Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > Roleplaying in General

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 02-24-2018, 06:03 PM   #1
mlangsdorf
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Austin, TX
Default Restoring Edmund Mortimer/Planning a Coup

I'm making some plans for putting the PCs in the aftermath of succession crisis similar to the one that put Henry IV on the throne of England: the previous king's heir presumptive was bypassed using legally shaky arguments. The PCs want the kingdom to do some stuff, and the heir presumptive is much likelier to agree to do what they want than the current semi-legitimate king.

I want to have some ideas for the possible intrigue, and I'm trying to figure out ways that the PCs can achieve their goals. Here's the approaches I've thought of, but I appeal to the forums for other ideas:

* Convince (or mind control) the current king to do what the PCs want without replacing him.
* Appeal to the parliament equivalent and convince them that current king is illegitimate, and then have the king replaced by the presumptive heir. (This may lead to a civil war, but with the backing of parliament, the heir's forces as much stronger than in the alternate civil war scenario below.)
* Assassinate the current king, then make sure the presumptive heir gets crowned.
* Appeal to a foreign power and use their armies to invade and conquer the country.
* Launch a rebellion using the presumptive heir's forces, reinforced by the PCs, and fight a civil war.

I've got some notes to cover these approaches, and I think these are all the traditional approaches to replacing a king, but I could be missing something. Anyone got any other suggestions on what the PCs could?

FWIW, this is a fantasy game and the PCs have access to lots of magic and a sizeable army. I don't want to bog down too much into the details of the tactics, just focus on the general ways that the PCs could solve the problem.
__________________
Read my GURPS blog: http://noschoolgrognard.blogspot.com
mlangsdorf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-24-2018, 06:24 PM   #2
ericthered
Hero of Democracy
 
ericthered's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: far from the ocean
Default Re: Restoring Edmund Mortimer/Planning a Coup

You have yet to mention a proper coup. This involves quickly but fairly publicly eliminating the king's supporting apparatus before moving on him. Usually you have a few of them who support you, and you use your men to arrest/detain the others. The intent is to deprive an uprising against your new king of possible leadership, or of a real claim to continuity.

Parliament throws a kink into this, but that of course depends on the amount of power parliament holds. I don't think you really need them all on your side in the 1400's in any way other than generally needing the support of the nobles. If you have a legislature with a little more power (1500's on) it might matter. Your earlier list makes me suggest it might be the case that Parliament has the right to legitimize kings.
__________________
Worlds Beyond Earth -- my blog
ericthered is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-24-2018, 07:08 PM   #3
mlangsdorf
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Austin, TX
Default Re: Restoring Edmund Mortimer/Planning a Coup

Actual coup. Definitely hadn't thought of it, but it's clearly distinct from assassination or a civil war.

The parliament doesn't entirely legitimize the king, but for purposes of this discussion they represent the factions who have to directly consent to the king's governance. If they say "we made an error, that other guy is king", the current semi-legitimate king is going to have difficulties governing.

I think the closest historical situation might be the Glorious Revolution: William of Orange was in the process of invading, but James II effectively abdicated the throne when it was clear that he no longer had the support of the Protestants in the army and in Parliament. There wasn't a coup or assassination and James II didn't lose in a civil war or foreign invasion. He just left when it became clear that he didn't have sufficient support to enforce his own will any longer. (Okay, he came back later in Ireland but that's beside the point.)
__________________
Read my GURPS blog: http://noschoolgrognard.blogspot.com
mlangsdorf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-24-2018, 10:56 PM   #4
Johnny1A.2
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Default Re: Restoring Edmund Mortimer/Planning a Coup

If you've got a woman (or guy if that's what the situation calls for) who fits the bill available, there's always marriage politics. The new king is going to be worried about establishing legitimacy, the old dynasty and its retainers want back in power (presumably). One traditional way to resolve such situations is for the usurper or his heir to marry an heir of the former dynasty, thus uniting the bloodlines.

