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10-23-1998, 06:30 AM #1Simon GraindorgeGuest
The Chamberlain of the CoA (long)
I am going to give my *personal* opinion of the Chamberlain and his powers.
I don't have time to reply to all of the specific points in all of the
e-mails, so I will try and address everything in the one post by giving how
I see the specific situation in the City of Anuire. This might turn out
rather long, so please bear with me.
I'd like to bring up one point, which I believe it is very important to
remember in this discussion. Remember that we are talking *only* about the
Imperial City of Anuire, not about the rest of Anuire or Cerilia.
* Firstly, some background:
The Chamberlain is a regent (in game terms), and is the ruler of the
Imperial City of Anuire, a level 10 province (the largest in Cerilia, as far
as I recall). But, although he is the ruler/regent of the province, he does
not control all of the holdings. In fact, the law holdings are split amongst
several other influential regents. The Chamberlain (according to the RoE
supplement in the boxed set) controls 3 levels of law holdings in the IC
(Imperial City), while the others are split between Darian Avan, Aeric
Boeruine and Heirl Diem. I don't remember the exact levels controlled, but I
do remember that the Chamberlain holds as many, if not more than, anyone
else. The Chamberlain has no other holdings in the IC.
* Who has the Power?
When you don't know the answer to a question, you answer it with another:
What do you mean by "power"?
IMO, there are several different grades of power (and I'm not even going to
attempt to say which is more important - someone else can get the blame for
that one!). Firstly, there is game power, measured in terms of bloodline,
regency, holding levels, income - those purely statistical things. If we
look at the IC in isolation from the rest of Anuire, then clearly the
Chamberlain does control the power there. Being the ruling regent, he has 10
holding levels to send at any actions other regents take in the IC which he
doesn't agree with. In other words, nothing happens in the CoA (City of
Anuire) if he doesn't want it to, unless everyone else gangs up against the
However, let's look at overall power - I'm pretty sure most of us would
agree that, without any external support (and possibly even with it), the
Imperial City would not stand up for long against the armies of Avan,
Boeruine and maybe even Diemed. So, while the Chamberlain has a lot of power
within the city, I don't believe he has a lot of power outside it.
Remember that holding levels (law holdings especially) do not necessarily
represent or equate to the support of the people of the province/domain.
Let's look at law holdings in particular, since this is what the Chamberlain
holds. The Chamberlain has 30% of the law holdings in the IC, with the rest
divided amongst the other regents mentioned above. But, this does not tell
us how much the people like him, and I think that this is where the crux of
the matter lies.
I believe (IMO) that the people of the IC as a general rule look up to the
Chamberlain. Whether this is a good thing or not, is open to debate - but
that is not the issue here. I think (again, IMO) that the people of the CoA
see the Chamberlain as a good person, who is trying to do the right (good?)
thing by the people (I am sure everyone will agree that there are very few
regents who take the actions they do on behalf of their people). However,
the people who stand against him (they won't admit it, but let's simplify
things a bit) are powerful themselves, and, as I said above, could crush the
CoA militarily pretty much whenever they wanted to. As history has shown,
many leaders did not need the support of the people, and even actively
worked to keep them in fear - support of the population does not translate
into power. So, the end result here is that the Chamberlain has the support
of the people, but this does not give him power. In fact, because of the
delicate situation (militarily) of the CoA, the support of the people must
remain a foremost concern for the Chamberlain. While he has the support of
the people (and I believe that in the current situation he does), the other
regents cannot risk an attack (military or political) on the Imperial City.
Should that support be lost, a free-for-all would develop, and the City
would likely fall into different hands, and along with it, the Iron Throne.
Which brings up another aspect of power...
Finally, the Chamberlain has a trump card up his sleeve. As Dustin put it:
"His office is _also_ ceremonial in that he is respected as protector of the
Iron Throne. This means that no one becomes emperor without his blessing.
So many regents of Anuire respect him that none of them would try to usurp
his authority in matters of Empire (or its possible re-emergence)."
And this is another crux issue. While the people of Anuire (not just the IC)
hold onto the dream of a single Anuirean Empire, the position of Emperor
(even though it is currently vacant) is critical to the ultimate success of
any regent. And, as Dustin says, nobody becomes Emperor without the blessing
of the Chamberlain. Thus a military take-over of the Imperial City is out of
the question, unless the attacker believes they can exert their will over
all of Anuire. Not only would the rest of Anuire unite against the attacker
(call me cynical, but I am sure that many of them would do it to suck up to
the Chamberlain - "I helped you out sir, grovel, grovel, can I be Emperor
now?"), but the attacker would never be accepted by the people as Emperor -
and you cannot govern that many people without any support.
* So who has the Power again?
well, to sum up all I have said (and if you made it this far, give yourself
a pat on the back - you deserve it), the Chamberlain's situation is a
delicate one. In short, if we consider the CoA only, I think it is fair to
say that the Chamberlain has a lot of INLFUENCE, but little POWER. His
INFLUENCE manifests in that he can veto anything he wants to, not simply
because the people will support it, but also because he is the domain ruler
( represented by that big -10 penalty that being the ruler of the IC lets
him use against the actions of others, and for his own). Because he can veto
pretty well anything, his opinion also carries a lot of weight. BUT, the
Chamberlain is seldom able to wield this influence, because of the delicate
situation he is in, and thus his lack of real POWER. Since he does not wish
either Boeruine or Avan to be the next Emperor, he must oppose their
attempts to gain public influence at every opportunity. BUT, if his attempts
of opposition are too obvious, he risks upsetting regents who could crush
the city in the blink of an eye. In addition, being obviously opposed to any
one party will imply a bias towards the other party. So the Chamberlain must
work behind the scenes, thwarting the major players when he can and ensuring
that he does not lose the support of the people (without which his influence
and power will mean nothing).
