Shadewulf (whatever the heck his real name is) asked a question and,
since he's such a nice guy, I can't help but respond! :) (Not to
mention I've got to be suffering from insomnia, so what the hell). :)

First off, the campaign you described is very similiar to the one I am
running now. (Heck - probably because that's the way the designer's set
it up the way they did). Heh. The only difference is that my players
haven't gotten around to co-operating yet, or even reaching a consensus
in how to go about doing that. And the Gorgon has just started his
rampage. Hee hee hee. :)

I love Birthright. :)

Second, before I answer your question, have you heard of the BR supp
called the "Sword & Crown"? In it the supp details this very important
event that happens in Anuire every 5 years. Anyway, this event is held
in a chosen realm of Anuire every 5 years to talk about various issues
that regents need to discuss (plus its a good excuse to throw back a few
brews too, and make each other feel important) :) Of course, one of
the traditional topics centers around the question: "Just what the heck
are we going to do about 'ol Rock Butt this time!" Generally, though,
nothing much productive gets done (except around a regent's middle, I
presume). :)

Now, to give you my opinions on your inquiry:

1) If I were to critique a BR campaign, centered in Anuire, I would say
that the DM must understand and consider the unique politics of this
part of Cerilia. This is, indeed, one of the great things about BR, IMO.
I always keep in mind that *Anuire was once an empire*, and it is this
fact that permeates every aspect of Anuirean politics. Anuire is in a
state of decline, just like the Roman Empire was in our own real life
history, and it is my contention that Anuireans would act (and suffer)
no differently in their crisis period. In fact, I think this was what
the designer's had in mind when creating this part of the game.

This means that, naturally, the Anuirean regents of 'today' want to get
back what their culture had previously attained, and restore Anuire to
its former glory. The difference is that there is no central
leadership, nor would most of the regents set aside their differences to
reach a consensus (IMO, see below). If you take a close look at the
military and political background present in Anuire 'today', this fact
should become readily obvious.

Power, in Anuire, (and I'm talking about *real* power, the kind that
gets things done in any society), centers around who controls the Iron
Throne. Or, because of certain events in Anuire's past, who can
*manipulate* the power structure around this governmental symbol. You
see, the regents of Anuire are still very much victims of their past,
and haven't been able to see beyond central authority. This will be
their downfall, IMHO, as internal and external forces are at work that
are tearing the fabric of Anuirean society asunder. Note that these
forces (which will take too long to go into detail here) are very
similar to those that effected the downfall of the Roman Empire in our
real life history. Want to learn more? Go to your local library and
read a history book of this time period! :) History is way cool.

Thus, the current players are puppets of their history. For us, this
means that there will be a heirarchy of power within Anuire. This
structure is given to us within the Ruins of Empire sourcebook, and is
the place to start when considering Anuirean politics. For the regents
of Anuire, there are really only four important people in Anuire (if a
regent discounts himself, of course). These are Avan, Boeruine, Ghoere,
and the Mhor. Most Anuirean regents, at one time, would have counted
six (Diemed & Alamie), but I bet most look upon these two Barons as
likely mirrors to their own future, and try their best to forget them
for that. These four come as no surprise, as they are 1) the largest
realms, and thus control the most resources, and (2) more directly
related to the past Royal family than others (like, for instance,
Tuornen and Endier), and thus can make a direct claim to leadership in
the City of Anuire (and thus the Iron Throne).

And this is where Anuirean politics get messy. Of course, everyone
knows that Avan has the strongest claim, being that his bloodline was
given the title of prince as the traditional protectors of the capital
province (that is to say, the realm of Avanil protects the CoA from the
landward side). In other words, if anything happened to the royal
bloodline, the Avans would be next in line. However, the regents of
Boeruine can, because of marriage ties, claim direct descent from the
Royal line. (I bet Diemed, Alamie, and at least Mhoried could too, but
I have found no official support to back those contentions).

A question of succession is going on right now in Anuire, and its been
going on for five hundred odd years. Anuirean politics and power
revolve around this very thing, and dictates what happens throughout
Anuire. Avan ardently claims that he is the rightful successor;
Boeruine calls foul, and says that he has an even better claim (if Avan
doesn't have marriage ties either, which is something I would argue
against), or just as strong - it really doesn't matter. Because, in
large part, Boeruine CAN dictate Anuirean internal politics, he does.

So of course, each side draws a line and finds supporters. Avan sways
this regent, Boeruine must find one for his side. And a delicate game
of good politics ensues. Now of course, Ghoere, being that his recent
predecessor (or his own work) has united a strong realm, thinks that he
should be the one (naturally) to assume leadership - he's proven that he
can meld together and run a very successful realm. Unfortunately for
him, Mhoried takes issue with the *way* he does so, and opposes him for
that simple reason. The Mhor probably doesn't trust the three of them,
but anyone is better than Ghoere (in his mind). So these two draw
supporters as well, and another couple of factions spring into being.

