We’re wrapping up Royalty and I’ve been thinking more about the Council of Barons. Why did I do that again? What was the point? I was trying to remember if I set it up like the NY mob’s Commission. After all, they replaced the boss of bosses with a council. Effectively a king was replaced. Not only that, but the other bosses have some say in who succeeds the current family heads. Oh and there is the thing about each baron having an heir (an underboss) and a vice roy (the consigliere). Sounds like it might be a direct lead in, huh?
Actually, I remembered where I came up with the idea. It was the NFL. The NFL owners set up the rules, but each is his own owner/king in his own city. But they cannot just sell their teams. They need to get the others to agree. That was the basis for the Council. I know – weird.
I think it comes down to the Iron Law of Oligarchy. (See, a little bit of research can yield some great results in game mastering.) Any way, the Iron Law says that (in my words) all organizations, no matter how democratic they may seem will eventual devolve into oligarchies – that is rule by an elite group of people. Take this as an example – Look at the Congress of the USA. Are there really two parties in Washington each representing their constituents or is there one party, the party of incumbents? Do unions represent their members’ interests or are they out there simply to increase their membership in order to benefit the small number of union officials? No matter what the original intent, in the end it is a small group of people who wind up wielding the power.
Who’s running your kingdoms? Not just the king himself, but the people who run the king. Are the nobles controlling who sees the king? Are the merchants in control of the king’s wealth? Are the generals controlling the king’s safety? Who picks the next king? I know it sounds like the king’s oldest son will, right? Not necessarily. Think about the whole Henry the 8th thing. His successor was a mess, but after him, it was even crazier. The only point is that even in an established line of succession is only as good the power brokers who allow it to run or not run. Besides, the political games can be almost as much fun as the other violent games!