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  1. #1
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    I have read a LOT of Birthright material lately, so I am not sure where I encountered this, but I know that I did, and it made me gnash my teeth.

    The relative ranks of noble titles have been pretty consistent for the last 800 years or so in Europe, and every time a fantasy writer or game designer uses a non-standard order, it gives the impression that said creator was ignorant.

    So, the following reference, with a few odd notes:

    1. Knight. There is a fair amount of debate on the matter of whether knights are truly nobles or not; it depends on period and location. It is plain, though, that knights are NOT common. Knights are traditionally addressed as "Sir", though the wife of a knight is traditionally addressed as "Lady."

    2. Baronet. This is actually a corruption of "Bannerette", as in "Knight Bannerette", that is, a knight who led other knights. Baronets are also, "Sir".

    3. Baron. This is, and always has been, the LOWEST order of true nobility. A baron is "Lord". Barons seldom hold directly from the king. Also the title given to the heir of a Marquess.

    4. Viscount. An uncommon title, most often indicating the heir of a Duke.

    5. Count or Earl. Earl tends to be an English title, Count continental, though Earls always hold directly from the king, and counts might not, but usually do.

    6. Marquess/Marquis/Marchioness. A "Duke of the Marches". This position is defined as being on the national frontier, and calls for more martial ability and less breeding as such. Thus, it is considered to be less prestigious than a duchy.

    7. Duke. The highest rank short of royalty.

    Now, this is all rank as rank. An impoverished and incompetent Duke might have less real power than an ambitious and able Baron, particularly if the Baron in question also held an appointed office like Chancellor.

    A simpler, but still historically accurate system, would be to reduce things to "Duke, Count, Baron" in which a Duke is a noble who holds from the king and has other nobles holding from him; a Count holds from the king but has NO noble vassals, and a Baron is a noble who holds from a Duke.

    End of rant.

    Uncle Hyena

  2. #2
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Originally posted by UncleHyena@Jul 27 2003, 02:34 AM
    I have read a LOT of Birthright material lately, so I am not sure where I encountered this, but I know that I did, and it made me gnash my teeth.

    The relative ranks of noble titles have been pretty consistent for the last 800 years or so in Europe, and every time a fantasy writer or game designer uses a non-standard order, it gives the impression that said creator was ignorant.

    So, the following reference, with a few odd notes:

    1. Knight. There is a fair amount of debate on the matter of whether knights are truly nobles or not; it depends on period and location. It is plain, though, that knights are NOT common. Knights are traditionally addressed as "Sir", though the wife of a knight is traditionally addressed as "Lady."

    2. Baronet. This is actually a corruption of "Bannerette", as in "Knight Bannerette", that is, a knight who led other knights. Baronets are also, "Sir".

    3. Baron. This is, and always has been, the LOWEST order of true nobility. A baron is "Lord". Barons seldom hold directly from the king. Also the title given to the heir of a Marquess.

    4. Viscount. An uncommon title, most often indicating the heir of a Duke.

    5. Count or Earl. Earl tends to be an English title, Count continental, though Earls always hold directly from the king, and counts might not, but usually do.

    6. Marquess/Marquis/Marchioness. A "Duke of the Marches". This position is defined as being on the national frontier, and calls for more martial ability and less breeding as such. Thus, it is considered to be less prestigious than a duchy.

    7. Duke. The highest rank short of royalty.

    Now, this is all rank as rank. An impoverished and incompetent Duke might have less real power than an ambitious and able Baron, particularly if the Baron in question also held an appointed office like Chancellor.

    A simpler, but still historically accurate system, would be to reduce things to "Duke, Count, Baron" in which a Duke is a noble who holds from the king and has other nobles holding from him; a Count holds from the king but has NO noble vassals, and a Baron is a noble who holds from a Duke.

    End of rant.

    Uncle Hyena
    Which fits a lot with the 12 Duechys (Spelling) of Anuire.

    The biggest confusion in the "proper" use of the titles comes with the fall of the empire and the positioning of the scions to make claims for the Iron Throne. Hence many have "bloated" their titles so that the titles are mostly meaningless now. Why does Avan use the title Prince for example? Then there is the different cultural influences - the prime example being Brechtur and their adaptiveness. The correlation of Cerilian titles with "real world" Europe really only works in the pre-fall days of the empire in Anuire only.

