Game of Checkers, Part 3: a tiny drama in CK2's Game of Thrones mod


A Clash in the Pan

This time, we get right to the foot of King’s Landing before the war ends. King Michael Waters is our new King of the Iron Throne, another of Robert Baratheon’s bastard sons. At least he’s one of the elder bastards, so it makes some sort of sense. No longer King, Arrec Baratheon is made Lord Paramount of the Iron Islands, so at least he landed okay and didn't lose his head.

With a few minutes between wars, I need to spend a little time on something of my own. I have three daughters now, and that means I should really take a look at the gender and inheritance laws of my land. Westeros is not particularly progressive when it comes to women inheriting stuff.

Currently, the lordship laws are agnatic-cognatic gavelkind. Now, I’d prefer the gender law to be absolute cognatic, which would mean women could inherit the same way men do and I wouldn't ever have to think about laws again, because I barely understand them as it is. I can’t accomplish that, though, as it would require the entire kingdom to embrace that idea, or I would need to become king myself. I don’t see either of those things happening.

Agnatic-cognatic means women can inherit, but only if there are no eligible males. Right now, this is safe enough for my purposes: I've got three daughters and no sons. Should Lyra and Neddrick have a fourth child, a boy, however, he’d leap right to the front of the inheritance line. That sucks, and I hope it doesn't happen because there’d be nothing (legally) I could do about it.


The only thing I can change is the gavelkind portion. Gavelkind means a lord’s titles are split among his heirs. Granted, I only have two titles at the moment, Lord of Pebble and Lord of Wycliffe, so it’s not a huge deal. I change it to primogeniture, which means all the titles go to the eldest child. Why do this? Well, I wouldn't have a problem with my other daughters getting titles, but since I’m actually going to be playing as Rosie when Neddrick dies, I’d prefer she get everything.

I pick a new ambition for Neddrick: to fall in love. I’m feeling pretty bad for the guy. He’s gay and I’d like him to find a man who makes him happy, or at least have a big old dirty affair. Right now, though, I’m hoping he’s in love with his armor, because yet another war for the Iron Throne has erupted.

This time it’s to take out Michael Waters, the guy who just say down on the throne, and put his sister, Cassana, on it instead. There’s two issues with this. First, Cassana is currently in prison, which isn’t the best marketing campaign if you want to take the throne. Second, spearheading this effort is none other than my Lord Paramount Criston. He’s personally dragging The Vale into open war with the Iron Throne. Swell!


It actually doesn’t go too terribly for a little while. We win a battle in Candleton, then one in Godsroot, then two more in Erinmount and Dorhill, all places you've never heard of and I've never heard of because they are completely unimportant. Also, I've been through this a few times now and I know how the Iron Throne operates. They raise a few local levies to skirmish, and then back them up with roughly all of the soldiers in the entire world.

Sure enough, after winning battles against a few moderate detachments of troops, along comes a force about 28,000 strong, stomping their way through The Vale. Lord Paramount Criston sees them coming and instantly drops dead of severe stress, a condition that was possibly aggravated from trying to tutor my daughter. My new liege, Gilwood, seems perfectly happy to continue the war, however, and in Ninestars we face an even bigger contingent of soldiers, numbering almost 50,000.


In the midst of the battle, one of those 50,000 soldiers approaches me on the bloody fields. Lord William of Wythers and I find ourselves face to face.

As we circle each other, waving our swords, I examine his stats. He’s a skilled fighter. He’s a knight. He’s an evil sadist. But less important than what Wythers is, is what Neddrick is not. And Neddrick is not a fighter. This is probably a terrible, terrible idea. Wythers attacks, Neddricks stumbles, and it’s all over. Nedd falls dead on the bloody earth.

Well. That was fast. Next week, I'll find out what it's like playing the game as an 11-year-old girl.


Continue to Part 4.

Christopher Livingston
Senior Editor

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.