Game of Thrones: Valar Marghoulis and More
Written by Matthew Feldman and Rachel Norman
In this month’s MFG Mouth Off, boy do we have a lot to mouth off about (as if we ever don’t)! In this month’s issue, we’ve been forced to hold back on some stuff due to some renovations in company and some moving processes that needed to be finished, but the wait as we can promise you, was well worth it. In this interview, we will give an in-depth look at Tell Tale Games’ Game of Thrones Episodic Game, as well as the choices made by myself and others, the mechanics, and a summary of the first two episodes as experienced by us here at Meztrailov Fantasy Games. In addition to this, we’ll have an excerpt from the second Vengeance of Avalon Novel from MFG Legendary author Mariah Lynde, as well as exclusive looks at two new games in development as well as an audio drama that is currently being produced by MFG. So be prepared for a long Mouth off this month MFG Fans, and let’s get right to it! Please note however, that in our review and summary of the Game of Thrones Episodic Game that our review and summary is based upon the choices of the staff here at MFG through our run through of both Episodes 1Ice from Fire and Episode 2 The Lost Lords, and as such, the spoilers released are based upon our choices along with the percentage of players who also made the same choices. We do not actually know what would happen if we chose different options (though we do encourage other players to do so)!
-Tell Tale Games: Game of Thrones: Ice from Fire and Lost Lords Review-
Starting with Episode 1-Ice from Fire, we are introduced to House Forrester, Banner men to the northern Wardens of the North, House Stark. House Forrester is led by Lord Gregor Forrester, a fair and honest man with a beautiful wife, his eldest son Rodrick, his exiled son Ascher, his twins Ethan and Talia, and his daughter Mira, handmaiden to Lady Margery Tyrell, future Queen of Westeros, betrothed to King Joffrey Baratheon, and his youngest son Ryon Forrester. We begin play the very night of the infamous Red Wedding, an all too familiar and tragic setting in George R. R. Martin’s universe of Game of Thrones, and we begin play as Garret Tuttle, squire to Lord Forrester, whom selected Garret as a result of his father’s choice. He and his fellow squire are acquiring ale for their liege lords the night of the wedding, when Garret sees strange smiles on the Frey Guardsman, and hears the sounds of the Rains of Castamere playing in the distance. Something begins to irk him, and he warns his fellow squire to run. When the two begin their descent and a series of quick time events occur, Garret is given the choice to not only defend himself from attack and proving he is worthy of his newly appointed Knightship before the betrayal of the Freys, and that the Game of Thrones universe is just as dramatically dangerous for us the players as it is for the Characters themselves! Within minutes, the majority of House Forrester’s troops are laid to waste and in a cut scene Lord Gregor and Garret get away, with Gregor forcing Garret to promise to tell the people of Ironwrath, the home of House Forrester and the largest resource and wealth source of Ironwood in the North, of what happened at the Red Wedding.
Upon Garret’s return to Ironrath, he immediately reports what occurs, and in order to avoid his having to pay in blood against their enemies, his uncle sends Garret to the Night’s Watch in order to protect the future Lord of House Forrester’s rule, but also to protect Ethan for being punished for technically deserting his King. Garret accepts this, and resolves quietly to help his house and avenge his Lord by working within the ranks of the Night’s watch.
From here, the game’s perspective then shifts play to Mira Forrester, daughter of Gregor, and sister to the newly named Lord Ethan Forrester of House Forrester. After hearing what’s happened to her family, and finding out through rumors that House Whitehill, House Forrester’s Enemies, and supporters of the Bolton’s, the newly named Wardens of the North are attempting to take over the Ironwood supply in the north, tries to aid her family by asking Lady Margery to speak to Joffrey on her behalf. Margery Tyrell agrees, however, reveals to Mira that this does not work and that Mira would be best served to be patient. By accident, Margery Tyrell leaves her official family crest seal out, used to sign letters, to which as an option, Mira (played by us of course) takes. This options is later explored in episode two. It is not unnoticed however, that Mira is up to something as her friend and fellow handmaiden begins to notice Mira acting suspicious, yet does not pursue the topic further when Mira denies any such allegations.
