Season 3, Episode 3: “The Master of Coin”

In this blog, we take a look at the world of A Song of Ice and Fire through the lens of the hit HBO series A Game of Thrones and the game systems of A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying for some ideas on how to incorporate themes and elements of the show into your own SIFRP Chronicles. There may be spoilers for both the books and the show, so be warned!

Season 3, Episode 3: "The Master of Coin"

In Episode 3, “Walk of Punishment” Tyrion struggles to find himself a new place in the court of the Red Keep. Though his father Tywin has returned and laid claim to his position as Hand of the King again, everyone’s favorite dwarf still has something to contribute (a fact that his father clearly recognizes, even if he refuses to admit it out loud).

After a bit of jockeying for places at the Small Council table – including a bit of a triumph for Tyrion setting himself at the other head of the table – Tywin announces that his youngest son will be replacing Petyr Baelish as the Master of Coin for the royal court.

These kinds of titles and roles are important in the life of a character, easily important enough to warrant Benefits that reflect their power and prestige. With that in mind, we’re presenting a series of seven new Benefits, one for each of the traditional titles of the Small Council.

The Small Council

In keeping with certain Andal traditions, the Small Council of the King traditionally consists of seven advisors. Though these are the traditional roles, there have of course been times when some of the roles were vacant for want of a good candidate. Likewise, the King has the option of adding additional advisors (a particularly devout King might invite the High Septon to a seat at the Small Council, for instance).

A Note on Requirements: In an ideal world, the members of the Small Council would have Requirements that reflect their skill and aptitude for the job they’re being given. Sadly, the history of Westeros points out over and again the many advisors to the Kings who are woefully inadequate for the responsibilities they are given.

Status Increases: These Benefits all confer a tremendous increase in potential Status. Note that this is potential Status, however – the Benefits themselves do not raise the newly appointed councilor’s Status to that new rank, but instead simply increase the maximum Status that character can have. A poorly regarded man of low birth does not immediately gain the respect of those around him just because he is appointed Hand of the King. He must work to increase that Status (through the expenditure of Experience) in order to grow into that potential.

You may also download these Benefits as a PDF for free RIGHT HERE!

Hand of the King (Fate)

You are the king’s strong right hand, his advisor and confidant. You may also be tasked to sit in his place at Small Council and on the Iron Throne alike. They say “What the King dreams, the Hand builds.” But they also say “The King eats, and the Hand takes the shit.”

Requirements: Must be appointed by King

Effects: Your maximum Status increases to 7. You gain a bonus equal to your Status to all uses of the Bargain, Convince, Intimidate and Seduce techniques in an Intrigue. Additionally, you are automatically assumed to use the Shield of Reputation action without actually using an action to do so. You are also the master of the Tower of the Hand, with the authority to wear the Hand’s sigil. Your immediate servants may also wear the sigil of the Hand to show their duty to you.

Finally, you are also permitted to speak with the authority of the King. When you do so, your effective Status equals that of the King for the purpose of Intrigues, including increasing your Intrigue Defense. Doing so, of course, comes with the potential of inciting the King’s wrath if you use his name in a way he does not approve of.

Lord Commander of the Kingsguard [Fate]

You are the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, master of the White Sword Tower.

Requirements: Must be appointed by King, Man of the Kingsguard Benefit

Effects: Your maximum Status increases to 7. In an Intrigue, any attempt to Influence you towards an action that acts against the King or the royal family is hindered; reduce the Influence of all such actions by one for every bonus die you have in the Will specialty of Dedication. Additionally, increase the Man of the Kingsguard bonus you gain to fighting for the royal family to a +2. You also gain this bonus to all Persuasion tests in Intrigues when working to protect or aid the royal family as well.

You are also the head of the Kingsguard, able to command those who wear the white cloak, and master of the White Sword Tower. It is your responsibility to record the noteworthy deeds of members of the Kingsguard in the White Book; when you elect to do so, that knight of the Kingsguard gains one point of Glory immediately. You also council the King on new appointments to the Kingsguard (although the final decision remains his).