If your PCs could arrange that, they could offer that legitimizing option to the reigning king in exchange for 'x'.
__________________
HMS Overflow-For conversations off topic here.
Johnny1A.2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2018, 06:44 AM   #5
ericthered
Hero of Democracy
 
ericthered's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: far from the ocean
Default Re: Restoring Edmund Mortimer/Planning a Coup

Another thought is that the king doesn't always get involved in the day to day running of a kingdom. He has ministers for that. You may be able to get away with getting rid of the favorite courtier or the minister actually behind the policy without getting rid of the king himself.
__________________
Worlds Beyond Earth -- my blog
ericthered is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2018, 01:05 PM   #6
Curmudgeon
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Default Re: Restoring Edmund Mortimer/Planning a Coup

Quote:
Originally Posted by mlangsdorf
I'm making some plans for putting the PCs in the aftermath of succession crisis similar to the one that put Henry IV on the throne of England: the previous king's heir presumptive was bypassed using legally shaky arguments. The PCs want the kingdom to do some stuff, and the heir presumptive is much likelier to agree to do what they want than the current semi-legitimate king.

I want to have some ideas for the possible intrigue, and I'm trying to figure out ways that the PCs can achieve their goals. Here's the approaches I've thought of, but I appeal to the forums for other ideas:

* Convince (or mind control) the current king to do what the PCs want without replacing him.
* Appeal to the parliament equivalent and convince them that current king is illegitimate, and then have the king replaced by the presumptive heir. (This may lead to a civil war, but with the backing of parliament, the heir's forces as much stronger than in the alternate civil war scenario below.)
* Assassinate the current king, then make sure the presumptive heir gets crowned.
* Appeal to a foreign power and use their armies to invade and conquer the country.
* Launch a rebellion using the presumptive heir's forces, reinforced by the PCs, and fight a civil war.

I've got some notes to cover these approaches, and I think these are all the traditional approaches to replacing a king, but I could be missing something. Anyone got any other suggestions on what the PCs could?

FWIW, this is a fantasy game and the PCs have access to lots of magic and a sizeable army. I don't want to bog down too much into the details of the tactics, just focus on the general ways that the PCs could solve the problem.

Iím a bit dubious about some of your proposals but itís your game and you know the background better. First, my take on some of your proposals, then some new ideas.

1. Convince (or mind control) the king. Convincing the king implies that the PCs already have an advisory role to the king. If they donít, forget it. They could petition or ask a boon of the king regarding what they want. If the king is aware of being mind controlled, the PCs need to keep it up indefinitely or the king will a) reverse his decision and b) come after the PCs as soon as the mind control drops. Additionally, they may need to mind control the next heir to the throne if their boon is given as a gift rather than a grant, i.e., it is only for the life of the current PCs and the current king. If magic is available, they might be better advised to put a doppleganger or a simulacrum of the king on the throne. A homunculus of the king might be useful.

2. Appealing to parliament only works if a) there is a parliament and b) it is established as the supreme authority. Anything less than a doctrine of supremacy of parliament renders that appeal somewhere between mildly helpful and moot point.

3. The PCs need to be absolutely certain that the kingís assassination canít be traced back to them. Even if the heir presumptive is crowned, heís likely to have regicides put to death as a danger to his own rule.

4. Appealing to a foreign power or launching a rebellion are acts of treason. The PCs need to be successful. If they arenít they need to put a vast distance between themselves and the king. They are unlikely to get the use of the heir presumptiveís forces since it would make him a part of their treason.

First, a note about heirs presumptive. There are two types of heirs, apparent and presumptive. An heir apparent will without question inherit unless he predeceases the king, in which case his heir apparent (if any) becomes heir apparent to the throne. This is usually the case for the throne passing to the eldest son or the eldest sonís eldest son.

An heir presumptive is only presumably the heir, but events can occur that effectively take the heir presumptive out of consideration. For example, the daughters of a sonless king are heirs presumptive to the king (assuming females can inherit at all) because their father might yet have a son, who would then replace them as primary heir. Likewise, the next older brother of a childless king is only the heir presumptive because the king might yet have a child who would displace him as heir. As a sidenote, even if female heirs presumptive are possible, they may create more problems than they solve. Female heirs presumptive are normally co-heiresses. I.E., they inherit equally. While royalty usually applies the rules of primogeniture, it doesnít have to be the case. Among the nobility, a title goes dormant while there are co-heiresses, reviving when there is only one surviving line. If the king has an heir apparent rather than an heir presumptive, you are borked.

