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Old 05-16-2021, 05:45 PM   #1
Sam Baughn
 
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Default [Banestorm] Why is the Cardien Council of Lords full of barons and vicounts?

I've been reading up on southern Ytarria for a campaign set in Tredoy, which I've never really gamed in before. I noticed something strange in the description of the Council of Lords, it says they are 'the seven greatest Cardien nobles' and lists them as:
  • Prince Anthemius Crivelli (Duke of Hadaton)
  • Baron Saywell of Alimar
  • Count Faramon of Alimar
  • Baron Caius of Minder
  • Baron Vincent of Calder
  • Viscount Guillaume of Tredroy
  • Baron Amalric of Ten-Tiri
That's four barons, one viscount, one count, and two dukes.
In a kingdom of several million people, I'd expect there to be something like (order of magnitude):
  • Ten thousand barons
  • One thousand viscounts
  • One hundred counts or earls
  • Ten dukes
So either there is a weird shortage of high-ranking nobles, Cardiens titles don't follow the same progression as Megalan (or European) ones, or Cardiel's titles no longer bear much relation to the bearer's actual power.
In GURPS Fantasy: Tredoy, it specifically notes that viscount Guillaume and the baron of Dorilis resent being vassals of baron Bowvrey because of his low title, which kind of suggests that there is still a pretty firm feudal pecking order and barons aren't high on it.
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Old 05-16-2021, 05:55 PM   #2
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Default Re: [Banestorm] Why is the Cardien Council of Lords full of barons and vicounts?

More than any other society in known Yrth, money talks in Cardiel.
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Old 05-16-2021, 06:47 PM   #3
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Default Re: [Banestorm] Why is the Cardien Council of Lords full of barons and vicounts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Baughn View Post
In a kingdom of several million people, I'd expect there to be something like (order of magnitude):
  • Ten thousand barons
  • One thousand viscounts
  • One hundred counts or earls
  • Ten dukes
Why those figures?

The real-world UK currently has 30 dukedoms and 66 million people, or 1 in 2 million. A kingdom of several million would have only a couple. Googling as about fast as I can type, so not thorough research or analysis:
  • 426 barons (1:155K)
  • 115 viscounts (1:573K)
  • 191 earls (1:345K)
  • 30 dukes (1:2200K)
Of course, the modern nobility isn't exactly functional, so there's no real reason for those particular proportions other than history and money. It's not like it's an actual management hierarchy with a 1:10 fanout ratio. And communication tech is better (if we ignore magic, anyway). But you don't really need that many minor nobles.

(Don't forget a lot of the smaller titles are held directly by higher ones. Not every barony has its own unique baron, and there's not always a different human at each level of the hierarchy.)
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Old 05-16-2021, 07:22 PM   #4
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Default Re: [Banestorm] Why is the Cardien Council of Lords full of barons and vicounts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Baughn View Post
In a kingdom of several million people, I'd expect there to be something like (order of magnitude):
  • Ten thousand barons
  • One thousand viscounts
  • One hundred counts or earls
  • Ten dukes
That's too many. By a factor of 10 or more. More than 1% of the population being titled or members of their immediate family? No way.
Admittedly the most familiar aristocracy to most of us, England, is unusually small and restricts it's titles a lot, but even a broad caste is not likely to exceed 5% of the population, and only a few percent of those will have an actual title. With a few million people, you might have a few thousand titles, assuming the system is fairly generous about diffusing them among multiple kinsmen, but you are going to need more than a hundred subordinates to rate the title "baron".
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Old 05-16-2021, 08:09 PM   #5
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Default Re: [Banestorm] Why is the Cardien Council of Lords full of barons and vicounts?

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Originally Posted by malloyd View Post
That's too many. By a factor of 10 or more. More than 1% of the population being titled or members of their immediate family? No way.
Admittedly the most familiar aristocracy to most of us, England, is unusually small and restricts it's titles a lot, but even a broad caste is not likely to exceed 5% of the population, and only a few percent of those will have an actual title. With a few million people, you might have a few thousand titles, assuming the system is fairly generous about diffusing them among multiple kinsmen, but you are going to need more than a hundred subordinates to rate the title "baron".
True, but he is at least right that the large number of barons is odd, and even having two viscounts on the council is unexpected (if they're rich enough to be on the council, they're rich enough to bribe their way into higher titles - as Gold & Appel Inc says, money talks, but in that sort of culture, it should be saying 'give me a better title').

Let's say that there are about two or three dukes in Cardiel, apparently no marquesses or equivalent (does the title exist on Yrth? I'm not seeing it in GURPS Banestorm, though I could have missed it), about a dozen or so counts, a few dozen to a hundred viscounts, around five hundred to a thousand barons, and a larger number of knights and other wealthy gentry and commons. That still means that most of the lords on the Cardien Council should be counts, not barons.
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Old 05-16-2021, 09:01 PM   #6
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: [Banestorm] Why is the Cardien Council of Lords full of barons and vicounts?

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Originally Posted by Prince Charon View Post
T That still means that most of the lords on the Cardien Council should be counts, not barons.
Had a new king created this "kingdom" de novo trading titles and land for political and military support and then everything grown from there it might be as you say.

Instead, even starting over from the conquest of "Al-Kard" this was a province of Megalos and its' oldest nobles started with Megalan titles. Then came the split from Megalos and there's no King or Emperor of Cardiel to hand out new titles. There's only the rebel nobles who kept the titles they had and increased their own importance by shrinking the size of the pond they were swimming in.

