Game of Checkers, Part 2: a tiny drama in CK2's Game of Thrones mod


Last year I played a multi-generational game of grand strategy Crusader Kings 2 using the A Game of Thrones mod, which transforms the historical medieval setting of CK2 into the continent of Westeros from George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire novels (and the HBO series). My goal was to play as the most minor of lords and experience the conflict and drama of Westeros from the ground floor. Game of Checkers will run on Sundays for the next ten weeks.


While Ninedrick has thankfully produced two heirs, Neddrick and Nerdrick, the rest of Westeros has been busy as well. King Robert and Queen Cersi have now had seventeen children, though most were stillborn and none are named Joffrey—this alt-version of Westeros has been spared his shenanigans. And, while the Starks have had their son, Brandon, their youngest daughter is named Shyra. There's no Arya or Sansa in this universe.

Speaking of kids, I receive a note from Lord Eldon of Littlesister. It takes me a moment to remember who he is, but then it comes to me: during one of the island wars, I sieged his castles and threw him (then just a child) into my dungeon. He’s now a teenager and he’s all “Uh, hello? This dungeon sort of sucks. Can I leave, please?” I can’t think of a reason to keep him imprisoned, so I ransom him back to his island, making a nice pile of gold, and he goes back home having only lost some money and his entire childhood.

As for my own son, I begin looking around for a future bride for young Nedd. But who to promise him to? I look, of course, to Daenerys Stormborn, but her guardian doesn't like me and won’t consider marrying his young princess into such a shabby, pointless house. After more searching, I eventually settle on Lyra Stark. She’s Ned Stark’s niece and Lord Andar’s sister. That sounds perfect. Neddrick will get a bunch of prestige by marrying into the Stark family and becoming the relative of a Lord Paramount.


In terms of my own affairs, I start having some. Extra-marital affairs! My Master of Laws, a woman named Roelle, has expressed interest. Roelle seems to get less out of it than Ninedrick does: they have a single sexual encounter and she dies literally the very next day. Everyone’s a critic. I immediately start banging another woman in my court named Leyla.

While I’m shopping for a new Master of Laws, I decide to beef up my counsel in general. None of them of done anything of value thus far and I’m getting tired of it. I spot a guy named Lothar the Lame who has a high Intrigue score, miles better than anyone on my council and, in fact, the third highest in the game, just two points below Littlefinger himself. I invite him to court and hire him. If you've read the books, you’ll know Lothar is not a terribly nice man. But, hey, at least he’s on my side now.

My meddling done, I keep myself busy by having a grand hunt, though I am terrible at hunting. After a boar scares me, I adopt the trait “Craven.” A pudgy craven adulterer. Songs will be sung about me.

In other realm news, Robert Baratheon imprisons Tywin Lannister (his father-in-law), then executes him. Meanwhile, Lord Stannis Baratheon of Dragonstone dies from “a severe maiming.” No other details are given, but I assume it was from some war I wasn't paying attention to. With no Joffrey, Sansa, or Arya, and with Stannis and Tywin dead, you can see how in just a few short years the random events of the modded game have departed from the fiction.

Things continue to spiral downward in King's Landing as King Robert has Cersei put to death. Shortly thereafter, King Robert dies in a suspicious accident. Then a new faction is formed, called Princess Daenerys for the Iron Throne. Hmm. I suspect this may all amount to a bit of trouble.

Who cares about all that faraway political crap, though? There's some real excitement happening in Wycliffe.


I'm a gardener!


The first PC game Chris owned was Choplifter in 1982, and since then our staff writer has played at least three other games. He has a love/hate relationship with Early Access survival games and an odd fascination with the lives of NPCs.
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