The gameplay then, following Game of Thrones typical format, shifts once more, allowing the player to take on the role of the newly appointed Lord Forrester of House Forrester; Gregor’s Third Born Son, Ethan. After hearing the news of his father’s death and the sudden responsibility that is thrust upon him, the player is truly given very little time to acclimate themselves to these new changes as the NPCs of the game thoroughly begin pushing upon Ethan the importance of his having to select a new “Sentinel”, that is, the equivalent of a Hand of the King (for Game of Thrones Fans), or a Second in Command, of the City. Ethan, after listening to the Maester, his Man at Arms and Protector, and his father’s friend and Advisor, Duncan, and finally, after our choice is made, Duncan is named Sentinel. Ethan is told by his mother as well that his brother Ascher has been sent for, in order to come and help protect Ethan while things are squared away and he adjusts to becoming Lord of House Forrester. Ethan’s initial concerns are that his brother has been exiled, and as such, he may want the power for himself, to which his mother assures him that this is not the case, that his only concern would be to protect his brother. True to form however, moments of peace do not last long as scouts report to the Master at Arms that Ramsay Snow and Lord Whitehill are approaching Ironrath to negotiate with the new Lord of House Forrester. The player is given a choice, in order to display his own respect and authority, and our choice was to meet with Ramsay and Whitehill in the Great Hall, since we figured they were visiting on our turf after all! Much to the game’s own legacy, as things seem to appear to go in favor of our newly appointed hopeful hero Ethan, after displaying bravery in the face of Ramsay threatening his sister, Ramsay snow betrays Ethan in a viciously cowardly manner and stabs the newly appointed Lord House Forrester in the throat, while ordering that Ryon Forrester, the youngest son, be placed under Whitehill’s adoptive custody as a royal hostage (something that is quite typical in the Game of Thrones Universe). This is where episode One Ends.
Now, as for Episode One’s game play and overall content, Meztrailov Fantasy Games has this to say: The game did in fact, in many ways keep to the game. While some of the familiar characters returned, the ones that mattered most to a spin off series that sort of fills in canonical gaps in between what we read and see on the TV show and Books, are kept true to voice, with the actors and actresses reprising their roles. The Game Play does not feel clunky, however, and much different than it’s Walking Dead parallel, the Game of Thrones Episodic game that Tell Tale Games Produced in this first episode had more action in the first ten minutes of game play than the Walking Dead games did in each of the first twenty minutes in our opinion. What did need some work in our opinion was the way the voice acting lined up with the cut scenes as in some portions of the game it would cut out unnecessarily or not properly line up right with the way the voices moved; in some ways making it feel rushed.
Overall, the game receives a 4.5 out of 5 stars for our rating system, as it has shown that this game has the potential to be not only exciting, but in terms of putting the character in the world of Westeros, truly making it feel like your decisions actually have a say in what actually happens in this world, as not just some other scripted out consequence based cliché game.
Episode 2: The Lost Lords
The Game begins with a brief recap performed by twin daughter Talia Forrester, remarking that her brother would be known as Ethan the Brave, the youngest Lord of House Forrester, and the past events of Episode One. From there, the game play immediately begins us players with Ascher Forrester, the Exiled Son of house Forrester, whose currently residing and working in the familiar Master/Slave city of Yunkai (Game of Thrones Fans will recognize this as the place that Danaerys Targaryen sacked in her spree of freedom and economics destruction; just kidding of course). Ascher and his partner, Female Brescha are currently working as sell swords in Yunkai and waiting for their payment of 800 gold Dragons when suddenly they are betrayed by the Captain of the Guard and attempted to be murdered. Immediately, the player is allowed self-defense, and just as things are looking grim, Ascher’s mother’s brother from Episode 1, Ice from Fire arrives to save the elder Forrester. Informing him of what has happened, Ascher resolves after making his escape with Brescha and his Uncle, that he will return to Westeros to help his family. Upon trying to figure out how to best do that, Ascher suggests they hire the Second Sons as their army, which many fans of the Game of Thrones Series will recognize immediately.
