FAQs About Aravier
What rights will citizens have?
Only a few. For the most part citizens will actually have privileges and not rights. I use this language because inalienable rights in theory cannot ever be stripped away, whereas privileges can.
For rights, I foresee:
- The right to inherit in-line with absolute primogeniture;
- The right to stand trial under the justice system of the Kingdom; and
- The right to travel between settlements, Baronies, Counties, and Duchies within the Kingdom, without the need to pay a toll.
I see common citizens of the Kingdom in good standing, having the following privileges (likely to be expanded quite a bit with further discussions):
- Owning land and property;
- Felling any beast (but not man) or plant, and mining any ore on land they own;
- Entering into lawful contracts;
- Carriage of personal weapons;
- Entering into by agreement, a duel under the auspices of the Justice system; and
- Marrying into at least noble families of Baronial-level;
What authority, if any, do the commoners have other than that of being subjects?
This is going to be interesting to balance, and at the beginning I foresee the Kingdom defaulting to the more standard feudal hierarchy. This is natural as any organisation is going to become more hierarchical and directive to its members the less uncertain it is of its environment. As people begin to be able to predict the future better, they tend to naturally gravitate to giving more freedom of decision-making and using less direct control and micromanagement.
In our context here, the Counts and Dukes will likely be focusing on establishing their equilibrium with their people. Food, shelter, routine income etc. As they have surety of those, they will likely be happier to give their people more time and leeway to pursue other interests and personal endeavors and non-critical businesses. This is the top-down approach to prioritising.
Importantly, I have proposed in my campaign to have a person in the High Council (the Lord Advocate) who is a directly elected representative of all citizens of the Kingdom; this person need not be a noble. This allows for everyone in the community to have a say in the composition of the High Council, and have someone who represents their interests in the highest decision-making body for the Kingdom. I feel this is important because we’re all players in the community, and while the feudal system is core to the game, I’m also aware that simply having enough money to pledge to big packages does not necessarily make one a capable and worthy leader.
My proposal also includes allowing commoners to become Judges, but will need to be nominated by their respective Duke, and confirmed by the Lord Justicar.
There is no intent from a federal perspective to ban towns using democratically elected councils, hereditary mayors, or even the mayor being selected each year by the winner of a battle-royale. I will leave that kind of thing entirely up to the Duchies to regulate through local law if they so desired, and if people didn’t like those particular laws within a given Duchy, then they could vote with their feet and move to another one with more palatable laws.
Will people be able to hunt in the wildlands owned by the nobles?
The privilege I outlined above would mean that people have the ability to utilise any of the resources on land they own. I nominated that privilege due to resentment in history of monarchs decreeing certain animals or resources could not be hunted or harvested, even on land which you owned.
Just because people are afforded the privilege of hunting and harvesting resources on their own land as a surety, does not mean that they are automatically forbidden from doing so on land owned by someone else.
Beyond whats already in someone’s land, I view hunting and resource access to be a localised matter for the Duchy and/or County to manage. The complexities of the environmental and contextual considerations are too detailed for any kind of Kingdom-wide ruling. If the Duke/Count/Baron or even Mayor want to allow for free-range hunting across all land, or certain lands, then that would be up to them to determine.
Would you support a State religion and enforce that?
I have envisaged a place in the High Council for someone of “the cloth”. Whether that means a state religion that is enforced, or one of many religions, is going to be entirely up to the in-game political realms to determine.
I do not see my place as the King of a newly forming Kingdom to impose that across the playerbase from the onset. Rather, I see it as an opportunity to open that aspect of gameplay up to the players within the Kingdom to influence through their own machinations and/or charisma.
If a given religion can build and then wield such influence to convince the Conclave of Lords to make it a state religion, then it would likely become one. Whether a religion manages to become an official religion whilst religious freedom is permitted, or whether it is somehow reached the status of being roleplayed as the one and only religion, is entirely in the ballpark of players like you to convince the King.
Can a Duke introduce religious laws, for example, outlawing certain religions from building shrines or tax exemptions?
In my proposal, Duchies would be permitted to have the freedom to ban shrines to certain religions, and to promote a certain religion through Local Laws. But in doing that, they must obey and respect all Federal Laws that are in effect throughout the Kingdom, as that is the locus of uniting the Kingdom through common law and stable expectations for people travelling through and living in the Kingdom.
As for tax exemptions, in my campaign I previously have outlined that Duchies would have no authority to make Local Laws regarding taxes and levies, which includes granting tax-exempt status to any individuals, groups, or organisations.
There will be no automatic free-rides based on RL history. 😉
If a tax exemption were to be given, it would need to come from the King, and to achieve that it would need to represent a significant component of the Kingdom’s well-being, and would need to offer the Kingdom a greater benefit so as to overcome competing political interests in the Conclave of Lords, and for them to allow such an exemption to be granted without challenge.
What kind of freedom could I expect under you as a highly religious Duchy?
My overall approach towards the Duchies is that they represent a series of domains within the Kingdom that possess some differences in tone, culture, emphasis, and the local way of life. I view these different styles of play, approach to roleplaying, and focuses a providing a greater diversity for the Kingdom and its players, and I don’t see it as a negative in and of itself.
Duchies with cool little RP quirks can become a tourist destination, and present a richness to the game that you wouldn’t get from a completely monolithic approach to a Kingdom where all things must be the same.
I know myself and many other players will just go explore things we’ve heard about, and think might be cool to go see.
So with me as King there is going to be that understanding of the benefit of a polyglot, and if you wanted to take a pious approach within the Duchy then that’s fine, so long as it does not become a problem for the broader kingdom. Where one Duchy’s approach begins the negatively affect another Duchy, or threaten the Kingdoms interests, then it becomes a problem for the King to step in and resolve.
