The Drunkard

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  1. While Stannis was marching to Winterfell Roose was receiving information about his army's condition and progress from a maester accompanying Arnolf Karstark. In the sample chapter Stannis discovers this and has the maester imprisoned while his men seize the ravens. He simultaneously learns that the Karstarks were planning to betray him, arresting the lords and disarming the men. He's now in a position to send a raven back to Winterfell (supposedly from the maester) claiming that Stannis was defeated, and he can include information that Stannis wouldn't know about it (e.g. the Karstark betrayal). He can then send men back to Winterfell dressed as either Freys or Karstarks, bearing Lightbringer as proof of their victory. The snowstorm allows the rest of Stannis' army to follow unseen, and lie in wait while the disguised soldiers (once inside the walls) seize the gates. There are other factors as well, such as the Manderly men turning their coats and possibly Bran communicating something to Stannis via raven/weirwood.
  2. I've been playing AC: Origins and it's pretty great. I haven't followed the last few games after not enjoying 3 and Revelations very much (nor Black Flag outside of the ship content) but this has been fun. The standout is the world design and setting, which is the best they've done. It reminds me of The Witcher 3 in terms of its size and detail. The downside is that there hasn't been a single interesting assassination yet. Every one has been "climb wall > jump assassinate the target". I'm getting Skyrim flashbacks where every quest seemed to be "walk into cave > stab guy/monster until dead".
  3. My problem with the TW games is that after a point you'll never be in any danger again and any challenge is entirely self-imposed. Even against factions like the Huns or Chaos it's usually pretty easy to beat them as long as you aren't right where they spawn. CK2 gets around that (to a degree) by only letting you efficiently manage a certain amount of land and the rest needs to be delegated to vassals, which can be just as troubling as foreign rulers. So a smaller, tightly-run kingdom might be more effective than a sprawling empire where independently-minded vassals make trouble for you. I'd like it if governors were converted to dukes (or w/e) where the position was inherited rather than appointed, and they weren't just extensions of the player (as they currently are) but not so independent and disloyal as to be useless, like tributaries are in Attila. If nothing else they should bring back some diplomatic options from earlier games, like giving/receiving regions in exchange for peace, money or military assistance.
  4. Bit surprised she hasn't been mentioned yet, but I think Melisandre is the most interesting female character and has the most interesting position of any woman in the series (amalgamation of second-in-command, mistress, queen and pope). She's a deeply religious person but it doesn't stand in the way of sense, her goals are noble but she's completely utilitarian in achieving them and won't shy away from brutality, she's perceived as an evil temptress but as far as she can be she's quite compassionate (even to people who do nothing but make her life difficult, e.g. Davos), and she's essentially Stannis' 2IC but is unconcerned with the power and the prestige insofar as they don't help the cause. I think she gets undue flak from people who judge her on the aesthetics of her magic and religion rather than what she's actually done or expressed a desire to do.
  5. Yeeeeah that's really dodgy. Surprises me that the ESRB doesn't consider it gambling because, at the least, you'll get something in return. Casinos should start handing out lollipops with every turn on a slot machine to skirt all those pesky laws.
  6. Yeah I can't believe WA was the most favourable state after Victoria. Also that Liberal electorates were more favourable on average than ALP ones. The other correlations I've seen (income, education and whether or not you're an immigrant) made sense but those two surprised me. Well I am a bit annoyed I only found out about the mandatory husband clause from the good folks at the ACL. Seems like something the yes campaign should've told me about before I voted.
  7. I saw in the FAQ that Thrones of Britannia will have content up to around 1066, so I wonder if that means the Norman invasion is in or out. A lot of the significant characters (e.g. Luke, Vader or Palpatine) need to be unlocked with credits or obtained from a loot box. People worked out that to get enough credits to play as Luke (who is one of the most expensive) you would need to play something like 40 hours of multiplayer. So to get them all you'd be sinking a ridiculous amount of time in. A question of my own: is it standard practise for loot boxes to tell you the chance you have of winning a particular item/character, or are you going in blind when you buy one?
  8. Jon didn't send him. Mance was a prisoner of Stannis and it was Melisandre who sent him south to grab Arya as a favour to Jon in an effort to gain his trust. Jon's involvement was essentially "ok, I'll let you do that", which is arguably shirking his duty given Mance is an oathbreaker and an invader, but then again if the king has forgiven that, who is the Lord Commander to disagree?
  9. No, only Med 2, Attila and the Warhammer games. All the talk about Rome II's issues is actually what motivated me to pick Attila after I had moved on from Med 2. I don't think I'll get it until there's a sale because I feel I'm spending too much money on this series.
  10. That looks good, Aurelian in particular seems like he'd have a really good campaign. Although I'd need to pay 75 USD to play it, which is annoying for a four year old game.