Master of Coin [Fate]

You are the King’s chief financial advisor. The ebb and flow of the material wealth of the Realm is your bailiwick.

Requirements: Must be appointed by the King.

Effects: Your maximum Status increases to 7. When making a House Fortunes roll for the royal House, you may use the King’s Status, with a bonus equal to your ranks in Cunning. You also gain a bonus equal to your Cunning for all uses of the Bargain technique in Intrigues.

You are the head of a large organization of those involved in the prosperity of the crown. You oversee the four Keepers of the Keys, the King’s Counter, the King’s Scales, the officers in charge of mints, harbormasters, tax farmers, customs sergeants, wool factors, toll collectors, pursers and wine factors.

Master of Laws [Fate]

Though the King decrees justice, it is your duty to see that justice is properly administered.

Requirements: Must be appointed by the King.

Effects: Your maximum Status increases to 7. When using the Incite technique on an Intrigue target, you generate Influence based on your Knowledge instead of Cunning, as long as you are attempting to convince your target that someone else is a lawbreaker.

You wield the power of the law in the Realm, capable of ordering the arrests of lawbreakers (genuine or otherwise). You are responsible for managing the dungeons in the Red Keep, supervising the chief gaoler and his respective undergaolers, as well as the King’s Justice (his executioner) and the City Watch of King’s Landing.

Master of Whisperers [Fate]

You dwell in the shadows, your tendrils of influence spreading far and wide, carrying information of all manner of things back to you. Your influence spreads like a weed.

Requirements: Must be appointed by the King.

Effects: Your maximum Status increases to 7. Once you have this Benefit, each time you purchase the Connections Benefit, it grants access to three lands or cities, rather than one. You also gain a bonus to all Deception-based Intrigue rolls equal to your Status, and reduce any penalties to your use of Deception by an amount equal to your Cunning.

Master of Ships [Fate]

The Royal Fleet is your responsibility. You are beholden to ensure the safety of the Realm from the dangers that might approach it over the waves.

Requirements: Must be appointed by the King.

Effects: Your maximum Status increases to 7. You gain a bonus equal to your Cunning to all Warfare tests meant to command warships and other naval units. Additionally, when you are awarded Glory at the end of a Warfare engagement, the royal House also receives a like amount of Glory.

You are the master of the royal fleets, including being responsible for building and maintaining warships, securing and training crews and commanding naval operations. In addition to all the above benefits, you are given command of a fine warship in the royal fleet to serve as your flagship.

Grand Maester [Fate]

You are the Grand Maester, the singular maester chosen to sit on the Small Council and offer your wisdom to the benefit of the one who sits the Iron Throne.

Requirements: Must be appointed by the Conclave of the Citadel, Maester Benefit

Effects: Your maximum Status increases to 7. Regardless of your respective Status, you may cause any Intrigue with any maester except the Archmaesters to be adjudicated as a Simple Intrigue. You gain a bonus equal to your Knowledge ranks in all uses of the Bargain or Convince techniques in any Intrigue involving those areas covered by your Knowledge Focus Benefits, so respected is your learning. Finally, you may substitute your Knowledge for Persuasion when performing the Mollify action in an Intrigue, offering learned words of wisdom to those you advise.

You have been appointed by the Conclave to represent the Citadel to the Iron Throne. This gives you a tremendous amount of influence not only in the royal court, but also in the Citadel itself.

Joseph Carriker is developer for A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying and the Chronicle System. He has worked in the gaming industry since 2000, and intends to keep doing that for the foreseeable future. He's an avid proponent of diversity in gaming spaces, and regularly runs LGBT-oriented panels at gaming conventions, including GenCon's "Queer as a Three-Sided Die." He recently sold a novel, Sacred Band, available this winter from Lethe Press.