The PCs might consider proposing a regency by the heir presumptive for the king. The best argument would ostensibly be to provide the heir presumptive with actual experience ruling while the king is available to provide guidance. It would also relieve the king of the burdens of actually ruling.

One thing for the PCs to be wary of is getting the king to abdicate, if they are looking to put a friendly heir apparent on the throne. Abdication doesnít just remove the king from the throne, it also removes his lineage from the throne. For example, if Queen Elizabeth II were to abdicate the throne tomorrow; Prince Richard, Duke of Glouchester, would be king and his son, Alexander Windsor, Earl of Ulster would be heir apparent to the throne.

Kings are normally priests. (The taking of Holy Orders which makes one a priest is part of the Coronation ceremony.) Getting the king excommunicated might help. More generally, getting the kingdom placed under interdict might bring the king down and deposing the king almost certainly would.

Other possibilities include arranging for a very public failure of the Kingís Touch (healing) or a failure in the fertility of the land, either of which might indicate either a withdrawal, or the absence, of the Mandate of Heaven.
Curmudgeon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2018, 02:28 PM   #7
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default Re: Restoring Edmund Mortimer/Planning a Coup

Quote:
Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
One thing for the PCs to be wary of is getting the king to abdicate, if they are looking to put a friendly heir apparent on the throne. Abdication doesnít just remove the king from the throne, it also removes his lineage from the throne. For example, if Queen Elizabeth II were to abdicate the throne tomorrow; Prince Richard, Duke of Glouchester, would be king and his son, Alexander Windsor, Earl of Ulster would be heir apparent to the throne.
That definitely depends on the precise rules being followed.

You seem to be following the precedent of the abdication of Edward VIII, where it was specified in his act of abdication that none of his offspring would have any claim.

However, Queens Wilhelmina (1948), Juliana (1980) and Beatrix (2013) of the Netherlands have all abdicated in favour of their eldest children.

The discussions of Elizabeth II abdicating in favour of Charles (spoiler: she won't) would seem to indicate that abdicating while leaving your descendants eligible for the throne is possible under British law.
johndallman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2018, 05:18 PM   #8
mlangsdorf
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Austin, TX
Default Re: Restoring Edmund Mortimer/Planning a Coup

Quote:
Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
1. Convince (or mind control) the king. Convincing the king implies that the PCs already have an advisory role to the king.
They're diplomatic envoys of a foreign power; they may be able to get an audience with the king and then cut a deal. It's probably not as good a deal as they could get from the heir-presumptive if the heir was king, but it's something they could do.

Quote:
2. Appealing to parliament only works if a) there is a parliament and b) it is established as the supreme authority.
The English Parliament wasn't the supreme authority over James II, but when they invited William of Orange into the country and reinforced his army, James II abdicated.

Quote:
3. The PCs need to be absolutely certain that the kingís assassination canít be traced back to them.
There are downsides and risks to every approach the PCs can take.

Quote:
4. Appealing to a foreign power or launching a rebellion are acts of treason. The PCs need to be successful.
Technically not treason, as the PCs aren't subjects of this kingdom, but losing wars is generally bad.

Quote:
The PCs might consider proposing a regency by the heir presumptive for the king. The best argument would ostensibly be to provide the heir presumptive with actual experience ruling while the king is available to provide guidance.
Remember, the king in this instance is equivalent to Henry IV: a usurper who cut his nephew out of the line of succession and then convinced the aristocrats to support his rule. He wants to rule, and he's not going to turn over power to his nephew because he could have been the regent if he wanted, and he didn't want to do that.

Quote:
One thing for the PCs to be wary of is getting the king to abdicate, if they are looking to put a friendly heir apparent on the throne. Abdication doesnít just remove the king from the throne, it also removes his lineage from the throne.
So that's not necessarily true, and not a problem for the PCs anyway. The heir presumptive is the heir of the previous king, not the current king, and is a different lineage. In your example, he's Alex Windsor if Elizabeth had jumped line over Richard instead of inheriting in preference to Richard.

