking Market Square. The building houses an audience hall, where the Mayor hears petitions, a courthouse, and several administrative offices. When the mayor must address the populace of Market Town, he does so from the balcony in the rear, with the people gathered in Market Square. In addition to serving as Market Town’s center of government, Town Hall is the town guard’s nerve center. Town Hall’s central spire receives messages via mirror or signal fire from the four watchtowers and sends more guards to deal with any trouble. The basements beneath the building are also home to Market Town’s jail. The cells are rarely occupied, however, because Market Town’s justice is so swift: violent criminals are hung, liars and cheats are exiled, and lesser criminals are lashed or pilloried and then released.
THE HEarT aND CrOwN
A block away from Market Square, on the border between Old Town and New Town, is the Heart and Crown, Market Town’s best pub. There are taverns in New Town of higher quality and bars in Old Town that are much less expensive, but everyone comes to the Heart and Crown once in a while. The owner and proprietor of the Heart and Crown is Hadrian Tor, a tall, brusque, appealingly ugly redheaded man in his late fifties. Hadrian is descended from one of Tobis Stone’s daughters, and the Heart and Crown has been in his family since its founding by Tobis Stone himself, shortly after the resettling of Market Town. Thanks to their pedigree, Hadrian and the Heart and Crown are much-beloved local institutions. The mayors of Market Town hold informal court in the Heart and Crown. Here, Mayor Esra Stone and his advisors hear cases they can’t or won’t in Town Hall, and many informal deals are made and broken. Finally, the Heart and Crown’s cellar has a secret: a hidden passageway to the catacombs underneath Market Town formed by the layers of dead
Esra Stone, Septon Harald Finch, Dame Adrienne, and Yorik Ralk are the leading figures in Market Town.
MayOr ESra STONE
Newcomers to Market Town are often struck by the mayor’s name: Stone. Westeros’s bastard names don’t last for many generations. Bastards marry into legitimate families, adopt names based on their hometowns or professions, or die without legitimate children of their own. The Stones of Market Town have survived and thrived by their wits for more than a hundred years. They are not peasants to name themselves after the land or their craft. They are everything bastard children are supposed to be—ruthless, proud, and adaptable—and they want everyone to know it. Mayor Esra Stone is the current head of the family, as audacious as any of his forbearers. Esra Stone is a tall, broad-shouldered man slowly working his way into vigorous middle age. He is handsome, in
Awareness 4 Cunning 4 Deception 5 Persuasion 3 Status 3 Will 4
Empathy 2B Memory 2B Bluff 2B Reputation 2B
coMBat defenSe: HealtH: 8 6 intriGue defenSe: coMPoSure: 1 11 12
BenefitS: Adept Negotiator, Favored of Smallfolk, Head of House drawBacKS: Flaw (Fighting)
arMS & arMor
Padded arMor: AR: 1, AP: 0, Bulk 0
a mature and fatherly sort of way, with strong features and black hair going slightly grey at the temples. Esra’s dark brown eyes glitter with intelligence, humor, and mischief, seeming out of place on his steady, reliable face. He dresses well, but not ostentatiously. Esra strikes a balance between showing off his status, appealing to Market Town’s wealthy merchants, and identifying with the city’s lower classes. Esra almost never carries weapons himself and wouldn’t know what to do with one if he did, but he rarely goes anywhere without a small escort of town guardsmen—usually his nephews Kurt and Elias—wearing leather breastplates and armed with stout cudgels. The people of Market Town call Esra “the Wily Mayor,” and he deserves the title. Esra Stone has kept Market Town free of noble influence for more than a decade despite concerted efforts on the part of surrounding houses to lay claim to the city and he shows no sign of slacking off now. Market Town and the local nobles have clashed a number of times over the years as the nobles test the dedication and independence of Market Town and its mayor. Esra has had to use cleverness and sheer, unmitigated gall to keep the city independent. Esra has played the houses off against each other, made promises he never intended to keep and threats he
couldn’t back up, lied, stolen, and ordered murder, all to keep Market Town free. The people love him for it, though they might love him a little less if they knew some of the sacrifices he has made for their sake. Himself a liar and manipulator, Esra does not trust easily. However, he was raised on stories of the iniquity of the nobility and has a soft spot for smallfolk whom the nobility have taken advantage of. On the other hand, Esra has a grudge against the highborn and loves to frustrate their schemes. Most importantly, Esra is smooth and composed, all smiles and gentle words, no matter what. Esra is an unapologetic believer in nepotism, but makes sure to leave room for promising peasants outside his immediate family. Esra Stone lives with his wife, Devra, in the mayor’s mansion in Market Town, not far from Town Hall. They have four children. Lilah and Maryan, twelve and fourteen, still live at home. Their oldest daughter, Daisy, has married a local craftsman and lives in Market Town and their oldest son, Niall, has set himself up as a merchant in Lannisport and writes infrequently. Esra’s younger brother Hans—Kurt and Elias’s father—lives in Market Town as well. Esra would be hard pressed to defend himself in a fight and doesn’t bother to carry any weapons. Instead, he surrounds himself with reliable young men in the city guard, like his nephews Kurt and Elias. Although these game sta-
kURT AND ELIAS
Athletics 4 Awareness 4 Endurance 3 Fighting 3
THE SiNS OF ESra STONE
Esra Stone keeps his secrets well, but not even the Wily Mayor’s schemes can protect him forever. Below is a small sampling of some of Esra Stone’s deeds. Everything he has done, he did for Market Town, but even that excuse might not save him from the consequences if these secrets were to come to light. tHe flaSHinG PeaK BanditS: Banditry is a fact of life in Westeros, especially for cities like Market Town, which stand outside the protection of the nobility. However, several years ago, when Esra discovered that a group of bandits were secretly taking Kytley money to harass independent merchant caravans headed in and out of Market Town, he knew that the usual measures wouldn’t suffice. Through bribes and threats, Esra was able to find out where bandits were meeting with their noble patrons and had one of his men disable and replace the Kytley messenger. It was easy for Esra to arrange for the Kytley bandits to attack a Marsten caravan. The oldest son of a loyal Marsten retainer was killed in the fighting, but so were all of the bandits. If the Marstens ever find out the Esra Stone was behind the attack, they will certainly retaliate. tHe MarriaGe of Brendan fowleS and naoMi forreSter: Esra Stone hates to see good families used and abused by the gentry. Last year Brendan Fowles fell in love with a minor noble’s daughter, Kaleen Waynwood. Fowles’s father is Isaac Fowles, a Market Town merchant known for his piety, and a supporter of Stone’s. Esra decided on his own that it was in Market Town’s best interests to prevent the match. He took Brendan for a night on the town, which ended with Brendan in the bed of Naomi Forrester, a girl from a hardworking but impoverished family and willing co-conspirator. Brendan’s pious (and enraged) father demanded that he marry the girl he made pregnant, and even if he hadn’t, Esra knew that Kaleen’s father had been looking for an excuse to forbid the match. Neither Brendan’s nor Kaleen’s feelings never entered Esra’s calculations and he seems untroubled by Kaleen’s subsequent suicide. fatHer and Son: Esra has always tried his best to keep his family separate from the moral compromises he makes for Market Town. Unfortunately, he has not always succeeded. His son Niall’s first mercantile coup was an exclusive contract to transport wine from House Bartheld’s vineyards down the river for sale in Kings Landing. Esra found the opportunity too rich to pass up. He saddled his son with a few employees who were incompetent at hauling but who made excellent informants and recruiters within Hart House itself. When Niall found out, he was furious; this was his livelihood, not fodder for his father’s schemes! He folded the operation and left for Lannisport that evening. No one outside of Esra’s immediate family knows about the falling-out, and most of Market Town merely assumes that Niall left to seek his fortune in the big city.
Notice 1B Bludgeon 1B
coMBat defenSe: 8 HealtH: 9
arMS & arMor
Soft leatHer: AR: 2, AP -1, Bulk 0 Cudgel 3+1B 3 Damage Off-Hand +1
tistics are meant to reflect Kurt and Elias in particular, they could easily be used for a generic member of Market Town’s civil guard.
SEPTON HaraLD FiNCH
Harald Finch is Market Town’s Septon. He is dedicated to the Father, and wears that aspect of the Seven’s symbol cast in silver on a chain around his neck. Harald Finch is a small, narrow, and by no means handsome man in his forties with gray hair and a close-cropped beard. He wears the robes of a septon like he was born to them and it is hard to imagine him as anything but a finicky middle-aged septon. His assistants are wont to say “Septon Finch was never young.” Harald is far from a perfect septon. He is abrasive, unpleasant, and a stranger to compromise when dealing with people he categorizes as his inferiors. He is a lifelong bachelor with no patience for women, whom he views as frivolous and distracting regardless of their actual traits. Most of Market Town’s people bypass Septon Finch whenever possible in favor of one of his assistants, who are generally much more agreeable and eager to help people solve their problems. In the face of power—wealthy merchants, noblemen, ranking Faith officials—Harald instantly transforms into an apologetic, flattering sycophant.
This last trait—pliability in the face of authority—is how Harald Finch earned the position of Septon of Endra’s Sept. The previous Septon was a stronger and more ambitious man who borrowed heavily from local merchants to fund his charitable endeavors. The guilds and associations of Market Town practically own Endra’s Sept, and they were able to arrange for a more agreeable Septon. At his root, Harald Finch is weak, and hides from the knowledge of his own weakness. He allows himself to be manipulated, out of fear and ignorance of his own strength. His faith in the Seven and the Father is very real, and he prays every day for strength, wisdom, and courage, unaware that all these traits are close at hand, if only he would grow a backbone. Harald Finch has never been in a situation where his or anyone else’s life was at risk, and no one—least of all Septon Finch himself—knows what he will do if he is. There may be more to Harald Finch than meets the eye, or perhaps he is exactly what he seems.
Awareness 3 Cunning 3 Deception 4 intriGue defenSe: 8
Empathy 1B Disguise 1B coMPoSure: 6
The Madame of the Maiden’s House is a statuesque woman in her midthirties. She wears her red hair up in a variety of elaborate hairstyles and uses a Maester’s toolbox of cosmetics to ensure that her appearance is just so. Adrienne dresses her best, in heavily embroidered gowns cut and dyed to complement of her dramatic coloring and flatter her ample figure, and wears a great deal of gold and ruby jewelry. Dame Adrienne’s manner is defined by two words: vice and class. As the Madame of Market Town’s only brothel, Adrienne is conscious that she occupies a place outside of polite society. She is self-consciously naughty, encouraging others to indulge themselves in a way that is both alluring and motherly. At the same time, Dame Adrienne puts on every appearance of class and breeding, from her assumed title of “dame” to her style of dress to her perfectly clipped accent. Dame Adrienne isn’t just selling sex at the Maiden’s House, she is selling the fantasy that her clients are powerful and important people—like the nobles they admire and fear—with seraglios full of beautiful and willing women. Dame Adrienne rarely sees clients herself, and only by invitation. A passing nobleman or wealthy
merchant might be offered the opportunity to spend the evening with the mistress of the Maiden’s House, as are Adrienne’s old friends from her days in Dorne. Of course, Dame Adrienne is both more and less than she seems. Despite her genteel façade, she can be remarkably brutal to prostitutes or clients who displease her. She has had more than one client beaten within an inch of his life for harming one of her girls, and although she doesn’t hurt her workers physically, she is completely merciless about throwing one of them out onto the street if she makes a big enough mistake, like offending an important client, stealing from the house, or getting pregnant. Dame Adrienne is also very religious. She regularly attends services at Endra’s Sept and donates heavily. Dame Adrienne is also a spy for the Princes of Dorne. Market Town is very well situated to harvest all sorts of information about the Riverlands. Reports arrive at the Maiden’s House all the time—in letters, in the hands of a “passing nobleman,” “wealthy merchant” or “old friend” from Dorne—which Adrienne then passes along to her superiors. Adrienne has been a spy for a long time, ever since a sojourn in Dorne when she was a teenager. Adrienne genuinely believes that Dorne is a better and more just place than the rest of Westeros. Running the brothel is her vocation, but increasing Dorne’s influence over Westeros is her calling.
CaPTaiN yOriK raLK
The head of Market Town’s civil guard is a tall, burly man with wiry black hair, dark eyes, and a dusky complexion. Captain Yorik Ralk is unquestionably the toughest man in Market Town. He trains all the guardsmen personally and has never been beaten, even by his best students. His training isn’t easy—he would obviously prefer to have fewer men rath-
CAPTAIN yORIk RALk
Athletics 3 Awareness 3 Fighting 4
New House Locations
The six noble houses described in the previous chapter provide a good starting point for players who want to get into the game immediately, or a selection of noble houses that the Narrator can use as rivals to the players’ home house. For players and Narrators who want more creative room but are having trouble getting their house ideas jump started, this section provides three descriptions of regions that player or NC houses can call home. These descriptions are purposefully vague so they can be customized according to player or Narrator desires. Instead of giving exact numbers for all the house attributes, recommended ranges are given, so players can determine the attributes in such a way that the core story of the region is maintained while they retain control over the process. If Narrators or players would prefer to throw out portions of these regions and customize them further, that works just as well. Generally Influence, Power, and Wealth are left relatively vague since they are less tied to geography and more tied to family history. All of these locations are located near the Trident, though their specific placement on the map can be adjusted by the Narrator so that he or she can retain a greater deal of control over their story. They have interactions listed with the various noble houses previously described to give Narrators and players ideas as to what sorts of conflicts could be in their future. If players prefer to take over one of the other houses described in this book, the locations listed here still make excellent locations for expansion and adventuring, as well as prizes to struggle over. If the players’ House decides collectively that it wants to expand its Land holdings into Riverthorn, for instance, that is an excellent way to bring them into conflict with House Dulver, which desires Rose Hall for itself.
Strength 1B Notice 1B Bludgeon 1B
coMBat defenSe: 9 HealtH: 12
arMS & arMor
Soft leatHer: AR: 2, AP -1, Bulk 0 Cudgel 4+1B 2 Damage Off-Hand +1
er than lesser men in his service. Some of his men have seen him take injuries that would kill or cripple most men—such as during the Flashing Peak Bandit raids of five years ago— and survive with more scars to add to his already significant collection. Yorik wears a standard issue boiled leather breastplate painted the guard colors of red and white. Yorik Ralk is about as laconic as a man can get without simply refusing to talk at all. He leads mostly by example and through quiet conversations with his lieutenants. And yet, things get done, and those lieutenants are fanatically loyal to their commanding officer. Captain Ralk acts with a degree of honor not seen in most sworn knights. He has never left a guardsman in danger and considers himself responsible for their safety. When a guardsman is killed or injured, Yorik personally sees to it that his family is taken care of. Ralk speaks of his past even less frequently than he does anything else. Mayor Stone almost certainly knows details— most Market Towners find it hard to imagine the wily mayor allowing Yorik to keep his position of he didn’t—but he isn’t sharing, either. Yorik has a castle-forged sword and has been seen practicing with it, though in his capacity as captain of the guard he wilds a stout cudgel, like all his men. Is Yorik a dishonored knight? A nobleman’s bastard son seeking to escape the shame of his birth? Or is he something else altogether? Despite his mysteries, Market Town is fond of Yorik. Like Mayor Stone, he is a local hero, a good man fighting hard to keep Market Town safe, prosperous, and free. Yorik lives in the guard barracks, and has no other home. He has no wife or children that anyone knows of, and despite a concerted effort on the part of the town’s busybodies, no one has ever seen him enter or leave the Maiden’s House. Dame Adrienne is, of course, silent on the matter.
One of the larger stretches of forests in the Trident, Durain’s Forest has proved difficult to tame as far back to the Andal invasion, due to its many hidden glens, dense thickets, and twisting trails. These features have encouraged bandits to use Durain’s Forest for centuries, but for most of that time such bandits have been more trouble for farmers than noble lords. Recently the bandits under the leadership of one Dugan the Red have became bolder, striking the Kingsroad itself, leading to the restoration of the old fortress Rugar Hold as a noble holding in the hopes that a new lord can deal with the bandits.
The original inhabitants of Durain’s Forest were the First Men, who named the forest after a local hero from the Age of Legends. It’s said that before Durain came to the region there was no forest, but after he slew an ancient wyvern the creature’s blood gave birth to Durain’s Forest. This legend is still known today by those who live near the forest and many credit the maze-like nature of the forest to the wyvern’s anger at the man who killed it. The forest is sometimes called the Wyvern Wood, but that name is usually only used when cursing the bandits that now call the forest home. Due to the density and lack of navigable paths in the forest it has been the home of the hunted for centuries. During the Andal conquest, it was a stronghold of the First Men for decades after the surrounding region fell due to its defensive advantages. The same occurred during the Targaryen conquest when it served as a safe haven for deserters and Andal soldiers long after the war ended. In every major war since then, Durain’s Forest has become a haven for deserters, thieves, and criminals that gets cleared out a few years or decades after the conflict is resolved. A century after the conquest, the Targaryens tried to name a noble lord of Durain’s Forest by building a fortress in the forest to serve as a base of operation to pacify the criminals it sheltered. This fortress, Rugar Hold, did not provide much in the way of safe haven and the first lord awarded the territory was assassinated in his own bed within three months of arriving. For a century Rugar Hold was held by a succession of lesser lords charged with cleaning up the forest, but in the end they all have found it to be far more profitable and healthy to turn a blind eye to the unsavory elements in the forest. The last noble lord of Durain’s Forest died five decades ago after getting entangled in a power struggle between the bandit factions. During the War of the Usurper, some of the criminal inhabitants of Durain’s Forest sided with the Targaryens in exchange for promises of clemency—which ultimately proved impossible for the Targaryens to keep. During the war the bandits of Durain’s Forest harried the forces of Robert Baratheon throughout the Trident, but in the wake of the defeat of the Targaryens they withdrew into the forest and did their best to be inconspicuous. The crown has had bigger problems to deal with so far and is only now getting around to seeing Forest Durain put to rights.
uSE iN a CHrONiCLE
Durain’s Forest is an excellent fit for a young house, especially one created in the wake of the War of the Usurper. It provides an opportunity for a young house to prove itself loyal and
cunning by pacifying the forest, but it is also a chance to end up in an early grave. Any house claiming Durain’s Forest has an enemy within its borders that is difficult to find and corner, making any long term restoration of law and order a delicate process. Will the new lord try to bargain with the bandits? Or will the noble use a vast array of soldiers to beat his lands into cooperation? Once the War of the Five Kings begins the situation may change drastically since having well defended terrain inhabited by experienced combatants who know the land is a defensive advantage not to be overlooked. Perhaps clemency may be in the house’s best interests. Instead of a new house taking Durain’s Forest, the players could be a branch of an older house assigned to clear up the forest which is near or within the larger house’s territory. This is similar to the previous option, but allows for players to create older houses. fortifications in Durain’s Forest were built since the victory of the Targaryens and so have not had time to become truly decrepit. The largest of these is North Hall, located on the north edge of the forest. Once a garrison under the Targaryens, it now serves as one of the bandit headquarters. If reclaimed it could be returned to usefulness with only a few months effort; certainly easier than building a new hall from the ground up. If the Narrator wishes he may allow Rugar Hold to be purchased for 25 Defense points instead of 30, but the castle will act as a hall until 5 wealth and 6 months are spent repairing the fortress.
iNFLuENCE: 40 Or LESS
There is no particular Influence level attached to ruling Durain’s Forest except that ruling a holding of such questionable value is not something a house of high Influence would do. It is likely to be a region awarded to a house of lesser Influence, possibly one with strong military assets. If the forest can be pacified, the house that does it is likely to receive respect and Influence for their success, but until then they will be known as the nobles who live in a forest of thieves, if not said to be thieves themselves. Striking deals with the bandits may negatively impact the house’s Influence, depending on the details of the deal.
