Someone posted about the ability to create your own Noble House. How accurate this information is I don't know.
After waiting for a long time, last week I finally received the chapter about creating and maintaining a noble house. http://www.greenronin.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=7083&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=70
And let me tell you: It was worth waiting for!
In ASOIF it is assumed that most campaigns will center around a noble house with the players being from that house*.
Now there a two sides in creating a noble house.
The most important side is to give the house life. The traits that make the house unique and fun to play.
The other side is the representation of these traits in the rules.
This chapter provide the latter and leaves it to the players and DM to come up with the first.
The rules support two ways of creating a house. Either you already have a good idea how your house should be or you only have avague idea. For the latter you can use dice rolls to create random results and for the first, you just pick the result you want.
Now to the meat of it:
First you have to choose in which part of the seven kingdoms your house has its lands. Are the Players from the North or are they Dornishman? Do they have their lands near to civilised Kings Landing or on the harsh Iron Islands?
This is an important decision as it influences a lot of aspects of your house.
These apsects represent material and immaterial ressources of your house. The material aspects are basically how much lands the house owns, how wealthy it is and how many bannerman, sworn swords and soldiers it can field. Immaterial aspects are how your lands are governed and if you have a lot of crime or not and how your house is seen by other houses.
A house in the North will have more lands than a house in the vale but the latter will have an easier time defending thse lands.
A House on the Iron Islands will have a lot of eager warriors but little influence on the crown.
One other important aspect is how old your house is. The older it is, the more chances it had in the past to better its position and get wealthier or more standing with neighbouring houses. But if it is old, there are alos a lot of chances that your house suffered misfortunes or faced extinction.
The age of the hosue translates in random gains or losses to the material and immaterial Stats described above.
Now that you have your stats fixed, you translate these numbers in actual ressources.
You will not know what you have if you have the stat "Lands: 18". But if you can "buy" pastures for 4 points and a Hamlet for 6 points and some woods for 8 points you know what you have.
The whole chapter is basially a toolbox that lets DM and players generate their house.
But that is not all!
Robert had a good look at Heraldry and created some easy rules to generate your own Arms.
This is so easy and cool I created about 20 arms in half an hour.
But that is still not all.
The actions of the players influence if the house will rise or fall in the course of the campaign.
If they act wisely and win allies, their house will rise in status and gain more power and bannerman.
If they act stupid and clash with another house and loose, they will loose much influence and maybe even land and wealth.
And here the rules are true to G.R.R. Martins Books: It is a cruel unforgiving world. Make mistakes and suffer the consequences!
The Players have to tread carefully or they might indeed ruin their house.
This is true first and foremost with armed conflicts. And here I come to the revised mass combat chapter. Now the House chapter and the Mass combat chapter tie together.
A clash of arms with a neighboring house has immediate effects on your troops (of course) but also on your smallfolk. If you win this conflict, your soldiers might gain veteran status and your influence might rise. You might gain lands from the loser and give it to new bannermen.
But you might loose to and now not have enough soldiers to patrol your lands. Bandits may roam and your smallfolk may suffer.
Or you might loose your stronghold and not have enough wealth to rebuild your castle.
I might sound like the guys from WoC pimping 4th edition, but I really think that this game will blow you away!
* that is the default option. Nothing hinders the DM to create a different campaign or let the players take control of one house each. The rules support all these scenarios.