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Winter is Here: It’s Game of Thrones Month at Dungeonmastering.com

Written by MythicParty - Published on June 10, 2012

Valar Morghulis, the Season Two finale of HBO’s current masterpiece, Game of Thrones, ran last Sunday night.  If there was any doubt whether the show would keep up with the quality from the inaugural episodes, it was answered with the bar not only being met, but raised week after week.  In fact, Game of Thrones is rapidly becoming part of the cultural landscape in a Sopranos-like way.  Whether referred to on Saturday Night Live or the opening Simpsons’ couch gag or just my mother mentioning it,  GoT is here to stay.  And that is a great thing for gamers, especially those who play D&D.  While it may not literally be from a nerd session, GoT is as about as close to it as we’re likely to get on the small screen.  And that’s totally ok, because what we have- and what we’ll get out of the (hopefully eventual) 7 books in  the series is an idea mine of pure platinum for DMs.

So all of us here at DungeonMastering.com are going to have our monthly columns for June focus on Thrones.  Keith Baker will answer a GoT query for Question Keith, Logan Bonner will do a GoT-themed Top Ten list, Darkwarren will write a ‘What’s My Motivation’ based on GoT, & our partnering webcomic, Matthew Forcella’s One Die Short, will have a tie-in strip.  For my end, Console Cleric will review the Xbox 360 title.  And maybe one of us from the site will even delve into food.  In short, we’re playing the game and we looking to ‘win’ with connecting it all back to D&D for our readers.  (I heard from some blonde lady that there is no middle ground.)

However, let’s get this out of the way from the get-go.  There is little way for us to effectively help DMs use lessons from the show/books without us including actual examples.  Meaning readers, avast matey, thar be spoilers ahead.  We’ll try to  give adequate advance notice but if you haven’t been keeping up, maybe come back to us after you have.

Here’s a sample of my own experiences.  Through MeetUp.com, I’ve opened my home & its leather couches to local fans in my area interested in watching GoT along with me.  From #1 through #20 from the other week,  I’ve sat with geeky people I’d otherwise not have met, us all hanging out while seeing the show.  Well on the the very first night we were all excited because none of us had read any of the books, meaning it was all going to be new.  We were watching the first episode & came to the last scene where the Queen & her brother realize that a young boy has climbed up to a tower & spied on their incest.  Grabbing the boy around the collar, the Queen’s brother pulls him in from the window, steadies him on the ledge, then asks how old he is.  “Ten,” is the response.  The Queen’s brother repeats the number.  Then he shoves the boy out.

Each of us gasped at the exact same time.  There literally was a collective inhalation of air from the shock at seeing a character who- not only was a child but also someone we assumed would be recurring- plummet to his apparent demise.  And that is the best bit of advice (so far) for DMs from Game of Thrones.  Don’t be afraid to kill off anyone.  Whether it be good NPCs, evil NPCs, young NPCS or old NPCs.  Or the players for that matter.  For maximum drama, anyone should be able to die at any time in your campaign.

Don’t take my word for it.  In an interview about Valar Morghulis, George R.R. Martin was discussing how “You don’t want to make it too easy for the characters. If the character just goes from success to success, then you don’t have much of a story.”  In fact he’s infamous for this:

You know it's true.

The lesson here is to ‘have much of a story.’  If you habitually make things realistically challenging for your characters, both the players & the non-players, everyone wins a story that’s believable.  That’s it for now.  But buckle up, its going to be a wild month.

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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3 Responses to “Winter is Here: It’s Game of Thrones Month at Dungeonmastering.com”
  1. Jay says:

    Couldn’t agree more, I’ve read all of the GoT books and am a DM for my campaign. The books opened my eyes to death as a great plot device. I’m not afraid to say the Red Wedding almost had me in tears!

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