DEFENSE: 30 Or MOrE, iNVESTED: 30 Or LESS (rugar HOLD)
Located at the heart of Durain’s Forest, Rugar Hold straddles the only road that leads through it. The small castle is made of a wooden outer wall and a stone keep within. There is little room within the walls aside from the keep. The trees were long ago culled for fifty paces in every direction around the castle’s walls, but little effort has gone into preserving this cleared area, so trees now grow almost right up to the outer wall. This makes it remarkably easy to approach the castle without being seen, which has been the reason so many of its past inhabitants have been assassinated. Stables are located in the courtyard along with a secondary wood barracks, but the barracks are largely rotted and falling down now. The keep has not been well maintained and some sections of its walls are on the verge of falling down. The damage is serious and will require a sizable investment to get the keep back into top shape. Rugar Hold has no decorations, statues, tapestries, or other luxuries to speak of, those having long ago been stripped away. Animals have taken to roosting in some of the more remote rooms and will have to be driven out for the castle to be fully inhabitable. The keep has a large central hall, kitchens, an armory, smithy, barracks for one hundred soldiers, and several rooms for the lord, lady, other nobles, and visitors. Rugar Hold is the primary fortification within Durain’s Forest, though there are several other fortifications built during various attempts to pacify the forest. Most of these other fortifications are little more than ruins, though some see use by the locals and could be salvaged given time and resources. All the
LaNDS: 29 Or MOrE, iNVESTED: 29 (HiLLS wiTH DENSE FOrEST aND STrEaM (x2) 26, ruiN 3)
Durain’s Forest is leagues across and entirely forested. There is only one badly worn, winding road through it that eventually connects to the Kingsroad, but sees little traffic. It is commonly blocked by falling trees, not all of which are bandit ambushes. The road has not been maintained in decades, transforming it into little more than two deep mud ruts crawling through the forest. The forest has begun to reclaim some sections of the road and seedlings are not uncommon in the ruts. Aside from the road there are only a few bandit trails in the forest. There are a number of small streams, but they tend to wind as badly as the road, making navigating by them difficult at best. Mounted travel is extremely difficult off the road due to the thick underbrush and uneven terrain. In most regions one cannot see more than a few dozen paces in any one direction, which is only made worse by the low-lying fog that is common in many of the dells found throughout the forest. There are a number of ruins scattered across Durain’s Forest, most of which are old attempts at fortifications that were abandoned at one point or another. They hold little of value now, but the bandits use them for shelter in inclement weather.
Law: 20 Or LESS
With such a severe bandit problem, the Law attribute of the house cannot be high and should below 20, or below 10 if possible. Increasing this attribute by dealing with the bandit problem is likely to be a major goal of any house ruling Durain’s Forest. Significant player actions to reduce the level of bandit activity could add a bonus to house fortune rolls or add to Law directly. Inflicting significant casualties on the bandits would provide at least a short term boost to Law. Eliminating the bandits from Durain’s Forest permanently will require the destruction of their hideouts, the capture or killing of a significant number of bandits, and—most important of all—the death of Dugan the Red.
POwEr: aNy, BuT LiKELy 30 Or MOrE
Any house that wants to claim Durain’s Forest needs a substantial amount of soldiers to do so. Rugar’s Hold must be defended, but that alone will not return law and order to the forest. If the forest is to be won through force of arms, soldiers must patrol, search, and lead other efforts to root out the bandits. These activities require a large number of people to carry out. Also, these troops had best have some experience under their belt to face a foe that can strike and disappear with ease; green troops do not last long in guerilla warfare. Cavalry are of questionable usefulness in Durain’s Forest since they can only patrol the road and the forest’s perimeter. Archers, infantry, and guerillas are the most useful in Durain’s Forest, though engineers would also be useful keeping Rugar Hold in repair.
POPuLaTiON: 20 Or MOrE
Durain’s Forest has a surprisingly large number of people living in it, but any noble lord will find they are not the sort of subjects who pay taxes or report for levies. A small number of law-abiding peasants live on the edge of the forest. Most of them are farmers or lumberjacks, but even they have come to an understanding with the bandits. The territory has the capacity to support a large population if some of the land was cleared for farms, roads were laid, and law was restored.
Durain’s Forest could be a vast source of wealth due to all the timber that could be harvested from it, but doing so will be difficult until the bandit problem is dealt with. Any house that takes over Durain’s Forest is going to have to survive on whatever wealth they brought with them; gaining income from Durain’s Forest will be difficult for a time.
iNTEraCTiONS wiTH OTHEr HOuSES
Here are how the houses in the region view Durain’s Forest.
In the militaristic eyes of House Barnell, the continued lawlessness of Durain’s Forest is an embarrassment to all houses in the region. Lord Barnell has made clear he thinks that rooting the bandits out of Durain’s Forest is an important cause, but has not made any moves to do it himself. There are rumors that if the bandits in Durain’s Forest grow any bolder House Barnell will move to quash them itself, though the chances of success for such a maneuver are questionable.
Traditionally, House Bartheld has had little to do with Durain’s Forest, but a recent attack on several nobles traveling to Hart Hall and the ascension of Lord Davain Bartheld have changed this. While none of the nobles were killed in the attack, a great deal of wealth was stolen, including several family heirlooms of House Connington, also sworn to House Baratheon. Those in the know say that the new Lord Bar-
theld is hiring a mercenary force to clean out the forest, but so far there is little truth to these rumors. Considering the limited military assets of House Bartheld, they would likely require allies in such an effort.
BaNDiTS OF DuraiN’S FOrEST
Thieves, cattle rustlers, murderers, and worse can be found among the ranks of the bandits who call Durain’s Forest home. While there are some in the forest who were wrongly accused and had committed no crime before they entered the forest, most are criminals with a long history of ill deeds. They are only concerned with the survival of themselves and their fellows, though their allies far fall behind in that regard. They use the standard bandit attribute found on page 268 of the SIFRP Pocket Edition. When using the Warfare rules, the bandits of Durain’s Forest have the following makeup:
Lord Harald has bought goods from the bandits of Durain’s Forest on occasion. Short Tom Tinker has built up a relationship with the bandits where they contact him when they find particularly valuable or hard to sell items, which he purchases through a number of intermediaries to avoid suspicion. House Dulver has no interest in controlling Durain’s Forest or even seeing it pacified; the bandits are more useful to Lord Harald than another noble rival in the area.
Trained Guerillas * 5 power routine (9) Discipline Athletics 2, Marksmanship 3, Stealth 4
While House Frey has decried the bandit haven of Durain’s Forest, the going rumor is that they actually deal with the bandits, hiring them to make trouble for those who would try to undermine House Frey’s control the Green Fork crossing. House Frey has made several forays into Durain’s Forest hunting bandits, but some say the actions are all for show; others say it is House Frey preparing to claim Durain’s Forest by force under the pretense that any current owners cannot control it.
Trained Criminals * 4 power forMidaBle (12) Discipline Endurance 2, Fighting 3, Stealth 4
The bandits of Dugan the Red have stolen several iron shipments House Tullison has sent to Riverrun, drawing the ire of House Tullison but so far there has been little result. House Tullison has too many problems with the mountain clans to send troops so far afield.
More concerned with internal matters, House Kytley has little time for bandits outside its borders. Some shipments of iron to Smithton have gone missing due to the efforts of Dugan the Red, but so far Lord Kytley has not had the resources to pursue them. The bandits of Durain’s Forest had several encounters with Jerrold Blackbow, the foremost bandit of House Kytley’s land, during his bloody career and the two bandit gangs had built up a bloody rivalry before Jerrod’s execution.
House Tully has engaged in several attempts to clean our Durain’s Forest over the years, but has never had a sustained success. House Tully is interested in the lumber resources Durain’s Forest represents and hopes to secure it for itself, or at least the service of the house that holds the area.
While the bandits of Durain’s Forest have little direct interaction with House Marsten, the declining loyalties of House Kriegar have given rise to rumors that House Kriegar might make an attempt to pacify Durain’s Forest and claim it as their new home. So far these rumors seem to be just that, but a patrol of House Kriegar recently went into Durain’s Forest to hunt bandits, which is odd given their problems at home.
Dugan the Red and Thalia Pemm are two bandits of note who call Durain’s Forest home.
DugaN THE rED
One of the more successful bandit lords of the Riverlands, Dugan the Red has been operating in Durain’s Forest for upwards
of twenty years. A fearsome combatant and a skilled leader of men, it is widely rumored that he served one of the great houses or was a hedge knight before taking up banditry. He speaks little of his past before becoming an outlaw, but rope burns around his neck and three missing fingers indicate it was not a pleasant life. Dugan now leads scores of men, keeping them fed, clothed, and busy out stealing for their greater good. He works to make sure everyone gets a share both of booty and food, spending as much time keeping peace among his own people as raiding. He harbors a deep-seated hatred of nobles and attacks them whenever possible, but does not kill them exclusively, since that would attract too much attention. Dugan has a good idea of when to lay low and when to strike so as to get no one faction angry enough to actually wipe his forces out. Wealth and security are Dugan’s public goals, but secretly he also wants respect. He has no family to speak of and raising one living in the woods as criminals is not a life he wants for them. He hopes to find or manufacture a situation where his aid is so needed that the nobles will be forced to overlook his past deeds and grant him the respect he feels he deserves.
DUGAN THE RED
Agility 3 Athletics 3 Awareness 3 Cunning 3 Endurance 3 Fighting 4 Marksmanship 4 Persuasion 3 Stealth 4 Survival 4 Warfare 3 Will 3
Once a camp follower in the War of the Usurper, Thalia ended up in Durain’s Forest after stabbing a knight who tried to rape her. Fearful of punishment she fled to Durain’s Forest and joined the bandits there, rising to a position of leadership due to her ruthlessness and cunning. She is Dugan the Red’s major rival, but while he organizes and plans, she leads through terror and force. The two work together openly but despise each other in private; eventually, there will be a reckoning between them. Such a battle will be bloody since a large number of bandits are more loyal to Thalia than Dugan due to her promises of striking and killing nobles and other rich targets Dugan thinks are best avoided. Whatever house controls Durain’s Forest could use this schism to fracture the bandits.
Bows 2B Intimidation 1B Sneak 1B Orientation 2B, Track 2B Tactics 1B
coMBat defenSe HealtH 8 9 intriGue defenSe coMPoSure 0 8 9
deStiny PointS drawBacKS: Flaw (Agility)
BenefitS: Charismatic, Night Eyes, Sinister
Awareness 3 Cunning 3 Fighting 2 Persuasion 3 Warfare 3 Will 3 intriGue defenSe:
arMS & arMor
rinG Mail: AR 4, AP -1, Bulk 1 Longbow Mace Dagger 4+1B 4 4 5 Damage 3 Damage 1 Damage Defensive +1, Off-Hand +1 Long Range, Piercing 1, TwoHanded, Unwieldy
Short Blades 1b Convince 2b, Incite 2b, Intimidate 2b Command 1b, Strategy 1b Coordinate 1b 8 coMPoSure: 9
For decades Riverthorn was well known in the Trident for being a verdant fief ruled by the wealthy House Orell, but an outbreak of plague in the closing days of the War of the Usurper has ravaged this pastoral territory. Now the villages of Riverthorn are empty places haunted by a few plague-scarred individuals and House Orell’s hall is completely empty after the death of the entire house. Normally such desirable ungoverned territory would be the target of a great many houses, but the specter of plague keeps such intrigues to a minimum. Whoever ends up ruling Riverthorn is going to have years of rebuilding and must conquer the specter of plague to attract smallfolk to work their fields, but the results of such work can be great indeed.
Riverthorn was a productive farming territory since the First Men settled the Trident in the Age of Heroes. From the earliest settlements in Riverthorn, the region was well known for the vibrant wild rose bushes scattered across the region, for which the territory was named by the Andals. The fertile soil and ready water supply from the Trident made farming in
Riverthorn exceptionally productive, though the region had little else in the way of resources. The First Men and later the Andals both farmed Riverthorn extensively and began the tradition of growing and pruning the native rose bushes into hedgerows and decorations, a tradition that was continued by the last inhabitants of Riverthorn. With the coming of the Targaryens, Riverthorn was given to House Orell once the region was wrested from the Andals. Wanting complete control over such a major source of food in the region, the Targaryens elevated Mager Orell, one of the valets to Aegon Targaryen, and his family to rule Riverthorn. Having seen Aegon’s ruthlessness first hand during his years of service, the new Lord Orell did his best to stay on his lord’s good side. In short order he had his hall under construction, roads laid out, and stores of grain flowing into his lord’s holdings. Efficiency was ever a trait of House Orell, but so was ostentation. Enjoying pleasant weather, few nearby enemies, and little crime, Lord Orell soon turned his eye towards other ways to improve his territory. At the advice of his wife Sulla, a southern noble who had married Mager at Aegon’s direction, Lord Orell set about taming the wild roses that were scattered across Riverthorn. With the help of a veritable army of
smallfolk forced into service, the rose bushes of Riverthorn were uprooted and trimmed to line major roads and form a number of gardens around the hall, which became known as Rose Hall after the work was complete. Riverthorn managed to weather the Blackfyre Rebellion and the War of the Ninepenny Kings without being drawn into the conflict. This was largely due to the fact that House Orell burned its fields and any food stocks on hand when any enemy force drew near. This removed the primary strategic value of Riverthorn, though at extensive economic cost. The cunning management of House Orell’s finances and farms allowed it to quickly recover and return to prosperity in the wake of both wars. House Orell was not above war profiteering when it came to selling its crops. Despite using the same tactics during the War of the Usurper, House Orell did not fare well. Riverthorn was a major supply center for the Targaryen troops in the Trident, forcing it to the forefront of the war. Unfortunately for the people of Riverthorn, they would not live to see the armies of Robert Baratheon conquer their lands. In the days leading up to the Battle of Ruby Ford a sickness broke out in Rose Hall. The plague is thought to have been brought to the area by a group of Braavosi mercenaries in service to House Targaryen. Within a few weeks the entirety of House Orell was stricken with plague, as were many of the smallfolk. Worried that his men might become infected, Aerys II ordered the land burned and quarantined, a decision that cost the lives of hundreds of soldiers and smallfolk. The outer villages of Riverthorn were razed, but the area around Rose Hall remained standing since no one dared go near it. In the end the plague was halted, but at the cost of the very life of Riverthorn. After Robert’s victory, little attention was paid to Riverthorn and Rose Hall for a several years. This allowed it to become a haven for plague survivors, scavengers, miscreants and criminals. Five years after the end of the war talk began in King’s Landing of resettling Riverthorn, but few houses were interested in claiming what they feared was still a plague ridden area. Riverthorn could be a valuable prize if it could be restored, but few are interested in taking on that challenge. living down the reputation of their new home, but the potential is there. While many of the normal concerns of noble houses, such as bandits or intrigues, will still be present, any house that rules Riverthorn will also have to deal with more mundane and more unpleasant matters, such as working extra hard to keep their smallfolk happy and arranging mass graves to clear out the remains of plague victims who remain unburied. To use Riverthorn as the long-time home of an older house, assume that the plague that wiped out House Orell came at an earlier time, such as during the War of the Ninepenny Kings or the Blackfyre Rebellion. In either case the immediate after effects of the plague are likely to have been dealt with, but the lingering specter of death will still hang over Riverthorn. Such a land will still be seen as cursed even if the immediate threat has passed. Another option is to remove House Orell from the history. Instead the house who currently calls Riverthorn home has been there since the Targaryen conquest or longer. In such cases the house barely survived the plague, or maybe the current house is made up of house members who were wards, fosterlings, or students elsewhere when the plague struck. In such cases the survivors may suddenly be catapulted to leadership of the house after the death of everyone above them in the chain of succession. This may make the plague even more menacing as now it enabled the new leaders’ rise to power, but only over the corpses of their family. A Narrator might even start his chronicle at Riverthorn during Robert’s Rebellion, allowing the players to run through the events of the war itself as well as the terror of the plague and subsequent rebuilding.
DEFENSE: 20 Or MOrE, iNVESTED: 20 (rOSE HaLL)
The abandoned buildings of Sulla, the hamlet founded by Mager Orell and named after his wife, stand at the center of the Riverthorn holding. Rose Hall stands in the middle of Sulla. The hall was built more with aesthetics in mind than defenses; it is surrounded by once-magnificent statues and numerous now-cracked gargoyles line its roof. The interior was once a masterpiece of tapestries, wood panels, and Myrish carpets, but those that have not been stolen are all rotted and stained after years of neglect. Now Rose Hall is a testament to the power of neglect. Rose Hall contains a main hall, a kitchen, a small barracks, a sitting room, four bedrooms for visitors, and a massive master bedroom for the lord. House Orell was well known for its hospitality and would never think to let a visitor sleep
Riverthorn works best for a young house, especially one just elevated due to its deeds in the War of the Usurper. Riverthorn may not be much of a prize to one of the great houses, but it represents a great opportunity for the birth of a new house. Such a house will have its work cut out for it attracting smallfolk to work the fields, restoring the buildings, and
on anything less than a down mattress, but its soldiers often were forced to sleep in the main hall due to the small size of their barracks. While it may not be well maintained, the core defensive value of Rose Hall remains. Its walls are made of solid stone quarried from the Mountains of the Moon and it is very well built with stout, iron bound doors, cleverly concealed arrow slits, and a number of secret passages. These passages allow one to move unnoticed through the major rooms of the hall or escape into the nearby rose gardens. Like most of Sulla, Rose Hall is surrounded by rose bushes. Once these were orderly and well kept, organized in rows along paths and to create beautiful gardens around the Hall. Now they have all gone wild with many of the paths they once lined completely overgrown. The years of neglect seem to have helped the roses thrive such that they are said to be the reddest in all of Westeros. Many of the remaining smallfolk believe that the roses are fed on the blood of those who died in the plague. These have suffered only slightly in recent years, even with a lack of upkeep. The land of Riverthorn itself is very fertile and very flat. While farms occupy the majority of the land, most have lain fallow since the plague; many still bear the burn marks of the fires used by the Targaryens to cleanse the region. There are no forests in the territory and only one hill—called Pyre Hill due to the many bodies that were burned there during the plague. Smallfolk say that Pyre Hill is haunted by the ghosts of those who were burned there, and one can find the remains of bones scattered all across the hill. The hamlet of Sulla is the only settlement of note in Riverthorn, and it is little more than a score of buildings that existed primarily to support the household of Rose Hall. Its houses are remarkably well built for smallfolk homes due House Orell wanting to project an image of wealth on any who visited, but much like Rose Hall these buildings are a shadow of their former selves. These structures are primarily wood with stone foundations and include an inn, two taverns, a tradehouse, a smithy, and a sept. Only a few smallfolk remain in Sulla and those that do are extremely suspicious of visitors. The smallfolk mostly work the fields around Sulla and live at a subsistence level. These farmers bear the scars of the pox that claimed their hamlet.
Due to its questionable history, Riverthorn is not necessarily an attractive territory to one of the great houses, but to those with sufficient foresight its value is unmistakable. Riverthorn could either be foisted off on a house of little influence in order to gain an ally of that house, or it could be claimed by a more powerful house with an eye towards its long-term development. Either case allows for houses of all Influence levels to claim Riverthorn, though any that do are likely to be treated as if they too had the plague until the past is forgotten. Any house that gains Riverthorn would be well suited to invest Influence in an heir as soon as possible. In a region known for plague, nothing creates a feeling of security in the continuance of government like knowing an heir is ready should the head of the house not survive. If the heir is abroad, so much the better.
LaNDS: 38 Or MOrE, iNVESTED: 38 (PLaiNS wiTH graSSLaND, rOaD, aND riVEr (x2) 28, SuLLa (HaMLET) 10)
Riverthorn has a sizable plot of well-developed land, most of which has easy access to water. Due to the Forks of the Trident, Riverthorn has easy transportation and irrigation, but House Orell was not content to rely on the rivers for transit. Mager Orell began an aggressive road building campaign that lasted the entirety of House Orell’s reign and has linked all the major regions of Riverthorn with well-maintained roads.
and the flat terrain making them useful in most any battle. Due to the lack of population it is unlikely the ruling house will be able to count on smallfolk levies for emergencies.
Law: 30 Or LESS
While there are few inhabitants in Riverthorn to cause trouble, there has been no law and order to speak of in the area since the plague. The specter of the plague has kept most scavengers and bandits away, but not all. Most of the high value items have already been removed from Riverthorn so the scavengers are few these days, but a number of bandit gangs have taken to hiding in the outskirts of Riverthorn since many outsiders are unwilling to chase them there. Luckily due to the sparse nature of its population, restoring order should be relatively easy if the new house has sufficient troops. Guarding Sulla and the main farms will be far easier than securing the borders of Riverthorn from those who would use its reputation as a shield from pursuit.