    The titles presented in Chap 8 of the BRCS were based on the text of the various regional supplements (Cities of the Sun, Tribes of the Heartles Wastes, etc.) and the discussion on the boards, in an attempt to come up with some internal consistency for use as a baseline that people can use when they make their own individual tweaks.
    Duane Eggert

  3. #3
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    IRDeggman:

    THAT'S where I saw it.

    Ok, specifically addressing the table in chapter 8 of the BRCS: The comment about the inflation of the title "Count" in Brecht lands makes perfect sense. On the other hand, the relationship between "Baron" and "Count" in the Anuirean column of table 8-1 is just WRONG, and is probably a holdover from the original developers getting it wrong, and should be corrected.

    See? I'm not wholly unreasonable.

    For that matter, I believe (though I am always willing to be corrected) that Archduke was almost entirely a courtesy title, given to the subsequent sons of the monarch in some countries. Just as in modern England, the first son of the monarch is the Prince of Wales, and the second son is the Duke of York, in 19th century Austria the second son was the Archduke of whatever. Not that it is particularly relevant...

    Uncle Hyena

  4. #4
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    ge -----

    From: "UncleHyena" <brnetboard@BIRTHRIGHT.NET>

    Sent: Sunday, July 27, 2003 2:34 AM





    > Every time a fantasy writer or game designer uses a non-standard

    > order, it gives the impression that said creator was ignorant.



    I think a better intepretation of same would be that they just wanted to be

    different. They probably name their kids Kelli, Krystal, and Jeph, too.

    Doing this kind of thing signals the the world might be familiar, but that

    its also sufficiently different to allow for all the fantasy elements, and

    any other differences that may be desired. This applies not only to titles

    but what ever else appears familiar and wrong.



    > It made me gnash my teeth.



    Yes, same here and elsewhere. But, I got over it by telling myself this

    organization is early medieval, when baron didn`t have a fixed meaning, and

    certainly included very powerful men. That, and seven or eight years of it,

    have settled the issue for me.



    > For that matter, I believe (though I am always willing to be corrected)

    > that Archduke was almost entirely a courtesy title, given to the

    > subsequent sons of the monarch in some countries.



    The only use of the title Archduke was in Austria, invented as it was

    invented during the 14th century by the duke of Austria to compensate

    himself for not getting to be an Imperial Elector. The Archdukes of Austria

    were the rulers of that place until the Empire was established in 1804. It

    was then that the Archducal title was extended to all of the children of the

    Emperor, as a courtesy. No other country every encroached on the title of

    the Archduke, but several had Grand Dukes. Originally (prior to the

    courtesy use in 1804), both grand duchies and archduchies were just

    especially prestigious, or otherwise grand... duchies. Tuscany and Muscovy

    are the most famous examples. Boeruine`s title is, I am sure, intended to

    be in this latter vein.



    Kenneth Gauck

    kgauck@mchsi.com

  5. #5
    Senior Member Trithemius's Avatar
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    s, same here and elsewhere. But, I got over it by telling

    > myself this organization is early medieval, when baron didn`t

    > have a fixed meaning, and certainly included very powerful

    > men. That, and seven or eight years of it, have settled the

    > issue for me.



    I just change it myself. And explain to people that I have done so. I`m

    not sure I can maintain that Anuirean society is early medieval still.

    ;)



    Kenneth:

    > The only use of the title Archduke was in Austria, invented

    > as it was invented during the 14th century by the duke of

    > Austria to compensate himself for not getting to be an

    > Imperial Elector. The Archdukes of Austria were the rulers

    > of that place until the Empire was established in 1804. It

    > was then that the Archducal title was extended to all of the

    > children of the Emperor, as a courtesy. No other country

    > every encroached on the title of the Archduke, but several

    > had Grand Dukes. Originally (prior to the courtesy use in

    > 1804), both grand duchies and archduchies were just

    > especially prestigious, or otherwise grand... duchies.

    > Tuscany and Muscovy are the most famous examples. Boeruine`s

    > title is, I am sure, intended to be in this latter vein.



