Game of Checkers, Part 6: 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 ten weeks.


So! Finally, in third third generation of this pointless little dynasty, it seems I've actually accomplished something. Initially ruling over only Wycliffe, I first added the tiny island of Pebble, and then conquered another small island, The Paps. In doing so, I've acquired three of the five holdings in The Fingers, a controlling share. It's unexpected, but exciting.


To celebrate the creation of the new High Lordship of the Fingers, my first act is to kick my scheming sister Rikki out of my castle. Her betrothed is finally ready to marry, and I've decided to change their marriage agreement to traditional rather than matrilineal as was previously arranged. This means that rather than Lord Aemon coming to live with her, Rikki instead leaves to live with him. I’m a little disappointed Rikki won't be moving to a glacier north of The Wall, but you can’t have everything. I also use the last of my gold just paying the dowry.

With Rikki, my other sister Ruby, and my aunt Nanndrick having been married to outsiders, I breathe a little easier. They'd been involved in all sorts of plots against me, including the plan to murder my young daughter, Daisy, and having them outside my walls is a relief. I feel like I've turned a corner. Unfortunately, around that corner is a whole new host of problems.

Now that I’m running The Fingers, I have two vassals. Lord Osney of Sunset Keep and Lord Baelish—Littlefinger Jr.—of Midlor Point. It feels cool for a moment. I have vassals! At last, I'm a real lord with people to lord over! There’s a tiny little snag, though. A tiny huge little giant major snag.

I recently changed the inheritance laws to an elective succession, in order to vote for my daughter Daisy as heir, rather than have her automatically superseded by Neejerk, her younger brother, who would become my heir simply because he has a penis and Daisy doesn't. That was a fine solution at the time (or at least the only solution I could think of), because having no vassals, I was the only one casting a vote. Now, however, both Osney and Baelish, as my new vassals, have a vote in who inherits my holdings and titles.


The situation dawns on me when I see they've both voted to make Baelish the successor to the High Lordship of the Fingers. Daisy is out of luck once again, and my very game is in danger since I don’t have a dynastic heir if I die. And, of course it would be Littlefinger Jr. hovering over me. Of course it would.

Having created the High Lordship of The Fingers, I actually have claims on both Midlor Point and Sunset keep. I could, legally, just take them both over, though it would require war. I’m broke, however—thanks to the dowry I just paid and the cost of creating my new title, which I had to take out a loan to pay for—and Osney of Sunset Keep has far more soldiers than I can muster. Even Midlor Point would be dicey without some sellswords to back me up. I can’t revoke their titles, either: the Iron Throne won’t allow it. I can't even ally with one to take down the other. Like seemingly everyone else in the game, they both passionately hate me.


Before I can even begin to think about my next move, I fall ill. Deathly ill. Oh, perfect. Littlefinger's little fingers are practically at my throat, but I can't breathe anyway because I'm full of pneumonia, the same sickness that killed my grandfather. Delirious, I cast about for some sort of solution.

The biggest and best schemer in my court, Lothar the Lame, is still on my staff as Master of Coin. While he's been involved in several schemes against me, maybe I can still put him to use: he's the most shrewd and dastardly dude still alive in the game.

Then he drops dead.

Christopher Livingston
Staff Writer

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.