Rise of Rathmore
House Rathmore, Rathfort, and Lands
Against the backdrop of the Blackfyre rebellion, House Rathmore came into existence through an act of treachery and guile to rival Lann the Clever. By all accounts a cruel opportunist, Rickard Rathmore led a band of freelances named The Jolly Fellows, known more for naked brutality than any particular skill at arms. However, when the lord of Giant’s Dale, Jamis Dalette (a tributary of the Riverlands Dannett family,) sided with Daemon Targaryen in A.D. 197, Rickard conceived an audacious plan. First, he secured the support of his current employer, Lord Damon Lannister – who had recently been routed by the Blackfyre rebels under the leadership of the hot tempered Quentyn Ball. Next, Rickard turned cloak from Targaryen sable to Blackfyre red. In a final act of preparation, Rickard attached himself to the wedding party of Daemon Blackfyre’s cousin Agaren as he traveled to Giant’s Dale to secure the Dalette’s alliance with the wedding of Lord Jamis Dalette’s only issue, a fair haired daughter named Yulia.
The night before their arrival in Giant’s Dale, the small contingent of Blackfyre retainers were struck ill – the result of a crude application of Greycap mushrooms to the camp’s food. Rickard’s men went hungry that night, while their daggers had their fill of Blackfyre blood. The next morning, The Jolly Fellows arrived in Giant’s Dale, eschewing their black banner with a line of 3 skulls to pose as the Blackfyre wedding party, with Rickard wearing the armor of Agaren Blackfyre. With the ruse of a wedding complete, Rickard’s men slew the gathered Dalette kinsmen, excepting his wife Yulia. Lord Rickard declared himself lord protector of the Dalette lands (producing an official decree signed by Damon Lannister,) and took his new wife hostage. History might well have been less complicated if the Dannetts had been at this wedding, but unlike their cousins, they had remained loyal to the Targaryens and were not in attendance.
Within a fortnight Giant’s Dale was garrisoned by Lannister troops, protecting the northern passes into the Westerlands from Blackfyre incursion. The Dalette’s had not been especially well loved by the smallfolk, but what few who spoke out against Rathmore rule from some vested interest in the previous lord’s dealings were given a brutal interpretation of justice by The Jolly Fellows – who had transitioned into the household guard of the newly minted House Rathmore.
Despite (or because of,) a penchant for dealing with problems from behind a sword, Lord Protector Rickard proved to be an able administrator. For the first time in decades, a miner could expect to die in old age without being maimed in some mining accident. Both Lannister and Rathmore coffers grew full with Dale gold. With these resources, Rickard began construction of small but richly appointed castle named the Rathfort. Standing at the high point of the hills overlooking Giant’s Dale, the Rathfort is a daily reminder of Rathmore power to the smallfolk in the hamlet below, as well as an imposing obstacle for any force marching on the hamlet and the nearby mine. Yulia died in A.D. 215 birthing a Rathmore heir named Stevos.
Lord Stevos was granted his majority in A.D. 234, upon the passing of Lord Protector Rickard, who could not cheat death. At the age of 19, the young Rathmore proved a careful and decisive ruler, seeming to have none of the guile or ruthlessness of his father. And still the fortunes of the Rathmores grew under his more enlightened governance. Veins of silver and iron were discovered, and the lavish Rathfort became truly decadent. He also established the tradition of a master blacksmith at the Giant’s Forge, becoming well known for the export of quality arms and armor. Lord Stevos gained prestige by marrying a distant Targaryen relation from Dragonstone named Estasia. This union proved happy and fruitful, resulting in five children that grew up wanting for little. Eldest of these was the boy Barnabus, who was born in A.D. 252.
The Dannetts had not forgotten the wrongs done to their relations by house Rathmore, however. In A.D. 263, scandalous rumors began to circulate containing much of the covered up fact of Lord Protector Rickard’s plot to seize Dalette lands. Added to the mix were a good many outright fabrications, including the detail that Rickard could not get Yulia Dalette with child, and so left that duty to his Jolly Men. With these rumors eroding the nascent house Rathmore’s support, house Dannett seized the moment to march on the Rathfort. Lord Stevos, despite having been a peaceful ruler, and approaching 50 years of age, decided to lead his forces to meet the Dannetts outside the Rathfort. The fierceness and determination of Lord Stevos leading his men in personal combat is said to have carried the day. The demoralized Dannett host broke and fled, leaving Lord Stevos free to march on the Dannett lands unopposed.
With the Dannett castle under siege, Lord Tytos Lannister stepped in to make peace. Although the Lannisters would have been well within their rights to demand compensation from the Dannetts and the Tullys, Lord Tytos wanted desperately to quiet the rumors of his family’s involvement in the sordid end of the Dalettes. More than anything, Tytos wanted to be revered as a keeper of the peace. Sensing weakness, Lord Stevos defied Tytos, and maintained his siege. Seeking to curry favor with the Tullys, Tytos had Stevos arrested, and sent to join the Night’s Watch.
