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Ideas from Game of Thrones, ‘The House of Black and White’

Written by MythicParty - Published on April 30, 2015

PreviewIt’s a great time to be a Geek.  Marvel movies & TV are out everywhere, while Star Wars movies & TV are coming.  Meantime the Game of Thrones series continues to rock on, even when changing from the books.  We’re back looking at ideas to mine from the show’s 5th season, and hopefully posting this a week+ after it aired will let more people feel like we aren’t spoiling anything.  (Spoiler alert, there’s a House in this episode that is black and white.)  Without further adieu, here are just some things from S5E2 that could help your D&D games. 

“Bunch? Whats a bunch?” WHAT HAPPENS: Two of the characters are in a tavern & could possibly run into conflict with an armed retinue.  They’re trying to gauge what to do, but a crowd of guys are in their way.  It takes a few seconds to come up with even an guesstimate of possible opponents.  HOW TO USE IT: Unless they’re only facing a few, don’t immediately tell the party an exact number; use descriptions such as ‘crowd’ or ‘mass of figures’ or ‘several dozen.’  If someone wants to take time to actually count, then set a reasonable DC for a Perception check along with a suitable time.  Make it harder/longer if the figures look similar or are moving around.  If using minis, only put a few onto the board to demonstrate relative position.

“But Mr. Horse, I wanted to go that way!” WHAT HAPPENS: The aforementioned two characters hope to avoid a bunch of now angry opponents & have to make a dashing escape so they attempt to flee via horse.  All goes is well until the trail splits, with one horse going where its riders wants it to while the other goes where it wants to.  HOW TO USE IT: At least at lower levels, PC’s are reliant on non-magical means of conveyance.  If this means traveling via four legs instead of two, Ride checks are always in order, especially during combat or a chase.  And not just in the initial opening round but for every round of the combat or chase.  Circumstance bonuses/penalties should be applied, with failed results causing the rider to be at the mercy of the animal, doing what it wants to do.  Don’t let PC’s treat Ride as a given, particularly on mounts that haven’t been battle trained.

Non-Valyrian sword, meet Valyrian sword.”  WHAT HAPPENS: A superior blade chops right through a normal one.  HOW TO USE IT: Sunder.  It doesn’t come up as much as it should especially in a game with masterwork crafting or materials such as star metal.  If you want to introduce a bad guy your players will really be terrified of, then create one that has Improved Sunder & wields adamantine weapon(s), then chop away at their favorite magic item.  They’ll be far more scared of losing their stuff than their hit points.

We do not mutilate little girls for vengeance.”  WHAT HAPPENS: One character wants to send someone back to her mother.  Piece by piece. The other character explains that’s not how their group does things.  Cue setup for future conflict.  HOW TO USE IT: Remember that at least in D&D not all Evil is the same.  Neutral Evil is selfish, Lawful Evil is evil but with standards + a code, & Chaotic Evil is the Joker as played by Heath Ledger.  Make sure players can see the difference in the bad guys  by having different Evil bad guys behave differently.  And consider how ‘Team Evil’ really is always differently teams, all scheming to further their own individual goals.

“What do you call it in the South?”  WHAT HAPPENS: A deadly disease is discussed, & it turns out to have very different names as well as treatments depending where you are when you’re suffering.  HOW TO USE IT: Different places will have their own terms for things.  Equipment, spells, classes, even races could be called something entirely else from what its labeled in the PHB.  When the players are strangers in a strange land, they’ll have to adapt to the local lingo to get what they want.

“All your books and you still don’t know.”  WHAT HAPPENS: Someone is chastised for being friendly & trusting an outsider.  HOW TO USE IT: Intelligence is knowing a tomato is a fruit, Wisdom is knowing not to put it into a fruit salad.  (And Chaotic Neutral is doing it anyway)  If a PC has a high INT but a low WIS, they should be roleplaying their character as book smart/street stupid.  For every minus to a mental ability score, they should be doing each game night that demonstrates that shortcoming.

“Nothing’s worth anything to dead men.”  WHAT HAPPENS: Approached by local ruffians, a smaller character warns them off with something that could serve as a catchphrase.  HOW TO USE IT: D&D is an RPG, so insist that if a PC is making an Intimidate or Diplomacy check, that they say what their character says.  Give particularly memorable dialogue a circumstance bonus for their efforts.  Then document these with a Quote Board.

Ok, there was actually a lot going on in this episode- we didn’t even talk about what was happening in Mereen which by itself could have been an article.  But how did we do with what we did?  Any of these mined ideas going into your games?  Let us know in the comments below.

Written by MythicParty

Dog-loving, movie-watching, pizza aficionado. Content Editor for DMing.com, Project Manager for AvatarArt.com, & player of the coolest characters in a weekly D&D game. Halflings are the real heroes.

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  1. […] at the Season 5 Premiere “The Wars to Come,” as well as the 2nd S5 episode, “The House of Black and White.”  From these we came up with lists of ideas that could be used in D&D games with […]

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