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  1. #1
    Senior Member Trithemius's Avatar
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    The Anuirean Senate

    This institution seems to crop up fairly regularly in PBeM games. I was wondering if anyone knew where it came from?

    I am also curious about what people think about the Senate, and whether they think alternative institutions are more appropriate?
    John 'Trithemius' Machin
    The Other John From Dunedin (now in Canberra)
    "Power performs the Miracle." - Johannes Trithemius

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    The way I understood the material, is that in the absence of an emperor, the chamberlain steps in and takes care of the day-to-day functions of the Imperial City while he awaits an appropriate replacement. I haven't seen mention of an Imperial Senate in the RoE - perhaps people are drawing connections to Rome and its government, and adding in a Senate that way?

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    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    The closest thing I can think of to a senate in the books is the big confab at the Sword and Crown where the nobles jostle to agree on a new emperor.

    Although there may have been a formal senate during the empire, I can't see it as having a substantial influence currently given the present fragmentation of the empire.

    In a PBEM where diplomacy and intrigue dominate over adventure play it would make sense however to have an institution where the leaders regularly got together to plot and scheme.

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    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    You know my thoughts, but I'll go public with my thought that there is no Senate (way too Roman) but that there probabaly was a Great Council composed of the twelve dukes and others holding Imperial offices. The most notable thing I would say about such a body is that it was informal. It had no duties or rights. It was for consultation and while it may have been able to wield power, it was the combined power of the twelve dukes, not the influence of being on the council.

    As a wise man once said, "only an idiot would ignore his twelve dukes."

  5. #5
    Senior Member Trithemius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kgauck
    As a wise man once said, "only an idiot would ignore his twelve dukes."
    You are far too kind...

    Quote Originally Posted by kgauck
    You know my thoughts, but I'll go public with my thought that there is no Senate (way too Roman) but that there probabaly was a Great Council composed of the twelve dukes and others holding Imperial offices. The most notable thing I would say about such a body is that it was informal. It had no duties or rights. It was for consultation and while it may have been able to wield power, it was the combined power of the twelve dukes, not the influence of being on the council.
    I am inclined towards a "college" of [arch]dukes as well.

    Aside: My views on the archdukes might not be known widely anymore - given the change in the citizenship of this community - but I am of the opinion that the lineal descendants of the original Twelve are all possessed of archducal dignity and that the title of duke was reserved for the rulers of large estates outside the traditional boundaries of Anuire; this means that there is more than one archduke/archduchees in Anuire and that those who claim the title of duke/duchess are in danger of being accused of being parvenus (even if their ancestors were the parvenus...).

    There could also be a, wider, gathering of lesser nobles who are not admitted to the gathering of archdukes but which has become another informal assembly.

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewTall
    In a PBEM where diplomacy and intrigue dominate over adventure play it would make sense however to have an institution where the leaders regularly got together to plot and scheme.
    I agree whole-heartedly!

    I think that a, now-customary, gathering of the archdukes at the Imperial Cairn, surrounded by the the milling of lesser nobility would be ideal. It is less bureaucratic than a Senate, it lacks the connotations of being a legislative body, and it just strikes me as more romantic and exciting to have diplomatic (and other?!) liasons happening in a big sprawling castle than in some ersatz-parliament.
    John 'Trithemius' Machin
    The Other John From Dunedin (now in Canberra)
    "Power performs the Miracle." - Johannes Trithemius

  6. #6
    Senior Member Trithemius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerrith
    The way I understood the material, is that in the absence of an emperor, the chamberlain steps in and takes care of the day-to-day functions of the Imperial City while he awaits an appropriate replacement. I haven't seen mention of an Imperial Senate in the RoE - perhaps people are drawing connections to Rome and its government, and adding in a Senate that way?
    I think that the Chamberlain's job is to defend the throne from people who might presume to think it is should belong to them, rather than to formally select a new emperor. I think that some people running PBeMs have confused the practical power of the Chamberlain's position (i.e. being the steward of the City and the Imperial Cairn and it's garrison) with a formal right to anoint a new emperor, which is very different.
    John 'Trithemius' Machin
    The Other John From Dunedin (now in Canberra)
    "Power performs the Miracle." - Johannes Trithemius

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    On 4/1/07, Trithemius <brnetboard@birthright.net> wrote:
    > Trithemius wrote:
    > This institution seems to crop up fairly regularly in PBeM games. I was wondering if
    > anyone knew where it came from?

    Message boards. I don`t know which was the earliest one I saw, but
    people began putting up message boards for their PBEM games. Most
    commonly there would be an OOC board, for talking to the DM, taunting
    your opponents, and so on, and an IC board. Where would all these
    people (or their representatives) gather? Obviously, the Imperial
    City, in some kind of UN/Senate/Council of Barons. The "Imperial
    Senate" was drawn from a Roman analogy, obviously.
    Non-Anuirean-native lands would have an ambassador, native realms an
    envoy of some kind. The technology (free, persistent message boards)
    led to the in-game institution, in this case.

    Also, this kind of set-up became much more common after the release of
    The Phantom Menace in 1999, which showed the Galactic Senate.

    > I am also curious about what people think about the Senate, and whether they think
    > alternative institutions are more appropriate?

    It works as well as any other narrative convention. Without something
    like it, PBEM would consist of merely submitting your turns, not much
    roleplaying at all.

    There`s a passage in Ruins of Empire which mentions how Brosengae (I
    believe) is a center for diplomacy and a plum diplomatic assignment;
    I`ve often thought that an equivalent body of gossiping envoys might
    be better found there, than in the Imperial City.

    --
    Daniel McSorley

  8. #8

    Message boards

    True. As a player in several mass-games, all incorporated a 'senate' because it was just too easy for PC's to have conversation with each other if they wanted to; and since it was impossible to prevent PC communication, it was institiutionalized.

    If I run a game, I'll certainly include something like that to allow for PC-PC communication, because it's an essential part of the PbeM game.

  9. #9
    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    Hmm, we are using skalds in RW - eagle shape-shifters make great messengers I find...

    A fast rider on a succession of horses can carry the post quite swiftly - and since most BR realms are fairly small, and you correspond mostly with your neighbours...

    Of course those familiar with Terry Pratchets semaphore towers could use those instead...

  10. #10
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    The problem with communications in a pre-cell world is that you have know where you message reciever is before you send a message. Of course eagle's can go looking for their recipients, but few other kinds of of messagers can reach a ruler with any speed or reliability unless he doesn't move much.

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