Players are also introduced back to Rodrick Forrester, who was originally thought dead in the beginning of Episode 1 of the series. However, it turns out, his body was found and brought via cart back to Ironrath, where the Master at Arms realizes that not only is Rodrick alive, but also currently the Lord of House Forrester. After waking up, it’s revealed that despite his injuries being tended to as best as possible, Rodrick may not ever actually walk properly again, and it is advised by those closest to him that he lear to be smart if he cannot fight properly in the future. This does not seem to deter him as he resolves to help his family at the insistence of his mother that he marry his former betrothed, to which Rodrick agrees. Unbenknownst to him however, in King’s Landing, Mira is aiding on this front.
Mira, in King’s Landing, since having stolen Margery’s Seal, and was writing letters for the future Queen of Westeros, writes one to her brother’s future intended after she learns that Rodrick is alive. Filled with hope, she forges a letter on Margery’s behalf to her brother’s future intended offering the support of House Tyrrel for this marriage, to which Margery finds out about. Though she isn’t happy, an underhanded move is made nonetheless, when Lord Whitehill attempts to buy the entirety of the Ironwood out from House Forrester, from which Mira finds out about from none other than Tyrion Lannister, only after finding out that her fellow handmaiden is actually a royal bastard, named Snow Flowers, who is trying to gain the acknowledgement of Margery Tyrell so she can claim her birthright (potentially setting Mira up in a position that will undoubtedly put her life in danger in future episodes). Tyrion however agrees to help Mira, by actually telling Lord Whitehill that he will buying the stock of Ironwood on behalf of the crown as the people of Kings Landing and the rest of Westeros need it more than simply one particular kingdom or city in Westeros does. As such, Tyrion makes Mira aware that this favor is one that he will expect to be repaid, and she agrees to do so. Later on however, she finds a note that tells her to have her meet with an anonymous individual, who turns out to be someone who rifled through her belongings, and is attempting to kill her. Who sent this unknown assassin is anyone’s guess, however, it’s a slave boy, from Episode 1 who originally thought was to be nothing more than some standard NPC, who actually helps Mira kill the assassin in a quick time event, and then disposes of the body.
Shifting back, after Rodrick wins the betrothal of his intended, Lord Whitehill shows up with the intent of allowing Rodrick’s youngest brother Ryon to see his father’s funeral as at the end of the previous episode even he was shocked by Ramsay Snow’s display of brutality, yet still antagonizes Rodrick, going as far as to press his authority to which the players are then given the chance to kiss Whitehill’s ring. We at Meztrailov Fantasy Games did so, because we firmly believe that at some point, we’re going to make Whitehill pay very badly for humiliating us in our own house (since that’s generally how George R. R. Martin’s world usually works anyway)!. Revenge is Best Served Cold and when your enemy isn’t looking if Game of Thrones has taught us anything! At the funeral, Talia sings a song, and all the while, Rodrick, now having his future wife’s army at his side, is preparing for War with the Whitehills and intending on retrieving his brother from the Whitehill’s custody.
Overall, the gameplay and mechanics match the same, with a slighter emphasis on the out of sync touch between the voice acting and the way the lips move. Aside from this, from moment to moment, the second episode was filled with as much storyline content of choices and consequences as it was filled with action and quick time event action sequences. Overall, this episode of Game of Thrones receives a 4.5 out of 5 as well for being able to continue to keep the game up to it’s current standard while also keeping the fans of the show and books thoroughly engrossed in a world where their decisions make a difference.
And on the note of decisions, here is a comparison of our decisions made with others for the first two episodes of the game. Please note: We do not have any idea as to what occurs if you make the opposite decisions as we have not had as much time to go through a second play through to do so. But here they are nonetheless:
Decisions from Episodes 1 and 2: Ice from Fire and The Lost Lords
Episode 1: Ice from Fire
MFG and 52% stayed with Bowen.
MFG and 70.3% swore Loyalty to the King.
MFG and 43.2% freed Erik.
MFG and 62.9% picked Duncan as Sentinel.
MFG and 61.1% met Ramsay in the Great Hall.
Episode 2: The Lost Lords
MFG and 20.8% forged Margery’s Letter.
MFG and 38% kissed Whitehill’s Ring.
MFG and 40% won Rodrick’s Betrothal.
MFG and 95.1% stood up for Cotter after he stole the Knife.
