Empress of the Known Worlds

Discussion on game mastering Fading Suns. May contain spoilers; caution is recommended!
Leviathan of Maddoc
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Empress of the Known Worlds

Postby Leviathan of Maddoc » Mon Mar 07, 2016 5:28 pm

As I work over the political themes of the Cadiz Game I keep coming back to this jarring concept that Salandra Decados is very possible going to be the Empress. It's not the gruesome contemplation of a terrifying Decados Noble with one hand on the scepter that rules all of mankind, but more the implication for Cadiz of what happens when a Planetary Ruler with no heir leaves her post. I expect Prince Hiram would appoint a new Archduke or Archduchess for Cadiz. So there is an implication of an impending power vaccum of epic proportion. It could promote nobles from Duke to knight as one post is emptied and filled by the post below. Obviously every noble wants to put their best foot forward for this opportunity, but would there be a strong motivation for them to make their peers look bad? Would these be years of poison and backstabbing on Cadiz?

How far would local nobles be willing to go to sabotage their neighbors when an opportunity for promotion seems inevitable?

Would the Church and League be players in an opening for a Noble's fief? If they weren't in line for rulership would their actions or abstinence be valuable enough that they could leverage it for personal gain in such a power-shift?

What would the impact be to the common Yeoman of a titanic power-shift like this? Would it represent an era of remarkable opportunities? Would it be a paranoid and draconian period? Would most common folk believe that it was a time where loyalty and hard work would be rewarded?

How would nobles who weren't in line for promotion feel about the potential promotion of someone they fear or despise? Would Decados/VanGelder/Basque conspire against Decados who might be promoted because of their past behaviors?

What do you think?

Danos
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Re: Empress of the Known Worlds

Postby Danos » Mon Mar 07, 2016 5:56 pm

I would run it a bit differently. If Alexius marries Salandra, their first born could be heir to both the Empire and Cadiz. Or, it could be fun if their firstborn is the Imperial heir, and their second child is designated the heir to Cadiz. Alexius would be Duke of Ravenna, but he abdicated his house title to distance himself from the Hawkwoods. That is why Alvarex is Duke of Ravenna. Nothing says Alexius has to force that distance for his child from the mother's house, though it might be politic to do so. This could lead to a very subtle and extremely tense political environment. Especially if Salandra announces that her first child will be Imperial Heir and her second child will be heir to Cadiz.

Danos
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Re: Empress of the Known Worlds

Postby Danos » Mon Mar 07, 2016 6:08 pm

For a historical example of what I am talking about, see Queen Victoria of England - she was firstborn and should have also been the heir to Hannover, but Hannover had laws dictating the firstborn male is heir, so that country went to her younger brother. It led to some very interesting political issues.

Going back to your questions, I would think that on a Decados world, the atmosphere would be more fearful. Salandra is scary, but she mostly ignores the lower classes, and her seneschal (who does most of the actual work for her) is not so bad. Anyone knew is less likely to be absent so often, and thus is more likely to actively oppress the populace. Especially a Severan Decados, they are more hands-on oppressive than the Cadiz branch of the family. Also, people who are afraid to intrigue against Salandra would be more willing to try their hand against a newcomer, so I see it turning into a sort of Byzantine intrigue slug-fest, with the populace hoping for a local appointee, maybe working extra hard to support their local noble candidates, and interlopers from the Principate court trying to get appointed if and when Salandra becomes Empress. But I still think it is more fun for Salandra to refuse to step down, and to become both Empress and Duchess.

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Bertjammin
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Re: Empress of the Known Worlds

Postby Bertjammin » Tue Mar 22, 2016 12:43 pm

Danos wrote:I would run it a bit differently. If Alexius marries Salandra, their first born could be heir to both the Empire and Cadiz. Or, it could be fun if their firstborn is the Imperial heir, and their second child is designated the heir to Cadiz. Alexius would be Duke of Ravenna, but he abdicated his house title to distance himself from the Hawkwoods. That is why Alvarex is Duke of Ravenna. Nothing says Alexius has to force that distance for his child from the mother's house, though it might be politic to do so. This could lead to a very subtle and extremely tense political environment. Especially if Salandra announces that her first child will be Imperial Heir and her second child will be heir to Cadiz.


The Lords of the Known Worlds FS2 book makes it clear that Prince Hyram decides who rules which Decados fief, there's no immediate line of succession and he's know to remove lands and grant them as he wishes. It's theoretically possible, *if* Salandra becomes Empress, he could leave the lands titularly in her care (her dowry...) or he may reassign them but it seems to be very much within his control and the Decados way. That said I'd fully expect that there would be a LOT of interested parties, and therefore political intrigue, within the House and via the Jakovian Agency. Many people will be looking to court the Prince's favour and secure the dukedom.