Everyone else has to react to this. This is because the other realms
don't have the same influence as these big four do. I bet Alamie and
Diemed believe that they are just as important, but they aren't. The
others are either to weak (militarily or economically) to be major
players (e.g. Endier, Tuornen, Talinie), or are completely indifferent
to the backstabbing in the capital (e.g. Aerenwe and Coeranys). In
fact, even they cannot escape the same influences that affect the Big
Four, and become a microcosm of the struggle between the major players.
Diemed harrasses her 'rebellious' provinces; the civil war in Alamie and
Tuornen, etc.

These smaller players have an even thinner line to walk upon, as they
must be mindful of the fact that, if they 'overstep' their place in the
hierarchy, they will find that they are quickly reminded of their
'lesser' status. Tuornen and Taeghas are perfect examples. These
regents must play a game of delicate diplomacy, or find their lands
'training grounds' for the up and coming warriors of Avanil and
Boeruine. Endier has only one thing going for it, which is also its
curse: its centrality to all the players. Medoere, Ilien, and Roesone
find that they must depend on each other in order to survive being
reabsorbed into the larger powers (especially Ilien). And Coeranys?
Well, everyone tends to ignore them (which is just as well, because they
want it that way anyways).

The bottom line? Because of self-interest, Anuirean realms can't afford
to work co-operatively, at least until this question of succession is
settled (which doesn't hold much prospect for as far into the
foreseeable future as I can tell). This, however, is where the players
come in, and have opportunities to change all of that (if they are
lucky). There is only one thing I can think of, that will unite
Anuireans (at least temporarily) and that is:

2) 'Ol Rock Butt. Remember, he was Roele's half-brother, and I don't
think anyone in Anuire would forget that (least of all, the Gorgon).
Every DM ought to keep this ever present in their mind when detailing
adventures for regents in Anuire. Anuire is 'his' realm, and he has
plotted for over 1500 years to get it. Cold Stony wants Anuire bad.
Naturally, because of setbacks, he hasn't achieved that yet. So,
understandably, he is pissed. And every passing year makes him more
determined to achieve it, such that his determination is stone cold
hard, harder than steel.

Of course, no one sane would want him as a ruler, and would do as much
as they are able to stop him. However, the Gorgon is always a factor in
Anuirean politics, and its in HIS self-interest to keep the various
Anuirean realms fractious, because united they might just be able to
kick his, er, butt. :) Or, at least, make him have to work another
1500 years rebuilding his forces. Unfortunately, these are desperate
times, and some might just fall prey to his schemes and plots. The
Gorgon, I would bet, is very apt at promising regents what they want in
exchange for 'favours'. :)

Now, if I were to place any money on it, I bet that Mhoried asks for aid
when it thinks it needs it (which is probably most every time the Gorgon
comes down in full force), and hopes that everyone else has enough to
spare, in whatever they've got. Naturally, Ghoere would be very tight
fisted, since why would he help his enemy? (of course, Ghoere more than
likely believes that he could make a stand at his borders). Elinie
would help, but thats pretty evident. Alamie and Tuornen are probably
too busy patching up their most recent 'disagreements' that (most
likely) Alamie instigated. Avanil and Boeruine are more wary of each
other than about the Gorgon (I mean, when was the Gorgon last involved
in one of their realms directly?). Diemed - too much worry about
gaining his former glory back. Aerenwe, sure. Roesone and others, if
they felt like Diemed and Ghoere were behaving, perhaps. Mieres?
"Gosh, sir, thats on a different continent!" Taeghas, Brosengae, what
ever Avanil (or Boeruine, if they are until his 'protection') says.
Talinie, sure, with what it can spare. Cariele, "you want to cut into
our profits?!?" Endier, ditto, unless there was some advantage to be
gained thereby. Dhoesone - if its aid could survive the gauntlet of the
Stonecrown humanoids, sure. Osoerde, "what's in it for me?" And
Coeranys? Well, people probably forgot to ask.

Aid wouldn't last very long, and would be open to all sorts of problems
that rivals could exploit (most especially, the agents of the Gorgon).
Hmmm, doesn't it say that the Mhor's advisor could be bought? :)

So, in conclusion, yes, I could see what Shadewulf described as
happening in an Anuirean campaign, if only for a year (tops).
Shadewulf's reasoning was sound as far as I can tell. I think Mhoried
would have accepted it, simply because I think he is one of the more
level-headed rulers at present in Anuire. Unfortunately, after a year
or so, everyone would be back to their old habits. Of course, a
definition of "United Nations" would have to be pretty broad to fit this
situation. I would say rulers would have given aid out of 'enlightened
self interert', instead. :) It would have to be someone of the
magnitude of Roele and his bloodline to be able to keep these Anuireans
on a short leash.

Of course, a foolish emperor - the last one - started all of this.

Just the way the Gorgon intended it to be. Hehehe. :)

Darren "Just had to get that cheap shot in, Mr. VanderMuelen" Cooper :)