  11. If you presented Stannis with that dilemma at the start of the series he would be utterly uninterested in her claim because by that point he (and everyone else in Westeros) had accepted Robert's reign as legitimate and no one cared about Viserys and Dany. If he disappeared for a few years and returned to a Westeros that had united behind a Targaryen again, I imagine he would accept their legitimacy (unless he felt some familial duty to fight) given how difficult it was for him to side with Robert during the rebellion. In the actual story, I imagine he has been kept one step ahead of any news about Dany precisely so he doesn't have to consider the dilemma. The only people he's fought are either rebel kings with no interest in the Iron Throne (Robb, Balon, Mance), Baratheons with factually illegitimate claims (Renly) or false Baratheons (Joffrey, Tommen), and in all of those cases he can basically fall back on "I am Robert's heir, not you" or "I won't accept a broken kingdom". By the time he does encounter Dany (if he does) I imagine things will be too far gone for him to surrender. He would have spent several years operating as king by then and she will want him dead for being a "usurper's dog", and from the end of ASOS onward he's convinced that it's his duty to save Westeros from the Others by proving himself a worthy king and uniting the realm.
  12. Because of Mace Tyrell. He's never done anything particularly noteworthy or demonstrated much competence or ruthlessness. If the Reach was led by someone like Tywin, who was ruthless, an accomplished commander and in complete control of his vassals, things would be different.
  13. In the Pink Letter the author accuses Stannis and Jon of lying about burning him and instead sending him to Winterfell. He doesn't specifically name Melisandre, but for people who witnessed the burning and believe the claim, Melisandre would need to be the one responsible.
  14. I wouldn't use that as evidence that Jon knew he was going to Winterfell, though. When I read that passage I just thought that the abundance of women would give him good cover if he was questioned on the way south/north by anyone else pursuing the girl. I agree about him not being straight with Mel. I think he wants to use Arya as a bargaining chip to free his own son, whom he thinks is still at the Wall. People often assume the worst about Mel and what she does with her magic. Some king's men think she caused the defeat at the Blackwater, Davos thought for a while that she had bewitched Stannis' mind, Salladhor said there were rumours that she was taking Stannis into the heart of the volcano at Dragonstone for some reason, the wildlings who didn't accept Stannis' offer thought she was secretly burning everyone who did, Jon and Aemon thought she was going to burn Mance's baby based on the mutterings of a feverish foot soldier. I think it's likely that people like Bowen would hear the accusation about Melisandre faking the execution and believe it.
  15. CK2: Started a game as Duke Vratislav of Bohemia, vassal to the Holy Roman Emperor. Vratislav avoided any wars of expansion and instead schemed his dynasty into positions of power. His second son Boleslav became heir to Poland after Boleslaw the Bold lost several children under mysterious circumstances, and Boleslav's wife Zsofia became heir to Hungary in a similar fashion (incidentally, Vratislav would cuckold his son with Zsofia, leading to a lifelong rivalry between the pair). Vratislav married his many daughters into other European royal families, giving him alliances with the kingdoms of England, France, Croatia and Sweden. When the Emperor of the HRE was tied down with several revolts, Vratislav declared independence and called his royal allies into the war. Together they forced the Emperor to accept Vratislav's demands, who, now independent, declared himself King of Bohemia. King Vratislav would later be stabbed to death in his bedroom, and the killer was never discovered [I imagine the most likely candidates were King Boleslav of Poland, still angry over his cuckolding, or his elder brother Bretislav, who was disinherited by Vratislav so that the kingdoms of Poland and Bohemia would be united]. King Boleslav, who came to be known as 'the Wise', was now ruler of both Bohemia and Poland, and his (hated) wife Zsofia was Queen of Hungary. His reign was mostly spend fighting pagans in the Baltics, crusading against infidels in the Middle East and propping up Zsofia in Hungary. Coincidentally he and his heir Chval also came to hate each other after campaigning together in Jerusalem and disagreeing over the proper motivation. He would live to an old age and eventually succumb to infirmity, relying on Chval to be his regent, before dying in his sleep. King Chval, after Zsofia's death, was now ruler of all three eastern kingdoms, a giant buffer state against the pagans. Over the course of his reign he would expand over Wallachia to the south, Pomerania to the north and several duchies to his east. He later declared himself Emperor of Carpathia, and established vassal kings in Poland, Hungary, Wallachia and Pomeria, though the former two kingdoms would be wracked by internal wars as different dukes tried to take control of the kingdom. Emperor Chval now awaits a second crusade for Jerusalem, where his significant forces should give him the edge over the Egyptian Caliph.
  16. Melisandre told Mance that he would find the girl at Long Lake and neither of them mentioned the possibility of infiltrating Winterfell to Jon. After Jon reads out the Pink Letter they would be aware of the accusation that Jon had spared Mance and set him loose, which they would be inclined to believe if they're already suspicious of Jon's motivations and Stannis/Melisandre (which Bowen definitely is).