BTW Alvarex isn't duke of Ravenna (FSRGMG - It's Duke Cassius), he does rule Alexius' lands on Ravenna but Cassius was appointed by the emperor to rule the planet. The old Imperial Survey intimated he was but not any longer (my in head explanation being that as the survey is dated at 4996 and the FSRGMG at 5002 Alvarex may have ruled unofficially for a time until the Emperor's pronouncement)
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Leviathan of Maddoc
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Re: Empress of the Known Worlds

Postby Leviathan of Maddoc » Tue Mar 22, 2016 4:05 pm

Yeah, My take was that it was Hiram's purview who rules over Cadiz as the Prince of the Decados Family Empire, but Empress outranks Prince. If Empress Salandra wanted to make an issue of her rulership of Cadiz and either declare it as her Dowry to the Emperor or pick her successor, what could a price do about it? It would be awful politics for a new Empress to pull, but Salandra is better known for burring her political enemies than her great acts of diplomacy so it's credible that she might do anything once that ring is on her finger.

I think if anything it would be difficult for nobles to figure out who's ass needs kissing and it could lead to a schism in power bids.

Do you think political intrigue would be enough? Would some Decados or other viable parties be willing to economically sabotage their rivals? Could more direct attacks be contemplated?

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Bertjammin
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Re: Empress of the Known Worlds

Postby Bertjammin » Wed Mar 23, 2016 3:54 am

Leviathan of Maddoc wrote:Do you think political intrigue would be enough? Would some Decados or other viable parties be willing to economically sabotage their rivals? Could more direct attacks be contemplated?


Oh absolutely! But they may possibly be limited by the Decados rules of "Vendetta" so that the conflict is not overly damaging to the House as a whole.
"The crazy ol' Vorox"

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Leviathan of Maddoc
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Re: Empress of the Known Worlds

Postby Leviathan of Maddoc » Wed Mar 23, 2016 5:01 pm

Would the rules of Vendetta protect you when it comes to sabotaging a rival? if you register your vendetta to sabotage your rival to gain land, couldn't Hiram or whoever appoints the Lord of the Land simply verify with the Mantis League weather your fief is a fallow swamp due to mismanagement or a cunning Decados plot? I would think if you're trying to pull the wool over the eyes on the House you need to do it secretly and without the legal protections of Vendetta.

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Bertjammin
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Re: Empress of the Known Worlds

Postby Bertjammin » Sat Mar 26, 2016 3:54 am

Leviathan of Maddoc wrote:Would the rules of Vendetta protect you when it comes to sabotaging a rival? if you register your vendetta to sabotage your rival to gain land, couldn't Hiram or whoever appoints the Lord of the Land simply verify with the Mantis League weather your fief is a fallow swamp due to mismanagement or a cunning Decados plot? I would think if you're trying to pull the wool over the eyes on the House you need to do it secretly and without the legal protections of Vendetta.


I think the Vendetta is more than just legal protections though - it is accepted tradition of the House and drummed into Decados from an early age - everyone outside the House is fair game but you don't use a disproportionate response or action in conflicts with House Rivals as that hurts the House much more than just your opponent. Plus you have Hiram and the Jakovian agency enforcing those ways of doing things. As secretive as you *think* you are there's no chance that Hiram's sources don't know what you are up to - and even if he doesn't dare you risk it?
"The crazy ol' Vorox"

Something witty, pithy and observant ought to go here.

Oh well.

Follow my current campaign and my general musings about GMing Fading Suns at: http://trialsofarcadia.blogspot.co.uk/

Leviathan of Maddoc
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Re: Empress of the Known Worlds

Postby Leviathan of Maddoc » Mon Mar 28, 2016 4:42 pm

Plus you have Hiram and the Jakovian agency enforcing those ways of doing things. As secretive as you *think* you are there's no chance that Hiram's sources don't know what you are up to - and even if he doesn't dare you risk it?


I don't view either the Jakovian Agency or the Imperial Eye as being that well informed. I think if they want to know something about you there's no oversight or moral conviction to stop them. However, if you're not on their radar very little will cause them to randomly dig into your business. What makes them terrifying is that you have no idea what they do or don't know and you won't find out if they know about your little schemes until they pull the sack off your head and you're strapped to the chair with a tray of phisyk's tooks laid out on the table in front of you.

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Bertjammin
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Re: Empress of the Known Worlds

Postby Bertjammin » Tue Mar 29, 2016 6:14 am

Leviathan of Maddoc wrote:
*snip* - and even if he doesn't dare you risk it?


I don't view either the Jakovian Agency or the Imperial Eye as being that well informed. I think if they want to know something about you there's no oversight or moral conviction to stop them. However, if you're not on their radar very little will cause them to randomly dig into your business. What makes them terrifying is that you have no idea what they do or don't know and you won't find out if they know about your little schemes until they pull the sack off your head and you're strapped to the chair with a tray of phisyk's tooks laid out on the table in front of you.


Exactly - hence my point "do you dare risk it?" Part of how they enforce compliance will be teh fear and expectation that they either know, or what they will do *if* they find out.
"The crazy ol' Vorox"

Something witty, pithy and observant ought to go here.

Oh well.

Follow my current campaign and my general musings about GMing Fading Suns at: http://trialsofarcadia.blogspot.co.uk/


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