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  1. #1
    Senior Member Osprey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    As I sit and try to come up with a list of major court positions within the Court of Avanil, I thought I'd throw it out to the BR community. Anyone have any suggestions as to some positions and functions of major members of the quintessential Anuirean court? Here's a few I'm working with at the moment, and assume minor variations of title dependnig on the realm:

    Chamberlain - "Master of the Court" (or grand chamberlain, lord chamberlain, etc.) role. Always an Advisor, sometimes an invested Lieutenant.

    Steward - in charge of a castle's or palace's daily functioning; might also include military functions as a default commander in case of siege, definitely includes keeping castle stores and facilities prepared for such an event.

    Seneschal - in truth, I am somewhat confused as to a seneschal's official role. It seems to be a combination of Herald, Steward, and Master of Arms or Captain of the Guard. Can anyone shed some light on this?

    Lord High Marshall - the highest-ranking military commander next to the regent himself. Often an invested Lieutenant. Has general responsibility for keeping the realm's fighting forces in a state of adequate training, supply, and general combat readiness.

    Chief Warden - highest-ranking commander of border patrol forces, often a ranger or fighter leading Scout units. The position might also include protecting the regent's hunting preserves.

    Spymaster - a less public position, but a vital one. Every spymaster is charged with defending the realm against enemy esionage, and executing espionage actions for the regent. Usually spymasters of notable skill are invested as Lieutenants.

    Emissary - these are the regent's official diplomats, sent to foreign courts or permanently positioned in the regent's embassies. They provide regular intelligence about the court where they are stationed, and are the key agents of Diplomacy actions for their regents. Long-term positions often result in the emissary's family joining him/her in the realm where they are stationed.

    Court Magician or Wizard - not a staple of every court, nonetheless more influential Anuirean courts usually have a magician of some sort. Their roles vary greatly depending on their liege, but might include entertainment, sage advice on matters arcane, adventuring or combat support, divinations, and possibly even minor artificing.

    Court Bard - another fixture of most courts of any size, though lesser court bards may not be true bards, but rather mundane minstrels. Music, poetry, and oration are the chief skills of the court bard, while heraldry, history, and geneologies are also important aspects of a bard's repertoire. Finally, they serve as excellent sources of gossip, and some bards also serve as spymaster to their regent.

    Captain of the Guard - in charge of a town's or castle's security. In general, I assume other captains are unit commanders (creating ranks like Knight-Captain or Infantry Captain).

    OK, so that's the list I've got right now. Anything obvious missing here? Other ideas? Thoughts and suggestions welcome.


  2. #2
    Site Moderator Fearless_Leader's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Lewisville, TX, USA
    For additional input on the role of the seneschal I looked it up at and came up with the following:

    According to Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary:
    "[OF. seneschal, LL. seniscalcus, of Teutonic origin; cf. Goth. sineigs old, skalks, OHG. scalch, AS. scealc. Cf. Senior, Marshal.] An officer in the houses of princes and dignitaries, in the Middle Ages, who had the superintendence of feasts and domestic ceremonies; a steward. Sometimes the seneschal had the dispensing of justice, and was given high military commands.

    Then marshaled feast Served up in hall with sewers and seneschale. --Milton.

    Philip Augustus, by a famous ordinance in 1190, first established royal courts of justice, held by the officers called baitiffs, or seneschals, who acted as the king's lieutenants in his demains. --Hallam."

    According to the glossary of Knighthoods, Chivalry, & Tournament (
    "Lord’s representative in the administration of an estate, presiding at manorial courts, auditing accounts, conduct inquests, and the like."

    Your list seems like a pretty good one, though I think that the Chief Warden should be called something like Lord Constable, High Sheriff, or something similar. I just don't like the sound of Chief Warden... but that's just my personal preferences speaking.

  3. #3
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Springfield Mo
    Here is what I do.

    I figure that a court will work best if I keep the major members of court to

    between four to six, plus allied rulers. When I compose a new realm, I look

    at these jobs:

    Military leader, could be called a marshal, captain general, master of the

    army, commander of the horse, strategon, praetor, or what have you. Almost

    every realm will have this guy.

    Senior advisor, could be a chancellor, chamberlain, or steward, typically.

    While any realm might have all three, generally only one of them is

    important in the realm, and the other two are either minor offices, or not

    present. For example, in Stjordvik, we have a chamberlain as a key office,

    a chancellor who has a minor job as a secretary to the king, and the steward

    is the guy who runs the kitchen and dinning room.

    Money guy, could be a treasurer, finance minister, master of coin, collector

    of the corn, minister of tolls, or what have you. He presents all the

    financial data of the realm, so generally appears during the seasonal income

    calculation. Not a neccesary office, because it can be rolled into another


    Legal guy, could be a grand judge, high justice, reader of the law, master

    of the court, &c. In the same way the marshal is the guy who reprents the

    army, this fellow represents the law holdings. Not a neccesary office,

    because it can be rolled into another job, especially chancellor.