    I presume that the title of Archduke was an attempt to forestall title

    inflation and the "devaluation" of the title of Duke. The first twelve

    vassals of the Emperor were granted the title of Archduke so that they

    always had some kind of seniority over the later Dukes, such as those

    created to administer territories in the Brecht and Basarji lands.



    I personally have Gavin Tael claim the title of Grand Duke since he

    cannot (really) claim to be an Archduke, although I am certain that he

    believes himself to be greater than a "mere" Duke.



    --

    John Machin

    (trithemius@paradise.net.nz)

    -----------------------------------

    "Nothing is more beautiful than to know the All."

    Athanasius Kircher, Ars Magna Sciendi.
    John 'Trithemius' Machin
    The Other John From Dunedin (now in Canberra)
    "Power performs the Miracle." - Johannes Trithemius

  6. #6
    Site Moderator Magian's Avatar
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    ly unreasonable.

    >

    > For that matter, I believe (though I am always willing to be corrected)

    >that Archduke was almost entirely a courtesy title, given to the subsequent

    >sons of the monarch in some countries. Just as in modern England, the first

    >son of the monarch is the Prince of Wales, and the second son is the Duke

    >of York, in 19th century Austria the second son was the Archduke of

    >whatever. Not that it is particularly relevant...

    >

    > Uncle Hyena



    The relevancy of the title Archduke distinguishes the title holder from the

    nobility. It is a sign of royal blood whether it be a direct heir or a

    sibling of the current ruler.



    If there is one thing that bugs me most about playing Birthright it is when

    it is assumed that the 12 duchies are simply archduchies.



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  7. #7
    Site Moderator Magian's Avatar
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    se of the title Archduke was in Austria, invented as it was

    >invented during the 14th century by the duke of Austria to compensate

    >himself for not getting to be an Imperial Elector. The Archdukes of

    >Austria

    >were the rulers of that place until the Empire was established in 1804. It

    >was then that the Archducal title was extended to all of the children of

    >the

    >Emperor, as a courtesy. No other country every encroached on the title of

    >the Archduke, but several had Grand Dukes. Originally (prior to the

    >courtesy use in 1804), both grand duchies and archduchies were just

    >especially prestigious, or otherwise grand... duchies. Tuscany and Muscovy

    >are the most famous examples. Boeruine`s title is, I am sure, intended to

    >be in this latter vein.

    >

    >Kenneth Gauck



    I do recall a brother of the Emperor of Spain being a suitor to Queen

    Elizabeth and he was an Archduke. I am uncertain of the soundness of this

    but I did read it somewhere. Kenneth perhaps you could elaborate upon this

    with your extensive history knowledge?



    Grand Duke from my understanding distinguishes a duke of noblility from a

    duke that is a monarch thus royal blood like that of Russia. So a grand

    duchy is much like a kingdom or in Muscovy`s case an empire when they chose

    to make the translastion of Tsar to Emperor instead of Grand Duke. To

    compare this with Anuire I`d say the Mhor would be the equivelant of this

    title.



    Concerning the Archduke title of Boeruine I cannot argue this point with any

    solid ground other than personal preference, but I`d say it is because their

    house is tied with a brother of an early emperor. The reasoning to take

    archduke could be to simply distinguish the brother and his heirs from that

    of the imperial royal family.



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  8. #8
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    ge -----

    From: "The Magian" <birthrightpbem@HOTMAIL.COM>

    Sent: Monday, July 28, 2003 6:54 AM





    > I do recall a brother of the Emperor of Spain being a suitor to Queen

    > Elizabeth and he was an Archduke.



    The two branches of the Habsburgs often confered courtesy titles of Spain on

    Austrians and Austrian titles on Spainish Habsburgs. This has to do with

    the dynastic claims of the Habsburgs as a single dynasty with two branches,

    rather than two distinct families. The original marriage that united them

    was to Burgundy, and both sides continued to call themselves dukes of

    Burgundy, even though the actual duchy of Burgundy was ceded to France with

    the marriage itself in 1477. Its all about stating your claims.



