Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Third Time's The Charm: Royalty, Peerage, and Orders of Chivalry

FINALLY, a place in Morristown, NJ with outlets.
So, the fiancee and I have a partial season tickets for the New York Rangers and on game days, if she can't work from home, I'll head into New Jersey with her and chill out while she works.  We'll have to find a new system when I start school in two weeks, but it's better these ways than her coming all of the way back to PA for us to go all the way back across New Jersey to go to Manhattan and it's better than taking two vehicles (especially when my vehicle is a 20mpg pickup).  ANYWAY, so I planned on parking it in a Barnes & Noble or a Borders and working on the blog while Mrs. Higgipedia earns the mortgage payment.  I drop her off at the office and order some tea and realize there is nowhere to plug my almost drained MacBook Pro into.  I didn't really feel like trucking around Central New Jersey, so I just parked it there and took advantage of the book selection to pick up The Rough Guide to Cult Football, a wonderful purchase if you are into the beautiful game.  After meeting Mrs. Higgipedia for lunch, I tried ANOTHER coffee establishment, which turned out not to have outlets either.  I continued to read my book and moved on after finishing some coffee.  I went to the Morristown Greenberry's Coffee, checked for outlets first (I might not learn quickly and without pain but I do learn), and ordered some tea.  And here we are.  I've been working on the background on my sandbox.  I felt like fleshing out the nobility for Greatholm, patterning it after Great Britain's royalty, since the island is clearly my sandbox's GBR analogue.  Anyway, here is what I'm working with.

The Three Classes of Nobility in Greatholm
I wanted to make the system of nobility something that was a little different than what I usually see published.  One of the only games that really deals with nobility that I have experience with is Pendragon, and I'm looking at taking a different tack then that.

Royalty is defined as the Sovereign of Greatholm (the King), his wife (the Queen Consort), the surviving wives of Sovereigns past (the Queen Mother or Queen Dowager), the Sovereign's children (Princes and Princesses), and the children of the Sovereign's sons (also Princes and Princesses).  This constitutes the strict definition of the Royal Family and the line of succession.  If, through some happenstance, the entire Royal Family were to be slain, then it would come down to everyone else proving lineage to Sovereigns past to determine the new Sovereign.  Expect a civil war to break out.

Peerage are the hereditary nobles given title by the Sovereign.  In descending order, the Peers of Greatholm are: Dukes, Marquesses, Earls, Viscounts, and Barons.  Some of the peerages are tied to areas (the Duke of Avonlea) and some are tied to families (Earl Lovegood).  Once granted, the title can only be revoked by the Sovereign.  The children of those holding a peerage are considered to be nobles, but do not transfer nobility to their offspring.  The children of the heir to the peerage become enobled when their father inherits the peerage.  I've written a list of the Peerages of Greatholm but I don't really see the need to include it here.  If I ever put out a full-blown Guide to Greatholm, it'll be in there.  If you want to see it, just let me know and I'll send you a copy.

Orders of Chivalry are chartered by the Sovereign, some of whose members comprise the lowest level of nobility in Greatholm.  They are various orders of merit and knighthood which honor those who serve the crown in many different capacity.  The Most Venerable Order of Hawkshead is the highest of the chivalric orders, limited to a membership of twenty-four--The Sovereign, the Duke of Avonlea, four officers, and 18 members selected from the Peerage and Orders of Chivalry.  The Valorous Order of the Falling Star is a military order based in several castles surrounding Starfall Gorge.  Some of the higher orders (such as Hawkshead) require a noble title to join, while others allow for commoners to enter them (Falling Star is such an order).  Members of an order are not automatically ennobled, becoming nobles only when they reach the rank of Knight within the order.

PCs and Nobility
Since you have to be born into Royalty, it is highly unlikely that I will allow my PCs to be royals.  Nobility, however, can be earned and it isn't transferred to all descendants.  This makes it a bit more palatable for a PC to be the child of a Lord/Lady (a non-heir child of a peer), close to nobility, but not actually able to dispense justice by virtue of birth.  Since the Sovereign can create peerages, outstanding service to the Crown can result in the creation of a new title to be given to a PC as well.

Chivalric orders are a much better route to nobility for PCs.  I plan on creating some orders that are not as specific as the Falling Stars, which will offer a bit more flexibility to the PCs.  As they do more for that order, they can be made Knights of the order, thereby ennobling them.


As always, I welcome your feedback.