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James Steller

Noble House Scenario - North

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Imagine you’re the head of a Noble House in the North (imagine that it’s been around for as long as the others). You are 40 years old yet still hale and fierce. You have six surviving children. They are Keir (17), Edain (16), Ivor (14), Ailsa (13), Kester (9), and Ishbel (7). It has been a cruel winter, lasting five years. You lost your wife, your mother, your sister, your heir and your two youngest sons to winter sickness. but the snows are finally melting, and spring is upon the North.

However, the North is in a fragile position. King Barclay Stark is a boy of 15 years (his father and elder brothers died during the winter). And already, his first spring as King in the North looks to be a perilous one. No sooner are the winter snows nearly gone, but Lord Robert of House Cambell, a powerful house whose seat has been Moat Cailin for almost eight hundred years, has fortified the remaining ten towers of his huge but aging fortress to overthrow the Starks when they are weak and unprepared. Lord Robert has sent ravens throughout the North, declaring that former kings can have their realms again. Lord Robert names House Glover, House Bolton, and House Umber as sympathetic to his cause, declaring that the Starks are ruled by a boy king and have betrayed the North by welcoming Andals to rule the White Knife.

The Starks and their allies have taken immediate action. Lord Angus of House Glover rode to Winterfell to declare that Lord Robert does not speak for him, but the young King Barclay has arrested and imprisoned Lord Angus to ensure House Glover’s loyalty. In response to this, Lord Ranulf Bolton has closed the Dreadfort and stayed inside, refusing to be a prisoner but also refusing to call his banners as a sign of maintaining his allegiance to House Stark. Seeing this as a threat (and also as an opportunity for more power) the Karstarks have taken charge of the prominent settlements on Bolton land. The Umbers, meanwhile, have not seen the wisdom in Bolton’s strategy, and have loudly protested the arrest of Lord Glover, insisting that he did no wrong. Lord Lachlan Umber has declared his banners and insists that his loyalty needs no proof with prisoners, and that if House Stark has need of his men, he will march as a free lord treated with honour. Winterfell has sent word that the Umbers must stand down at once, but it remains to be seen what will happen further.

You yourself worry that the suspicious King Barclay will question your loyalty next due to your family’s traditional hatred of Andals and their agreement with House Cambell on House Manderly. Your family has always deeply resented House Manderly since they first arrived during your grandfather’s lifetime. Your family once ruled the Wolf’s Den thousands of years ago, and now the Manderlies have established a large, prosperous town known as White Harbour.

The actions of Lord Robert and King Barclay have caused much unrest in the realm, but it hasn’t disrupted talks that you were having with other houses regarding your children’s futures.
Due to the winter, negotiations were halted in favour of survival, and now that war is already upon the North, it is essential that your new heir be wedded as soon as possible. Lord Willam Flint of Flint’s Finger has offered his daughter to wed Keir, offering to ward your youngest surviving son, Kester, at his keep. Your brother-in-law, Lord Hendry Locke, offers his youngest sister to wed Keir, as her previous fiancé was killed during the winter. Lord Locke’s dowry offer is larger than that of Lord Flint. In the meantime, Ser Niven Tallhart wishes to engage his daughter to Keir, while promising to wed his son and heir to Ailsa when she comes of age.

Edain, meanwhile, has come to you in strict confidence to say that he has impregnated the daughter of your master-at-arms, Shug Lightfoot. This is a grave insult to House Lightfoot, your bannermen, and now Edain is a panicked youth, worried about what will happen if the truth is discovered. Prior to all this, Lord Angus Glover was suggesting that Edain marry his daughter and heir, which would make Edain the new Lord Glover, but with Lord Glover currently arrested, you worry about what marrying Edain into that family will suggest to King Barclay about your allegiances. A second marriage offer came from Lord Sawney Hornwood to wed his daughter, though House Hornwood is currently a much disgraced house. In the dead of winter, Lord Sawney and his brother got into a drunken argument, and according to Lord Sawney, he was forced to kill his brother in self-defence. Witnesses confirmed this story to be true, yet the curse of kinslaying has tainted House Hornwood regardless.