While Riverthorn has a great deal of money invested in its infrastructure, including a market, a smithy, and a sept, none of these facilities have the personnel required to operate. Also these structures have suffered years of neglect so getting them operational again is going to be about as expensive as building them from scratch. While Riverthorn has the capacity to generate great wealth once its farms return to productivity, the owning House will need years of effort to get it to that point, since the farms now lie fallow.
POPuLaTiON: 15 Or LESS
Unsurprisingly there are few people in Riverthorn in the wake of the plague. Those that remain are mostly pox-scarred survivors or more recent arrivals risking disease for the chance at taking on one of the abandoned farms in the region. In either case the inhabitants are a fearful, suspicious bunch that are desperate for someone to lead them out of their miserable lives but also fear the plague’s return if the excesses of House Orell return. The locals have become very superstitious since the plague, blaming all manner of ill omens or acts by House Orell for their misfortune. The smallfolk continue to see such portents all around them and many believe that the plague will return to finish the job it started. This fatalistic streak is an impediment to restoring the region to its previous glory, since the smallfolk all believe whatever they rebuild will be torn down again.
rELaTiONSHiPS wiTH OTHEr HOuSES
Here are what the other houses in the area think of Riverthorn.
Seeing Riverthorn as a strategic liability and having little wealth to invest in rebuilding the area, House Barnell has no interest in Riverthorn. Lord Barnell is one of the few local lords who will pursue bandits into Riverthorn, thinking little of the threat of plague, but even he does not go far into Riverthorn. Daveth Oberyn recognizes the future economic value of the land, but has yet to convince Lord Barnell of this. Even if he could, House Barnell lacks the wealth necessary to rehabilitate Riverthorn.
The nobles of House Orell were once regular visitors to Hart Hall and in return often hosted the nobles and guests of House Bartheld in Rose Hall. Indeed the Hart Hall gardens contain Riverthorn rose bushes. Despite the threat of plague, the new Lord Bartheld has put some thought and research into maneuvering one of his guests into claiming Riverthorn, hopefully clearing out his house of some of his more bothersome guests. So far he has had little success.
Soldiers are not the key to restoring Riverthorn, so the house that claims it need not have any specific level of martial power. Soldiers will be useful in keeping order and making sure the smallfolk stay in line, but a heavy hand will only get the lord so far in Riverthorn. The locals are already completely demoralized and have lost their families and friends, so it will take more than force to motivate them. Military force will be useful in bringing law to the region, particularly in hunting down those scavengers or bandits that may be using the reputation of the region to hide. While Riverthorn has several rivers within its territory they are not deep enough for ships of any great size. Infantry, cavalry, and archers are the most useful troops in Riverthorn, particularly cavalry due to the roads allowing them great mobility
There are rumors that the first scavengers to strike Rose Hall were actually agents of House Dulver and that to this day House Dulver occasionally sends agents in to steal what remains in Riverthorn. Lord Harald denies these stories, but the rose themed tapestries hanging in Deepen Hall speak otherwise. House Dulver is interested in acquiring River-
thorn, having the money necessary to rebuild the region, but the other local lords have subtly indicated that they would oppose Lord Harald’s taking the holding for himself. the smallfolk through kindness and wisdom will find a ready ally in Miles Tanry, but a noble who rules through fear and force will find an implacable foe.
Primarily concerned with internal matters, House Kytley has little time for worrying about Riverthorn. Some of the bandits that lurk in the edges of House Kytley’s territory have hidden in Riverthorn when pursued, so House Kytley would like to see the area reclaimed. They just have little time for concerning themselves with how this is done.
The last surviving member of House Orell’s guards, Douglas Wotlin stands a solitary watch over the remains of Rose Hall. He has kept his little corner of the barracks in proper order but knows nothing of stonemasonry or carpentry to fix the rest of the structure. Douglas’s mind has been addled by the experience of surviving the plague and on some level he has not acknowledged that it happened. Instead he lives in a world of madness where he still serves House Orell along with his long dead fellows in the guard. The locals leave him his illusions and feed him out of pity, though he has proved himself useful the few times bandits have come to Sulla. While Douglas does not accept what happened in Riverthorn in general, on some subconscious level he seeks solace in death in any fight he can find. He’s chased off more than one bandit group by playing the part of the demented berserker, but afterwards has no memory of his despair-driven rage.
Located far from Riverthorn, House Marsten has little interaction with Riverthorn aside from soldiers of House Marsten killing several members of House Orell in Robert’s Rebellion. There was bad blood between the two families and before his death Lord Corben had made clear he would rather see Riverthorn left to the vultures than House Orell’s ancestral land’s restored.
Lord Sterl Tullison struck down Lord Orell during the Battle of the Trident, which some say gives House Tullison a fair claim to Riverthorn by right of conquest. Lord Sterl did not survive to make that claim and Lady Tullison seems little inclined to do so, but their support for another house claiming Riverthorn would be very valuable.
A new arrival after the plague struck Riverthorn, Karya arrived along with several other scavengers, determined to pick over the bones of House Orell. She and her fellows found a good deal of loot in Rose Hall before they were chased out by a larger group of scavengers. Karya herself found a map in an old ledger. She believes the map leads to a secret cache of wealth hidden somewhere near Sulla by House Orell to protect it from the invading forces of Robert Baratheon. While her comrades have left Riverthorn to seek their fortunes elsewhere, Karya tries to follow the largely illegible map to find the treasure. She’s beginning to believe the map is a fake or decoy of some sort, because she hasn’t found anything, and can’t read High Valyrian, which much of the map is written in.
Miles Tanry, Douglas Wotlin, and Karya Hough are just some of the people who call Riverthorn their home.
One of the surviving farmers in Riverthorn, Miles serves as the leader of the surviving smallfolk in the area of Sulla. A gaunt man in his later years, his eyes are hard and his body has been carved by years of backbreaking labor. Forced to bury his wife and two daughters in the plague, Miles has little to live for. No longer fearing death, he is more than willing to oppose whatever fancy noble thinks he can come into Riverthorn and start pushing people around. A noble who tries to rally
For decades the small town of Port Maril had the distinction of being a place where men of a questionable living on the high seas came to sell their ill-gotten goods with few questions and far from the prying eyes of the forces of law and order. This ended with the War of the Ninepenny Kings, when the Blackfyres used Port Maril to supply their troops in the Trident. Targaryen forces captured Port Maril and the Blackfyre sympathizer leading the town was removed. The new lord that the Targaryens appointed as a replacement soon found it was far more profitable to keep the town running in its former state and take a cut of the profits than to stop the illegal activities. Port Maril has become a town of the criminal underworld where little openly illegal happens, but one need not dig deep to find such activities.
Port Maril began as a small fishing village protected by a natural, rocky bay deep within the Bay of Crabs. It was first founded by Andals centuries ago and its founding was such an unimportant event that no record of it remains. At the time it was little more than a dozen fishermen erecting a series of shanties. Due to the abundant fishing, crabs, and the protected bay it lays upon, Port Maril grew slowly but steadily in population if not wealth or prestige. This began to change with the arrival of one Ester Killian, a woman who claimed to be from the Iron Islands. Ester came to the town quietly, buying a boat and rowing it out on foggy nights when most fishermen were busy drinking home-brewed rotgut by the fire. She would come back in the morning mist, her boat laden with mysterious boxes. After several weeks the locals grew curious and confronted Ester, who was more than willing to tell them she was meeting pirate ships out in the Bay of Crabs and transferring their goods to land to sell to fences she knew in Riverrun, King’s Landing, and other such places. She had planned on moving on after a few months, but it turned out that the locals weren’t too concerned about piracy, so long as it didn’t bring violence with it. Word was put out among the pirates and criminals of the region that Port Maril was a safe location to offload stolen goods and for fences and investors interested in buying those goods. After a number of pirate ships began to use the docks, more people moved to the village, including innkeepers, prostitutes, criminals, and others attracted to pirate money. Within the span of five years the small town of Port Maril went
from being a fishing hovel to a bustling trading town with an open secret. The nobles of the region kept their belief that it was a quiet fishing village unworthy of attention. This was aided by an agreement with the pirates who frequented Port Maril to be discrete approaching the town. Most local pirates disguised themselves as humble merchant vessels anyway, and agreed not to strike any vessels within one hundred leagues of Port Maril. By the War of the Ninepenny Kings, Port Maril was a town of criminals who had banded together with the locals against a world that had ignored or persecuted them, and now they were getting their fair share. The War of the Ninepenny Kings ended this when the Portmaster, the traditional leader of Port Maril, allowed Blackfyre ships to land at the docks in Port Maril to unload troops and supplies. This act, while profitable, suddenly forced Port Maril into taking a side in the ongoing war and attracted the attention of the Blackfyres’ enemies, the Targaryens. With the end of the war came a crackdown on all those who helped the Blackfyres, Port Maril among them. The Targaryens took Port Maril by force, but most of the worst of its inhabitants fled long before the Targaryens arrived. The Targaryens named a lord to try and bring the place town under the rule of law, but unfortunately for the newly installed Lord, a law-abiding settlement Port Maril did little business. Gulltown and Maidenpool already offered such services, so there was little use for another port on the Bay of Crabs unless it had something substantially different to offer. Within ten years the Lord of Port Maril was broke, his town was all but deserted, and his future in shambles. In desperation the locals who had remained approached him with an offer: resume the town’s previous activities, only more quietly, with the Lord receiving appropriate tax income and taking on the role of the Portmaster. Seeing little other option, the Lord agreed and the town began slowly to return to life. This incarnation of Port Maril did not work so hard in avoiding attention so much as hiding the questionable activities going on in the town. Instead of trying to be unimportant and unremarkable, the Lord and people of Port Maril worked to make the town as obtrusive as possible, using the old adage of hiding in plain sight. In a few short years the town of Port Maril became well known for trade and celebrations and few noticed the criminal activity just under the surface. Since the War of the Usurper, Port Maril has continued to flourish, but is careful to do so discretely. Keeping the town’s activities secret is becoming increasingly expensive as more and more bribes are required, so the Lord of Port Maril is looking for some way to fundamentally change the situation.
uSE iN a CHrONiCLE
Port Maril is an excellent base of operations for a player house that wants to be involved in the shadier side of Westeros, or wants to be involved in naval matters. The locals and their lord are jointly involved in a criminal enterprise that would get them all killed, or at least in serious trouble, if anyone outside the town learned what was going on. Given the events in the next few years there will be much bigger concerns for the powers that be than one town working with pirates and will instead put Port Maril in a better position, having access to a wide variety of goods and contacts with many pirates. Aside from times of war, however, living in a den of thieves is not such a good idea. The house controlling Port Maril was probably installed in the wake of the War of the Ninepenny Kings after the criminal activities of the inhabitants were first discovered, but if desired the house could have claimed the town before or after that time. Maybe the Portmaster is a hereditary title reaching back to the founding of the town and the Targaryens decided elevating the Portmaster to Lord would be a better way to keep the town under control? Or maybe the town chose the wrong side again during the War of the Usurper and needs another new lord? Being named to be Lord of Port Maril
could even be a negative event in the house’s history, maybe as a punishment for failing some task during the War of the Ninepenny Kings or the War of the Usurper. This writeup assumes the Lord of Port Maril is working with the locals to fool the rest of the world as to what happens in the town, but this may not be the case. Maybe the newly installed lord is actually working to clean up the town while the whole town fights against him. This would make for a very difficult game as the characters fight against their subjects every day, trying to serve law and order when everyone else stands against them.
DEFENSE: 10 Or MOrE, iNVESTED: 10 (STOrM TOwEr)
The defenses of Port Maril are not very respectable, largely because the town has never needed them. Port Maril has been considered too small and unimportant for anyone to attack for most of its history, even earning disdain from bandits. The only fortification in the town for many years was the Storm Tower, built on one of the peninsulas that forms the bay of Port Maril. This tower was built during the height of the town’s pirate trade before the War of the Ninepenny Kings and it was intended to keep an eye out for approaching ships. Located on the rocks of the peninsulas and reachable only by a thin, worn road, it serves little defensive purpose aside from
defending the inlet of the bay and keeping an eye out for ships. The tower has several siege engines for attacking ships but no one has actually fired them aside from target practice. Many are worried that the Storm Tower may actually be washed out in a few decades by the waves that hammer the peninsula during storms, but it remains stable for now. Lately the town has grown in obvious wealth and has begun attracting more attention from the Royal Navy and the ships of Dragonstone, leading to some on the Port Council to voice concerns about the defenses of the town in general. Some are now calling for building a castle, or at least a hall, in Port Maril to better provide for its defenses. Given the income of the town most think this a reasonable request, but it will actually happen remains to be seen. The bay of Port Maril is formed by two rocky outcroppings that are out of place among the surrounding swamps, leading some to believe they are artificial. Given the habit of the inhabitants of Port Maril for making stories there are numerous versions of what formed the bay. The most popular claims the outcroppings are the remains of a seaside fortress built by the Andals that collapsed long ago. Port Maril is currently a town of around two hundred and fifty people, though the town can grow dramatically based on what ships happen to be in port. Most of the buildings in town are businesses that cater to the ships that come into port, including a higher number of taverns, inns, and brothels Smiths and other craftsmen do live in town, but most are focused on more naval crafts. Currently the only shipwrights in town are the Raris family who are very skilled and in high demand. The lack of a dry-dock and other facilities limits their activities to repairs, though family head Harold Raris is trying to gather support and funds for building a dry-dock in the hopes of getting the town into the shipbuilding business and less reliant on pirates.
Due to the rather unsavory reputation of Port Maril and its questionable mercantile value to the outside world, it is unlikely that any house of stature and respect will be assigned to rule it, meaning that the house is unlikely to have very high Influence. Indeed, ruling an area with such a checkered past may in fact besmirch the reputation of any house that takes on the task.
Law: 20 Or grEaTEr
For a town of criminals and pirates, Port Maril is well behaved. The locals know their continued prosperity depends on keeping up their criminal activities hidden, so they put forth extra effort in keeping obviously illegal acts in check. Some errant criminal activity does persist, but it is usually perpetrated by visitors. To keep disturbances to a minimum and to keep their more rambunctious visitors under control the town has formulated a very simple code of conduct for all inhabitants and visitors:
B B B
LaNDS: 34 Or MOrE, iNVESTED: 34 SMaLL TOwN 20, wETLaNDS (x2) 6, COaST 3, rOaD 5
The Lord of Port Maril controls little land outside of the town itself, and that which he does control is swamp. The land serves little use aside from making it difficult to approach the town from any direction other than the one road built when the Lord of Port Maril was installed. This does make keeping an eye out for overland visitors easy, especially the tax collector. The coastline around Port Maril is swampland formed by masses of large, wide rooted watertrees that hold the soil together in the face of unrelenting tides. Locals use thin, flat bottom boats to maneuver through the swamps, usually pushing them along with a pole. The swamps are often used to hide some of the pirate goods brought into the town until they can be moved outside of town.
All fights are done with fists. First to draw steel dies. No stealing. Do not bring your trouble here. If any officer of the King or a great house comes looking for you here you will be handed over without question. The Portmaster’s word is law. The King’s law holds sway generally, but these laws are more important to the inhabitants of Port Maril.
The Lord of Port Maril is called Portmaster by most of the town’s residents, which to them is a higher sign of respect than the title of Lord. Previously, the Portmaster was chosen by vote of the town, but that practice has since fallen out of favor. Due to the longstanding involvement of the locals in the choosing of their leaders, if the Lord of Port Maril fails his people he may receive more than simmering anger from his subjects. Securing enough Influence to name an heir is likely to be a major goal of the Lord of Port Maril. Since the Portmaster is not a hereditary title, the Lord is going to have to force his heir on the locals on his own.
THE OrigiN OF POrT MariL
The origin of Port Maril’s name is lost to history, though there are many stories claiming to tell the true tale of how it was derived. Most of the locals consider it something of a point of pride to make up their own version of the name’s history, while some families see it as a tradition to carry on their version of the story in the hopes that it somehow outlasts all the others. Duels have been known to happen over which stories are true, but such events are farces or battles of wit staged for entertainment.
Matters of law are brought before the Portmaster for judgment or the Port Council in his absence. Punishment in Port Maril is famously harsh to ensure the town does not attract any unusual attention and to make clear to visiting pirates that they are not to cause trouble. To further this impression, the town has several gibbets hanging along the road to town and near the docks, all of which are kept filled with relatively fresh corpses. The fact that the Lord of Port Maril occasionally pays grave robbers to keep up this appearance is only known to the Lord. While the Lord of Port Maril holds power over the town and its environs and is the ultimate power in the area, he has allowed the inhabitants to appoint what they call the Port Council to advise him. Originally the Port Council was created to help the Lord of Port Maril navigate the vagaries of dealing with pirates, fences, and other criminals that he was not accustomed to, but it survives as an advisory body to the Lord. It has no real power, but it makes the locals feel like they have a voice in their rule and thus improves morale. To the Lord of Port Maril it is a source of information and makes it easier to rule his subjects since they feel they have some say in his decisions. Members of the council serve at their own discretion, and choose their replacement when they are ready to step down. The current leader of the Port Council is an aging pirate captain named Robert Garrys who has settled in the town after a long life at sea.
These festivals are massive in scope and almost obscenely expensive. The people of Port Maril are nearly all worshippers of the Seven, but they have been without a septon for years after the death of the first septon to come to the town, Brother Joshua. Brother Joshua is now seen as something of the patron saint of the city whose name is invoked for good luck in times of strife.
POwEr: 19 Or MOrE, iNVESTED: 19 (VETEraN warSHiP 12, VETEraN garriSON 7)
For years Port Maril had no military to speak of, but in the wake of the town being razed in the War of the Ninepenny Kings and the renewed commerce with pirates the new Lord of Port Maril decided it would be a bad idea to put himself at the mercy of any pirate ship that sailed into port. To that end he spent the first of the money coming in from the criminal activities to secure a number of ships and soldiers to keep Port Maril safe. The five ships that were hired (Drunken Kraken, Black Whale, Skysinger, Wanderer, and Iron Fist) were all privateers or pirates looking for a more relaxed and legal way of making a living. For the last few decades these ships have served as the navy of Port Maril with one of the ships always found in port while the other four patrol the Bay of Crabs in pairs. This helps keep the visiting pirates in line and furthers the illusion that Port Maril is a town of law and order. The soldiers hired by the Lord of Port Maril have been formed into the Stormwatch Guard, charged with keeping the peace and manning the Storm Tower. These soldiers know what goes on in the town and receive sizable bribes to keep it quiet. The Stormwatch Guard is very active in pursuing criminals and keeping the peace, knowing their continued prosperity depends on it. Among the members of the Guard there is a strong code of loyalty and anyone who tries to turn on the Guard is harshly punished. Only two have attempted to do so, one who tried to help pirates raid the town and another who tried to sell the town out to a nearby lord, and both were painfully tortured and their tongues removed before being placed in the gibbets outside of the town to die of exposure.
POPuLaTiON: 20 Or LESS
The population in Port Maril itself is not large and the surrounding swamps are nigh empty, save a handful of hunters and hermits. The inhospitality of the region has always inhibited its growth and it’s unlikely the town will grow substantially without major changes. Port Maril already takes up just about all the stable ground in the swamp and gets almost all of its food from the sea, so without expanding the Lord of Port Maril’s lands beyond the swamps the town is unlikely to get any larger. The people of Port Maril have a long tradition of exuberant religious festivals, during which they try to counteract their many and various daily sins with public outpourings of faith.
kept them from his lord to protect Lord Harald should the secret and House Dulver’s role in it become public.
wEaLTH: 20 Or MOrE, iNVESTED: 20 (MarKETPLaCE 10, POrT 10)
Port Maril is a town based on earning money, and it takes coin to earn coin. Any house that rules Port Maril will need cash on hand to keep everything running, but can expect to see returns quickly. The town already has a port and a marketplace, but the more that can be added to a trade town like Port Maril the more it will flourish. The main concern with income in Port Maril is making it appear fairly earned. The Lord of Port Maril will likely never be able to publicly display the entirety of his wealth to his noble peers without raising lots of uncomfortable questions.