  17. Jon and Bowen are aware of none of this. They cannot know what minor northern powers may or may not be planning with regards to overthrowing the Boltons, what they do know is that Stannis had rallied the thousands northmen willing to fight the Boltons and that they were supposedly defeated, leaving the Boltons currently uncontested. Their choices at that stage are to accept the new status quo and work with the Boltons (a choice not available to Jon given the help he had given Stannis) or to oppose them with the meagre forces left at the Wall. Jon favoured the latter, Bowen the former. Jon's plan to continue Stannis' fight only makes sense if he is significantly more powerful than the Boltons and can quickly wrap up the war and secure the North, or if he can count on mass-rebellion undoing the Boltons and delivering the North to him, and he can't rely on either of those things. He didn't actually send Mance to Winterfell. I believe the original plan was for Mance to nab Arya after she had fled into NW territory, which is arguably an ok thing for the Watch to do. But Mance for w/e reason journeyed onto Winterfell and got involved of his own volition (or on Mel's orders). But I agree on the perception, no one but Melisandre and Jon (and maybe Stannis) have the above information. As far as anyone else knows, Jon helped spare someone entirely deserving of death to make illegal use of him for personal reasons, which confirms the perception that he's abusing his LC powers to help his family and hurt their enemies.
  18. Yeah, I think a FL series would have a lot of potential. A really entertaining story, good characters, interesting world and a format that would lend itself well to film/tv. For the first season the only big budget expense I can imagine are the sets, since iirc the only magic displayed is Bayaz choking someone, breaking a chair and setting some trees on fire. Incidentally I've always thought that the Abhorsen books would make for a good young adult movie series.
  19. With Stannis dead as far as anyone at the Wall is concerned, the NW is reliant on those people for aid. It doesn't matter how much it may disgust the people at the Wall or how unwilling the people to the south might be to help, they're the only ones left. The NW can't defend the Wall with a couple hundred watchmen and a couple thousand wildlings. Getting the few defenders remaining killed in order to fight the people the Wall needs to defend it is silly, regardless of how personally justified it might feel. As to neutrality, Jon already threw that out the window, justified or not. I agree with the decision to give Stannis aid considering he's the only power south of the Wall to want to fight the Others, but you can't argue that Jon maintained NW neutrality while giving Stannis food, armour and weapons, military advice, information on what his political enemies were planning, as well as setting up a meeting with an Iron Bank representative. The Boltons are responding in kind, particularly as they believe that Jon spared a deserter-turned-invader solely to steal his sister back.
  20. The fact that Stannis thinks the loan will just automatically go to Shireen makes me think it's stipulated in the contract somewhere because otherwise that would be a weird assumption to make. But if that's not the case or if the Iron Bank weasels out of it to support a better candidate, then they'd back Aegon. He's powerful, firmly anti-Lannister and most of his advisers are from the Golden Company, which is a reputable organisation.
  21. Bowen and co. don't know what Tywin and Cersei have talked about with each other so that's not going to factor into their thinking. Ramsay only threatened to kill Jon after discovering that Jon supposedly conspired with Stannis and Melisandre to secretly spare a NW deserter and send him on a private mission to steal Arya away. With Stannis apparently dead, the Boltons are the only game in the north and any plan to defend the Wall is going to require their aid. Stripping the Wall of its defenders in order to fight them doesn't help the cause.
  22. Bowen and co. can't undo decades of poverty and low recruitment, but what they can do is stop Jon from stripping most of the defenders away on ostensibly suicidal missions to Hardhome and Winterfell. As far as they are aware Stannis is dead, so the Watch is now reliant on Bolton/Lannister aid if it is to do its job, and Jon planned on fighting a war against them.
  23. A third is that they sincerely believe in the cause of the Night's Watch and believe that Jon was about to lead it into ruin, and they were willing to stop that regardless of what it cost them. I support Stannis and the assistance Jon gave him, but by the end he had completely disregarded any semblance of neutrality and, to someone not in his head, for what appears to be completely personal reasons. He gave Stannis the Nightfort, food and weapons for his men, strategic advice on how to win over the northmen, he gave the Iron Bank guides to reach Stannis, he warned him of the Karstark plans and, according to the Pink Letter, he conspired with Stannis to spare an oathbreaking deserter in order to steal back his sister from the crown-appointed Warden of the North. And now, he plans on leading an army of wildlings against said Warden of the North. To Bowen and co., I imagine this was too much to stomach.
  24. I'm hoping the expansion is for Attila (since it's the only one I own aside from Med 2) but I think it's Rome 2. They released a piece of artwork for it a while ago and it was a Germanic-looking guy. And the Saga title looks like Ireland.
  25. Total War people talking about their upcoming releases. The guy working on the next historical tentpole mentions they've been researching and implementing historical city layouts, so hopefully the shitty Warhammer sieges are gone, and he brings up the comment about never doing a 'third' game in a certain era to say that it isn't necessarily true anymore, so I'm tentatively hyped for Med 3 (one day).