Then n the centuries that have followed, power in Cardiel has not followed a "traditional" feudal model if there ever was such a thing.

So if Cardiel does not folow a "standard" feudal model no one should be surprised.
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Old 05-16-2021, 09:09 PM   #7
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Default Re: [Banestorm] Why is the Cardien Council of Lords full of barons and vicounts?

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Originally Posted by Prince Charon View Post
apparently no marquesses or equivalent (does the title exist on Yrth? I'm not seeing it in GURPS Banestorm, though I could have missed it)
Marquesses are mentioned once, on page 46, ruling border/unstable regions.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prince Charon View Post
That still means that most of the lords on the Cardien Council should be counts, not barons.
Random thought; Cardiel was conquered and settled starting circa 1470. Cardiel rebelled circa 1789. I think it's entirely plausible that no one is changing the levels of titles around and so none of the titles correspond to the relative powers of their fief. There may very well be a Duke Ricardo of the Lake floating about, but he could be politically irrelevant. I also think it's plausible that the Council of Lords is itself elected by the nobles.
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Old 05-16-2021, 09:50 PM   #8
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Default Re: [Banestorm] Why is the Cardien Council of Lords full of barons and vicounts?

I agree that the number in the OP are way too high.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prince Charon View Post
...if they're rich enough to be on the council, they're rich enough to bribe their way into higher titles - as Gold & Appel Inc says, money talks, but in that sort of culture, it should be saying 'give me a better title').
A possibility is that the titles are "set in stone", unlikely or unable to be "upgraded".
In such a system, a minor noble created baron of X would have his descendant several generation later still be Baron of X, even if they now own a third of the country and are the King most trusted advisor.
And the reverse for the much respected but powerless Duke of Y, whose ruined family now only own a small manor house.

***

Another possibility, pride in the ancestry.
As a Rohan once said :
"Roi ne puis, duc ne daigne, Rohan suis "
"King I cannot, Duke i wont deign, I am Rohan"
Although to be honest ... her son did accept the duke title :)

In this case, you would have nobles that prefer the old and respected family title of baron/viscount rather than a newly created Duke with little history or respect.

***

And yet another explanation, which iirc doesn't really fit Cardien but would make sense in some other places : there are only a few noble lines left, with many titles concentrated on one person.
So, the patriarch carry the family Duke title, and his sons, grand-sons, brothers, nephews, .. split the dozens minor family title between them.
If the old duke is really long-lived, you could have several younger family members on the council.
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Old 05-16-2021, 10:34 PM   #9
Rupert
 
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Default Re: [Banestorm] Why is the Cardien Council of Lords full of barons and vicounts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Baughn View Post
So either there is a weird shortage of high-ranking nobles, Cardiens titles don't follow the same progression as Megalan (or European) ones, or Cardiel's titles no longer bear much relation to the bearer's actual power.
In GURPS Fantasy: Tredoy, it specifically notes that viscount Guillaume and the baron of Dorilis resent being vassals of baron Bowvrey because of his low title, which kind of suggests that there is still a pretty firm feudal pecking order and barons aren't high on it.
I would say they have little to no reflection of actual power. As for the resentment, I think it shows that some nobles think that there should be a clear ranking (and I'd bet they're the ones with little power and 'high' titles), not that there is such a structure.

Note that higher noble ranks only being more important in terms of precedence wasn't exactly uncommon in post-medieval Europe, and it used to cause problems when rulers wanted to appoint talented but low-ranking nobles to position of authority. Presumably Cardiel's solution is simply to ignore noble ranking, as opposed to the European solution of giving the low-ranking noble a higher title (with or without fief or income to go with it, depending).
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Old 05-16-2021, 10:50 PM   #10
David Johnston2
 
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Default Re: [Banestorm] Why is the Cardien Council of Lords full of barons and vicounts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Baughn View Post
I've been reading up on southern Ytarria for a campaign set in Tredoy, which I've never really gamed in before. I noticed something strange in the description of the Council of Lords, it says they are 'the seven greatest Cardien nobles' and lists them as:
  • Prince Anthemius Crivelli (Duke of Hadaton)
  • Baron Saywell of Alimar
  • Count Faramon of Alimar
  • Baron Caius of Minder
  • Baron Vincent of Calder
  • Viscount Guillaume of Tredroy
  • Baron Amalric of Ten-Tiri
That's four barons, one viscount, one count, and two dukes.
In a kingdom of several million people, I'd expect there to be something like (order of magnitude):
  • Ten thousand barons
  • One thousand viscounts
  • One hundred counts or earls
  • Ten dukes
So either there is a weird shortage of high-ranking nobles,
Your scaling is off. First of all, it's a country not an army. No real life feudal government is that tightly administered. Secondly it's a breakaway province of Megalos and before it broke away it was way the hell out in the sticks as far as Megalos was concerned. It was the equivalent of Transylvania in the 18th century, a frontier province carved out of land conquered from their Islamic neighbours. And under Austrian rule the highest ranking noble in Transylvania was a count. That's why Stoker gave his Dracula that rank.

Then there's the issue of the rungs on the ladder you left out. In Megalosian nobel ranks a greater baron has the same social status as a viscount. Below the greater barons and viscounts come the lesser barons and the landed knights. And below them are the governors and mayors like the one attached to the Cardie part of Tredroy. It is safe to assume that the members of the council are all greater barons operating with the same social status as the viscounts.
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