Lord Barnabus Rathmore inherited the Rathfort at the age of 11 with the banishment of his father. The young lord’s life of plenty had been cruelly disrupted by the schemes of the Dannetts, and the weakness of Tytos Lannister. The former evolved into a passion to see the Dannetts wiped out root and stem, while the latter found kinship in the most unlikely of places: Lord Tytos’ more capable son Tywin. With Robert’s rebellion against the Mad King Aerys II in A.D. 282, Lord Barnabus seized upon the opportunity for revenge when the Dannetts declared allegiance to Robert Baratheon. With the uncertainty inherent in the early stages of the War of the Usurper, and not wishing to be caught in a protracted siege as his father was, Lord Barnabus opted to breach the Dannett castle. Like his father, Lord Barnabus led at the front of his forces as they scaled the curtain wall of the Dannett castle. It was there that Dannett resolve stiffened, and both sides were locked in the press of melee combat. The deadlock was broken when the billhook of a smallfolk conscript swept Lord Barnabus off the curtain wall to fall broken onto his host below. Barnabus’ unconscious body was borne back to the Rathmore camp by their retreating troops. Lacking their leader, the Rathmore force retreated to the Rathfort.
House Rathmore of the Rathfort
Liege Lord: Lord Tywin Lannister of Casterly Rock
Defense 31 The Rathfort (Small Castle, 30), Expendable 1
Influence 30 Expendable 0
Lands 24 Hills with Coastline, River, Grassland, and Hamlet (24), Expendable 0
Law 16 House Fortunes -5
Population 26 House Fortunes +1
Power 30 The Jolly Fellows (Trained Personal Guard; 9 power) Automatic (0) Discipline
Athletics 3, Endurance 3, Fighting 3
The Rathmore Riders (Trained Cavalry; 8 power) Easy (3) Discipline
Animal Handling 3, Endurance 3, Fighting 3
The Miner’s Brigade (Trained Garrison; 5 power) Easy (3) Discipline at home or Challenging (9) away
Awareness 3, Endurance 3, Fighting 3
The Dalemen (Veteran Archers; 8 power) Routine (6) Discipline
Agility 4, Marksmanship 5 – Expendable 0
Wealth 60 Port (10, House Fortunes +5), Mine (10, House Fortunes +5), Sept – Septon Aurin (15, House Fortunes +3), Maestor Adlethorn (10, House Fortunes +3), Master Basil (10, Artisan, Castle Forged) – Expendable 5
Total House Fortunes Modifier: +12
These are the holdings of House Rathmore.
Defense: 31, Invested: 30 (The Rathfort (Small Castle) 30)
Sitting like an argent jewel amidst grassy rolling hills, the Rathfort commands stunning views of Iron Man’s bay to the north, the rustic hamlet sprawling about the basin of Giant’s Dale to the south, and the terrain for leagues around. Built in the time since the Blackfyre rebellions, the Rathfort is a new structure built in an ostentatious display of new money. Although the Rathfort is more fortification than one might expect to preside over such a small population, its real purpose it to protect the wealth of the Giant’s Dale Mines. Wealth that is spoken to in the rich appointment of the fortifications – the tall keep crowned by a lighthouse, the circular curtain wall, and its 2 watch towers east and west are all faced by white marble veined through with gold.
Beyond the sturdy south-facing iron portcullis and gate house, the Rathfort courtyard is neatly ringed round by wooden outbuildings nestling against the curve of the curtain wall. Opposite the entrance stands the marble-faced keep, wide staircase leading up towards double oaken doors studded in iron. In the northwest quadrant stands the newest building, an imposing stable with room for 40 animals. The stables conceals a guard’s entrance to the keep. Directly west lies a watch tower housing the armory and guard’s quarters. To the southwest, a bustling forge operates during daylight hours. In the southeast quadrant lays a tidy kennel, complete with fenced dog run. The eastern watch tower also hosts the Maester’s quarters, rookery, and library. Finally, off the northeast quarter of the yard, the two story servant’s quarters. A servant’s entrance to the keep is contained within these quarters as well.
Despite the ostentatious display of wealth, the Rathfort has been designed primarily as a defensive structure. The high hill commands a near unobstructed view of the surrounding countryside within the range of most siege engines. Only neighboring hills provide any sort of natural cover for an attacking force. Any direct assault must progress directly up the hill under withering fire from the slightly sloped 30 foot tall curtain wall. Crenel stones top the wall, with numerous arrow slits halfway up, attesting to a middle level of defense. On east and west sides, the watch towers stand, studded by arrow slits. Aside from the heavily fortified gate house, sally ports are found at the base of each tower, and behind the keep.