Your third son, Ivor, spent the winter away from home, being fostered at Barrowton by Lord Ellar Dustin. He just arrived home today, with good news and bad. Lord Dustin has grown fond of Ivor and wishes to take him on as part of his household guard when he grows older, and Ivor is now betrothed to Lord Dustin's niece. However, Ivor has discovered that Lord Dustin wishes to resurrect the reign of the Barrow Kings, and has said that now seems like the perfect time to do so, given the disunity of the North. Joining your house in marriage to the Dustins would be a treasonous action if they rise in rebellion, yet you have already done so much to cultivate a friendship with that House that any action taken against them will definitely lead to a dangerous feud.

Ailsa has also been the subject of several offers. Prior to the end of winter, Lord Ranulf Bolton was interested in wedding her to his son and heir, thought it was only a few generations ago that they rebelled against the Starks, and the Northmen have long memories. By contrast, the young lord Gavyn Karstark wishes Ailsa himself when she flowers, though you know such a match would earn the enmity of House Bolton in turn, given the Karstarks' current actions on Bolton land. A final offer comes from the young and handsome Lord Erskyne Slate. Once petty kings, the Slates have fallen on hard times, though even you can find no fault with Erskyne's reputation, his courteous demeanour and gentle way with Ailsa.

There is also a terrible dilemma facing you right now. In the aftermath of the winter, your two youngest children are very ill and require medicines from Essos which are beyond what you can afford. Surprisingly, Lord Torcuil Manderly offers to pay for your children’s medicines on the condition that you engage Keir to his daughter, lead your bannermen alongside his own to defeat Lord Cambell, and then, if your House is awarded any lands as a reward for defeating House Cambell, you must yield said rewards to House Manderly.

What do you do?

Note to administrators: This is purely a hypothetical scenario, not a game. It's meant to illicit thought and discussion rather than awarding a win or loss.

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Yes! The last one is always the best, and you also made it my favourite region! Thanks!

Okay, first of all, King Barclay Stark needs to do a lot of learning, but he's still a Stark. I'm going to throw my lot in with them, even if it means breaking my agreement with House Dustin. I'll send Ivor to House Stark as a hostage to ensure my good behaviour and I make Ivor swear to testify against the Dustins. I might get some land from them as a result (which won't fall under my agreement with House Manderly, spoiler alert).

Ailsa marries Erskyne Slate. If I can help the Slates out of their downward spiral, it'll secure their friendship and loyalty far longer than any ordinary marriage will do. Plus Erskyne is a proven good man.

Edain will get a simple choice: either he marries the Lightfoot girl or he goes to the wall in chains. I won't have my bannermen insulted by my stupid son.

As for my sick children, I've clearly buried too many people already, so I won't lose any more if I can help it. I swallow my pride and put myself into Lord Manderly's debt. I leave Keir at home, maybe take Edain with me to win some glory to make up for his mistake, and we annihilate House Cambell for their crimes against House Stark. Even if I die, my house emerges stronger, with proven loyalty to House Stark, no matter what this boy king would otherwise think.

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Inform King Stark of your sons loyalty to the throne and of the Dustins treason against House Stark.

  Offer your son Edain, your youngest daughter Ishbel  and Lord Glovers daughter as hostages so that Lord Glover may be released from prison and  raise his Banners joining forces with myself, the Manderly's,  the Hornwood's and the Boltons.

 Also offer your two youngest children as wards during the war knowing that they will also be safe and receive the best treatment, with any luck a future match may be made through them which otherwise would not have been possible. Offer grain enough to withstand a seige which also ensures my children's safety.

 Request that his grace order the Karstarks to stand down and have the Umbers meet the Hornwood's on Bolton land to lift the siege and claim Karstark hostages forcing them to deperate their men amongst the other houses and join the war.

Keir (17) Take Lord Manderleys offer

Edain (16) marry Lord Glovers daughter and become the new Lord Glover, offer my son and his daughter as hostages so that Lord Glover be released to lead his army for King Stark

Ivor (14) offer Lord Hornwood's daughter my third born sons hand in marriage instead of my second born son, his family is disgraced and with my new marriage pacts he will be happy to redeem his House.

Ailsa (13) offer her to House Bolton but instead of a dowry he join you in the Stark War.

Kester (9) send him to Ward with the Glovers proving your loyalty.

