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Thread: Imperial Succession
04-24-2011, 04:35 AM #1
- Join Date
- Nov 2003
I don't know if anyone has covered this issue before. I know it's a recurring discussion -- why the Chamberlain hasn't determined who Michael Roele's successor was after 551 years. However, I stumbled across some information about various systems of primogeniture online. And, I thought I'd share it.
First off, I know it's a point of contention. But, my opinion is that Avanil has never been one of the Twelve Great Duchies. Instead, I've always thought of it as the Imperial Province -- which was ruled over by a Prince, a trusted close relative of the Emperor, in the Emperor's name. If that's the case, I consider the Twelve Great Duchies to be Aernwe, Alamie, Bhalaene/Dhalene (depending on how you spell it), Boeruine, Brosengae, Cariele, Diemed, Elinie, Ghieste, Mhoried, Osoerde, and Taeghas.
Anyway, I have always seen the conflict as being between Boeruine and Avanil based upon conflicting ideas of succession -- with Boeruine arguing for primogeniture based upon his line's marriage to the eldest sister of Michael Roele and Avanil arguing for proximity of blood and tanistry based upon his line holding the Imperial Province. But, that idea has never really encompassed the general Birthright theme that any of the major houses could lay claim to the throne.
Well, I've been looking at various forms of succession particularly primogentiture as it applies to land inherited by fee tail and strict sallic law. And, from what I gather, primogeniture goes from oldest to youngest as you move along the male heirs, but all female heirs are considered co-equals when it gets to them. And, since certain titles (i.e. Emperor) can't be divided, the dignity of the office goes into abeyance until only one of the inheriting female lines remains. This appears to be what the game designers might have been getting at.
Historically, the British Peerage modified this system from strict sallic primogeniture to male preference primogeniture. But, that took time. And, in the medieval era, that move wasn't always thought to be the natural logical flow. Proximity of blood and tanistry were considered viable, practical solutions when strict sallic primogeniture came to a dead end.
So, putting that in terms of the game, Avanil and Boeruine are considered two of the strongest claims based upon the cases that they make. Up to Michael Roele's death, there was strict sallic primogeniture. Now that that system has failed, Boeruine argues that a male preferenceprimogeniture should take its place -- meaning that he is the natural, logical choice as a descendant of the eldest sister of Michael Roele. Avanil claims that this is not the inevitable conclusion and argues that proximity of blood should control when the system fails -- another justifiable position.
The seemingly logical way of sorting this out would be to put it to a vote of the Twelve Great Duchies. However, neither side necessarily wants to do that -- as it arguably converts the entire system to tanistry. And, many of the great houses that can claim some relation to one of the younger sisters are happy to just wait everything out rather than deciding on a tiebreaker. If they can wait for all of the rival sister lines to extinguish themselves (or if they can help along that outcome), they can claim the Iron Throne themselves.
Of course, those with no ties to one of the sister's lines would love to submit everything to tanistry -- on the premise that, once the Twelve Great Duchies get to elect the Emperor, they always get to elect the Emperor and they can sell their votes for various concessions every time. There are others with no ties to the sisters' lines, of course, who might prefer never to have a vote because they don't want an Emperor again. They enjoy their own sovereignty.
On top of that, even if the issue was put to a vote, questions remain regarding who can vote. Boeruine argues that Brosengae and Taeghas are no longer entitled to vote because their have surrendered their status as "imperial estates" by pledging vassalage to Avanil. Avanil claims that they have simply recognized his right to the Iron Throne and that they have surrendered no status since he is indeed the Emperor. Alamie and Tuornen both claim the same seat -- as do Cariele and Coeranys. No one seems happy about letting Ghoere claim two duchal seats. Jaison Raenech and William Moergen both claim Osoerde's seat.
Some people claim that Aerenwe has left the Empire -- when its regent claimed the title of Queen. I prefer to view this as a special honorific afforded to that house since Michael Roele's wife was from Aerenwe. He was Emperor. Her family claimed the royal title until a new Emperor was crowned -- clinging to the title as a reminder of their family's special status within the Empire, perhaps in hopes that maybe they could inherit through Michael Roele's wife.
But, depending on one's view, Aerenwe's status could be disputed. Elinie's status could alos be dispute -- probably by Jaison Raenech when they dispute his claim. The issue being that the Emperor let the ibn Doutas take over Elinie. However, since he kept the title of Patriarch, it's not entirely clear the Emperor intended for the family to take up the dignity of one of the Twelve Great Duchies.
I also think of the Prince and Archduke titles being similar claims on dignity as the Queen of Aerenwe. Archduke being an honorific given to the eldest daughter's husband to denote his special status. And, Prince being given to the ruler of the Imperial Province to denote his special status. I like that view because there are only two of these titles in the original boxed edition and, although I'm happy to make some corrections (titling the Baron of Diemed a Duke and inserting Marquis/Margrave for Baron -- where there appear to be mistakes in the original boxed edition), I've never really liked the idea of handing out Archduke titles to everyone or making all lower ranks subservient to a higher rank. In my mind, regardless of title, all of the realms are imperial estates -- owing fealty directly to the Emperor, regardless of rank.