But how does this relate to the duties of the Chamberlain (particularly with
regard to the IC)? Read on to find out :-)
* The Chamberlain's Duties
Well, if you made it this far, it's time to go down to the bottle shop and
buy another slab (for the non Aussies out there, that's a carton of beer),
because the fridge is probably dry by now =P
OK, so the Chamberlain has a lot of Influence, but little Power, as I
contend above. What this means is that he has a lot of *potential* to wield
that influence, but is restricted by the repercussions of his actions - ie.
the consequences of wielding his influence. For example, let's take the
situation where the Lord Mayor is being elected - the Chamberlain could veto
the chosen person (whomever and however they are chosen), but would probably
only reserve this power for when it is absolutely necessary, to avoid
putting too many powerful people off-side. The guilds (who are probably one
of the main players in city politics, though likely in the background) could
single-handedly ruin the city (and the Chamberlain's reputation with it) if
they banded to gather and decided that they wanted to, so the Chamberlain
must be very diplomatic - he must let them do what they want, but at the
same time prevent it from affecting the people.
In short, I see the Chamberlain as a good person, who is trying to do the
right things for the people of the City of Anuire (and the future Empire?).
But, his plans are often thwarted by more powerful players. He has to juggle
all of his various duties (ie. choosing the next Emperor, ruling the City,
keeping the people happy, keeping the powerful players happy) and sometimes
choose which is the more important.
To be more specific, I believe that in the presence of an Emperor, the
Chamberlain acts as the Emperor's adviser and confidante, choosing to
personally look after certain areas, while delegating the other's to those
he trusts to serve the Emperor. He was probably in charge of such things as
security of the Emperor (probably delegated to someone, who answers to the
Chamberlain), information gathering (possibly delegated - though this is the
one area I could see the Chamberlain handling personally), military aspects
(delegated to several), etc.
But there currently is no Emperor. Indeed, there is no Empire either. So I
believe that the Chamberlain is still in charge of much of those duties
shown above, but is simply unable to contend with many of them. Instead,
with the bickering regents to contend with, I believe that he delegates much
of these duties out. For example, the day-to-day running of the city is done
by the Lord Mayor/council, though naturally the Chamberlain would be
consulted on some issues, and would certainly be kept aware of the situation
(or would keep tabs on it through his own sources). Naturally, the
Chamberlain is probably only informed *after* the event of things he might
not like. And like . Likewise, the Military defence of the city is likely
left to someone else; again the Chamberlain would be kept informed. In
addition to his normal duties, he also acts in the name of the Emperor,
until a new one is found, so he can issue decrees, etc. This power is
exercised more to aid the City (which is really all that is left of the
Empire, in a way), than as an actual Imperial Decree.
IMO, most of the Chamberlain's time is spent keeping tabs on the powerful
players in particular, as well as the other regents. Occasionally he vetoes
the odd decision, but only when really necessary. Instead, he is busy
ensuring that none of the current regents (especially Boeruine & Avan) gets
too powerful, and, as stated in the RoE, plays them all off against each
other. In order to do this, he must have information, and the Chamberlain's
information network is probably second to none. It includes the special
elite (unknown) information arm of the Imperial Guard (see Ben Loebick's
write-up of the IG), the Imperial Heralds. And don't forget that the
Chamberlain is a very high level magician - with such divination magic
available to him, the combination is quite potent.
* The City Council
I envisage the council much as it was described by Keith:
>I think the chamberlain is like the 'House Speaker' in Canada's House of
>Parliament. He sits on a big gold chair at the end of a hall/assembly
>of senators/mayors/over paid politicians, and basically directs the
>floor. I see the government of the IC as a very bureaucratic entity.
>Lot's of ministers and folks screaming and yelling, pressing points that
>have nothing to do with the actual issue, and basically spending more
>time trying to undermine the opposition than actually trying to come up
>with a solution to the problems at hand.
As far as areas of influence go, I would imagine that the Council/Lord Mayor
would be in charge of everything but the Imperial Caern (the Island where
the Imperial Palace is located - see the map on the OCP homepage for more
details) would fall under control of the Chamberlain. Of course, with his
limited time, this is probably delegated to someone else as well.
The Chamberlain's opinion (when he is actually at a Council meeting, and not
busy trying to keep Avan or Boeruine off the Iron Throne) carries a lot of
weight, but since he is seldom there, his opinion is not often heard until
it is too late. Which probably suits the council very well indeed! The
council doesn't manage to get a lot done on their own, being too busy trying
to stuff their fat, grubby fingers into the cookie jar before anyone else
gets there. So occasionally the Chamberlain sits on the meetings, and stirs
up some action. However, things soon return to normal, the nobles go back to
their old ways, and nothing really changes. perhaps the City needs a Lord
Mayor who is motivated, and will get some action from the council. Of
course, since the Lord Mayor is chosen by the council, this is unlikely to
happen in the near future. And changing the voting system would need to be
done by the Chamberlain himself. Conveniently, and by total coincidence of
course, the meetings when this suggestion is brought before the council
happen to be those where the Chamberlain is not around :-).
Well, I hope people found my thesis on this subject interesting. Again, it's
all my opinion, and you are free to disagree with it if you want. Comments
would be most welcome :-)
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