Quote:
Kings are normally priests. (The taking of Holy Orders which makes one a priest is part of the Coronation ceremony.) Getting the king excommunicated might help.
There are reasons why this may not be easy, but it's something to think about it.

Quote:
Other possibilities include arranging for a very public failure of the Kingís Touch (healing) or a failure in the fertility of the land, either of which might indicate either a withdrawal, or the absence, of the Mandate of Heaven.
I think that's a variant of appeal to Parliament/the aristocracy: convince the peers of the realm that the current King isn't King, and it works out that the King is not longer King.
__________________
Read my GURPS blog: http://noschoolgrognard.blogspot.com
mlangsdorf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2018, 03:11 AM   #9
The Colonel
 
The Colonel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Default Re: Restoring Edmund Mortimer/Planning a Coup

Quote:
Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
<snip>
4. Appealing to a foreign power or launching a rebellion are acts of treason. The PCs need to be successful. If they arenít they need to put a vast distance between themselves and the king. They are unlikely to get the use of the heir presumptiveís forces since it would make him a part of their treason.

<snip>

Kings are normally priests. (The taking of Holy Orders which makes one a priest is part of the Coronation ceremony.) Getting the king excommunicated might help. More generally, getting the kingdom placed under interdict might bring the king down and deposing the king almost certainly would.

Other possibilities include arranging for a very public failure of the Kingís Touch (healing) or a failure in the fertility of the land, either of which might indicate either a withdrawal, or the absence, of the Mandate of Heaven.
Which reminds me ... in medieval England, there is one foreign power that it is not treasonous to approach and who might have some influence - the Pope (although in 1399 you had a choice of three - Boniface IX, Benedict XIII and Alexander V) ... a Papal Bull might be of significant use in gaining an air of legitimacy (and Benedict XIII was a client of the King of France who could probably be persuaded to meddle in English politics).
The Colonel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2018, 09:00 AM   #10
mlangsdorf
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Austin, TX
Default Re: Restoring Edmund Mortimer/Planning a Coup

This is a fantasy game set in a fantasy world, not a fantasy game set in medieval England. The situation is similar to the succession of Henry IV from Richard II, and the PCs have reasons to prefer that the Edmund de Mortimer analogue be on the throne rather than the Henry IV analogue that is currently on the throne. However, the game is not set on Earth and appealing to the Pope in Rome or the King of France is not an option.

Recapping possible solutions, and throwing out another request for ideas for other ways that people might handle this if they were PCs:
* Cut a deal: Get an audience with the current king, and cut a deal with him so he does what you want. It's probably not as good a deal as you could get from the other guy, but it won't backfire spectacularly.
* Persuasive Abdication: Get an audience with the current king, and convince him to resign. I'm not even sure how the PCs would do this.
* Delegitimize the current king: get religious authorities to sanction him, demonstrate he has lost the mandate of heaven, convince the aristocrats the law the king used to remove the previous heir presumptive from the succession was invalid. All of these are difficult approaches, and have the problem that the current King may still have enough support from the military and tax collectors to ignore being delegitimatized. Even if mostly successful, this may lead to a civil war.
* Coup de main: Arrest the current king and his supporters, put the preferred person in place. May lead to a civil war, either because the arrests failed and enough supporters escape to rally loyal forces elsewhere, or because the coup is not seen as legitimate and there's a general rebellion.
* Assassination: Kill the current king and his immediate descendants. Might cause trouble with the new king; might fail and cause a civil war.
* Outside invasion: Since one of the PCs' goals is to borrow the kingdom's army to fight a different enemy of theirs, killing a portion of the army to subdue the rest is not as good as acquiring them peacefully.
* Civil war: This is probably not a plan, because it's the same as an outside invasion only without using the PCs' known, reliable troops. However, it is an outcome of other plans that go wrong.

I think I can prepare for any of these, but I'd like to have at least some notes ready for any approach the PCs take.
__________________
Read my GURPS blog: http://noschoolgrognard.blogspot.com
mlangsdorf is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:17 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.