While no one in House Kytley knows the secrets of Port Maril, the weapons produced in Smithton are regularly purchased by agents of the pirates who dock in Port Maril. Smithton weapons have unintentionally equipped the pirates of Port Maril for decades, a situation they have no desire to disrupt. So far House Kytley has not asked many questions about where these weapons are going or who the buyers are, but if they do they would be in an excellent position to find out what is really going on in Port Maril.
rELaTiONSHiPS wiTH OTHEr HOuSE
Here is how Port Maril relates with the major houses of the region.
House Marsten occasionally purchases goods that traveled through Port Maril, but has little traffic with the pirate haven. Over the years the Marstens have heard rumors of a pirate port in the Bay of Crabs, but never paid much attention until stories surfaced that Lord Mikael Marsten had been seen on what is believed to be a pirate ship several years back. Before his death Lord Corben Marsten was pursuing this rumor and getting closer to finding Port Maril’s secret, but his death cut those efforts short.
Having little traffic with Port Maril, House Barnell knows nothing of the illegal activities going on there. In his ignorance, Lord Barnell respects the Lord of Port Maril for his tough stance on crime. To this end Lord Barnell has talked to his seneschal Farris Leed about directing some of the grain stock from House Barnell’s land to be transported through Port Maril instead of Saltpans and other nearby ports.
Maester Haelis has made a few trips to Port Maril searching for foreign herbs and remedies to help with the illness of Lady Moraine, but thus far has had no success. House Tullison as a whole has little interest in Port Maril, but Maester Haelis sees it as his best option for getting medicines from far off lands. Maester Haelis does not know the truth of Port Maril, but the Port Council fears he may puzzle it out and thus have begun scheming up a trap to trick Maester Haelis into knowingly buying stolen goods and then blackmailing him into silence.
While the new Lord Bartheld does not know the truth of Port Maril, Brom Bartheld did, as do some of the guests in Hart Hall. Brom Bartheld regularly used Port Maril to secure rare goods, such as fine wines, and seldom asked many questions about their origin. Several of the current guests of Hart Hall also avail themselves of the pirates of Port Maril, but if their activities are discovered by the current Lord Bartheld they are likely to be punished severely and the secret of Port Maril will be made public.
Robert Garrys, Danielle Tayle, Harold Raris, and Edwin Manester are among the notable figures who call Port Maril home.
For many years goods bought and sold by House Dulver passed through Port Maril and many of the acquired goods by the house were pirate loot. While Lord Harald does not know exactly what happens in Port Maril, he knows goods of questionable origin can be purchased there and has several agents check the city regularly for good deals. Short Tom Tinker has learned the secrets of Port Maril but thus far has
Robert Garrys leads the Port Council and has settled into a life of quiet drinking after a wild youth of piracy and adventure. He bears the scars of those days long past in the form of a missing ear and a badly misshapen jaw, but he feels it merely increases
his fearsome visage. Robert Garrys sees Port Maril as his best chance of living to a ripe old age and so is willing to do what it takes to protect his future, even if it means killing. Robert has done a lot of bad things in his day, so he’s unlikely to worry about adding a few more, especially if it is in service to his new home.
CaPTaiN EDwiN MaNESTEr
Commanding officer of the Stormwatch Guard, Captain Manester is about as crooked as a guardsman comes. Even in Port Maril his penchant for graft is impressive; he has devised all manner of new port fees, paperwork, and permits to line his pockets. These expenses are mostly charged to outsiders so as not to anger the local populace. Knowing a good thing when he sees it, Captain Manester does work hard to keep the people of Port Maril safe and secure and is all too willing to use the gibbets outside the city when appropriate. Thus far, this juggling act of corruption and justice has kept him on the Portmaster’s good side, but it is difficult to keep the balls in the air forever.
Danielle Tayle runs the foremost brothel in Port Maril, the Black Mermaid Inn,. A loyal supporter of the Lord and of the town’s great deception, she works her best to keep everything running smoothly. Knowing men often run their mouths too freely when intimate, Danielle runs her business as much for the knowledge her women learn as the money they make. While Danielle doesn’t want trouble in town, she is more than willing to sell rival pirate ships information on each other’s operation, resulting in a number of deceits in the high seas. For her information Danielle always gets a cut and so far her information brokering activities have led to lead back to her.
The following pages details some of the traditional events of this area of Westeros.
The foremost shipwright in Port Maril, Harold is one of the main proponents of trying to turn Port Maril into more of an honest city. The Raris family is one of the oldest families in the town and they have been making boats and ship for the locals for as long as anyone can remember. This gives Harold a great deal of influence in the city, which he generally uses against those who cause trouble in town or wish to drag the town further into illegal activities. If someone wants to try and clean up Port Maril they will find a ready ally in Harold Raris and his family. Ordinary locals find him to be a self-righteous prig; if it weren’t for his wealth and talent he probably would have been dropped off a pier long ago.
TOurNEy OF THE BrOTHErS
There’s a tale told in the Riverlands about seven brothers in seven ships who crossed the Narrow Sea when the Andals came to Westeros. Each brother was accompanied by a thousand men and a single seed. The brothers and their men set out across the Reach, driving out the First Men and carving out domains for themselves. Each brother took a castle for himself, tore the heart tree from the earth and planted in its place the seed he’d borne across the sea. But the First Men were friends with the Children of the Forest and honored their old and nameless gods. When the brothers tore up the holy weirwoods, the ancient gods took umbrage and sent the brothers a messenger. A man with skin as white as the bark of a heart tree and eyes as red as blood went to the castle of each brother, a staff of weirwood in his hands to call the conquerors to their gates. “As you have sown dishonor in the holy soil of this land, so do I sow discord
among you! Thenceforth, ye shall know no peace but struggle one against the other until the day the Children return and take back what you have overthrown!” And then, as the story goes, the old man became a great white bird and flew away, but his curse fell hard upon the brothers. Their harmony turned to dishord, and thousands died as the seasons passed and the wars ground on and on without relent. Then, one spring as the brothers gathered above a grand plain, ready to water the land with the blood of their kin once more, a man stepped forth dressed in the robes of a septon. “I am the mouth of The Seven and I bid you all to stay your hands! For too long has this curse turned brother on brother and brought death to the Riverlands. You are the Blood of the Andals! And your gods are the Seven who are One! Heed not the old ghosts of the forest. They are driven out and have no power over you!” And the old man, who was the Great Septon and the first to hold his office, went among the camps and blessed each brother in his turn, and gave him a lance of ash. “Go now, back to your castle, and lay this lance beneath the tree whose seed you brought across the sea. When it blooms, you will take up that lance and face your brothers again, not as enemies but as friends, and all shall test their arms one against the other and do glory to the Seven who have freed you of this curse.” From that day forth one tree of the seven would bloom each year and in that year the lord of the castle would hold a tourney beneath its boughs to do honor to the Seven. Ever since then, the seven castles that house the trees have been called The Brotherhood. For six thousand years the tradition has held. Though the castles themselves have changed hands over the years and the names of those brothers have been lost to history, the cycle has always continued. Be it during the Summer, Winter, Spring or Fall, each year the Tourney of the Brothers is thrown by one of the seven houses. While the tale of the Brothers is regarded as one of the foundations of the Faith in Westeros and the blooming of the Brothers a genuine miracle sent by the Seven, the cycle isn’t perfect. History recounts a spate of years where one tree alone bloomed four years in a row. The run was ended, it’s said, when one of the lords of the brotherhood wrote to the High Septon to intercede with the Seven and guide the blessing of the blooming to another house. The name of the lord that made the request is not a part of the record, but the prevailing rumor is that it was, in fact, the lord of the castle that had been blessed so fruitfully. The burden of hosting a grand tourney four years running had beggared the house and while they were rich in honor and prestige, they had been made poor in all else. There have been times, as well, when two of the Brothers have blossomed in the same year. The skies over the Riverlands run black with ravens at those times as the lords of the Brotherhood strive mightily to gain enough support of their peers to have their tree named the true bloom, or, should the dual bloom occur in Winter, or some other lean time, to keep the tourney from burdening their own door. And though the tale of the Brothers is a parable of peace, the Brothers themselves have, from time to time, found themselves subject to the misfortunes of war. There was a time when, in the course of one or another of the wars between Dorne and lands further north, one of the Brothers was taken by a Dornish lord. It was held for just a year, but in that year the tree that lived within the captured castle bloomed. The Dornishmen, reluctant to make the same mistake those first seven brothers made and offend the gods of the people they had conquered held to the Andal tradition and opened their gates for the tournament. In the midst of war the men of the Riverlands laid aside their arms, if not their differences, and held the ancient tourney. Seven men died in the lists that year, but the tradition was upheld.
The Tourney of the Brothers is an event that can be used for a wide variety of purposes. At its most basic it is a tournament with all the attendant opportunities to gain Experience, Glory and Coin in the name of the PCs’ house. All of the usual events associated with a tournament are available for participation: the joust, the archery competition, and the grand melee as well as banquets and feasts, mummer shows and minstrels. If politics is more to your fancy, there is no shortage of fodder for a wily band of schemers either. Any gathering of so many nobles is going to be rife with intrigues and political maneuvering. Many an alliance is hatched, and many more scuttled in the crowded stands overlooking the lists. And the months before the tourney can be just as fruitful. The honor of the blooming is, in itself, a source of Glory, but what if the house is too poor to host the tourney? The Brothers are widely believed to be the only seven trees of their sort in all of Westeros, but what if another were suddenly discovered? Or perhaps a lord desperate to elevate his house sends a mission east to bring back an eighth? And finally, the Brothers themselves are prizes much coveted by certain of the lords of the Riverlands, and not only because they bring notoriety to the name of the house that holds them. The specifics of which house and domain lay claim to the Brothers is left to the Narrator’s discretion, but as a rule, the Brothers inhabit strong, well-situated keeps in
well-appointed domains. They have been the spoils of war many times over the centuries and there is every reason to believe that they will change hands many times more far into the future. The PCs could as easily be cast as the defender of one of the Brothers as an ambitious house eager to improve their own fortunes through warfare.
THE FESTiVaL OF THE FirES
The first fires were lit 10,000 years ago when the First Men came to Westeros. As they drove the Children of the Forest back, the First Men found scores and scores of white trees with red, carven faces looking on the conquerors with accusing eyes. With bronze axes, the First Men cut down armies of weirwoods and celebrated each victory with a great fire. Those fires burned until the First Men and the Children of the Forest reached an accord. Those early men laid down their axes and came to revere the very trees they had once burned out of fear. The weirwoods returned and for 4,000 years their faces watched over Westeros. And then the Andals came and history repeated itself. Armed with steel, they drove the First Men north and, much as their enemies had when they crossed the sea, found the forests full of eerie, alien faces watching them in silent indictment. And just as their enemies had, when met with the staring, bloody-faced trees, the Andals replied with fire. The Andals, though, did not merely burn the weirwoods in celebration. They gave these holy trees to their gods and made of it a sacrament. In those days it was called the Rite of Purging Fire and the flames were meant to give the wicked white trees to the Smith to be cleansed in his holy forge. The peace the Andals made with the First Men was more an acknowledgement of impasse than making allegiance and the Andals brought their own gods across the Narrow Sea. Where these new gods held sway, the weirwoods would never rise again. But as the Andals and the First Men intermarried the Rite of Purging Fire changed, softened and became The Festival of the Fires. And though they went from wicked, evil things to be scorned and scourged in retribution to gifts treasured by the Smith as fuel for his works, the weirwoods burned all the same. These days there are no weirwoods in Andal lands. The Festival of the Fires continues, but the Smith must make due with mere ash and oak and yew. The festival itself is spread over several days and begins with the ceremonial cutting of the wood. Acres of wood are felled, stripped, split and laid in great earthen kilns. The septons then invoke the Smith’s favor and blessings upon the
wood and the fires are lit. For seven days the kilns burn, rendering the wood within them into charcoal. For seven days, the faithful sing praises to the Smith and feast in his honor. On the eighth day the kilns are opened and the bounty of the Smith’s forge is celebrated. The great heaps of charcoal are divvied up amongst the faithful. Those that labor count them a great blessing, an assurance from the Seven of a prosperous and profitable year to come.
Every religion has its zealots and divine favor is a currency as valuable to those in power or seeking power as gold or silver. What can be gained can also be stripped away. In hard times, a small thing like the Smith’s blessing can make the difference between steadfast smallfolk struggling diligently to win through and riotous mobs howling after the blood of their lord. Whether it’s a southern lord making a gift of a captured weirwood for the fires or a northern lord’s sabotage of the ceremony offered by a rival in order to sow doubt in the minds of his followers, divine favor and its lack are potent weapons in the battles of intrigue. Furthermore, any gathering of people is an opportunity to make friends and enemies.
The Rhoynar brought the tradition of the Court of Fools to Westeros in ancient days and it is the Rhoynar who uphold its tradition most faithfully. Also called the Mummers’ Joust, the Court of Fools has no formal schedule or calendar. Although occasionally sponsored by one or another noble benefactor, a true Mummers’ Joust arises spontaneously and spreads by word of mouth. The Joust is a sort of tourney, but instead of knights and squires, it is for fools and minstrels and players who face off against each other—and a few select others—with language that slashes as deep as any blade. The Joust may be called explicitly with travelers carrying the word from town to town, summoning performers to the domain of some lord deemed too proud and haughty for his own good. Or, it can coalesce by chance as entertainers converge on the same locale by happenstance. The Mummers’ Joust begins slowly as minstrels and mummers and fools trickle into a region. Soon, though, no tavern or square is without a singer, or even two or three singers each dueling the other for the attention of the crowd. Fools caper in the streets hurling japes and insults at each other like archers at the butts. Troupes of mummers man makeshift stages thrown together out of wagons and wayns to put on impromptu shows. In those first few days the events are haphazard and unfocused, but as the Joust assembles, a theme develops. The songs of the minstrels begin to take aim at certain persons in power. The jibes the fools throw strike at the local lord or sheriff as much as they do at the fellow across the market. The mummer shows become thinly veiled mockery of a corrupt magistrate or tainted priest. Everyone knows what’s going on, but the criticisms themselves are just vague enough to make retribution problematic for their targets. A wise lord who finds himself the target of a Mummers’ Joust will take the lesson, bitter as it may be, and at the very least give lip service to his own correction. Less wise is the lord that tries to quash a Joust. That man risks a far wider campaign as word of the injustices he visits upon poor, honest performers spreads far and wide. Worse yet, should he stoop so low as to imprison or, gods forbid, execute singers or mummers or fools, he dares the wrath and resentment of his smallfolk and the confirmation of every dark rumor and innuendo put forth by those he attacked. Every court exacts its price, even the Court of Fools. Most times, the Mummers’ Joust is little more than a mirror held up to show those in power the face they wear before the common folk. But from time to time, the Joust has been a spark that lit the fires of change in the realm. The greatest of these stories occurred in the year the Young Dragon, King Daeron I Targaryen, sent his forty thousand to die in the conquest of Dorne. A thousand players descend-
Consider a lord faithful to the Seven who holds a grand Festival of the Fires intent on receiving the blessings of the gods upon his reign. His rivals, eager to embarrass his lordship and deny him the blessings, embark upon a campaign to sabotage the Festival. The PCs could take either role—that of the faithful retainers, safeguarding the ritual from vicious meddlers or clever saboteurs intent on spoiling it. Sometimes, though, the gods do in fact withdraw their favor and send ancient rites spontaneously awry. Few Lords would be content to accept even the Seven’s indictment without a fight. A campaign of intrigues could revolve around seeing that the interpretation of an omen is favorable. Religious festivals also offer Anointed PCs a unique chance at Glory and Experience. There is room for a variety of intrigues as characters jostle for prominent roles in the ritual, for influence over the outcome, or for the favor of the house sponsoring the event.
THE MuMMErS’ JOuST
When Princess Nymeria led the Rhoynar to Westeros she brought with her a great many new customs and the knowledge that pride, unchecked, could turn good men into villains and wise kings into tyrants.
ed on Dorne and the Mummers’ Joust went out across the land. In a week the songs went from Sunspear to Starfall. In a fortnight, Daeron’s steward was dead and all of Dorne was alight with rebellion. The Young Dragon died on a Dornish spear, but it was the mummers that put the spear in Dornish hands—or at least that’s how the mummers tell it. Few Mummers’ Jousts have a definitive end point or conclusion. More often the players that have gathered simply wander off to other markets in other towns to sell their songs or japes or plays. Now and then, though, a certain performance will put a cap to the events and signal the close of the Joust. Usually it’s a performance of remarkable skill or prescient relevance, but not always. A monumentally poor show can just as easily end a Joust and sour the people’s mood, sending the players away again and off to friendlier climes. And just as the tourneys of knights and squires, the Mummers’ Joust comes with its prize: The crowning of the King of Mirth and Mayhem. Sometimes the Court of Fools never reaches the necessary threshold of organization to bestow it, and sometimes so many are named the office has no meaning. But now and then a single player distinguishes him or herself in such a way as to earn the office alone. Whether awarded ironically or in earnest admiration, the title is a dubious honor at best. Being crowned immediately makes a man a ripe and ready mark for the japes and jibes of his peers to say nothing of the wrath of the lordly personage that has just endured a week or more of being the butt of every joke in his or her domain. There is no better target than the man that stands apart. mers’ revolt can make for a tense and suspenseful story. Clever, brave or foolish PCs might actually sponsor a Mummers’ Joust. If they can weather the embarrassments that come out of it, they might even glean a strange sort of Glory for attending to their smallfolk in so generous a manner. As well, minstrel characters can easily walk away from a Joust with a little extra Coin in their purses and, if they do well, perhaps a little Glory of their own. Consider a band of PCs tasked by their lord to break up a Mummers’ Joust. Do they capture and kill every player they find? Do they embark upon intrigues to discredit the most prominent minstrels, or perhaps turn them to their lordship’s service? What consequences does their approach bring with it? Or maybe the PCs are just-minded minstrels intent on bringing down a tyrant. They could very easily be risking their lives and face violence, imprisonment and death for speaking out against a powerful and despotic lord. The risks are great, but the rewards could be too. Then again, maybe the PCs are agents of a house intent on a Mummers’ Joust against a rival. Do they masquerade as mummers themselves? Pay minstrels and players to prosecute the vendetta? Or maybe just take advantage of the opportunity of a burgeoning Joust to exacerbate the target’s woes with the murder of a few players while wearing the target’s livery. Whether the Mummers’ Joust is the crux of the plot, or just a distraction to hide the real meat of the story, it should rarely fail to provide ample fodder for intrigues, actual combats, and dramatic confusion.
There is little in the way of centralized organization or leadership in the formation of a Mummers’ Joust. They tend to arise spontaneously, organize by word of mouth and execute in a disorderly and haphazard fashion. That said, a consensus does tend to develop as the mood of the community asserts itself. The Court of Fools is many things at once. It is a party, a source of entertainment for people who tend to be in need. It is a means of finding social justice in a system that permits very little. And it is, for its participants, a money-making venture that might very well launch a career. For PCs, the Mummers’ Joust has a wide variety of uses. A Joust might simply be a backdrop for the characters far more dire intrigues. Plotting murder in the midst of festival of jugglers and minstrels makes for an entertaining juxtaposition of images. Or, should the PCs House become the target of a Joust, damage control and the subtle maneuvers necessary to exact retribution without spreading the flames of a mum-
This serves as a collection of Riverlands locations not associated with any particular house or political agenda. No attempt has been made to cover them in detail so that the locations can blend easily into your chronicle as places for Intrigues, Warfare, or other conflicts. Except where a specific location has been provided, the Narrator and players are encouraged to place these areas in a location that seems appropriate in their game. Even those locales that have specific locations described can be moved easily enough.
