Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Familial Glory (Part 2)

[continued from here]

Of course, in Westeros (and elsewhere) it takes that Big Ego to rule. The Big Ego is celebrated...and the bigger the ego, the bigger the landholdings in the feudal society. Ego and ambition often go hand in hand...and when they don't, ego often gets supplanted by ambition (though of course ambition can falter for over-reaching). The point is: Glory is a good measure of one's ego, and thus their place/status in the feudal society of the Seven Kingdoms. But for the purpose of Crowns of Blood, we want to measure familial (family) Glory...because the family (or, rather, house - to use Martin's parlance) with the largest amount of Glory is the one the others are forced to acknowledge as their liege...or, at least, their betters.

The various Great Houses of Westeros are powerful because of the land they control and the fighting men they can raise when needed. But those fighting men remain loyal because the top dog has the Top Glory. That power can be lost with the loss of Glory. In Pendragon (and, thus, for Crowns of Blood), there is only one way to lose Glory: death.

When a character (PC or NPC) dies, his Glory dies with him. Glory is passed onto adult children (that 10% with which character's begin) when they reach adulthood. In Westeros, a person is considered a legal adult at age 16. In Pendragon, the father from whom Glory is inherited is considered to retain their full Glory (100%) until death. For my purpose, that's going to change; here's how:

Glory is a currency. When the head of the family has a child no Glory is lost; a child doesn't matter (for the purpose of currency/legacy) until he/she reaches adulthood, and can begin "earning their keep" (Glory-wise). If the child does reach the age of maturity, he (or she) receives 10% of his (or her) parents' current Glory score, leaving the parents with 90% of the total. Thereafter, both the parents AND the child continue to earn their own Glory, all of which goes to a family total.

"Parents' Glory?" That's right...another change. When man and woman are joined in matrimony, they become one person in the eyes of their gods. The Glory of both individuals are added together to form one total; however, if both parents have Glory greater than 1000 (an unusual situation), then the sum is limited to the Glory of the greater partner's total plus 1000. This becomes the Glory score for the couple...what either partner does to earn Glory adds to this amount. It helps alleviate issues like which of the two gain Glory for which holdings they have (castles and lands, etc.) and gives a reason for both partners to have strong personalities (they both earn Glory for their famous traits). A player who wishes to play a stay-at-home "Lady of the Manor" can still be a full participant in the gathering of glory by using her husband as her tool for acquiring battle and tournament Glory...the same ways many historical "great ladies" did. All other types of Glory acquisition (skill use, conspicuous consumption, holdings, famous passions, etc.) apply normally.

A heaping pile of Glory lost with his death.
If a character should lose their spouse (to death, exile, or other) they lose one-half of their Glory. But the character can always remarry.

By allowing part of their Glory to pass to their (adult) children, parents are doing something akin to "doubling down" in Blackjack: they're splitting up their current Glory to have a chance at growing both separately under two different "trees." Young men can be squired out in hopes of being knighted (earning that 1000 point bonus we love) while young women with large amounts of Glory become attractive spouses to other (high Glory) lords. Houses that lack sons can, of course, squire out their daughters (see House Mormont and House Tarth), though some Westeros cultures have no qualms about female warriors regardless (see the Ironborn and Dornish folk). Regardless, it all counts towards the family total.

All Glory in Crowns of Blood is kept as a running "family total," updated every "End Year Phase" (Crowns of Blood doesn't use a "Winter Phase" for obvious reasons). Unmarried, adult NPCs in a character's family accumulate D6 Glory in an otherwise uneventful year; married couples accumulate 2D6 Glory between themselves, assuming both are adults (since the impatient lords of Westeros are wont to marry off their daughters before legal adulthood).

[why D6? Go back to starting Glory for that 21 year old starting Pendragon character: who's to say that 6D6 roll doesn't represent the first six years of Glory earned in the character's adult life? Plus, it makes it easy to simply roll 1D6 for each adult individual in the character's family, once per year]

Other events that occur during the year: battles and tourneys, marriages and knightings, etc. will add to this Glory accumulation (individually, which feeds into the total). An extended "Family Events" table (from the Winter Phase chapter of Pendragon) can provide random additions of Glory accumulation for players who don't want to spend their adventuring time arranging marriages for their cousins and whatnot. Of course, those that DO focus on this area will find their family acquiring Glory at a faster rate.

Let's look at a couple examples from Martin's books:

House Baratheon in the year 298 consists of three brothers: Robert (the King), Stannis, and Renly. Only Robert and Stannis are married: Robert to Cersei Lannister and Stannis to Selyse Florent (of House Florent in the Reach). Robert and Cersei have three legitimate children and Stannis has one (Shireen); however, none of them have reached adulthood. For purposes of Familial Glory, we count only Robert-Cersei's total, plus Stanis-Selyse's total, plus Renly's total. All three totals receive good annual Glory from their holdings; Robert and Stannis earned considerable Glory during the war ("Robert's Rebellion"). Cersei and Selyse added their totals to their husbands' with their marriage (both had plenty, though neither had more than 1000 to add). Robert-Cersei continue to add the most to their family totals for high traits (lustful, deceitful, indulgent, reckless, valorous, and a couple high passions for each), but Stannis and Selyse have a couple notable traits themselves (temperate and pious). Unfortunately their family takes a lot of "hits" over the next couple years. Robert dies, taking half his Glory with him. Renly dies just as he was about to marry a Glorious spouse in Margaery Tyrell. Joffrey dies before he can even reach adulthood, and while Tommen is crowned as his father's successor he doesn't receive any Glory as he is still underage. The Queen-Regent continues to earn Glory for the family from the Baratheon holdings...but with open rebellion on the part of Stannis, it seems clear that his Glory will be going to his own (new) House for the foreseeable future.

