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Re: Of Kings and Queens and other such things [quite long]

Poster: einar@cvn.net (einar)

Elen Prydydd writes

At 11:36 AM 6/17/98 -0400, you wrote:
>Poster: Bob Minowicz <minowicz@nc.na.auspex.com>
>This post is meant to spark a discussion.  It is not meant to start a
>flame war, so please behave like the kind gentles I know you all to be.

Of course!
>I have been wrestling with a problem.  Or rather, what in my eyes is a
>problem.  In yours, it may not be.  And that problem is the method by
>which Atlantia chooses its King and Queen.
<snip>  I felt the need to
>discuss them, so please forgive me for indulging myself in this way.

I was of the opinion that this is precisely what this forum is for.  And I
am responding because this is a problem not only in Atlantia, but
throughout the SCA.  There has to be a better system, and if enough people
say "we want it changed," then perhaps something will be done about it.

>As I see it, the main problem is that to be Sovereign you must fight in
>a tourney, in single heavy combat and win the crown.  This, by its
>nature, completely excludes anyone that is not a heavy fighter.  More
>than that, it excludes anyone that is not an inordinately skilled heavy
>fighter.  That is not to say that others cannot participate in the fun
>of the tourney, but rather that they can never be our Sovereign.

It also excludes people who cannot or should not compete, but had planned
to, because of fighting-related injuries.  There are a number of heavy
fighters I can think of who would make excellent sovereigns but will never
make it under the current system because they do not have the strength and
prowess to win, even though they might be excellent tacticians. 

>In period, 
>the most common way to choose a new king, throughout all of the period to
>which we devote ourselves, in
>almost every geographic region you look, is the 'war of succession.'

*Bingo*!!!  One other type of war that determined kingship was the war of
conquest.  In both cases the ardor of the challenger's adherents helped win
the campaign.  So too did superior tactics and a very healthy dose of luck.

>Here is what I would propose.  Choose several events that occur around
>the Kingdom. Each of these events would become a part of the Wars of
>Succession.  Some can be old events, that have been around for ages.
>Others can be new events.  Not all of them need be Military in nature.
>(Arts and Sciences events could be taken to represent a financial
>advantage due to better trade caused by higher quality goods, etc.)
>Next, assign a value to them (a point system if you will).  Each
>group/faction/household/guild/whatever that wants to compete chooses a
>claimant to the throne.  Alternately, someone that wishes to claim the
>throne builds a group around themselves, or courts a group to take up
>their cause.  Then the 'Wars' begin.  By the end of the reign of the
>current Throne, the 'Wars' come to an end.  The faction with the most
>points wins the war, and the claimant from that faction assumes the
>throne.  If there is  no clear winner then decide with a tourney
>of champions from the leading factions. Perhaps such an event can be
>scheduled regardless of the 'closeness' of the race.
>Outside the events political jockeying and intrigue can occur.  Some
>things would probably have to be limited to happening during events
>though. For example, you can even have events with spies and attempted
>assassinations of claimants. All this could be a lot of fun. And it
>would be a lot more authentic than a simple tourney.

You have obviously thought about this for quite some time before bringing
this to the SCA public.  The political intrigue worries me a bit.  It has
been my experience that SCA politics can get very ugly very quickly... *if*
this is done properly and handled carefully, the ugliness can be minimized
(I am cynical enough to believe that it will never be entirely eliminated,
and idealistic enough to be immensely saddened by that belief), and more
disparate groups will be drawn together, rather than driven poles apart.

One benefit I can see to your system:  in order for claimants to attract
adherents, they will have to become more accessible to the general
populace.  Therefore, those who have what is popularly known as the common
touch will have a distinct advantage.  Efen, for instance, could become
king by popular acclaim under this system! ;->

Now, the spies and assassinations part could be a riot! :->

>There are also some advantages to this that may not be obvious at
>first.  If the events are chosen carefully, and spread throughout the
>Kingdom, then it will encourage groups to travel, promote exchange between
areas that may
>never meet otherwise.  If timed properly, it could work well with the
>the cycle that seems to revolve around the Pensic war.  I'm sure that
>you can think of other good things that could come from such a change.

One thing's certain, the Pennsic parties could become *really* interesting,
as each claimant's household encampment tries to out-do the others' parties...

>There is a down side though.  I am worried about the determination of the
scoring process
>becoming too political though.  That is where things get tricky.  I'd be
>worried that people would claim that one event or another was valued
>incorrectly, or that such and such an event favors such and such a
>faction. Or worse, there could be suggestions that marshals or judges
>were being unfair due to their own political affiliations.

Then, my good man, the rules must be made ironclad with no flexibility for
adjustment by the judges and marshals.  Furthermore, the teams of judges
and marshals would have to be made up of people from varying different
factions.  Say, one judge or marshal from each.  You will also have to be
very careful about the composition of the panels from the standpoint that
many of the various households around the kingdom are affiliated, springing
from a common, original household.  The panels would almost have to be
comprised of an odd number, with at least one person being totally neutral,
having no stake in the "war" at all.

I think you've got a really great idea here, and a workable one.  Now,
whether the kingdom politics will allow this idea to live and flourish will
be a different matter... it will be interesting to watch and see how this
discussion develops.  BTW, you've just earned my "Best Heresy of the Year"
award!  ;->

Elen Prydydd

no gas cans allowed

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