THE SEPTry aT SHaTTErED rOCK
The Riverlands contain few notable landmarks that aren’t waterways of some sort. One exception to the norm is the lightning-blasted and accurately named Shattered Rock. A
fugitives as readily as to the smallfolk. The monks’ openness, and their refusal to allow anyone within the septry to come to harm has made Shattered Rock a popular location for tense negotiation between rival houses. Septon Ranulph, the current master of the septry, aggressively maintained its neutrality during Robert’s Rebellion, and in minor conflicts since. He has personally turned away armies from the gate, rather than give up victims to the slaughter. His hardline stance has earned him the enmity of most of the Houses of the Riverlands, though none have yet been disrespectful enough to attack a stronghold of the faith. The pervasive rumor that the septry secretly maintains the Poor Fellows of the Faith Militant has helped to stay the Lords’ hands as well. The septry is extremely self-sufficient; the monks grow their own food, and even spin the wool of their sheep into cloth for their simple brown habits and scapulars. Many smallfolk marvel at the brothers’ ability to grow a crop in even the harshest of weather, and all manner of rumors have circulated that they harbor some sort of secret knowledge or dark pact that grants their skill.
THE STraNgEr’S FarMSTEaD
finger of granite split over the centuries by repeated lightning strikes, this monolith has held a position in each of the faiths that have spread across Westeros. The Faith in the Seven is no exception to this rule, and it wasn’t long before a septry was established on the lowland plain nearby. Like many septries, Shattered Rock is defined by a low seven-sided wall that surrounds a collection of buildings. Most notable among the structures, as to be expected, is the grand Sept—a mirror of the seven-sided wall that surrounds the septry. Altars are erected in alcoves along the walls, each dedicated to a specific aspect of the Seven. Additional buildings house the brothers and their harvest, the septry’s flock of sheep, and a small scriptorium where the most talented brothers produce new copies of The Seven-Pointed Star as well as valuable histories, instructionals, and other texts. Inside the main gate, the brothers maintain a donations box and a small basket filled with crisp, salted flatbreads. Anyone coming in the septry is able to take bread and salt, and thus claim Guest’s Right from the brotherhood. The monks agree to harbor anyone who takes a flatbread for as long as the person needs, though such a supplicant is required to live by the rules of the septry. Failure to meet those rules will lead to expulsion. The brotherhood considers themselves outside of Westeros’s politics, and have offered safe harbor to political The fractious Ironmen who ruled the Riverlands in the years before Aegon the Conquerer had numerous small skirmishes among themselves. One example is twin sons Jobjorn and Ulvadr of House Hildr, who competed fiercely to catch their father’s eye and be declared the heir. When he died without declaring which would succeed him, the two brothers gathered their followers and met on the field before their father’s hall. The battle that followed was as violent as it was evenly matched. The two brothers died together, Jobjorn, dragging himself up Ulvadr’s spear to bury his axe in his brother’s skull. No one remained to bury the numerous dead. Some two-and-a-half centuries later, the site of the battle is called The Stranger’s Farmstead by the smallfolk, and it lies much as it has always been—churned soil, very little grass, and ground that cannot be tilled without uncovering the bones of fallen warriors. The smallfolk refuse to go near the land, and no amount of cajoling will convince them to attempt to farm there. They consider the land to be the property of the Stranger, and smallfolk have claimed to see a cloaked figure wandering the barren grounds, collecting the bones of the abandoned dead. Though the Farmstead lies near enough to House Barnell and House Bartheld to be pulled within either house’s borders without a struggle, the Riverlands houses have accepted that this ground cannot be reclaimed. The word has spread that The Stranger will allow no hands to work the soil until it is at last cleared of dead.
Silent Sisters sometimes wander the field, though their reasons and their purposes are known only to the Seven. the water holds no promise of life or refreshment. A boot-clenching mire passes for a shoreline on the broad lake, and what few grasses that are brave enough to try and grow here are stunted and misshapen. Despite the apparent inhospitable environment, a few smallfolk will approach the water’s edge in high summer to harvest the salt crystals that form as the water evaporates. It’s a lower quality salt than is used by most noble houses, but even hag’s salt can fetch a groat or two in the right marketplace.
Another artifact of the ironmen conquest of the riverlands is Hardhand’s Folly. It isn’t known whether the tower known as Hardhand’s Folly was actually built by Harwyn Hardhand or by one of the numerous lesser houses that followed him to the region. Certainly House Hoare established many such small towers across the riverlands to guard against invasion, so the rumors of its founding are possible if not confirmable. Any name the redoubt might have initially carried in life has been lost to history. All that is known for certain is that it had already fallen into disuse when Belarion the Black Death burned Harrenhal and all who lived there. What remains of the stone tower sits in an inaccessible region of marshland —though the land was dry when the tower was built. A change in the flow of the one of the Trident’s many tributaries glutted the small streams that fed the area and turned spongy but defendable land into nightmarish swamp. With the loss of its tenants, the stone walls quickly succumbed to the encroaching marsh. Sections sank at different rates and the walls were wrenched apart by the twin forces of time and gravity. Historically, the ruin served briefly as a base of operations for the cutthroat Jerrold Blackbow. From the difficultto-reach location he avoided capture for over two years and developed a series of safe paths through the swamp. That he used those paths to prey upon smallfolk and noble-born alike has mostly been forgotten by the smallfolk, and Blackbow’s stories persist to this day. Ostensibly a part of House Kytley’s demesne, no effort has been made to recover the ruin or put it to any further purpose. Rumors abound of the ruin being haunted, and sightings of witch-lights bobbing in the surrounding swamp are common. Those few who have braved approaching the ruin claim to have heard voices echoing from the stones themselves, though obviously these tales have never been confirmed.
Low swamplands with treacherous footing are common among the upper reaches of the Riverlands and well into the Neck. In that respect, Stag’s Moor is not unique. Named for the herds of marsh deer that are often seen dancing from one dry path to another, this lowland has also been known to host lizard-lions and (if the rumors are to be believed) shadowcats. The spongy vegetation of Stag’s Moor often gives way beneath a traveler’s boots, and no one can stay dry long in the constant mire. Hunters have been known to travel leagues to reach Stag’s Moor, where the challenge of pursuing the small, fleet-footed deer is considered a high sport. The smallfolk living nearby— who rely on the deer for food, not recreation—have nevertheless taken advantage of this influx, and most settlements near the moorland boast a number of guides who know the “one safe way through the marsh.” Lodging and hunting gear also often cost more than in other places in the Riverlands, especially during the yearly Great Hunt, a two-week-long event that draws nobility from across Westeros, all vying to bring in the largest stag.
Four days travel along the Green Fork from The Twins will bring a voyager to the patch of rocks known as Maelys’s Crossing. While it is theoretically possible to cross the river at this point, footing on the mossy stones is treacherous. Furthermore, any heavy rain brings the water to a level that hides all but the largest stones from view. Fording the river on horseback is equally dangerous, as the slick rocks and unstable footing have lead to several mounts with broken legs, destined only for a swift, merciful death. The Crossing is significant in that it was the site where Maelys the Monstrous and a handful of his personal guard held off an attack by five times their number during the War of the Ninepenny Kings. By holding the central stone on the crossing, Maelys forced his pursuers to navigate a bottle-
Stagnant ponds are common in the marshy north of the Riverlands, especially when Summer has run long and the land feels the clench of drought. Unlike those oases of insect and algae that are its cousin, Hag’s Mouth is both larger than most other ponds, and as barren as the deserts beyond the Free Cities. Brackish and smelling of eggs too long in the sun,
neck of water and rock, and could dispatch threats as they approached. When bows were drawn, Maelys relied on the cover of his fellows and retreated across the Green Fork and out of his assailant’s reach. Small groups on foot still come to the Crossing rather than pay House Frey’s exorbitant toll to cross at The Twins, and Walder Frey has frequently railed against its use. He has gone so far as to send soldiers down to hold the crossing and prevent its use, but the expense in salaries seldom makes up for the increased toll revenue. Should any House attempt to develop the crossing into a more usable form, either by establishing a ferry, or by building a bridge, the Late Lord Frey would waste no time in mustering his forces to stop them. For now he is content to leave Maelys’s Crossing alone, and turn a blind eye to its use. As a result it has been a popular point for moving small items of contraband across the Green Fork, rather than slipping past guards at The Twins. of the old gods, or those with more mouths than they can possibly feed, have traditionally brought their youngest children to Orphan’s Hill and abandoned them to exposure. Though the practice has been frowned upon since before Aegon the Conqueror arrived at King’s Landing, it has never been officially outlawed and a winter does not pass when carrion birds have not assembled at least once to take a meal on the Hill. Tradition dictates that any child “taken to the hill” is considered never to have been born. The family removes any trace of the child from the house, and references to the child by name are met with confused stares. While the abandoned child’s former siblings may not understand at first, the pressure of their parents and the rest of the community brings them into line and they forget the other ever existed. On the rare occasion when an abandoned child finds his or her way back to a settlement, they are considered bastards and given the surname Rivers (or in rare cases Hill). Their birth family will not recognize them, nor will they take them in. From time to time, noble houses attempt to crack down on the “use” of the hill without success. Even the prevailing efforts of wandering septons has only lowered the number of children abandoned. When the Seven won’t send the rain a farmer needs, it takes very little time for the smallfolk to remember the tales of older powers who are willing to exchange fair weather for payment in kind.
One of the tallest hills for a league in any direction, the rocky promontory known colloquially as Orphan’s Hill harbors a dark tradition of the old faith. Smallfolk who desire the favor
Though nearly three centuries have passed since Harren the Black hung his iron gibbets from this ancient oak tree, it still bears his name and still sees its grisly use. The tree no longer grows leaves and most believe it to be dead, though its blackened trunk has not collapsed and its lower branches remain strong. While few Houses of the Riverlands use the tree for its old purpose, groups of vigilante smallfolk have been known to take the law into their own hands, and it not unusual to pass Harren’s Justice and see at least one body slowly twisting beneath its boughs. Rotted lengths of rope hang from the branches, and carrion birds perch waiting in the trees for an easy meal. While it is the hangings for which Harren’s Justice is remembered, the space beneath the boughs also served as home to a headsman’s block for several decades. The rebellious brigand Jerrold Blackbow was drawn and quartered here after his capture, and his limbless torso was tied to the trunk as a warning to any who might follow in his footsteps. Alchemists approach Harren’s Justice for their own reasons during certain phases of the moon, as it is widely known as an excellent source for nightshade. This ingredient features promi-
nently in a number of ancient formulae, though it now sees use primarily as a curiosity and in folk remedies. Attempts have been made to curb the collection of the plant, as skilled hands can create a dangerous poison from it, but nothing short of a constant armed guard works to dissuade smallfolk who believe the human-shaped root can ward off curses or cure infertility. and empty. Many of the stones have been carted off to form new structures, both noble and low. As with most sites associated with the dead, a number of conflicting rumors have sprung up in regards to the Barrow Plain. The most popular are tales of a lost grave, supposedly holding anything from a treasure trove of ancient Valyrian weaponry, to the eggs of the last dragons, to the final resting place of the blade Blackfyre. The fact that no one has ever found this kingly burial site has not caused the rumors to fade in the least—if anything it only fans them higher. Smallfolk avoid the Barrow Plain after dark, though not from any fear of the restless dead. Wolves are common among the sheltering stones, and these Barrow-wolves have no fear of humans. Some witnesses have claimed that the animals show a surprising amount of cunning, though others have said the beasts show nothing more uncommon than a particularly savage mien.
THE TrOuPE OF CaSquE & wrEN
While not a set place that can be marked on a map, this travelling mummers’ troupe moves from settlement to settlement within the Riverlands, and has performed for most of the major houses. As artists, they are afforded a sense of safe passage in most areas of the Riverlands—the notable exception being House Dulver. A jest about the prior Lord Dulver’s tightfistedness raised his wroth, and he barred the gates of Deepen Hall to the company forever, upon pain of death. Wherever they set their stakes, the encampment draws in large numbers of smallfolk eager to forget their lives for a while and be carried away by the Troupe’s performance. The current master of the Casque and Wren, Cyrol Barleg, tries to tailor the performances to the audience. Tales of Jerrold Blackbow are popular among the smallfolk, for example, while classical plays and histories are more popular among the nobility. The popularity of the troupe allows Barleg to have his pick of performers in the Riverlands, and many lesser minstrels hope to catch his eye and win a spot among the Casque and Wren’s vaunted ranks. The troupe’s master tries to balance talent with trustworthiness, as their wide-ranging travels allow them to see a greater swath of the Riverlands than most individuals, and occasionally happen upon things they weren’t meant to notice. Cyrol Barleg recognizes the power of information, and cannot afford performers who share such secrets without proper discretion… and remuneration. The Casque and Wren takes its name from an ancient tradition, where a wren is drowned in a casque of fine wine to hasten the end of winter. While it has been some time since a winter has come to the Riverlands, the troupe continues to maintain a pair of wrens in a cage, in case their sacrifice is needed.
THE BarrOw PLaiN
Ancient cairns are not uncommon as the fertile soil of the Riverlands approaches the stonier ground of the Mountains of the Moon, but the Barrow Plain represents the greatest concentration of them in the area. Wind and rain have taken care of many of the gravesites, and unscrupulous robbers accomplished the rest. As a result, most of the graves lie open
Short-lived and brutally ended, the smallfolk rebellions are remembered in few if any histories of Westeros. Among the folk of the Riverlands the consequences of such insurrection are better known, at least among those who were raised within a day’s travel of the ruined town known as Smalls’ Defense. Driven to the edge of starvation by the sudden onset of winter, smallfolk farmers and craftsmen rallied to the banner of the disgraced hedge knight Ser Cyriac the Green. For three months, the rebels marauded across the Riverlands and pillaged what supplies they could find. The nobility—themselves in hurried preparation for winter—largely ignored the uprising until the rebels kidnapped the heir to Riverrun, and Lord Tully had no choice but to act. His bannermen answered the call rapidly, given the terrible weather of the season, and with a host of close to 6,000 men House Tully set out to retrieve its scion. Knowing it would be their final stand, the rebels chose Smalls’ Defense as their holding point. The battle that followed was as short as it was one-sided; Cyriac’s ragtag band of poorly armed farmers was no match for the armored might that overwhelmed them. After the battle, Cyriac the Green was beheaded and the entire town put to sword and torch for daring to help the rebels. Very little remains of the town—a few stone foundations and the occasion piece of wall are all to differentiate Smalls’ Defense from the surrounding countryside. Occasionally a minstrel will be caught singing the Ballad of Cyriac the Green, but such behavior is quickly squashed in the Riverlands lest the Tully wrath be called down again.
THE irON PLOT
In Westeros, even more than in the modern world, there is no such thing as a free ride. Every favor becomes a debt owed, every gift has strings attached, and every horse is Trojan. It is not the Greeks one needs to fear bearing gifts—it’s everyone. The ties of human emotion are rare and wondrous, but are also weaknesses that must be closely guarded and hidden from others. The Game of Thrones exempts no one, whether pawn or player. In this time of uncertainty, when a king some still call the Usurper rules with his gilded queen and golden children, loyalties are far from certain. On the surface, things seem serene, but this sea of claims and counterclaims and ambition is only temporarily calm, and what goes on within its murky depths is far from clear. The ironborn know this— their Drowned God knows the costs of life and death and takes from them accordingly. Above all, Winter is Coming, and what will slumber peacefully in summer’s days of plenty grows sharp and angry in Winter’s frozen heart. As time grows short, the Greyjoys of Pyke and their bannermen must find a way to regain some of its losses or face much dearer consequences when the time comes. They will take
what they must, or have nothing at all. That is the iron price; that is the Old Way. This adventure is designed to give both the Narrator and the PCs an initial foray into the world of Westeros and its intrigues and dangers. It begins at the PCs house but takes them quickly beyond its walls, to complete a task that rapidly becomes more involved than they were led to believe. It is assumed in this adventure that the lord of the house with which the PCs are affiliated is a Narrator Character. If this is not the case, minor changes will be needed Note: The term “home house” is used to refer to the house that the players’ characters are affiliated with.
When the house’s liege lord demands hospitality, hospitality is given, even when it’s unexpected. It’s on such a night and such an occasion that the lord whose bannerhouse this is comes calling. On his way to King’s Landing, the lord decided to turn up at the seat of the home house, and break his
The iron Plot
journey there. During his stay, he requests the PCs’ services, in a minor matter involving another local house. The task turns out to be much more serious than the PCs are led to believe. There are old tensions between their sworn house and the place to which they’ve been sent, which are not totally unexpected. The surprise comes when they realize that one of the other guests in the host’s house has darker, insidious motives. Old rivalries are being revived and fanned into new flames thanks to the efforts of this agent (and others) in the hopes of making the region an easy target for raids by the ironmen. It’s up to the PCs to prove this in a way that won’t just play into the hands of their enemies. Not all the men of the Iron Islands are so subtle, of course. Patience is the province of the Drowned God, not man. Dissent comes from within the Iron Islands as well as without, and a second group is resolved not to fall back on womanish plots and soft ways, but to drive out these corrupting influences and lead the ironmen back to the Old Ways. Will the PCs be caught between these two forces, or find a way to turn them to their advantage? as their own. As Narrator, choose the house you feel is more complementary to the PCs and their stories for the second portion of the adventure. If you’re feeling particularly energetic, you could attempt to integrate both plots into a longer storyline. In that case, the assassination attempt at Hart House could be a prelude to the larger destabilization project between House Dulver and House Tullison.
It is a pleasant time of the year, with hunts and diversions of all sorts available to the nobles of Westeros. A good time for travel, as King Robert’s forces see to it that the main roads are safe—or at least as safe as one traveling could expect. It is of little surprise then when guests arrive seeking respite and shelter. Most travelers have their bread and salt, rest, and then are on their way again in the morning, with none the wiser (or much poorer) for their passing. When a traveler requests hospitality from the lord of the local House, however, that is something to note. The PCs are about their business within the confines of the house’s hold and property, when a messenger bearing the badge of the bannerhouse’s liege lord rides in through the gates. He informs the household that his lord is approaching and bids a place be made ready for him for the next two nights. It shouldn’t take long for word to circulate. There are preparations to be made, the family to be consulted, and food to be prepared. If appropriate, one of the PCs can be directed to find the lord and lady of the house and see what their wishes are. The lady will begin directing preparations or else give the steward leave to do so, as appropriate for their situations per the Narrator. The lord should send a party to greet his liege, preferably including him, his heir, and his closest advisors or knights. It should be appropriate to include a few of the PCs in this party, if not all of them.
NOTES FOr THE NarraTOr
Before starting this adventure, the Narrator should take some time to establish the Home House and how the PCs fit into it if they have not already had an opportunity to do so. Figuring out how the players’ characters relate to any ongoing issues in the household and how they relate to each other will be valuable to the players once the characters strike out from home and find themselves out of their element. This adventure is also an excellent opportunity to introduce one or more of the movers and shakers of Westeros in a guest star role into your chronicle. Whether Arryn, Stark, Baratheon or Tully, Tywin Lannister or Walder Frey, these characters feature heavily in the novels and should be exciting for players to encounter and either love or hate. Characters with ambition might use these meetings as a stepping stone to greater achievements, while others may find their brush with the great lords an experience they would as soon forget. Finally, note that the exact actions of the NCs, along with the situations of the household and which lord is visiting are left for you to decide. Since the players may have created their own house or be using any of the houses detailed in this book, it is up to the Narrator to interpret the general terms and events here into specifics for the chronicle. To that end, two house options are listed in the second part of the adventure, in case the players chose one of the houses from this book
THE wELCOMiNg ParTy
The home house’s lord and men greet their liege lord roughly half an hour’s ride from the house. The composition of the liege’s traveling company depends greatly on his identity. Some suggestions for the entourages of various major lords can be found in the Traveling Groups sidebar, or the Narrator can feel free to decide on composition of the group traveling with the liege lord.
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The number and type of people a lord chooses to bring with him when he travels is very indicative of both that individual’s personality and the things that he values. Escorts and followers should be different for each lord, giving observant characters insight into who this person is and what he deems important.
LOrD JON arryN
Lord Jon travels lightly and is passing through the area on other matters on behalf of His Grace. He brings 3-5 knights and 2 squires, with horses and equipment for all. Speed is more important than grandeur, but safety is more important than both. His men sport no livery, but all have a badge of the heraldry for House Arryn somewhere on their person, and he in turn carries an extra token, easily concealed if necessary, indicating his status as the Hand of the King. His horse and equipment are of fine quality and are hale and hearty, able to handle the high altitudes (and marauding clans) of the Vale.