    Its also worth remembering that the German custom was to identify all

    children of a titled noble with the same title. So, for instance, all the

    sons of the duke of Bavaria are themselves dukes of Bavaria. The English

    take the other extream in that the eldest son inherited the title alone, and

    his brothers were technically commoners, so they had to be knighted to

    remain even technically noble.



    > Grand Duke from my understanding distinguishes a duke of noblility from a

    > duke that is a monarch thus royal blood like that of Russia. So a grand

    > duchy is much like a kingdom or in Muscovy`s case an empire when they

    chose

    > to make the translastion of Tsar to Emperor instead of Grand Duke. To

    > compare this with Anuire I`d say the Mhor would be the equivelant of this

    > title.



    The other example, however, Tuscany, has no royal connection what so ever.

    The Medici were bankers (common middle class folk) who became one of several

    leading families in the Florentine Republic, and the Medici were supporters

    of the Spanish (Aragonese) claims in Italy as against the French who deposed

    the Republic for Savanarola. The Spanish didn`t re-establish the Republic,

    they made their client a Grand Duke.



    > Concerning the Archduke title of Boeruine I cannot argue this point with

    any

    > solid ground other than personal preference, but I`d say it is because

    their

    > house is tied with a brother of an early emperor. The reasoning to take

    > archduke could be to simply distinguish the brother and his heirs from

    that

    > of the imperial royal family.



    Reasoning that the title of Boeruine is either a reflection of familial

    connection (perhaps once an Imperial secundogeniture) or on the other hand

    is just the grasping of Boeruine are both sensible. Even taking the latter

    case, when Rudolf created the title of Archduke in 1363, the Habsburgs were

    one of three leading families in the Empire and were getting themselves

    elected Emperor from time to time. Claims that stick (and Boeruine`s stuck)

    have some basis in reality, whether that`s dynastic or something else is not

    clear in the RoE, so will vary by campaign. I would not be surprised by any

    claim that all the dukes are first or second cousins.



    Kenneth Gauck

    kgauck@mchsi.com

  9. #9
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    b:



    >----- Original Message -----

    >From: "The Magian" <birthrightpbem@HOTMAIL.COM>

    >Sent: Monday, July 28, 2003 6:54 AM

    >

    >>Grand Duke from my understanding distinguishes a duke of noblility from a

    >>duke that is a monarch thus royal blood like that of Russia. So a grand

    >>duchy is much like a kingdom or in Muscovy`s case an empire when they

    >>

    >>

    >chose

    >

    >

    >>to make the translastion of Tsar to Emperor instead of Grand Duke. To

    >>compare this with Anuire I`d say the Mhor would be the equivelant of this

    >>title.

    >>

    >>

    >The other example, however, Tuscany, has no royal connection what so ever.

    >The Medici were bankers (common middle class folk) who became one of several

    >leading families in the Florentine Republic, and the Medici were supporters

    >of the Spanish (Aragonese) claims in Italy as against the French who deposed

    >the Republic for Savanarola. The Spanish didn`t re-establish the Republic,

    >they made their client a Grand Duke.

    >

    >

    Wasn´t there a Grand Duke (Großherzog) of Luxembourg? With that vast

    area of land under his control even Illien could claim that title.. .:-)

    bye

    Michael Romes

  10. #10
    Senior Member Osprey's Avatar
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    >Earl tends to be an English title, Count continental, though Earls always hold >directly from the king, and counts might not, but usually do.

    Actually, Earl comes from jarl, a Germanic/Norse title. Earl is the Old(?) English translation of jarl. Jarls were the lords of the Norseman, and Viking conquerers were named jarls. The Danes in particular named a number of jarls/earls in England, while the Norwegians had them in the isles around Britain.
    In Birthright, given the fact that the Anuirean Empire never really conquered Rjurik, having Earls wouldn&#39;t make much sense. But having Rjurik Jarls and Kings is right in line with their historical model.
    And in general, just remember: this is NOT historical fiction, it is fantasy inspired by historical examples, and as such the creators are the first and last word on their world.
    As for what you want your world to look like, well...it&#39;s your world, do with it as you please. That&#39;s the point of being a DM: you can tweak anything to create the kind of setting you want, or just design it from scratch. Never worth getting too emotional over something you don&#39;t like in a publication. Just change it to suit you&#33;
    -Osprey

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