Anyway, that all being said . . . . What I was originally getting at is that this would explain the failure to choose a successor. The factors creating this situation include: (1) strict sallic law posing no obvious solution, (2) opposing tiebreaker solutions (male preference primogeniture vs. proximity of blood), (3) a willingness on the part of many houses to wait and see if the other sisters' lines die out, (4) support/opposition to setting a precedent supporting tanistry (and whether that means all future heirs could be elected), (5) opposition to any Emperor being imposed again (by rulers happy to be their own sovereigns), and (6) disputes over who would even get to vote (who gets the twelve great duchal seats) under a tanistry system.
This system would not necessarily affect succession in individual realms. Assuming that a lot of things are based losely off of the Holy Roman Empire (which appears to be the historical model), one of the privileges of imperial estates was the ability to set their own rules for succession -- free of imperial interference. That would also explain why the situation in various places (i.e. Osoerde) has never been "submitted" to the Imperial Court for a decision. That was part of the original balance of power set-up between the Emperor and the Great Houses -- a guarantee that the Empire could never get involved in succession issues within a duchy.
04-24-2011, 03:02 PM #2
I always thought the Principality of Avanil was as you say an Imperial Province and the house of Avan was ducal. How they came to be called Prince was most likely some from of title inflation and Machiavellian shrewdness. The house of Avan was never very impressive to me and the least likely to ever become emperor.
Boeruine has always been called an Archduke from all the materials I've read and was exclusively given this title. Therefore I think it was used to distinguish this mighty house from the other Dukes. I borrow the idea from the Austrian Archdukes that they were actually brothers of an Emperor once being of the royal family but not having a direct line to the throne. I was always disappointed how this title was dismissed as an honorary title that could be used by all the houses, because it was the way in for Boeruine to the throne above all the other houses. When the Archduke title is diminished the house of Boeruine is nothing but a commonplace Duke like everyone else, which in turn makes the inflated Avan look more attractive.
With the novel Iron Throne (I think) we were given the story of Michael Roele who married off his sisters to secure his empire. Boeruine as you mentioned has priority since they were wed to the oldest sister. A problem of this argument seems to be more of what a person wishes to allow in their campaign and the novels have always been questionable. I like the idea of using them since they give us a historical insight into the setting and we can use facts from them for argument. However, the problem becomes why isn't Boeruine the emperor and all controversy seems to be diminished.
I never did like the voting system or how imperial courts seemed to play out in pbem games. They just seemed a little off imho. I haven't come up with much to replace them outside of running separate realm courts, which would complicate gameplay.
Mhoried I never gave much thought to prior to me actually playing that realm in a campaign a couple years ago. I fell in love with the realm and came up with the idea that the title Mhor equates to that of Grand Duke or King when considering peerage and rank. As it is commonly used in the materials, so I went with it being used and recognized within the empire as thus. Therefore it gave Mhoried the greatest rank in the empire second only to the emperor. That prestige alone gives this house some weight for the throne. I went so far as to make it known that the emperor saw the Mhora or Mhor as an equal partner and ally not as a subordinate.
Aerenwe could also use this type of title to justify Queen / King of its realm. I think however, they were considered a duchy in the novels. Then again the history of the name Swordwraith could easily be inflated with honors befitting of the house to give it the prestige that rivals Mhoried.
My opinion for candidates for the next emperor are obviously any PC and can pull it off. Never Avanil cause they are too powerful and have too many enemies. Boeruine has a much better chance than Avanil but should be NPC as a strong force to balance against them. Lillian Swordwraith is much too old so perhaps her heir. Michael Roele as a PC is a favorite. Roesone has been mentioned, perhaps as the leader of the southern coalition defending against Diemed's claims, defeating the usurper in Oserde and restoring the Duke, and defending against Ghoere and the Spider. I guess what I am getting at is any Emperor would be least suited well from gaining the Iron Throne through claim alone without heroics and conquests.
As I played Mhoried in that campaign I lost interest in becoming Emperor as a player cause I really had no idea how to run an empire. It seemed kinda boring and me being able to order around all the other players seemed a little far fetched. Perhaps when Anuire goes empire it is time to play an outsider realm and have the empire go NPC. Its one way to handle it anyway.
I always liked the idea of an Avani empire from the Khinasi states that threatened taking over Cerilia as the new up and coming force in the lands. Elinie is already a good foothold in Anuire.One law, One court, One allied people, One coin, and one tax, is what I shall bring to Cerilia.
04-24-2011, 05:29 PM #3
- Join Date
- Oct 2010
Just two comments.
on the 12 duchies, Brosengae and Thaegas was one realm back then wasent it? both part of the duchy Thaegas. While I´m to tired to check it up, im pretty sure its mentioned that the current family ruling Brosengae was really the "dukal family" of Thaegas, and count Khorien´s was the upstarts.
Like Eluve Cariele of Coerany´s family really was the dukal family of Cariele.