LOrD STaNNiS BaraTHEON
Lord Stannis is scarcely recognizable as the King’s brother. Certainly, if one did not know his face, one would have few other clues as to his identity. His horse and gear are serviceable and of excellent quality, but unadorned and austere. Only two men travel with him, only one a knight. One squire travels with them, son to Ser Cael, the knight in question, and his role there is to serve everyone to the extent that he is able. There are no luxuries in his arrangements, and the condition of his horse and men suggest that there has been at least one night spent sleeping outdoors rather than in borrowed hospitality. Stannis is visiting a few Baratheon bannermen purely out of a sense of duty to his House and his brother, but he realizes that he must eventually return to Dragonstone.
LOrD waLDEr FrEy
Lord Walder Frey never travels. Some claim he’s merely in his eighties, others that he’s seen ninety come and go... regardless, while his mind may be as sharp as ever, his body stays at home in The Twins. Instead he sends one of his sons to do his bidding and business, leaving the traveling to them. In this instance, he has sent Ser Stevron, his heir. The Freys are very conscious of their status and travel accordingly. With Stevron travel a host of Freys, including Ser Hosteen, Ser Emmon, and Ser Danwell, all of whom are well known for their skill at tournament. In addition, the Freys bring a small unit of twenty men-at-arms and a small group of five young Freys, a mix of acknowledged bastards and trueborn offspring, acting as squires for their older relatives. They are all dressed in livery and at least two of them are named Walder. Only Ser Stevron and his brothers ride; men-at-arms and squires walk. The horses are of moderate quality but carry fine gear.
LOrD TywiN LaNNiSTEr
Lord Tywin prizes efficiency and station, and he travels as befits both. Wearing his house colors in practical yet exquisitely made traveling clothes and light armor, he is the living embodiment of Casterly Rock and the gold he controls. He travels with only one companion, Ser Kevan, his brother. The rest of his company are twenty men dressed in dark clothes who wear black with an embroidered red and gold lion on their left breasts, insignia of House Lannister. There are no squires with this group.
LOrD EDDarD STarK
Lord Stark is a practical man, and practical men value safety over speed. He has no need to travel with a retinue, but he is well aware of what is owed to his station and his bannermen. Eddard Stark travels with a company of knights and men-at-arms. His son and heir Robb Stark travels with him, as well as his other son, Jon Snow. He takes pains to ensure that all his sworn houses know and are known by his heir for the day when he rules Winterfell. Wagons carrying provisions also accompany the Starks, along with guards to ensure their safety. While travelling, however, he asks only for hospitality for himself, his sons, and a group of five retainers. The rest remain outside, camping, as he and his family often do when they travel, wishing to remain as self-sufficient as possible.
Lord Hoster holds the Riverlands in secure hands, as safe a realm as one could wish. He is an older man, though, and not as spry as he once was, so his son Edmure travels on his behalf. His progress is slow and steady, with pack horses to carry their lord’s gear and add to his comfort. The young heir to House Tully can be blustery, but good humored under all. He brings host gifts for his bannermen and shows interest in their welfare. Edmure Tully travels with a few servants, as well seven loyal knights of his household.
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In Westeros, events of note are often preceded by portents, such as the discovery of the dire wolf killed by a stag’s antler, not to mention its orphaned cubs and their links to the Stark children. It is therefore thematically appropriate for Narrators to use similar events to foreshadow upcoming plots. If the Narrator would like to incorporate similar events for this plot, the following are suggestions based on the liege lord’s house.
The party finds an injured hawk with a broken wing, lying on the ground. When they approach, it begins thrashing wildly, almost convulsing, before lying still on the ground. Examination of the animal shows that its wing had been broken as a result of a fight with another animal, but it finally died from a chunk of rock—mostly iron — that had become lodged in its throat, causing it to choke.
A fire starts at the farrier’s smithy at the keep. The forge collapsed and the fire raged within its ruins unchecked, quenched only when it grew so hot that the nearby iron ore melted, rushing in and quenching in liquid form the fire’s source.
As the party rides, one of the PCs realizes that an important stream they should be riding alongside has slowed to a trickle. Upon investigation, it appears that a log jam or a beaver dam has blocked the stream, threatening flooding. When the characters take the logjam apart, they discover a rusting iron sword at its core that somehow became lodged between two slender trees.
An old yellow wildcat is found dead near the path, an iron-tipped arrowhead found lodged and festering in its breast. The animal had succumbed to infection and is filled with rot and decay despite its normal outward appearance.
A wolf is found with its paw caught in a rusting iron trap. Its pack can be heard in the distance, howling and circling, but does not approach. If the characters wish to engage the wolf, use the stats found on page 214 of the Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying Game.
At dinner the first evening, a large trout is served whole, with the plate presented to Lord Hoster as befits his status as both lord and guest. When he cuts into it, however, to take his portion, his knife hits something hard. It’s revealed that the fish has a cruel, three-prong fishhook embedded deep within its mouth that was somehow missed during the preparation of the animal. Once tasted, it’s discovered that the entire fish has an unpleasant tang of iron, corrupted from being cooked with the hook in place. It is deemed unsuitable and taken away.
Upon arriving at the household, the liege lord retires with the lord of the house to discuss business, while the rest of the household prepares for dinner. It quickly becomes known that he intends to stay for two nights only before continuing on his way—an unusually short stay for such a visit, regardless of the length of travel. The first night passes uneventfully. Dinner is prepared and turns out well, the liege lord and the household dine as befits their stations. The lord’s company are housed and fed as well, and if their entertainment is a bit rougher or if a bit more ale
was drunk than was needful, they are still guests and have still taken salt and bread as per the custom. Their safety is assured. The next morning, the lord of the home house and his liege lord get an early start on the day. They ride out from the house with a very small party, no more than two or three others, to survey the household lands and take account of the house’s general welfare. If the Narrator feels that the liege lord would be unlikely to go himself (or would rather bring along an advisor or other companion as well), the situation can be altered to accommodate that. The bannerlord might also wish to bring along an extra companion, especially one or more of the PCs.
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wHiCH HOuSE DO wE ViSiT?
One of the functions of this book is to provide pre-generated houses for use in SIFRP games. To avoid the possibility of PCs being asked to investigate their own houses two options are presented for the main portion of this adventure. The two houses presented here, House Bartheld and House Dulver, are both detailed in this book and available for use. Should the PCs be running characters from one, the Narrator may then choose the other for this adventure. If neither is already in use, then the Narrator should choose whichever best suits his players and the style of his chronicle.
The two lords talk a great deal about their personal lives and business. If there are unmarried children, there might be talk of fostering or possible betrothals if the bannerhouse is on good terms with the liege lord (this is particularly true if the liege lord is Ser Stevron Frey). If asked, the liege lord will comment on his travels and eventual destination (King’s Landing) but will avoid any details regarding his business or travel. While touring the lands, the party may run across an unusual situation that can seem to have a wider implication to those who believe in signs and try to interpret the world around them. It is up to the Narrator whether or not he wishes to use such a situation. For suggestions of what might be found, see the Portents sidebar. Once the lords return to the household, the liege lord excuses himself to his chambers, ostensibly to rest for the evening and recover from his travels. This should give the PCs an opportunity to share news, question members of the liege lord’s retinue, rest themselves, or accomplish other tasks.
The liege lord does not emerge from his rooms again until dinner is announced that evening. The meal passes uneventfully, a quieter event than that of the previous day by the liege lord’s own request. After dinner, each PC is asked to join the house lord in his study. Once the group arrives at the study, they discover that their lord isn’t alone; his liege lord is there with him as well. He addresses the group of PCs as a whole, saying the following (feel free to rephrase this as befits the liege lord’s identity and personality as described in the novels): “I’ve spoken with your lord, and he has sworn your service to me. Are you all loyal and ready to do service?” When the PCs answer in the affirmative (as they are sworn to do) he will continue. “Good. I have need of you then. It is a trifling matter, but one for which only trusted allies will do. I cannot directly interfere and hope for a positive outcome, yet something must be done. “I have heard word that there is trouble brewing in the area, old wounds that fester anew. Things are peaceful at the moment,
but open fighting is insupportable right now. The king and his Hand have told me they will put down harshly any open hostilities between the houses, and with equal vigor reward those who further the cause of peace. The house to which I ask you to travel owes me no allegiance so I cannot command their attendance. It must be diplomacy, not loyalty that sees this task through. “Present yourselves to this household, learn of their grievances, and see if it be possible to turn their arguments to a better end. If it is not, report back to your lord with such information as you are able to gather.” He answers questions shortly and to the point. It is clear that he believes this to be a small diplomatic or informationgathering task and thus of no great risk beyond diplomatic embarrassment should it go awry. He gives minimal additional information, saying that the house lord will answer their questions on the morrow. For this evening, he instructs them to tell no one else about it and that they will leave the day after tomorrow. It is an urgent matter and must be settled as soon as may be.
Below are described two houses, either one of which may be a secondary antagonist for the remainder of the adventure. Both are described in brief here; more detail can be found in the Houses chapter of this book, pg. 5. Use the information here to fill out the conversation for the PCs as described in An Audience.
OPTiON ONE: HOuSE DuLVEr
House Dulver is led by Lord Harald Dulver, who is determined to lead his family and lands to prosperity by whatever means necessary. Nominally sworn to Lannister, it’s no secret that Lord Dulver is as eager to pay lip service to those in power as he is to act as needed to fulfill his ambitions. Of late, there is rumor that the Dulvers seek to expand their holdings to more profitable lands. In particular, bad blood seems to be stirring between Dulver and House Tulli-
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son, with rumors spreading that Dulver wants to “run through that bastard’s get and see what price his whore of a sister would fetch.” Lord Dulver has never been known for his winning ways, but at this rate it seems only a matter of time before words turn to action. Lord Dunstan Tullison is naïve when it comes to war; he could be easily provoked and Lord Dulver knows it. Such a war would prove potentially ruinous to the riverlands, however, pitting the Lannisters against the Tullys and possibly the Faith as well, depending on how far Lord Dulver took his grumblings against the Seven and what Ser Walton’s reaction was to his father’s actions. The king’s forces would be forced to back Lannister, giving that house even greater dominion and wealth... something that would upset the balance of power and make the other great houses uneasy at best. The PCs are tasked to travel to House Dulver and determine whether Lord Harald is actually contemplating the use of force, and if so, what might be done to convince him to stay his hand.
OPTiON TwO: HOuSE BarTHELD
Young Lord Davain Bartheld has led House Bartheld for less than two years, but it seems that has been a sufficient amount of time for him to make enemies. A recent fire damaged his smithy and nearly claimed his life. Rumor has it that he was struck on the head from behind, falling unconscious, and when he awoke the roof was in flames. He was able to stumble out before being overcome, but it was a near thing. Other events seem to point to skullduggery as well. Each looks innocent enough, (a normally gentle horse throwing him during a ride, a surprisingly virulent bout of food poisoning) but when examined as a whole, it seems remarkably like a pattern designed to put an end to Lord Davain’s life. Who could want to kill the lord of Hart House, though, so dear a retreat to the Baratheons? Suspicion has cast a pall over the household, though Lord Davain refuses to hear accusations against any of his guests. The PCs are asked to go to Hart House, ostensibly as guests, and determine whether someone is trying to murder Lord Bartheld. If so, they are encouraged to discover who it is and put a stop to their efforts or, if that proves impossible, to report back with the information. time their assignment is given. A slight delay allows for word to be sent ahead of them to either Deepen Hall or Hart House announcing their impending arrival if they so choose, as well as giving them time to gather appropriate supplies and resources for their task. Once the PCs have determined their approach to the task, it’s time for them to set out. All of the houses presented in this book are no more than a few days ride from each other, so the journey should not present too much danger. That said, bandits and clan members grow bold even in these days. The roads are not always safe. If the PCs present themselves as tempting targets, (wearing noble’s clothes while traveling, showing off jewelry, money, or fine equipment without sufficient protection) they should be attacked by bandits (use the bandit stats on pg. 268 of the SIFRP Pocket Edition).
Whether the bandits are hedge knights, clan members, or common criminals depends on where the PCs are when they are attacked and what criminal element is most present in that community. Please review both the PCs’ house of origin and House Bartheld or House Dulver, as appropriate. There
PrEPariNg FOr a JOurNEy
Regardless of which house the Narrator chooses to use, the PCs are expected to leave no more than two days from the
The Iron Plot
are as many bandits as the number of PCs plus ½ (e.g., 6 bandits for a party of 4 PCs) and they will only attack so long as they outnumber the PCs. If the battle becomes equal in number, they will run away. They are greedy, but not enough so to risk their lives. The bandits will initially attempt to surprise the characters. With the road blocked, one bandit, from hiding, will demand that the PCs surrender money and equipment or be attacked. If the PCs refuse, they’ll attack. This event should illustrate the dangers on the road and allow the characters practice at working toward a common goal prior to arrival at their destination. For that matter, it isn’t simply the local smallfolk who may need to be convinced of the PCs’ intentions. Lord Harald Dulver is not a man to tolerate interference, nor one to waste the resources of his house on food and shelter for strangers without an excellent reason to do so. Sending word ahead to Lord Dulver of the PCs’ desire to talk to him on a matter of business is the surest way to get inside the castle gates on good terms. (A Routine (6) Status (Breeding) roll can provide this suggestion.)
Assuming the PCs have sent word ahead heralding their arrival and desire to discuss matters of trade, the party will be ushered brusquely into Deepen Hall to await audience with Lord Dulver. Their mounts (if any) will be stabled, the baggage collected and taken to adequate chambers. If, on the other hand, they arrive unannounced or profess some purpose other than trade, they will find entry considerably more difficult to get. The guards at the gate are loathe to draw Lord Harald’s ire by admitting uninvited guests. Any parties arriving unannounced will be met with an initial refusal. If the visitors persist, the guards will question the party as to their purpose with Lord Dulver, their allegiances and their place of origin. After hearing the answers to these questions, the guards will refuse a second time and urge the PCs to ‘come back tomorrow!’ (when the duty shift has changed and the interlopers have become someone else’s problem). These men know their job and will resist any attempt to convince them to open the gate to anyone approaching uninvited, but they are common folk to a man and thus susceptible to the influence high status characters wield over them. Any character passing a Routine (difficulty 6) Status or Persuasion test can get the guardsmen to fetch either Lord Harald’s brother and master-at-arms Ser Gambol Hill or Maester Falstan to hear the party’s plea. Either of these men can be persuaded to admit the party (via an Intrigue), whatever their stated purpose and will see that they are properly accommodated. Once inside Deepen Hall, the next item on the agenda will likely be an audience with Lord Dulver. Harald is a brusque man and not given to ceremony or pomp. Once the party is settled in chambers he will meet with them in his audience chamber, seated on the simple and ancient bronze chair of the Dulvers. He drives straight to the point. Characters arriving under the auspices of buying from Lord Dulver should expect to spend between 1 and 5 Wealth
Depending on which house the Narrator has chosen, the PCs will wind up either at Hart House trying to discover whether or not an assassin exists or at Deepen Hall trying to decipher how to stave off a war. Neither may be particularly easy, though the PCs have no reason to suspect their tasks are quite as difficult as all that. They have been asked merely to observe and report, though if they feel the situation calls for additional action to accomplish their goals, they are welcome to take it—within reason. The line between reasonable and unreasonable may quickly blur, however, as the PCs draw closer to the truth.
OPTiON 1: HOuSE DuLVEr
Deepen Hall is not known for its hospitality. While “Dulver’s Turnips” (as his garrison troops are called) are well known and jokingly offered to every newcomer in the area, travelers who come empty handed are unlikely to get anything more than the basest care. Those who bring potential profit, however, are welcomed—perhaps not warmly, but they are at least not rushed to be on their way. Lord Dulver is not a warm person in any regard, so this shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who knows of him. If the PCs stop in the village of Stony Heath and discuss where they are going, they will be met with disbelief and possibly derision unless they have a convincing story to tell. The vast majority of the visitors who come to Deepen Hall have business there that involves buying or selling, so a story that involves trade in base metals will unlock the most doors. Nobles rarely come to House Dulver; merchants come on a regular basis. (A Challenging (9) Knowledge (Education) roll can provide this information, as can good roleplaying with the smallfolk or guards in the area.)
The iron Plot
wHaT’S rEaLLy gOiNg ON?
Harald Dulver is edging his way toward war. Not being a man of martial nature, he’s taking his own sweet time of it, but war is certainly where he’s headed and it’s his own Maester Falstan that is driving him to it. Shortly after arriving at Deepen Hall, Falstan took the lay of the land and began turning it to his advantage. Whisper by whisper the Maester has driven wedges between Lord Harald and all of his most trusted advisors, isolating his lordship and making himself chief confidante and advisor. Falstan is an ambitious, greedy man. He thinks very highly of himself, not without reason, and was much affronted when he was assigned to a second-rate house in a backwater district. An assignment that was far below his own stature, or so he thought. His appeals to the Citadel went unheeded. Unwilling to give up on aspiring to high position, Falstan decided that if he could not be assigned to a great house, he would make the house great. Unfortunately, Lord Harald’s cautious nature forbore any notions of a quick ascension. Frustrated, Maester Falstan kept tapping those wedges deeper and deeper, waiting for the right opportunity. Six months ago, that opportunity came in a ship from the Iron Islands. Four ironmen approached Falstan with a proposition: make Dulver a tinderbox for war against Tullison and the ironmen would strike the spark. They paid with gold and they promised that all they wanted was to crack the Tullison egg and suck out the yolk. Dulver could keep the land, keep the mines, keep the castle and none be the wiser. Falstan agreed and has been working Lord Harald toward war ever since. He diverted a certain shipment of weapons to his co-conspirators who then supplied them to mountain clansmen for use in raids on Tullison lands; weapons easily traceable to a smithy in Fairmarket who has gladly reported them sold to Lord Dulver at Deepen Hall. The maester has used Lord Dulver’s own reputation against him, subtly convincing visitors with business with Lord Harald to repeat some of the worst rumors and stories and attribute them to Lord Tullison and his people, and he has done so with such deftness that the merchants believe it to be their own ideas. And lastly, Falstan has burned every message he’s received from Dunstan Tullison pledging peace or requesting parlay. The demands for satisfaction were readily forwarded to Lord Harald.
points on whatever it is they’re looking for. Harald Dulver can produce just about anything from his cellars from salted fish to silver candle sconces and all things between, so finding a suitably desirable commodity to purchase should pose no obstacle to making a deal. The negotiation itself should be resolved as a standard Bargain Intrigue with the base price of the goods at stake being 3 Wealth points, modified by the outcome of the intrigue as appropriate. Maester Falstan will be present during the negotiations, and it should be clear to the PCs that Lord Harald relies heavily on his counsel. If the PCs deal honestly and well, they will be welcome to stay at Deepen Hall as long as they like, up to one week, as guests while their goods are collected, accounts are settled, and transportation of the goods is arranged. They will have the run of the castle short of the Dulvers’ personal apartments and the cellars, though a guided tour of the latter can be arranged on request. If the PCs decide, instead, to confront Lord Harald directly over the matter of his intentions toward House Tullison, their welcome will come to an immediate end. Though Harald won’t throw them out that very night (unless some grievous insult is given) he will inform the PCs that they WILL be leaving upon the morrow as early as possible. The PCs will be left with a single night to complete any investigations they wish to make inside Deepen Hall.
In fact, even if the PCs do make a deal with Lord Harald to purchase something, bringing up the Tullisons will signal an end to their welcome. They will be asked to leave the very next morning and Lord Dulver will not be available to them again. If they have completed their investigations then they have the night to convince Lord Harald of the plot against him. If not, they have until dawn the next day to do so before being escorted to the gates and turned out.
LOrD HaraLD DuLVEr
Lord Dulver is cunning, ambitious, shrewd and stubborn. Over the past two years, he has also come to feel utterly alone. His son and heir has abandoned him for a fat septon and seven gods that have never done a thing for the family. His wife rebukes him and sides with his son. His bastard uncle has no respect for him. His smallfolk scorn him and his peers mock him. Or so he thinks. Harald Dulver has always harbored a sense that he was meant for more, that he was due much more. Lord of nearly worthless lands, trader in the basest metals the earth can yield, heir of a family rich in history and poor and bloody all else.