MFG and 92.5% killed Mira’s attackers.
And Now….an excerpt from our very own Legendary Mariah Lynde’s next novel!
Mariah Lynde: An Excerpt from Flame of Eternity; Book Two of the Vengeance of Avalon Series
Blinking rapidly, blue eyes slowly adjusted only to leave the lycan staring agape at what stood before him. There in the center of the clearing was a young dragon. Considering the fact that this was only the second time in his life he had seen such a creature, Micheal knew he could be wrong on the creatures age, but it seemed that the creature was smaller and more compact than the dragons that he had witnessed on Avalon two months before.
That was not to say that the creature was not as impressive. Even with the small build and scale of height, there was no doubt that this was a formidable being. Silver scales reflected what light drifted in from the canopy of dead leaves overhead and was in turn reflected back out over the area adding a small blue tinge to the coloring of the beams. It was a slight change that almost made Micheal think of mithril but that thought was pushed aside as he continued his perusal of the dragon’s form.
Large wings were folded up and resting on the creature’s back but even in such a state they looked to have a generous span. Much like the dragons he had seen on Avalon months prior, the wings appeared almost bat-like and leathery in appearance with the exception of small silver scales that lined their surface and seemed to move fluidly with each small motion that the creature made. From head to tail, Micheal was estimating that the beast was at least twenty feet long, but in height the creature seemed to be somewhere between ten and twelve feet give or take.
Micheal was many things but stupid was not one of them. Had he lunged out into that clearing without checking first, he was pretty sure he would have had the hell beat out of him by the creature that was now settled there. Lycan were fast, they healed quickly, but there were some creatures that you went out of your way to avoid fighting with. Dragons were definitely one of them.
The hunt was on.
Barreling down the small tunnel like hallway, Micheal could smell the almost overbearing oils that Callin had slathered over his form. His nostrils burned with the acrid stench that barely covered the horrendous smell of unwashed flesh and rancid meat.
With each stride forward he took, Micheal could feel his rage returning. That primal urge to hunt his prey and watch them writhing in terror as they were cornered was rapidly overtaking him. There was no need to protect another, no plan to hold to; only the pure, sweet release that came from sinking his claws into the fleshy girth of Callin’s form and listen to him scream as he was torn limb from limb.
The mere thought of that was enough to have saliva dripping from his fangs as his skin rolled back to unleash an almost rabid snarl.
Much to Micheal’s dismay, not even his willing descent into the shadow had stopped him from waking again in that realm of nothingness. Growling as his back arched, he unleashed a scream of madness and pain so loud that when he was done he felt as if his head would explode from the ringing in his ears that would not let up.
“No one can hear you.” The soft voice permeated through the layers of darkness and forced Micheal to open his eyes.
“Where am I?” Seeing Lara in that softly glowing aura of gold, he had no words of welcome. As always, she appeared as an apparition, which to Micheal was an accurate depiction of just what she had been in his life. She was a distant memory, a ghost of what might have been, but never something that was actually a reality.
“You are locked in your own mind. Do you remember what happened?” Micheal hissed softly as he felt her cool hand rest on his forehead. Jerking his head back he peered up into those strange eyes that always seemed to unsettle him as they swirled in an array of faded colors.
“What do you mean I’m locked in my own mind? If that is true, why the hell do I feel you touching my skin. Try again. Where the hell am I?” Growling a little, he immediately regretted his words as the cool balm of her touch was retracted leaving only that pulse pounding headache that thrummed under the burning surface of his skin.
“The mind is a powerful thing my son. It is there where a being learns to register sight, sound, smell, and touch. Even locked in your own mind, your mind will process what it perceives to be real.” The explanation was softly offered as she leaned over him as she continued, “You jumped in front of a blade that Callin used to try and kill the girl. It was poisoned with hemlock. While normally a lycan would be immune to such a poison, you are my child. Much like your sister, you are susceptible to the poison because of your magical origin.”
“Magical origin, my ass.” He growled a little and tried to lunge up into a sitting position only to fall back and groan. Once the blinding pain in his skull subsided he grunted softly, “I’m not like Ariella, I don’t have any powers or abilities.”