Inside the Rathfort, defenses become more subtle to avoid disrupting the decadent display. Staircases feature statues and tapestries placed to hinder a right handed attacker climbing the stair, while a right handed defender descending the stairs is free to attack. Overhead, curtains hide where portcullises have been installed in hallways to further deny access to attackers. Within a specific cellar, a hidden door guards a spiral staircase leading down into a natural cavern beneath the earth, which forms a refuge for noncombatants.
Influence: 30, Invested: 20 (Name undetermined)
House Rathmore’s wealth is inhibited by their meager territory and bad reputation. As a result, few houses in the Westerlands view them as a significant power – and they are virtual unknowns within the seven kingdoms at large. Lord Barnabus has worked tirelessly to improve his house’s standing, but still has much work to do. To this end, the Rathmores place their hopes in first born son <name> and daughter <name>.
Lands: 24, Invested: 24 (Hills 7, Coast 3, River 3, Giant’s Dale (Hamlet) 10, Grassland 1)
House Rathmore controls one league of grassy rolling hills on the southern shore of Iron Man’s bay. Their lands are bordered to the south by the river Brighthome, a tributary of the Tumblestone. The eastern border is marked by the plains of the Dannett lands. To the west a weathered stone pylon marks the start of Banefort lands.
The hamlet of Giant’s Dale is quaint and rustic, arrayed about the basin of the eponymous Giant’s Dale. A main avenue leads from the Rathfort, through the town, and into the mine in the southern hills. About a half-dozen side streets wander off from the main avenue, wending their way around thatched cottages, a stone inn, livestock enclosures, small pastures, farming plots, several wells, and a scattering of broadleaf trees. A lonely windmill stands on the hills over the hamlet to the west.
The smallfolk of Giant’s Dale have learned to stay well behaved within sight of the Rathfort due to harsh justice meted out by the Lords Rathmore. As a result, the strength of Rathmore justice pushed the illegal activities of the townsfolk far from the notice of the Dale. The smallfolk maintain a secret society, The Small Giants, who meet in secret at the old mill on moonless nights. The Small Giants plot carefully to siphon material from the mines, and waylay river traffic on the Brighthome, Tumblestone, and into the Red Fork of the Trident. Although the Giants take pains to keep their gains small, the Rathmores are occasionally inconvenienced by their activities – usually politically rather than materially. Should times become lean, the Small Giants could become more than a simple inconvenience.
The smallfolk of the dale make their livings fishing, farming, raising livestock, providing goods and services, and (of course,) working in the mines. Provided they uphold the law, they are treated as well as anywhere in the seven kingdoms. Of late, the fish have been plentiful, the mines safe, and the Rathmores content to rule them without too much interference. The smallfolk are happy, and increasing in numbers, although there is a tendency for them to secretly wish for more.
The countryside is rife with family farms, growing wheat and raising cattle. These farmers view themselves as residents of the dale, where they visit weekly to trade and visit the Sept. In times of war, they look to the Rathmores for protection.
Power: 30, Invested: 30 (The Jolly Fellows (Trained Personal Guard) 9, The Rathmore Riders (Trained Cavalry) 8, The Miner’s Brigade (Trained Garrison) 5, The Dalemen (Veteran Archers) 8)
At the design of Lord Barnabus, the Rathmore host is a force of combined arms intended to engage enemies in the open field and force decisive battles. They are not well equipped for long supply lines, or a direct assault of fortifications, again, at the express design of Lord Barnabus.
The core of the Rathmore forces is the Jolly Fellows, in direct lineage from Rickard Rathmore’s mercenary company. They are heavy infantry, armed in castle-forged mail, tower shields, and longswords. They have maintained much of their mercenary traditions, which occasionally causes strife with the smallfolk when they drink or carouse overmuch. Additionally, the fellows operate as a police force within the Dale, keeping the Lord’s justice. As a result, they are not well loved by the smallfok.
The Rathmore Riders are the newest component of the Rathmore forces, a heavy cavalry unit founded by Lord Barnabus. They serve dual purpose as the mobility component to the Rathmore combined arms, while advertising the quality of Rathmore arms and horseflesh. They ride coursers of the Rathmore’s own stock, and are equipped with mail, large shields, war lances, and longswords forged in the castle smithy.
The local peasant’s militia is well trained, drilling once a fortnight. Although comprised of smallfolk from all walks of life, it is referred to as the Miner’s Brigade – a result of its initial membership.
Wealth: 60, Invested: 55 (Port 10, Sept 15, Mine 10, Maester <name> 10, Master <name> (Artisan) 10)