This campaign will be run in the Green Ronin Chronicles system, the game system designed for A Song of Ice and Fire (a.k.a. Game of Thrones). This is seriously one of the best gaming systems I’ve ever seen, so it’d be great if we collectively bought at least a few copies to support the creators. The PDF version is $20.

The setting is not George R. R. Martin’s world, but one of my own creation that has many thematic similarities to Martin’s. It will very much be a game of both intrigue and combat, as your characters strive to increase their house fortunes and their personal renown. In this world, the gods walked the earth about 1000 years ago, and humans still contend with huge numbers of massive untamed beasts. The gods and ancestors have granted the women of noble families control over the beasts that are the emblems of their households. Nobles may ride into battle on the backs of bears or horned titans, but the peasants depend on the strength of arms of their liege lords to defend them from marauding raiders – on two legs or four. Strong warriors fight with weapons of bone and rock. The wealthiest trade a fistful of jems for robes of gerval – “stone cloth” – that can stop arrows outright and that make swords into blunt instruments.

The story takes place eighteen years after a full scale rebellion. The Fang houses tried to regain their former independence and nearly succeeded. Their first major setback was that the Beak families did not join them, but instead remained neutral. The Fangs were on the brink of success, though, even without the help of the winged ones. The pivotal moment in the war came when House Blackbear turned on their Fang allies. They used siege engines to break open the walls of the castle of House Direweasel, and took over the peninsula known as The Maul. House Blackbear took the families of the rebelling lords of the peninsula hostage, and the offensive against the king fell apart when those families withdrew. The families of the former Fang kingdom hold House Blackbear in bitter contempt, though the house has gained the favor of the King and the other Molar families. House Titan was successful enough to split, and the younger branch has taken the Direweasel’s ancestral home and rules over The Maul. House Blackbear also was successful enough to expand, and now Earl Stanric Siegebear rules over Southmaul, and his brother Lord Dunstan Wingbear founded his newest banner house.

The story will be centered around three young men who were conceived or born just before the outbreak of the war. There are many young people of that age when marriage alliances were hastily arranged and people wanted to be sure to leave behind heirs as they headed out toward uncertain fates. Houses Blackbear and Charging Titan have become fast friends. They wished to seal the alliance with a marriage, yet neither family had daughters of the right age. Instead, they decided to foster their two second sons together in each other’s halls in alternating years. Now eighteen years old, they have spent more time with each other than with any member of their own family. Lord Dunstan’s son of the same age is his father’s heir. He joins the wards at his uncle’s castle during the alternating years that they reside there. The other years he spends learning the art of ruling from his parents.

The wards have a small retinue that travels with them between their two homes: three knights from each household (some more loyal to the wards, and some whose first loyalty lies with their fathers), eight squires (one a bastard cousin of the Titan ward courtesy of his youngest uncle), an educator from each house – one a healer and one a historian, two hunters and wilds guides, a singer, a falconer, and two servants. The boys have had other educators and companions while staying at one castle or the other – from masters at arms to master builders – but these are the only people who travel back and forth with them each year.

Players are welcome to play as one of the three scions or as any member of the wards’ retinue. A word of warning: any character may find themselves caught up in combat or in intrigue whether they want to be (or have the stats to be) or not. That being said, it probably makes more sense to play as characters who can handle themselves in battle. If the squishier part of the retinue is left behind in safety, we don’t want to exclude any player characters, or to invent flimsy excuses as to why one of their number is tagging along.

Beastlords