“You only think you do not have them. All three of you inherited different powers and abilities, Ariella just happened to be the one who inherited them all.” Lara shrugged a little and moved to hover just off to his side. “It is why I am here, now. I was hoping you would finally be willing to listen when I speak to you. It also helps you cannot go anywhere. As long as you are locked in your own mind, you are pretty much a prisoner of your own thoughts and emotions.”
Release Date: 2016 Quarter
Estimated Cost: Hardcopy-19.99 plus tax; digital copy-3.99 plus tax.
Theme: Romance, Supernatural Action and Adventure, Modern Fantasy
Ages: 13 and Up
And now, a bit about a new Card game in development, created by and in the process of development by our very own Creative Design Manager and Executive Producer, Rachel Norman! Here’s some information about the game (please note, the name is subject to change) MultiTasks!
Name of Game: Multitasks
Objective of Game: Get rid of all your cards before your opponents
Age Range: 10+
Rules of the Game:
Remove cards of the same number or same color on your turn
Complete tasks on the cards, individual or group if you’re unable to put down a card of the same color or number.
Win at the tasks to continue the round. Losing at the task, or refusing to do it, results in having to draw cards.
Get rid of all your cards and you win the game.
How to play:
A random person deals seven cards to every player. The leftover cards are the draw deck. The dealer flips over the top card from the draw deck. This is the first card that the round starts on. Starting from the left of the dealer, each player must put down a card of the same color or number.
If a player is unable to put down another card of the same color or number, that player must perform the task in the middle of the last card played. If this is an individual task, only the person who was unable to put down a card must do it. If the card is a group play card, every person in the game must participate.
If the player is able to complete the individual play task, the new round starts with the person to the left of that player, and play continues. If the player is unable to complete the individual play task or they refuse to do it, the number on the card is how many cards that player draws, and play continues with the person to the left placing down a new card.
In the event of a group play task being the last played, every player must participate. The player that wins at the group play task sets down a new card and the round continues. The player that comes in last, or refuses to participate, will draw the number of cards indicated by the number on the card of the task to be performed.
If a player puts down a random card, that player will roll a die to decide which player of the group will be made to perform the task in the middle of the card. If this player succeeds in performing the task, they will roll the die again and the original player of the card will have to draw however many cards the die says. If the randomly chosen player down not succeeds, the original player of the card will roll the die a second time and that number will determine how many cards the randomly chosen player must draw.
Game play continues in this fashion until a player rids themselves of all their cards.
The Last Announcement comes in the form of a new game we’re currently developing here at MFG. After some playing around with various systems, and looking at what’s currently being published, here at Meztrailov Fantasy Games, we have a very simple motto: It’s Your World, Let us Help you Build it. So, we decided to go back to our roots as it were, and picked out some concepts we liked from our childhood as well as what we like about Fantasy and Fiction overall, and where we draw our inspiration from. As a result, a new type of game, formatted with a new system, provided by progenitor company Evil Hat Studios, which was kind enough to publish their system, that our game will be using, the FATE CORE system, under the same Official Gaming License that DnD 3.5 uses. And now, here is a sample of that game and a brief description of what you’ll have to look forward too!
Dreams of Salvation: The Core Rulebook
When the world of Valen was young, Darkness ruled the Cosmos. Monsters, terrors, nightmares and demons and Fallen Angels all made Valen their home, and dominated the creatures of the light and good, until one day hope was formed. Weapons made of magickal and scientific origin were made to combat the forces of Darkness, and from these creators of the weapons rose the Seven Gunslinger Houses, organizations united in one single purpose: To banish the Darkness back to whence it came. A millennia of war took place and in that millennia the Darkness was pushed back. Now, ten millennium late, the world has moved on and even the Gunslinger Houses, who were once noble and just are beginning to fall apart and not as strong as they used to be. Worst of all, the Darkness is returning. Which side will you choose…?
Ages: 13 and Up
Theme: Steam Punk/Western/Supernatural Fantasy
System: Fate Core OGL/ 4d6 Dice System
Estimated Cost: $40.00 for Hardcopy, $25.00 for digital copy.
Release Date: Mid 2016
Writer, Reviewer, Blogger