Back in Winterfell, my son Robb has come of age. He's got a real face now –
Crusader Kings II
has a marked distinction between its child and adult portraits – which means it's time for him to get a wife. As his dad, I'm chief wifepicker, and get to travel the continent asking women if they fancy my 16- year-old boy. Fortunately, as lord of the north, that question isn't as creepy to Westerosi women as you might think, and most jump at the chance. The best option would be to marry Robb off to the daughter of one of the continent's lords, but they all seem to be either married or dead. Neither is ideal. I widen my net and idly follow a few potential leads through to the “eh, how about it?” screen. They're nice girls, but they're all from lower families than Ned's, and the wedding would cost me a good chunk of prestige (the closest thing CKII has to a score).
"It's not a boy. It's a girl. I decide to name her Batman."
Then a familiar name catches my eye. She's not a landed lady any more, but Daenerys Targaryen's family is one of the most prestigious in Westeros. Sure, her dad was famously insane and her brother got killed by having molten gold poured onto his head by a horse-obsessed guy in eyeliner, but Dany's got her head screwed on straight, and – at least in the fiction – comes with three dragony bonuses. Excited, I pause time so no one else can snap her up, and suggest a marriage to Robb. She accepts, and I make preparations for welcoming one of A Song of Ice and Fire's most important characters into my home. I had been worried about Robb: unlike the canonical Stark son, my Robb is cowardly and a bit rubbish at commanding troops. Marrying Dany is a great move. She's 'Attractive', 'Quick', and a 'Genius'. Ned's positive traits may have missed Robb's generation, but I've now got a good chance of producing a strong grandson to carry on the Stark line.
Ned's doing a good job of carrying on that line himself. Catelyn pops out her fifth baby shortly after Robb's betrothal. I've already had Robb, Sansa, Arya and Bran. Were I to continue my slavishness to ASoIaF's canon, this one should be a boy, and I should name it Rickon. It's not a boy. It's a girl. I decide to name her Batman.
Meanwhile, more trouble is brewing. For all the Game of Thrones mod's brilliance, it can be a little unrealistic, nobles rising up against people who they're a tiny bit miffed at, no matter their chances of success.
"I decide to accept the invitation to a tournament."
Sweetsister is the tiniest of the Sisters: a group of tiny, windswept islands nestled off Westeros's eastern seaboard. Its leader has just declared war on Robert, king of all Westeros and a man who's really keen on not only killing challengers, but mounting their heads on things. It takes the poor idiots of Sweetsister a fair while to actually make landfall with their miniscule army, all the while Robert's troops are stood at the shore, idly planning all the interesting ways they'll get to stab the rebels. I half-heartedly try and join in, aiming to get to Sweetsister itself before they land on the continent, but I can't figure out how to do boats, and my expeditionary force gets stuck at the coast before being disbanded.
Sick of failing to get into fights, I decide to accept the invitation to a tournament. This one's taking place on the newly subdued Bear Island, and isn't organised by bears in a sneaky attempt to kill me when I'm not expecting it. I checked. Crusader Kings II's tournaments offer the chance to earn prestige for your family, and Ned's combat character bonuses always come in handy. I win the melee, and come home covered in glory. And blood.
I'm fresh from the festivities when I learn Daenerys and Robb are to be married in a few days. I opt for a wedding feast: I don't need to show off for the in-laws as they're inbred, insane and dead, but a lord of the north should never turn down the chance for a capon or two. I invite all my favourite people of the north, and devise a seating plan that puts me as far away from Roose Bolton as possible. The wedding itself is beautiful. Probably. Crusader Kings II doesn't model it beyond informing me that it happened. Dany moves into my castle. She doesn't have direct access to her dragons in the mod, but then I can't help but feel that having three fire-breathing monsters in my castle mainly made of wood is a bad idea in any case. Still, at least my first-born son is married, and my line will continue. Now I just need to find him some land.
"Jon Snow is my bastard, and a total wuss."
All this attention on Robb is getting my second-born's back up. Jon Snow is my bastard, and a total wuss. My attendance at the Bear Island tournament prompts him to ask me to stop risking my life so often. I give him a noogie and punch him in the arm, taking the time to suggest he is a capon. We in the north practise the old ways.
Beyond Jon's bleating, all is fairly quiet at home in Winterfell – at least until I get the notification that Jorah Mormont has been captured and killed by peasants. Jorah is Jeor's son – Dany's protector in the fiction– and as good a soldier as you'd expect someone who may or may not have had a bear for a dad to be. To have him lynched by peasants is unlucky: one of CKII's lower probability events that can topple a wobbly regime without proper preparation. Fortunately, my court's big enough that I'm able to appoint another skilled Master at Arms: my third in a year.