A Game Of Thrones in Fate Core

Here’s one system for modelling the machinations of the Houses of Westeros (and other interested parties) in Fate Core.
Each House has six approaches and three stress tracks. They have a mild, a moderate and a severe consequence. If the group decides they can also use an Extreme consequence, which will permanently change one of their Aspects for the worse. They can also have stunts and aspects.
The six approaches are:
  1. Finance (provides additional Wealth stress)
  2. Honour (provides additional Loyalty stress)
  3. Cunning
  4. Military (provides additional Military stress)
  5. Flexibility
  6. Intelligence (as in spies)

The three stress tracks are Wealth, Loyalty and Military.

Stress applied to a House does not heal at the end of the scene, instead it has to be cleared with an overcome roll at a difficulty equal to the size of the box. That means that if you keep bloodying a house’s nose it won’t have time to do much against you unless it risks taking worse injury. Houses do get to defend or provide active opposition with approaches that fit the fiction. House Stark might resist a military attack from House Lannister by using their Honour to unite other houses against the Lannisters, causing the attack to be aborted early, for example.

As usual in a conflict a house can concede. Alternatively it can be taken out if it can’t fill in a stress box or a consequence, in which case it will go through some significant problems or become enthralled to a more fortunate house.

So where do these houses-as-characters come in? During downtime (i.e. when there’s a significant pause in the personal level action), or where the characters are taking part in a longer-term activity, each House gets to make a roll to create advantage, attack, or overcome as if it were a character. The base time-frame on these actions should be measured in weeks or months depending on the pace the group chooses.

Houses can weaken each other by inflicting stress or consequences, or provide aspects that affect the House and everyone who swears loyalty to it. Of course if the houses are working together they can also create advantages to aid each other or work to overcome the others’ difficulties.

In this way the great houses’ machinations affect the tapestry of the game as a whole by providing a backdrop of shifting alliances and aspects. 

Individual player’s actions may also interact with the Houses, by for example slandering a house or discovering some of its aspects, or by making deals to bring other entities (like the Iron Bank Of Braavos) into play.

Here are two examples of Houses:

House Lannister
Aspect: Hear Me Roar
Aspect: A Lannister Always Pays His Debts
Aspect: Rich In Gold, Poor In Loyalty

Finance (provides additional Wealth stress): Great (+4)
Honour (provides additional Loyalty stress): Poor (-1)
Cunning: Good (+3)
Military (provides additional Military stress): Fair (+2)
Flexibility: Fair (+2) 
Intelligence (as in spies): Average (+1)

Because House Lannister is Rich In Gold it gains +2 when it financially creates advantage against other houses.

Because House Lannister is Poor In Loyalty it gains +2 when it attacks with cunning to harm a house that thinks the Lannisters are its allies.

House Stark
Aspect: Winter Is Coming
Aspect: Honour Before Life
Aspect: The Wolves of Winterfell

Finance: Fair (+2)
Honour: Great (+4)
Cunning: Poor (-1)
Military: Good (+3)
Flexibility: Average (+1)
Intelligence: Mediocre (0)

Because of the Wolves of Winterfell the Starks gain +2 to attack another house in a military conflict when at least one Stark with a direwolf is present on the field of battle.

Because they choose Honour Before Life the Starks gain +2 to honourably create advantage when dealing fairly with another House.

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