The Dukes and Counts don’t have a say in who their heir will be?
The intent behind the absolute primogeniture law is to set the default position of how inheritance happens, and covers nobles and commoners alike. If there is a legitimate contract in place which determines someone else to inherit, then that would be considered relevant.
In the case of succession of a noble title outside of the default absolute primogeniture law, it is expected that this would be subject to confirmation by either the Monarch or the Conclave of Lords (not sure which yet, but likely to be teased out by the nobles).
Am I a roleplayer, and is the Kingdom going to be roleplay focused?
I most definitely am at heart, and I have been playing roleplaying games since my cousin introduced me to AD&D 2nd Edition. My first foray into internet gaming on a dial-up modem was to join forum-based roleplay groups, so my background and foundation is to create and participate in fun stories.
I would hope to see, and encourage many forms of roleplay to exist within the Kingdom, but I would not require it or demand it.
I’m not the kind of person who would carry on all my conversations in-game, in-character, but I also see opportunities for roleplay outside of just the engine itself as well. Websites, forums, stories written to the side such as official histories etc. It all adds depth and a sense of completeness to the environment, but I recognise it’s not something that is absolutely vital for the Kingdom to actually function.
The way in which a Kingdom is managed, and coordinated, can provide many opportunities for roleplay, and in my experience it is very important for the leader in a roleplay environment with a large group, to set up a framework of an environment that people can roleplay within if they choose. Through the structure of government, the laws, the history, the culture amongst the players, the minutia of website design, etc, we can create an environment that encourages people to roleplay and provides them a place to do it, but by the same token is not an impediment or chore for people who don’t want to, or don’t have the time for the depth of roleplay available.
Could clarify the basic premise of your rulership? Is it centralized power or federated states with autonomy, or something else?
The concept is that the Monarch reserves absolute authority, but in practice should only be using that authority in the broad interests of the Kingdom itself. I don’t necessarily see the idea of an absolute monarchy to be in direct competition with federalism; in fact we see several examples of it throughout history with the concept of Viceroys, governors, and other authorities given plenipotentiary powers by a Monarch.
I think this approach is going to be particularly important for the Free Kingdom because at the start it will be such a patchwork of interests, perspectives, and there won’t be that foundation of homogeneity that other Kingdoms may be able to enjoy at the beginning.
It’s going to be tough, because it’s also not just about the Dukes, but also all the players within the Kingdom. If only the Dukes are brought along (which seems to be most people’s focus) then there’s no underlying population to support the growth and development of the Kingdom, or to defend it against an invading army.
I think an unfortunate byproduct of the nature of this game still being in development, is the only thing to keep people engaged and busy is the politicking aspect. Maybe some elements of the community have focused a little too much on the nobility, and over-inflated its power in the grand scheme of things. Being a Count or a Duke is in theory a powerful position, but at the end of the day, people will vote with their feet and their in-game time. An unpopular noble could find themselves a Duke with only 5 committed and active players in their lands; a duchy doomed to failure.
At the heart of all of this, we are talking about establishing a government and its institutional structures under a social contract to ensure safety, security, and prosperity for all, and this is not a simple matter for a monarch. The Monarch’s frame of mind needs to account for the fact that this is people’s free-time and enjoyment, and people aren’t going to be bound to you like they are to real-world governments.
To that end, you need to balance the freedom and flexibility of a federation to allow players to play things in their own way, and to work towards their own goals, while also holding the supreme authority to force things for the greater good of the Kingdom.
My aims in this regard are to firstly set up a federal framework which sets up the scope of authority, powers, and responsibilities that the Dukes have towards the Kingdom, and the confines by which they must operate within. This then sets up clear expectations for everyone about what freedom Dukes have for their fiefdom, and also the boundaries which when crossed, will result in the use of the Monarch’s prescriptive powers to get them back into the realm of the Kingdom’s expectations.
At the beginning, I expect the Monarch to need to be more prescriptive in setting the tone and direction of the Kingdom, but this will then taper off as the Kingdom comes of age as people get the feel for its direction and the various powerbases.
The federal law component fits in here as it sets the commonalities that will transcend the individual duchies or counties, and sets in every player’s mind the fundamental components of how the Kingdom will function and what people can expect when living within its borders.
The second aim, which is where the real aspect of federalisation comes into play, is to develop goals and objectives that the Kingdom will be working towards, and then have the individuals of the Kingdom committed to achieving them. At the end of the day, it is shared purpose and a common vision that brings people together into a successful federation. When interests diverge too much, then you end up with things like rebellious citizens from the people, Dukes trying to split off, etc.
What I want for this Free Kingdom, is for us to achieve a unification which solidifies us as a true, independent Kingdom, and then to prosper as that until the game ends.
I will work hard to see us weather all ills and the crap thrown at us, and at the end to be something we look back at and say with pride “We built that thing that has stood the test of time, and I’m glad I was part of it“.
Can the Monarch marry a commoner?
Once again, this is another area that I have not provided much thought to, and honestly, this tends to be something that will become an element shaped by the expectations and culture of the Conclave of Lords. Much of the specific nature of these types of laws are going to be a result of debate and agreement among the nobles when the Kingdom is more formed politically.
Personally, I see no issue with marrying a commoner, but historically in the real-world that has annoyed the nobility who prefer to keep the pool of potential candidates small, and exclusive to their world of political jostling. How the nobility views and debates this factor is going to be interesting and may reveal something about their view of commoners in general.