The Iron Plot
And then there are those damned Tullisons. Up-jumped bastards given lordship over rich lands and fruitful mines before the ink was dry on the declaration of legitimacy. The past Lords Tullison were baseborn fools and the current Tullison, young Lord Dunstan is an idiot, born without the brains the gods gave a goat. But he’s noble. Oh, so noble and knightly and good. Harald’s resentment of Tullison is old. (And only tops a long list of grievances). It long predates the coming of Maester Falstan, but up until very recently it was naught but an ember. Falstan’s ambitions have fanned it to flames and the machinations of the Iron Plot threaten to make it a conflagration. If it goes unchecked, two houses may very well be burned to the ground. Harald is smart and he knows it. He keeps his own counsel. He is bullheaded, stubborn and utterly uncompromising when he has made his mind up to do something. If he is to be turned from the course to war it will require convincing evidence that such a conflict would do more harm to his house than good. Evidence of Falstan’s collusion with the ironmen would be proof enough, but that is unlikely as the young maester has covered his tracks very well. Proof that the ironmen are responsible for provoking Dunstan Tullison would give Harald pause enough for his natural caution to take hold. An earnest overture for peace from Tullison, delivered directly into Lord Dulver’s hands (thus circumventing Maester Falstan) would also be very difficult to ignore. Harald Dulver does not want to go to war, but thanks to Maester Falstan’s plotting, he feels as though he has no other choice. For Lord Harald’s stats, please refer to the House Dulver section of this book)
Falstan is a cool, cunning and subtle man. He is not given to rash action or impetuousness. He will not jeopardize himself or his scheme by haring off to his hidden benefactors at the first sign of suspicion, either. He knows full well that his best course of action is simply to sit quietly and wait, should it become clear that someone has caught the scent of his plan. He is confident that no one can tie him to anything incriminating. All he has done has been in service to his lord. If the PCs should come to the gates of Deepen Hall proclaiming their intentions to sway Lord Dulver from his course toward conflict, Maester Falstan will eagerly usher them into Harald’s presence to make their case to his lordship directly. He knows that such a confrontation can only harden Harald’s resolve to continue the march to war. If suspicion should fall on him by some unhappy chance, Falstan will first plead innocence, and then ignorance, depending on the evidence presented. He has a great deal of cover in any event. Only the ironmen know of Falstan’s collusion and they’ll die before they talk, if they can even be found.
Awareness 3 Cunning 3 Deception 4 Healing 3 Knowledge 5 Persuasion 4 Stealth 3
Logic 1B Bluff 2B Education 2B Convince 2B
coMBat defenSe HealtH 10 6 intriGue defenSe coMPoSure 10 6
The iron Plot
None of the merchants can say that Falstan ever told them to do anything whatsoever. If it should come out that Falstan was responsible for getting the weapons to the ironmen, well then he was merely doing his duty as his lordship’s factor. He had nothing at all to do with putting them in the hands of the mountain clans. As for Lord Dunstan’s messages—ravens are lost all the time and there are a great many hawks and eagles between Mountain’s Reach and the Stony Heath. leaving the seat of his power practically undefended. It’s a recipe for disaster, and Ser Gambol knows it, but Harald won’t listen. Not to him anyway.
Lord Dulver’s chief stonemason has very little to do with war and even less to do with politics. Mountain’s Reach is one of the few castles in and about the Riverlands that he has absolutely no knowledge of. If it comes to a siege, he’ll be working with no advanced knowledge whatsoever. Karyl’s place in this scenario has more to do with his knowledge of Deepen Hall. Should the PCs request a tour of Dulver’s fabled cellars it will fall to Karyl to conduct that tour. He knows the cellars better than anyone. In the course of the tour, Karyl comes across an old tunnel, sealed years ago, that’s recently been reopened and used. The tunnel, Karyl will relate, was an old sally port dating from darker days. It descends steeply into the Deepmont and below, coming out in a gully some miles from the castle and hidden from view. It was originally dug as a means of escape should the Dulvers need to make a quick getaway but hadn’t been used in years. It’s clear by the disturbance of the dust on the floor that someone has used it quite recently. What Karyl doesn’t know (and indeed no one does) is that Maester Falstan has been using the tunnel to slip away from the castle unseen and from there, meet up with the four hidden conspirators. There is no evidence indicating who has used the tunnel. The footprints are unremarkable and muddled. Maester Falstan learned of the tunnel’s existence from Karyl himself, but that was long ago when the young Maester first came to serve the Dulvers and old Karyl has no hope at all of remembering.
THE FOur irONMEN
Maester Falstan’s fellow conspirators will remain nameless for purposes of this scenario. They are currently in hiding in an old smugglers’ cave miles from Deepen Hall on the shores of Ironman’s Bay. Their longship, Faithless Maiden, and her crew lie at anchor and in hiding on the other side of a small island in the bay. These men are only pawns themselves, acting at the behest of another more potent figure who, for purposes of this scenario, will also remain nameless. The PCs should not have opportunity to capture these men. Should they learn of the smugglers’ cave and go to investigate it they will find it empty of everything but a few bits of old crockery, some scrimshaw and the remains of a fire. It has clearly been used recently, but is unoccupied when the PCs arrive. In the aftermath of the Reavers’ raid, these four will be found on the beach below the cave—a grisly testament to the fate of those of the ironborn who eschew honest raiding for schemes and gutless treachery.
SEr gaMBOL HiLL
Growing up a bastard, Gambol learned early on not to put his nose into the business of his trueborn kin, and that is precisely why he’s so angry with himself now. He knows better, but this business between Harald and young Walton had gone on too long. Gambol, hoping to bring his nephew and grand-nephew back together again had gone and butted in, to his great regret. Harald had taken offense. Walton simply stalked off, indignant and angry. Neither of them has spoken to Gambol since. And now there’s the matter of Tullison and Harald’s clear intention to meet the lord of Mountain’s Reach in battle. It’s a battle Dulver simply cannot win and Gambol Hill knows it. Oh, the Dulver men are doughty enough, but they’re garrison troops, trained for defense. And if Harald wanted to mount a serious foray, he would have to empty Deepen Hall,
SEr waLTON DuLVEr
Ser Walton does his best to be a dutiful son and serve his father to the best of his ability. He loves the old man, but knows all too well that Harald has little love for him. (Harald has little love for anyone and Walton knows it.) Walton is also a faithful man and takes his vows of knighthood very seriously. Harald’s disdain for the church wounds his heir deeply but Walton takes the jibes without comment. The trouble brewing between Dulver and Tullison is of terrible concern to Walton. Unfortunately, he hasn’t the experience to make a forceful case against war, nor the will to rebuke his father without making the case. Walton sees it as his duty, both as a knight and heir, to obey and bear arms in
The Iron Plot
the services of his lord and father wherever Lord Dulver may see fit to employ them. If it comes down to it, Walton will go to war, but he won’t like it. If anyone can get through to Lord Dulver, it’s Walton. As the scenario opens, Walton and Lord Harald aren’t speaking to one another. But, if the PCs can get evidence of the plot to the young ser and convince him of the danger to his house, Walton will gladly put aside the dispute and endorse their appeal to his father. Walton is both the most likely and the most effective supporter the PCs will find. And if they can succeed, the PCs might very well save both the Dulver House and the family. For character statistics for Lord Dulver, see pg. 33.
Septon Arlyn is dismayed by the strife he knows is tearing apart the Dulver family, in no small part because he has been an unwitting contributor to it. Should the PCs wear out their welcome prematurely, Septon Arlyn can provide an option for continuing their investigation, though at something of a remove from the environs of Deepen Hall. There is no inn in the hamlet at the foot of the
Deepmont, but if the PCs make an appeal to the Septon, they can easily enlist his aid in the pursuit of peace. He will gladly house the PCs and permit their entourage (if they have any) to camp in a small field behind the Sept. Of those NCs that play a part in this scenario, Ser Walton is likeliest to be found at the Sept. Maester Falstan may come down out of curiosity to see why the PCs are still hanging around and to subtly squeeze them for information. Karyl Kays does attend services in the Sept but is unlikely to visit it on a whim. Septon Arlyn also happens to know young Dunstan Tullison. It’s been 7 years, but Arlyn remembers the young Lord Tullison as an impetuous but goodhearted boy. The septon has a very hard time believing that Dunstan could be so hellbent on confrontation as the rumors would have him. For character stats for Septon Arlyn, see pg. 37.
There is very little in the way of hard evidence for the PCs to find, but there should be enough strangeness going on to give them a feel that something is not right. Lord Harald is a man virtually alone. He has but one advisor, Maester Falstan, hav-
The iron Plot
wHErE arE THE rEST OF THE DuLVErS?
Lady Falyse, frustrated with the pigheaded foolishness of her lord husband, particularly because she knows him to be a man of great cunning, has departed Deepen Hall to visit her mother and cousins in Lannisport. Young Helen has gone with her mother and Horas Dulver, the younger son, sits in his tower by the sea and broods over yet another failing crop. For purposes of this scenario, these NCs are unnecessary and unlikely to sway the outcome in a direction the PCs would find productive. Falyse makes a point of not meddling in political affairs. Helen is simply too young to take a hand. And Horas is hobbled by his own incompetence. In addition, assume that Short Tom Tinker is currently out on one of his excursions, and will not be present for the duration of the adventure.
ing forsaken all others. He doesn’t speak to his servants except to give orders. He broods and even a casual observer will note the broad empty space that persists around him. Even when seated at table those nearest his chair seem to lean away, reluctant to breach the envelope of isolation that has been built around him. Those who should be advising him cannot and each of them rails at their impotence but can do nothing to avert what’s very clearly coming. The core of the problem here is a failure to communicate. Maester Falstan has been very effective in cutting off Lord Harald from anyone who might turn him from his chosen course, and by destroying all messages from Lord Dunstan suing for peace, preventing Tullison from averting disaster as well. If the PCs can get Harald and his household talking again, get a message of peace through from Lord Dunstan or (for best results) both, war can be prevented. It’s not at all clear that they can. If matters in Deepen Hall devolve into violence at this point something has gone very wrong. In all likelihood the action of this act will consist entirely of Intrigues as the PCs work to convince Lord Dulver that war is a path to failure. It’s also quite possible that this entire act can be carried out without making a single die-roll. Given the sensitivity of this matter in Lord Harald’s mind, it’s very possible that the PCs will need to travel to Mountain’s Reach to speak with Lord Dunstan Tullison. If so, see the section on House Tullison below. If the PCs manage to convince Lord Dulver to abandon his plans for war (for the time being, anyway) without visiting with Lord Tullison, proceed directly to Act Three.
raiders far better armed. After one such raid, Lord Dunstan had some of the weapons taken from the fallen clansmen put before Ren Alyard, his master smith. Alyard recognized the maker’s mark as that of a smith in Fairmarket. When that man was pressed he immediately recognized the blades as part of a lot he had sold to Lord Dulver a year past. It looked for all the world as though Harald Dulver was arming Tullison’s enemies. Dunstan began politely enough, asking for parlay, offering truce but his messages got no reply. As weeks went by and more of his smallfolk were killed by raiders bearing the very same arms, he grew angry. He wrote to Dulver again, this time demanding reparations and cessation of hostilities. He got back derision and denial. It was then that Dunstan Tullison began girding himself for war. That was three weeks ago. Now Lord Dunstan is having second thoughts. As his blood cooled, he began to think again of peace but his course seems to be set. He can’t see any way out of the coming conflict. His pleas for peace fall on deaf ears. His threats and demands are thrown back in his face. If Dulver wants war, Tullison will give it to him. Dunstan has considered sending a messenger rather than a raven, but he fears for the life of any emissary sent to Deepen Hall after the replies he received to his most recent letters. Should a neutral party (the PCs, for instance) arrive to volunteer, however, he would gladly try one last time to open the channels of communication to talk of peace.
OPTiON 2: HOuSE BarTHELD
Gaining entry to Hart House is no trouble whatsoever. House Bartheld is famed for its hospitality and makes a point of welcoming all who come upon its doorstep with good intent. In this particular case, that is also the Barthelds’ biggest problem. There are always strangers in Lord Davain’s house and only an utter fool would advertise his intentions if he came with an ill purpose in mind.
Lord Dunstan Tullison is fuming. His people have always suffered the raids of the mountain clans, but over the past few months the raids have become more frequent and the
The Iron Plot
Now there is an assassin on the grounds with the will (if not an overabundance of skill) to part the young Lord Bartheld from his life. It’s up to the PCs to find the one bad penny in a purse full of coppers. To top it all off, they need to resolve the matter in such a way as to keep the King’s peace intact! invite them to attend him in his solar to discuss their business in Hart House. If, in the course of conversation, the PCs should reveal their purpose Davain will express surprise and even a touch of amusement. “Why kill me?” he asks. He has no enemies he’s aware of. His lands, while prosperous, are by no means rich, his house nowhere near powerful enough to merit such sinister attention, or so he believes. He dismisses his recent plague of mishaps as mere accidents and coincidences or, at worst, the comeuppance due his family for years of debauchery and ignoble living. “I can but live well myself, and pray the Seven have mercy.” If the PCs press the point, Davain will politely but firmly end the conversation. The PCs are welcome to stay at Hart House for so long as they wish, but his lordship doesn’t care to discuss imaginary assassins or nefarious plots any further, thank you very much.
The PCs need have no pretext for coming to Hart House. Lord Davain’s doors are open to any that come to call (any noble, anyway). He is an open, honest and approachable man. He also finds the idea that someone is actually out to kill him frankly rather absurd. After the PCs have been welcomed, given chambers, had their mounts groomed and stabled, Lord Davain will gladly
wHaT’S rEaLLy gOiNg ON
A man named Mot is trying to kill Lord Davain Bartheld. Trying and failing. Mot (or Mot the Killer as he prefers to be known) was hired by a tall, thin man who spoke with the accent of the Iron Islands. He was given a letter and instructions to kill Lord Davain, leave the letter, and escape as best he can to collect his payment. The man that hired Mot is called Bleak Ormand and styles himself a mystic and a sorceror. He has recently become confidante, companion and chief counselor to Lady Isobel Marsten. Over the past year Ormand has convinced Lady Isobel that he is in contact with powers beyond mortal ken and consults with spirits and demons who bestow upon him supernatural foresight and wisdom. Nothing could be further from the truth. Ormand is a spy, a charlatan and a manipulator. His goal is to sow havoc among the Riverlands and ripen the fields to pillage and plunder by his reaver kin. To that end Ormand has gained the Lady’s confidence and gained an unprecedented degree of access to her person and authorities. Ormand then hired an assassin he knew to be incompetent, forged a letter from Lady Isobel instructing the assassin to kill Lord Bartheld and affixed the Marsten seal to the letter in secret. It has never mattered to Bleak Ormand whether Mot escaped or not. Nor did it matter particularly whether Davain was slain. What mattered was the attempt, and that the forged letter be found. With an attempt made on his life and a letter written and sealed by Lady Isobel’s hand, Lord Davain (or his heirs) would surely respond with war. Amid the chaos inflicted on the Bartheld and Marsten lands, and those domains between, Bleak Ormand’s reaver allies would strike, plucking the ripe fruits in and around the Riverlands as of old. This was the plan, and it still might succeed.
LOrD DaVaiN BarTHELD
Davain doesn’t believe there is an assassin and will politely brush aside any inquiries or attempts to convince him otherwise. He’s a quiet, reserved and sober young man. He is not given to excess in anything except, perhaps, a certain naiveté regarding the political machinations of his noble peers. He is not, however, a fool. If presented with solid evidence of a plot against him he will come around and act in short order.
LaDy ayLETH BarTHELD
Lady Ayleth loves her husband. She admires his honesty, his integrity, and in a faintly maternal way, his naïve trust in those around him. But she knows, too, that it’s precisely those qualities that make him so very vulnerable to those who wish him harm. Ayleth does believe there is an assassin. And what’s more, she’s quite certain she knows precisely who it is. Her ladyship has distrusted young Davain’s noble cousin, Ser Fendrel Bartheld, since the moment she met him. The younger Bartheld is everything Davain is not: lustful, decadent, thoroughly debauched and ambitious to boot. After the fire in the smithy, Ayleth went to her husband with her suspicions, but Davain would hear none of it and refused to even consider that Ser Fendrel might be seeking his death. “The man is my own blood!” he said. Ayleth and Davain have not spoken of it again.
The iron Plot
Ayleth has not given up her suspicions of Fendrel. Quite the contrary, since the fire she has kept a very close watch on her husband’s cousin, to no avail. Thus far Fendrel has done nothing to betray his guilt and give Ayleth the necessary evidence to indict him in Davain’s eyes. Ayleth is convinced that it is because Fendrel knows she suspects him. What she needs is an ally who can, at least, appear to be objective, and the PCs are just the folks for the job. After the PCS have spoken with Lord Davain, and whether or not they discussed their purpose in visiting Hart House, Lady Ayleth will approach them and plead for their aid in exposing Fendrel as the assassin. She can offer little more than her gratitude for their aid, but will assure the PCs that once he learns the truth, Lord Davain will certainly be generous with his thanks. bed him with impugnity. Once the thought dawns on him, Ser Corbin will become convinced of the truth of it. His ego will allow no less. Surely it is clear to anyone with an ounce of sense that Lady Ayleth is in love with him and longs to be free of her unhappy marriage. Should the PCs make mention of suspicions of Ser Corbin being the assassin himself he will take immediate offense. If anyone is foolish enough to make a direct accusation, they will very likely find themselves invited to a duel wherein Ser Corbin intends to illustrate his own innocence by hacking his accuser into very small pieces. Should it come to this, Ser Corbin’s game stats can be found in the House Bartheld write-up on p.25.
Just discovering the existence of Cecily Cooper is a matter of some difficulty. She’s lived much of her life hiding from the authorities and knows the countryside better than even Lord Davain himself, let alone the PCs. Cecily is not the assassin. She may well have motive, but there is no evidence that she was anywhere near Hart House on the occasions of Lord Davain’s mishaps. In fact, her band was some distance away having struck a small merchant caravan passing through one of Lord Davain’s neighbor’s lands. Should the PCs decide and insist on pursuing her, they will find she is maddeningly elusive and hunting for her in the woods about Harthome is far more dangerous for them. For as long as they remain in the woods and on the hunt for the bandit leader, the PCs and any entourage will find themselves harried by hidden attackers every few hours. Cecily’s bandits know better than to stand and fight, though. They strike from range and even then they rarely fire more than a single volley at the troupe of hunters before fleeing into the woods. Any hunt for Cecily Cooper will begin with little hope and end in pain and frustration. And even if by some miracle the hunters should find and capture her, Cecily isn’t the assassin anyway.
SEr FENDrEL BarTHELD
Fendrel is not responsible for the assassination attempts, but he is quietly rooting the killer on. Fendrel will readily admit that he and Davain have their differences. He is also cagey enough to realize, if questioned, that he is a suspect. Furthermore he will deduce in short order that it is Lady Ayleth who has accused him. If confronted, Fendrel will present two strong arguments against himself being the assassin. First, he is Davain’s guest and everyone knows what dire consequences befall those who breach the guest right. Second, Davain is Fendrel’s own blood. He will admit that he would gladly take his cousin’s place in the seat of the Barthelds, but he will not do so if it means being accursed of the Seven as a kinslayer. Throughout any conversation on the matter Fendrel will behave with supreme confidence and nonchalance. The confidence of a schemer who’s discovered someone else is doing his work for him. By way of farewell, he will bid the PCs good luck in finding his cousin’s assassin, “But not too soon.”
SEr COrBiN CELTigar
Ser Corbin is a bit of a blowhard and perfectly willing to give his host a cuckold’s horns, but he is no murderer. In fact, he finds it almost as unlikely as Lord Davain himself that there is an actual assassin. Ser Corbin suspects rather that Davain, fool that he is, is only suffering the misfortunes born of his own ineptitude. After some thought, however, he comes up with another theory. “Perhaps,” he says, “it was Lady Ayleth?” Perhaps, he thinks, she wishes to free herself of her marriage and thus
MOT THE KiLLEr
Mot isn’t much of an assassin. He’d like to be and he tries his best, but he just doesn’t seem to have the knack. When Mot hit Lord Davain with a shovel and set the forge on fire he apparently didn’t hit hard enough and the smithy burned too slowly. The young Lord Bartheld woke up and saved himself long before the flames could take him. When Mot tried to poison Davain he poured half the potion into the wrong pot!