    Protector of the household, could be a steward or chamberlain, who are

    technically the ones who handle the ruler`s food and his bedroom

    respectively. If you roll in jobs like personal security of the ruler, runs

    the court, and acts as a close advisor, it can be a key office. Could also

    be called cupbearer, master of the guard, quaestor of the palace, or the


    Foriegn policy guy, could be nearly any title, and can be rolled into other


    Land guy, warden, protector of the forest, master of the farms,

    If the realm is a mixed realm, of landed plus guild, you could include a

    trade minister, secretary for commerce, guildsdeputy, or the like.

    If the realm is a mixed realm, of landed plus temple, you could include a

    consul of doctrine, an ecclesiatical sectretary, potentes, sacred minister,

    or the like.

    If the realm is mixed with sources, I assume the sources are directly

    controlled by the ruler, is almost certainly a spellcaster, and might add an

    officer from the list above.

    If the realm is allied with another realm, especialy a holdings realm, they

    might be represented in court, at least the great council.

    So, I`ll figure out what is important to a realm, and then mix the jobs

    above with lessor jobs (mint, weights and measures, mines, ships, &c) so

    that in one realm I might have

    Chancellor: foriegn policy, senior advisor, law holdings, records

    Marshal: army

    Steward: household, court, treasury, mint, mines, tolls, taxes

    Privy Secretary: close advisor, espionage, ruler`s corespondence

    Another realm might have

    Captain General: army, foriegn policy

    Treasurer: treasury, mint, tolls, taxes, trade, ships, ports, navy

    Chamberlain: household, court, advisor, corespondence

    Warden: forests, ruler`s demense, jails, dungeons, baliffs, sheriffs

    High Court Justice: law holdings, edicts, decrees, advisor

    as well as a guilder ally who acts as as spymaster

    Kenneth Gauck

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Just for the fun, here is a more or less complete list of the Royal Officers of the Kingdom of France, which I yanked from heraldica. I'll try equivalence with the court positions of England, but sometimes it's likely to be quite vague.

    Connétable (Contable): Commanded directly the mounted guards of the king, and was more or less the supreme commander of the king's armies. Abolished 1626, from then it was only a ceremonial title of the most senior marshall of France. First Great officer from 1121 (abolition of the office of great seneschal). In England, the nearest equivalent would be the Lord High Constable.

    Chancellor: First Great Officer of the crown from 1627. Head of the Administrative parts of Justice. The Keeper of the Seals part was officially separated from this in 1551, the Chancellor at the time was under trial and the king didn't want to deprive him of his title until guilt was proved. Title given for life, retained at the death of a king, and the Chancellor didn't wear mourning. In England, the nearest equivalent would be the Lord Chancellor.

    Grand Master: In charge of the Royal Household. Great Officer just following the Chancellor in precedence. Closest English equivalent: Lord Treasurer.

    Great Butler/Wine Waiter, Great Pannetier, Great Huntsman, Great Falconer, Great Wolf-trainer, Great Provost, Great Marshall of the Dwelling, Captain of the Guards of the Door: Officers of the Master, swore their oath to him.

    Great Chamberlain: Great Officer next to the Grand Master. Closest English Equivalent: Lord High Chamberlain.

    Great Squire: Great Officer since 1580, under Henry III, no equivalent office among the English Great Officers of State.

    Marshall of France: Assistants to the Constable until 1627, when they became the most senior military commanders. Began as 4, 5 in 1566, a 6th in 1574, they were 18 in 1788 (Henry IV had more or less revoked ordonances limiting their upper numbers), although it was quickly decided not to make new marshalls until 12 would have been reached. A Dean of Marshalls, the seniormost, and a Marshall of the Camps and Armies of the King commanded over the other marshalls, on paper at least. Comparable to the Earl Marshall. The Dean of Marshall presided over the court of Marshalls and had most of the prerogatives of the constable.

    Admiral of France: was abolished from 1627 to 1669. Under him were four other admiralties: Burgundy, Brittany, Provence, Levant; and the General of the Galleys and the Vice-Admirals. Lord High Admiral.

    Great Master of the Artillery: created Great Officer in 1601. Abolished 1755.

    Colonel-General of the Infantry: ranked just under the Marshalls, during the wars of Italy, was split in two: C-G on this side of the mountains and C-G on the other side of the mountains. Created 1546, Great Officer 1581, Abolished 1661.

    Colonel-General of the Cavalry: Created 1548, Officer 1565.
    Colonel General of the Dragoons: created 1668
    Colonel-General of the Hussards: created 1778

    Colonel-General of the French Guard: created 1661
    Colonel-General of the Swiss and Grisons: created 1568
    Colonel-General of the Carabiniers, of the Light Horse Lancers, of the Mounted Hunters, of the Cuirassiers: created during the Napoleonic period or the reign of Louis XVIII.

    On Heraldica, we have for most the heraldic devices used in France to denote them.
    They also have somewhere a list of those of the Empire.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    As far as I remember, there was a list of important offices/court positions in TSR´s Castle Guide, along with a description of their duties.
    wotc = wizards of the cash

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