On the second post, About Archduke. It wasent a title given only to Boeruine. the duke of the united Alamie, before Tuornen rebelled, was also an Archduke. He gave up his title, swearing his family would not use it until Alamie was whole again.
I seem to recall someone said Diemed was an archduchy aswell, but can´t remember where that came from, so I might just be confused about that.
04-25-2011, 12:43 AM #4
Brosengae and Taeghas were definitely the same duchy originally. I don't think that the Mierelens are the original Dukes of Brosengae/Taeghas either, but they retained the Ducal title, whereas the Count of Taeghas retained much of the land.
Avanil is definitely one of the Twelve Tribes, but that doesn't its land once being Imperial land, awarded to a Avan who married into the Roeles early on.
Ius Hibernicum, in nomine juris. Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum sonatur.
04-29-2011, 09:52 AM #5
Awesome post and the research behind it is huge, very nice work for the literate reader and the thinkable player.
Thanks for adding this here
04-29-2011, 08:14 PM #6
Its been years since I've read the Player Secrets modules and it looks like the twelve houses of the empire were all Archdukes and the title Duke was interchangeable according to PS of Roesone. The title rank was associated with the realm size early on but got lost in the mix through the annals of history, thus we have the current confusion of titles e.g. Ghoere a Baron lord over two duchies. So, my bad on the Boeruine rant, but I still think it weakens this house's claim to the point of pathetic with the one exception of using Michael Roele's oldest sister married to them.
I still don't see the tie-in for Avan becoming a Prince just because he's regent of a principality. If that follows then, Ghoere should be a double Archduke and Dosiere Emperor. The claim of an early on marriage with Avan and Roele may be true but precedence goes to the oldest sister of Michael Roele and her line. After that the next oldest sister down to his youngest in order of age. These lines should be unbroken since I think all the houses married still stand intact to this day. Other than this I think all arguments for any other house are just conjecture, personal preference, and homemade campaign stuff.One law, One court, One allied people, One coin, and one tax, is what I shall bring to Cerilia.
04-30-2011, 11:53 AM #7
Home brew, gamers choice
Home brew is surely the keywords here since Birthright timeline ends at 1524 HC with the major NPCs been inactive you need to have a rather resourcefull GM in order to manipulate the politics in central Anuire and thus have the worlds in continual motion and make his players feel that it is a living breathing worlds and not just NPCs that sit and wait as years pass by with no personal goal. I find the above mentioned reference to be as I told magnificent as a research material but it falls to the hands of every player to manipulate the story line of Anuire and Cerilia all in all." The Empire will fall...."
04-30-2011, 12:05 PM #8
The other thing that needs to be considered is things that can "bar" a line from the throne. Little things like being a "traitor" such as the first daughter of the Roele line in Michael's time (if you use the Iron Throne as an indicator).
The book War has Boeruine's line marrying a knight's daughter instead of a peer's daughter. It dimishes the line a little if you go purely by who's allowed to marry whom. Then it ends with a diplomatic treaty of promising Boeruine's widow's unborn child, if a daughter in marriage to the Avan's.
Also, being a bastard can bar one from the throne in some cultures. They're noble from the aspect of being recognized as a child of a noble, but they are not in the line of succession. William the Conqueror was a little different when he paid a visit to England in 1066.
None of the canon works gives us a full timeline for the major nobles to create an accurate pedigree and line of succession. So, it definitely falls into the realm of how each DM decides what values Dosiere uses to find the next emperor. He holds the seal and the Imperial City until someone stand above the crowd. No doubt the College of Heralds is quite busy keeping everything up to date.
Then there's also the fact that the Land can choose someone over a known peer.
Last edited by Jaleela; 04-30-2011 at 12:09 PM. Reason: added some thoughts.d'estre bons et leaulx amis et vrais ensemble et de servir l'un 'autre envers et contre tous
04-30-2011, 01:30 PM #9
Lineage, heritage, titling
I will make a new thread in order to discuss this I think it falls out of place here, but it is very interesting" The Empire will fall...."
05-01-2011, 11:30 AM #10
I guess a DM can choose to go with a certain type of succession and use that in their campaign. It would seem different types would fit in for different cultures and perhaps variations within each cultural region to the point of each realm having their own. This adding to the confusion already there in contested instances of succession. I like how Nicholas gave the variation of Avan's claim making them in that particular justification the stronger claimant.
This issue does seem to be a weak point in the materials provided and proves a challenge for us players to work out. I myself am weak on this issue only following my personal research and giving the Boeruine line precedence as the evidence I've been able to find leads me to that conclusion.
A point of concern, similar to my concern for creating an emperor in a campaign, is that once this issue is fleshed out what would it do in a game or even to the setting as a whole. With clearer evidences given to the players and valid arguments to present, does it merely make for better player lawyering as PCs? Or does it lead us into following a certain path of play and does it repeat itself more so than the current paths of play we see that tend to be more chaotic in style and argument and less predictable?
My apologies to Nicholas I think my initial posts may have hijacked the thread, therefore I hope I brought it back on track.One law, One court, One allied people, One coin, and one tax, is what I shall bring to Cerilia.
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