House Lannister looks quite a bit different. As of 298 (the start of the books), Tywin has his Glory, plus that of his eldest son (a famous knight and member of the illustrious Kingsguard), Cersei and Robert's combined Glory ('cause they're married, natch), and the little bit from his son Tyrion (who's not earning much except by being famous for his vices). In addition, Tywin has a couple living siblings from whom he receives Glory for House Lannister: Kevan (whose eldest son is on the verge of knighthood and whose second son is 15), his sister Genna (married to Emmon Frey) and her children; plus his nephew, Tyrek, and niece, Joy Hill, whose fathers are deceased (actually, I suppose their widowed mother's would still contribute the usual one-half share of Glory to the mix). Tywin is all about nurturing, growing, and positioning his family and it has resulted in House Lannister being one of the most powerful and influential families in Westeros. When Tywin dies, the family is considerably diminished as a result.

All right, this post is even longer than the last one. Just going to wrap up with a last few extra notes:

  1. Crowns of Blood doesn't have "chivalric," "religious," or "romantic" knights. It does have the status of True Knight, which carries the same 100 Glory per year bonus as a chivalric knight (though the requirements are different).
  2. One time, extraordinary (1000 point) Glory rewards like knighthood, being crowned a king, and dying heroic death all still apply. New ones include being elected to the Kingsguard and taking the Black (becoming a member of the Night's Watch), though individuals that do the latter gain no further Glory for there family. It's still a better alternative than getting executed (and adds an extra 100 Glory to their children's Glory).
  3. What happens if a couple has more than ten children? Remember that the 10% pull of Glory comes from the couple's CURRENT Glory total at the time the child reaches adulthood. It's 10% of what's left. Presumably, the parents are acquiring more Glory (when they're not spending time procreating), but regardless, it's 10% of the remaining, diminished Glory. The more children a family has, the less Glory there is to go around.
  4. While children don't start counting Glory (for themselves or their family) till they reach adulthood, they still accumulate points for things like being crowned or married or any other events. When they turn 16 all points accumulated go into effect (for themselves and their House).
  5. Regarding bastards: illegitimate children are a tricky subject, though a prominent one in Martin's setting. My inclination is that acknowledged bastards receive 5% of their father's Glory (10% of half the couple, since the child is not of the mother), and a bastard that is legitimized earns a one-time bonus of 100 Glory. Children born of an adulteress mother (for example, those of Cersei) are an even trickier matter: it may take a while to ascertain the truth and normally Glory is never "lost" (my rules regarding inheritance is simply one of redistribution), and it doesn't seem right that a father would "regain Glory" upon learning he's been the cuckold. Here's my take: if the child's bastardy is discovered prior to reaching adulthood, they receive the normal 5% (as the illegitimate child of one parent)...and possibly more if it turns out the wife's lover is willing to name himself as father (and she wants him to do so...perhaps because he's some famous knight of the realm). OTHERWISE, if undiscovered upon reaching adulthood, the child receives the full 10% of a legitimate child, and anything that comes out afterward is dismissed as vicious rumor.
  6. Becoming a septon/septa or maester earns no Glory for a house (and has the same effect as the character dying, as they give up their life and name). There are other benefits to that road, however.

Okay, is that enough? Yes...it's enough for now.

Get legitimized for 100 or take the Black for 1000? Hmm...


  1. Cersei and Roberts children aren't exactly 'legitimate', and by the current place in the book and show, it's kind of a known secret about who the real father of Joffrey, Tommen and Myrcella are. Also both Henley and Stannis know the truth. So would that even count for Robert? If anything it should go to the Lannisters instead

    1. @ Tanner:

      The thing is, it's not like there's genetic testing available in Westeros. At this point, the only people saying the children of Robert-Cersei are illegitimate is Stannis and his supporters. Stannis has no real "proof;" he's trying to force his claim by right of conquest (i.e. the "divine right" of kings...if he's successful, the gods will have judged him to be the rightful ruler of the Seven Kingdoms). But to everyone else, he simply looks like an usurper (as was his brother, Robert, before him).

      From a practical standpoint (i.e. "game-wise"), no family's getting any Glory for the children at this point. Cersei and her off-spring are tied to House Lannister AND House Baratheon by blood (in the former case) and marriage to blood (in the latter case). Lannister doesn't get Glory for her in-laws (the Baratheons, i.e. Stannis, etc.), nor do her in-laws receive Glory from the Lannisters. The "tree" ends with her nuclear family.

      Should Myrcella and Tommen live to be adulthood (age 16), I don't see how they could NOT be considered "legitimate" given the testimony of Cersei, Eddard (under duress), etc. Lannister can claim them for Glory. House Baratheon (of which Tommen will become the patriarch) will gain Glory.

      For Stannis, I suppose, he could choose to forgo any Glory from his nephew and niece, seeing as how he claims they aren't blood-ties to him (and claiming they are...and claiming their Glory...would undermine his claim to the throne). But this only matters if he forms a separate (and acknowledged) "cadet" house of his own. Which only happens if he persists in his rebellion/civil war.

      It's a sticky situation. Personally, I expect the children will die before reaching adulthood.