The Iron Plot
Rose hasn’t decided to speak to anyone about this stranger yet. Everyone else seems to think he’s with one of the guests and if one of the guests has poor taste in servants, it’s none of her business. Soon, though, she’ll have to speak with someone.
Mot has one last chance. Four days after the PCs arrive at Hart House, there is to be a feast in honor of Lord Davain Bartheld’s nameday. Bevan Sand is preparing a special dish for his lordship and Mot intends to dose the dish with enough wolfsbane to kill an aurochs. With Rose Clay suspicious of him and a bundle of newcomers poking around and asking questions, he’s begun to get a little nervous. As the PCs investigate, drop in one or two passing references to servants here and there. In a manor as grand as Hart House there is always someone about doing housework. There are several red herrings for the PCs to chase, let them pursue as many or as few as they’d like, but keep in mind that they have just four days to find the assassin before he strikes again. Also keep in mind that they don’t know that! Investigating at Hart House can be a bit of a touchy matter. Lord Davain is a very welcoming man and he’s happy to host anyone who would like his hospitality, but if the PCs start grilling the other guests they run the risk of wearing out their welcome. This is not to mention the risk of insulting important persons and having to bear the consequences of doing so. The goal for the PCs as given to them by their own lord is to maintain the peace. Primarily, this means keeping Lord Davain from being killed and then bringing his would-be killer to justice. Second, this means that the PCs themselves are obliged to maintain the peace on their own behalves. Characters that instigate duels of honor will not be well regarded by their lord when it comes time for reckoning. Third, should it be proven there was a plot to kill Davain Bartheld, the PCs are then obliged to try and find a way to keep the young lord from striking at the one that plotted his death. If, after four days, the PCs have not discovered Mot, he will make his final attempt. As one or more of the PCs is passing near to the kitchen on their way to the feast a commotion arises. Amid a great clamor of clanging pots and the angry shouts of Bevan Sand, Hart House’s chief cook, a sallow young man barrels out of the kitchen, fear apparent in his eyes, and dashes away down the hall. In the kitchen, Bevan can be heard hollering and cursing fools and meddlers.
Three pigs died that night after being fed tainted slops. The other half only succeeded in giving Lord Davain a flux of the bowels and acquainted him more dearly with his privy. This time he thinks he’s got it, though. He got some more poison. There is a nameday feast coming up to celebrate Lord Bartheld’s birthday. Mot heard the cook talking about a special dish she was preparing for Davain. If he can just get the poison into that pot, Lord Davain will be dead and Mot can leave the letters he was given and escape. It can’t come soon enough for Mot. He’s pretty sure the chief maid suspects him of something. He might just have to kill her too, but he’d rather not, since another corpse won’t equal more coin. Mot sleeps in an old pantry in the ruined castle near Hart House. It smells of moldy beets and rats, but it’s out of the way.
Rose is the single most likely member of the Bartheld household to realize that the household staff is (unwittingly) harboring an assassin. In fact, she’s seen him on several occasions and took note of his distressing ineptitude in carrying out even the simplest housekeeping chores. Also, the man smells like a dungheap.
The iron Plot
Mot, having seized a moment when Bevan was distracted (probably berating one of the other cooks), accomplished his task and poured the whole dose of wolfsbane into the pot. Bevan turned back to see a stranger stirring his pot and exploded with rage. Mot fled. It’s up to the PCs what to do now. Do they give chase? Do they go down to the kitchens to see what’s the matter? Do they ignore the entire affair as beneath their notice, being a peculiar dispute between smallfolk?
In this act, the treacherous men of the Iron Plot are undone by their own kin as Reavers from the Iron Islands attack, slay the conspirators and uphold the old ways, This act can be run in one of two ways: First, as a normal combat with the PCs focusing on a single, confined segment of the larger force while battle rages on around them. Second, as a warfare event with the PCs acting as heroes or commanders attached to the defensive units of House Dulver or House Marsten.
If left to his own devices, Mot will slow to a fast walk as soon as he knows he’s not being pursued and make for the nearest exit. He will leave the forged letter implicating Lady Isobel in the pantry in the ruined castle where he’s been sleeping and flee the district that very night. If the PCs give chase, Mot will run all out for the nearest door and do his best to escape on foot. He has the letter with him and will, in an attempt to stall his pursuers, throw it on the ground behind him for the PCs to find. If the PCs ignore the entire matter, the dish will be served without complaint and Lord Davain will suffer the effects of wolfsbane poisoning appropriately (see p. 134 of the SIFRP rulebook for effects). If Mot is captured he will begin talking immediately and tell all he knows of the man who hired him (which isn’t very much). He will gladly explain all that he knows of the plan in hopes that it will buy him his life. Unfortunately, all he knows is that a man hired him to kill Lord Davain and leave a letter behind when he left. He can’t read, so he has no idea what the letter says. He doesn’t know the name of the man that hired him, but can provide a good description. Mot was supposed to go to the town of Hartsbridge and await final payment. If Mot is killed or escapes, the letter will be found, but little else of use.
The events of this act can occur immediately upon Lord Harald’s resolution to forego war (or his acceptance of Lord Dunstan’s offer of peace) or at some time shortly thereafter at the Narrator’s discretion. At dusk, as the sun is sinking behind the shoulder of the Deepmont a cry goes up from the towers: Smoke on the horizon. The longship that brought the men of the Iron Plot to Westeros’ shores has been captured and set aflame by two more longships. As it burns, the newcomers run in to shore, pile out of their ships, and attack. If you have chosen to run this act as a normal combat, the raiders have found the bolthole tunnel that Maester Falstan has been using to slip out of Deepen Hall and down to the shore to meet with the conspirators. Shortly after the smoke is sighted and the alarm raised, the sounds of fighting erupt in the corridors of Deepen Hall. Men begin boiling up from the cellars with steel and fire in their fists. The Reavers are inside the walls. The PCs can face Theobald Redhands in the catacombs beneath Deepen Hall or in the courtyard under
Once the poisoning attempt is resolved it’s up to the PCs to find a way to prevent Lord Davain (or his heir) from marshaling House Bartheld’s forces and marching on House Marsten. If the letter can be confirmed a forgery, Lord Davain would be strongly inclined to stay his hand. Detecting the forgery is a Formidable (12) Cunning test using the Decipher specialty. Whatever the solution, the PCs will likely need to make a trip to see Lady Marsten, whether to confront her or reveal the treachery done in and to her name. Proceed to Act Three.
For purposes of running the Warfare, Captain Redhands will refuse to engage in parley and will not offer terms. He will begin the combat attached to his unit, but will break off to engage the PCs when they get close enough. The reavers will only undertake basic combat actions, and will engage in a Fighting Withdrawal and then an outright Retreat once they have become disorganized. If need be, Redhands will re-attach to the reavers in order to reorganize them.
The Iron Plot
SECONDARy CHARACTER THEOBALD REDHANDS CaPTaiN OF THE BLaCK riMEr (COMMaNDEr)
Agility 3 Athletics 3 Awareness 3 Endurance 4 Fighting 5 Warfare 3 Stamina 2B Axes 2B Running 2B, Strength 2B
coMBat defenSe HealtH 9 12 intriGue defenSe coMPoSure 7 6
arMS & arMor
rinG Mail: AR: 4, AP -2, Bulk 1 Battleaxe Shield 5D + 2B 5D Damage 3 Damage 1 Adaptable Defensive +2
a sky suddenly black with rain and thunder. In either case, Theobald brings with him (1.5 times the number of PCs in your party) reavers. See the preceding sidebar for stats. If instead you have chosen to run this act as a warfare action, a rider comes in shortly after the smoke is sighted to raise the alarm. Ironborn raiders have landed on the shore and surrounded young Horas Dulver and his family in their tower house and he begs his father’s aid. Lord Harald asks the PCs aid (if it’s not offered) and sends the PCs, along with his garrison and most of his crossbowmen to drive off the raiders.
Agility 3 Athletics 3 Fighting 4 coMBat defenSe Longsword 6 Climbing 1B Long Blades 1B HealtH 9
Hard leatHer: AR: 3, AP -2, Bulk 0 4D+1B Damage 4
UNIT: IRONBORN REAvERS
Veteran Raiders * 8 Power routine (6) Discipline Agility 3, Endurance 4, Fighting 4
The events of this act begin upon the arrival of the PCs at castle Hartshorn, seat of House Marsten’s power. Lady Marsten receives the PCs at dusk as a storm blows in from the East, cutting the darkening sky with slashes of brilliant lightning. As the matter of the plot is exposed and the truth is wrung out, quickly or slowly, Lady Isobel summons her advisor Ormand, only to find him absent from the castle. Whether the meeting is a confrontation (if the PCs arrive not knowing that the letter Mot left was a forgery or that he was ordered
to plant it by the man who hired him) or a revelation of the betrayal committed against Lady Isobel, Bleak Ormand is already making his escape. His spies have informed him of who is coming to Hartshorn, and from where, and Ormand has no intention of hanging around to see just how exactly his plan has failed. If the PCs are arriving by land, Ormand will be fleeing in a small boat down the river to a ship waiting for him. If the PCs come by sea, he will flee westward by land, aiming to meet with a ship concealed along the coast of Ironman’s Bay.
The iron Plot
As Ormand is making good his escape, a pair of longships arrives just ahead of the storm, sailing silently up the river in darkness and running aground out of sight of Hartshorn. Men spill over the gunwales like ghosts and make for the castle. Lightning cracks open the night and the crash of thunder joins the peel of the bells as the alarm goes up. Foes! Raiders! Reavers on the walls! If you have chosen to run this act as a standard combat, the PCs will face Leobald Redhands in the courtyard as he and a band of his raiders attempt to open the castle gates. Leobald has (1.5 x the number of PCs) reavers with him. See the preceding sidebar for stats. If instead you have chosen to run this act as a warfare action, your PCs may attach themselves to units of the Marsten defense against two units of reavers with Theobald Redhands commanding. Again, see the preceding sidebar for stats.
When at last the attackers are thrown back and fled, Lady Isobel will thank the PCs for their aid in defending her lands and her people. She will be grateful as well for their help in thwarting a vicious plot to put her and House Bartheld at each other’s throats. While no sign is ever found of Bleak Ormand, reports do come in of a third longship burned to the waterline and left in the wake of the two that bore the raiders to Marsten shores.
For completing the story, each character should receive 3 experience points and one Destiny point. For successfully repelling the Reavers’ raid each character may receive a single point of Glory for their House and if they successfully averted war between the houses at odds in the story they can have a second.
As the dust clears, certain revelations are made, certain mysteries persist, and heroes and villains alike get their just rewards.
Although this is the end of this adventure, it can also serve as the beginning of your chronicle. There are still a great number of questions to answer: Which of the ironmen houses is responsible for the plot, why did they choose this area of the riverlands and why now? Who were the four ironmen found on the shores of Ironman’s Bay, and why were they drowned? For whom did they work? Where did Bleak Ormand go? Was he killed by the raiders or did he escape to some safe and distant fastness to begin hatching new plans to sow chaos in Westeros? Was he working alone or was he a pawn as much as Mot was? These are questions for you, the Narrator to answer. Will your chronicle recount tales of treachery, treason and betrayal from the Iron Islands? Or has some oth er menace recruited these unscrupulous men to serve an even more inscrutable master from across the Narrow Sea? It’s your story now. Do with it as you will. Game on!
When the raiders are finally pushed back and the dead are gathered, Lord Harald’s men return with a strange tale. The bodies of four ironmen were found, not slain in battle but drowned near a cave known to some to have been an old smugglers’ hideout. Lord Dulver and his people are baffled as to what it might mean. If you ran the standard combat scenario, Lord Dulver will order Karyl Kays to see that the old bolthole is pulled in, sealed forever lest invaders again breach his walls that way, or worse yet—thieves steal in and empty Deepen Hall’s legendary cellars of all their wealth. In either case, the PCs are thanked for their aid in the matter of the Iron Plot and the defense of Dulver lands and are assured that Lord Harald is in their debt.
Aeryn, Septon ................................. 61 Alyard, Master Smith Ren.............. 72 Ansel, Rhaemon ............................. 62 Arlyn, Septon ................................. 37 Atus, Wenefryd .............................. 51 Population ..................................... 86 Power ............................................ 86 Wealth ........................................... 86
Elias ................................................ 81 Elridge, Ser Markus........................ 60 Endra’s Sept .................................... 78
Barnell, Daveth ............................... 15 Barnell, Lady Alianna ..................... 13 Barnell, Lord Tomas ....................... 11 Bartheld, Lady Ayleth .................... 23 Bartheld, Lady Ysme ...................... 28 Bartheld, Lord Brom ................ 26, 73 Bartheld, Lord Davain.................... 22 Bartheld, Ser Edmund .................... 27 Bartheld, Ser Fendrel ...................... 27 Black, Anton................................... 26 Black Goats .................................... 74 Bogwalkers ..................................... 44
Falstan, Maester.............................. 40 Festival of the Fires ............... 101–102 Finch, Septon Harald ..................... 81 Flowers, Lyndan ............................. 62 Forthwind, Maester ........................ 25
Garrys, Robert ................................ 98 Godsgrove ...................................... 79 Grenward Forest ............................... 8 Growne, Michal.............................. 17
Castle Grenward............................... 7 Celtigar, Ser Corbin........................ 24 Clay, Rose ....................................... 28 Clay, Ser Rowan ............................. 28 Company of the Morningstar ..... 9–10 Cooper, Cecily ................................ 27 Copperton ...................................... 32
Haelis, Maester ............................... 71 Hag’s Mouth ................................ 105 Hammerstone ........................... 45–46 Hardhand’s Folly .................... 44, 105 Hare, Gorton .................................. 62 Harren’s Justice ............................. 106 Hart House .............................. 20–22 Hartsbridge .................................... 56 Hartshorn ................................. 56–57 Hartville ......................................... 19 Heart and Crown, the..................... 79 Heloise, Septa ................................. 62 Hill, Ser Gambol ............................ 39 Hite, Ser Ulbert .............................. 73 Holdings ................................... 43–45 Horag ............................................. 74 Hough, Karya ................................. 93 House Barnell ............................. 6–17 Characters................................ 11–17 Defense ............................................ 7 History ........................................ 6–7 Holdings .................................... 7–11 Influence .......................................... 8 Lands .............................................. 8 Population ....................................... 9
Dame Adrienne .............................. 82 Davain’s Forge ................................ 21 Deepen Hall ................................... 31 Digger’s Road ................................. 31 Dugan the Red ............................... 87 Dulver, Helen ................................. 39 Dulver, Horas ................................. 39 Dulver, Lady Falyse ........................ 38 Dulver, Lord Harald ....................... 33 Dulver, Ser Walton ......................... 35 Durain’s Forest.......................... 83–88 Defense .......................................... 85 History .......................................... 84 Influence ........................................ 85 Lands ............................................ 85 Law .............................................. 86
Power .............................................. 9 Wealth ........................................... 11 House Bartheld ........................ 17–29 Characters................................ 22–29 Defense .......................................... 19 History .................................... 17–19 Holdings .................................. 19–23 Influence ........................................ 19 Lands ............................................ 19 Law .............................................. 19 Population ..................................... 20 Power ............................................ 20 Wealth ........................................... 20 House Dulver ........................... 29–40 Characters................................ 33–40 Defense .......................................... 31 History .................................... 29–31 Holdings .................................. 31–33 Influence ........................................ 31 Lands ............................................ 31 Law .............................................. 32 Population ..................................... 32 Power ............................................ 32 Wealth ........................................... 32 House Kytley ............................ 41–53 Defense .......................................... 43 History .................................... 41–43 Influence ........................................ 43 Lands ............................................ 43 Law .............................................. 44 Population ..................................... 44 Power ............................................ 44 Wealth ........................................... 45 House Marsten ......................... 53–63 Characters................................ 57–63 Defense .......................................... 54 History .................................... 53–54 Holdings .................................. 54–57 Influence ........................................ 55 Lands ............................................ 55 Law .............................................. 55 Population ..................................... 56 Power ............................................ 56 Wealth ........................................... 56 House Tullison ......................... 63–74 Characters................................ 68–74 Defense .......................................... 64
History .................................... 63–64 Holdings .................................. 64–68 Influence ........................................ 64 Lands ............................................ 64 Law .............................................. 65 Population ..................................... 66 Power ............................................ 66 Wealth ........................................... 66 Marsten, Lady Isobel ...................... 57 Marsten, Lord Mikael .................... 61 Morys of Oldmill, Ser .................... 49 Mountaineers ................................. 66 Mountain’s Reach ..................... 66–67 Mummers’ Joust.................... 102–103 Population ..................................... 92 Power ............................................ 92 Wealth ........................................... 92 Robert’s Hammer ........................... 21 Rock Chewers ................................ 74 Rugar Hold .................................... 85
North Hall...................................... 85
Sand, Bevan .................................... 26 Seldon, Luke................................... 61 Sept on the Heath .......................... 33 Septry at Shattered Rock ...... 103–104 Short Tom Tinker .......................... 36 Smalls’ Defense ............................. 107 Smithton ........................................ 44 Smithton Watch ............................. 44 Snow, Garret ................................... 14 South Yard ...................................... 19 Stag’s Moor .................................. 105 Stone, Gareth ................................. 59 Stone, Mayor Esra .......................... 79 Stony Heath ................................... 31 Stranger’s Farmstead............. 104–105
Jamys the Sybarite .......................... 41 Joston’s Rock................................... 64 Julyan the Smith ............................. 52
Orell, Kieran ................................... 16 Orphan’s Hill ................................ 106
Kashal ............................................. 74 Kays, Karyl ..................................... 40 Kriegar, Lord Kellan ....................... 62 Kurt ................................................ 81 Kytley, Hawys ................................. 50 Kytley, Lady Braya Frey .................. 48 Kytley, Lord Ambrose..................... 46 Kytley, Merild ................................. 51 Kytley, Robert ................................. 51 Kytley, Walder ................................ 51
Pace, Collys .................................... 52 Pace, Hewrey .................................. 52 Pemm, Thalia .................................. 88 Port Maril ................................. 94–99 Defense .......................................... 95 History .......................................... 94 Influence ........................................ 96 Lands ............................................ 96 Law .............................................. 96 Population ..................................... 97 Power ............................................ 97 Wealth ........................................... 98 Portmaster ...................................... 96
Tanry, Miles .................................... 93 Tayle, Danielle ................................ 99 Thomnas, Maester .......................... 49 Tourney of the Brothers ......... 99–101 Troupe of Casque & Wren, the .... 107 Tullison, Lady Moraine .................. 72 Tullison, Lady Yve .......................... 69 Tullison, Lord Dunstan .................. 68
Leed, Farris..................................... 16 Leopold, Maester............................ 62 Littlefoot, Persal ............................. 40 Lordsview ....................................... 66 Lyras, Lord Aaron .......................... 62
Ralk, Captain Yorik ........................ 82 Raris, Harold .................................. 99 Raulin, Guildmaster ....................... 52 Raven’s Pub, the .............................. 77 Riverroad Riders ............................. 10 Rivers, Adam .................................. 51 Riverthorn ................................ 89–93 Defense .......................................... 90 History .......................................... 89 Influence ........................................ 91 Lands ............................................ 91 Law .............................................. 92
Maelys’s Crossing ................. 105–106 Maiden’s House, the ....................... 78 Manester, Captain Edwin ............... 99 Market Square ................................ 77 Market Town ............................ 76–83 Marks, Ser Willain ......................... 73 Marsten, Lady Corrine ................... 58 Marsten, Lady Gwyneth........... 61, 73
Urgont, Jarion ................................. 10
Warrens, Ser Mather ...................... 70 Wellyn .............................................. 9 Weyls, Septon ................................. 72 Wotlin, Douglas ............................. 93