Ishbel (7) Become Stark ward hopefully she falls in love with a Stark or becomes a lady in waiting.

 

My house will not gain wealth from this war but my children will be safe and far away from the Campbell's and the Dustins. In return I will gain honour and perhaps be named the hand of the King with the most powerful allies in the North protecting me from the Wrath of the Dustins. I am certain my house survives this war in better shape than when we started out. My remaining two children can only help moving forward.

 

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My house knows no king but the King in the North, whose name is STARK!

I call my banners and march on Moat Cailin. I write Lord Dustin and explain that Ivor is needed with you on campaign. Let the Dustins sweat over what I might do for a bit, If I can crush the rebellion, a lot of the other houses will fall in line. I write to known Stark loyalists at Greywater watch, Torren's square and Cerwyn, calling on them to rally and crush the uprising. Presenting Lord Cambell to King Barclay in chains will assure him of my loyalty, as well as reaping me great rewards.

I hold off on marriages for my children until the insurrection is crushed. I may yet have the chance to position Aisha as a potential Queen. Once Moat Cailin has fallen, I marry off my sons to other potential contenders, making Aisha a more attractive candidate for the throne.

I approach Ser Lightfoot, confess to having impreganted his daughter, and offer to see her well wed, and the bastard raised with honour and treated well.

Hopefully out of all this I can get enough money to buy my children's medicince myself.

 

 

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Burn everything down and march to the wall. Then burn the wall down and march to the haunted forest. Then burn the haunted forest down and march north to the frostfangs. There start a a Bed n Breakfast catering to Thenns, White Walkers, and giants.

Then move this thread to the games subforum.

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I marry my heir Keir to a Manderly's daughter and take his medicine money. I marry Edain to the girl he impregnated. I send my son Ivor to Essos to get the medicine and buy food, with this I avoid connecting myself with Dustins and I don't insult them at the same time. I wait with Ailsa since there is no reason for her to leave my castle until this war is over. Instead of raising banners to my castle I go to my vassal's castles and collect men, I take only one third of my real force (and mostly old men) since Manderly can't know my real numbers after such a hard winter. I lead the army to join with Manderlies but I tell my heir that he should not yield any lands to Manderlies awarded to him by Stark King, unless Manderly would be so powerful he could go against the Stark's will.

Edited by Tygett Greenshield
forgot "be"

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Manderly is making obvious land grabs. I don’t like it any more than I like his southron ways. Death is common in the North, and I have gotten used to that. I ignore Manderly’s self-serving and insulting offer, and I stick with proper Northern houses. I agree to wed Ailsa into House Karstark to prove my loyalty to the Starks, even as I arrange for Lord Locke’s daughter to marry Keir. 

Edain did what young men will always do in Westeros, but I’ll take some pleasure in giving him a double edged sword of a marriage. Let him marry into the Glover family and deal with Barclay Stark’s suspicions.

I send a message to House Dustin. I approve of Ivor’s marriage to the Dustin niece, but Ivor must stay home for a while. My youngest children are at death’s door, and I want my family to mourn them properly and be with me in this trying time. What I won’t say is that after this time of mourning, I’ll send messages to Barclay Stark to send the Umbers to prove their loyalty against House Dustin, the real traitors to the realm. I will then volunteer to personally destroy the Cambells and take Moat Cailin for House Stark. Ivor’s marriage will be called off when the Dustins are revealed to be traitors, and maybe I’ll wed Ivor into House Hornwood instead to restore honour to that house.

(On a side note, interesting Scottish names you chose for this round. Especially for the rebel Lord who betrays House Stark. Robert Campbell? As in the guy who helped carry out the massacre of Glen Coe?)

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4 hours ago, Canon Claude said:

(On a side note, interesting Scottish names you chose for this round. Especially for the rebel Lord who betrays House Stark. Robert Campbell? As in the guy who helped carry out the massacre of Glen Coe?)

Yup. One of the Red Wedding's inspirations. Figured I'd go full Scottish for this one.

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5 hours ago, James Steller said:

Yup. One of the Red Wedding's inspirations. Figured I'd go full Scottish for this one.

The Black Dinner?

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3 hours ago, Tygett Greenshield said:

The Black Dinner?

No, the Glen Coe Massacre. I said it earlier to James. 

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